In Nepal, the ascent of Mount Manaslu, an underestimated danger

Tragedy on skis

Mountain climber Hilaree Nelson was found dead on Wednesday, September 28, on the south face of Mount Manaslu, Nepal, two days after she went missing. According to her partner Jim Morrison, the American Ella caused a small avalanche during her descent on skis from the summit, located at 8,163 meters, before being dragged to more than 1,500 meters. A week earlier, the skier, the first woman to summit Everest in 24 hours in 2012, posted a post on her Instagram account explaining that she had given up on reaching the last camp due to rain and humidity. . On the day of her disappearance, an avalanche in a camp at 6,800 meters killed a mountaineer and injured a dozen others, according to Nepal’s tourism ministry. On October 2, another avalanche killed a climber and caused extensive material damage.

Also read: The disappearance of the American Hilaree Nelson, mountaineering legend

crowd on the slopes

With more than 400 climbing permits granted against 171 last year, the eighth highest mountain in the world is breaking attendance records. Many mountaineers denounce a business of recruiting rookies lured by the promise of an 8,000-meter march presented as a health walk and achieved with a battalion of Sherpas, excessive use of oxygen and helicopters. A heresy for purists but above all a danger on these slopes among the most prone to avalanches in the Himalayas. ‚ÄúSelling Manaslu so easily is a lie that risks ending in even greater drama. Imagine a serac drop with 50 people clinging behind it.” strikes down Eric Bonnem, founder of the Secret Place agency, which offers expeditions in the Himalayas. Nepal has no quotas. This fall, the Manaslu contributed 368,000 euros to the government.

Also read: Article reserved for our subscribers Everest: “I thought I would die three times when the mountain exploded”

change of crown

After years of controversy, the actual Manaslu summit is validated in September 2021 thanks to drone footage shot by Australian blogger Jackson Groves. We see a group unfurling the flags where the fixed ropes stop, as Mingma G. Sherpa, a Nepalese mountaineer, detours down another slope to climb 30 meters higher on the actual peak. In 2019, two studies already showed, with supporting photos, that ascents stopped before the main summit. ” It could be seen that the summit was located at the end of an unstable ridge, impossible to reach by commercial expeditions. mountaineer journalist Thomas Vennin commented. Starting this fall, the authoritative Himalayan database awards ascent only to those who reach the actual summit. This partly explains the rise in the number of candidates who want to get to the top.

Japanese at the top

In the Himalayan chain, each nation has its privileged peak. While the French were attempting the ascent of Annapurna, the British on Everest, the Italians on K2, the Japanese attacked Manaslu in the 1950s. After several expeditions, they reached the summit (the real one) in 1956. On May 4 In 1974, a Japanese expedition of thirteen women climbers led by General Kyoko Sato achieved the first female ascent of 8,000 m. Her body is never found. In September 2012, the deadliest avalanche in Manaslu’s history destroyed the base camp of a group of Western mountaineers, killing eleven people, including five French. A scenario feared this year due to the heavy snowfall and the crowd present at the start.

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