It is a very different year from last here at Manaslu when I summited this beautiful mountain, most importantly, my amazing wife, partner and biggest cheerleader Sandi is with me. Although rain was off and on during the trek to base camp, it has been brilliantly sunny since we arrived and the scenery is simply stunning. This has meant that we have been making great progress on the mountain. Today, the ropes were fixed with a combined effort between teams all coming together for a common cause- getting to the summit safely. The team has all been to C1 (18,700') to sleep and tomorrow everyone will again go to C1 to stay and will then do a day trip to C2 (21,000') before a small band of bad weather might come. We considered to go today and try and stay at C2, but really the amount of effort required and for the possibility of just one night at C2 does not make much sense. Just a simple matter of risk vs. reward and expense of energy.
The route to C2 seems to be steeper at the bottom than it did last year when I climbed Manaslu, but easier on the upper part. However, a four section ladder was set about half way up. According to the guides, every year it seems that they need more ladders here on Manaslu and already they have used 11 in order to set the route this year.
With this great weather, temperatures might be getting warmer than normal and we still have only had one night that it went below zero at base camp. This morning, as the Sherpas were travelling between C1 and C2 there was a big avalanche from the adjacent ridge of Manaslu. The guides were surprised to see that this had not already slid before we all arrived as this is normally one of the best indicator slopes to judge avalanche and snow stability. But, the height of the head wall shows how much new snow has fallen. So although sounding somewhat frightening, this is actually a good indication.
More to come soon as we acclimate here at Manaslu!