Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Himalaya Fall 2017: Manaslu in Alpine Style and Without Sherpa Support, Summit Bids on Dhaulagiri?

We have more news from the Himalaya today as the fall climbing season continues to unfold. More teams are arriving in the mountains and it appears that the weather is finally starting to stabilize, allowing teams to begin their acclimatization rotations more fully. For the most part, it looks like a fairly typical year so far, with the exception of Makalu being very crowded and Cho Oyu being shut down due to the Chinese closing the border into Tibet. Still, there is a long way to go until the teams launch their summit bids, and as usual I'm sure there will be plenty of surprises.

Take for example this story from The Himalayan Times. It indicates that two large teams have traveled to Manaslu where they will both attempt to summit the mountain in alpine style and without the assistance of high altitude workers. The group, which is being supported by Makalu Extreme Treks & Expedition, consists of at least 27 climbers who claim they are making the attempt to promote true alpinism in the Himalaya. All of the mountaineers are men, with the bulk of them coming from Russia, but with a strong international contingent as well.

The plan for this team is to get settled in Base Camp to acclimatize to that altitude while they get organized and sort their gear. After that, they'll set off up the mountain without guide support and won't return to BC until after they've reached the summit. When climbing in alpine style they'll make slow, steady progress towards their goal, unlike typical Himalaya siege style, in which they would instead go up and down the mountain several times while they acclimate to the altitude and conditions. The expedition is expected to take about a month to complete.


As mentioned, Manaslu is a busy place this year. More teams have been arriving in recent days, with Adventure Consultants reaching Base Camp just yesterday. Other teams currently getting settled there also include Seven Summits Treks and Himalayan Experience, which is being led by Russell Brice despite the recent announcement that he would be spending fewer days in Base Camp. Reports from the mountain also indicate that the ropes are now fixed up to Camp 3 as teams begin moving up to higher altitudes.

Elsewhere, Alan Arnette is reporting that a trio of climbers is planning to ski down Dhaulagiri this fall. The team consist of Davide Gerlero, Carlo Alberto Cimenti and Matthias Koenig, who will dedicate the expedition to their friend Luca Borgoni, who fell to his death at the age of 22 this past July while training on the Matterhorn. The group hopes to summit later in the season, then make a full descent by skis if possible.

Finally, it appears that 78-year old Carlos Soria may already be preparing for a summit push on Dhaulagiri as well. According to his Facebook page the team has launched their bid and will be making their way up the mountain over the next few days. This comes somewhat of a surprise, as Carlos and his squad were just wrapping up a round of acclimatization. Apparently the forecast must be good and they feel ready to go. We'll keep an eye on their progress over the next few days.

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