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Asia, Nepal, Manaslu, South Face

Manaslu, South Face. An expedition of guides of the German Alpine Club (DAV) Mountain and Ski School had hoped to climb the unascended south ridge of Manaslu. They had Base Camp at 13,125 feet. They climbed a rock buttress to establish Camp I at 17,050 feet. Camp II was at 18,700 feet at the point where they would leave the south-face route climbed by Messner in 1972 for their new route. They continued up the south ridge, placing Camps III and IV at 21,650 and 24,275 feet. In the first week of October, a dump of gear was covered and lost in a three-day snowstorm. When leader Günther Härter, Uwe Schelhas and Sherpa Ang Dorje set out from Camp IV on October 18, they had only five rock pitons, two ice screws and one rope, hardly enough for the very difficult climbing above. At 24,600 feet they gave up, realizing that they lacked equipment and time. They descended to Camp II from which they would make the second ascent of Messner’s south-face route. They set out on October 20, each climber carrying a 45-pound pack. They climbed unroped since belaying would have taken too much time. They bivouacked at 21,650 and 24,275 feet. This last bivouac was in a snow-filled crevasse that gave some protection from the wind, which was generally violent. In the morning of October 22, Peter Popall was in poor condition; Franz Seeberger and Paul Geyer volunteered to help him descend. The other six, Harter, Hubert Wehrs, Herbert Streibl, South Tirolean Hermann Tauber and Sherpas Ang Dorje and Nima Rita climbed to the summit. To their amazement, they met there the Korean Huh Yong-Ho, who had climbed solo the normal route from the north. (More details and photographs appear in Der Bergsteiger, February 1984, pages 24 to 28.)