Based from Humde, winter thrill seekers turned the Manang district into an ice climbing mecca from February 1 – 10, 2020. More than 40 ice climbers, with a vast range of experience and ability, took advantage of the season in Annapurana’s frozen waterfalls. Between climbs there was little rest with skiing, hiking and archery filling the days.
The 2nd Annual Ice Climbing Festival included a Support Team combining International Federation of Mountain Guide Association (IFMGA) leaders, along with Aspiriant Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) guides, an alpine ski instructor, doctor, photographers, a technical support team from Paradygm Pvt. Ltd., NCT organizing team members and administrative support.
Amidst significantly more snow than annually anticipated, a Recce Team of 10 set off from Kathmandu in search of the most suitable and safe setting for ice climbing and skiing 3 days prior to the arrival of the remaining Support Team and participants. With the Recce Team blazing trails from Humde and laying the groundwork, participants arrived with the scene ready for action. Adventurers, both local and international, found sunshine gracing the frozen waterfalls and surrounding rolling hills turned ski pistes throughout the festival.
Each day participants, including honourable guests from the Nepal Tourism Board and the Visit Nepal 2020 Secretariat, were invited to choose an activity and, with that, an appropriate level of instruction was provided with safety the utmost priority throughout the festival.
Beginners had the opportunity to learn about the fundamentals of ice climbing including proper technique for axe swinging, kick technique, ideal ice climbing movements and equipment. Advanced climbers were able to work in teams to take their climbing higher, learn about specific anchor building and how to deal with extremely demanding situations, how to make safe judgements as well as how to avoid alpine hazards.
Alpine skiing proved to be a highlight for the majority of locals who had little or no experience with the sport. Despite no ski lift option, energy remained high as beginners progressed as rapidly as the quick descent down snow covered farm fields turned ski pistes. The combination of having a certified instructor, limited space and equipment equated to intimate and memorable turns, jumps, carving and certainly craving more.