The Himalayan fall season has long been when those planning on heading for Everest the following year set their sights on either Cho Oyu or Manaslu.
It is a good plan, getting you up into the high peaks, experiencing time on a big mountain, and you face the real challenges of altitude, while building up the confidence (or not) that you are ready to go to the top of the world. It is certainly a lot better preparation than just edging your way up to 6,500 meters as called for in the new Nepali regulations, sliding back down, and thinking you are all set for Everest.
Of course you could also be part of that fortunate team of 4 on the first peak on the list, Mt. Api, (topping out at a respectable 7,132 meters) who paid a US$ 1,000 permit fee and will most likely be having a pretty remote climb in the far Northwest of Nepal, on a beautiful and solitary peak which has only seen a handful of ascents.
With the latest numbers just released, this year Manaslu is far and away the most popular high peak in Nepal, with 260 registered to climb. Not quite Everest numbers, but it certainly won’t be a wilderness experience, and that final thin ridge leading to the summit could be very crowded.
If anything, the Expedition Permitted Data sheet from (18 September, 2019) shows just how many people are congregating on certain 8,000 meter peaks, while the rest are downright lonely.
While in the 8,000 meter peaks, Dhaulagiri comes in second place with 30 people, Makalu will see just 4 people on its slopes this season.
The list tells us the split between more adventurous climbs, and the most popular peaks, is just continuing to increase.
But it also gives a whole host of options, at much lower prices, where some real adventures can certainly be had.