the Manaslu 2012

The Manaslu is with 8163 meters the eighth highest mountain of our earth. His name comes from Sanskrit and means “mountain of the soul”. The name Kutang, which is also used for the Manaslu, derives from the Tibetan (“tang”, the plain) and refers to the large summit plateau, which is especially prominent from the north. The Manaslu is located in Mansiri Himal, far west of Nepal and is bounded to the southeast by the Ganesh Himal, to the northwest by the Annapurna Massif. He is well-known to German linguistic circles by the ever strong German / Austrian / Swiss commitment in the ascent history of the mountain and also by the popular classic Manaslu circumnavigation, a trekking tour through the valley of the Buri Gandaki over the Larkya Pass in the Marsyangdi Valley leads. The aim of the expedition is to climb over the northeast flank and to try a complete ski tour of the mountain.

Gallery

History
If the Nanga Parbat is the “German Destiny Mountain” and the Dhaulagiri the “Swiss Eight Thousand”, then the Manaslu is probably the mountain of the Japanese. At the beginning of the fifties of the last century, the first explorations took place on the mountain, a leading head being the well-known English explorer and mountaineer Bill Tilman. The following years then belonged exclusively to the Japanese, who sent out several expeditions to find a viable way across the north side or the east ridge to the summit. Finally, on May 9, 1956, T. Imanishi and Sherpa Gyaltsen Norbu succeeded in climbing the summit of the eight-thousander under Y. Maki’s expedition leadership. A few days later, on May 11, Japanese team-mates K. Kato and M. Higeta followed. In 1964, a Dutch expedition succeeded in the first ascent of the northern summit, the eastern summit was climbed in 1986 by a Czech expedition under J. Kukuczka. In 1971, another Japanese expedition headed by A. Takashi found a route through the northwest face, scoring the second ascent of the main summit. The biggest tragedy on the mountain so far occurred in 1972 when F. Jäger and A. Schlick as crew members of a Tyrolean expedition under W. Nairz, whose goal was the passage through the south wall, died in a snowstorm. At the same time, four Koreans, one Japanese and ten Sherpas were killed by avalanches in the normal way. In 1973, Gerhard Schmatz, Sigi Hupfauer and the Sherpa Urkien Tshering reached the summit as the fourth expedition. In 1974, a Japanese women’s expedition managed the first sheer woman climb of an eight-thousander. In 1981, P. Wörgötter and J. Millinger were able to realize the first ski run on Manaslu from an altitude of 8125 m, at that time the first ski adventure of an eight-thousander. In the same year, a French expedition under P. Beghin opened a new variant through the west wall. In 1983, a German expedition under Günther Härter reached the previous high point in the south wall on the route of the Tyrolean expedition of 1972. The first winter ascent succeeded at the turn of 1983/84 a Polish expedition under L. Korniszewski. The first complete crossing of the mountain was achieved by a Ukrainian expedition under the direction of V. Shumichin in Alpine style in 1991. It descended via the south ridge and over the northeast side. A complete chronology of the ascent history until the year 1996 can be found on the internet here. Since the nineties, the attempts to climb significantly, many American, British, German, Austrian expeditions and mountaineers from other countries of the earth could climb the summit.
Route
The glacier start is reached quickly from the base camp, 4800 m, after leaving behind the moraine ridge on which the campsite is located. The path across the glacier is initially unproblematic. One or the other column must be bypassed until the space of the first high camp (C1, 5600 m) is reached in a combined rock bar. To the high camp 2 (C2, 6600 m) the terrain becomes steeper and more rugged. First, however, a long traverse towards the northeast leads to the beginning of a glacier ramp. Here is great caution against possible icing and appropriate hurry offered. An ice break with numerous seracs and steep uphills must now be climbed over the ramp to reach the upper ice fields of the Manaslu. Fixed ropes are attached to the steep steps and column passages. Right here are the big Serac crashes that cause the icefall on the crossing at the beginning of the stage. Once again a bit flatter terrain is reached, the second high camp is built on a glacier terrace below the north saddle to about 6600. The third stage leads over a short flat passage into steeper snow slopes, which are climbed towards a weak spot in the striking Seracriegel. Below the summit plateau, a steep snow and ice flank approx. 300 meters long, 45 degrees (short individual passages above) must be provided with fixed ropes and climbed, then the large summit plateau is reached and the third high camp (C3, 7400 m) is built as far as possible sheltered from the wind in a hollow. On the summit stage, wide, less steep snow slopes lead northwest to the summit, which after a small dip is climbed over a few meters long exposed snow ridge. The way is technically not difficult but long. After the dismantling of the storage chain and the descent from the mountain – this will take another 2 days – all are back in the base camp.
Itinerary
Trekking
The Manaslu Circuit is a classic trekking tour that leads through the Buri Gandaki Valley across the Larkya Pass into the Marsyangdi Valley. Its charm lies in the fact that it leads through all vegetation and civilization zones and still very remote and original areas of land. At the starting point Arughat, 520 m, you are in the subtropics. The Buri Gandaki River is the signpost for the next few days in the direction of Gurkha Himal and leads on varied trails through the farmland of the Gurung and Magar. During the Manaslu trekking, the hikers can look forward to a variety of landscapes, contacts with the population and again and again breathtaking views of the Manaslu Himal from different perspectives. By intensively agricultural land with rice and Hirseterrassen one rises from the subtropics with banana trees and papaya growths and passes from the Hindu to the Buddhist culture. In Sirdibas first chorten and Manimauern are to be seen – from here the Buddhism determines the way of life of the population. About Khursanibari, 820 m, Macha Khola, 1300 m and Jagat, 1350 m (each overnight) you finally reach the settlement Nyag, 2300 m. Prok, 2090, is the next day’s destination. At the foot of Shringi Himal, 7187 m, you hike to the completely Buddhist village Deng, 1860 m. The path first leads through fields over the steep gorge. The vegetation is dominated by pines and bamboo plants. Twice you have to cross the river on suspension bridges, then you are in Prok, 2090 m, arrived.

Next,Namrung, 2550 m, is located under the high seven-thousand meter Himal Chuli, 7893 m. The valley narrows to a canyon with wildly thundering waters. On a narrow path you walk in constant ups and downs through picturesque hamlets with buckwheat and barley fields, which are quite Tibetan. Waterfalls fall directly into Buri Gandaki. The chorten of Ghap is crossed and after a last climb through impressive mountain jungle with lush ferns and lichens you finally reach the small mountain village. The way to Lho, 3250 m, the next stage destination, is also very varied. In addition to chorten and Manimauern, past prayer wheels and over many bridges, the adventurous way continues. Between Lhi and Sho, the path crosses tiny barley fields. The large Buddhist village Lho, 3240 m, is dominated by a new gompa with attached monastery school for about 300 students. At Sama, 3570 m, the border with Tibet is already near. On the way there, the villages show more and more Tibetan features. Slipping through keyhole gatehouses, you can enjoy a pleasant lunch in the larch forest in the company of yak caravans near Syala. The Manaslu shows the magnificent spectacle of its more than 4000 meters high sky dividing northeast flank. On the way to Sama Gaon, 3570 m, there are vast pastures with grazing yaks, donkeys and goats. The Manaslu base camp, about 4850 m, is now not far away.
Past ancient birches and with great views down to the emerald-green Moränensee Birandra Kund, it goes steeply up to the dilapidated huts at the site of the historic base camp. It was a Japanese-Nepalese expedition that succeeded in 1956 the first ascent of the mountain giant. A little further on the marginal moraine of the glacier is today’s base camp, 4850 m. From here, descend to the small Almdorf Samdo, 3860 m, back to the first amenities of civilization. The view wanders back to Manaslu, 8156 m, and Pang Phuchi, 6335 m, which enthrone one. The Larkya Pass, 5135 m, is the highlight of the Manaslu trekking and is reached on an ancient caravan route through wild moraine and glacier landscape, one of the most untouched mountain regions of Nepal. The path goes on for a long time, Moränenhügel follows on Morängenhügel. The pass is framed by prayer flags in a picturesque way. New, great prospects are now opening up: the Annapurna group is in sight, in the west the ice pyramid of Annapurna II, 7937 m, dominates. About Blockwerk and steep turns, it goes down to Bimthang, 3710 m, where is spent in simple houses. In the valley of the Marsyangdi River you reach the side branch of the famous “Annapurna Circuit”. In four days you can hike out of the valley via Dharapani, 1860 m, to Bhulbule, 850 m. There the circle closes, one has returned to civilization.

Timetable
Day 1: Departure from Munich with Etihad Airways via Abu Dhabi to Nepal.
Day 2: Arrival in Kathmandu, 1300 m, and drive to the hotel Norbulinka in Thamel.
Day 3: Visit of the royal city Kathmandu or completion of last errands. The numerous temples, palaces and pagodas and the lively bustle in the bazaar areas are impressive testimonies of a city between the Middle Ages and modern times.
Day 4: Drive via Gorkha to Arugat (175 km / 7h). On the way you pass the deep valley of the Trisuli River and many rice terraces. Then the ice domes of the Ganesh and Gurkha Himal move closer. At Arughat, 520 m, which is the starting point for Manaslu trekking, you are in the subtropics. The companions – Sirdar, cook and carrier – are waiting.
5.-eighth Day: The Buri Gandaki River is the signpost for the next few days towards Gurkha Himal and takes us on varied trails through the farmland of the Gurung and Magar. The program of the next days is structured so that you can get used to the high altitude in the base camp step by step. But not only the body gets an opportunity to approach the mountain, but also the spirit. During the Manaslu trekking, the hikers can look forward to a variety of landscapes, contacts with the population and again and again breathtaking views of the Manaslu Himal from different perspectives. By intensively agricultural land with rice and Hirseterrassen one rises from the subtropics with banana trees and papaya growths and passes from the Hindu to the Buddhist culture. In Sirdibas first chorten and Manimauern are to be seen – from here the Buddhism determines the way of life of the population. About Khursanibari, 820 m, Macha Khola, 1300 m and Jagat, 1350 m (each overnight) you finally reach the settlement Nyag, 2300 m. 4/5/7/3 h
Day 9: Prok, 2090, is today’s destination of the day. At the foot of Shringi Himal, 7187 m, we walk to the completely Buddhist village Deng, 1860 m. The path first leads through fields over the steep gorge. The vegetation is dominated by pines and bamboo plants. Twice you have to cross the river on suspension bridges, then we are in Prok, 2090 m, arrived. 4h
Day 10: Namrung, 2550 m, under the high seven-thousand meter Himal Chuli, 7893 m, located, is today controlled. The valley narrows to a canyon with wildly thundering waters. On a narrow path we walk in constant ups and downs through picturesque hamlets with buckwheat and barley fields, which are quite Tibetan. Waterfalls fall directly into Buri Gandaki. We pass through the chalets of Ghap and after a last climb through impressive mountain jungle with lush ferns and lichens we reach the next overnight accommodation Namrung, 2550 m. 6 h
Day 11: The way to Lho, 3250 m, is very varied. In addition to chorten and Manimauern, past prayer wheels and over many bridges, the adventurous way continues. Before that, we visit the small gompa of Namrung with beautiful old statues and painted wooden panels. Between Lhi and Sho, the path crosses tiny barley fields. The large Buddhist village Lho, 3240 m, is dominated by a new gompa with attached monastery school for about 300 students. 5 h
Day 12: Near Sama, 3570 m, the border with Tibet is already near. On the way there, the villages show more and more Tibetan features. Slipping through keylocked Torchörten, we reach in community with yak caravans near Syala a pleasant lunch in the larch forest. The Manaslu shows the magnificent spectacle of its more than 4000 meters high sky dividing northeast flank. On the way to Sama Gaon, 3570 m: wide pasture area with grazing yaks, donkeys and goats. After the tents have been moved, you can make a pilgrimage to the Nyingma Gompa in the evening. The monastery has an ancient statue of Padmasambhava, the great Indian Tantric, who once brought Buddhism to Tibet. 4 h
Day 13: The Manaslu base camp, about 4850 m, is the destination of the last leg of the approach. Past ancient birches and with great views down to the emerald-green Moränensee Birandra Kund, it goes steeply up to the dilapidated huts at the site of the historic base camp. It was a Japanese-Nepalese expedition that succeeded in 1956 the first ascent of the mountain giant. A little further on the marginal moraine of the glacier is today’s base camp, 4850 m. 4 h
Day 14th – 40th: Ascending the Manaslu takes us 27 days. Following the route via the northeast flank and the northeast ridge, we build the high-altitude warp (C1, 5600 m, C2, 6600 m, C3 7400 m) and prepare for the summit. The key points of the route are a wild torn glacier and a 300 meter high steep flank (average 45 °, short points up to 70 °). Under appropriate conditions, we will try to handle a large part of skiing on the ascent and descent.
Day 41: Departure to return after the route has been dismantled and the base camp cleared. This can be done in two different ways: Either follow the main train back to Arughat in six days (Sama – Nyak – Jagat – Machakhola – Arkhet – Arughat stages) or complete the Manaslu round trip into the Masyangdi Valley in the Annapurna Sanctuary with light luggage similar time requirement. In this case, descend today to the small mountain village of Samdo, 3860 m, back to the first amenities of civilization. The view wanders back to Manaslu, 8156 m, and Pang Phuchi, 6335 m, which tower above us. Gz 3 h
Day 42: The Larkya Pass, 5135 m, is reached on ancient caravan route through wild moraine and glacier landscape, one of the most untouched mountain regions of Nepal. The path goes on for a long time, Moränenhügel follows on Morängenhügel. The pass is framed by prayer flags in a picturesque way. New, great prospects are now opening up: the Annapurna group is in sight, in the west the ice pyramid of Annapurna II, 7937 m, dominates. About Blockwerk and steep turns, it goes down to Bimthang, 3710 m, where is spent in simple houses. Gz 6 h
Day 43: Day 46: In the valley of the Marsyangdi River we reach the side branch of the famous “Annapurna Circuit” and trek in four days over Dharapani, 1860 m, to Bhulbule, 850 m. The last days of trekking are good lodges available as accommodations, so you can treat yourself after the days of deprivation every now and again a cold beer and a “hot shower”. Gz daily approx. 6-8 h
Day 47: Return to Kathmandu (200 km / 6 h), 1300 m, where we will stay at Hotel Norbulinka again. In the evening you meet for the farewell dinner, opportunity on the Manaslu circumnavigation – and hopefully also – to toast.
Day 48: The return flight is not until late in the evening, before we have enough time for relaxation, shopping or sightseeing. In the evening we will go to the airport and fly back to Munich via Abu Dhabi.