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Adrian Ballinger Ski Makalu 2015 Expedition

(8kpeak.com was proud to sponsor Adrian Ballinger this past fall with his Ski Makalu expedition.  We supplied the team, (Kid Deslauriers, Hilaree O'Neil, Emily Harrington, and Jim Morrison) with Aspect Solar chargers and Thermacell heated insoles and hand warmers. We will post Adrian's reviews in the days to come. Check out Adiran at   alpenglowexpeditions.com)

Emily Harrington, Hilaree O'neil, Rob Morrison, and Adrian


Hauling loads.....

As 2015 winds down, and my brain and body dives into planning for 2016, it is also a time to look back at key moments of the past year. Our attempt to ski Makalu, the fifth tallest peak in the world (unskied from its summit) was an unforgettable trip, filled with successes and failures. But most of all, it was memorable for its hard work, and the teamwork it took to get as high as we did, and also to come home safe. After Nepal’s earthquake in the spring of this year, the mountains and trekking trails of Nepal were essentially empty. So this expedition became an attempt to help the local people of the valleys in which we climb, as well as to achieve our personal goal. Aspect Solar was one of our partners in this attempt. We already knew Aspect’s panels and batteries would provide reliable power for our expedition. We used panels and batteries throughout our climb, as high as 25,500 feet, in temperatures as cold as -25 degrees. Aspect Solar powered everything from our battery powered footbeds (essential in cold ski boots at altitude) to our satellite internet terminals, to our i-phones that played multi-duty - from music player to camera to gps. Despite extreme cold temps and some stormy days without sun, Aspect Solar kept us connected. Our favorite setup in Base Camp was the EP-60 panels combined with Power Pack 100 batteries. Higher, we downsized to the Duo-Flex 2 panel with SB-37 battery. Both performed flawlessly.

Breaking trail on the upper slopes, massive work....

But perhaps more important than our power needs on Makalu (we ultimately skied the peak from higher than anyone before us, from almost 26,000 feet. 2,000 feet of vertical still remain unskied. We will be back!), is what happened during and after our expedition in the valleys below the mountain. Aspect Solar, through a partnership with 8kPeak.com and Alpenglow Expeditions, donated 30 total power units (including solar panel, battery, and AC converter) to Sherpa families in the Khumbu, Makalu and Arun Valleys. These Aspect Solar units provide a power alternative to hydro systems damaged or destroyed in the earthquake. Power in these villages is essential for lights, the occasional satellite communication system the small villages have been provided, and cell phones which act as cameras and music devices even when no cell network exists. The Aspect Solar units were immensely appreciated in the small villages that exist as high as 17,000 feet below the world’s tallest peaks.

Kicking back at BC...



Aspect Solar high on Makalu...

In 2016, we plan on returning to the Himalaya, with dreams of climbing and skiing the world’s tallest peaks. We also look forward to continuing to support the local towns and families that are such a big part of our expeditions. Thanks to Aspect Solar for their support of our climbs, our dreams of massive ski descents, and our efforts to support local communities!


-Adrian Ballinger, Alpenglow Expeditions



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