Manaslu: A Race Against the Snow

Nepal is enjoying an extraordinarily mild and dry winter, and conditions on Manaslu are autumn-like. Here, where the greatest danger is the risk of avalanches, this can make all the difference. But can the two teams get to the mountain in time?

A clear sky west of Kathmandu allowed views today of Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Manaslu, and Shishapangma. Photo: SImone Moro


It was heavy snow and the subsequent avalanche hazard that ended Simone Moro’s previous two winter attempts. Now, quarantined in Kathmandu, he has been anxiously monitoring Manaslu from the hotel roof, hoping it will remain dry until he gets there. His expedition partner, Alex Txikon, told the trekking group and BC staff accompanying them that they will shorten the approach trek by one day in order to get to Base Camp as quickly as possible.

The Nepali climbers on an acclimatization hike near Samagaon. Photo: Abiral Rai


Meanwhile, Nepalis Tenji Sherpa and Vinayak Jaya Malla plan a fast, alpine-style push. Since they are locals and don’t need to quarantine, they reached the village of Samagaon on New Year’s Day. Loyal to the principle of alpine-style ascents, where climbers don’t touch their mountain goal until they are ready to climb it, the pair are acclimatizing on nearby peaks.

They will head for Manaslu itself on January 7. By then, their BC will be set. “Above 5,500m, the climbers report increasingly high winds and falling temperatures,” their press team told ExplorersWeb. “And the snow has started falling today here.”

The pictures they’ve sent show still good conditions, but real winter may be about to arrive.