Extreme skier Magnus Kastengren died Sunday in a fall on New Zealand’s Mt. Cook (12,316 ft.). The Swedish ski mountaineer was skiing near the summit ridge at 3,700 meters when he fell, reports the New Zealand newswire The Press. Kastengren was on the mountain with friend and longtime ski partner Andreas Fransson.
The pair had been skiing and climbing in New Zealand for two weeks prior to the accident, and had skied Mt. Aspiring (9,951 ft.) and two descents on Mt. Cook—the first continuous ski descent of the East Face and a first descent of the north face’s Bowie Couloir.
On Sunday, November 2, Kastengren and Fransson set sights on the previously unskied, 6,500-foot Caroline Face. The pair descended from the summit ridge for the southeast face one at a time. Fransson waited below, but Kastengren never came. In a blog post, Fransson says Kastengren likely lost a ski, which caused him to fall several hundred meters down the mountain’s west face.
“Magnus had the incredible blend of genius, craziness, intelligence, empathy and humor of someone who lived his life to its fullest,” Fransson wrote. “Everyone who knew him knew that he was following no rules or conventions whatsoever, and he said the things he wanted to say, did the things he wanted to do and he did the above whenever it pleased. For me this is an attribute of a man of wisdom as well as freedom: as he was following his inner compass, and did not care what other people or society thought or did. Magnus was freedom.”
Fransson’s full account and remembrance of his Kastengren can be read here. Our thoughts are with Magnus’s friends, family and ski partners.