Nordic Nation: On Lhotse with Filmmakers Dutch Simpson and Nick Kalisz

Jason AlbertOctober 28, 2020
Jim Morrison navigating the Lhotse face. (Photo: Nick Kalisz)
Something a bit different on the podcast today. In the spirit of high mountains and the autumn season which is often the time many seek any iteration of mountain film. During normal times, we flock to touring mountain film festivals to celebrate. You know, solid storytelling and vibrant images to help us dream a bit bigger.
Some of you may have already watched LHOTSE, a film featuring ski mountaineers Hialree Nelson and Jim Morrison as they complete the first descent down the steep and scratchy Lhotse Couloir in the Nepal Himalaya. It’s a film that featured at the upcoming Banff Virtual Mountain Film Festival. Let’s just say the film has it all: A compelling tale to tell, lovely mountain backdrops, the thinnest of air, and two athletes in Nelson and Morrison living in the moment.
Dutch Simpson (left) and Nick Kalisz (right). Creative minds behind the Lhotse film. (Courtesy photo)

With all this in mind, I followed my curiosity. I wanted to know more about who captured the footage and crafted the film. That led me to filmmakers Dutch Simpson and Nick Kalisz. Both are spirited creatives who also happen to be mountain savvy. We spoke to Simpson and Kalisz to learn about their experiences on the project and how they captured a now storied ski descent. We should note, the scale of the climbing and ski expedition, which went down in September 2018, was by all measures minimalist. The typical climbing season on Everest, which is close to the summit of Lhotse, is in April and May. By September, these mountains are ghost towns by comparison. If you are looking for more information on the ski descent, National Geographic provides.

Moving in big terrain during the Lhotse shoot. (Photo: Dutch Simpson)

Thanks for listening and we hope you enjoyed this small diversion from talk associated with the skinny skis. 


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Jason Albert

Jason lives in Bend, Ore., and can often be seen chasing his two boys around town. He’s a self-proclaimed audio geek. That all started back in the early 1990s when he convinced a naive public radio editor he should report a story from Alaska’s, Ruth Gorge. Now, Jason’s common companion is his field-recording gear.

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