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Asia, Nepal, Manaslu

Manaslu. Our expedition was the best and the most successful I have ever been on, not just because we reached the summit, but because of the warm relationship between the members. There was never a single quarrel among the eight of us. Arthur Haid is an outstanding leader who managed everything perfectly. We began our 12-day approach from Gorkha on March 24. There was much more snow than usual, beginning at 2900 meters. We had planned to have Base Camp at 4800 meters but had to set up an improvised Base Camp at 3700 meters just above the village of Samagaon. We ferried loads higher on skis with skins. Without skis we would never have had a chance for the summit. On April 5, we occupied our previously planned Base Camp at 4800 meters. The weather for the next three weeks remained unsettled, but we set up Camps I and II at 5700 and 6650 meters, breaking trail on skis. We made a first summit attempt on April 24. At 7000 meters, the Sherpas hesitated. One of them had slipped and fallen 25 meters without injury. We persuaded them to continue, but 100 meters higher, we came upon a climber’s corpse hanging on a fixed rope from a sérac. That ended the attempt. Stormy weather drove us back to Base Camp. On April 28, when it improved, we climbed back to Camp II. Bad weather forced a rest day on us. From there on, we climbed alpine-style. Josef Brunner, Gerhard Flossmann, Josef Hinding and I spent the night of April 30 at 7000 meters in a cramped two-man tent. We had to leave our skis there and plow belly-deep from there on to spend the next night at 7520 meters. On May 2, in gloriously clear but frigid weather, we climbed to the summit to complete the 39th ascent of Manaslu. We were back in Base Camp by mid-morning on May 3. Rather than to return by the approach route in the Buri Gandaki, we crossed the Larkya La to join the Annapurna trekking route to Pokhara, thus completing the circuit of Manaslu.

Michael Leuprecht, Österreichischer Alpenverein