With the Debate Over Manaslu’s True Summit Resolved, Climbers are Flocking to Reach it (2023)

Originally published on outsideonline.com

Climbers are flocking to Nepal’s 26,781-foot Manaslu this month, and government officials are anticipating noticeably bigger crowds than normal on the world’s eighth-highest peak.

Nepal’s department of tourism has already issued 394 climbing permits for Manaslu, and officials told Climbingthat they expect the number to soon surpass 400. By contrast, only 193 climbers sought permits in 2021.

Guides and officials toldClimbingthat a variety of factors are contributing to the uptick in visitations—one is the end of a simmering debate about the location of the mountain’s highest point. For several years, climbers have argued about whether the traditional turnaround point on Manaslu was the pinnacle, or whether its true summit was situated on a ridge line several meters away. Drone photos taken in 2021 show that the traditional turnaround point (labeled C2 in the photo)—which for years has been marked with the traditional Nepali flag and Tibetan prayer flags—is anywhere from 20 to 25 feet lower than a point on a ridge line beyond. In some years, climbers also turned around at the spot labeled Shelf 2.

Some climbers and guides are adamant that they were unaware of a higher point, while researchers believe the mountaineering community has simply not wanted to venture past the “foresummit” due to the increased danger required to reach the highest point. Mountaineers must descend from a shelf on an exposed slope, traverse the peak, and then climb up to the ridge in order to reach the true top.

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“We can clearly see a higher peak in every photo taken in the foresummit,” said Thaneswar Guragai, a climbing researcher. “It is not so hard to find.”

The debate appears to be over, and the mountaineering community now agrees climbers must reach the ridge point in order to complete the ascent. In 2021, mountaineer Mingma Gyalje Sherpa—known as Mingma G—of guiding company Imagine Nepal Treks, led a team to the true summit, and one of the members of the group, Jackson Grove, captured and then distributed the drone imagery, which clearly show a disparity in height between the two points. Afterward, the Himalayan Database, a Kathmandu-based group that charts mountaineering expeditions and is the de facto authority on summits, issued a statement confirming that Manaslu’s turnaround point was going to extend to the ridge.

“The Himalayan Database has decided that from 2022 it will only credit the summit to those who reach the highest point shown in the drone picture taken by Jackson Grove,” the statement said. “This change in summit accreditation is recommended and supported by foreign and Nepali operators who we have consulted in Kathmandu.”

With the new summit in place, some veteran climbers are venturing back to Manaslu to reach the high point, as a way to confirm their spot in mountaineering history. Among the 400 or so mountaineers on the peak are multiple climbers who have ascended the 14 peaks that stand above 8,000 meters.

“A number of 14 peak climbers have come to rescale the peak just to make sure they climb the true summit and maintain their 14 peak summiteer fame,” said Pemba Sherpa, founder of guiding company 8K Expedition. “This is going to be the busiest and most crowded season in Manaslu.”

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Earlier this summer, German mountaineering researcher Eberhard Jurgalski, who chronicles mountaineering feats on the site 8000ers.com, said that the disputed summit on Manaslu meant that the list of climbers to ascend the 14 peaks was much smaller. According to Jurgalski, 53 climbers claim to have reached the summits of all 14 peaks above 8,000 meters, but only three of them have reached the actual highest points on all the mountains.

Four of Nepal’s six climbers to ascend the 14 are slated to climb: Mingma Sherpa, Chhang Dawa Sherpa, Nima Gyalzen Sherpa, and Sanu Sherpa. German climber Ralf Dujmovits, who had completed the 14 peaks in 2009, and Spaniard Jorge Egocheaga, who completed the 14 peaks in 2014, are also back.

Sanu Sherpa, who earlier this year finished his second ascent of all 14 peaks, says he never knew that his two previous ascents on Manaslu actually stopped short of the mountain’s top.

“I did not have any idea of real summit and fore summit until this year, when people started questioning my double ascent,” he said. “So, I want to re-climb the peak to reach its real summit.”

On Thursday, a Sherpa team from guiding company Elite Exped fixed ropes to Manaslu’s true highest point for the first time in history, which should make it easier for climbers to get there and back. The first ascent of Manaslu occurred in 1956—Japanese climbers Toshio Imanishi and Gyalzen Norbu reached the foresummit—and 20 years later, a joint expedition from Iran and Japan climbed out to the high point. In its statement, the Himalayan Database said it would still honor climbers who reached the points marked Shelf 2, C2, and C3 in the Jackson Grove photo prior to 2022.

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“As we cannot change history, we will make a note in the database that from 1956—when the summit was first reached by Toshio Imanishi, Gyaltsen Norbu Sherpa—to 2021, we accepted the three points mentioned above as the summit due to a lack of in-depth knowledge,” the organization said.

The Nepal government, which issues certificates for successful summits, has yet to make an official statement.

Guides and climbers told Climbingthat other factors are contributing to the sizable crowds on the mountain. The ongoing closure of the Chinese border due to COVID-19 has kept climbers from accessing 26,864-foot Cho Oyu and 26,335-foot Shishapangma, which has steered more mountaineers hoping for a fall expedition to Manaslu.

“There is no other 8,000 peak to climb anywhere else this season,” says Bigyan Koirala with the Nepali department of tourism. “And a more obvious reason is that, the number of mountain climbers itself has increased globally and so climbers on all mountains, not just Manaslu, has increased.”

Manaslu is also one of the easier 8,000-meter peaks to climb. Mingma G says that climbers often start with Cho Oyu, which is the easiest of the 14 peaks, and then move on to Manaslu.

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“We are getting Cho Oyu traffic this year,” he says. “Manaslu has almost 100 percent success rate, and so is also relatively easy to begin with.”

Rubbing shoulders with the new climbers will be a handful of mountaineers who are chasing records on the 14 peaks this year.Taiwanese climber Grace Tseng and Japanese Naoko Watanabe, are also set to reclimb Manaslu to its true summit. Both mountaineers have already ascended 12 of the 14 peaks, including Manaslu. British climber Adriana Brownlee, who wants to become the youngest 14 peak climber, isback in Manaslu to re-climb it. She had summited it last year.

Norwegian climber Kristin Harila who wants to set a record of fastest climb of 14 peaks above 8,000m is ascending the mountain as well. This will be her first climb of the mountain.

With so many mountaineers aiming for the summit, there is fear of crowding in the tighter areas of the route. Earlier this year, images of conga lines on K2 quickly spread around the globe.

Bigyan said that the Nepali tourism department cannot rule out crowding and traffic jams on the mountain due to the larger-than-normal collection of climbers. The new route to the summit may also create crowds. “The route to the true summit is said to be not wide enough for two way walk,” he said.

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But Bigyan said the longer climbing window for Manaslu could thin crowds out.

Some guiding companies area already coming up with ways to beat the crowds. Mingma G told Climbingthat he may take clients on an alternate route down the mountain, should the crowds get too big.

“We will use this alternate route if a crowd becomes likely,” he says. “So, I don’t think there will be a jam”

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What is the true summit of Manaslu? ›

Manaslu (8,163 meters/26,781 feet) is the world's eighth highest mountain. Also known as Kutang, the mountain is the highest peak in the Mansiri Himal subrange of the Nepalese Himalaya. The peak has featured prominently in Japanese mountaineering efforts.

What is the false summit of Manaslu? ›

So, where is Manaslu's true summit? Traditionally, Manaslu's false summit claims were those by climbers who reached only the col leading to a sharp, angled snow ridge.

How hard is it to climb Manaslu? ›

How difficult is Manaslu to climb? Manaslu is considered an "easier" 8000 meter peak, but all the 8000m peaks are quite challenging. Climbers on a Manaslu expedition should be in excellent physical shape and be mentally prepared for a several week expedition. Many climbers choose Manaslu as their first 8000m peak.

What problems do the climbers face as they climb a mountain the summit within? ›

Breathing at great height is difficult. The climber has to cut the steps in the hard ice and he has to strain every nerve as he takes every step. Sometimes, he curses himself for undertaking such a task. There are moments when he feels like going back for relief.

What is the true summit? ›

An unmeasured summit is one that lacks a specific elevation. It is considered the true summit if it is located above the highest contour line for that mountain.

Who is the climber missing on Manaslu? ›

The body of American ski mountaineer Hilaree Nelson was found on Manaslu in Nepal on Wednesday, ABC News has learned. Nelson was on the eighth highest peak in the world along with her partner, Jim Morrison, when she went missing Monday just below the summit, North Face, her sponsor, confirmed to ABC News.

What is a false summit called? ›

The term is: “False Summit”. A false summit, also known as a false peak, is a term used to describe a point on the trail that appears to be the mountain peak.

Can you climb Manaslu? ›

Manaslu is an excellent stepping stone towards Mount Everest, along with being a remarkable climb in its own right. While the challenge of high-altitude climbing cannot be underestimated, the technical nature of the ascent is moderate.

Which is the hardest summit to climb? ›

At 28,251 feet, K2, which straddles the Pakistan-China border, is about two and a half football fields shorter than Everest, but it's widely considered the planet's toughest and most dangerous mountain to climb, earning the nickname “Savage Mountain.” Unlike Everest, it is not possible to “walk” to the top; all sides ...

What is the success rate of Manaslu? ›

In springtime, the success rate of the Manaslu Expedition stands at only 50%, making it one of the most difficult accomplishments to achieve after the Manaslu Expedition in Winter. The majestic peak of Manaslu, situated in the Nepalese Himalayas, boasts a towering height of 8,163 meters (26,781 ft).

How long does it take to climb Manaslu? ›

Climbing Manaslu takes about 7 weeks, including the scenic trek to Manaslu Base Camp at 4,400 metres. The trekking route remains relatively untouched and is a highlight on its own.

Which is the hardest to climb out of the 7 summits? ›

The seven summits listed in order of difficulty from greatest to least are: Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Mount Elbrus, Russia. Denali, Alaska (formerly known as Mount McKinley)

What are 2 common mistakes when performing a mountain climber? ›

The Don'ts – Common Mistakes From The Mountain Climber
  • Not having the correct position. Make sure your back is straight and flat, not curved or arched and your hips are not raised (your bum shouldn't be up in the air). ...
  • Not letting your toes touch the floor. ...
  • Bouncing on your toes.
Jul 3, 2019

Why is it more difficult to climb a mountain? ›

The correct answer is Option 3, i.e., 'Paths are steep and uneven and one can fall off and die'. The first paragraph of the passage states that paths are steep, mountainsides are straight up and down and there is a danger of falling off. This makes mountain climbing often difficult.

Do you think mountain climbing is a tough activity Why or why not? ›

Mountain climbing is by its nature risky; it can be quite dangerous unless climbers are properly trained. Climbers test their skills, strength, balance, resourcefulness, courage, and endurance as they master hazardous conditions and difficult terrain.

What mountain has never been climbed? ›

Most sources indicate that Gangkhar Puensum (7,570 metres, 24,840 ft) on the Bhutan–China border is the tallest mountain in the world that has yet to be fully summited.

Has anyone ever reached the top of Mount Everest? ›

Reaching the top of Mount Everest — the highest point on the planet at 29,028 feet — is a feat only about 5,000 people have accomplished.

What does reached the summit mean? ›

the highest, most successful, or most important point in something: I certainly haven't reached the summit of my career. Synonyms. apex (SUCCESS) figurative. peak (HIGHEST POINT)

What famous climber is missing? ›

Rescuers in Nepal are searching for the famed US mountaineer Hilaree Nelson after she went missing on the world's eighth tallest mountain. Ms Nelson reportedly fell into a deep crevasse during a ski descent on Monday.

Where is Nims the climber now? ›

Purja continues to work on the high peaks with his Elite Exped guiding company, and earlier this year he led expeditions on Kanchenjunga, Mount Everest, and K2, where he organized a cleanup effort at the high camp. Elite Exped is leading an expedition to the summit of Manaslu this week.

Why is Manaslu called Killer mountain? ›

Towering above the pine forests of Nepal's Budhi Gandaki river valley, the mighty Manaslu is nicknamed "killer mountain" by locals because more than 60 people have died on its treacherous slopes.

What happens during a summit? ›

A summit meeting (or just summit) is an international meeting of heads of state or government, usually with considerable media exposure, tight security, and a prearranged agenda.

Is a summit the lowest point of something? ›

the highest point or part, as of a hill, a line of travel, or any object; top; apex. the highest point of attainment or aspiration: the summit of one's ambition.

What makes a summit? ›

A summit is a point on a surface that is higher in elevation than all points immediately adjacent to it. The topographic terms acme, apex, peak (mountain peak), and zenith are synonymous.

Are you allowed to climb Shishapangma? ›

Shishapangma - Tibet

It is also the only 8000-meter peak located wholly in Tibet, and has only been opened to foreign climbers since 1978. At 8,027 metres (26,289 feet), Shishapangma, is a great introduction to large Himalayan peaks that is easy enough to ski or snowshoe.

What is the easiest 8000 m climb? ›

Cho Oyu is the world's sixth highest mountain and considered to be the easiest of the fourteen 8,000m peaks. As with all ascents at high altitude, the climbing is strenuous and a high standard of fitness is required, but as a peak to experience the thin air at 8,000m for the first time, Cho Oyu is ideal.

Can you climb Annapurna without oxygen? ›

With high altitude comes extreme weather, cold climate, and the risk of altitude sickness. All these factors combined make the Annapurna trek difficult level to strenuous. Being able to do so without any oxygen is a feat in and of itself. A French expedition led by Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal climbed Mt.

Can you walk up Everest? ›

There are many possible routes, but the majority of Everest climbers usually choose between two – the south route in Nepal and the north route in Tibet. Most trekking companies operate in Nepal, as climbing in Tibet has become more expensive and more controlled in recent years.

Is it safe to climb Kilimanjaro? ›

Climbing Kilimanjaro is inherently dangerous due to its high altitude. Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) or altitude sickness is very common on Kilimanjaro. Diamox is a prescription drug effective for preventing and treating AMS.

Is Everest a hard climb? ›

Climbing Mount Everest is difficult.

You have the opportunity to experience an incredible adventure on the world's highest mountain Mt Everest. The extreme difficulty level of Everest mountain also adds value to the adventure. A trek to Everest Base Camp (5,100m) is also required before the ascent Top.

How many people have died on Manaslu? ›

Manaslu is one of the more risky 8000ers to climb: as of May 2008, there have been 297 ascents of Manaslu and 53 deaths on the mountain, making it "the 4th most dangerous 8000m peak, behind Annapurna, Nanga Parbat, and K2."

What is the safest 8000m peak? ›

Annapurna I remains the most dangerous 8000er to climb, with a summit to death ratio of 27%. This is closely followed by K2 (22.8%) and Nanga Parbat (20.75%). Cho Oyu is the safest of the eight thousanders, with over 3680 summits and 50 deaths, for a summit to death ratio of 1.35%.

Can you trek Manaslu without a guide? ›

No, you cannot do Manaslu Trek without guide.

It is not allowed to trek through the restricted path of the Manaslu Circuit on your own. Nepal's Government has restricted solo access in the region. The restriction is, however, for a good cause.

What is the hardest of the 14 peaks to climb? ›

K2, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu, Dhaulagiri, Nanga Parbat, and Gasherbrum I are all harder than Everest. K2 and Annapurna are generally considered to be the hardest, while Kanchenjunga and Nanga Parbat are not far behind. Gasherbrum I would probably be next hardest.

How to reach Manaslu? ›

Your tour to Manaslu Circuit begins from Kathmandu. To start, you can take a direct bus at 6 am and 8 am from Gongabu Bus Park, Kathmandu, to Maccha Khola. Or, you can take the bus to Dhading or Malekhu on the Prithvi Highway and take the local bus or jeep thereafter.

How hard is it to climb V7? ›

V7 and up: The Higher Grades, Grade Ceilings, and Plateauing

It can take five years of training, with at least 3 bouldering sessions per week, to get to V7. Most people never get to V8. Those who get to V10 take a full decade of steady bouldering to get there.

What is the easiest of the 7 summits to climb? ›

Despite its massive size, Aconcagua is considered to be one of the easiest of the Seven Summits to climb. No technical mountaineering skills are required to reach the top via the normal route. For more advanced climbers, however, there is a more technical way up as well.

What is the easiest summit to climb? ›

#1 - Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, Africa

Why Kilimanjaro? Mount Kilimanjaro is THE tallest free-standing mountain in the world AND you can walk right up it. You do not need any technical climbing knowledge or equipment to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

Has anyone climbed all 7 summits? ›

The Seven Summits are the highest mountains of each of the seven traditional continents. Climbing to the summit of all of them was first done on 30 April 1985 by Richard Bass.

Do mountain climbers build muscle? ›

What muscles do mountain climbers work? Mountain climbers are an effective bodyweight exercise that works many muscles. Your shoulder muscles, triceps, chest muscles, serratus anterior, and abdominal muscles work mainly to support your body against gravity while holding a plank position.

Does mountain climbers burn thigh fat? ›

It's a floor exercise with a starting position similar to a plank. It's a mix of cardio and strength training. Mountain climbers target the abs, thighs, glutes, shoulders, biceps, and triceps. The exercise also improves posture, burns calories, sheds belly fat, and improves balance and coordination.

Why are mountain climbers so tiring? ›

You're also working everything when you do the move. "Mountain climbers get exhausting quickly because they're working your entire body," says Melody Scharff, a trainer at New York's The Fhitting Room. "When it comes to an efficient movement, these are it."

How much does it cost to climb Everest? ›

According to pricing data from ExpedReview, the average price of an expedition to Mount Everest in 2023 is $58,069, and the median price is $50,000.

Why is K2 so hard? ›

K2 certainly remains the most difficult 8000m peak due to its steep slopes, altitude and position (northernmost 8000er). Remoteness and cost have little, if anything, to do with this. K2 is not "that remote" since it is so popular. It takes about a week of hiking to get there.

Why is it hard to breathe when climbing mountain? ›

At altitude, the atmospheric pressure is low. Hence, air is less dense. As a result, less oxygen is available for breathing.

What is the simplest answer of why people climb mountains? ›

People climb mountains because it is a difficult task. They take delight in overcoming obstacles. The obstacles in climbing a mountain are physical. A climb to a summit means - endurance, persistence and willpower.

What problems do mountaineers face when climbing to high altitudes? ›

Mountaineers climbing at high altitudes often suffer from altitude sickness, mainly caused by low pressure and hence less oxygen availability. Its symptoms disappear after descending to a lower altitude, but sometimes long-term or even permanent brain dysfunction and damage may occur.

Why it can be adventurous and challenging to climb a mountain how would you prepare if you were to climb a mountain what would you take with you? ›

Ans. Mountain offers many challenges like rough terrain, high altitude, rare air which make it a difficult task to climb the mountain. Due to difficulties involved, climbing a mountain is adventurous and challenging. I will do lot of practice before the actual climb.

What actually are the seven summits? ›

The 'Seven Summits' are comprised of the highest mountains on each of the seven continents of the Earth: Everest, Aconcagua, Denali, Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Mount Vinson and Carstensz Pyramid.

Is Manaslu harder than Everest? ›

But after several research and findings, we came to the conclusion that it's no doubt climbing Everest is Harder than Manaslu. Both expeditions are mesmerizing and exciting in their own way, giving unforgettable memories to the climbers.

What is the hardest of the 7 summits to climb? ›

The seven summits listed in order of difficulty from greatest to least are: Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Mount Elbrus, Russia. Denali, Alaska (formerly known as Mount McKinley)

Why is Kilimanjaro so hard to climb? ›

Climbing Kilimanjaro most days are not very hard because the trails are not steep it's mostly dealing with the altitude, however the summit night is extremely difficulty as this is the coldest, windiest section of your adventure. An ascent of 4,084ft with 49% less oxygen and a descent of nearly 6,870ft.

What is the hardest Mount Everest climb? ›

Of all the obstacles to those ascending Mount Everest, the Khumbu Icefall is perhaps the most treacherous. The steep, craggy expanse of glacier skids downhill at a rate of several feet per day, constantly heaving and shifting from the pull of gravity and the pressure of its own immense weight.

What mountain has killed the most climbers? ›

Kangchenjunga, India-Nepal

Kangchenjunga is 8,586 meters (28,169 feet) high–the third highest–and is notorious for killing climbers due to oxygen depletion (hypoxia), exposure, falling rocks, and avalanches. Kangchenjunga has no easy route to reach the summit.

What is the deadliest mountain in the world? ›

Annapurna I (Nepal)

The deadliest mountain in the world is a specific ascent of Annapurna, another peak in the Himalayas. The route is so deadly because of an extremely steep face. Astonishingly, 58 people have died from just 158 attempts. It has the greatest fatality rate of any ascent in the world.

Is Denali or Everest harder to climb? ›

Denali is probably the most strenuous of the Seven Summits. It requires that climbers know advanced glacier skills, rope team travel, and involves heavier load carries. The weather is more unstable than Everest and Vinson, making it a great challenge and incredible training for an Everest climb.


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