LUDLOW, Vt. (AP) – A man who grew up skiing at Okemo Mountain in Ludlow has started a journey that may give him a ski run down the world’s highest mountain.

Kevin Dunnett, a Ludlow native, is part of a nine-member team slowly making its way toward Mount Everest in the Himalaya Mountains.

The 2003 American Ski Everest Expedition team left the United States in late March. It arrived Wednesday at the base camp on the north side of a peak that has fascinated – and often destroyed – adventurers since its location was officially recorded in 1841 by Sir George Everest of England.

Dunnett, 35 and a 1985 graduate of Black River High School, and the rest of the team hope to become the first group of North Americans to make the Everest descent on skis.

It may sound like adding a hazard to one of the world’s greatest physical challenges, but hauling skis to the peak makes sense, Dunnett’s father said.

“A lot of people have been lost there because they get to the top and they can’t get down fast enough,” said Kevin’s father, George Dunnett, because they have depleted their bodies’ potential to handle the low-oxygen atmosphere and the altitude.

The longer climbers spend in that thin air, the more likely they are to have blackouts at inconvenient times, get delirious, or just lose their balance.

The team plans to climb the mountain “using the purest techniques,” as their mission statement says, without oxygen.

They have also pledged to leave no trace of their trek after they’ve gone.

The team is taking one porter, or Sherpa, and using yaks to carry supplies as far up as they’ll go. The team doctor will carry oxygen, “more I guess for emergency measures,” George Dunnett said.

At around 29,030 feet above sea level, Everest’s peak is the highest in the world, straddling the border between Nepal and Tibet.

Some members of the team have already skied from 25,000-foot summits, and they’re hoping to improve that personal record. Kevin Dunnett has climbed and skied from 22,000 feet, in the Andes Mountains in South America.

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