Manaslu, Nepal

Altitude Junkies offer one of the most cost-effective full-service expeditions on Manaslu.

We don't advertise an expedition price and then ask for additional payments at the conclusion of the expedition such as Sherpa summit bonus and kitchen staff gratuities as some of the other operators do. The price you pay the Junkies is the final price.

Our expedition is limited to eight climbers and one expedition leader with a 1:1 Sherpa to climber ratio. Some of the other operators have as many as twenty climbers on one expedition and we feel a smaller team makes for a more intimate and satisfying experience for a climber on Manaslu.

The single leader/expedition manager offers similar expertise as a fully guided climb with a 4:1 climber to guide ratio. Having a 1:1 climbing Sherpa to climber ratio allows each climber a flexible schedule to travel with their own personal Sherpa during acclimatization rotations.

Himalayan veteran guide Phil Crampton who has multiple summits on Manaslu will once again lead the 2016 expedition and this will be his ninth Manaslu expedition.

In addition to an experienced leader the team’s head climbing Sherpa Sirdar will be Dorje Sherpa who was the Sherpa responsible for carrying the IMAX camera from the South Col to the Summit for the hugely successful IMAX Everest film from the 1996 spring season. Dorje has vast experience being a Sirdar on Manaslu and will be directing our climbing Sherpas who have all summitted Manaslu before, some multiple times and their knowledge of the mountain is unrivaled.

Helicopters to Sama Goan
Our expedition will meet in the capital city of Nepal, Kathmandu where we will stay in the beautiful boutique Courtyard Hotel located in a quiet area of the tourist district of Thamel. After a few days in Kathmandu we take private helicopters to the village of Sama Goan, the staging area for all Manaslu expeditions. We plan to take helicopters from Sama Goan to Kathmandu at the conclusion of the expedition making sure that we are back in Kathmandu less then one hour after leaving Sama Goan.

Base Camp
Our base camp is as luxurious, if not more so than some of the other more expensive operators and the food prepared by our highly experienced cooks is considered some of the best available in the Himalayas.

Each climber is provided with a personal Mountain Hardwear 3-person tent at base camp, which is insulated with a foam floor covering and complimented with an extra thick foam mattress.

For group occasions we provide a Mountain Hardwear dome both for dining and another as our recreation dome. The dining dome has large padded chairs and is spacious, carpeted, heated and lit by solar electricity. Our recreation dome has the same facilities as our dining dome but with the addition of computers and satellite internet modems, satellite phones, a wet bar and library with comfortable seating.

We provide a carpeted, heated and solar-lit toilet and shower tent with flushable toilets, stainless steel wash sinks and hot water on demand propane heated showers. We make it a policy at Altitude Junkies to remove all human waste from base camp and have porters carry our toilet drums to a lower village where it can be disposed of properly.

The Kitchen
The head and assistant cooks have all been trained by western chefs in food preparation and strict hygiene standards and produce a varied and nutritious western menu throughout the expedition. They prepare three delicious hot meals a day as well as preparing an amazing array of appetizers for our customary early evening cocktail hour during rest days at base camp. We use local fresh produce and meats and these are complimented by a huge selection of imported foods and snacks.


Climb Strategy
We follow a cautious acclimatization schedule at base camp spending two to four nights there before taking our first trip onto the Manaslu glacier. We plan only to climb on the glacier a maximum of three or four times and this includes the summit push. Our schedule usually sees us make our first climb from base camp to camp one to drop off loads and then returning to base camp the same day.

After more acclimatization and the progress of the fixed ropes being placed up to camp two, we climb to camp one, spending the evening and then explore the route to camp two, spending the evening if possible before returning to base camp the following day. We continue our acclimatization schedule with another night at camp one and camp two before tagging camp three or sleeping there if conditions allow, then descending to base camp.

The summit push will see us make our final climb on the glacier and climb to camp one, two, three and four respectively before leaving for the summit from the high camp in early hours of the morning.


The Route
The climbing begins immediately out of base camp as we step onto the Manaslu Glacier. The route will be heavily crevassed and we will place bamboo marker wands and fix rope over the more dangerous sections. The climb from base camp to camp one takes between 2-4 hours.


Camp one sits on a protected shoulder at the head of the Manaslu glacier at the foot of the North Peak, a separate satellite mountain of Manaslu. The route continues up steep slopes, which lessen as the route progresses, weaving between seracs. There will be fixed ropes in place on most of the route from camp one to camp two. This is the most technical section of the climb and takes between 3-6 hours. Some strong climbers skip the night at camp one on their second trip up the glacier and climb directly from base camp to camp two.

Camp two is located at the top of the serac section of the climb on a somewhat flat area safe from danger, although this campsite can receive a lot of snow accumulation. The route continues up the upper glacier before increasing in steepness as we start to approach camp three. This camp is notorious for experiencing strong winds and we need to make sure our tents have bombproof anchors. The climb from camp two to camp three is one of the shortest on the mountain and takes between 1.5-3 hours.


Camp three is placed on a flat saddle that sits just below the col, hence the reason this campsite receives strong winds frequently. The route continues up the remaining glacier weaving through seracs with some short steep sections of ice and snow which will have fixed rope in place for safety. There is an exposed traverse with remains of past expeditions in the shape of old abandoned and destroyed tents which takes us to high camp, camp four. The climb from camp three to camp four takes between 4-8 hours.

Summit day will start late evening or early morning depending on the conditions and the route heads up a moderate slope immediately out of high camp before arriving at the first of the summit plateau's. The route climbs three separate tiered plateaus before arriving at the final pyramid slope. From here another short steep slope below the immediate summit is climbed until reaching the fore summit. The true summit is reached with an exposed technical traverse for around 70 meters in linear distance and this section will have fixed rope in place. The climb from camp four to the summit takes between 4-8 hours with 2-4 hours for the descent to camp four.

High Altitude Camps
Mountain Hardwear 3-person tents will be used at high camps and these will be occupied by two persons up to the highest camp where we usually place three persons per tent for warmth. All high altitude food, stoves and cooking gas will be in place and members are only required to carry their own personal gear during the expedition.

We provide medical oxygen, portable altitude chambers and comprehensive medical chests at base camp. The higher camps also have medical kits and we also ask that all climbers carry individual micro high altitude medical kits at all times above base camp as the Sherpas and leader does. All climbing members and climbing Sherpas wear a personal avalanche beacon above base camp.

For constant communication we have all climbing members, climbing Sherpas and guides have their own personal two-way radio at all times on the mountain. We also have base station radios at base camp and have these active at all times when members and Sherpas are on the mountain.

Our satellite phones and satellite internet modems are available for our team members to use at base camp at actual cost price as we feel charging an outrageous amount to phone or email family is unfair during such a long expedition.

Weather Forecasts
To ensure the safety of all our climbers we subscribe to a professional weather forecast service for the duration of the season and have access to this information at all the respective base and high camps and receive constant updates during our summit push.

8,000-meter peaks are a serious undertaking and climbers need to be aware there are certain risks that are out of the control of Altitude Junkies. We prefer to describe our Manaslu expedition as professionally managed rather than guided. A true guided expedition is where the guides have UIAGM certification, which is the only internationally recognized qualification for mountain guides. If you need to be guided, look for guides with full UIAGM certification.

Altitude Junkies does not allow any solo climbing above base camp on any of our expeditions.

Photo credits: Phil Crampton - Manaslu from base camp. Manaslu as seen from Sama Goan and the view on the trek from Sama to base camp. The Junkies base camp and our internet cafe dome. View from camp one and a climber ascending towards camp two. Sherpas establishing camp two. Sammy Mansikka - View of the North Peak from camp three.

The expedition cost includes:
· Single accommodation with breakfast in Kathmandu as itinerary
· All transportation and meals in Nepal as itinerary
· Porters for personal gear to base camp and return
· All meals at base camp
· Group Nepal climbing Sherpas
· Group Nepal cooks at base camp
· Expedition permit, peak fee and conservation fees
· Liaison Officer expenses
· Garbage Deposit
· Base camp and high camp tents
· Group climbing equipment, stoves and fuel
· Two-way radios
· Medical kits, portable altitude chamber and medical oxygen
· Supplementary climbing oxygen, mask and regulator
· High altitude freeze-dried meals
· Climbing Sherpa summit bonus and carry bonus
· Kitchen Sherpa staff gratuities
· Helicopter flight from Kathmandu to Sama Goan to Kathmandu
· Satellite phone and satellite internet use at cost price
The expedition cost does not include:
· Airfare to and from Nepal
· Meals and drinks in Kathmandu
· Alcoholic beverages in Kathmandu
· Bottled beverages and Sodas in Sama Goan
· Nepal visa costs
· Evacuation costs, medical and rescue insurance
· Personal climbing clothing and equipment
· Personal Puja contribution

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