Let the Manaslu dispatches begin! We have been in Nepal for 5 rainy days now, and I am excited to report things are really getting going now. Yesterday we left Kathmandu and said goodbye to espresso machines, fast easy internet, and afternoons at the pool. It is time to go climbing! We took a short 40 minute flight in our own private 12-seater prop plane to the town of Pokhara in Western Nepal. It was hard to imagine the Himalaya existed in the clouds and rain, and when we met up with our sherpa team, we found out they have been waiting 4 days for the big Russian helicopters to fly. The helis will allow us to skip a 7 day trek through leeches, mud, and overflowing rivers on the way to BC, and this lift is probably required since many trails are washed out in the flooding.
But this morning – good news! The mountains, including Annapurna and Machupuchare, were in full view under blue skies! 2 helicopter flights, each holding a half dozen sherpas along with 3000 kilograms of equipment, made it out of Pokhara to the village of Samagaon before the clouds closed in again. So basecamp should be being built as I write this. We are hoping for another window tomorrow morning, and will be at the helipad at 6am waiting for our ride.
Wish us luck and pray for blue skies, a steady handed pilot, and a good clean maintenance record on the helicopter!
-Adrian Ballinger from Pokhara, Nepal