Himalaya Autumn 2009 climbing season wrap-up : Manaslu reports – desperate rescue attempt ending sadly, Dream Guides’ summit + sky-ski debrief.

(Mounteverest.net) Climbers fought hard for Slovenian Franc Oderlap last week. Seriously injured he was hauled down to BC but eventually perished, according to reports.

Dream Guides’ Guy Willett, who summited Manaslu two days before Franc’s accident and skied down to BC most of the way, has filed a complete debrief on the team’s ascent.

Meanwhile, teams waiting out the current storm hope for better weather next week: snowfall is expected to stop in the next few hours, but the jet-stream might bring fierce winds on the peaks’ upper sections until Tuesday.

Manaslu Manaslu rescue 1oct 2009

A serac hit Slovenians Davo Karnicar (Everest skier) and his mate Franc Oderlap on Manaslu, October 1st, according to Guillaume Hintzy. “Franc sustained severe head-injuries, probably with a brain haemorrhage,” Guillaume reported.

The unconscious Slovenian had to be retrieved from an exposed section and hauled down to BC on an improvised stretcher. The rescue was performed in dangerous conditions; a second serac fell on the climber’s path, narrowly missing them. Guillaume’s complete report is posted in French on his website.

Reports in Slovenian media state that Franc died before reaching hospital in Kathmandu.

Guillaume and mate Michel Vincent launched a summit attempt on October 3rd, hoping to reach C3 in one day and top-out before the forecasted storm. However, an alarming forecast on the way up discouraged them from climbing further. Hintzy is currently back in BC together with mates Michel and Laurence. While other team members have called the expedition off, the three will let fresh weather forecasts decide their next move.

Meanwhile, DreamGuides’ Guy Willett has submitted a summit+ski descent report to ExplorersWeb. Here is Guy’s account:

“We set off at around 2.30am from C4 (7450m) on the 28th. The track from the 27th was blown in but visible. Around dawn the Himex group led by Adrian Ballinger had caught us up at the col/knotch below the first summit (maybe 8050/8100m). Himex team took over the lead using Phil’s/Chinese rope that was fixed the day before.”

“This rope stopped about 15-20m (vertical) below the true summit, where the ridge narrows to a crest. Adrian continued fixing new rope, to the true summit. Once the Himex team had climbed to the true summit and back we continued to the true summit. This was around 9am. Everyone was using oxygen.”

”Emma and I skied from maybe 15m or so further on from the end of Phil’s/chinese rope, about 15m below the true summit. Bonita Norris turned round at this point too, due to tiredness and not wanting to wait for an hour to get safe access to the summit fixed rope. (the 10 member-strong Himex team were taking some time to get to the summit and back as the ridge was delicate, and we did not want too many on the rope at once).”

”Rob Casserley, Doug Allen, Dave Mellor, Helen Sovdat and Val Pithalky all went to the true summit, as did our sherpas – Tindu, Namgul, Lakpa, Tenzing and Nema.”

”Emma and I skied back to C4 in difficult crusty snow and spent maybe an hour warming up our super cold feet in the tents before continuing down. We skied the line of ascent til about 7,200m. At this point the ascent line negotiates very steep ice and we traversed a long way to the right side to avoid these ice cliffs.”

“We then skied down (in great snow) for about 100m or so before traversing back to C3 at the north col (6800m). From there we skied the line of ascent all the way back to ‘crampon point’ – the point at about 5050m where one joins the rocky morraine for the 30minute walk back to BC.”

“I took my skis off once for a short abseil (5m) down an ice wall at about 6250m, as by then we were in white out visibility and finding a safe way through with skis on was not possible. Emma downclimbed maybe 250m in the icefall. We were at BC by 4pm the same day. We stopped using oxygen at C4.”

Finally, Guy has also reported on other Manaslu teams’ whereabouts:

“Of the 3 Chileans, I believe Michael summitted without oxygen a few hours after us and skied part way down – maybe to C4 as he was exhausted,” Guy recalled. “It may be worth noting that all 3 Chileans (Michael, Andres and Daniel) had been very involved with the hard work of fixing the route earlier in the expedition, and were a fine example of good ethics and cooperation on the mountain.”

“We saw Mexicans Badia and Mauricio in BC the day before we left (29th) – they had not summited yet but were staying on to try in the next weather window,” Guy added.

“Chamonix guide Michelle Fauquet and his Canadian client
Derek Mayne
did not summit and left the mountain with us. The rest of the French team seemed to be staying on to wait for the weather.”

“We did not meet the Slovenians but we did see 2 people heading out of BC the day we left, and subsequently heard that a ‘Slovenian’ had been hit in the head by an ice chunk above C1. At the time we were in Samagaun we saw a small helicopter fly past us up to BC, apparently to rescue this climber,” Guy ended.

Shisha Pangma

“While packing up at 3:00am on Tuesday, we saw a lenticular cloud on top of moonlit Shisha Pangma,” Nick Rice reported. “We checked for weather news: forecasts were worse than we expected, calling for high winds and heavy snow for the next few days. We therefore decided to postpone our summit push tentatively close to the 15th of October, when the wind speeds drop and the snow has had a chance to settle.”


“Apparently, the sun will shine again by Friday,” the Basque team on Everest’s ABC reported. “Wind speed is expected to rise up to 70km/h though – too much for a no O2 climb above 8000m.”

“Our only hope is a new forecast suggesting the windspeed might decrease from Tuesday on – should that prove right, we would give the Hornbein Couloir a last try. We will wait for yet another forecasts and, hopefully, will set off on Saturday. Otherwise we’re running out of time and supplies – and BC is getting colder and colder.”


“Forces of nature have prevented us from trying to reach C3 – we’ve been stuck in our BC tents for days,” Chilean Andrés Guzman reported. “The weather should improve soon, but conditions on the route may need some more days to settle down. It is yet too soon to properly evaluate our possibilities though.”

Cho Oyu

“Finally we are getting views of Cho Oyu and it looks very white and cold,” Adeventure Consultants team reported earlier today. “The rotor clouds pouring over the top indicate very strong winds aloft.”

“We have made the decision to hang tight at ABC tomorrow and then, depending on the weather actual/forecast we begin the move up on the 10th,” the team stated.


“Oh boy…a big storm is pounding down on us,” PeakFreaks’ Tim Rippel reported from Namche Bazaar, on aproach to Pumori. “There is a big system in India that has moved in our direction tonight. We’ve been told there are six inches of fresh snow in BC (otherwise a usually dry place).”

** Previous story :

–  Himalaya Autumn 2009 climbing season wrap-up : Storm pounding Himalayan 8000ers, Karakoram 2010 sneak preview.

–  Himalaya Autumn 2009 climbing season wrap-up : Race against the storm on Shisha north side, note about Inaki’s route, and a few season’s records.

–  Himalaya Autumn 2009 climbing season wrap-up : Lock celebrating his 14th 8000er, Miss Oh to give Annapurna a second try, Hiunchuli rescue attempt called off.

–  Himalaya Autumn 2009 climbing season wrap-up : Drama on Shisha Pangma.

–  Himalaya Autumn 2009 climbing season wrap-up : Miss Oh A Go For Annapurna Summit!

–  Himalaya Autumn 2009 climbing season wrap-up : Cho Oyu Trilogy Team Goes Home.

–  Himalaya Autumn 2009 climbing season wrap-up : More Summits, Death on Cho Oyu.

** Read these stories – and more! – at ExplorersWeb.com

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One Response

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