Manaslu: Avalanche Below Camp 4, Many Injured

This morning, a major avalanche ripped through Manaslu’s upper sections. Details are sketchy, but preliminary reports suggest more than a dozen people are injured. Some reports have also mentioned at least one fatality.

The injured climbers belong to Imagine Nepal, Satori Adventures, 8K Expeditions, and Seven Summit Treks, The Himalayan Times reports. However, the situation is chaotic and it will take time to confirm the details.

Currently, the weather is bad. The mountain is wrapped in cloud, complicating rescue efforts and preventing those in Base Camp from seeing what’s going on up the mountain.

Lukas Furtenbach reports that all his team members are OK. “They [the Furtenbach climbing team] chose to stay in Camp 3 due to the high avalanche danger and now they are helping with the rescue, giving O2 to the injured,” Furtenbach said.

Furtenbach’s guides have said that there were two separate avalanches. A serac breaking on the upper ridge caused one, sweeping the route below, and a second hit the lower slopes between Camp 3 and Camp 4.

Sanu Sherpa saw the avalanche fall and immediately sounded the alarm. He was on his way down from the summit, for the second time in four days, after his initial summit on Friday. This time, Sanu was not guiding clients. He wished to clear up any doubts about his double 14×8,000’ers summit record by reaching Manaslu’s true summit twice.

Pioneer Adventure’s staff in Kathmandu told ExplorersWeb that Sanu is OK, though they don’t know his exact location. He may be helping with rescue efforts.

Dangerous conditions

After a snowy weekend and with bad weather still wrapping the mountain, hundreds of climbers had been preparing for a summit push or were already on the move. Summit totals were expected to be massive, about 400 climbers are aiming for the top this week.

However, conditions are still far from stable. Avalanche risk, crowded sections along the fixed ropes, inexperienced climbers, and high stakes have made Manaslu a very dangerous place.

four climbers approach a snowy summit, roped up, on soft, deep snow.

Climbers approach Manaslu’s summit last Friday. Photo: Kristin Harila


The Friday summits may also have been extremely high risk. The 8K Expedition and Pioneer Adventure teams fought through soft, unstable snow to the summit in a 19-hour push from Camp 3. Many other groups chose not to go beyond Camp 3 because of avalanche danger.

Back in Kathmandu, Kristin Harila’s report makes scary reading. “[There were] many small avalanches when we stepped onto the ridge. [On the final climb to the summit area] heavy snow came down on me, and the last part to the real summit was not easy either,” Harila wrote.

Hilaree Nelson missing

There is also concerning news regarding American climber Hilaree Nelson. According to The Himalayan Times, shortly after summiting Manaslu this morning, Nelson fell into a crevasse as she skied down.

There are no further details but the incident does not seem to be related to the avalanche.

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.