American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Manaslu Himal, Manaslu, Southeast Face to East Ridge, First Ascent

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2002

Manaslu, southeast face to east ridge, first ascent. A large Ukrainian expedition, marking the 10th anniversary of the country’s independence in 1991, had as its objectives a new route up the southeast face of Manaslu (8163m) and the first ascent of P2 (6251m a.k.a. Simnag Himal East) immediately south of Manaslu. The expedition, led by Valentyn Symonenko, comprised 15 members, 10 of which were the most skilful climbers in the Ukraine.

Base camp was set up at 4000m and all the equipment transported there by helicopter. We began work on April 8, following the line of a relatively safe spur on the right side of the face to reach the upper east ridge (this spur lies to the right of the previous attempts by Poles, Kazakhs and Ukrainians in past years). From advanced base at 5000m to Camp 5 at 7300m ca 4000m of rope was fixed. Intermediate camps, which were in snow caves, were established at 5500m, 6000m, 6400m, and 6800m. The average angle of the spur was 55 degrees, but there were more difficult sections of 60 degrees to 80 degrees, particularly between Camps 1 and 3 and between Camps 4 and 5. These involved consistently tricky mixed climbing on rock thinly covered with powder snow. Finally, Camp 6 was placed at ca 7500m near the top of the ridge and a little distance below the Pinnacle or East Summit of Manaslu.

On May 19 the summit party climbed the ridge to 7650m but could not climb over the Pinnacle or outflank it on the left due to the very steep terrain and a heavy covering of snow. The following day Vadym Leontyev, Sergiy Kovalov Sergiy Pugachov, and Vladyslav Terzyul climbed around to the right of the Pinnacle and reached the summit plateau at ca 7500m. On May 21 these four stayed in their tents, as the weather was stormy with driving snow and no visibility. Kovalov, Leontyev, and Terzyul left the tent at 6:00 a.m. and reached the summit of Manaslu at 11 a.m. The ascent was made without oxygen and the route as a whole graded Russian 6B. The same day all four climbers descended to 6300m and reached Samagon on the 24th. They were flown back to Kathmandu by helicopter.

Mstyslav Gorbenko, Ukraine

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