First Summits on Manaslu, Purja Aims for No-O2 Record

Yesterday, an Elite Exped team of 13 people, including leader Nirmal Purja, bagged the first Manaslu summits of the season. They topped out just hours after another team fixed the ropes to Camp 4. Purja is in a hurry to travel to Tibet and climb Cho Oyu to beat the record for the fastest time up the 14×8,000’ers without O2.

Elite Exped posted a short video on Instagram confirming that they fixed ropes to the summit as they went, but they have not yet shared the list of summiters or which members used supplemental O2. The Himalayan Times, however, mentions that Anna Gutu (a regular climber with the Elite Exped team) summited.

On to Tibet

Next, Purja will travel to Tibet to climb Cho Oyu and Shishapangma without supplementary O2, according to The Himalayan Times. The paper didn’t specify if Purja will be there leading a group or as a member of another team. EliteExped has not announced teams for Cho Oyu or Shishapangma this fall season. Only 40 foreign climbers are expected to be granted climbing permits and visas for Tibet this season.

It is unclear whether Purja used oxygen on this Manaslu climb, but he announced that he climbed without O2 when he reached the true summit of Manaslu for the first time in 2021. During his Project Possible in 2019 (a speed ascent of all 14×8,000’ers), Purja didn’t reach the highest points of Dhaulagiri or Manaslu, so his record of six months and six days was not valid, according to 8,

Purja did reach the highest point of both mountains in 2021, setting the 14×8,000’ers record at two years. Since then, he has announced no-O2 ascents of several of the summits he climbed with clients, bringing his current total to twelve. If he summits the two Tibetan peaks in the next few weeks, he will claim the record for the fastest 14×8,000’ers summited without supplementary O2.

Good news for other Manaslu teams

Imagine Nepal opened the route to Camp 4 on Saturday at 4 pm. The plan was to resume fixing the route to the summit in a couple of days, taking care to establish a circular route to regulate the high number of climbers.

“Purja was in a hurry, so we opened Camp 4, and then from Camp 4, they went on their own, following the Rolwaling diversion to the summit [and back],” Mingma G told ExplorersWeb today. “Our team will fix the remaining sections to complete the circular route and fix the rope over the ridge on September 21.”

Dawa Steven Sherpa of Asian Trekking told Explorersweb that the route from Camp 4 to the summit is not hard. “If anyone is in a hurry, they could go to the summit on their own. They would just need 150m of rope.”

“The weather and conditions on the mountain have been fantastic this season, and the forecast continues to show good weather for at least another 10 days,” Dawa Steven added today.

Early summits are great news for the rest of the teams in Base Camp and those still approaching the mountain. “The summit pushes for different teams will be spread out and that will improve safety on the mountain,” Dawa Steven explained.

In a fresh update to the expedition permit list issued today, Nepal’s Department of Tourism lists 339 foreign climbers aiming to summit Manaslu this season.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering 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.