Manaslu - My first 8000+ mtr climb
Enjoy reading La Ma's experience on climbing the world's eight highest mountain, Manaslu (8,163 mtrs), in his own words. La Ma sumitted Manaslu on Friday 28th September 2018 at 8:41am.
I actually didn't like it when I had to wait for more than two hours to reach the summit, despite being only 20 meters away. I was worried that I might end up getting frostbite on my limbs. I was moving my legs and shaking my hands constantly. It was so funny that Lhakpa dai from expedition base compared the whole situation to people waiting in the monastery for a blessing standing up in a long line which doesn't move at all and it made sense. Well, we laughed (Ha Ha Ha). I forgot everything as soon as I stood on the summit. Opssss. Magic ! :P
I had always dreamed of climbing Everest before I turned 30. I am 29 right now. But out of nowhere I got this wonderful opportunity to climb Manaslu. I thought "it's not Everest, but it's still 8000+ and the world's eight highest mountian. Hell yeah, I am doing it!" The man that made it possible for me was Dr. Nima Namgyal Sherpa (Managing Director of Kaitu Expeditions). Dr. Nima is also Nepal's one and only high altitude specialist and also the Founding Director of Himalayan Medics.
Waking up with this view every morning was just a blessing. Yes, it was not this clear all the time, but for me it added more character to my adventure, which I loved. It was a complete white out sometime and you couldn't even see a neighboring camp, but every second that I spent there was special. Now, the more I think about it, the more I miss it. I feel like I wish I could go back right away. All the singing, dancing, food, jokes, feelings, emotions... man that was amazing.
Our team had a very smooth operation. From camp rotations to the summit, everything went as smooth as silk. Our team of experienced Sherpas , led by IFMGA guide and my own teacher Mr. Nima Tenji Sherpa and also one of the directors of Kaitu Expeditons left no stone unturned in making this trip fun filled and memorable for everyone. The camp setup was great and the food was amazing. Clients were having the time of their lives.
We started our climbing journey with a session on how to use the gears, safety and climbing procedure. We hiked up to a near by cliff and practiced it for a whole day. Staff of Kaitu expedition were very friendly and helpful to the clients. They were answering all the questions of the clients instantly. I think it was that day I messed up with my knee and had to be on pain killer most of the time after that. Sometimes it was really hard but rest days in between helped a lot to recover. We did multiple rotations up to camp 2 for acclimatization and doing that brought me so much of confidence back.
According to the weather forecast team based in Kathmandu, We had a three days (27th - 29th Sep) window for summit this year. We had around 300 people (including clients and staffs from different agencies) for the summit. Most of the teams had finished their rotation by 25th Sep and was waiting for the right moment for the summit push. I realised at that moment, how big decision it is for a team leader to make. Everything depends on him, in a way. Every day was great and joyful. Every step I took upward, during the climb, made me feel like I was one step closer to my dream where as every step that I took down, after summit, made me feel like I was getting close to my victory and reality. Yes, no wonder why people say it's so unreal up there.... Ha Ha ha.
I used my first oxygen at 7, 200 mtrs on the way to camp four. My plan A was try not to use it (Till camp four) but the traffic on the way was crazy and I had to revise my thought. I was not sure about being exposed in that environment for a long time with no oxygen. My hardest few hours of the whole expedition was trying getting down from the summit without oxygen. Half way down I ran out of my first bottle. I had another one with me but I though of not using it thinking I will be at the camp soon. So here is my philosophy about it (lol, Philosophy) When you are in oxygen, you are good. So good that things become normal and comfortable but you forget that it's because of the oxygen you inhaling. Guess what, I felt drowsy and nauseous within 5 mins had to rest every two minutes for the way that was only half an hour. Another mistake I did and only realised it then was I had no tool to open the cylinder even if I had wanted. So, always carry a small knife, lesson learnt. I reached the camp. I was not feeling good. I was back on oxygen straight for half an hour and again everything was good like before. Thank you Wangdi achu (Brother in Sherpa language) for that coffee. It will always be one of the best coffee I ever had in my life. I felt my life back when I was sipping it. We came to Camp 2 the same day and camp 1 the following day.
It's hard to believe that the time flew so fast and everything is a memory now, a sweet one though. It feels like yesterday that I reached basecamp and Nima Tenji sir welcomed me, but it's been more than a month now. I feel like there is so much to say and so much to write (well that's at least how I felt when I sat down to write this blog) but I am running out of words now. I am just having a whirlpool of memories in my head and smiling on my own thinking about it.
At the end all I want to say is I had a great time up in the mountain for almost a month and I especially would like to thank the Kaitu Expeditions team for that. I can recommend them to anyone and please do not hesitate to write me if you have any questions or queries. I would also like to thank my sponsor "Columbia Sportswear Nepal" for the gear (clothing) sponsorship. I would like to thank Dawa Steven Sherpa dai for providing me with "Top Out Oxygen mask and regulator". I definitely topped out with that. My great gratitude to my friend Dhurba Bista for lending me his Summit suit and, last but not the least, everyone who had me in their prayers and sending me warm wishes from all across the world.
Please find some more photos of the expedition below.
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