Manaslu: One Mountain, Two Realities

Depending on who you ask, the conditions on Manaslu are risky and will continue so for days, or conditions are great. The assessments seem to belong to two different mountains or opposing realities.

The deaths of Arup Rai and Hilaree Nelson have reminded everyone that safety in the mountains cannot be guaranteed, no matter how skilled the climbers, or how many ropes, oxygen, and support they have.

The veteran outfitters, mainly international companies, have called off their expeditions. As of this posting, none of the local outfitters have. On the contrary, most are heading for the summit. Some have already reached it. At least eight clients and a similar number of Sherpas summited today, in 60kph winds.

A sherpa climber in blue dawn suit holds the national flag.

File image of Anup Rai. Photo: Abiral Rai

International outfitters leaving

Gale-force winds hit Manaslu’s upper slopes today, destroying several tents in Camp 4. Avalanches continue to fall. One of them flattened tents in Camp 2, although no injuries have been reported. The wind and fresh snow will create slabs on some of the same slopes that slid before. These slabs can break away at any moment, especially under the weight of so many climbers.

Above, a video of Monday’s avalanche, shot by Anshul Bansal of India from Camp 3. Bansal tried to reach the summit on the following day but the disabled climber tore a muscle in the debris.


“It’s plain dangerous,” Lukas Furtenbach told ExplorersWeb. “High winds will continue blowing hard until Friday, and then there’ll be heavy snowfall again.”

His team returned to Base Camp yesterday after helping the injured climbers in Monday’s avalanche. They are now packing and going home. Guide Dave Watson noted that all the injured climbers were Nepalis working on the mountain (check their names on Mt Everest Today). He mentioned that some of their injuries included a broken pelvis, femur, and back. He shared this video:

US’ Alpine Ascents International, one of the oldest companies operating in the Himalaya, has likewise aborted. They were associated with Shangri-La Treks, of which Jim Morrison and the late Hilaree Nelson were clients.

“I am not comfortable with any of our crew and team members climbing from Camp 3 to Camp 4 at this time, and so have made the tough decision to stop our summit bid,” guide Ben Jones of AAI said.

climbers sit on the ground around a chorten, juniper burning and drinks ready to be offered in a puja, on a rainy morning.

Jim Morrison and Hilaree Nelson some days ago during the puja ceremony in Base Camp. Photo: Alpine Ascents International


Madison Mountaineering has also retrieved its gear from the higher camps and ended its expedition. Partly, this was because of the avalanche risk but also, as guide Terray Sylvester wrote, “For our climbers, after Monday’s very sad events, the stoke was simply no longer there.”

The team from Climbing The Seven Summits was in Base Camp when the avalanche occurred. They have not yet shared their plans.

Independent climbers consider their next move

“It’s really windy up there,” Warner Rojas said from Base Camp. “Most teams are retreating to Base Camp since conditions are not looking good for several days.” Rojas will wait for some friends to return from higher camps to discuss options with them.

Akos Gyorrfy is currently in Camp 3. The Hungarian hopes to ski down Manaslu. Another skier, Gonzalo Fernandez of Andorra, had to turn around at 7,250m and returned to BC with frostbite.

8K Expeditions shared this video, shot today in a higher camp:

Several climbers attempting the summit recently have retreated from Camp 4 due to wind and objective risks. Among them, Sirbaz Khan and Sohail Sakhi of Pakistan. They will continue to wait in Base Camp for better conditions.

Rojas reports that several avalanches have come down in the last few hours.

Although not widely publicized, rescues have taken place nearly every day. Rojas said that Argentinean climber Nicolas Stelve, who was suffering from snowblindness, was airlifted out today.

Some summited in today’s gale

Posts from local outfitters are positive. Virtually all of them are either on a summit push or preparing for it.

14 Peaks Expedition had two clients and two Sherpas on the summit today. Their sister company, Seven Summit Treks, has at least one other team that left Base Camp today. Russia’s Seven Summit Club group made for C1 yesterday.

Imagine Nepal and 8K each had three clients and three Sherpas on the summit today. Mingma G has confirmed that the summiters are safely down, some in Base Camp, others in Camp 3.

climbers pose in like in front of a chorten, in mountaineering clothes and high altitude boots.

Pioneer Adventure team about to leave Manaslu BC today. Photo: Pioneer Adventure/Instagram


The Pioneer Adventure team set off from Base Camp earlier today, led by Mingma Dorchi Sherpa. “The weather is favorable and our team is excited, prepared, and ready,” Pioneer reported.

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.