On September 27th, Pemba and I got up at 2 AM. Pemba cooked some porridge and then we left Camp 4 for the summit attempt. David, Hari with his sherpa, and Mingma’s team left at the same time. Despite the fact that it had been full moon only a week ago, it was quite dark as the moon was hidden behind the clouds. Although very cold, there was hardly any wind, which is optimal for climbing at this altitude. We steadily progressed as the actual climb from Camp 4 to the summit is technically not difficult at all, apart from the very last stretch since the summit is actually the top of a steep, narrow snowy ridge, where Mingma would fix the rope. Pemba kept a decent speed and overtook several other climbers, although I thought every now and then that a slow speed wasn’t too bad to keep breathing decently.
Sunrise at Manaslu
Around 6 the sun rose which made the climbing easier, we progressed steadily, and a couple of hours later we reached the summit with glorious weather. Actually, the top ridge is soo small (and pretty steep, so I was really glad with the fixed rope) that it allows only 2 or 3 climbers at the same time. There were a few climbers before us, so Pemba and I had to wait a bit before we could climb the final stretch and reached the 8163 m of the summit.
After summitting we swiftly went down to Camp 4. Pemba suggested to go all the way back to Manaslu Base Camp. After a short rest and some eating, the tent and our sleeping bags, mattresses etc. were packed up and we went down around noon. Although steep, the stretch to Camp 3 was pretty straightforward. We packed up Camp 3 as well (Pemba carrying a lot of stuff !) and we went on to Camp 2, that was also packed up. The subsequent stretch to Camp 1 was quite spectecular since a lot of the steep parts had melted away and had become even steeper. Luckily we didn’t have to climb them up but could rappel most of them.
Rappelling to Camp 1
By the time we finally reached Camp 1, it was already quite late. Nevertheless we packed the stuff and Pemba had an absolute fabulous amount of material on his back. Apart from the fact that we were getting tired, this huge load made us descend rather slowly. The sun set and it became darker and darker, it was getting foggy and subsequently it strarted snowing. It took us forever to get down from the glacier to Crampon Point. At the time we reached Crampon Point, we were very cold and had to find our way through the morene in the dark. Finally, shortly after 8 PM,we finally reached base camp, totally exhausted. The camp staff brought hot drinks and cooked some food and around 9 h I went to sleep.