About the mountain
Manaslu is the 8th highest peak in the world, standing at 8,163m (26,781 ft), located in the Gorkha district of Nepal, 40 miles east of Annapurna, another of the 8,000m mountains.
The name ‘Manaslu’ means “mountain of the spirit” and was first climbed on May 9th 1956 by Toshio Imanishi and Gyalzen Norbu, members of a Japanese expedition. Since then over 1,100 people have made it to the top, making it the third most summited of the 8,000 metre mountains, behind Cho Oyu and Everest.
Climbing the mountain
Himex runs its trip to Manaslu during the autumn climbing season, over a 45 day period, which enables us to have plenty of time for acclimatisation as well as factoring in any potential delays due to weather on the mountain.
The trip starts in Kathmandu where we spend 2 nights at the beautiful Hyatt hotel. During this time we will do a full kit check with the team, and we will have time to head into Kathmandu to buy any equipment that may still be needed.
From here we take a helicopter ride from the airport directly to the village of Samagon which is situated at 3,500 metres. We will aim to stay here for 3 or 4 days in one of the traditional tea houses, and we will look to do acclimatising treks in the surrounding valleys on each day, usually lasting 2-3 hours each.
Next we move on to basecamp (4,665m), which involves a 4-5 hour trek using the steep paths through the trees next to the hanging glaciers and icefalls. The Himex basecamp is an extremely slick operation, with the best facilities on the mountain, including dining tent, cooks tent, toilet facilities, solar and hydro-electric power and even a hot shower, all positioned away from any strong winds to ensure maximum comfort in your new home away from home.
Our climb up the mountain is via the North East face, using 4 camps along the way, starting with a 45-60 minute walk from basecamp to crampon point. From here it’s a 3 hour trip through the glacier following the fixed lines to camp 1 at 5,500m. This may prove tough the first time, but by the end of the trip you’ll amaze yourself with how much easier you find it.
The trip from camp 1 to camp 2 is a hard but rewarding day, climbing through steep slopes requiring close attention, and is expected to take anywhere from 5 hours or more until you arrive at camp at 6,300m. The views from camp 2 really are breath taking, and the peak of the mountain is getting visibly closer.
Climbing from camp 2 to camp 3 is relatively straight forward, requiring steady progress up some snow slopes, and one short but steep section, before arriving at 6,700m in 2-3 hours.
Camp 3 to camp 4 is around 4 hours up rather steep slopes, relying on the fixed ropes and your crampons to get you to 7,300m
The move from camp 4 to the summit is simple, but longer than it seems at first glance, requiring more steady progress over the rolling snow slopes, but now with the final target in your sights up ahead. The views all around on this section are as incredible as you can imagine they would be heading towards the 8,000m point. After around 5-6 hours you will arrive at the ‘false summit’ which is a comfortable area where many people end their climb. However Himex will always aim to fix the rope to the ‘true summit’ which is a short distance, but requires much care due to the unstable nature of the snow.
Descending the mountain is quick and straight forward; reaching camp 4 can be done within an hour, but Himex would always aim to get clients back down to camp 2 for the night which should take 3 hours from the summit. The following day the descent from camp 2 to basecamp should take 3 hours ready for a nice lunch.
The way home involves the same trek back down into Samagon, followed by a night here before catching the helicopter back to Kathmandu where will have another two nights at the Hyatt hotel for well deserved celebrations, showers and rest, before catching flights back home.