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Prayer flags above Dingboche. Lhotse and Island Peak in the background.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Nepal 2011, Manaslu, Journal Entry 8

After sitting around base camp for days in a never-ending rain and mist, we awoke this morning to sunshine.  It was a huge boost to all of our outlooks.  This morning Phil (expedition leader) received his weather report from Michael Fagan in the US and it is a pretty good forecast with low winds (less than 20 mph on the summit), temps around 0 Fahrenheit and very little snowfall. Phil says that Manaslu weather is typically pretty stormy and his experience shows that it is always wise to take the first weather window available and not count on a second opportunity. With all this in mind, we have jointly decided to head for the summit tomorrow - Friday the 23rd.  It will be tough because we have only had about two weeks to acclimatize vs the six or more weeks you take on Everest.  Manaslu is 2,200' lower and has very easy exit possibilities if one runs into trouble.

We will leave base camp after lunch and go to Camp 1.  We will climb to C2 on Saturday, C3 on Sunday and C4 on Monday.  We will then attempt the summit on Tuesday, leaving around midnight on Monday night. The idea is to arrive at the summit shortly after sunrise. I am counting on needing nine hours to reach the top, giving us plenty of time to descend to at least C2.  I am hoping to ski from just below the summit, although it sounds like the C4 to C3 portion must be down climbed.  I have seen C3 to C2 and it looks like great skiing.

We will have the opportunity to try again if we are unsuccessful, but I have high hopes for a good climb.  I know from past experienced that eating and sleeping will be my two biggest challenges and I am bringing up a good variety of food in hopes of finding something that I can swallow.

Phil has made loose arrangements for a smaller helicopter to fly us out in groups of three from the small village of Sama Goan back to Kathmandu after the climb, so if things go well I could be back in civilization some time around October 1 which would be great.

I will email again once I am down from my summit attempt, hopefully with good news of success.

Thanks for reading,

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