Now we had a team of nine – six American and three Nepali – and intended to climb Manaslu using four, possibly three, camps. Providing accommodations for every climber at every camp would require twenty tents and an equal number of stoves. This was out of the question. The first lesson in backcountry survival is to have adequate shelter; everything else is secondary. In the high mountains shelter means a tough, sturdy, yet lightweight, tent that can withstand one hundred knot winds and complete snow burial. Only a handful of tents meet these criteria and all are extremely expensive. We were a self funded expedition, and the cost of purchasing and transporting twenty tents would have placed us in bankruptcy. In the end we decided to purchase eight new tents and to bring two well-used tents as spares.
Our lack of funds, and sincere desire to climb the mountain under our own steam, coupled with a dose of common sense placed us in the middle ground between the expedition and alpine styles. I saw this as a very good place to be. We would bring enough rope to fix portions of the route, but not all of it, we would bring enough tents to establish three, possibly four, small camps and we would hire three local climbers who would be treated as equal members of the team, and not as a pack mules.
Unless you are planning a trip to the Himalayas any discussion regarding the organization of an eight thousand meter climbing expedition would prove quite boring. Suffice it to say that during the month prior to our departure planning, acquisition and packing became for me a full-time job.
We left for Kathmandu on April 7th, 2002.