Outstanding first ski descent of the Great Trango Tower

Great Trango Tower, by ski ©The North Face - Jim Morrisson

Outstanding: that’s the world to describe the first ski descent of the Great Trango Tower (6,286m), a Karakoram peak best known for its big walls. An impressive achievement on a hanging glacier and steep, narrow slopes, the result of the persistence of two Canadian women, Chantel Astorga and Christina Lustenberger, and American Jim Morrison, for whom skiing the Great Trango Tower is “a crazy dream come true.

This is no April fool’s joke. The Great Trango Tower, a granite cathedral perched high above the Baltoro, saw three skiers launch themselves from its summit on the 9th of May, 2024. A complex group of bigwalls, some of the highest in the world, the Great Trango Tower (not to be confused with the Nameless Tower, sometimes referred to as Trango Tower) did not seem to be an ideal terrain for a ski descent, even one as ambitious as this.

The summit itself had not been climbed until 1977, by John Roskelley, Kim Schmitz, Galen Rowell, Dennis Hennek and Jim Morrissey. Seven years later, in 1984, two other Americans turned back at Uli Biaho, and obtained permission to attempt the Great Trango Tower. They climbed up the north-facing scree couloir to the foot of the Nameless Tower, to a col that would serve as a base camp for current expeditions. Then, via a system of more or less mixed ramps on the mountain’s north-west face, Scott Woolums and Andy Selters reached the base of the hanging glacier, made a new