Heavy Snow Increases Hazard on Annapurna and Manaslu

Everything is ready for a first summit push on Annapurna after the wind and snow die down. But forecasts show no improvement for the next few days. Climbers always need patience, but with Annapurna, it really can be a matter of life and death.

Haste harms

So far, EliteExped has led the way on the mountain. The team’s Sherpas fixed the route until slightly above Camp 2 last week when the snow began. Their clients managed to spend two days in Camp 2, despite the worsening weather. The climb to Camp 2 and back is the only acclimatization rotation for those using supplementary oxygen.

Meanwhile, climbers from several expedition teams arrived in Base Camp over the last few days. Many of them are already acclimatized after training in hypoxic tents at home or climbing lesser peaks.

This means that once the weather improves, the rope-fixing team will begin advancing again, all the way to the summit, if possible. A number of clients on O2 will follow right behind.

Currently, however, conditions are far from ideal. The forecast predicts snow and very high winds all week. This will increase avalanche risk even after the weather improves.

Graph of this week's weather forecast

The forecast by Meteoexploration.com shows snow and high winds on the summit of Annapurna this week.

Hazardous sections ahead

The first task ahead for the rope-fixers will be the route to Camp 3, up the most dangerous section of the mountain. On the way, they will pass beneath a huge, avalanche-prone couloir and through a maze of broken seracs.

Recently, Mingma G analyzed what is possibly the safest way to Camp 3, based on his experiences in 2014, 2015, and 2021. On each occasion, he climbed a slightly different line, as shown in the photo below: 2014 (yellow), 2015 (red), and the original route, which he climbed in 2021 (green). According to his comments posted by Carlos Garranzo on his Alpymon blog, the green line was best.

Photo of Annapurna with the variations to Camp 3 drawn in different colors.

Different routes to Camp 3 on Annapurna. Mingma G suggests that the green line is often the best route, although conditions vary from year to year. Photo: Mingma G/Facebook

The red arrows show the avalanches that often fall down the couloir, and usually stop at the area signaled with a red circle. The blue lines on the left are also avalanche trajectories from collapsing seracs and the steep terrain.

Mingma G concludes that the safest way to climb Annapurna is to keep on the lower part of the red circle while traversing, then gain altitude among the seracs, to the right of the “blue” avalanche-prone area. Other climbers suggest that the precise line varies each year, depending on conditions.

Nirmal Purja of EliteExped calls the weather “very temperamental”. He left the stormy Base Camp for some days of paragliding away from the mountains.

NW Face team acclimatizing off-site

The only team going for a different route on Annapurna than the normal commercial one will not arrive for some time. Adam Bielecki, Mariusz Hatala, and Felix Berg will acclimatize completely before attempting their new line up the NW Face.

Bielecki and Hatala are currently climbing Ojos del Salado in Chile, while Felix Berg is training in the Alps and using a hypobaric chamber, as he told Stefan Nestler. In April, they’ll meet in Nepal to complete the acclimatization by climbing 7,126m Himlung, a popular 7,000’er. Only then will they head for Annapurna.

Manaslu: Camp 2 reached

On Manaslu, Adriana Brownlee, Kristin Harila, and Gelje Sherpa have made their first trip to Camp 2, despite constant snowfall, tough going in deep snow, and high avalanche hazard. Seven rope fixers are accompanying them. See Gelje’s Instagram video below:
Once conditions permit, they’ll try to reach Camp 4.
A tent partially buried in fresh snow, the ski as white as the ground.

Not exactly spring-like weather on Manaslu today. Photo: Adriana Brownlee/Instagram stories


The snowfall seems to be affecting the whole of Nepal. Khoo Swee Chiow of Singapore, also aiming for Annapurna but currently on his way to Mera Peak for acclimatization, reports heavy snow in the Khumbu as well.


Allie Pepper of Australia will be one of the few climbers attempting Dhaulagiri over the next month. Climbing with regular partner Dawa Sherpa of Seven Summit Treks, she aims to complete the fastest climb of all 14 8,000’ers, without supplementary oxygen, and “reaching the true summits” of all of them, she noted. She has set 2025 as her deadline to finish the list.
Allie Pepper speaks to the camera from an indoor space, a window looking to a garden behind her.

Frame of the video in which Allie Pepper of Australia explains her 14x8000er project.


After years of climbing at home in the Blue Mountains and then climbing and guiding in the Andes, Pepper headed for the Himalaya and summited Cho Oyu no-O2 in 2007. In the last few years, she has climbed Everest, Annapurna, and Manaslu’s foresummit (with oxygen). She also attempted Makalu and Lhotse without O2.

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.