Altitude Junkies summit Manaslu

Huge congratulations to the 15 members of the Altitude Junkies team (6 clients, 8 Sherpas and expedition leader Phil Crampton) who have just returned safely to Samagaon after summiting Manaslu on Monday.

The Altitude Junkies team ready to leave on their summit push
The Altitude Junkies team ready to leave on their summit push

Ten days ago they were lying in their tents at Camp 2 when a huge avalanche struck, uprooting their tents and catapulting them five metres down the mountain. Up at Camp 3 eleven people died and many more were injured and helicoptered to safety.

Many people understandably abandoned their expeditions after the avalanche, and I think I would have done the same. But these guys are made of stronger stuff. It’s hard to imagine what they must have gone through, but they dusted themselves down, licked their wounds, waited for a suitable weather window and went back up.

I was particularly pleased for three of the summiteers. Mila Mikhanovskaya reached Camp 4 on Manaslu with us last year, but was suffering from cold fingers and didn’t make a summit attempt. A few years ago I spent two months on Gasherbrum in Pakistan with wise-cracking Canadian Gordon Ferguson, but we had atrocious weather and weren’t able to make a summit attempt. Although he reached the fore summit of Broad Peak many years ago he has had a lot of bad luck on 8,000 metre peaks and this was his first true summit, which he did without supplementary oxygen. Nobody deserves it more. Chongba Sherpa reached the summit of Manaslu for the second time. I stood on the summit with him this time last year, and owe him a great deal. I’m absolutely thrilled to see him there again in so very different circumstances. 

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