Summit attempt on Manaslu in progress

Manaslu (l.) and Pinnacle East (in spring 2007)

Conditions on Manaslu are not ideal, but when are they ever in winter? In the past few days it has been snowing on the eighth highest mountain on earth. And so the two Spaniards Alex Txikon and Inaki Alvarez, the Italian Simone Moro and four Sherpas, who support the Europeans, have to work their way up through partly deep fresh snow.

Staggered, the climbers had set out for their summit attempt – Simone today as the last. He spends Friday night in Camp 1 at about 5,800 meters. The others pitched their tents at an altitude of about 6,100 meters. Actually, they had planned their Camp 2 further up, but the deep snow slowed them down. On Saturday, Moro wants to join them. The team is aiming for Sunday as the summit day – if the weather permits. After a relatively windless Saturday, meteorologists expect winds to pick up again on Sunday.

Ascent via alternative route

Simone Moro on Manaslu
Simone Moro on Manaslu

At first, a very deep and wide crevasse, which stretches almost the entire flank of the mountain, had stopped the ascent via the normal route. Txikon and Co. then found an alternative route on the right side of the flank and secured it with fixed ropes up to 6,700 meters.

Before their expedition, Moro and Txikon had announced that they not only wanted to scale the 8,163-meter-high Manaslu without bottled oxygen, but also, if possible, the nearby 7,992-meter-high Pinnacle East. However, there had been no talk of this since their arrival at base camp. The two Nepalese Tenji Sherpa and Vinayak Jay Malla, who wanted to climb Manaslu in alpine style, had abandoned their winter expedition a week ago.

Update 12 February: Alex Txikon and Co. worked their way up to an altitude of 6,500 meters through partly waist-deep snow. Simone Moro descended to base camp to fetch new crampons for Inaki Alvarez after the Spaniard lost one. Moro plans to rejoin the others on Saturday.