Mount Manaslu: Preparing for my first 8000 meter mountain

Mount Manaslu: Preparing for my first 8000 meter mountain

Read in / lee en: esSpanish

“Great opportunities don’t come everyday — recognize and seize them with every chance you get.”

At the beginning of 2018, after coming off of climbing Aconcagua, high off of life, feeling more alive than ever, I wondered to myself “what’s next?” Looking back, I sure was never expecting climbing Manaslu and heading to Himalayas to be the answer.

Climbing Aconcagua

All I knew was that I felt so incredibly and completely happy.

I looked at my tired, wind and sunburned face and it reminded me of the bitter cold, the wind belting my face, and the beauty of the rising sun contrasting so beautifully over the snow covered mountains. I felt my aching feet and it reminded me of the last 13 days when those feet sunk into freshly fallen snow, slowly but steadily taking me to the top of the Americas. I felt my stiff body and it reminded me of sleeping right there in the middle of Mother Nature.

I knew that I wanted to feel that alive, that in-touch, that blessed… forever.

In Base Camp, I loved looking around and seeing mountain climbers from all over the world. The energy was invigorating and inspiring. I wanted to talk to everyone and hear all the stories.

Mid-march I wrote Sean Wisedale, a South African guide I met on Aconcagua, and said “Sean, I want to climb Everest someday. But, it feels so big and intangible; I can’t envision how to put a path together and have this not just be a dream in my head.

climbing manaslu
Mount Manaslu, 8th tallest mountain in the world; 8.163 meters / 26,7812

Well, as some would say, “Be careful what you ask for…”

No, I’m not going to Everest (yet). But I am embarking on my path there and I am taking a gigantic step in the direction in which I want my life to continue.

I’m off to Nepal. The Himalayas.
I’ll be climbing Manaslu.
Yep, my first 8000 meter mountain (26,200 feet).

Expedition Manaslu
August – September 2019
8.156m / 26,759ft

It’s crazy and beautiful how this universe works.

climbing manaslu
Crossing glacier crevasses en route to the summit

A little bit about climbing Manaslu – the 8th tallest mountain in this world.

  • Name meaning: Mountain of the spirit
  • Elevation: 8.156m / 26,759ft
  • First Ascent: May 9, 1956, japanese expedition
  • # Ascents: 1,220 as of 2017
  • Best time for climbing Manaslu: April through to May (pre-monsoon), September through early October (post-monsoon)
  • Time: 39/40 days (August 26 – October 2, 2019)
  • Difficulties: Avalanche frequency, glacier and crevasse crossing, ice walls with steep slopes, altitude  
  • Camps:
    • Base Camp 4700m / 15,420 feet
    • Camp 1 5700m / 18,700 feet
    • Camp 2 6400m / 20,997 feet
    • Camp 3 6800m / 22,310 feet
    • Camp 4 7450m / 24442 feet
climbing manaslu
view from Camp 2

Our Expedition to Mount Manaslu

There have been two Chilean summits on Mount Manaslu, Alex Koller in 2009 and Juan Pablo Mohr last year in 2018.

I will be climbing on a team of 5, four Chileans plus me. The other members are Ernesto Olivares, a great Chilean mountain climber who has climbed Everest 2x as well as 3 other 8000 meter mountains; Carlos Espinosa, who founded Hacemos Cumbre, an organization dedicated to providing mountain education through workshops and presentations as well as guided climbs; and then Rodrigo Irarrázaval and Luis del Villar, both mountaineers with solid climbing experience.

Route for Climbing Manaslu
The route to the top… hope to see you there!

Over the next 8 months we will be working with the sports doctor Mario Sandoval at Clinica MEDS (a clinic specialized in working with athletes) and the personal trainer Mauricio Pavez. I have already had two visits with the doctor to identify overall health of my body and heart. Thankfully, the feedback came back all good, but with a few indicators pointing towards a protein deficiency in my diet; something which I’m already working on correcting.

Workouts as a team started last Monday January 14th, in the wee hours at 5:30am before the sun even starts to rise. Unfortunately, public transportation isn’t working at that time so I am hopping on my bike at 4:50am on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I’m trying to find the positive in this by saying I’ll be even more prepared… but there’s no doubt that I will need to switch up my lifestyle and go to bed earlier. Being a week in, all I know is that I’m tired, my calves hurt and my abs don’t want you to make me laugh.

Early March we will head to Northern Chile to climb the tallest volcano in the world, Ojos del Salado, 6.893 meters / 22,614 feet.

volcan Ojos del Salado
Staring at the world from 6550 meters / 21,500 feet, en route to the summit on Ojos del Salado. I’ll be back here in March to train together with our team for Manaslu.

Living in Chile we are blessed to have many, many mountains up to 6000 meters / 20000 feet within just a few hours from our homes, so many other mountains will be climbed on the weekends over the rest of this year as we we prepare our bodies and minds.

What you can expect

My first time seeking the 8000m skies represents a project like no other. The Himalayan mountains represent a whole new world. I’ve got a lot to learn, but I’ve got a good base and an excellent team. I couldn’t be more motivated for the opportunities and personal and professional growth ahead.

Obviously, this expedition to Mount Manaslu isn’t going to climb nor finance itself (bummer! haha), so I’ve got a lot of work to do. A lot of sacrifice. A lot of training. A lot of planning. A lot of writing. If anyone has a copy of  “Time Management for Dummies”, consider sending it my way haha!

Oh, and if you know of any companies who could help sponsor part of my expedition, I’m putting together a media kit and samples of cool ideas we could collaborate on for mutual benefit (sorry, had to make that plug, ever dollar counts!).

Climbing Manaslu
With camps like this, maybe I’ll just stay on the mountain…

I am so excited to share my journey, preparing for climbing Manaslu, my first 8000 meter mountain, with all of you!!

I’ll share new articles every two weeks, one on how things are progressing with the expedition and my personal experience and another one on specific topics like training, nutrition, costs, etc.

So, if you have questions or certain things you want to know about, send ‘em over at chelsey@findingthenorth.com.

Follow me on Social Media.
The journey to Manaslu will be just as good as the mountain itself.

Follow my social networks for Finding North, an outdoor and latin america travel blog by Chelsey Berg, where I’ll share articles, information, videos and pictures on how my preparation.

You can also follow the page for our team’s expedition OchoMiles.cl

A big summit hug!
Chelsey

climbing manaslu
A hello, or goodbye, from Manaslu 🙂

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