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Massive Mount Cook Caroline Face Skied

The Caroline Face rises nearly two kilometres above the valley to the summit of Mount Cook in New Zealand and was skied for the first time on Oct. 27.

The massive alpine line was descended by British skiers Ben Briggs and Tom Grant and by Italian Enrico Mosetti.

Mount Cook, which is the informal name of the 3,724-metre Mount Aoraki, is the highest mountain in New Zealand.

The three climbed the classic East Ridge to the Porter Col, according to PlanetMountain.com, before dropping into the massive line.

The Caroline Face has big seracs, dangerous objective hazards and large drop offs. This is extreme skiing in ever sense of the word.

Grant posted on Instagram, “Just back down from an unforgettable adventure … First descent of Aoraki/Cook’s 2,000m Caroline face. One of the bigger unskied faces around, and the biggest I’ve ever skied, truly colossal in scale.

“The icing on the cake was skiing it in powder most of the way. 3 raps [abseils] and despite all the seracs [ice towers] in the photo, it was good, clean skiing. Thanks to Ben and Enrico for being such solid partners and for everyone else who supported us.”

Mosetti said on Facebook, “Such a big day. The biggest thing I’ve ever skied, the biggest line I could imagine to ski, and in great powder conditions!”

The first ascent of the Caroline Face was in 1970 by Peter Gough and John Glasgow. It’s the largest wall on the mountain.

In 2015, Mosetti solo-skied the West Face of Tocllaraju and the Southeast Face of Aresonraju in Peru, both over 6,000 metres.

Simon Middlemass, the manager of the New Zealand Alpine Club’s lodge at Mount Cook village said the descent was “outrageous.”

And continued with, “It sounds like they followed the climbers’ line which is the line that goes directly right down – that’s just hearsay – and that would be really impressive because the bottom part of the route is really threatened by ice cliffs.

“That’s the thing about climbing the Caroline; it’s not a hard climb, it’s a dangerous climb.”