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Himalayan Peak Manaslu Climbed in Winter

This is only the fifth expedition to ever reach the summit in winter, the last was 25 years ago

A team of seven climbers have made history by reaching the summit of the world’s eighth tallest mountain in winter. Manaslu stands at 8,163 metres. Tenjen Sherpa, Pasang Nurbu Sherpa, Mingtemba Sherpa, Chhepal Sherpa, Pemba Tasi Sherpa, Gyalu Sherpa and Alex Txikon reached the summit on Jan. 6. Manaslu has not been climbed in winter for 25 years.

The seven climbers who reached the top of Manaslu today climbed from base camp to the summit quickly. They left camp two on Thursday and made camp three at 6,900 metres. Italian climber Simone Moro was meant to be in the summit team, but turned around due to health issues.

Manaslu had only four expeditions and a total of 15 people successfully summit in winter. The first winter ascent was on Jan. 12 in 1984 by Maciej Berbeka and Ryszard Gajewski. Then in 1984 a Japanese team summited, in 1995 a Kazakhstan team was successful and finally in 1998 Korean and Nepali climbers stood on top.

During Himalayan winters, temperatures drop to -40C, even at base camps. Climbers have said that their eyelids temporarily freeze to their eyes every time they blink. Incredibly strong winds strip rock faces of snow, making climbing more physically demanding, time consuming and deadlier than in summer. For decades, it was believed that climbing mountains over 8,000 metres in winter was impossible, but in 1980 two Polish climbers, Leszek Cichy and Krzysztof Wielicki stood atop Mount Everest in the dead of winter.

Manaslu is part of the Nepalese Himalayas in the west-central part of Nepal, the name means “mountain of the spirit” and is derived from the Sanskrit word manasa, meaning soul. It was first climbed on May 9, 1956, by Toshio Imanishi and Gyalzen Norbu, members of a Japanese expedition.