Autumn climbing season kicks off in style

KATHMANDU: More than 200 foreign climbers along with their high attitude workers are all set to attempt to climb the world’s eighth highest peak in western Nepal, Mt Manaslu, in the autumn season.

According to the Department of Tourism under the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, the DoT has issued climbing permits to 108 foreign climbers of 12 expedition teams for Mt Manaslu (8,163 m) as of today while 73 more climbers representing six different teams have also applied for the Manaslu climbing permits.

“At least 181 foreign climbers along with their high attitude workers are all set to attempt to climb Mt Manaslu in the autumn season this year while the Department of Tourism issued climbing permits to 150 members for nine different mountains till date,” Rameshwar Niraula, a DoT official told THT. “The DoT expects over 250 foreign climbers on Mt Manaslu this season,” he added.

According to him, a four-member team led by James White Morrison from US also plans to make a ski descent from the top of Mt Lhotse, the world’s fourth highest mountain, this season. “The team has already obtained ski and climbing permits for the same,” he said, adding that the team has reportedly hired two icefall doctors to assist them in fixing a route from the Mt Everest base camp.

Mingma Sherpa, Managing Director at Seven Summit Treks, said that his company would be running four different expeditions with altogether 49 members on Mt Manaslu this season. “A 15-member team led by Arnold Coster has already reached Samagaun on its way to the Mt Manaslu base camp while 34 more members will be obtaining permits in a day or two,” Sherpa said.

Koichi Ezkai (Japan), Benjamin David Darce (US), Catherine Jane Sarah (Australia), Ryuseki Hiraoka (Japan), Albu Radu Cornel (Romania), Oskana Morneva (Rusia), Shikoda Kiyomitsu (Japan), Morton Jamie Andrew (UK), Angelika Herczeg (Hungary), Juan Pablo Mohr Prieto (Chile) and Cha Jin Chol (Korea) among others will be leading different teams on Mt Manaslu this season, according to Niraula.

Among the climbers, Spanish climber Sergi Mingote will be attempting to climb Mt Dhaulagiri and Mt Manaslu this autumn. The Catalan mountaineer made his first double ascends of Broad Peak and Mt K2 last summer.

Among 12 members of the expedition run by Prestige Adventure, eight polish climbers including Rafał Fronia, Paweł Michalski, Damian Bielecki, Mariusz Lange, Mariusz Lange, Grzegorz Bielejec, Krzysztof Stasiak and Piotr Głowacki will attempt to climb Mt Manaslu at its East summit this autumn repeating 32 years old Kukuczka-Hajzer route in an alpine style.

Among others, 79-year-old Spanish climber Carlos Soria Fontan along with nine climbers will also attempt to climb Mt Dhaulagiri (8,167m), according to Sherpa. A six-member team led by Austrian climber Andreas Neuschmid has already obtained climbing permits for Mt Dhaulagiri, the DoT record shows.

A four-member team comprising Tenji Chhombi Sherpa, Dawa Sherpa, Gyaljen Sherpa and Mingma Tenjen Sherpa of Seven Summit Treks has already fixed the rope from the base camp to near Camp II on Mt Manaslu, Sherpa shared.

According to a DoT official, there were 255 foreign climbers who had obtained climbing permits for Mt Manaslu in the last autumn season while the figure stood at 151 in 2016.