Manaslu is a stunning mountain with an elevation of 8,163 meters or 26,781 feet above sea level. It is also the eighth tallest mountain in the world. Lying in the west-central part of Nepal, Manaslu is also part of the gorgeous Himalayan mountain series.
When we look at its history, this mountain was first climbed successfully by Toshio Imanishi and Gyalzen Norbu on May 9, 1956. They were part of a Japanese mountain expedition team.
Mount Manaslu is considered one of the easiest 8000er mountains to climb after Cho-Oyu. If you are a mountain climber with an intermediate or advanced level mountain climbing experience, this mountain may be a piece of cake for you.
One of the most dangerous natural occurrences that hinders a successful climb toward Manaslu is the possibility of an avalanche. In fact, there was a recent avalanche on Mount Manaslu on September 26, 2022, and October 1 and 2, 2022. Another avalanche happened in Manaslu more than ten years ago, on September 23, 2012.
So, let us dive deep into the world of Mount Manaslu avalanches to learn more about its damage, reason, and the latest update.
The Manaslu Avalanche 2022
The Manaslu Avalanche 2022 occurred exactly on September 26, 2022. The time was around 11:30 AM, Nepal Time. Also, the avalanche location was between Camp 3 and Camp 4 of Mount Manaslu.
Location of the Avalanche
The elevation of Camp 3 and Camp 4 of Manalsu is 6,900 meters or 22,637.8 feet and 7,300 meters or 23,950.13 feet, respectively. So, the avalanche occurred at a high elevation where the reach of rescue missions would have been difficult.
Occurrences During The Avalanche
During the Manaslu avalanche in 2022, mostly Sherpas, guides, and porters of climbers were present in the area. One could see many Sherpas loading items from one place to another. You see, September was a climbing success week for the Manaslu, and the fact overjoyed many Sherpas. So, sadly, their abundance was high between Camp 3 and Camp 4 regions.
Reason Behind The Manaslu Avalanche 2022
An avalanche is like a landslide, but a mass of snow goes rapidly down a slope instead of soil. In addition, it can happen because of a higher degree of slope, like on a hill or a mountain, the amount and strength of snow cover, or an avalanche can also start with a particular trigger, like an earthquake.
However, in the case of the avalanche on Manaslu in 2022, it was caused by a huge amount of snowfall. Further, Yukta Gurung, a Sherpa who was responsible for managing the climbing route of Mount Manaslu, said in an interview with The Kathmandu Post that before the avalanche occurred, it had snowed for 15 days. The avalanche was caused because of it. He also said the snowfall was so intense that the snow was four to five feet deep.
The amount of snow at the Manaslu mountain during the September 26, 2022, avalanche can be seen in this video.
Missing and Dead Individuals
An avalanche is a nasty natural disaster that sweeps away people, camps, and anything that comes along the way. A similar thing happened at the Manaslu Avalanche in 2022 also.
Talking about the dead individuals, Anup Rai, from Sankhuwasabha, a 34 years old man, died directly because of the avalanche. In addition, Rai was a support climber to many climbers who had dared to climb Mount Manaslu. In addition to the death of a Nepali Sherpa, Hilaree Nelson, an American skier, was also one of the unfortunate ones to die that day.
Hilaree Nelson was then only 49 years old and was from Telluride, Colorado, a state in the United States of America. She was skiing down after a successful climb from Manaslu’s peak when she slid towards the south side of the mighty Manaslu over 5000 meters or 16404.2 feet above sea level and succumbed to her untimely death. Her husband, Jim Morrison, posted on Instagram that while he skied first and his wife, Hilaree, followed next, she started a small avalanche that eventually killed her.
While Jim did everything he could to save her on September 26, 2022, he couldn’t possibly find her due to the extreme topography of a mountain. However, his wife’s dead body was found two days later, on September 28, 2022, at 10:30 AM, with the help of a helicopter search and rescue team.
Further, 12 people were stuck and injured because of the avalanche. They were also trapped at Camp 4 of the Mount Manaslu 2022 avalanche. Because of the huge amount of snow witnessed during the avalanche, it buried the fixed ropes that were supposed to be used during the descent. Many people were stuck because they couldn’t climb down from Camp 4 without the fixed ropes.
However, a piece of good news follows. All 12 climbers were successfully rescued and treated for their injuries.
The Manaslu Base Camp Avalanche
Four days after the avalanche between Camp 3 and Camp 4, another avalanche hit Manaslu Base Camp on October 1, 2022. The time was 9 AM, Nepal Time, and the day was Saturday when a gust of mighty snow mixed with icy air took away camps and created havoc in one of the tallest mountains in the world.
The avalanche can be witnessed in an Instagram video. On October 1, 2022, people were happy about their stay at the base camp before the avalanche occurred. As a result of the avalanche, around 35 tents were destroyed or buried under the snow.
Then, the misery train never stopped, as on October 2, 2022, another avalanche took place between Camp 2 and Camp 1 of Mount Manaslu. Dawa Chhiring Sherpa, a guide from Seven Summit Treks, died as he climbed down from Camp 2 to Camp 1 on that unfateful day. The avalanche can be witnessed in this Twitter video posted by Nirma Purja. Nirmal Purja, the protagonist of 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible, a Netflix movie, also had to cancel his Manaslu climb because of the avalanches.
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The Manaslu Avalanche 2012
Now, let us take a tour of the past, shall we? You see, avalanches are quite common on the premises of Mount Manaslu. However, while the more recent ones didn’t have many casualties, the ones had quite a few in the past.
The Manaslu avalanche in 2012 was a deadly one that took the lives of 11 individuals. While the 2022 avalanche was triggered by heavy snowfall, the 2012 one was caused by a serac fall. Serac, a huge chunk of ice, fell above Camp 3 at 7,400 meters or 24278.22 feet above sea level. The avalanche then hit Camp 3, but it also harmed Camp 2 by hitting it with a gust of icy cold wind.
The death was, however, only at Camp 3, where 11 unfortunate people were sleeping inside their tents when an avalanche hit them, and they succumbed to their death. This event took place early at 4:45 AM, Nepal Time, on September 23, 2012, on a Sunday.
Rescue operations were started almost immediately via helicopters. While 31 people were stuck in the avalanche, eight were found dead, while three were never found. The avalanche was so big that its debris was spread 7,400 meters or 24278.22 feet to 6,300 meters or 20669.29 feet above sea level.
Avalanches are one of the most dangerous aspects of climbing any mountain globally. So, when climbing any mountain, be it Mount Manaslu or anything, check the weather as much as possible. Also, having life insurance and a rescue operation on a stand always helps.
#Manaslu update: Following multiple big avalanches & the loss of our dear friends on the mountain, as well as the current & future weather conditions – we have taken the decision to call off this year’s @eliteexped expedition. Safety is our 1st priority. pic.twitter.com/UIRhzVFUZx
— Nirmal Purja MBE (@nimsdai) October 3, 2022