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Manaslu 2003 featuring Dan Mazur

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Facts & History
Manaslu, at 8163 meters, is the eighth highest peak in the world. It is located in the west-central part of Nepal, and our team will climb it by the original route. We will be climbing during the "spring" or " pre-monsoon" season, when the hazards of weather and snow and avalanche are traditionally at their lowest. Dan Mazur

Jeff Justman will be co-leading this expedition, his reports are here.

Dispatch 11: Greetings, This is Daniel Mazur writing to you from SummitClimb.com. I apologize if it seems I have not written for quite some time, but we have just returned from the Himalaya, where we had two exciting expeditions and visited with some of the former Maoists. Did you see the article about Daniel Mazur in the May 1st, 2003 issue of Climbing Magazine? It was a surprise to us! Now there is a new Ch-Oyo DvD, just out, and it features Daniel Mazur and friends, climbing what is claimed to be the “most accessible 8000 meter peak in the world”. We are now providing mountaineering training and health care to our men and women climbing Sherpas, through the “Mount Everest Trust”. The Everest 50th Anniversary Golden Jubilee celebration in Kathmandu was interesting, in case you missed it. Now, we are planning our future expeditions to Ama Dablam, Everest, Pumori, Lakpa Ri, and many others, which Daniel will be leading and climbing affordably together with friends, old and new, perhaps you. I would like to invite you to participate this autumn, and next year as well. Be sure to visit me in Seattle this summer and in the early autumn in order to meet with us personally, drink some of the famous Seattle coffee and to climb together with all of us and old and new friends on our very famous local Glaciated 4000 meter volcanoes, only three hours from Seattle. Don't want to climb the Himalaya, but still wish to visit the remote unspoiled beautiful Himalayan environments and cultures of Nepal and Tibet? We have some exciting new trek options for you to explore. Also, we are confirming our annual video-slide lecture schedule for next January and February, 2004, when we will be coming out to visit you, to tell exciting visual stories of big mountains and cultures, and raise money for what we believe are some very good causes. Get in touch with Todd at EverestSpeakersBureau.com if you would like to be involved in hosting and organizing lectures.

Please find below the summary of our spring 2003 expeditions:

1. Just Back from the Himalaya:

a. PUMORI, NEPAL'S MOST CLIMB-ABLE 7000 METRE PEAK, just across the valley from Everest, with constant views looking into the west face (normal route) of the world's highest peak. 7 of our team members and 3 Sherpas summited. At the time, no other teams were climbing this mountain, and the weather was great. The leaders were Daniel Mazur and Jay Reilly. Everyone agreed, the staff of climbing Sherpas and cooks were outstanding. b. MANASLU, THE WORLD'S EIGHT HIGHEST MOUNTAIN, in remote Nepal. We just decided this is the world's easiest 8000 metre peak (yes, we think it is easier than Cho Oyu). Our international team made a democratic (one member-one vote) unanimous decision to be super-safe and cautiously descend the mountain, after we received 13 meters of snow in 30 days, and all of our tents were buried several times (luckily we brought tons of extra equipment). 5 expeditions were on the mountain, and all of the other teams left, too, after two climbers from another team summitted and then were nearly blown off the summit in a 300 metre fall. The weather was very snowy on Manaslu this year, but we were proud to be extremely safe and democratic, and are coming back next year. The climbing was fantastically beautiful and very easy, we just had some unusual storms. The leaders were Daniel Mazur, Jeff Justman and Shane Edmonds was also an assistant leader. Our Nepalese staff of skillful cooks and top notch climbing Sherpas provided amazingly superb service in the face of challenging conditions.

2. WE MET 100 MAOISTS, during a week long trek to our climbing Sherpa's village. It was an exciting but peaceful meeting. Nepal is having peace now, a cease-fire agreement, and appears to be settling down to some calmness. What a surprise, compared to the rest of the world!

3. MAN AND WOMAN SHERPA TRAINING: We are working together with the “Mount Everest Trust” to provide formal mountain climbing training and certification to our men and women climbing Sherpas. YES ITS TRUE! WE NOW HAVE BOTH MEN AND WOMEN CLIMBING-SHERPAS. WOW! In fact, we are proud to include in our trips, and offer for hire, some of the best men and women climbing Sherpas in Nepal and Tibet. GOOD.

4. OUR SHERPA'S VILLAGE, BUILDING A HEALTH CLINIC. Our climbing Sherpas have asked us to build a health clinic in their village. We are working with the Mount Everest Trust and going forward with fund-raising in order to do so. If you know anyone who can donate time, supplies, knowledge, ideas, and funds, please get in contact. Right now, if someone in the village gets sick, they have to be carried in a basket on a friend or relative's back for three days to get minimal if any care, and perhaps no medication because the doctor seems to be on permanent vacation and there is no money for supplies.

5. EVEREST 50TH GOLDEN JUBILEE celebration was a big thrill. We saw leading lights like Ed Hillary, Ms. Junko Tabei, Reinhold Messner, Jamling Norgay, Alan Hinkes, Ms. Pemba Dolma Sherpa, Scott Darsney, Jean-Christophe Van-Waes, and the prime Minister of Nepal. Dan saw his climbing partner from Everest, Roman Giutashvili, now aged 67 years, who still looks like he is 45 years old.

DETAILED STORY OF SPRING 2003 EXPEDITIONS: PUMORI AND MANASLU: I just made the Kathmandu - Bangkok flight by a few hectic minutes. It wasn't looking that good at 10:30 am this morning, when me and health-minister Aryal appeared to be stuck for another day in boiling hot, mosquito-infested, Maoist-dominated, rural-Nepal. We appeared to be hopelessly stranded in this poverty stricken village four days walk from Kathmandu, yet only a 30 minute flight away, when the slate-grey clouds cracked open to spit out a tiny propeller plane, which smacked down onto the mud runway, under the watchful gaze of 50 camouflaged Nepalese army troops and blue-shirted police, hiding in sandbagged trenches. By noon, we were back in the boiling heat of Kathmandu, and after Mr. Murari Sharma of Parivar Trekking made a frenzied delivery of my international plane ticket and two partially packed bags, and I sprinted across from the domestic to the international terminal, I was inside and on the plane, just in time for the 1:40 flight. By nightfall, I was in Bangkok, in order to make my connection to the Seattle flight in a few hours. Certainly quite a "phase-shift", from waking-up in the boiling hot potato fields in the middle of nowhere, watched by sullen Maoist troops and hungry swarms of flies, mosquitos and leaches, to eating barbecued prawns in an immaculate hotel-lobby restaurant. The joys of modern travel, from the fifth century to the 21st, quick as a flash. Another exercise in training for stress-coping.

My little Kathmandu departure story was a final chapter in the saga of the spring of 2003, with our two expeditions, one to Pumori and the other to Manaslu.

Our team of international climbers successfully climbed 7000 meter Pumori, just across the valley with stunning views of Everest. We placed 7 members and three Sherpas on the summit of this classic beautiful peak, which is rapidly becoming known as one of the "most-climbable" 7000 meter peaks in Nepal. Pumori was a fantastic achievement for us, and our second succesful climb of this exciting, moderate, ice and snow peak. Our team moved on to attempt Manaslu, the eight highest peak in the world, located in remote central Nepal. It was a surprisingly fun and easy climb, on one of the most gentle of all fourteen of the 8000 meter peaks. Although the technical difficulty of the mountain itself was quite minimal, the weather posed a massive challenge. Our team was the first to arrive in basecamp, and one of the last to leave. There eventually came to be five expeditions in basecamp, and eventually, all dwindled to only us remaining as the last team, through 6 successive snow storms which totally flattened all of the camps on the mountain, several times, including the higher camps as well as basecamp itself. Luckily we had brought plenty of extra equipment, rope (3000 meters), tents (27), and stoves (30), so our climbing members and skillful and creative Sherpas were able to patch together our camps and keep things dug out to a workable level. Eventually, we estimated that more than 13 meters of snow fell. We had a very comfortable basecamp, and our cooks provided non-stop feasting with imaginative quantities of fresh vegetables, fresh eggs, hot drinks, fresh meats for the non-vegetarians, and massive breakfasts, huge steaming kettles of soup, very tasty desserts, all expertly prepared and served by our 9 kitchen staff.

Then, as our team moved into the high camp, ever higher winds began to howl. Hoping conditions might improve, we set up our tents in the highest camp, but it was so windy that it was impossible to go outside of the tents unless one was to crawl upon one's hands and knees. A team of climbers from another expedition set up their last remaining tent in the high camp near our tents. They apparently disconnected one of our fixed lines from the slope (we later

learned) and, using it as a climbing rope, they put on their supplementary oxygen masks and bottles and headed for the summit. They reached the summit in a howling blizzard in the middle of the day in zero visibility. On descent, one of the climbers tripped and fell and slid, and pulled the other climber down, and roped together, they tumbled and rocketed down the glazed, wind-blasted ice face, for over 300 meters, until they came to a bloody and broken halt in a crevasse. Our team received several emotionally very distraught radio calls and personal visits for help from the other climbing team, and we readied ourselves to perform a rescue. In the meantime, the wind increased to a roaring wall of snow, and we decided to evacuate the mountain, and take the injured members from the other team with us. We saw what had happened to the people from that other team, and knew we did not want the same fate to befall us. We determined that it was not worth the consequences of possible injury and frostbite to summit in such huge snowfall and high winds, and we knew that Manaslu will be there next year, when we try again. We tried to ready the descent route, but were unable to make the first 40 meters, because the other climbing team had removed the rope. Finally, the weather settled enough, and we were able to start making our way down, with our Sherpas leading the way, and helping the injured members from the other team, who had fallen. Another group of our super-strong Sherpas worked their way up the mountain, coming from camp 2, twice in one day, in order to bring hot drinks, and help carry the member's rucksacks. What a delight to see these Sherpas, staggering up through the blizzard to help us and give us cups of hot tea.

It was an epic descent in high winds, but thankfully everyone made it back down in one piece, except for the two battered and limping members of the other team, whose oxygen bottles finally ran out, and a few cases of very minimal frostbite. An Army helicopter landed in a nearby village a few days later, and we stuffed the entire expedition aboard this huge Russian chopper, and heavily loaded, we lurched from the ground, and were dropped in a hot Kathmandu cornfield a few minutes later. Fly a half-hour, or trek out for a week, the choice was easy for us to make, and the expedition organizers at SummitClimb.com paid! Back in Kathmandu, we enjoyed the Mt. Everest 50th anniversary Golden Jubilee celebrations, and touched base with all of our old Himalayan friends made over the last 15 years of climbing the giants like Everest and K2. Now I am sitting on a 747 jumbo-jet typing this last email of the season summing up our teams progress. Its hard to believe this morning I awoke in a tiny hill village of Nepal, where I am working with the Mount Everest Trust to build a rural health clinic in a village with 400 families that has never had any health care. Now, when someone gets sick, they have to be carried several days in a basket to the nearest very crude medical facilities. Because most of our climbing Sherpas come from this very remote village, and have been working hard for us, we feel we owe their families a debt of gratitude, that we hope this health clinic will partially repay.

Also, again with the help of the Mount Everest Trust, we have enrolled 4 of our newest Sherpas, two women and two men, in a 40-day climbing certification course that has a very good reputation as one of the best around. In this class they will learn all rope techniques, glacier travel, rescue, and full technical climbing skills. We are proud to make an investment in their future, and a wise one in ours, as we strive to continue our reputation of employing some of the friendliest and best trained women and men in the Himalaya, to work together with our teams, to achieve our common goal of climbing to the summit together, and back down, in total safety.

Thanks again to EverestNews.com, for all of the fantastic hard work you have been doing, on your unique and badly needed site: EverestNews.com, from all of us at SummitClimb.com. We owe you a huge and rather unrepayable debt of gratitude! I look forward to seeing you on Ama Dablam in October of 2003 and at slide-video lectures AROUND THE WORLD during January and February, 2004, hosted by EVERESTSPEAKERSBUREAU.COM



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