In late 2022, Simone Moro left Italy to attempt the first winter ascent of Manaslu (8163 m), together with Alex Txikon and a team of Nepalese mountaineers. It would be Simone’s fifth attempt in winter on this mountain.
This winter ascent of the mountain would have been Simone’s fifth winter ascent of an 8,000-meter peak
the other four being: Shisha Pangma (8027 m), Makalu (8463 m) and Gasherbrum II (8035 m), Nanga Parbat (8126 m).
The first winter ascent of Manaslu was made on January 12, 1984, by Poles Maciej Berbeka and Ryszard Gajewski, as well as the concatenation of the ascent in succession of the two peaks of the Manaslu massif: the 7992-meter East Pinnacle and the 8163-meter main summit. The latter ascent was also made by two very great Polish mountaineers, Jerzy Kukuczka and Artur Hajzer, on November 10, 1986.
Simone’s penultimate attempt to climb Manaslu in winter was last year, 2021, with Alex Txicon, with whom Simone reached the summit of Nanga Parbat together with Ali Sadpara, who lost his life during the winter expedition to K2 in 2020.
The first four attempts in 2015, 2018, 2020 and 2021 failed because of the amount of snow that fell in a few days that made the ascent impossible.
This was his 72nd expedition, including 22 in the cold season. Before leaving, in an interview with Corriere della Sera, he said:
“With lucidity I must recognize that in the previous four attempts, three months for each, so a year of my life, I managed to reach only 6,200 meters, a route I usually complete in three hours. Manaslu is considered one of the easiest in the propitious season, which explains well how upsetting it is if you go in winter.”
In this fifth time, however, the weather conditions were propitious but it was not enough: Simone had to give up due to a physical illness (dysentery) that took away his strength and forced him to make the decision to forgo the climb and invite the rest of the team to continue without him.
What for Simone was surrender and thus failure to achieve the goal, for Alex Txikon, Chhepal Sherpa, Tenjen Lama Sherpa, Pasang Nurbu Sherpa, Mingtemba Sherpa, Pemba Tasi Sherpa, and Gyalu Sherpa was full success with a summit conquered 39 years after the first ascent.
We at Sports&Beyond congratulate everyone, for the success to the team that made it to the summit and to Simone for his lucidity in making such a difficult decision.
If you want to read Marianna Zanatta’s behind-the-scenes reflections you can read the article Simone Moro and the Manaslu – When it’s not just about resilience, success and failure.
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