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January 10, 2020

Romancing with Mt. Manaslu

Anup Gurung 

 

Anup Gurung during Manaslu climb

Hi, Everyone! Are you a mountaineer? Have you climbed peaks above 6000 m. in Nepal or elsewhere in your lifetime? Well, if you have got some experience then my practical experience of climbing that I am going to share with you will enrich your experience. 

Even if you don’t have experience of climbing a mountain, you may be interested to know what climbing is and how it is climbed and my experience will be quite interesting for you even as a piece of information. Ok, here it is.

I am an international mountaineering guide. My name is Anup Gurung. I was born in the Gorkha district at Swara-5. Now, I am around 32 years old and I am inspired to follow the footsteps of my father Santa Bahadur Gurung, who is also a mountain guide.

I embarked upon the mountain climbing field from the year 2008. In this season, I climbed Mt. Manaslu (6163m) about which I am going to narrate.

I have already climbed several other mountains including Mt. Everest at least three times from China and Nepal side. But this time I was with a Japanese expedition team to climb Manaslu peak. I have ventured to work as a rescue guide in the Dhaulagiri region in 2014.

However, this time my experience sharing is limited to Manalsu peak ascent along with the Japanese expedition team. In this season the craze to climb Mt. Manaslu has surprisingly increased more than the craze for the ascent of Mt. Everest. 

This was my second time to climb Mt. Manaslu. This time I was guiding a Japanese team of an expedition to Manaslu. Our expedition team set off on the expedition on 27 September at around 7 o’clock and 20 minutes. The Japanese expedition had already summited several other peaks including Mt. Everest. So, it was not a difficult climb for us.

First Day

On the first day, our expedition team for Manaslu moved from Kathmandu on August 22. From Kathmandu, we traveled and passed through Gorkha bazaar, Ghyampesal, Arughat and reached Arkhet. We stayed overnight at Arkhet.

Although Arkhet falls on the way to the base camp of Manaslu, yet the logistic facilities are not so good at this place. Common hotels are available here. You have to adjust to whatever facilities are available here.

 Second Day 

On the second day on August 23, we headed for Machhikhola from Arkhet. There are a few comfortable hotels here. So we stayed here overnight for the second day.

Third-Day 

On the third day, our team set off for Philim. We confronted some difficulty due to bad weather and the road which was under construction at that time. We kept moving upwards with frequent interruptions. We observed the view of how Nepal army personnel were engaged in blasting the rocks to construct the road. By the evening we reached the Philim area.

Fourth Day

We reached Ghap on the fourth day. 

Fifth Day

On the fifth day, we reached Samagaun from Ghap area. After trekking for 5-6 hours we can reach Manaslu base camp from Samagaun. We stayed at Samagaun for two nights. We can’t carry our luggage from here to the base camp.

One person is allowed to carry only 30 kg of luggage. The local porters can only carry the luggage from here. We have to pay them certain wages for carrying the luggage.

Rejoicing after Manaslu climb

Seventh Day

On the seventh day on August 28, we reached the base camp by evening after trekking. After reaching the base camp, we need to make our tents for stay, cooking, and toilet.

One of our friends and one Japanese climber who needed our climbing guidance had already left Kathmandu on August 25. They had passed through Beshisahar of Manang and trekked through Kangla Pass. They passed through Dharapani, Larke, Samagaun and reached Manaslu base camp. Crossing Manang’s Dharapani to reach Manaslu base camp is another alternative route.

My friend who had come from Kathmandu and I had prepared everything at the base camp. So, as soon as climbers arrived at the base camp, we worshiped on the day of September 9 and on September 10, we embarked on our expedition.

Bad weather forced us to stay at the base camp for two days. The climbers also got the time to acclimatize themselves. At last, we reached camp III by passing through camp I and II. The weather again worsened as we reached camp III. So, we had to retreat to base camp again.

We set off for our Manaslu expedition again on September 23 after staying at base camp for one week. We stayed one day at each of the camps up to camp IV and headed to reach atop Manaslu peak from camp IV at around 2 a.m.

On September 27 our team reached atop Mt. Manaslu at around 7:20 a.m. Since I had already climbed Manaslu, it was easy to reach atop Manaslu. There is a steep route in between base camp I and II. Although it is a little difficult to climb this steep route yet it was very easy to climb other routes.

Usually, the avalanche is one of the dangers en route to Manaslu due to snowfall in this region, yet this time we did not see any avalanche on our route.

(Based on a conversation with international mountaineering guide Anup Gurung)

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