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Asia, Nepal, Manaslu and Dhaulagiri, Ascents

Manaslu and Dhaulagiri, Ascents. Ed Viesturs and his Finnish partner, Veikka Gustafsson, surmounted Manaslu (8163m) and then Dhaulagiri I (8167m), the world’s eighth- and seventh-highest mountains, in one month of climbing. They had no Sherpas, no fixed ropes and no bottled oxygen to assist them.

They arrived at the standard Manaslu Base Camp site at 4900 meters on April 4 and placed two more camps along the normal Northeast Face route in the following eight days. They then went down to rest at Base Camp before leaving it again on the 18th to establish one more high camp on the 21st at 7530 meters, just below the summit plateau out of the wind. The next day they went to the top. They were on Manaslu’s summit on the 22nd despite very strong winds that “almost knocked us over a few times,” according to Viesturs.

With the help of a helicopter, they arrived at Dhaulagiri I’s Base Camp site on April 30 and on May 4 they were on its summit. They generally followed the standard climbing route along the northeast ridge but in getting to the ridge, they took a shortcut around an icefall and its crevasses and up a steep slope that avoided the usual longer route to the northeast col, where many expeditions place their first high camps. They pitched just two camps on the ridge on May 2-3 and climbed to the top on the 4th.

Viesturs has now summited ten of the world’s 14 8000-meter mountains, including Everest five times and Cho Oyu twice; for Gustafsson this was his second ascent of Dhaulagiri I, but Manaslu was his seventh 8000er, including Everest twice.

Elizabeth Hawley