Climbing Mount Manaslu is an underestimated danger in Nepal

An ascent of Mount Manaslu in October 2021.

Tragedy on skis

Mountaineer Hilaree Nelson was found dead on the south face of Mount Manaslu, Nepal, on Wednesday, September 28, two days after she went missing. According to her companion Jim Morrison, the American caused a small avalanche during her ski descent from the summit, located at 8,163 meters, before being carried over 1,500 meters. A week earlier, the skier, the first woman to reach the summit of Everest in 24 hours in 2012, posted a message on her Instagram account explaining that she had given up on the last camp due to rain and humidity. On the day of his disappearance, an avalanche at a camp 6,800 meters above sea level killed a mountaineer and injured a dozen people, the Nepalese tourism ministry said. On October 2, another avalanche killed a climber and caused extensive property damage.

Also read: The disappearance of American mountain legend Hilaree Nelson

Crowd on the slopes

With more than 400 climbing permits issued against 171 last year, the eighth highest mountain in the world is breaking visitor records. Many mountaineers denounce a company that attracts novices, lured by the promise of an 8000 meters presented as a health walk and achieved with a battalion of Sherpas, an overuse of oxygen and helicopters. A heresy for purists, but above all a danger on these slopes between the most avalanche-prone slopes of the Himalayas. “Selling Manaslu so easily is a lie that threatens to turn into an even greater drama. Imagine a serac trap with 50 people clinging behind it,” fulminates Eric Bonnem, founder of the Secret Place agency, which offers expeditions in the Himalayas. Nepal has no quota. This fall, the Manaslu raised 368,000 euros from the government.

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Change of crown

After years of controversy, the real Manaslu summit will be validated in September 2021 thanks to drone footage filmed by Australian blogger Jackson Groves. We see a group of flags where the fixed ropes stop, while Mingma G. Sherpa, a Nepalese mountaineer, deviates via another slope to go 30 meters higher on the real summit. In 2019, two studies already showed, with supporting photos, that the climbs stopped before the main summit. ” You could see that the summit was at the end of an unstable ridge, impossible to reach by commercial expeditions. remark mountaineer journalist Thomas Vennin. As of this fall, the authoritative Himalaya database grants ascent only to those who reach the true peak. This partly explains the enormous growth in the number of candidates who want to reach the top.

Japanese at the top

In the Himalayan chain, every country has its privileged peak. While the French attempted to climb Annapurna, the English climb Everest, the Italians climb K2, the Japanese attacked Manaslu in the 1950s. After several expeditions, they reached the summit (the true one) in 1956. On May 4, 1974, a Japanese expedition of thirteen female mountaineers led by General Kyoko Sato succeeded in the first female ascent of an 8,000 m. . His body is never found. in September 2012, deadliest avalanche in Manaslu history destroys base camp of a group of western mountaineers, killing 11 people, including five French. A dreaded scenario this year due to heavy snowfall and crowds at the start.