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The mountain gods were protective of Manaslu, a two-pronged peak in the Nepal Himalaya, and one of the world's fourteen 8,000m peaks.
Many years ago, a Japanese team tried to climb it, but the gods had sent an avalanche in their wake which destroyed a monastery and set the local people against them. When they returned the next year, they were met with sticks and stones, stripped naked and sent home with red cheeks.
Mark Horrell and his two friends Mark and Ian shared a dream to climb an 8,000m peak, but it seemed the gods were against them too. They had made no fewer than eight attempts without success (though they had managed to return with their clothes on).
With towering ice walls, monsoon rainstorms, arm-twisting crevasses and – most dangerous of all – welcoming teahouses ready to entrap them, would it be different this time?
About this series
The Footsteps on the Mountain Diaries are Mark's expedition journals. They are edited versions of what he scribbles in his tent each evening after a day in the mountains, with a bit of history thrown in. Light-hearted and engaging, they provide a perfect introduction to life on the trail.
He has published two full-length books: Seven Steps from Snowdon to Everest (2015), about his ten-year journey from hill walker to Everest climber, and Feet and Wheels to Chimborazo (2019), about an expedition to cycle and climb from sea level to the furthest point from the centre of the earth.