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At 26,759 feet (8,156 meters), Manaslu is the eighth highest mountain in the world, and is located in the Mansiri Himal, in the west-central part of Nepal. The mountain’s long ridges and valley glaciers offer feasible approaches from all directions, and culminate in a peak that towers steeply above its surrounding landscape, a dominant feature when viewed from afar. Manaslu is considered an ‘achievable’ 8000m peak. The climbing route follows an obvious line that is direct without being too steep. Consequently the climbing is straight forward with little in the way of prolonged technical difficulty, yet there are some exciting sections weaving through ice cliffs below Camp 4 and a delightfully exposed ridge on the final arête to the summit. We will place four camps on the mountain above Base Camp and employ a proven acclimatization program in our build-up to the summit bid.
As we prepare for 2016, we continue our tradition of leadership and attention to detail. We don’t cut corners. We conduct the absolute best program that we can, and you won’t be disappointed. For Manaslu climbers we are now offering pre-training with a day-10 course in Ecuador, and closer to home, on Mount Baker for 4 days.
Our expedition commences in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Here you will meet your guide and the other team members for an expedition briefing where you will be informed of all the expedition plans from this point. Your guide will conduct a gear check and you can finalize the packing of your climbing duffel that will go ahead for transport direct to Base Camp.
We take a van from Kathmandu to begin our gentle acclimatization hike up to Samagaon, a small village below Manaslu, which is at an altitude of 3500m/11483ft. Samagaon is inhabited by people of Tibetan origin who live much as they did in centuries gone by; subsisting on Yak farming and agriculture. A large monastery (or Gompa) is situated overlooking the village. It is an active monastery whose Lamas are ordained through succession meaning that when a Lama dies, the oldest son becomes the next Lama in the chain. We base ourselves at a lodge in the village utilising the trails on the hillsides and trekking routes around the mountain to develop our acclimatization for a further two nights. Having taken the time to adjust to the new elevation we then move up to Base Camp at 4800m/15,748ft.
Over the following three weeks we will establish four camps on the mountain:
The route up to Camp 1 involves climbing over grassy slopes, rock slabs and moraine, followed by a crevassed glacier with occasional small ice steps to Camp 1 at 5700m/18,700ft. During seasons with more snowfall there may be snow around Base Camp and below. Views of the surrounding peaks will add reference to the uphill climb and the team will enjoy seeing more of the upper part of the mountain, as high as Camp 4, from the trail to Camp 1.
The route to Camp 2, at 6,200m/20,341ft, is considered the technical crux of the climb with fixed ropes for security on the steeper parts. The terrain features long 40 degree snow slopes with a few vertical ice steps where brief sections of front-point cramponing is required with the aid of fixed ropes.
Above Camp 2 the slopes ease off with fixed ropes on intermittent steep sections but in general the route to Camp 3 (6,900m/22,637ft) is relatively straightforward. Acclimatised climbers can complete this leg in approximately 3-4 hours.
From Camp 3 there is 550m/1800ft of strenuous climbing to Camp 4 at 7,450m/26,781ft. A well- deserved rest and rehydration will greatly increase your enthusiasm for a summit bid early the following morning when you set out for the climb.
Summit day will start well before dawn and the climb should take about 6-7 hrs. The guides will nominate a ‘turn-around’ time and this will be strictly enforced. The climbing is not technical in the early part as we ascend through several basins with short headwalls connecting them. The climb passes the false summit and finishes on an exposed ridge through to the true summit for an unforgettable vista. Our strong guide and Sherpa team will fix ropes, break trail and make every effort to assist the group on what will be a memorable day with the objective to reach the summit of the eighth highest mountain in the world!
We descend to Base Camp the day after summiting for a well-earned celebration. A day is spent packing up Base Camp then we drop down to Samagaon to begin the trek out over the next four days. Helicopter flights to Kathmandu are available at a reasonable cost (from US$900 each) for those who would prefer. Members should ensure they have a flexible return airfare in case we finish early or need to extend the trip a few days to allow for weather.
There is no definitive measure for assessing the required skill-level to climb Manaslu so we prefer to discuss this on an individual basis. However, there are some broad guidelines that can be applied from the outset. A successful team member will have been visiting the mountains for at least three seasons and made ascents of peaks up to 18-20,000 feet (5,500 – 6,000 metres). It is quite common for members to have previously climbed Mt McKinley in Alaska, Aconcagua in South America, or various Mexican volcanoes as training for Manaslu. He/she will be familiar with fixed rope and crevasse travel techniques and have a good overall standard of fitness. Age itself is no barrier. To date we have succeeded on Himalayan trips with members aged from 22 to 65 years of age.
A fierce determination and a burning desire to climb the mountain are essential prerequisites for this expedition. The guides and other expedition staff will provide the leadership, tactics and overall decision making required during the climb, but members will contribute to the day to day expedition requirements such as melting snow, cooking in your tents on the mountain, helping with pitching tents etc.
Our guides are some of the strongest on the mountain, and their reputation is virtually unsurpassed amongst other guides, Sherpas, and climbing teams on 8000m peaks On the mountain, you’ll rest comfortably knowing you’ve got the safety, security, and professionalism of a world-class team. Our 2016 expedition will be lead by Willie Benegas, director of Benegas Brothers Expeditions and veteran of Everest expeditions guiding there for over a decade. In addition to his reputation for first ascents around the planet as a The North Face athlete, his success rate for guiding climbers up Mount Everest is legendary. BBE’s guiding ethic is not to climb with mega-sized, institutionalized expeditions, but to run specialty trips with personalized service tailored to individual needs.
In our expeditions, we bring together the best components of high altitude mountaineering. On a BBE expedition, you’ll benefit from our many years of experience, our world-class guides, and the most professional Sherpa team in the industry. We also work hard to utilize new technology and equipment advancements, including the latest weather forecasting facilities, safety equipment, and communications systems. We can confidently say that our expedition offers you the most respected staff, resources, food, and base camp support available.
Willie Benegas first stood on the summit of Mount Everest on May 12, 1999. Since then, he’s summitted a total of eleven times – the second most of any Westerner. Amongst the Everest community, Willie is known for his service on the mountain: fixing the route to the summit every year, performing multiple rescues of other teams above 8,000 meters, and supporting the Everest Cleaning Efforts, which encourages higher environmental standards amongst all climbers on one of the most beautiful mountains in the world. Amongst the members of his expedition team, Willie is known for his energy and enthusiasm, his teaching skills, and the passion with which he builds his team into a group of strong and independent climbers. Whether Manaslu is your final goal or you’re hoping to pursue further high-altitude mountaineering, Willie will ensure that you return from the summit a stronger, more passionate climber than when you arrived.
Phurba Gyaljen Sherpa is from the Solu Khumbu Region and has worked for five seasons with the Benegas Brothers. As well as four Everest summits his has climbed Shishapangma, Cho Oyu and Kanchenjunga. He completed his IFMGA guide’s diploma in 2011.
Under Phurba’s leadership, our Sherpa team can count dozens of Everest summits between them. Their knowledge and experience creates an atmosphere of cooperation and commitment to the expedition and its members, and our Sherpas are regarded as some of the strongest and most conscientious on the mountain. They feel a great sense of responsibility toward both their climbing team and the high mountain environment. Our reputation is so strong, in fact, that we’re proud to say that Sherpas from other expeditions work to pursue a future position with the Benegas Brothers Team.
1st week September Arrival in Kathmandu and departure for trek
2nd week September Trekking to Manaslu Peak Base Camp
3rd week September Climbers 1st rotation
4th week September Climbers 2nd rotation
1st week October Manaslu summit bid
2nd week October Return to Base Camp, pack up and trek + helicopter (included in trip fee) to Kathmandu
Notes on dates: dates listed begin with arrival day in Kathmandu and end when we arrive back in Kathmandu after the trip. Our permits actually allows us to stay on Manaslu into November, and we strongly suggest that you keep your homeward flight flexible so that we can extend into the mid to latter part of October for a summit attempt if need be. We have October 16th as the PROVISIONAL finish date for departing Kathmandu.
The end dates for Manaslu climbs vary, depending on the weather and other conditions. We suggest adding a minimum of a week’s contingency days to these itineraries, and most climbers leave their departure flights flexible until they know exactly when the expedition will end.
Mansiri Himal, Nepal
Sept 4th – Oct 16 2016
$ 22,800 6 minimum
1:3 western/IFMGA guides plus Sherpa support; 1:1 climber-to–Sherpa ratio
Multiple ascents of 6000 meters peaks. experience in cold-weather expeditions. Excellent physical condition; fundamental alpine skills; glacier climbing experience with and ability to perform cramponing and ice axe skills well; and a good understanding of glacier travel procedures including crevasse rescue
To Summit an 8000m peak!
Meanwhile, in an era where most high altitude guiding companies focus on gigantic expeditions for maximum profit with huge numbers of clients, BBE’s focus is on small teams and creating a tight knit group.
As such your experience from arrival, to summit, to departure, will be TOTALLY different from what it will be with a large company. Small numbers allow us to focus on making every member of the team a better climber. This allows our team to be self-reliant and independent of all the other groups on the mountain. Your summit push is not going to revolve around the plans of tens of others, but at the most opportune moment for a successful and safe summit.
Our level of service is unmatched, making our time in base camp a fun, family-oriented, and positive experience as we ready ourselves for the ascent. Our teams are always small with a true family atmosphere, staffed by a Base Camp Manager, and our long-term kitchen crew.
We know we’re not the cheapest deal around, and we certainly don’t want to be. We spend more providing the best leaders, the best guides, equipment, logistics and safety measures – things that many lower-cost programs cannot afford and do NOT have. We don’t cut corners.
• BBE leaders are professionals, and are great teachers as well as strong climbers. All have done numerous high-altitude expeditions, including numerous expeditions in the Himalaya. Our clients enjoy the immense benefit of a core group that has climbed together extensively, producing a team that knows how to work well together. We do not think you will find any other Himalayan climbing or trekking programs that will be led or staffed by persons of the caliber we boast for our Himalayan climbs each and every season. We challenge you to try!
• BBE always complies with all local, state, federal, and international regulations for the countries in which we climb. This includes proper visas and climbing permits, full insurance and equipment for our employees and Sherpa support teams, and complete adherence to all environmental regulations. We take our business and responsibility as an employer seriously!
• BBE Sherpas are top-notch. We hire the same great Sherpas every year, we treat them with respect, we pay them well and they like working with us. Most of them have been on many climbs with us over the years and many of them have multiple Everest summits. Our enthusiastic cooks do a great job and our menus are the BEST in base camp. We also make sure our kitchen and base camp support staff is the best in the business, and well paid, way beyond normal Nepali standards. We take a huge responsibility towards looking after our local staff. It makes a difference!
Willie and his team did a truly exceptional job with the planning of our Manaslu expedition as well as the tough decision making needed whilst dealing with the ever changing weather and force of events involved. This was my 4th 8,000 meter peak and Bjorn’s third. Willie’s reputation as a top class guide in the big mountain world is justified by our safe success.
Charlotte Fox, Fall 2016
4th Sept 2016 - 16 Oct
4th Sept 2016 - 19 Sept
Mansiri Himal, Nepal
$21,400 8 minimum
1:4 western guides plus Sherpa guides support; 1:1 climber-to-Sherpa ratio
We can organize this expedition on a ‘tailor-made’ private basis for groups of friends, families, clubs, charities or any other group. Depending on your mountaineering experience, you may want a BBE leader or go ‘self-led’ with the assistance of local guides. The cost of going private can be surprisingly reasonable, particularly if you take the self-led option. Please contact us to discuss the itinerary and your preferred dates. We will then send you a quote, with no obligation.