Sport: Masters of Manaslu

"We have taken Manaslu."

Picked up by radio in Katmandu, the brief message was rushed to Nepal's new King, Mahendra. While the invading Japanese still struggled toward his Himalayan capital down the dangerous, snow-covered slopes of their triumph last week, Mahendra ordered his subjects to prepare a proper reception. Not since the collapse of their "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere" had any Japanese been greeted as conquerors. But now three of them had become the first to top Manaslu, world's ninth tallest mountain (26,658 ft.) and one of the toughest to climb.

Though Asia is scarred with the earth's most challenging peaks,...

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