Winter expeditions: Before summit push on K2 – Nepalese give up on Manaslu

K2
The 8,611-meter-high K2 (in 2004)

It smells of further winter summit successes on K2. After ten Nepalese succeeded in the first winter ascent of the second highest mountain on earth on 16 January, at least about a dozen climbers reached Camp 3 at 7,300 meters today. From there, they planned to set off towards the summit on Friday. As before, meteorologists expect little wind for tomorrow.

Among the summit aspirants in Camp 3 are Chilean Juan Pablo Mohr and South Tyrolean Tamara Lunger, who want to ascend without bottled oxygen. Icelander John Snorri Sigurjonsson and the Pakistani father-son duo Muhammad and Sajid Ali Sadpara also want to push towards the summit on Friday – with bottled oxygen.

Pasang Norbu Sherpa
Pasang Norbu Sherpa

The latter is probably also true for Pasang Norbu Sherpa, who set out from base camp only this morning and ascended to Camp 3 in one go. His goal: to reach the summit within 24 hours. “Not a competition, it’s just an attempt,” Chhang Dawa Sherpa, expedition leader of the Nepalese operator Seven Summit Treks, let us know from base camp.  

Txikon and Co. wait for good weather window

Vinayak Jay Malla (l.) and Tenji Sherpa on Manaslu
Vinayak Jay Malla (l.) and Tenji Sherpa on Manaslu

Meanwhile, the two Nepalese Vinayak Jay Malla and Tenji Sherpa have abandoned their winter expedition on the eight-thousander Manaslu in western Nepal. They had actually planned to climb the eighth highest mountain on earth in alpine style. “Motivated, healthy and well on track to summit Manaslu in winter without supplementary oxygen, light and fast, we encountered an impassable crevasse last week,” Vinayak said, explaining the decision to break camp on Manaslu. “We changed the route – with that, the snow conditions and the (weather) forecast ahead, unfortunately our goal to climb alpine style is not possible this season.”

The 32-year-old had caused some speculation last week when he announced that Tenji and he were waiting at base camp for several climbers who had ascended K2 in winter and now wanted to support them.

The other team on Manaslu – around the Italian Simone Moro and the Spaniard Alex Txikon – has secured the alternative route on the right side of the mountain flank up to almost 6,700 meters with fixed ropes and is now waiting for a good weather window for a summit attempt.