NEWSLETTERS - Manaslu 2012

Newsletter #619 September 2012

Sun & Snow

It was great to wake up a couple of days ago to not hear the sound of rain on the tent, instead it was snowing. But snow actually makes it dryer at BC than rain, but still keeps everyone inside, apart from a few of our Sherpas who went down to Samagon to collect the small generator that we have stored there. Due to the continuous bad weather we have been getting very low on power for our computers and phones, so I decided to get the generator up to BC. Although I do not really like to use a generator here, this did help with charging various appliances.

Of course snow always brings out everyones childhood ambitions and it was not long before snow balls were being thrown and snow men were being built ??
But also a great day to have Japanese sushi for lunch.

Again today we woke to no sound of rain on the tent, but this time there was also a sun rise and we were blessed with just 4 hours of sunshine this morning before it started to snow again. However, there was a flurry of washing and drying of clothing, drying of already wet clothing and a chance to dry out tent floors and the like.  We sent a few Sherpas to C1 to check on the large dome that is still there. We needed to repair a few poles and dig this tent out, but it was still in good condition, which is quite a relief. I also got the chance to spot the route and surrounding peaks through the telescope to see that many slopes have already avalanched at two different levels, and that part of the slope between C2 and C3 has released naturally. The forecast still predicts humid conditions later today (which has in fact already happened) and for tomorrow as well. I figure that we need to be cautious before sending rope fixing teams high up on the mountain for at least another 2 - 3 days as I do not think that it is safe or easy to make the route from C3 to C4. The forecast suggests that the jets stream winds are still some way from effecting us on Manaslu, so it looks like we might get a chance to head for the summit a little later this month.

In the mean while I managed to catch up my 3 Guides who are working on Manaslu with me this year. That was between their busy schedule of playing cards, eating, sleeping and watching films.

Mark Woodward - Woody is from New Zealand where he lives with his wife and 3 daughters who are now getting much older and are starting university careers. Woody has a very sound music background so it is always a delight to have him as the DJ during dinner in the evenings. He first started working for Himalayan Experience in 2004 and has since been to the summit of Everest 8 times and Manaslu once. He has been guiding and heliski guiding in the NZ Alps for about 25 years with more than 20 ascents of Cook and Aspiring. Between working in the Himalaya and the NZ Alps he is also heliski guiding in India. As well as being a great Himalayan guide who stays with the members during their travels, he has also been known to get on the back end of high tech cameras and in fact was one of the cameramen who filmed Conrad Anker when he climbed the Second Step on the North Ridge of Everest a few years ago. That year he also went to the summit of Everest twice in one season. Quite but with a repetitive sense of humour.

Shinji Tamura I first meet on Cho Oyo in 1996, and we have remained in contact with each other ever since. Of Japanese heritage he moved to Zermatt in 1989 where he set up a company called Active Mountain in 1997. We both often discussed the various problems of living and operating guiding businesses in a foreign country, as at that time I also set up my French guiding company Chamonix Experience. He later married a Swiss woman and has one son and one daughter. He started working for Himalayan Experience in 2002 and has been to the summit of Everest 3 times, Cho Oyo twice and Ama Dablam once. Shinji is invaluable when dealing with the many Japanese members on our trips.

Bruce Hasler is also a New Zealand guide and is quite new to the Himalayan Experience team having only been on Everest with us once this last season. However he has plenty of experience in the Himalaya having been to the summit of Cho Oyo and Ama Dablam twice. He has also been on Pumori and Makalu although not summiting. In NZ he has been to the summit of Cook 9 times and to the top of Aspiring a surprising 40+ times.

Russell Brice originally from New Zealand, now living in Chamonix in France (when not in a tent at a Himalayan BC) is just the BC manager. I have also climbed Cook 21 times and Aspiring about 20 times, "but of course when it was much harder than it is for the young guides today" !!! I recently did my 90th ascent of Mont Blanc and have been to the summit of Everest twice, Cho Oyo 9 times, Shishapangma twice and even Manaslu once, just so as I know the way. Plus a couple of trips on my favourite summit Ama Dablam as well.

Between us I think we have enough experience, but he common denominator between all the guides is that none of them have been to the summit of Mt Fuji.