American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Manaslu, Northeast Face Attempt in Winter

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1984

Manaslu, Northeast Face Attempt in Winter. A little after midday on December 22 my brother Alan and I were climbing carefully upwards at 23,000 feet on the northeast slope of Manaslu. Winds of more than 80 mph kept throwing us sideways into the waist-high pinnacles of eroded snow. We would hide behind them, waiting for a lull and then quickly move upward into the shelter of another. Caught out in the open, we would occasionally finish on our knees, while coffee-table-sized slabs of snow flew overhead. The beginnings of frostbite in our three Sherpa companions had forced them back to our top ice cave. At 23,300 feet we too realized that placing a final camp would have to wait for a calmer day. That evening we sadly discovered that two of our team who were below were sick and would not be able to help any more. We decided to abandon our attempt to make the first winter ascent of Makalu. Our group consisted of my brother Alan, Gordon Smith, Trevor Jones, Carl Hannigan, Sherpas Pema Dorje, Tenzing Tashi, Lakpa Tsering, Sawa Nuru, Gyaltsen, Pinsu and me. Our Base Camp was at 13,500 feet and Camps I and II were at 18,300 and 21,500 feet.

Adrian Burgess, Alpine Climbing Group

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