Himalaya: Climbers Approach Base Camp

Fifteen teams and 157 foreign climbers are converging on Manaslu, according to yesterday’s list of permits.

No one has announced an alpine-style ascent, so at least one Sherpa will accompany each foreigner. This makes a grand total of no less than 320 people on the mountain so far.

Permit list for 8,000’ers as of September 6, issued by Nepal’s Ministry of Tourism.


The first team on the list is Mingma G’s Imagine Nepal expedition, with 15 international clients. Mingma G’s effort is notable because he wants to bring clients to the “true” summit of Manaslu.


Meanwhile, the three-member Alpenglow group has the enormous Kangchenjunga massif to itself. Lead guide Topo Mena and Alpenglow’s CEO Adrian Ballinger confirmed the details for ExplorersWeb.

“It’s a commercial expedition, with two IFMGA guides, an aspiring guide (Carla Perez), and four Sherpa climbers,” Mena said. “We will climb the classic south side route and we will all go with O2.”

The hulk of Kangchengunga soars between Nepal and Silkkim. Photo: Siegmund Stiehler


But who is with Mena and Perez? “A rock star client who’s been climbing with us for a few years,” Adrian Ballinger told Exploreresweb. Ballinger himself can’t join the expedition this time.

Kangchenjunga will be exciting for such a small group. They are the only climbers on one of the most challenging of all 8,000m peaks. At 8,586m, Kangchenjunga is the third highest peak on Earth, and the hardest sections begin on the upper slopes. This makes summit day especially long and demanding.


Sirbaz Khan hopes Dhaulagiri will be his 9th 8,000’er. Photo: Sirbaz Khan


In a few days, Dhaulagiri will host some familiar faces; namely, those who tried to climb it last spring. Now in Kathmandu, 83-year-old Carlos Soria reports that the town is slowly returning to normal after the pandemic.

Viridiana Alvarez of Mexico arrived yesterday, bound for Dhaulagiri. She is double-vaxxed to prevent any COVID-related mishap.

Also en route is Pakistan’s Sirbaz Khan, aiming for his 9th mountain on the 14×8000’ers list. He is trying to become the first Pakistani to complete all 14. Khan started the quest three years ago as a personal project but now admits, “It is bigger than me…When I climb on these mountains where no Pakistani has ever climbed before, it is not just me climbing alone, it’s Pakistan climbing with me.”

Already this year, Khan has summited Annapurna and Everest in spring and Gasherbrum II with an all-Pakistani team in summer.

While Manaslu BC is just a day hike from Samagaon, most teams trek longer around the area to acclimatize. Photo: Pioneer Adventure


Everyone is currently acclimatizing for Manaslu by trekking in the area before settling down in Base Camp. Among them, 8K Expeditions, Furtenbach Adventures, Pioneer Adventure, Climbing The Seven Summits, and Elite Expeditions (with Nirmal Purja, Mingma David Sherpa, and Adrianna Brownlee).

Anna Tybor of Poland, a five-time national champion in ski mountaineering, is ready to climb Manaslu, then complete the first female ski descent. Emma Jack of the UK mostly skied down the peak in 2009, but she took off her skis for a short downclimb at 6,200m.

Anna Tybor of Poland, en route to climb and ski down Manaslu. Photo: Anna Tybor