The good news first: all climbers on the eight-thousander Manaslu in western Nepal have returned safely to base camp from their summit attempt. The not-so-good news: the hard work done by Alex Txikon’s team over the past few days was in the end in vain. According to Txikon, the end of the line was at above 7,000 meters on Sunday, the originally planned summit day. “The wind made us turn around,” the 39-year-old Spaniard let it be known yesterday after returning to base camp.
The climbers had fought their way up through partly waist-deep snow. “We made a huge effort but it was rewarding,” Alex added today. “We have suffered cold, hunger and fear. Now, from base camp, is the time when we are truly aware of what we have done. We only missed one day, now we look forward to good chances! Go, go, goooo!”
This week, however, more snowfall is expected on the eighth-highest mountain on Earth. In a new summit attempt, the climbers would probably have to fight their way through deep snow again, avalanche danger included.
Moro wanted to get crampons for Alvarez
Simone Moro had already returned to base camp earlier. The 53-year-old had left later than the others for the summit attempt. On Friday, Simone had joined the team at an altitude of about 6,500 meters. At that point, Spaniard Inaki Alvarez had lost a crampon. Moro agreed to descend to base camp to get new crampons for Alvarez. Once at 4,850 meters, however, the Italian was told by phone by Austrian weather expert Charly Gabl that the weather was deteriorating. Therefore, Simone said, he stayed at base camp and informed the others that it would be better if they also descended.
Moro, who has already had to abandon Manaslu winter expeditions twice in recent years because of excessive snow, seems a bit more reserved than Txikon: “We have to wait for the next few days and see how much snow will come down before we can make our plans.”
Update 17 February: According to Alex Txikon’s GPS tracker, he ascended again today to Camp 1 at around 5,700 meters.