NEWSLETTERS - Manaslu 2013

Newsletter #823 September 2013

Dear all

After the two acclimatisation trips on the hill, the members had two rest days before they were expecting to head back up to Camp 1 for the start of their summit attempt.

However rain interrupted these plans, and for the first time during this expedition we were forced to alter our plans, which is quite unusual as normally by this time we have had to wait for several days for snow or rain. Last year it started to snow on the 17th and we were forced to wait at BC for 5 days. But our time has been filled in with the compulsory oxygen briefing, various delights from the kitchen, and card playing. And some of the members were even caught trying out the Sherpa dancing moves. And of course attendance of our Fish Pond at BC also took our time. Luckily we were able to catch some salmon as they swam up the stream which made a welcome meal one evening.

BC bad weather

Filling in time at BC

Kitchen delights

Jeff getting oxygen briefing

Learning Sherpa dancing

Our fish pond at BC

The weather forecast has been the main focal of attention. With the rain came a small period without bad weather before it was predicted to close in again. However this has since changed, and it now looks like there will be little wind on the summit, and the rain and snow will hold off until the afternoon of 25 or early morning of 26, then we can expect substantial snow fall at higher altitudes. This gives us just enough time to mount a summit attempt. So yesterday all the members left BC for C1 where they spent last night. They had to dig the tents out from the snow that had fallen the previous days. Then today in brilliant sunny conditions they sweated their way up to C2. The ever strong and willing Sherpas left BC early this morning and went up to C2 to dig out tents and some even went to C3 to dig out the one tent there and to erect more tents. All the Sherpas have now returned to C1 for the evening, but will tomorrow go back up the hill and will carry loads to C4 before returning to C2. And tomorrow the members will climb from C2 to C3.

It looks as though there will be about 60 people attempting the summit on the 25, but of course the Himalayan Experience Sherpas have still to put the fixed ropes above C4. Yesterday the Altitude Junkies Sherpas forced the trail again from C1 to C2, and today both teams forced the route back up to C3, as well as repairing damage to the fixed ropes and the ladders that had been struck by avalanche debris during the bad weather. All very hard work that I see few teams are prepared to help with.