Himalaya Fall 2012 Update: News From Manaslu

800px Manaslu (1)

Conditions can change very rapidly in the Himalaya and that seems to be happening right now on Manaslu, one of the more popular climbing peaks this fall. Yesterday I posted about the Moguls to Manaslu team, which is attempting to become the first to climb the 8156 meter (26,759 ft) mountain and make a ski descent without the use of supplemental oxygen. When we checked in with the boys yesterday they were planning on staying hunkered down in Camp 3 before making their first summit bid, but today we learned that they have returned to Base Camp instead.

According to the team’s latest update, the storm that was predicted to drop 10cm (4 inches) of snow on Manaslu has now grown in size and intensity. Weather forecasts say that it’ll bring closer to 30cm (12 inches) of powder, and last three days instead. While all of fresh snow will prove useful when it comes time to ski down the mountain, the thought of spending three days in C3 was a bit much. So, Glan Plake, Greg Costa and Rémy Lécluse will now sit in BC, wait out the storm, and assess the situation afterwards. Considering the chances of an avalanche will be higher after the snow stops, it could now be into next week before they are able to make a true bid for their summit and ski descent.

Meanwhile, IMG is reporting that their team “tagged” C2 yesterday as part of their latest acclimatization  rotation. That means they climbed up to that point on the mountain then descend back to BC as well. They’re keeping an eye on the weather too and are expecting to be grounded to Base Camp over the next few days.

Finally, the Mountain Professionals squad arrived in BC two days ago and had their Puja ceremony today. As I’ve mentioned before, the all-important Puja is performed to ask for safe passage into the mountains and by tradition no one begins their climb without first going through the Puja, which is performed by one of the local Buddhist monks. With the ceremony out of the way, the team is now free to climb to the higher camps, although it is likely that they’ll now wait out the storm too.

Kraig Becker