Manaslu, First American Ascent, and Last 8000er to be Climbed by an American. On September 11, on Manaslu’s standard Northeast Face route, Dr. Alan McPherson Jr. (British) and I placed Camp I at 5800 meters above the rock band south of the Naike Col. We spent our first night at Camp II (6850m) on September 20. Because of the ice-fall danger, we limited our forays between Camps I and II, deciding to spend more time acclimating down low before pushing high. Camp II was placed in a sheltered spot below a serac wall, just under the exposed North Col. Camp III was placed at 7500 meters, amongst some rocks on the edge of the summit “plateau” on September 26. The next day, 18 days after arriving in base camp, we left the tent at 6:30 a.m., summitted at 12:30, spent two hours on the summit, descended to Camp III in one hour, spent an hour packing up the tent, and another hour descending to Camp II. The next day, we collected all of our remaining equipment and returned to base camp (5160m).
While we are both very happy with the ascent, we are most proud of the style in which we climbed. The trip came together very quickly with about a month’s total planning. Ours was a small team of only two climbers and one base camp cook. We traveled light and fast, with a minimum of impact. We used no radios, oxygen or Sherpas. We used mostly locally purchased foods, the exceptions being two stuff sacks of PowerBars and Power Gel, and one bottle of duty free. We removed all of our garbage from the hill, including spent fuel cartridges.