For the largest descent of his life, Jeremy Jones abandoned the iconic in search of the obscure. Rather than making a descent of Mt. Everest, he selected a nearby peak in Nepal, which he dubbed theShangri-La Spine Wall. With a summit that towered 21,400 feet above sea level, the only certainty the mountain offered was the challenge inherent in attempting to scale it. In addition to its high elevation, the Shangri-La Spine Wall afforded weather that changed rapidly and a dearth of information about its snowpack.
To train for his mission to Nepal, Jones teamed up with Conrad Anker, a climber and mountaineer who largely built his reputation around ascents in the Himalaya. Last June, Jones and Anker traveled to Alaska to summit Denali, the highest peak in North America. As Jones explains, "I went to see how I would handle the high elevation." With a summit elevation of 20,322 feet, Denali provided Jones with a glimpse of what awaited him in Nepal. And just as he had anticipated, the trip revealed that climbing—let alone snowboarding—the Shangri-La Spine Wall would be no easy task.