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Asia, Nepal, Manaslu, East-Northeast Face, Ascent and Tragedy

Manaslu, East-Northeast Face, Ascent and Tragedy. We (Sergio Martini, Leader; Renzo Benedetti, Luca Campagna, First Group; Abele Blanc, Marco Camandona, Paolo Obert, Adriano Favre, Claudio Rosset, Second Group) left on foot from Gorka on September 1. Benedetti, Campagna and I went up the Bhuri Gandaki, reaching BC (4900 m) on September 10. The caravan, besides us, included the Liaison Officer, one Sherpa, one cook, a kitchen boy and about 40 porters. The other five members of the expedition reached BC 15 days after our arrival. On September 13, we made CI at 5700 meters; on September 20, CII (6600 m); on September 25, the north col bivouac, at 7050 meters; on September 26, CII1 (7400 m). The preparation of the high altitude camps was made easier thanks to the fixed ropes placed by the Japanese Konishi-Ishikawa expedition, which was already present. Between the north col and the beginning of the highest plateau, the itinerary we followed was more to the right than the original route.

An area between CI and CII, at about 6300 meters, was extremely dangerous because of serac fall. On September 27, at 4 a.m., we left CIII, which consisted of a small tent mounted on a small snow foothold close to an overhanging serac. After two hours of climbing along very steep slopes, we reached the plateau at 7600 meters. Then, not far from the unstable highest slopes, we joined the Japanese Ishikawa with his two Sherpas and a Korean with his Sherpa. We covered together the last stretch to the summit of the mountain, which we reached at 11:30 a.m. Shortly thereafter my two expedition mates arrived also.

Since the early hours of the morning the weather had been getting progressively worse. Sleet and strong wind blowing in gusts characterized the day. The poor visibility made tracking down the way back through the plateau seriously difficult. After another overnight stay at C2 we returned to BC.

The Japanese Konishi, a well-known figure in the West, disappeared on the descent from the summit on the highest plateau.

Three members of the second group of my expedition (Blanc, Favre, Obert) reached the summit on October 13 after a lengthy bad weather period, during which many tents of different camps were destroyed by the heavy snowfalls.

Sergio Martini, Italy