Manaslu expedition: When the prince from Bahrain knocks in Nepal

The 8163-meter-high Manaslu in Nepal

All mountaineers are the equal, but some mountaineers are more equal than others – one could say freely after George Orwell’s novel “Animal Farm”. Actually, the Nepalese government had declared that, due to the recent sharp increase in corona infections, only Nepalese returnees, diplomats and employees of UN aid organizations would be allowed to fly to the country from 1 September . There was no mention of foreign tourists – and these usually include mountaineers. This fall’s climbing in the Himalayas seemed to be over before it began.

However, this week  a government spokesperson in Kathmandu suddenly declared that an 18-member expedition from Bahrain had received a permit for the eight-thousander Manaslu and – for the purpose of acclimatization – for the six-thousander Lobuche East near Mount Everest. The team of the Royal Guard of Bahrain will arrive in Kathmandu in mid-September on a charter flight, enter a one-week quarantine and then head for the mountains, it said.

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The (almost) forgotten Chamlang expedition

The routes of Halecek/Hak (read) and Eberle/Köhler (green) on Chamlang

Marek Holecek and Zdenek Hak are a strong climbing team. After the two Czechs had already received the Piolet d’Or in 2018 for their new route through the Southwest Face of the eight-thousander Gasherbrum I in Pakistan, they will again be awarded the “Oscar of climbers” on 19 September at the mountain festival in Ladek-Zdroj in Poland: for their new route via the Northwest Face of the 7,321-meter-high Chamlang in Nepal, which they climbed in Alpine style in spring 2019. Afterwards Marek and Zdenek traversed the summit and descended via the route of the Japanese first ascenders. A Piolet-d’Or-worthy performance, without question.

But Holecek’s statement on his sponsor’s website that it was “the first ascent of the 2,000 m high grueling Northwest Face climbing Alpine style” is only correct if “complete” is added before the word “ascent”. Because already 30 years ago two German mountaineers climbed the Northwest Face – at least up to 6,600 meters, in order to ascend from there via the West Face to the summit. They were also climbing in Alpine style.

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