Japanese climber abandons Manaslu expedition

Manaslu (l.)

For me, it was one of the first mysteries of this spring climbing season in Nepal. Who is the lone climber who has appeared for weeks as the only summit aspirant for Manaslu on the permit lists of the Ministry of Tourism in Kathmandu? The mystery has been solved. At least as far as the identity of the climber is concerned. He is the Japanese Toshihiro Yokoi. In the high-altitude mountaineering scene, he is still a blank sheet. At least there is no entry about him in the mountaineering chronicle Himalayan Database.

Yokoi set out in mid-March with a small team from the Nepalese expedition operator Asian Hiking Team to climb the 8,163-meter-high Manaslu in western Nepal. According to information from the operator, the Japanese wanted to use bottled oxygen to climb the eighth-highest mountain on earth and then – also this spring – climb Mount Everest and Lhotse.

No time for a second attempt

Toshihiro Yokoi (3rd from left) with Asian Hiking Team staff
Toshihiro Yokoi (3rd from left) with Asian Hiking Team staff

Toshihiro, accompanied by two Nepalese guides, had reached Camp 2 on Manaslu at about 6,300 meters, but had turned back there because of bad weather, Asian Hiking Team informed me: “He did not have enough time to wait for good weather.”

Yokoi had already left Manaslu and was expected back in Kathmandu soon to continue his journey directly, the operator told me adding that Toshihiro is still determined to climb Everest and Lhotse.

At the highest and fourth highest mountain of the earth the Japanese will not find it so lonely as on Manaslu. The Ministry of Tourism has so far issued about 300 permits for foreign climbers who want to scale Everest, and more than 50 for Lhotse. 

Meanwhile, the first summit attempt is underway on the 8,091-meter-high Annapurna I. If everything goes according to plan, the first climbers are expected to reach the highest point tomorrow, Thursday.