6 September 2012, Manaslu Base Camp (4800m) – Great news from the Moguls to Manaslu crew. Greg Costa, Glen Plake and Rémy Lécluse called in to report that they have made their first trip up to Camp 1 at 5750 meters and made their first turns down the slopes of Manaslu!
Glen Plake – “Yesterday we skinned up to Camp 1 and it was so nice to finally get the skis on! The real snow limit is around 5500 meters so it was kind of like skiing Chamonix’s Vallée Blanche at the end of the season. It was a nice day, really hot and pretty dry. Other teams are arriving at base camp – there’s maybe 100 people in base camp now – and they have fixed ropes almost the whole way from base camp to Camp 1. It’s like if someone had fixed ropes up the Mer de Glace – hahaha! [editor's note: the Mer de Glace above Chamonix is a flat glacier that tourists routinely walk around on during the summer without crampons]. I think I’m going to make a battery-powered jumar that would pull me up the fixed ropes. I’ll put a solar panel on my back and get after it!”
Greg Costa – “This place is so amazing, very nice, and the mountains are crazy big. The snow is very, very good, not a problem at all. Tomorrow our camp staff will perform a puja, which is a ceremony where gifts like rice, chocolate and beer are offered to the gods in hopes of receiving their blessings for our expedition.”
Rémy Lécluse – “Yesterday we skied up to Camp 1 just below 5800 meters and skied down to 5100 meters. This was a good chance for us to test our equipment and to confirm that everyone is acclimatizing well. It was mostly old snow with grey ice but the top part was nice, fresh, spring snow. At high altitude the snow could be really good. Above C1 is the most difficult part of the route. It’s not steep – not more than 40˚ average – but there is a traverse that is exposed to a serac above it and there are crevasses and bergshrunds that we need to find a way through. There are about 200 meters of technical difficulties.
Rémy also reports that the weather should be good through the 15th. After a couple of rest days they plan to head back up to Camp 1 and spend three nights there, which would mean that Glen Plake will celebrate his September 9th birthday at Camp 1! As it stands now, the team hopes to ski from the summit around the 20th – 25th September.
In addition, a new challenge has appeared in the team’s attempt to be the first to ski from the summit of Manaslu without oxygen. It seems the rumors of Greg Hill heading to Manaslu to also try to be the first to ski from the summit without oxygen appear to be correct. You’ll of course remember that Greg Hill is the Canadian who set some kind of record by climbing and skiing two million feet (609,600 meters) in one year. Do the math and you’ll fid that this is an average of 1,676.4 meters each day for 365 days. Impressive. Greg is just coming off a successful ski descent of 6470-meter Mera Peak so he’ll be arriving well-acclimatized and ready to charge.
Looks like the race is on to become the first to ski Manaslu without oxygen!