Alex Txikon and Sherpa Team Summit Winter Manaslu

Alex Txikon, Tenjen Sherpa, Pasang Nurbu Sherpa, Mingtemba Sherpa, Chhepal Sherpa, Pemba Tasi Sherpa, and Gyalu Sherpa summited Manaslu today at 9:30 am, outfitter Seven Summit Treks announced.

Team members standing on the snow with manaslu peak in background.

Alex Txikon (dark blue jacket, center) poses in Camp 1 with the Nepali team and Simone Moro (who did not join the summit push).

 

The news comes as a surprise, as Txikon had not announced plans for a summit push. The international team had been making the best of lower wind speeds, and progressed swiftly on their first foray up the mountain earlier this week. They spent Wednesday night in Camp 2, before heading up to 6,900m on Thursday, where they made Camp 3.

Simone Moro was not in the summit team. The Italian 8,000m veteran turned around on the way to Camp 2 on Tuesday, due to a debilitating digestive issue.

Manaslu normal route's map

Manaslu normal route. Photo: Alliance Treks

 

Single-push strategy

Txikon’s strategy this year involved setting Base Camp 900m lower down the valley than in the last two winters. Camp 3, however, was at the usual altitude of 6,800m (check our Manaslu climbers guide with Guy Cotter).

From Camp 3, many teams would set up a fourth camp, as typically happened in the autumn 2022 season. However, when conditions and fitness allow, it is possible to launch a summit push from Camp 3, as Txikon’s team appears to have done. Txikon’s press team suggests that he did not use supplementary oxygen, but there are no details about the Sherpas yet.

Simone takes a selfie of the route ahead: big seracs and the tiny black dots - actually Txikon and Chhepal Sherpa climbing on steep, snow terrain.

Simone Moro before turning around between Camp 1 and 2. The distant figures above are Alex Txikon and Chhepal Sherpa on their way to Camp 2. Photo: Simone Moro

 

No word yet either on conditions on the mountain or the availability of fixed ropes. During the autumn of 2022, Manaslu was loaded with snow and an avalanche struck shortly below Camp 4 (at 7,400m), injuring 9 climbers. Moro noted recently that there were ropes at some points along the route, left by those autumn expeditions. However, this team is skilled enough to do at least part of the ascent without ropes.

A high camp (3 tents and a climber) below a big serac on snowly Manaslu.

Alex Txikon’s Camp 3 on Manaslu yesterday. Photo: Alex Txikon

 

Interesting questions ahead

Alex Txikon climbed Manaslu in 2008 with a strong Spanish team that also included Edurne Pasaban. Back then, the team climbed past the end of the fixed ropes to the summit ridge to what they believed was the highest point. However, 8000ers.com has categorized their ascent as “incomplete”, arguing that they did not reach the true summit.

Pasaban and co. disagreed however, suggesting they had stopped at a point where the ridge only went down in every direction. It will now be interesting to hear Txikon’s impressions after his second ascent of the mountain.

Txikon at Manaslu Base Camp. Photo: Alex Txikon

 

This was Txikon’s third attempt at Manaslu in winter, and his first success. The Basque climber had acclimatized by trekking to Makalu and Everest Base Camp. He only set foot on the mountain after astronomical winter started on Dec. 21.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides is a college-graduated journalist specializing in high-altitude mountaineer and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.