Manaslu: Departures, Explanations, and Another Storm

The action — or inaction — on winter Manaslu enters a new stage, as a new storm approaches and forces the remaining climbers to wait longer. But winter still has 40 days to go, plenty of time to get things done, if the weather cooperates.

Some stay, some go

Stef Maginelle, Sophie Lenaerts, and Paula Strengell have called their attempt off and flew to Kathmandu eariler today. Oswald Rodrigo Pereira is staying and so are Pasang Rinzee, Chhepal Sherpa, Pasang Nurbu, Tenjin “Lama”, and Mingtemba Sherpa, who previously supported Strengell. Dawa Sherpa, who was helping the Belgian couple, is pondering his options.

Chhepal Sherpa deals with deep snow on the trail from Samagaon to Manaslu’s Base Camp yesterday (check the video here). Photo: Chhepal Sherpa


According to Seven Summit Treks, Strengell and the Belgian couple originally intended to climb until the end of January, but the excess of snow and the upcoming bad weather made them decide to call it a day.

Simone Moro and Alex Txikon have committed until the end of meteorological winter (February 28). Txikon reached the mountain on the first day of calendar winter on December 21. Moro showed up some days later but had already acclimatized on Ama Dablam. Strengell arrived at the same time as the Txikon team, but Maginelle and Lenaerts were unable to fly to Nepal until January 1.

The Belgians seem not to have given themselves much time for a winter expedition, although Seven Summit Treks’ Thaneswar Guragai points out, “This year, there is a strong Sherpa team. If the weather had permitted, reaching the summit in January would have been perfectly possible.”

Manaslu from the glacier. Photo: Alex Txikon


Rinzee, Moro, and Chhepal had reached Base Camp after a tough going in deep snow. However, everyone returned to Samagaon today to shelter from the expected snowfall.

With their internet connection, the climbers have begun to share photos and some explanations.

Pereira’s take on goals — and crampons

Oswald Pereira contacted ExplorersWeb to provide details of his latest foray up the mountain. In contrast to Lenaerts and Maginelle, the Polish climber never intended to go to any higher camps. He was simply helping break trail and getting some drone footage of the mountain.

Oswald Rodrigo Pereira, kitted out to trek through deep snow on Manaslu’s lower sections. Photo: Oswald Pereira


“I went ahead, together with Mingtemba, to break trail from Base Camp upward and brought photography equipment, so I didn’t take the crampons I had in Base Camp because I preferred to go light,” he explained. “I have a second pair [of crampons] in Camp 1.”

Instead, he used snowshoes in the deep snow up gentle slopes. “Needless to say, had I had any intention of reaching the col and Camp 1, I would have brought crampons!”

Pereira admitted on social media that the mountain is putting his patience to the test. On a positive note, he has at least obtained some good imagery, as seen on the feature image.

The route to Camp 1 on Saturday

Stef Maginelle points out the fresh snow covering crevasses. See the video by Sophie Lenaerts on 8000unlimited.


Stef Maginelle posted a video showing the highest point that the team reached: a snow-loaded serac section. He points out the 30m-long crevasses hidden under the fresh snow that were too dangerous to cross.

“There should be a ladder somewhere there, but where — that’s the question,” Maginelle said.

Dawa Sherpa climbed with them and also mentioned the deep snow. The going was particularly hard between the “lower” Camp 1 and the standard Camp 1, which is 100m higher and 350m further. That short distance took them three hours to reach. Shoveling their equipment out from beneath a metre and a half of snow was an equally tough task.

Maginelle and Lenaerts’ gear, cached in Camp 1, was found under 1.5m of snow. Photo: Dawa C Sherpa