Newsletter #615 September 2013
Manaslu camp 1 route
The Sherpas have already left Base Camp at dawn to set up camp 1 at 5,604m altitude. 07.30 sharp. Also, our first trip to altitude! The day before our guides, Shinji, Hiro and Bruce checked our climbing gear, set the safety lines on our harnesses and Russell has distributed a radio to each of us followed by a short comprehensive lecture. Everyone is strong and fit. We are now ready for the trip that will perfect our acclimatisation. From Crampon Point, we cross the dark glacier that creeks under our feet. Crampons bite deep into the ice. Dark open crevasses interrupt the way. The fixed lines have already been put in place by the Sherpas that are ahead of us. The route winds through the icy terrain with the view opening to the dry lands of Tibet as we look across the Larkya Pass. The panorama is breathtaking. To the North the view opens to the dry mountains of Tibet and its deep arid valleys below that are contrasting with the gigantic snow capped peaks of Manaslu to the West and the impressive landscape of seracs, crevasses and deep fissures of ice scaring the glacier.
Manaslu glacier camp 1
Manaslu glacier route himalayan experience
Luckily again, this is a bright sunny day with only some gentle clouds forming down in the valley as we touch camp 1. It was a 4 hour walk. The group is well bounded and we reach the camp roughly at the same time. The Sherpas are already here, shovelling snow and setting up tents. Phurba is leading the group of the dozen smiling Sherpas all dressed with the same Himalayan Experience gear, from the white and blue cap with the company logo recognisable from miles away to the jackets provided by the Toread sponsor. As the tents unfold, Sherpas are chanting and laughing. The atmosphere is relaxed and we sit on the snow for some good photos and a lunch break.
Camp 1 Manaslu sherpas
Phurba Tashi is leading this group of enthusiastic Sherpas who do all the hard work to set the route, fix the ropes and set up the altitude camps on the mountain. All originated from Phortse and Kumjung located in the Solo Khumbu, best know as the Everest region, they work as a team and with the years they slowly become part of a big family, taking care of each other. As the Sirdar, Phurba is in charge of the recruitment of the main staff for the Himalayan Experience team. His personal leadership and his hard work on the mountain, carrying the same loads as the other staff, has demonstrated that he can gather around him a strong and valuable team of Sherpas for the Manaslu and Everest expeditions. Today, the oldest Sherpa is proud of his 51 years of age and the fact that he is now in charge of passing the torch to the youngest, like Pasang 21. Most of the young boys get through a selection process after completing their time at the Khumbu Climbing School and then come to Manaslu to sharpen their skills with the elders. The team is a great mix of enthusiasm, energy and experience all in one group. Religion is also one of the most important values for the Sherpas that work for Russell. They pray at every morning meal, making sure that they all share the same vision and main objective, working together like a family. Blessing the Gods as they start their climbing day is also part of the important ritual, burning juniper and throwing rice as they pass the Himalayan Experience Chorten. At the end of their hard days climbing, they still have enough energy and strength to play volleyball with the other Sherpa teams.
Sherpas Manaslu- Camp1