Manaslu 2014 Expedition Dispatches

Dispatch #13 - September 26, 2014 - Base Camp

All the team members and Sherpas are now back at base camp after a successful summit push.

The following members and Sherpas reached the summit of Manaslu on September 25th from 8:30 am onwards:

Phil & Kami Neru Sherpa
Tom & Pasang Ongcho Sherpa
Joie & Pasang Gombu Sherpa
Holger & Pemba Chiri Sherpa
Rainer & Sangee Sherpa
Guntis & Tarkey Sherpa

Unfortunately Hans was not feeling well on summit day and decided to turn around with his Sherpa, Karma Gelgen on his summit push. Roger descended from camp three with Dorjee Sherpa as his nagging cough, that has plauged him since the start of the expedition, would not refuse to go away.

Tonight the team will celebrate with an extra special dinner and champagne toasts to celebrate their success.

We recieved a lot of snow at base camp last night and hopefully the porters will be able to arrive early at base camp tomorrow, as our members are to descend to Sama Goan and then take private helicopters back to Kathmandu.

The Sherpas and I will pack up base camp and then enjoy our annual trek to Araghat with our mules for our customary Tuborg festival enroute. This is the final dispatch from our 2014 Manaslu expedition and we hope you will follow our progress on our next expedition, Cholatse, which starts late October.

Phil Crampton

Update - September 25, 2014 - Kathmandu

Summits! We have had six team members and six Sherpas summit Manaslu this morning. Everyone is safe, with some members descending to base camp today and some descending tomorrow. More details to come.

Dispatch #12 - September 22, 2014 - Base Camp

We are now on our summit push with our team members and Sherpas at camp two at 6,400-meters.

I stayed behind at base camp to monitor the latest weather forecasts and will climb to camp two later today and join the team as they are getting ready to climb to camp three in the morning.

We have once again joined forces with the Himex team on our respective summit pushes, and hopefully our combined Sherpa teams will be able to easily break trail and fix rope on the summit ridge where neccessary.

If all goes to plan, we should reach the summit on the 25th and return to base camp the same day or the following day depending on our energy reserves.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #11 - September 19, 2014 - Base Camp

Our Sherpas completed a marathon day yesterday with fixing the ropes just below camp four at 7,450 meters. They returned to base camp late in the evening to well deserved chilled beers.

The team members are keeping well and fit with daily walks with some of them even dropping down to Sama Goan for the thick air.

We now consult our weather forecast daily and will make our summit plans public when we have decided the most suitable window for our summit attempt.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #10 - September 15, 2014 - Base Camp

All the team have now returned to base camp after spending the night at camp one and camp two respectively. We descended in light snow and had to break trail and pull out the fixed ropes that had been buried.

Our Sherpas fixed rope until just before camp three and had to abort the job due to bad visibility. The plan is for them to rest and then in a few days they will move to camp two with some Sherpas from Himex and then fix the ropes to camp four. There has been a little snow higher on the mountain that we want to allow to consolidate before our Sherpas venture higher on these slopes.

With our second rotation complete on the mountain we are now resting at base camp in anticipation of our summit push. We hope if all goes well to summit within the next 10 days.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #9 - September 12, 2014 - Base Camp

We had to change our plans for the rope fixing somewhat due to constant snowfall yesterday. The two Sherpa Sirdars in charge of the rope fixing, Dorjee Sherpa from the Junkies and Phurba Tashi from Himex, decided to delay by one day to allow any new snowfall to consolidate before going above camp two. Six Sherpas from the two combined teams will leave base camp at 3 am tomorrow and head directly to camp two where they will start to fix the ropes to camp three.

Our team members have now all left base camp for camp one once again this evening. Tomorrow, they will make a 6 am start and climb to camp two where they will spend the evening at an elevation of 6,400-meters.

Before departing base camp today all the team members were issued with their personal avalanche beacons, as they are now climbing above camp one. They have already been issued with their personal two-way radios and high altitude medical kits, so they have quite a lot of additional things to carry over the next few days. All of our Sherpas have the same beacons and radios as we believe you can never be too cautious on Manaslu.

The Sherpas carrying group gear, the rope fixers, and I will leave base camp tommorow at 3 am and meet the team members at camp one. Dorjee Sherpa and Tarke Sherpa are already in camp one with the team members this evening.

If all goes well and the weather cooperates, we will hopefully have the ropes fixed to the high camp, camp four at 7,450-meters in the upcoming days.

We will be off the radar for a few days as we plan not to blog from camp two.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #8 - September 10, 2014 - Base Camp

All of our team are now back at base camp. Several of the team members spent last night at camp one, whereas others decided to tag camp one once again before returning to base camp for the evening.

Those climbers who decided to return to base camp helped me replace the ice screws and snow bars that had melted out since being originally placed several days ago. Their help was much appreciated.

Sherpas from the Junkies and Himex completed the rope fixing to camp two yesterday at an elevation of 6,400 meters. The various Sherpas from the two combined teams have now fixed 3,200 meters of new rope on the route and have already placed seven ladders over large crevasses.

The rope fixers now have five additional ladders at camp two in anticipation of placing them on the route to camp three. This section was problematic last season with sketchy snowbridges resulting in several falls. The Junkies and Himex Sherpas plan to push the route with fixing rope to camp three on the 12th, after a well deserved rest tomorrow.

We already have started to establish our camp two in anticipation of our team members spending the night there on 13th if the weather cooperates.

Base camp sees rain each day, but the conditions above crampon point continue to be perfect for our steady progress up the hill.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #7 - September 8, 2014 - Base Camp

Our rope fixing Sherpas managed to place 1,400 meters of rope above camp one yesterday, passing through the crux of the climb, "The Hourglass". Pasang Gombu Sherpa and Pasang Ongcho Sherpa led the climb and Sange Sherpa and three Himalayan Experience Sherpas carried the all important rope and hardware.

Today, our second group of three Junkies Sherpas, Kami Neru Sherpa, Pemba Chiri Sherpa and Tarke Sherpa along with three Himalayan Experience Sherpas will be completing the job of fixing all the way to camp two. We estimate that they will fix another 1,200-1,600 meters of rope to complete the task.

Manaslu is very quiet this fall, in regards to the amount of teams present, compared to the past few seasons. Many of the old time operators on Manaslu are happy that we have the peak back to normal as the majority of the usual Cho Oyu teams are heading to Tibet this fall.

The weather has been the usual at base camp but we still continue to experience good conditions above base camp allowing the Sherpas to make good progress so early in the season.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #6 - September 7, 2014 - Base Camp

We held our Puja on September 5th as planned. Although the service was longer than usual, we didn't mind as the weather stayed nice for most of the day. Our usual Lama conducted the ceremony and enjoyed a Tuborg with some of the members at the conclusion of the Puja.

The following day, three Sherpas from Altitude Junkies and three Sherpas from Himalayan Experience fixed ropes to camp one. Our other Sherpas carried group gear with the rope fixers and the team members left a few hours later for their first climbing rotaion of the expedition. All the team made a carry to camp one in great time and descended to base camp in time for lunch.

The rope fixing continues today as three Sherpas from the Junkies and three from Himex are pushing the route to camp two. Tommorow another six Sherpas from the same two teams will complete the rope to camp two.

Our team members will enjoy a rest day today and maybe tomorrow or the next day will climb back to camp one and spend the evening.

The weather has been surprisingly good so far this season but we still get downpours each evening.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #5 - September 3, 2014 - Base Camp

All of our team members and Sherpas are now at base camp. The first day produced typical Manaslu weather with rain and drizzle, but today is fantastic and started without a single cloud in the sky.

Our Puja ceremony is planned for September 5th, based on the local Lama from Sama Goan's choice of date. If all goes well with the weather conditions, Sherpas from both Altitude Junkies and Himalayan Experience will collectively fix ropes to camp one the day after the Puja and hopefully explore the route to camp two.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #4 - August 31, 2014 - Sama Goan

Our third day in Sama Goan sees our team members once again go for a nice long walk to gain some altitude. Sama Goan is located at roughly 3,500 meters, or close to that elevation, so the jump to base camp is 1,400 meters. There is nowhere to camp on the trail to base camp so we will spend four nights at Sama before making the big jump to base camp.

We have already sent over one hundred porter loads to base camp and still have quite a few more to send over the next few days. All of our climbinbg Sherpas, except for Dorjee are now at base camp. Our kitchen staff are still here at Sama Goan with our team members and taking good care of us, and as usual, all the team members look forward to the daily happy hour, a Junkies tradition.

All going to plan, the team will be complete when all the climbers and kitchen staff head to base camp on September 2nd.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #3 - August 30, 2014 - Sama Goan

We all arrived in Sama Goan early yesterday after taking private helicopters from Kathmandu for the 40 minute flight. Scenic to say the least.

We settled into our regular lodge where we are sharing the accommodation with the only other team present at Manaslu at the moment, Himalayan Experience. Our team members have been chatting with each other about the climb and everyone is looking forward to heading up to base camp in several days.

Everything is going to plan except for an increase in the local porter rates, who carry the loads from Sama Goan to base camp. We are unable to use porters from other villages so we are basically at the mercy of the local villages. Russell Brice from Himalayan Experience and myself are going to meet the village elders in a few days, as we did last year in regards to porter loads, to discuss the rate hikes and see if we can all come to an agreement that works for all the teams climbing on Manaslu this season.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #2 - August 21, 2014 - Kathmandu

Several of our Sherpas are already at Manaslu base camp establishing our campsite for the team members arrival in early September, whilst the majority of the Sherpas will leave Kathmandu in a few days time.

This years Junkies Manaslu climb is once again an international affair with climbers from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, the UK and the USA, and the all important Nepal Sherpas making our team complete.

The monsoon is still doing it's thing here in Nepal so hopefully we get a little break in the weather for our helicopter flights to Sama Goan in several days time.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #1 - August 17, 2014 - New York

Pasang Sherpa and I are both on our way to Kathmandu, Pasang is in Sao Paulo, Brazil and myself in New York. We both flew from Lima yesterday and both leave our respective cities this evening for flights to Doha and then arrive on Tuesday in Kathmandu.

Some of our team members start to arrive in Kathmandu in less than a week to take advantage of a few extra days sightseeing in this fascinating city before we take private helicopters to Sama Goan.

We are very happy to be returning to Manaslu for our annual expedition and as usual, we are welcoming back some regular Junkies to the expedition team.

More updates over the next week.

Phil Crampton

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