American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Manaslu East Face Tragedy

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1991

Manaslu East Face Tragedy. We arrived at Base Camp at 4300 meters on September 26 and spent five days reconnoitering, hoping to ascend the unclimbed east face of Manaslu. We were all in very good condition from climbing on the Soviet 7000ers. On October 2, we placed Camp I at 5600 meters. Because of the danger of the icefall on the lower part of the wall, we hoped to continue alpine-style. We placed Bivouacs II, III and IV at 6000, 6500 and 6750 meters on October 3, 4 and 5. From 6300 to 6750 meters it is difficult to place protection or spend the night on the ice slope. On the 6th, we traversed under the hanging ice of the central icefall and then climbed to its upper part at 7000 meters. The next day we were to prepare the wall which overhung our camp. We had 350 meters of rope for this. On October 7, Murat Galiev, Zinur Khalitov and Grigori Lunyakov climbed 150 meters of mixed going, called us to tell us that all was well and continued another 50 meters. At eleven o’clock we heard Khalitov shout and the noise of a fall. At that moment we were in the tent and didn’t see how it happened. We just saw them falling and we ran to them. Their bodies stopped on the snow slope 100 meters from the tents. They were dead. We put our friends in their sleeping bags and buried them in the snow. The next day we four, Valeri Khrishchaty, Andrei Tselishchev, Viktor Dedi and I descended to Base Camp. The three were highly experienced. They were members of the team that made the fantastic 12-summit, 77-kilometer, 15-day traverse from Pik Pobedy to Khan Tengri in the Pamirs in August. In May 1989, Khalitov and Lunyakov completed the entire Kangchenjunga Traverse, and on May 7, 1990, Lunyakov climbed Everest.

Kazbek Valiev, Kazakhstan Alpine Federation, USSR

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