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Asia, Nepal, Manaslu from the South

Manaslu from the South. Our climbing party was composed of Janusz Kulis, leader, Aleksander Lwow, Krzysztof Pankiewicz, Ludwik Wilczynski and me, Poles, and Andreas M├╝ller, Swiss. We set up Base Camp on September 13 at 4250 meters on the moraine of the Pungen Glacier. The next day Advance Base was established at 4850 meters. We aimed to climb Manaslu by the previously unascended south ridge and followed the route of the Polish expedition of 1980, which reached 6300 meters. Camp I at 5650 meters was occupied on September 17. The broad couloir leading to the Pungen La (the Manaslu-Peak 29 col) involved pitches of sustained difficult climbing. We fixed 1200 meters of rope. The ascent of the couloir took two weeks. On October 7 and 8 the Pungen La was reached and Camp II was established. The weather turned bad for eight days. On October 18 Wilczynski and I made an attempt, reaching 7400 meters. We climbed first left of the ridge and at 7300 meters we turned right, climbing on the southeast face. We descended to Camp II. On October 19 we started from Camp II in a four-man team and pitched a tent at 7400 meters. The next day Wilczynski descended and Pankiewicz stayed in the tent. Lwow and I started at 4:30 A.M. for the summit. We climbed steep snowfields with two vertical steps. Above 8000 meters the south ridge was again reached. Following the ridge, we arrived at 12:40 on the summit (8163 meters, 26,780 feet). Because of the cold and wind, we stayed there only a few minutes. Lwow descended to Camp II and I to Camp I. Our party made the first ascent of Manaslu from the Pungen Valley. The Pungen La had not been reached before. Without porters, we had to do all the load-carrying ourselves. None of us used supplementary oxygen. We had only two fixed camps. The south ridge had been unsuccessfully attempted by three previous expeditions: Polish in spring 1980 to 6300 meters, Yugoslav in spring 1983 to 7100 meters and German in autumn 1983. Only the 1980 Polish attempt was from the Pungen Glacier.

Krzysztof Wielicki, Klub Wysokog├│rski, Wroclaw