Manaslu 2011 Expedition Dispatches

Dispatch #19 - October 6, 2011 - Base Camp

All of our climbers and Sherpas are all now safely back in base camp relaxing and taking well deserved hot showers. Tomorrow they will descend along with some local porters to Sama Goan and the following day weather permitting they will fly via three helicopters to Kathmandu and the oasis known as the Courtyard Hotel.

The Sherpas and I will remain for a few days breaking down base camp and then will organize gear for putting into storage at our Sama Goan lodge for next years Manaslu expedition.

We are pleased that we had ten summits on Manaslu this season but obviously are disappointed for our climbers who turned around before reaching the top for various reasons.

Our next 8,000-meter expedition will see us returning to Tibet after a four year hiatus and we will once again be climbing the 'Big E' via the North Col, Northeast Ridge.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #18 - 5 PM, October 5, 2011 - Base Camp

Our team were unable to leave camp four at midnight as originally planned due to higher than expected winds. The team remained patient and departed around 7 am after the winds had subsided.

Mila was suffering from cold feet at camp four so she wisely decided to descend with Tarke Sherpa to avoid any injury as she was planning on climbing without oxygen. Tarke unselfishly switched climbing partners with Pasang Wongcho Sherpa so he could reach the summit. Both Mila and Tarke are now resting in base camp.

Robin and Sange Sherpa reached an elevation of 7,600-7,700 meters before deciding this was high enough for the both of them today. They are now both in camp two and will descend to base camp tomorrow.

The following climbers reached the summit at roughly 11.30 am after four and half hours of climbing:
Ian Cartwright & Kami Neru Sherpa
Karel Masek & Chhedar Sherpa
Mark Horrell & Chongba Sherpa

The following climbers reached the summit at roughly 12.15-12.30 pm after five and something hours of climbing:
Anne-Mari Hylyranien & Pasang Wongcho Sherpa

The following climbers reached the summit at roughly 2.00 pm after seven hours of climbing:
Robert Kay & Pasang Gumba Sherpa

These above five climbers and five Sherpas are now safely in camp two resting for the evening and will descend to base camp tomorrow. The above summit times and elevations are to the best of our knowledge and may actually differ slightly upon review when the climbers return.

Two of our Sherpas were involved with assisting a European climber in distress descend above camp four back to the high camp. We are unsure of the exact details but we are informed from reliable sources that it was a well-known professional climber from Spain.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #17 - October 4, 2011 - Base Camp

We now have seven team members and seven Sherpas all in position in camp four planning to depart at midnight on their summit push.

Unfortunately Mark Dickson suffered from cold fingers at camp two the other day and still pushed on up the hill. Around 7,250 meters today on the way to camp four he wisely made the decision to turn around reducing the risk of further damaging his fingers as they were still cold and showed no signs of improving the higher he went.

Tarke Sherpa and Pasang Gumbu Sherpa have reached the summit of Manaslu with myself in 2008 and 2009 respectively and they are being assisted by five other Sherpas who are making their first climb on Manaslu. With this in mind I volunteered to descend with Mark enabling the other Sherpas to reach the summit first time around.

With a slight change in numbers of Sherpas and climbers now at camp four the following climbers will be climbing with the respective Sherpas on summit day:

Ian Cartwright & Kami Neru Sherpa
Luidmila Mikhanovskaia & Pasang Wongcho Sherpa
Anne-Mari Hylyranien & Tarke Sherpa
Karel Masek & Chhedar Sherpa
Mark Horrell & Chongba Sherpa
Robert Kay & Pasang Gumba Sherpa
Robin Owens & Sange Sherpa

We have a rule on our expeditions to not to allow any solo climbing and this includes descending on a summit push or turning around near high camp. We have witnessed many solo climbers descending this season and we wished more expeditions would follow the no solo climbing rule.

We will be monitoring our team by radio all night and will post a dispatch after they have hopefully all reached the summit and are descending to camp two.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #16 - October 3, 2011 - Kathmandu

All of the team members are now at Camp three except for Jose and Steve who descended to base camp. Jose who is suffering from a sore throat which medications will not help, and Steve, seems to have lost his mojo, or perhaps Dr Evil (aka Mark Horrell) may have stolen it.

Phil climbed directly from base camp to camp three yesterday to meet the team and they will collectively climb to camp four tomorrow. Everyone is strong and healthy.

It seems as if 80% of the climbers present this year will make a summit attempt leaving camp four on the morning of the 4th Kathmandu time.

Trish Crampton

Dispatch #15 - October 2, 2011 - Base Camp

All of our team members are now on their way climbing towards camp two located at 6,400 meters. Eight of the team spent last night at camp one and this morning Anne-Mari and Robert departed base camp at 5.30 am and will hopefully be joining the other team members this evening at camp two. The advanced party who departed base camp yesterday were accompanied by Pasang Gumba Sherpa and Da Pasang Sherpa. The other six climbing Sherpas departed base camp this morning at 5 am and tonight we expect to have 18 of our climbers and Sherpas collectively together in camp two.

I elected to spend a few extra days at base camp to study our weather forecast charts in detail and hopefully should be joining the group at camp four on the evening of the 4th. The plan is for the team to depart for the summit around midnight enabling them to summit in the early hours of the morning, making a quick descent to camp two. Some of the members plan to reach base camp the same day and we expect one of our guys who is making a ski descent, Robert Kay, to be the first back on the afternoon of the 5th if all goes to plan.

The weather window for suitable conditions to make a safe summit is small this year we expect nearly all the climbers present at base camp to be trying to top out on the 4th, 5th or 6th respectively. Saying this we are not too concerned about crowds on the respective summit dates as Manaslu has the benefit of having a much smaller number of climbers present each spring and fall season compared to some of the busier 8,000-meter peaks such as Cho Oyu and Shishapangma.

We may only be making small text dispatches sans the photos over the next few days as obviously we are away from our laptops and BGAN's hopefully heading for the top.

The above photos show things to do at base camp before the summit push with Robert getting a quick hair cut to look good for that all important summit photo and Steve using the internet dome as "Steve's Big Gym".

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #14 - September 30, 2011 - Base Camp

Our weather forecasts have corresponded with the others being used at base camp and holding true to their predictions so we are launching a summit push with some of our climbers leaving base camp tomorrow.

Eight of our ten climbers will be using oxygen on their summit push from camp four and return to camp two. Both Anne-Mari and Mila have decided to forgo oxygen this time and will make an oxygen less attempt climbing alongside the other climbers. We will have ten climbers and eight Sherpas collectively making the summit push together hoping to top out on the morning of the 5th.

The team will depart base camp tomorrow after a light lunch spending nights at camp one, two, three and four respectively before heading for the top. Anne-Mari and Robert will climb to camp two directly from base camp the following day and spend nights at camp two, three and four respectively. I will hold back at base camp reviewing the weather forecasts over the next few days and then possibly climb and join the team on the evening of the 4th at camp four.

At present six of our Sherpas are carrying another 600 meters of our rope and the relevant hardware to camp two assisting some Sherpas from Himex who are re-fixing the route to camp three and four respectively.

The above photos show one climbers interpretation on how to survive a four-day Manaslu storm at base camp whilst looking like a character from a Tim Burton movie wearing rubber gum boots and welding goggles and the view from our base camp each morning looking down the valley above the clouds covering Sama Goan.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #13 - September 28, 2011 - Base Camp

The snow has finally stopped falling at base camp and the weather forecast is looking good so we yet again have another plan to go for the top in a few days. We are waiting to review our next weather forecast before publishing our detailed plans and dates in case they change once again but we are all confident that we will make a serious summit attempt soon.

Our Sherpas will be working together with Sherpas from Himalayan Experience to re fix the rope on the route if necessary as the mountain has received a lot of snow and we are not sure if the advance party of Sherpas who will check on the route and conditions will be able to pull the ropes that are already placed. Today at base camp porters delivered us another 800 meters of fixed rope and the necessary hardware that came in on a helicopter flight early this morning from Kathmandu. Between Himex and ourselves we have enough gear to re fix the route if necessary for the safety of all climbers present this season.

Glorious conditions at base camp don't mean ideal conditions higher on the mountain and we must all be patient and let the heavy snow accumulation consolidate before venturing higher. Patience is a virtue, especially with high altitude mountaineering. We hear of some European climbers leaving base camp tomorrow for their summit push but we are still cautious about the snow loads and the possible risk of avalanches.

We hear reports that the storm that we experienced has also affected climbers on Shishapangma and Cho Oyu and we hope that these climbers also get a realistic chance to top out this season as we hope to do in possibly a weeks time from now.

The above photos show Anne-Mari about to enjoy some sushi rolls and wine at our daily 4pm cocktail happy hour soiree on the last evening of the four day snow storm and the welcoming sight of Manaslu after she has been hidden in clouds for nearly a week

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #12 - September 26, 2011 - Base Camp

We are still in a holding pattern at base camp after the big storm that came in on the evening of the 23rd and continued all day on the 24th and 25th respectively. Both our weather forecast that uses the North American model and the European model are both warning us of potential continuing snowfall on the 26th with some large accumulation amounts possible. This means we have resigned ourselves to some forced rest at base camp.

Yesterday four of our Sherpas climbed to camp one to survey the potential damage to our tents. All the tents at camp one were completely covered in snow but fortunately for us our Sherpas dug out our tents which had received no damage at all. If the rain continues at base camp today then we are almost sure to have another dumping at camp one and our Sherpas will head up again tomorrow to once again dig out our camp. We wisely decided to break camp two down and cache our tents. This site has been marked with some three-meter avalanche probes and we also have GPS reading so we can recover the cache easily, especially if the snow continues.

Our team members are all doing well and still very optimistic about the weather improving over the next few days. Some of them will possibly head down to Sama Goan tomorrow for some rest and relaxation although last time some of the Brits did this, they seemed to come back to base camp worse off than they did before they left. From the above photos I think you get the idea.

The above photos courtesy of Mark Horrell show our reliable Brits, Ian and Mark talking smack over several beers on an earlier rest day at Sama Goan and our climbers descending from camp one in the storm on the morning of the 24th, and honestly this photo was not staged.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #11 - September 24, 2011 - Base Camp

Our plan didn't quite go as we had hoped but we knew there was a risk of some snow on the 24th and boy, did it snow, just as Manaslu is known for.

We left base camp for camp one just after a light lunch and during the glacier crossing, the rain that we had experienced at base camp turned into snow before arriving at camp one. We settled in for the evening enjoying pastries and pies prepared by our cook Phurba Sarki with light snow hitting the tents. When we awoke at 6 am the tents were covered and camp one had received around 18 inches of fresh snow. There had been avalanches all night and we were especially aware of the ones we heard on the route from camp one to camp two. Several tents from other expeditions had been completely destroyed by the heavy snowfall at camp one and with the continuing snowfall we had no choice but to descend to base camp.

Base camp had not been spared by the storm and had received around 12 inches of snow. Our kitchen staff and Sherpas who were present did a fantastic job of saving our camp from destruction, and all we suffered was a few broken tent poles and some light repairs to our communication dome.

The other climbers present at high camp one also descended to base camp for safety, but we are unsure what the climbers who were planning on making a 27th September summit attempt residing at lower camp one did. When we descended early morning after digging out the tents for a second time, it took all our navigation skills to break the trail to base camp over the glacier with its now hidden crevasses. I think the descending climbers following us were grateful for the ready-made trail.

Now we plan to sit tight at base camp for a few days as obviously with this much snowfall we need to let the snow consolidate, especially between camp one and three for safe passage.

Pasang Gumba Sherpa, Dorjee Sherpa and myself shared a tent at camp one last night and we all commented on regardless on how much snow fell last night and this morning, it would never come close to the dumping we received over a three day period in 2008. That year, we received around 3 meters and 5 meters of snow at camp one and camp two respectively during an early storm on our expedition. We seem to have gotten off lightly this year, we hope.

The above photos show Gumba and Dorjee reminiscing in the tent at camp one about the storm on Manaslu in the fall of 2008 and the resulting snowfall after our 23rd/24th 2011 dumping with the tops of tents at camp one just visible.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #10 - September 22, 2011 - Base Camp

We have reviewed our latest weather forecast that we received earlier this morning and we now have a concrete plan in place. The forecast looks good apart from a possible storm that may dump some considerable snow on the 24th. The storm may pass us by so with this in mind we are ready to launch our first summit attempt.

The tentative plan is to leave base camp after lunch tomorrow (9.23) and spend the night at camp one. We then plan to climb to camp two, three and high camp, camp four respectively (9.24 - 09.26) before launching a summit attempt on the evening of the 26th or the morning of the 27th depending on the weather conditions at high camp.

We have not spent as much time at base camp as we would like to have done but we know that Manaslu doesn't offer too many summit windows going on our experience of our past Altitude Junkies Manaslu expeditions. In 2008 and 2009 we only needed 35 and 30 days respectively to reach the summit and trek back to Arughat before driving back to Kathmandu. This year, after hopefully reaching the top, our climbers will take a helicopter to Kathmandu instead of trekking out as we have done in the past.

For family and friends following their loved ones and friends following friends the following climbers will be using oxygen and climbing with the respective Sherpas on summit day:

Ian Cartwright & Kami Neru Sherpa
Mark Dickson & Pasang Wongcho Sherpa
Steve "Chocolate" Faultico & Tarke Sherpa
Jose Ferro & Chhedar Sherpa
Mark Horrell & Chongba Sherpa
Robert Kay & Pasang Gumba Sherpa
Robin Owens & Sange Sherpa

The below climbers will be climbing without oxygen and will be climbing with our Sirdar Dorjee Sherpa and myself, Phil Crampton:

Anne-Mari Hylyranien
Karel Masek
Liudmila Mikhanovskaia

Obviously we will not be carrying our laptops and BGAN's up above base camp with us so our Kathmandu HQ will be posting brief reports on our progress.

The above photos show Phurba Sarki Sherpa baking bread in one of our two propane ovens and the Three Stooges, Jose, Robin and Steve checking the fit of their oxygen masks and unwillingly posing for a photo.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #9 - September 19, 2011 - Base Camp

The weather held true to our forecast so we made our sleep rotation at camp one and camp two respectively over the past few days.

On the 16th after an early lunch we collectively climbed to camp one with along with Dorjee Sherpa and Pasang Gumbu Sherpa. Unfortunately Mila was not feeling 100% and descended to base camp shortly after departing. We all made great time to camp one in overcast conditions keeping the temperatures bearable for glacier travel.

Upon arrival in camp one, we were very surprised to find two French climbers using one of our tents. Their explanation was that they mistook one of our seven identical tents pitched in a row for one of their own. After some broken French profanities spoken by myself, they removed their belongings from our tents. They forget to even thank us for our uninvited hospitality and the fact they they had ripped the roof of the vestibule flysheet rendering the tent useless for future occupants. I had a hard time to stop our Sherpas who were descending from camp two from dishing out some instant Nepal Sherpa justice. We decided that these two inexperienced French climbers will learn the ways of the Himalayas quickly if they pull this stunt on a less understanding team than ourselves.

The morning of the 17th saw us all climb to camp two at an elevation of 6,400 meters. Again, all the team made great time and we settled in for the night to warm conditions. Our campsite is located on a very safe saddle with a large crevasse bordering it in case of any avalanches from the slope that leads to camp three. Our plan was to tag camp three the following morning if possible, but the majority of the team was pleased with their first proper foray onto the higher camps of the mountain and we all collectively decided to descend to base camp.

Upon arrival at base camp, we were welcomed with some excellent food prepared by Phurba Sarki and his kitchen assistants as Sarki had just returned from Sama Goan with some local porters carrying fresh chicken breasts and steaks that had just arrived on a helicopter from Kathmandu.

Mila was feeling better the day the rest of the team descended to base camp, so along with Pasang Wongcho Sherpa she climbed to camp one and the following day tagged camp two. They had wisely decided not to spend the night at camp two as our weather forecast had predicted snow. A similar forecast from Europe had snow predicted but in higher amounts, so as a precaution we broke down camp two to avoid losing our tents to heavy snowfall. Pasang Gumbu Sherpa, Tarke Sherpa and myself remember too well the huge snowfall amounts we received on Manaslu in 2008 and 2009 respectively so we thought it wise to be cautious with snow coming.

The plan now is to take some rest days and if the team all feels confident and the weather allows, we plan to go higher in a few days time.

The above photos courtesy of Mark Horrell show the view of the route from camp one and Pasang Gumbu Sherpa and Mark Dickson climbing towards camp two.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #8 - September 15, 2011 - Base Camp

The good news is that we finally got our internet sim cards working and we must thank the technical support team at X-Sat for all their help resolving our problem. Now that we are connected our team members will start to blog and send photos and stories back home to their friends and families.

Our internet dome would not be possible without the continued support of our communication providers, General Dynamic Itronix. We are using the most rugged computers available with military specifications in the form of the GD8000 laptop computer. These things work in all conditions and elevations and we operated one from the summit of Everest in 2008.

We are waiting to receive our next weather forecast before making any decisions to go up the hill again and sleep at camp one and camp two respectively. Some other weather forecasts being used on Manaslu had predicted good weather for the next few days but today we have received rain followed by snow followed by more rain at base camp. At least we don't have to shovel our tents out from the rainfall.

If the weather is favorable we will be absent from base camp for a few days and will therefore post a new dispatch when we return. If the weather is non conducive for us to go higher we will spend the day reading, writing and enjoying hot propane showers and our espresso machine.

The above photos show the Junkies internet cafe finally operational and the part view of our base camp located at 4,820 meters.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #7 - September 14, 2011 - Base Camp

We awoke this morning to beautiful weather which allowed for our first proper view of Manaslu from our base camp due to the continuing rain we have been experiencing. As planned we made a carry to camp one to drop personal loads before returning early afternoon to base camp. All the team members performed very well and our respective times for each member to reach camp one were much faster than expected.

This afternoon our expedition Sirdar Dorjee Sherpa and myself visited with Russell Brice and his sirdar Phurbu Tashi to discuss the rope fixing. Russell's expedition Himalayan Experience is the largest team in attendance at Manaslu this fall season with 30 climbers and 24 Sherpas and his group arrived some considerable time before the rest of the teams arrived. Because of this Russell's Sherpas have already fixed the ropes to camp three and are asking each western climber provide 100-meters of rope each as their contribution to the rope fixing process. There are also a couple of sections that require ladders placing higher on the route so this also takes a lot of manpower to have these ladders carried up the mountain.

Our plan is to take a rest day tomorrow and then head back up the hill the day after weather permitting. We are still waiting for our members internet sim cards to be activated and when they have been they will start to blog like crazy.

The above photos show the view of Manaslu from our base camp and the Junkies girls at camp one.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #6 - September 12, 2011 - Base Camp

All our members arrived at base camp yesterday in good health and after a slight delay they got settled into their personal sleeping tents. Our base camp is quite spacious with twenty Mountain Hardwear tents and two large Space Station domes.

The weather has been terrible for the past three days with continuous rain at base camp making the task of establishing camp hard to say the least. At present our propane ovens, heaters and showers as well as our satellite phones and radio communications are all working but as usual we are experiencing some problems with our satellite internet BGAN systems. Hopefully this will be resolved in the next few days and our folks can start blogging and the like.

Today we held our Puja ceremony so now the Sherpas will head to camp one tomorrow to establish the campsite and the team members will most probably carry loads to camp one the day after.

The above photos show our team members in the dining dome and the Lamas conducting the Puja.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #5 - September 8, 2011 - Sama Goan

We arrived at Sama Goan in only six days due to the favorable weather we have received and the cooperative porters we hired from Arughat. The team will now spend three to four nights here for cautious acclimatization as base camp is 1,400 meters higher than the elevation of Sama Goan.

Some of our Sherpa crew have already been in Sama Goan for nearly two weeks having our earlier loads ferried to base camp by the locals of Sama. We shall have more loads carried up over the next few days until all of our initial 175 loads are at base camp and them we start the process of having our base camp regularly supplied with fresh vegetables and meats.

The above photos show our first proper view of Manaslu from the courtyard of our lodge in Sama Goan and the noticeable Tibetan influence in Sama Goan with a Buddhist Stupa.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #4 - September 5, 2011 - Jagat

Things seem to be going to plan and our expedition is on schedule which is a rarity on Manaslu. We made the trek to and spent the evening at Soti Khola and Macha Khola respectively before arriving this afternoon at Jagat. We have had pretty good weather so far with very little rainfall and we have especially enjoyed the refreshing waterfall swimming pools on route giving us a break from the high temperatures we are experiencing at this low elevation.

Our expedition has 175 porters in total carrying our 5,100 kg of food and gear to Sama Goan and we expect to be employing many more local porters over the next several weeks keeping our expedition supplied with fresh meat, vegetables and fruit.

All the team members are in good health and looking forward to arriving in Sama Goan in a few days where they can get settled and have the time to check and send emails. Tomorrow we should be in Deng for the evening and the following night in Namrung before reaching Sama Goan.

The above photos show our large campsite in Macha Khola with our twenty Mountain Hardwear three-season trekking tents and the amazing views from the lower part of the Manaslu trek.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #3 - September 2, 2011 - Arughat

Our last team members arrived in Kathmandu yesterday on schedule with all their luggage intact, so we went for the group dinner that evening so we could all get familiar with each other.

This morning we departed Kathmandu for Arughat in a luxurious bus and then after lunch in Dhading Besi we switched to a more appropriate vehicle to reach Arughat. The road was in very bad condition, as we expected, due to the continuous monsoon rains and we are grateful to our skilled drivers who drove both us and another two trucks of gear. Several places looked impassable due to deep mud but we made them, however, we also had to deal with the usual problems of vehicles in front of us stopping the flow of traffic due to mechanical problems.

The team is tired from the long and bumpy ride but we are all looking forward to starting the trek tomorrow after our final batch of porters have received their loads heading for Sama Goan.

The above photos show most of our team members waiting for lunch at Dhading Besi and immediately after lunch the gang inside our overland version of a MI-17 minus the rotar blades for the drive to Arughat.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #2 – August 31, 2011 – Kathmandu

It's been a busy several days in Kathmandu for the staff packing the 5,000 kg of food and equipment needed for the expedition. Some of our climbing Sherpas are already in Sama Goan with the majority of our loads and are now hiring the locals to ferry the loads to base camp.

As we expected, the road to Arughat was not in such good condition due to the monsoon rains and even though our two four-wheel drive trucks completed the drive. Some of the Sherpas behind had to transfer vehicles three times to make their final destination. With this in mind we have made provisions to have suitable transport available when our Land Cruisers can go no further. It's going to be a wet, muddy and bumpy drive but once above Arughat the awesome trek makes it all worth while.

Most of the team members are now in Kathmandu enjoying the bustling streets and great restaurants in the Thamel tourist district of the city and the rest of the team members will arrive tomorrow and then our expedition team is complete.

The above photos show our staff loading one of our earlier trucks that departed Kathmandu for Arughat and the Sama Goan locals looking for loads for the well paying short carry to base camp.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #1 – August 21, 2011 – Kathmandu

Welcome to the first of our expedition dispatches from the Junkies 2011 Manaslu Expedition. We have now received our expedition permit from the Nepal Ministry of Tourism which happened to be the first one issued for the fall climbing season so it's now officially a go for the climb.

Our team will start to gather at the boutique Courtyard Hotel in Thamel, Kathmandu over the next week or so and the tentative plan is to drive to Arughat on September 2nd. As on our previous Manaslu expeditions, we are unsure if we will be able to make the drive in it's entirety to Arughat itself due to the dicey road conditions from the possibility of continuing monsoon rains and we will probably have to spend the first evening camping just outside of town.

We prefer to trek to base camp at the start of the expedition rather than taking helicopters to Sama Goan as once we are on the trek proper we will be walking through one of the prettiest unspoilt areas in all of Nepal. The trek is complete with hot springs, waterfall swimming pools, mischievous monkeys in the forests of Jagat and as usual we see very few other trekkers until reaching the village of Sama Goan at the foot of Manaslu.

The expedition this year consists of the following climbers from seven different nations. Some are Everest veterans whilst others are making their first attempt on an 8,000-meter peak. The names are listed in alphabetical order.

Phil Crampton (USA/UK)
Ian Cartwright (UK)
Mark Dickson (UK)
Steve Faultico (USA)
Jose Ferro (Colombia)
Mark Horrell (UK)
Anne-Mari Hylyranien (Finland)
Robert Kay (USA)
Karel Masek (Czech Republic)
Liudmila Mikhanovskaia (Russia)
Robin Owens (Canada)

Our climbing Sherpas consist of the following climbers under the directorship of our Sirdar Dorjee Sherpa and we are pleased to have Manaslu veterans Pasang Gumbu Sherpa and Tarke Sherpa climbing with us once again. Both of these guys climbed with the Junkies on Manaslu reaching the summit in 2008 and 2009 respectively. Our other Sherpas are 8,000-meter veterans all of them with multiple summits of Everest.

Dorjee Sherpa (Sirdar)
Pasang Gumba Sherpa
Tarke Sherpa
Chhedar Sherpa
Pasang Awongcho Sherpa
Kami Neru Sherpa
Sange Sherpa
Chongba Sherpa

Our kitchen staff consist of the following cooks under the directorship of another Altitude Junkies Manaslu veteran Phurba Sarki Sherpa. He will be assisted by his regular crew of kitchen assistants.

Phurba Sarki Sherpa (Head Cook)
Da Pasang Sherpa (Assistant Cook)
Pema Nima Sherpa (Kitchen Assistant)
Wangcho Sherpa (Kitchen Assistant)
Ongi Sherpa (Kitchen Assistant)
Jangbu Sherpa (Kitchen Assistant)

For now we are letting Pujan and Michelle, our gracious hosts at the Courtyard Hotel take care of us with some amazing Australian steaks off the grill before we start the six day trek to Sama Goan. We plan to spend three nights at Sama Goan for cautious acclimatization before moving up to base camp and holding our Puja ceremony before we set foot onto the mountain itself.

The above photos are from one of our previous Manaslu expeditions and show the Puja ceremony and the view from camp one on Manaslu.

Phil Crampton

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