Manaslu
Nepal
26,759 feet 8156 meters

September - October 2013

ManasluSUMMIT!! September 25, 2013. Read the full trip report, see the pictures and the updated FAQ

Well it was time to climb again! A big climb that is: Manaslu 26,759'/8156m.

I worked hard to get ready in 2013 after having knee surgery in January. I was uncertain if I could get ready for Manaslu but after 25+ summits on Colorado 14,000 foot mountains, many with heavy packs, I felt ready and confident.

This was be my fifth climb on a 8000m mountain (Everest, Broad Peak, Cho Oyu, Shishapangma and now Manaslu). Well actually, eight if you include all my Everest attempts.

I climbed with Phil Crampton's Altitude Junkies organization and reached the true summit on September 25, 2013 after spending the previous few weeks on the mountain establishing camps and acclimatizing.

Manaslu

Manaslu is the world's 8th highest mountain at 26,759'/8156m. It is located in Nepal about 40 miles east of Annapurna, 150 miles west of Everest and 80 miles northwest of Kathmandu. The summit in the picture is far left.

It is not as well known or climbed as many other 8000 meter mountain due to the remote location but also for a history of avalanches and deaths. As of 2012, the summit has seen about 672 successful ascents and 67 deaths, ranking it in the middle of the dangerous 8000m peaks.

8000m deaths

source: Himalayan Database, 8000ers.com

It has become popular as a training 8000m climb for aspiring Everest climbers similar to Cho Oyu in Tibet but without the political and logistical difficulties. It is climbed in both pre and post monsoon seasons but more often in the Autumn.

The Manaslu Circuit Trek has also become very popular as an alternative to the Annapurna Circuit. A unique aspect of a Manaslu climb is starting the trek very low, 1,870 feet, and walking through rain forest and dense tropical vegetation. The mountain is included in the Manaslu Conservation Area and is home to the protected snow leopard and pandas. The area has a strong cultural similarity to Tibet.

History

The Japanese pioneered the early climbs on Manaslu in the 1950s and some Japanese may considered it their 8000m peak today, similar to how the British view Everest. The first ascent of Manaslu was in 1956 by Toshio Imanishi and Gyalzen Norbu on a Japanese expedition. The peak was not climbed again until 1971 when another Japanese team made the second ascent. The first American ascent was by Charlie Mace in 1997. There are a half dozen established routes on the mountain today.

Camp 1 Manaslu

Challenge

We we fortunate in 2013 with good weather but the biggest issue facing most Manaslu expeditions is the weather. It is known to snow several feet at a time at Base Camp. Also avalanches are a concern on the upper mountain. In 2012, 11 climbers were killed by an avalanche that hit directly on Camp 3 where many teams were sleeping. In 1972 15 members of a South Korean expedition were killed by an avalanche, 10 were tragically Sherpa.

Route

The normal route was from the Northeast Ridge. Overall the climbing was more difficult than in previous years due to a low snow year exposing a lot of crevasses and making the route between Camps 1 and 2 very difficult and dangerous.

We had four camps. These were my personal climb times. Some people were slower or faster.

  • Base Camp: 15,750ft/4800m: amazing views of the Himalayas on a rocky moraine. Very damp, wet and rainy.
  • Camp 1: 18,700ft/5700m: mixed terrain from Base Camp including a few crevasses and short ice sections - 3 hours
  • Camp 2: 21,000ft/6400m: From C1, this was the technical crux with 40 degree snow slopes and a many steep ice section - 5 hours
  • Camp 3: 22.310ft/6800m: From C2 the terrain eased but was still sustain slopes and cold and windy or very hot in the direct sun - 2 hours
  • Camp 4: 24,445ft7450m: from C3 it is an extremely physical climb with sustained steep sections at extreme altitude - 5 hours
  • Summit: 26,759ft/8156m: summit day was about 4 hours to the top passing a false summit to the true summit via an exposed ridge. It took about 3 to return to Camp 4 and another 6 to reach Camp 1 for the night. Sometimes the snow conditions prevent reaching the true summit but not in 2013 where we reached the true summit thanks to Himex fixing the lines.

Schedule

This was our approximate schedule. We summited very quickly cutting about 2 weeks from the normal schedule of 45 days.

Days 1-2: Kathmandu - 4,386'/1,3337m
Day 3: Drive to Arughat - 1,870'/570m
Days 4-9: Trek to Sama Gaon:

  • Soti Khola - 2,395ft/730m
  • Machha Khola - 3,050ft/930m
  • Jagat - 4,495ft/1370m
  • Philim - 5,150ft/1570m
  • Deng - 5,050ft/1540m
  • Ghap - 7,105ft2165m
  • Namrung - 8,730ft2660m
  • Lho - 10,435ft3180m
  • Sama Gaon - 11,565ft/3525m

Days 10-11: Sama Goan
Day 12: Trek to base camp
Days 13-24: Rotations through high camps for acclimatization
Days 25-29: Summit Bid
Day 30: Trek to Sama Goan
Day 30: Helicopter to Kathmandu
Day 31: Kathmandu
Day 32: Depart Kathmandu

Follow Along

I will posted updates during the climb on my Blog. Also you could follow from the Altitude Junkies website. A full trip report is now available.

As usual, my climbs are to raise awareness and research funds for Alzheimer's Disease. Please learn more at this link.

Climb On!
Alan
Memories are Everything


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