Manaslu 2002 led by Ralf Dujmovits


Ralf Dujmovits who has summited 8 of the 14 8000 meter peaks will lead this team of climbers on Manaslu in Spring 2002. He has reached the summits of K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum II, Nanga Parbat, Cho Oyu, Shishapangma (Main summit), Everest, and Dhaulagiri. 


Manaslu Basecamp (4750m)

AMICAL alpin Manaslu Expedition returns to base camp after summit success 

Very quickly the rest days we had hoped for after the deep snow ascent to Camp II evaporated. Charly Gabl from the weather service in Innsbruck forecasted that the weather would hold only until Friday and that even Friday would only be good until the afternoon. Thus, we found ourselves in Camp I on Tuesday afternoon, one day after the entertaining birthday of our expedition doctor Hannes Carstensen. The sherpas and Qudrat had left during the night to reach Camp II. This time around the ascent to Camp II was less strenuous, and therefore the entire team including Sherpas and Qudrat had arrived by early noon, plus two climbers that joined us, Renzo (Italy) and Gerlinde (Austria) - a total of 21 climbers.

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Although it was a bit windier, the wonderfully clear afternoon was the reward for the long ascent through the heat of the icefall. The Sherpas and Qudrathad reached Camp III for the first time the same afternoon along the technically most demanding part of the route, using the fixed
ropes of the Norwegians that had already been successful.  It was going to be a long and strenuous stage on May 9. Steep snow slopes mixed with ice passages angled 70 degrees, until we reached Camp III - some of us only late in the afternoon. 

Albert and Harald were plagued by bad luck: Albert fell into a crevasse twice during the ascent und Harald lost his down jacket to a gust of wind, which forced him to a long descent. Nevertheless, at 5.00pm everyone, all 21 men/women had arrived at Camp III on 7450m. A great success. Erecting the tents was not an easy task with the early strong storm. Luckily, the weather improved during the afternoon and it no longer took six men necessary to pitch a tent.

May 10 began with a revived storm, after we had all started to cook around 10.00pm. Shortly after midnight everyone was ready to leave, except Paula, who was complaining about extremely strong headaches that couldn't even be alleviated with pain killers. Since she also had a fast pulse and high
pressure behind her eyes we had to assume that she had the onset of a cerebral edema.

Everyone was ready to leave, and therefore I gave Paula dexamethasome for the edema and left with everyone else. A story from Shishapangma, however, which told of a left behind expedition members that died quickly only a few years ago made Qudrat and me turn around soon. In short time we reached the camp and saw that Paula was in a much better state.

Sepp von Rotz summitted between 7.30am and 9.30am together with seven expedition members, our sherpas Danu and Tenzing, Gerlinde KAltenbrunner and Renzo Corona as well as their Sherpa Lhakpa.

The successful climbers of our expedition are in alphabetical order: Alois Bogenschütz, Gianni Goltz, Toni Grassl, Toni Kurz, Reinhard Müller, Dieter Porsche, Sepp von Rotz, Sebastian Wurm. Congratulations!

Just as last year during our successful Nanga Parbat expedition it had proved to be a great advantage that we were two guides for a 8000m expedition and thus able to react to extreme situations. Albeit the return without having summitted was hard for me to bear, but the knowledge of being close to Paula in case of a worsening and the option of trying for the summit the next day helped to deal with the disappointment. During the morning Paula descended together with our expedition doctor to Camp II and was thus safe. 

Unfortunately, the bad luck continued and during the descent from the summit of Manaslu Alois Bogenschuetz's crampons broke a plate of ice and he fell a good 150m down the summit face. Gladly, he suffered only a stretched tendon, a slight head wound and several bruises. Again, Sepp was the savior in distress and after my decision to descent as soon as possible, Sepp and Alois and Gerlinde began the strenuous descent to Camp II, where Hannes gave medical attention to Alois late at night.

Alois had barely gone out of sight, when Renzo Corona came down from the summit and complained of breathing complications and extreme loss of power. A lung edema was starting and thus the most important decision for the next day was clear: priority was to get Renzo down into the valley despite his lung edema. It was too late for this afternoon, which meant spending an ugly stormy night with Nifdepin. Early at 5.30am on May 11 we began to break the tents during the storm and unfortunately it took us until 8.00am until Renzo and I could start the decent. 

The small rise before the fixed ropes became a torture and it took many hours until Renzo and I had passed the many fixed ropes and rappelling stages to finally arrive in Camp II. Even here we decided not to stay - Renzo was to spend his last night on the mountain as low as possible. At 7.00pm, together with Sepp and Gerlinde, we reached step by step Camp I. Phuri Sherpa had met us half way
and accompanied me to base camp where I collapsed into my sleeping bag, completely exhausted, at 10.00pm. Sepp spend another night at Camp I with Renzo and Gerlinde. 

May 12 is a quick story: finally, Sepp arrived with Gerlinde and Renzo at base camp and everyone was back reasonably fit. Alois will take the helicopter for the return, the rest will finish off the expedition with the extreme trek "Around Manaslu". In the evening we had a great summit party and all the other expeditions were invited.

For me, it has been the first time in years that I did not reach the summit of an expedition goal. While painful, the failure changes in light of the mostly healthy return of the entire team with summit success. To guide down a climber with lung edema from 7400m to the valley is in hindsight the greater performance and satisfies me in my job as a mountain guide. I thank you for your interest during the last weeks. Equally, I would like to thank my sponsors SCHÖFFEL Sportbekleidung, GORE-TEX footwear, CICLO Sportuhren und der Sparkasse Bühl, without whose material and financial support I could not have completed my enormous preparatory training. 

Finally, I'd like to thank my colleagues Nicola Roth and Andrea Mueller, and Klaus Friedmann. 

Ralf Dujmovits

AMICAL alpin