Avalanche hits Manaslu base camp, Bargiel abandons Everest summit attempt

Manaslu, the eighth highest mountain in the world

For the second time in a week, a large avalanche went down on the eight-thousander Manaslu in western Nepal. It hit the base camp today at around 4,800 meters. The videos circulating on social media (see below) , show a huge cloud of snow sweeping over parts of the camp. More than 30 tents of six teams were destroyed, writes Tashi Lakpa Sherpa of the largest Nepalese operator Seven Summit Treks on Instagram. His team was well, he said. Other operators, such as Imagine Nepal, also rushed to assure that neither clients nor staff had been injured.

Seven Summit Treks also reported on two avalanches that had hit higher camps. According to information that reached me from the base camp, at least one Sherpa was killed. At least half a meter of fresh snow fell on the mountain overnight, it was said. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that no more bad news will reach us!

Some broke off their expeditions, others stayed on


Last Monday, an avalanche below Camp 4 at around 7,400 meters had killed Nepalese mountain guide Anup Rai and injured around a dozen other Nepalese, several of them seriously. On the same day, American ski mountaineer Hilaree Nelson had triggered a small avalanche while attempting a ski descent from the summit and had fallen to her death.

Some operators had ended their expeditions in recent days because of the unsafe conditions on the mountain, while others had stayed on. The Nepalese Ministry of Tourism had issued 404 Manaslu permits to foreign climbers for this fall. At times, about 1000 people had stayed at the base camp.

Strong winds, poor visibility on Mount Everest

Meanwhile, only one expedition team is attempting Mount Everest – that of Polish ski mountaineer Andrzej Bargiel, who wants to climb the highest mountain on earth without bottled oxygen and then ski down to base camp. The 34-year-old and his companion Janusz Golab abandoned their summit attempt and returned to base camp. “We spent three nights in Camp 2 waiting for the weather to improve. Unfortunately, strong wind and clouds cover didn’t let us go for another attempt,” Andrzej lets us know via social media. “We will decide what to do next soon.”

At the South Col at just below 8,000 meters, Bargiel and Golab had been greeted by such violent gusts of wind that they had not even been able to pitch their tent and had therefore descended back to Camp 2.

Update 4 October: Andrzej Bargiel yesterday canceled his Everest expedition. The 34-year-old Pole referred to the bad weather forecasts for the next days and weeks: “Heavy snowfall and strong wind, will make it impossible to reach our goal. Due to the high risk and the tough, unpredictable conditions in the Himalayas this year, I felt that this was the only right decision.” 

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