Moeses Fiamoncini carried out the 2018 Expedition of Manaslu. It was his first 8 thousand. We share his emotional story.
I arrived in Kathmandu on 29th of August, 10 days before the date of the expedition. I was just enjoying life in Kathmandu and buying the last things I need before to go to the base camp.
The monsoons didn’t have finished yet. It was incredible heavy rain every single day. We decided to fly by helicopter to Samagaun the next day.
The weather was not very good, but we had the last flight of the day in the afternoon. The next morning the same helicopter crashed killing 5 people and 1 injured. We didn’t want to walk because of the landing sledding, but the dangerous is everywhere.
Me and my Sherpa, Temba, arrived on September 7th in Samagaun (3650m), a small and quiet village just below the BC. We spend three days there and on September 10th we left it. We had the full day to go to BC, and when we arrived, we just love it.
Base Camp, C1 & C2
My first day in BC -a small village with 200 climbers from all over the world and dozens of yellow tents- was like feeling at home. In fact, that tent will be my house for almost a month.
For 8 days I saw many climbers going up to C1 and C2. This time in the BC (4810m) has helped me a lot to acclimatize. I never had a headache or fatigue.
On September 16th we finally left BC to sleep on C1.
Everything was going well till we heard a quite big avalanche on the East pinnacle, just below C2. My heart started to beat faster. Temba said: “No worries, it’s a small one”. I came back from the scare and we kept walking again.
When we arrived in C1 a lot of tents already settled was almost covered by snow.
The next day, around 7 am, we saw two guys leaving from C2 to C3. When we arrived at C2 around 12noon we heard that a western climber and a Sherpa were caught by an avalanche while were trying to reach the C3. They were lucky to survive and walked down to BC by themselves.
It was my second day sleeping above the BC and the second avalanche… The unforeseen can happen anytime.
We slept on C2 (6320 m). It was another beautiful night with a sky full of stars.
On 18th of September we were determined to walk until where the avalanche happened one day before. But in some point, we reached a big wall of ice. We couldn’t see the fixed rope because the snow covered all of it. We kept climbing till we saw a part of the rope uncovered, so we used it to climb the last section and arrived where the avalanche happened.
I had wait for Temba to pass through the avalanche because there is still risk on the left side of it. The first blocks of snow were solid and good to walk, but then after crossing it Temba started to walk in a fresh snow until his knee. I managed to cross with great caution. After 50 meters we face another ice wall, like 80 centimeters of snow. Using the fixed rope, we arrived in C3.
We were the first climbers to reach at 6.730 meters after the avalanche happened, just me and Temba on that altitude. No windy, blue sky. We’re happy to be totally alone in the moment.
We left tent, gas and oxygen for the summit day, and we started to get down to BC to spend the night.
The plans changed
On September 19 we heard that the weather would not be good for several days and that between September 26 and 28 it would be time to summit it.
I was 3 days resting at the BC and making plans with Temba and Sergi Mingote -a Spanish Climber who is trying to summit the three highest 8000’s in less than a year without oxygen supplement- to start the summit push on 23rd afternoon.
We left BC on that day at 4 pm and arrived at C1 in less than 3 hours. We were well acclimated. That night was amazing, one of the best moments I had so far. How lucky we were to be there.
Next day early morning we left C1 to C2 and continue to C3. The way was not easy again with a lot of fresh snow. We spent four hours to get there.
The snow between C2 and C3 was quite deep and hard to walk. That means from C3 to C4 could be even harder. We had another option: summit it from C3 and back to C3, depending how we feel. We decided to take the risk, it would be a great opportunity. We three hug each other with motivation words.
After a short nap, we left C3 around 10 pm of that endless September 24.
When we left C3 it was not very strong wind, but after we reach the Col just below it started to blow very strong, and we were exposed to it until C4. After three hours walking, we finally find the fixed rope, just before we started to traverse the Manaslu Glacier. We arrived in C4 around 4:30 am through dismal condition.
From C4 we probably missed the way what made us face a terrifying ice wall with around 50° at 7600 meters. We spent too much time to find the right place to fix the rope and climb up. It was a critical moment.
In that 3 hours, around 7 am, I started to feel symptoms of frostbite on my feet, so I took the decision to use the oxygen to try to warm up, what took me around 20 minutes.
We meet three Sherpas from Fix Rope Team and go on with them too. The last 300 meters was the hardest ones. The snow covered above the knees, two hours to ascend 100 meters.
When we saw the final edge, I realized that I was above 8000 meters.
We were at summit. We were alone, just we six in that incredible wild nature. We were open the way with a lot of determination. We left C3 at 10 pm the day before and arrived in the summit around 4 pm on September 25th, 18 hours walking.
We spent around one hour at the summit, at 8156 meters. No wind, blue sky. It was amazing to be there with that stunning view surround us. It was the biggest challenge I have done in my life, the biggest effort to conquer a dream.
We knew that we had to go down and it was the hardest part. We did 50% and now it’s time to do the other part. Climbing up here is an option but getting off here is a necessity.
We arrived at C3 around 10 pm. We walked 24 hours. We never imagined that we could spend so much time walking. It was the hardest thing I ever had experienced in my life. I’m so glad that I did.
I can resume all this gigantic effort in 3 words: Determination: keep going, one more step, one more. Focus: put all your energy, your mind body directional to present. And Love: you must love what you do in life.
Moeses Fiamoncini (Brazil)
Alpinist & Climber