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Sep 092019

The Himalaya climbing activity is picking up with climbers trekking to Everest Base Camp and others already there on Manaslu.

The Nepal Ministry of Tourism posted these stats for the autumn 2019 season and as expected when factoring in Sherpa support, there are well over 400 people on Manaslu the season:


Of note, the permit fees for climbing in autumn are significantly lower than in spring:

Nepal 2015 Permit Fees


Madison Mountaineering Autumn Everest

Garrett Madison of Madison Mountaineering gave an update from a quiet Khumbu:

It’s surprisingly quiet here in the Khumbu.  We have the lodge all to ourselves and we didn’t see many people on the trail today because it’s not quite the trekking season which starts up in October.  We are feeling great and looking forward to a great day trekking up to Namche tomorrow.

Running up and Skiing down Everest

No updates for Spanish ultra runner Kilian Jornet as he plans to do a speed climb on Everest including perhaps a new route starting at Camp 2. He is reported to use Gorak Shep as his base camp and will lead a team of two other climbers on Lhotse before his Everest attempt.

And the four person Polish team including Andrzej Bargiel will attempt to ski from the summit of Everest without using supplemental oxygen, and without removing his skis at any point during the descent has arrived at Gorak Shep. The other members include Polish climbers Grzegorz Bargiel and Jakub Poburka.

Project Possible – Rare Cho Oyu Route?

Likewise, no big updates from Nirmal Purja who is hoping to get his last three 8000ers and complete summiting all 14 of the 8000ers in seven months. It’s reported Nims and his strong Sherpa team will nab Manaslu then try Cho Oyu from the rarely attempted Nepal side before leaving on Shishapangma in Tibet. 

Nims has a total of 11 summits of 8000ers in 94 days: Annapurna (April 23), Dhaulagiri, Kangchenjunga, Makalu, Everest, Lhotse, Nanga Parbat, Gasherbrum I, Gasherbrum II, K2 and Broad Peak (July 26).

All 8000’ers Without O2 in 1,000 Days

As long as we are mentioning ambitious projects, Sergi Mingote to Climb All 8000’ers Without O2 in 1,000 Days starting with Dhaulagiri this month according to Angela Benavides at Explorer’s Web.


An 11 member Polish team will attempt Lhotse via the standard route through the Khumbu Icefall this autumn. They are already on the trek through the Khumbu. According to RussianClimb the team includes:

  • Marcin Kaczkan – head
  • Rafal Fronia – deputy. head of
  • Mariusz Grudzien – doctor
  • Oswald Rodrigo Pereira – press secretary
  • Vadim Jablonski
  • Bartosz Earth
  • Mariusz Lange
  • Peter Krzyżowski
  • Mariusz Hatala
  • Maciej Kimel
  • Peter Hercog
  • Mariusz Hatay
  • Peter Kryzhovsky

Dhaulagiri – Carlos is back at age 80!

Carlos Soria Fontán and team who will be attempting Dhaulagiri for his 10th time are currently trekking in the Khumbu for acclimatization. They gave this update:

After 6 days without the monsoon has given us even the slightest opportunity to see the mountains, today the sky has been opened momentarily and has discovered the ama dablam, almost 7000 m altitude. To celebrate the occasion, a flirty yak has decided to pose for me… moments after the fog has covered everything and we haven’t been able to see anything else. Tomorrow we will be at the foot of Everest, maybe give us another moment like today…

Yak in the 2019 Khumbu. Courtesy of Sito Carcavilla

Manaslu- C3 Established

As I mentioned, there are over 400 people on Manaslu this autumn including 237 foreigners. Arnold Coster and team are trekking in while others take helicopters to Samagoan and acclimatize there for several days. When I did this climb in 2013, the trek was spectacular with huge waterfalls and thick foliage everywhere. Then, there were few teahouses so it felt very remote.

It appears that Camp 3 has been established by the usual huge Seven Summits Treks team. They are reported to have 65 clients with 100 Sherpas in support.

The Team of Sherpas from Seven Summit Treks, under the mangement of EOA (Expedition Operator Association) have already fixed the rope lines till camp III (6800m) as per the information from the basecamp. “Ngima Dorchi Shepa, Namja Bhote, Kaji Sherpa, Rinjee Sherpa and Tenji Chumbi Sherpa 5 Sherpas via NE Ridge (N-FACE) fixed the rope till 6800m yesterday”

Some of the people on Manaslu this season include Muhammad Ali SadparaNoel Hanna and Lynne HannaChris Keller climbing with Climbalaya treks & expeditions noted the rain at base camp. This is quite the norm for Manaslu where it can turn from heavy rain to deep snow over night.

Update from Basecamp: Weather in BC is still very wet and rainy, but today we finally could move up a little bit and enjoy moving our bones !!! Puja will be in two days and then we are off to Camp1

First Ascent?

Not an 8000ers but a team of seven from Colorado is attempting the never summited, Gangapurna West at 7140m in the Annapurna Sanctuary. In 2014, a South Korean team got within 100 meters of the summit but turned back when a teammate needed to descend.

The Colorado team will attempt a modified route that mirrors a 2016 attempt from the south via the SSE spur.  It’s very remote, as it heads up the east fork of the Annapurna Glacier towards Annapurna III. They will not have any guides or Sherpa support past Basecamp. Asian Trekking is providing logistics and support at Basecamp.

This is more than a climb for Jason Kolaczkowski who was recently diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. He is raising money for cancer research on his Facebook page. He told me recently:

I don’t think our likelihood of success is above 50%. But I have a dream that I want to at least attempt while I still can. If I don’t succeed in summiting, I can succeed in being true to my values, sense of team, and sense of purpose.

Gangapurna West. Courtesy of the American Alpine Journal

Another first in the works is by a small international team primarily from Italy. The team consists of Marco Camandona (ITA), Francois Cazzanelli (ITA), Emrik Favre (ITA), Francesco Ratti (ITA) and Andreas Steindl (SUI). They have 3 main objectives:

  • Summiting the still unclimbed Pangpoche 6620 m
  • The first repetition of the Hajzer-Kukuczka route (1986) on the northeast face of Manaslu, in alpine style
  • Breaking the speed record on the normal route of Manaslu, which was set by the pole Andrzej Bargiel in September 2014, with a time of 21 hours and 14 minutes (BC – summit – BC)


Cho Oyu – October 1 Deadline

Teams are on their way to Cho hoping to summit and leave before the Chinese imposed October 1 deadline. IMG posted they are acclimatizing well at Chinese Base Camp. They posted this nice image on their blog:

Cho Oyu Autumn 2019 courtesy of International Mountain Guides

Shisha Pangma – No Permits?

Still no word if China will be issuing any permits for Shish this autumn. Numorous reports have the Nepal government asking the Chinese government for an exception for Nirmal Purja . Assuming he gets Manaslu (a 99.99% probability) and Cho Oyu from the Nepal side (a 90% probably) then only Shish would remain.

Winter K2 Race?

Finally, as most climbers know, K2 remains the only 8000er not summited in winter (by whatever definition you select for winter 🙂 ) but super Sherpa, Mingma Sherpa from Rowling, announced he will make an attempt this winter. From his Facebook page:

This winter we will try K2 via Abruzzi Route following the traditional and most successful route. We are 3 members in the team: Mingma G – Nepal, John Snorri -Iceland, and Gao Li -China.

I have successfully climbed K2 in 2014 and 2017. And i was looking for someone to climb K2 in winter. I am very familiar with John Snorri from 2017 and we have climbed K2 together in 2017. He also has climbed Mt Ama Dablam and Mt Lhotse 8516m previously. Gao Li is another member in the team and we are known from 2016 during his Manaslu Expedition, After that he has climbed Everest 8848m in 2018, Lhotse (8516m) and Makalu 8463m in 2019 and was on K2 till 7800m.

So we are known to each other very well and we have been talking about winter ascent on K2 since long time now. We are all now going to Manaslu 8163m to build our confidence and understand each other even more.
Depending on our fund, we will try to add 2-3 more Nepalese Sherpa and Pakistani Climber to make this climb successful. If our own contribution is not enough then we will go for some sponsorship too. We are also very confident in our project and we will make this huge success.

Of course there have been multiple efforts in recent years on K2 in winter and Nirmal Purja made a splash recently declaring that he would be the first to accomplish the feat. So it seems we have somewhat of a race underway!

Best of luck to all on all the peaks this autumn, and winter.

Climb On!
Memories are Everything

  One Response to “Autumn 2019 Himalayan Season: Manaslu Crowds!”


    Thank you so much for these updates. I am following Nims journey and his successes. I look forward to these updates.

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