Manaslu: until Camp 3
After the exhaustion of the last few days we truly could appreciate the two resting days in the routine of the base camp. The daily schedule consists of breakfast at 08:00; lunch at 13:00 and supper at 18:00. We eat together in the group tent, which is very well isolated and heated, in fact it gets so warm in the evening that we even take off our down jackets. The Nepalese kitchen team gives it their all and this shows in the fan favourite MoMo, which are stuffed and steamed dumplings.
The rest of the time we spend with relaxing activities such as reading, washing, relaxing. We, however, during somewhat more active activities we can still feel the fact, that we are at 4,700 metres above sea level.
Then we had to pack our backpacks again and early on Wednesday we start our trip back to Camp 1 at 5,700 m. Naturally we had left behind some equipment in Camp 1 the last time we visited, which meant that the ascent proceeded very quickly. In the high camp life, with snow melting etc., everybody knew by now what to do in order to get ready for the night. Early in the morning of Thursday we had to pack our backpacks for the ascent to the next camp. Because of the thick sleeping bags, the down equipment etc. our backpacks we filled to the brim and quite heavy.
Shortly after Camp 1 began the icefall zone. It was immediately apparent that this zone, because of the lack of snow, was in very bad shape. We already had to cross the first ladder over a crevasse. Those whose shoe size was roughly the same as the gaps were the lucky ones. In zigzag movements we passed through icefall zones and steep passages with the help of ascenders, ladders and fixed ropes. We also used ice picks and other tools to move forward, restrained only by the heavy backpacks and the always shining sun. Eventually, we made it past the actual icefall zone and the tents of the next camp, Camp 2 at 6,200 m, came into sight. Whereas all other mountaineering groups had reached their goal here in camp 2, Richi had other, more ambitious, plans for us. Richi wanted us to reach Camp 3 at 6,800 m. Therefore, we continue our ascent over an almost never ending slope. The breathing pauses in-between steps became longer and longer and the backpacks became heavier and heavier. However, at the end of the day all of us reached Camp 3, which had been prepared by Sherpas. Here, at Camp 3, we were completely alone with the absolutely astounding view from the slope of this massive mountain. Because of the cold, we soon made our way into our sleeping bags and the following night was appropriately restless for the height.
The next morning we immediately were greeted by sunshine, so that we could eat breakfast and pack our backpacks in a somewhat warmer temperature and a quite better mood. Once again we left equipment for the next higher step behind. The following descent over snow fields and the (this time even worse) icefall zone was surprisingly fast, so fast in fact, that we were back in the Base Camp for lunch.
The happiness about what we have achieved was immediately hampered by the bad weather forecast. For the coming week a bad weather phase was forecast, this meant getting ready to spend some days in the Base Camp. As soon as there are some news worth telling, we are going to report on them.