Mingma G Makes it! Manaslu True Summit Video

Mingma G is back in Base Camp and has something to say: He and his team have reached the true summit of Manaslu. And he can prove it.

The IFMGA guide posted a 360ยบ summit video of Manaslu on his FaceBook page. It leaves no room for doubt.

One of the climbers, photographer Jackson Groves, flew a drone near the summit and captured remarkable stills and footage that he posted on Instagram here. The bottom photo, in particular, shows the summit ridge of Manaslu as it has never been seen.

Here, the main summit, on the far right, is obvious. A main group of climbers converges on one of the foresummits. Meanwhile, Mingma G and one other climber are pioneering the steep traverse below them, before eventually climbing up to the summit. The detour is necessary to avoid the precarious downclimb and the sharp, unstable arete between the last foresummit and the summit.

Definitely, that’s the TRUE summit

Tobias Pantel of The Himalayan Database and one of the main researchers on 8000ers.com’s Manaslu Summit Area report has shared his (educated) opinion with ExplorersWeb after discussing the images with other experts:

“I think it is definitely the true summit!” he said. “You can clearly see the Himal Chuli range to the south, which is not possible to spot from any of the foresummits, nor even from the final summit ridge because there is a bump in between. On his video, Himal Chuli and Himal Chuli West are in full view.

Moreover, Pantel has noted that the team followed a very smart strategy. They probably followed the fixed ropes to the foresummmit. Then, instead of skirting the top of the knife-edge ridge, the team traversed the west side of the slope until right below the highest point, then climbed up.

This required a final climb up very steep terrain, but it avoided the huge, dangerous cornices of the summit ridge. In autumn, in particular, the ridge is overloaded with snow.

Now, how about the others?

The video shows the sharp downhill in front of him and the snow bumps behind, where he notes that the “summit point” was located in previous years. We can see some of his team heading up a steep snow slope, attached to just one blue rope. There is no trace of the white ropes and prayer flags visible in the other summit pictures shared during the last three days.

“This should be the first-ever summit of Manaslu in autumn,” Mingma said, indirectly confirming that they had reached further than previous teams, including the initial rope fixers. Imagine Nepal reached the summit at 9:38 am yesterday.

The question now is whether those teams who topped out later in the day or who headed up from Camp 4 today followed Mingma G’s lead or stopped at a foresummit.

As for Mingma himself, he is crystal clear about the way to go: “I hope there will be no more foresummit[s] in future. Top is always Top, no more ups, everything below you,” he said.

Weather and snow conditions yesterday were very good, so Imagine Nepal team’s footprints remained as a clear sign that someone went further than the end of the fixed ropes. The trail is broken, and the final point should now be clear to everyone else on the mountain.

Moreover, according to Tobias Pantel, sources from the mountain say that Mingma G’s crew fixed ropes to the main summit. “So, we’re waiting for more teams to follow in the next few days,” Patel said. “From the info I have gathered, it’s not so easy to get to the main summit, but maybe for smaller teams, it should be fine.”

No more excuses

Mingma G was the only team leader currently on Manaslu who openly shared his intention to reach the true summit. For this, he surrounded himself with a highly skilled Sherpa team. Many were international IFMGA guides and members of Nepal’s National Mountain Guide Association. As for the team’s clients, a previous report noted that some of them might have gone without supplementary O2. Confirmation will emerge later, as everyone will surely share pictures and impressions about the summit experience.

Imagine Nepal’s Sherpa team at Manaslu BC. Photo: Mingma G

 

For now, they have shown everyone how to climb Manaslu fairly. They put their clients on the summit as promised and open the trail for everyone else. No more excuses.

All the previous summit pictures shared on social media, as far as we know, were not from the main summit, but from just below one of the foresummits, identified as C2 in the 8000ers.com report:

“The final summit ridge extends beyond to the SE for some 20m further, although it is hardly visible from where the climbers stand (at the prayer flags point).”

File image of Manaslu’s summit area. This season, all climbers stood before C2 except for Mingma G’s team, which traversed the mountain to the main summit (4). Photo: Guy Cotter from Eberhard Jurgalski’s Manaslu Summit Area report