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with Stefan Nestler

Italian Manaslu expedition: Snowed in and flown out

Digging, 3 to 4 times a day (here Tamara)

Digging, 3 to 4 times a day (here Tamara)

The South Tyrolean Tamara Lunger and the Italian Simone Moro fled from Manaslu today. The two climbers were flown out by helicopter to Samagaon, the village at the foot of the eight-thousander in Nepal. After the heavy snowfalls in recent days “the situation was out of control”, said Simone. More than five meters of snow piled up in the base camp at 4700 meters. The small team barely managed to dig out the tents. Because of the snow masses the base camp, that was actually safe from avalanches, was acutely endangered now. “Yesterday the powder and dust from an avalanche reached base camp, this made us understand that we were no longer safe there”, Simone said. That was “not funny anymore”, the 28-year-old Tamara, who had still been so euphoric just a few days ago, wrote in her blog. Even the experienced Simone was impressed by the extreme weather conditions. “I have been on 13 winter mountaineering expeditions. I can’t remember ever seeing anything of the sort”, Moro said. “To stay here would mean endangering one’s life.”

In spring instead of winter

Simone, stuck in snow

Simone, stuck in snow

The 47-year-old made it clear that “the expedition does not end here”. Their permit to climb Manaslu was valid for 75 days, Simone said. However, he has given up the idea of a winter ascent: “It will take at least two or three weeks of sunshine to stabilize and consolidate five meters of snow making Manaslu’s slopes sufficiently safe to tackle.” Tamara and Simone will now fly to the Khumbu region to maintain their fitness level. As soon as conditions on Manaslu allow it, both want to return to the eighth highest mountain in the world to realize their project: combined ascents to the 8167-meter-high main summit and the upstream 7992-meter-high Pinnacle East – but not before spring.

“Survival adventure” on Nanga Parbat

On the Diamir side of Nanga Parbat, too, heavy snowfall has made any attempt of climbing impossible. There are only four mountaineers still holding out in base camp: the Basque Alex Txikon, the Italian Daniele Nardi and the Pakistanis Muhammad Ali and Muhammad Khan. Eggs, flour and sugar had been finished a few days ago, now kerosene was running short, Alex wrote in his blog: “These days here have become a kind of little survival adventure.” The mountaineers hope that the weather will improve soon so that porters can bring food and fuel from the valley to base camp. The three Iranian climbers had finished their winter expedition after last week’s failed summit attempt.


4. March 2015 | 16:56