Having started her 8,000 metre quest just 45 days ago, Kristin and Lama Sherpa now have completed 9 of the 14, 8,000 metre peaks, with her ascent of Manaslu on 10 June. This includes all the peaks in Nepal, as well as Shishapangma in Tibet.
That is 9 – 8,000 meter peaks in an average of one every 5 days. Incredible and almost unbelievable. A number of these will be done in close to, if not record times.
Kristin attempted to start her season early on Manaslu this year, but deep snow, avalanches and stormy weather forced her to abandon that and head for Tibet, where she completed Shishapangma, a stunning and solitary peak and the only one located completely within Tibet. Manslu, from a rather unique angle, looking across from Himlung Himal summit, towards the East. Photo: Robert Mads Anderson
She followed that up with a climb of Cho Oyu from the Western side on the normal route, before heading back for Nepal to climb Makalu, Kanchenjunga, Everest – and a mere 8 hours later, Lhotse. She then polished off both Dhaulagiri and neighboring Annapurna in short succession. From Manaslu Base Camp to the summit was accomplished in a few very full days. With other climbers having long left the area, like on Annapurna where she had a team of 7, she again had reinforcements, a small army one might say, of exceptional Sherpa climbers, without whom this venture wouldn’t be possible. She summited Manaslu early this morning and is now headed back to Base Camp.
Just prior to Manaslu, she summited Annapurna, the morning of 5 June, 73 years and 2 days after its first ascent by the French team of Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal, in 1950.
Her Manslu ascent was also completed in a style that has become commonplace for her – a helicopter flight into Base Camp, climbing immediately, going as high as possible, a quick camp, another day or two of climbing, then an overnight ascent to the summit, then what seems to be, virtually a run back to Base Camp and a flight out.
On all her climbs to date she has been accompanied by Lama Sherpa, with other Sherpas in support on the various peaks. On Annapurna she had an additional 6 highly talented and very fast Sherpa; including Tenjing Sherpa, Pasang Nurbu Sherpa, Lakpa Temba Sherpa, Mingma Tenjing Sherpa, Pasang Sherpa and Lakpa Gyaljen Sherpa. Manaslu weather, the monsoon holding off, relatively warm, a touch of snow, low winds – all-in-all a very good decision to climb right now it seems.
While some may find her support team rather large, the actual climbing experience, with a single team on a very large mountain, climbing quickly up the mountain, would most likely be a great experience.
With the competitions around the new wave of climbathons popularized by Nims, Kristin has used KristinHarila.com as a place to document exact times, tracks and details of each of her ascents to allay questions about details around her ascents. She has also, technology allowing, has her climbs up on a GPS tracker, which makes it easy to see and follow each of her climbs in real time.
Her approach to the climbs, while attempting to do them all so quickly, has also allowed for a climbing approach that is very flexible. When climbing the 8,000 metre peaks, climbers have traditionally gone from camp to camp, dictated as much by terrain and altitude, as the carrying capacities of their Sherpa.
With a small, super fit, and most importantly, superbly acclimatized team, you can simply climb depending on conditions. You don’t need to hold to a specific time-table. You climb as fast as you can, rest when needed, and carry everything with you. You have your last stop where you feel you can reach the summit from. Then you set off lightly weighted to the summit. You have no dome tent in Base Camp, no masseuse, and certainly none of those wasteful rest days along the way.
Kristin reported on having excellent conditions in a season and at a time of year few will have visited Manaslu:
“It was really amazing conditions on the mountain, I couldn’t believe how different it was from the autumn last year. When we came up to C4, I knew it would be much faster. The conditions were unbelievably good and we went so fast up, we reached the summit after 10h!“
Climbers have most commonly in recent years been going to Manaslu earlier and earlier in the fall season, facing deep snow and avalanches at the tail end of the monsoon. This has proved very dangerous, with a number of deaths last season, include Hilaree Nelson’s, and eventually the retreat of most of the teams. Kristin summited early that season, but in conditions that were certainly far from ideal.
Now she will be off to Pakistan and the Karakoram giants of Nanga Parbat, K2, Broad Peak, and Gasherbrum 1 and 2. Last year she did them in this order and time frame:
Nanga Parbat – 1 July, 2022
K2 – 22 July, 2022
Broad Peak – 28 July, 2022
Gasherbrum II- 8 August, 2022
Gasherbrum I – 11 August, 2022
Hopefully conditions will prove good, the slopes and rocks will behave themselves and the weather will shine on them.