More Teams Heading to Pakistan — and Manaslu

Although it may be hard to believe in this miserable year, climbing action is picking up in the Himalaya.

While Pakistan’s 8,000’ers will remain untouched this year, a handful of expeditions are making their move on slightly lower but unclimbed peaks. On the impressive Muchu Chhish, the Czechs have managed to reach Camp 2, after negotiating a route through a highly broken glacier and a difficult climb. It included exposed sections and a traverse of a knife-edge ridge, where the team had to carve out a bivouac at around 5,700m, with a “huge, frightening avalanche slope” above their heads.

If all goes well, they will set up C3 on the main ridge. If they make it that far, this will mark the highest point ever reached on the mountain. Below, some footage from their previous exploratory trip in 2019, set to the rebab music of the Pakistani band, Khumariyaan.


Muchu Chhish is also the goal for Spain’s Jordi Tosas and Austria’s Philipp Brugger, who fly to Pakistan tomorrow to attempt the 7,452m peak in alpine style. Brugger, 27, specializes in speed ascents, ski randonnée racing and trail running. He has spent the summer in the Alps, performing speed climbs of Piz Bernina and the Eiger North Face, among others.

Tosas trains at home in the Pyrenees, often solo, and will add broad experience as an international mountain guide, Himalayan climber and high-altitude snowboarder whose descents include Broad Peak, Shishapangma and Cho Oyu. He opened a route on Jannu East, attempted Lhotse South Face, was part of the second ascent of K2’s Magic Line in 2004 and supported Kilian Jornet on his speed ascent of Everest in 2017.

Quite the character, Jordi Tosas often climbs solo and barefoot, hoists a pirate flag at every Base Camp and calls his climbs “punk parties”. Photo: Moonlight


The climbers will acclimatize on a nearby peak, then head to Muchu Chhish in the second half of September. It remains to be seen whether the Czech team will have bagged the first ascent of Muchu Chhish by then or whether it will be still unclimbed.

Meanwhile, although Sergi Mingote of Spain has given up on his hopes of climbing Makalu this year — as part of his no-O2, 14×8,000m project — he is not ready to sit at home. He has raised funds and gathered over 200kg of winter clothes and footwear, which he will distribute among the villagers of Kande, in the Hushe Valley. Then Mingote will team up with his regular partner, Carlos Garranzo, to explore the area and, if conditions are right, attempt an unclimbed peak that they have their eye on.

Sergi Mingote sorts out the supplies that he will soon distribute among villagers. Photo: Sergi Mingote, Catalonia/Pirineus Project


Last but not least, a Bahraini team, supported by Prince Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa and made up of members of his Royal Guard, will fly to Nepal in September to climb Manaslu (after acclimatizing on Lobuche Peak). The team, whose ultimate goal is Everest in spring 2021, has posted images of their gear and oxygen systems, as well as some relief supplies bound to Nepal. Flights to Nepal are not open to foreign tourists, but an exception has been made for the well-connected expedition. It’s probably not a coincidence that a large number of the flights to Nepal proceed through the Middle East and that 40,000 Nepalis work in Bahrain.

By the number of O2 masks, it seems that the Bahraini team to Manaslu will be rather large. Photo: Bahrain Everest