Alex Txikon - winter ascent of Manaslu
At the beginning of the year, the expedition to Manaslu was successfully completed, which took place completely in the winter period (i.e. after the beginning of the astronomical winter). 6 January 2023 is the date Alex Txikon will always remember as the day he stood on top of the eighth highest mountain in the world at 8,163 metres above sea level.
Alex started the "Winter Summits" project on Manaslu on 26 December 2022, when he set up base camp at approximately 5,000 meters, almost a kilometre lower than in the previous two attempts. With Alex, there were also Simone Moro and several Nepalese mountaineers. After several altitude rotations, when they thought and analysed the best possible ascent strategy, one thing was clear and that was that the climb itself had to be as fast as possible. Temperatures were as low as -50 °C and the wind was blowing hard. Nevertheless, it seemed that the weather would calm down in the next few days and the climb to the summit could begin.
The eagerly awaited moment came on 4 January 2023 at 8:00 a.m., when the participants took the necessary equipment and climbed directly up to the second camp at 6,400 metres. They climbed very challenging 1,500 metres in high winds that gusted up to 50 km/h. Temperatures dropped to -45 °C and the water in bottles, which climbers carry between their bodies and down jackets, was freezing. Here Simone Moro was forced to abort the climb due to intestinal problems. He descended back to the base camp on his own. The expedition progressed rapidly upwards and reached the third camp at just under 7,000 metres on 5 January.
Here they did not stay long and after a short hour of rest, Alex and his Nepalese companions set off at 23:00 to reach the summit. It was not an easy decision as the weather was extremely cold and the ascent time was longer than originally planned. Nevertheless, the weather conditions were good, so the climbers decided not to set up the usual fourth camp at 7,400 metres and headed straight for the summit. After a very long, difficult and endless climb they reached the next peak at 7,992 metres. The main peak was already flooded with sun light. Ahead of Alex and his group was the peak where commercial expeditions end, but from the photos analysed before the climb it was known that the real summit was a little further on, over a short ridge. The summit of Manaslu is very narrow and impossible to fit the whole group on. The climbers climbed up and down the ridge one by one until each of them stood on the summit. Then they began the descent, which was undoubtedly the hardest part of the expedition. At 18:00, after almost 60 hard hours, everyone had successfully reached the base camp. Tired, but incredibly happy.Hats off! Congratulations to Alex and his team for this amazing feat. We are so pleased that he relies on Singing Rock equipment to get to the top.