Manaslu 2015

Manaslu 2015



Manaslu 8,163 metres (26,781 ft), the eigth highest peak of the planet. The aim of this expedition is to make a modern reenactment of two great climbs achieved in the past. The first winter ascent of the mountain climbed on the 12th January 1984 by the two Polish climbers Berbeka and Gajewski, as well as the link up of the ascent in succession of the peaks of Manaslu's massif: the main summit of 8163 meters and the East Pinnacle, 7992 metres high. This last climb was achieved by the two great Polish alpinists Jerzy Kukuczka and Artur Hajzer on the 10th of November 1986.


The second aspect of this 2015 project on Manaslu concerns the link up of the main summit and the East Pinnacle which is 7992 meters high. This double ascent has never been repeated, not even during the more favourable season, specifically, Manaslu's East Pinnacle is the planet's highest 7000 meter point. Only 8 meters separate it from the decisive altitude of 8000 meters. And it is exactly for this reason that this link up was chosen, to convey the message that the future of high altitude alpinism, even winter alpinism, inevitably lies on 7000 meter peaks, leaving the Eastern Pinnacle as the conclusive even of this winter project.

Travel log


Day 51 - 8 April - Goodbye Manaslu!


We’re in our tent at base camp. It’s snowing outside, as usual, as it has done for the past two months, where the exception has been to have a blue sky for more than five hours at a time.
It started off as a winter expedition and is ending as a spring one only by the calendar and not because of the weather conditions. I wrote “ending” because this is the final decision taken by Tamara and myself over the past few hours. We have used up all our patience, optimism, experience and shrewdness, but for this year Manaslu remains for both of us a dream we have decided to postpone.
For those of you who have followed us over the past two months you know exactly what the conditions are that we found here in February and which we have found again, maybe even worse, now in April. The interval spent in the Khumbu Valley was an expedition within an expedition. From that period of training and acclimatisation lasting three weeks, two new routes were opened with the ascent of an untouched 6000m. We climbed up 25.000 vertical metres during this expedition, at a sustained pace, making tracks, finding the route and carrying our own material.
We did all this with a smile and even yesterday, when we arrived at Manaslu Camp 1 and found nothing of our camp or deposit, we calmly accepted the last signal that the mountain and events had given us. Here there are another 6 metres of snow, the temperature is rising and so I think in about a month’s time everything will be stable and it may be possible to ascend Manaslu. However this coming month will be the most dangerous and the number of avalanches coming down has increased tremendously and even while I am writing this I have counted at least ten more. The weather however doesn’t seem to be changing and the tracks we left yesterday walking with our snowshoes has disappeared again, covered with 20 cm of snow.
An expedition is never only pure performance, an ascent with your heart in your mouth. It is often a game of patience and nerves and I think that Tamara and I have really done everything to give the weather and the mountain time to cover itself in snow and have it blown away by the wind. This waiting period however has changed nothing and we have lost lots of climbing equipment and spent hours and whole days shovelling snow.
Surprisingly we have kept our good humour and never lost the will to joke and dream. Now we shall transfer this good humour and future plans back again to where we left, back home. Climbing and sports plans are already programmed and to remain here shovelling snow and fighting against nature would only end up frustrating our physical form and the wish for action which at this moment is overwhelming.
We want to thank all of you for having followed, encouraged and sometimes even criticised, us. There have been thousands of you and amongst this precious community we have had the honour to have around us, there have always been opinions, encouragement, suggestions and thoughts which were all different but still precious.
Our activity and our dreams are never just wrapped up in an expedition but in our fortunate and enthusiastic day to day living.
We embrace you all and what we take home with us is not a defeat but a dream which we have energised and mobilised. With our without a summit it is the action and fantasy which counts and not the mere result. This adventure has simply been postponed.


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