Manaslu Expedition #619 September 2015
Days at Base Camp
It was a surprise to wake to clear fine weather this morning, so everyone is out washing clothes and drying climbing clothing after getting so wet yesterday during the descent from C2. The forecast did predict clear weather at altitude, but really we were still expecting cloud and or rain at BC. Let’s take this as a welcome bonus.
Last evening we were fortunate enough to have practically all the Mountain Guides from all the teams on Manaslu visit our camp to compare their various weather forecasts. We had German, Austrian, French, Japanese, Canadian, and New Zealand guides in attendance. The consensus was that all weather forecasters were unable to accurately predict the amount of precipitation that we would receive in these next few days, that we would have relatively good weather for today and tomorrow, but that we will then be receiving a reasonable amount of snow in the following days. We are all too well aware that our expeditions to Manaslu this season are being well scrutinised after the earthquakes in Nepal. We are very aware that if our expeditions are successful that this will help to lead the way towards recovery of the mountaineering tourist trade in Nepal, but if we have any accidents that this could present a negative image. So it is good to have a sit together where we all have a common understanding. There are 5 more members on the mountain than last year, but there appears to be a much better unity between teams this year, and ambiance seems to be much more relaxed.
Today we were also able to see our various indication slopes, and I could observe that more snow fell between Crampon Point and C2 than between C2 and the Summit. This is often the case as we have this bad weather. I see that there are 3 levels of fracture line, some representing the last snow fall but the other two deeper fractures we had already noticed when we arrived at BC. Having a warm clear day today will help to consolidate the snow pack, but actually the route is in a more sheltered area so I suspect that we have less danger there. Behind our BC there are steep slopes that also accumulate snow in various bowls. These slopes are far steeper than anything that we are climbing on, but none the less they are a great indicator as to snow accumulation, so they often start avalanching when it is snowing, and then they also become very active as the temperature increases during the day. The avalanches are a very noisy and impressive indicator that we call the Express Trains.
So again it is “hurry up and wait” which is an important part of all expedition climbing.