Dodging Avalanches, Simone Moro Abandons Manaslu

Simone Moro and Pemba Gelje Sherpa have been evacuated from Manaslu. The massive snowfall of previous days has triggered a barrage of avalanches when the sun finally came out today. It will take at least two or three weeks of sunshine, according to Moro, to clean off the six metres of fresh snow clinging dangerously to the slopes. The good weather will last nowhere near that long before more snow falls.

The avalanches thundering down threatened to bury their tiny Base Camp. “Over the last few days, the aim of reaching my fifth [8000’er] summit in winter has turned to survival,” Simone Moro reported on FaceBook. “Sometimes giving up is an essential ingredient for future success.” Shortly after the winter maestro took the avalanche photo above, a helicopter brought the pair to safety.

Simone Moro Pemba Gelje Sherpa

An optimistic Simone Moro (left) and Pemba Gelje Sherpa prepare to take on winter Manaslu. Photo: Simone Moro

In recent years, Moro has been part of all winter firsts on 8000’ers. He has bagged a record four first winter ascents: Shishapangma (2005), Makalu (2009), Gasherbrum II (2011) and Nanga Parbat (2016). Manaslu would have been the Italian’s fifth, according to his own strict definition of winter climbing. For Moro, the first winter ascent of Manaslu by Maciej Berbeka and Ryszard Gajewski of Poland in 1984 cannot be considered a “pure” winter climb, since it started before December 21.

Moro first attempted Manaslu in winter, 2015 with Tamara Lunger. Elisabeth Revol led the last cold-season expedition to the mountain. Deep snow and bad conditions have now thwarted all three attempts.

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