NEWSLETTERS - Manaslu 2011

Newsletter 123 August 2011

Himalaya autumn season 2011 kicks off


Himalayan Experience is back on Manaslu, which will be the company’s fourth season on the world’s eight highest mountains. Last year, Russell Brice and his team put seven clients, seven Sherpas and three mountain guides on top of the 8,163m peak.

The composition of the climbing team will be a little bit different this year, as nine war-wounded soldiers and their mentor from the United Kingdom will be joining the expedition, which consists of a total of 22 members. “The nine lads came to Chamonix and did a week’s training course with our sister company, Chamonix Experience,” Russell said. “It was fun and I am really looking forward to having them on our team.”

The war-wounded soldiers are part of a British charity called ‘Walking with the Wounded’ and it is dedicated to raising funds for the re-education and re-training of wounded servicemen. Only in April this year, eight wounded soldiers reached the North Pole, and it is planned that four of the nine Manaslu aspirants will go to Mount Everest in 2012.

The rest of this year’s team consists of climbers from Russia, Germany, Japan, USA, France, Australia, Latvia, Nepal, New Zealand, Ireland and South Africa. Like every year, Monica Piris, our doctor from Spain, will be at base camp to look after the clients’ well being.

Here is a list of all the team members and guides. Of course, the expedition will be supported by our Sherpa team, which will be led by the legendary Phurba Tashi, who has worked on 20 expeditions with Himalayan Experience.



Walking with the Wounded:

Francis Atkinson               UK

Christopher Gwilt              UK

Andrew Hawkins              UK

Martin Hewitt                    UK

Karl Hinett                        UK

Daniel Majid                     UK

Manunora Rai                  Nepal        

Jaco Van Gass                 South Africa      

David Wiseman                UK

Henry Chaplin (mentor)   UK

Ken Sauls (video)             USA



Other climbing members:           

Sergey Baranov                Russia

Wallace Chambers            USA

David Craven                    UK

Makoto Fujikawa               Japan

Pierre Godof                     France                 

Herbert Hellmuth              German

Paul Howard                     Australia

Kristine Kravcova              Latvia

Noboru Kudo                     Japan

Rumiko Saito                     Japan

Yoshiki Sakai                     Japan

Voldemars Spruzs             Latvia



Russell Brice                       New Zealand                    

Adrian Ballinger                   UK

Ryuseki Hiraoka                  Japan

David McKinley                   New Zealand

Brian Warren                       USA



Monica Piris                        Spain



Billi Bierling                         German   


The whole team is due to arrive in Kathmandu on Saturday, 27 August and will be flying to Samagoan the following Monday. As this small but progressive village lies at an altitude of 3,780m, the team will be spending three to four days there to get used to the high elevation. After they have acclimatised, the group will be ascending to base camp (4,665m), which will be their temporary home for about four weeks from where they will launch their summit bid.


Since a Japanese team first scaled the mountain on 9 May 1956, Manaslu has seen 492 successful ascents, 45 of which have been by climbers from Himalayan Experience, stipulating almost 10 percent of the total.

The region is also known for its constant precipitation and it will probably not be a rare occasion that the team will have to shovel snow around their tents before heading for breakfast. If this year is anything like last season, we can expect some more exercise than just shovel snow. With New Zealand cricket legend, Adam Parore on the team in autumn 2010, Himalayan Experience challenged Dream Guides for a cricket match – and of course, the New-Zealand led team won!

I am really looking forward to updating you, once again, on our expedition and I hope you will enjoy reading the newsletters from Manaslu this season.

Billi Bierling in Kathmandu