American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Thulagi (7,059m), Attempt from the South and Tragedy

Asia, Nepal, Manaslu Himal

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Lindsay Griffin
  • Climb Year: N/A
  • Publication Year: 2012

In November 2010 Belarusian Nikolay Bandalet attempted unclimbed Thulagi alpine style with two Russians, climbing the far right side of the west face of Manaslu to a ridge at 6,400m, then descending the opposite flank to the upper Thulagi Glacier (AAJ 2011). Ahead, the northeast ridge of Thulagi looked complex, and given the committing nature of the situation, the climbers descended.

Bandalet returned in the spring with a four-man Belarusian team, and, rather than the northeast ridge, opted to climb the long, convoluted Thulagi Glacier from its base, reaching Thulagi from the south. The summit party, Bandalet and Sergei Belous, called base camp on May 8, saying they had reached the final ridge, where they had found huge amounts of snow and no safe belay points. The message implied they were not far from the summit; they had already spent a night out with no equipment.

No further word was received, and on the 14th and 15th Fishtail Air made a thorough search of the mountain. There was no trace of the climbers, though the rescue team did spot a tent at 6,300m on a glacier terrace south of the summit. The plane landed close by, and one of the rescue team found sleeping bags and equipment in the tent. Footsteps were spotted above the tent, leading to the crest of a sharp ridge.

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