Autumn 2022 Himalayan Season: Another Manaslu Avalanche, One Death

Only days after a deadly avalanche between Camps 3 and 4 on Manaslu, this Sunday morning, October 2, 2022, Manaslu Base Camp was hit by a new release destroying six camps and 30 tents but taking no lives. However, one Sherpa, Dawa Chhiring died in a different avalanche while descending from Camp 2 to Camp 1. That makes two deaths taken by avalanches this season.

Historically, avalanches occur near Manaslu base camp but rarely hit it. Obviously, Manaslu is so loaded that being anywhere on the mountain is a gamble with lives. Carlos Garranzo posted the blast on Twitter of a video taken by @tashi8848.86:

Despite all the avalanche activity, several teams announced members with strong Sherpa support, making the true summit following the now well-established boot path along the traverse and not on the dangerous ridge. Now, some of those climbers are being challenged to return to base camp after today’s avalanches high on the mountain. Note these are different than the avi that hit base camp.

Warner Rojas Chinchilla noted:

The weather is still bad in the upper part of Manaslu; according to reports today, it snowed almost a meter at 7 thousand meters in height; the mountain is still dangerous. This is after there are still a handful of people who want to attempt the summit and have had to return to lower fields because of avalanche danger.

Summits have been reported by Nepali operators 8K Expeditions, Seven Summits Treks, Transcend Adventures, and Asian Trekking. 16-year-old Nima Rinji Sherpa with Seven Summits Treks (SST) is the latest to plant his personal record flag. The teenager is the son of SST founder Tashi Lakpa Sherpa.

As I reported in the previous blog post, most of the western companies, including IMG, on Friday and Summit Climb today, left the mountain last week, citing dangerous avalanche conditions. Also retreating was Everest summit record holder Kami Rita Sherpa who said, “I will back home safely from Manaslu expedition we didn’t get summit because of weather condition very bad high wind and so much chilly, so we returned from 7500m .”

Another Sherpa ended their expedition early. Tendi Sherpa of TAG Nepal and the leader of the Climbing the Seven Summits Manaslu team this season made this thoughtful post on the situation;

Safely back home from the Mountain- This word is always my favorite… !

After our final acclimatization rotation to camp 3 of Manaslu, we came back to base camp to get some rest and get ready for the summit push. Before the final summit push, it is always so important for us to start looking into the weather forecast more deeply for our climb, start talking with our team of members and Sherpas about the plans, check the mountain and snow condition, possible traffic jams during the climb and a final check of necessary logistic on the mountains etc.!

Our team of members, guides, and our Sherpa team were very strong, motivated and all were ready for the summit push… but the huge crowds of climbers, lots of precipitation with more than 100cm of fresh snow recently, high winds, avalanches, death, injury and evacuation, all of this combination made mountain more dangerous!

We looked at every single little door of possibility to go and climb up, but every door was closed except one door that was open and that was to go home safely! So all our team are safe and on their way to home and their family. On mountain every team make their own judgment and decision, and so did we and in our judgment, it was too risky, so we made the decision to quit the climb, but there are still many other teams on the mountain climbing, and I wish and pray for all of them there for their safe climbing!

I am so thankful to all our climbing members, guides, Sherpas, CTSS office team, and Tag Nepal office team for all their great support, teamwork and cooperation during this climb. Thank you, Manaslu for sending us home safely.

Everest – Winds Stall Summit Bid

Meanwhile, over on Everest, Polish extreme skier, Andrzej Bargiel, stopped his summit bid due to high winds. With him is Janusz Golab. He has not committed to his next step, waiting to see how the weather develops.

Dhaulagiri – Avalanches End Summit Bid

And over on Dhaulagiri, avalanches have also stalled climbing for the moment. Druelle Vadim‘s home team described the mayhem in an IG post:

Little news lately as the weather has been pretty bad. Last week Vad acclimatized to the only handsome niche. He was supposed to leave Friday afternoon to attempt the summit. But due to heavy, unforeseen snowfall, departure has only been pushed back to yesterday Saturday afternoon, then normally very early this morning. But the weather was once again very capricious and Vad got woken up in the night to clear the base camp as the weight of the snow broke some tents…

In the end, he decided not to leave because the risk of avalanche was far too high.

Tough decision to make as he will have zero chance of trying… but no later than 2 hours after this decision, an avalanche broke out between camps 1 and 2. Some people were able to be evacuated in time by helicopter. No word yet on any other damage. A rescue team, including Vad, left base camp to go help. One thing is for sure the mountain don’t want them this year Too many negative parameters to hope to continue. It is with a heavy heart that the expo comes to an end…

Avalanche Training

Avalanche incidents can usually be avoided by understanding terrain, snow conditions, and behavior. Most professional guides have significant training in avalanche awareness through organizations like American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education.

Next Up?

The next commercial expeditions will be on Ama Dablam, where avalanches have previously taken lives. Teams will be wise to carefully evaluate conditions before climbing as the Himalayas seem to be experiencing early winter snowfall.

My condolences to the families of the dead and injured.

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