Manaslu Update: Crevasse Thwarts Alpine Style Bid; More on Purja

This has been an extraordinarily dry winter throughout the Greater Ranges, which is mainly good news for climbers. Mingma G recently mentioned how stable K2’s Great Serac was during their climb to the summit. Likewise, Nepal’s Manaslu is not as overloaded in 2021 as it was when Simone Moro attempted it twice previously.

Both times, the huge risk of avalanches forced the Italian back well short of its upper slopes. But the downside to thin snow cover is that many of the larger crevasses are wide open, including the one that the climbers have to cross between Camp 1 and Camp 2.

Nepalis Tenji Sherpa and Vinajak Jay Malla ran into this impregnable barrier today and found no good way around it, Fernando Perez reported. The three aluminum ladders that Alex Txikon and Cheppal Sherpa brought to Camp 1 several days ago could not quite span the gap. Back at Camp 1 for the night, the Nepali pair asked the climbers in Base Camp to carry up at least one more ladder, similar to the ones used in Everest’s Khumbu Icefall.

Cheppal Sherpa, rights, breaks trail ahead of Alex Txikon and IƱaki Alvarez earlier today. Photo: Phelipe Eizaguirre

 

This means at least one day’s delay for both expeditions. And no matter how you define alpine style, it also spells the end of Malla and Sherpa’s quest to climb Manaslu in winter in that pure manner. The Nepalis have no choice but to use those ladders to reach Camp 2.

Meanwhile, Purja…

If Nirmal Purja and his Sherpa team decide to launch a quick summit push on Manaslu, to capitalize on their acclimatization from K2 and bag their second winter 8,000m peak in less than 20 days, as journalist Fernando Perez has suggested, it will be another impressive achievement. No one since Jerzy Kukuczka in 1985 has summited two winter 8,000’ers in the same season.

According to Perez, Alex Txikon first heard the news during a satphone call with Kathmandu. The team, whose members are not yet confirmed, would fly all the way from Kathmandu to Base Camp.

Perhaps coincidentally, Manaslu aroused controversy when Purja summited it in 2019, since everyone on that push stopped at a foresummit some 20m (and a difficult arete) short of the highest point.