Why are Those Who Reached The True Summit of Manaslu Not Admitting It?

8000ers Manaslu
Asma Al Thani and Nirmal Purja surrounded by two Elite Exped Sherpa climbers on what may or may not be the summit of Manaslu. Photo: Asma Al Thani/Instagram

“Only Nims Dai’s (Elite Exped) team wanted to go there,” Mingma G said during yesterday’s interview with ExplorersWeb. “Some of his team members didn’t have enough rest after the acclimatization but they joined us on September 27 on the summit push.”

This statement was surprising, to say the least. At the moment of writing, neither Nirmal Purja nor any of his team members has said a word about it. Most of Elite Exped members used shared summit pictures, with no identifying references. Some mentioned that they had used no supplementary O2, but no one has uttered a peep about reaching the actual summit.

With the sharp end of the Manaslu summit debate focused on those climbers holding records — including Purja himself and Mingma David Sherpa — it would seem that reaching the highest point would be worth mentioning, celebrating, and (why not?) boasting about.

ExplorersWeb asked Mingma G for more information about how far the Elite Exped team reached, considering that Jackson Groves admitted that he never went further than the foresummit.

Names of other summiters

“Nims [Nirmal Purja], Mingma Tenzi, Mingma David, Asma Althani [a client from Qatar], Pemba from Phortse, and one more Sherpa from Nims’ team went on to the main [true] summit,” Mingma G told us. “Jackson Groves didn’t go.”

Interestingly, Mingma G says that Gelje Sherpa had the chance to go with them but declined. Gelje is trying to overtake Mingma David Sherpa to become the youngest 14×8,000m summiter.

“As we were on our way up toward the summit ridge, I met Gelje and Adrianna Brownlee returning from the summit,” Mingma G stated. “I told Gelje to go back with us but he didn’t believe we would get to the true summit. He can easily return to Manaslu next year, though,” Mingma added.

Manaslu’s summit ridge. Drone pilot Jackson Groves is one of those at the foresummit. Photo: Jackson Groves

Mingma G also pointed out that Purja’s business partner at Elite Exped, Mingma “David” Sherpa, had posted a summit image at Manaslu’s highest point, below.

Mingma “David” Gyabu Sherpa’s summit picture, top, and his Instagram photo today showing the traverse back from the true summit, bottom.

On Instagram, Mingma “David” Gyabu Sherpa wrote that he and his Russian client reached “the summit” without supplementary O2. There is no summit pic on the client’s black-and-white photos, but Mingma David posted a photo today that showed his traverse back from summit to foresummit.

Mingma Tenzi has published summit pictures of Dhaulagiri, but virtually nothing from Manaslu. Gelje Sherpa is currently on Kangchenjunga. Asma Al Thani posted two summit pictures, but their location is unclear.

Nirmal Purja has said nothing about Manaslu’s true summit and claims his previous ascents are a valid part of his 14×8,000m speed record.

ExplorersWeb has asked Al Thani, Mingma David Sherpa, and Nirmal Purja through their social media for confirmation about summits. Other Manaslu climbers questioned were unaware/could not confirm/preferred not to be quoted.

The last part of the climb

Mingma G explained that they fixed a single rope on the final section. It involved a 10m rappel, a traverse, and then a final snow climb to the highest point. Clients had to do that last bit to the summit one by one since the freshly-placed snow anchors were delicate.

At a later summit push on October 1, Lukas Furtenbach’s guide Rupert Hauer climbed some metres beyond the end of the ropes and mistakenly thought he had reached the highest point. He learned of his error back in BC. Hauer also reported that it had snowed the day after Mingma G’s summit, and the fresh snow had completely covered both the tracks and the fixed ropes.

Jackson Groves’ summit memories

On the September 27 summit day, Camp 4, the Elite Exped team split into two groups at Camp 4. One group would use O2, the other would not. Jackson Groves reports about that day on his website, Journeyera.com. Groves and his girlfriend Pema Chinyam used oxygen, but they didn’t join the fastest group.

“Unfortunately, part of our job was to document those who weren’t on oxygen,” he wrote. “This means we were at a dramatically slower pace than felt possible for us while we were breathing freely from our tanks, as our compatriots suffered heavily. We ended up being the last group to summit that day.”

Both: Jackson Groves near the end of the ropes on Manaslu. Photos: Jackson Groves

While on the summit ridge, waiting for the no-O2 climbers, that Groves managed to fly his drone and took those images of Manaslu’s summit. About the debate that his footage caused, Groves wrote: “It was just a great drone flight and journey to the summit, whether it is true or false, higher or lower. It felt pretty damn high to me.”

Eventually, the team reunited and headed up the ridge to the end of the ropes.

“We weren’t permitted by our team to head down the new line to the ‘true’ summit but many of our team did,” Groves noted. “We enjoyed the views at the regular summit.”

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About the Author

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides

Senior journalist, published author and communication consultant. Specialized on high-altitude mountaineering, with an interest for everything around the mountains: from economics to geopolitics. After five years exploring distant professional ranges, I returned to ExWeb BC in 2018. Feeling right at home since then!

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Uphill
Uphill
1 month ago

Good gravy! The exposure on that traverse makes my palms sweat from a half-planet away, and I doubt very much that fixed ropes would make me feel much better. I am of the belief that the only summit is the highest point on a mountain. If a climber can’t attain that point, or if the point is physically unattainable by any climber, then the mountain isn’t climbed. I have come within about 15 vertical meters of a summit before being turned away, and it didn’t go in my list of successful climbs. With that said, I can’t blame the average… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Uphill
Jerry Kobalenko
Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Uphill

As we pointed out in a previous story, that traverse, while hairy, is not as quite bad as it looks. The horizon line in the photo is tilted, making the angle look steeper than it is. That’s an old photographer’s trick to make a slope look more impressive from the side, but it also happens a lot accidentally. The traverse seems to be around 55˚ — certainly less than 60˚.

+1
Uphill
Uphill
1 month ago

You’re right, I didn’t notice the horizon line.

Still quite the tour on a snow slope with that much air underneath, but I guess that’s what it takes to stand at 8,000 meters.

0
Belijo
Belijo
1 month ago
Reply to  Uphill

yes, compare with rock climbing: If the last meter is only 1 single difficult climb motion than the other meters before, you are not able to reach the summit and it is no summit. Why should we changing the roles in snow terrain or high altitude??!

+1
Ben
Ben
1 month ago

You guys are hilarious. Nirmal Purja gets absolutely blasted for boasting about his accomplishments and then criticised again, this time for NOT boasting..

+6
Apy
Apy
1 month ago
Reply to  Ben

😁😂🤣😃😄😆

+1
damiengildea
Editor
1 month ago
Reply to  Ben

It’s not that Nims suddenly got humble and stopped ‘boasting’.

If he publicises that he went to the true summit this time:
a) it invalidates his clients’ summit claims from the lower foresummit, and
b) it invalidates his prevoius claim to have summited Manaslu in his 14x8Kx6 months project

It’s a business decision.

+14
don't be evil
don't be evil
1 month ago
Reply to  damiengildea

Even if you discount his previous summit he still beats the old record by a huge margin. Also, if you recall correctly he hid not publicize his no O2 K2 summit immediately. Maybe he did not want to steal the limelight from his team. Maybe he wanted Mingma G to hog the limelight this time too.

0
Updates
Updates
1 month ago
Reply to  don't be evil

really can’t compare: “he still beats the old record by huge margin” as many short-cuts, many helicopter rides even his companies high profile media about stopping global warming, taking care of the planet, highly contradicts the method used for SPEED between all these mountains, which cost lots of fuel costs, and did lots of pollution, yes, it gave some companies more transportation costs even the speed in Pakistan, getting all those vehicles to get to the areas of Nanga Parbat, K2, Broad Peak, when all the other climbers in those areas were on foot However, will give the credit, that… Read more »

Apy
Apy
1 month ago

Angela, Mingma David’s Russian client Alexei Korolev has posted his summit pictures on his personal IG account
https://www.instagram.com/p/CUaLBZ7MHK2/?utm_medium=copy_link

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damiengildea
Editor
1 month ago

Nims going to the summit when his clients did not makes his clients look bad, invalidating their ‘summit’ claim. After all, if it doesn’t matter, why did he bother?

It also highlights that he did not go to the summit on his 14x8kx6months project before.

This is a business decision.

+5
Last edited 1 month ago by damiengildea
Citrus56
Citrus56
1 month ago

I dont think Nims cares what ExWeb is saying , he has got his own agenda and he has proven his credibility

+4
Benny Smith
Benny Smith
1 month ago
Reply to  Citrus56

I guess all high altitude climbers do care, what ExWeb says, as it is a credible unbiased media platform. But as Damien pointed out, it was a business decision. It would be rather strange if Nims suddenly went from Instagram SAS Jack-of-all-trades to humble quiet mountaineer. Just read his “book”. It’s even more egocentric than a Reinhold Messner book.

+3
Jack
Jack
1 month ago
Reply to  Benny Smith

ROFL. ExWeb to call it credible and unbiased media platform is such a shame. This crap blog is nothing except copying and pasting from social media platform. And it seems it is totally western biased. I still remember someone wrote Karen to it’s staffs a few months back.

+4
Max Madera
Max Madera
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack

Gathering relevant information about expeditions (trying to separate the chaff from the wheat along the way) that is dispersed among the hundreds of social media pages sometimes written in different languages, is all but useless for the community, but you are so biased that is even hard to consider your opinion honest, since the very same article that you are commenting is based on an INTERVIEW, and there are quite a few like that.

+5
Citrus56
Citrus56
1 month ago
Reply to  Benny Smith

Do they? Should they care?
if he said in has post “no cheating” I take it

+1
Mikel Echeverria
1 month ago

In 2019 the discussion about true summit was present. In the comments in 2019 about Nims and Manaslu, it said that Nims was seen traversing to the true summit. Whether it is true or not I do not know, but I am100% sure that I read that Nims was seen traversing to the true summit.

+1
damiengildea
Editor
1 month ago

Nims did not go to the true summit in 2019 and admitted he did not. He even knew about the issue before he went in 2019, and still did not go to the summit, stopping short.

+2
S S
S S
1 month ago

Maybe the true blue mountaineers don’t care about what’s said about their feats given how some of these ExWeb people have reduced it to a petty competitive sport. Angela’s reporting is particularly repulsive to read and I say this across all articles she has written recently. Reminds me of the Daily Mail.

+1
Benny Smith
Benny Smith
1 month ago
Reply to  S S

Maybe watch a Jerzy Kukuczka interview from the 80s or Messner, Kammerlander, Loretan. It always had been competitive. Media exposure had just been increased by Instagram etc. And I can’t remember Angela condemning certain climbers. She just asked the right questions. Especially in the interviews of ExWeb each and every climber has the fair chance to share their story on a controversial climb or disaster.

+3
MuddyBoots
MuddyBoots
1 month ago
Reply to  S S

It’s hard to keep a straight face when you assert that “true blue mountaineers don’t about what’s said about their feats” when they are constantly on instagram and other social media boasting about their “successes”.

+4
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