Asia, Nepal, Manaslu, Three Attempts

Publication Year: 1986.

Manaslu, Three Attempts. A large Japanese expedition with a film crew led by Yoshimichi Furuhata hoped to climb and descend Manaslu by the normal northeast-face route. The highest point reached was the site for Camp III at 7200 meters which Furuhata and three Sherpas got to on October 22 and 23, when snow had abated and climbing was again possible. On October 25 an avalanche struck Camp II, which was occupied by four Japanese and four Sherpas. They were carried down in their tents for 100 meters. One of the Sherpas, Nima Norbu, was unable to get out of the tent and was fatally buried by avalanche debris in a crevasse. The avalanche destroyed much of the expedition’s food, tents and equipment and so they abandoned the attempt. Five Spanish Basque climbers led by Felipe Uriarte were on the same route. October’s constant heavy snowfalls at first kept the expedition in the lower camps. When the Japanese were swept by an avalanche, the Basques went to help. By October 26 avalanche danger higher up the mountain was great and the time needed to make progress in the deep snow was so much that the idea of climbing further was given up. The highest point, Camp III at 6300 meters, was reached by Uriarte, Bixente Itxas and Andrés Prego. Another Japanese expedition led by Iwao Tsushima was on the east ridge. On October 9 Hitoshi Kudo and Norimasa Nishiie got to 6250 meters, just 50 meters above their Camp III and then turned back in very deep snow. A final summit bid was launched on October 16 but again there was very heavy snowfall in the following days and on October 19 the leader called off the climb.

Michael J. Cheney, Himalayan Club, and Elizabeth Hawley