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with Stefan Nestler

Big rush on Manaslu


Once again, Manaslu turns to become the “Everest of the fall season”. The base camp at the foot of the eighth-highest mountain on earth (8,163 meters) will soon be reminiscent of the tented village at the highest of all mountains in spring. According to the newspaper “The Himalayan Times”, the Nepali Ministry of Tourism has issued at least 135 permits to foreign mountaineers o climb Manaslu. Assuming that there will be on average one local Climbing Sherpa per one climber from abroad and some latecomers, probably between 300 and 400 people – including kitchen staff – will be arguing for the best pitches in the base camp. And the normal route via the north-east flank of the mountain might become crowded.

One reason for the big rush on Manaslu is the decision of the Chinese authorities from the beginning of June to cancel the fall season 2017 in order to “adjust and improve” the rules for mountaineers. That was the official reason. Unofficially, it is speculated that the leadership in Beijing considers unrest in Tibet possible during the Chinese Communist Party Congress, which takes place only every five years, in mid-October.

Next attempt of von Melle and Stitzinger

Alix von Melle (l.) and Luis Stitzinger

Manaslu is a popular alternative destination when China closes its borders to Tibet for foreign mountaineers. Already in fall 2012 and 2015, , many operators had offered expeditions to Manaslu instead of the cancelled ones to the Tibetan eight-thousanders. The “Mountain of the Spirit” has meanwhile been summited almost 1000 times. Alix von Melle and Luis Stitzinger are among the summit aspirants this fall. Manaslu is still missing in the eight-thousander collection of the German couple. The 46-year-old Alix and the 48-year-old Luis have climbed six eight-thousanders so far, five of them together. In fall 2012, both had reached an altitude of just below 8000 meters on Manaslu. In the current season, Luis leads an expedition of the German operator Amical alpin.

Soria again on Dhaulagiri

Compared to Manaslu, the eight-thousanders Dhaulagiri (8,167 meters) and Lhotse (8,516 meters) might be much more lonely this fall. After his unsuccessful attempt last spring, the Spaniard Carlos Soria, aged 78, tackles Dhaulagiri again. In case of success, it would be his 13th eight-thousander. Then only Shishapangma would be missing. Carlos scaled his first eight-thousander, Nanga Parbat, at the age of 51. The high-performance senior already holds the age records on K 2 (aged 65), Broad Peak (68), Makalu (69), Gasherbrum I (70), Manaslu (71), Lhotse (72), Kangchendzönga (75) and Annapurna (77).

Korean-Spanish attempt on Lhotse South Face

Lhotse South Face

Like Soria on Dhaulagiri, the South Korean Sung Taek Hong launches another attempt on Lhotse South Face. In fall 2014 and 2015, Sung’s attempts to climb through the more than 3000-meter-high, extremely difficult wall on a partly new route had failed. This time, the 51-year-old is joined by the 49-year-old Spaniard Jorge Egocheaga. Jorge is a very experienced high altitude climber who has summited all 14 eight-thousanders. Only on Everest he used bottled oxygen.


7. September 2017 | 9:35