A Tsunami of Manaslu Summiters

For the third day in a row, lines of climbers are marching slowly toward the summit of Manaslu in nearly perfect conditions. All those ready to push for the summit are on their way. The rest of those in Base Camp do their rotations to Camps 2 and 3 and keep their fingers crossed that the good weather will linger another couple of days.

There are no official figures yet, but surely over a hundred have summited in the 72 hours.

More climbers are expected to fly to Manaslu Base Camp from other mountains soon to launch direct summit pushes.

Most of those planning no-O2 climbs need further acclimatization and can’t take advantage of these windless, bluebird days and excellent snow conditions. But a small number of no-O2 summits have occurred. Viridiana Alvarez of Mexico reportedly went without supplemental oxygen, although she did use O2 on her previous peaks.

For those into regional records, Alvarez is the first woman in the Americas to complete the quest. Sirbaz Khan of Pakistan, Andrey Kazakov of Russia, and Victor Rimac of Peru also summited without bottled oxygen.

The clibmer poses with an ice-axe and a rope (she wouldn't need any of them on the Manaslu climb).

File image of Viridiana Alvarez, near Manaslu Base Camp. Photo: Instagram


Easiest than ever

“In good conditions like these, Manaslu is easier than other 8,000’ers,” Naila Kiani told ExplorersWeb right after returning to Base Camp from the top. She was dealing with some health issues on her summit push and admitted that if the mountain had been steeper, she would have likely turned around.

The video below shows Kiani’s supporting sherpa, Dawa Jangbu, on the final slopes between Camp 4 and the summit ridge. No ropes can be seen. “The ropes stopped at Camp 4 and appeared again at the final summit ridge,” Kiani said.


“The only section I found challenging was the climb from Camp 3 to Camp 4,” she added. “It was longer and steeper than the other camp-to-camp climbs, and I got caught in a jam of climbers, something that had not happened to me before. I guess I chose the wrong departure time and got trapped in rush hour.”

Kiani said that the most technical section was an overhanging serac right before Camp 2. “Several people got stuck here, and it took ages to climb this wall,” she said. See the video below.


Visa issues for SAARC climbers

The three Pakistani climbers who summited Manaslu yesterday received bad news back in Base Camp concerning their upcoming plans for Tibet. For bureaucratic reasons, they couldn’t get a visa: All nationals from SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries need to apply from their homeland rather than at the Tibetan border.

“We are now trying to get an exemption through the Pakistani embassy. Otherwise, we would have no other choice than flying back to Islamabad, get the visa, and return,” Kiani said.

Kiani wants to summit Cho Oyu and Shishapagma this season. These would be her 10th and 11th 8,000’ers. Shirbaz Khan and Shehroze Kashif’s motivations are even higher: With the two Tibetan peaks, they would both become Pakistan’s first 14×8,000m summiters. Kashif also wants to become, at age 21, the youngest ever to complete the list.

Khan would also have a good chance to complete all 14 without oxygen in the near future. He has already summited nine of his current 12 peaks without supplemental gas.

Other 8,000’ers this season

Nepal’s Department of Tourism has listed four teams with permits for Dhaulagiri, a typical choice after Manaslu for those who want to remain in Nepal. There is also one four-member team for Makalu. The small size of the team makes it unclear whether theirs is a commercial or private group.

A sherpa climber fixes ropes below Camp 2 on Dhaulagiri. Photo: 8K Expeditions


On Dhaulagiri, 8K is fixing the ropes and they should reach Camp 3 by tomorrow. The rope fixers report challenging conditions because of a high number of open crevasses en route. One team is already waiting at the foot of the mountain, and others should join them later this fall.

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.