Mount Manaslu is the 8th tallest mountain in the world. Trekking around Manaslu is a unique experience as it is an off-the-beaten-track trekking destination in Nepal. Each year the number of tourists visiting this region is increasing. But how difficult is Manaslu trek anyways?
Manaslu means “mountain of spirit” in Sanskrit. Manaslu circuit trek takes you through the rich culture of remote villages of Gorkha district ’Land of Gurkhas’. It has green forest, rivers, waterfalls and exciting mountain views and lots of spiritual lands. This makes the Manaslu Circuit Trek more adventurous and exciting.
However, Manaslu Circuit trek might be slightly more difficult than other trekking destinations in Nepal like Annapurna Circuit or Everest Base Camp trek. This is because of the different factors like high altitude, cold weather, and slippery routes. So, for your preparation, there are various things that might help you face the difficulty during your trek to the Manaslu Circuit Trek.
Factors that determine the difficulty of the Manaslu Circuit Trek
Table of Contents
I: Travel and guide permit
The Manaslu trek circuit is quite close to the Tibetan region. So, for individual safety and to preserve the natural beauty of the area, no one is allowed to trek alone. All trekkers outside Nepal are required to get a trekking permit and a registered tour guide before trekking in the Manaslu region. Read: Manaslu Trek Without a Guide, Is it Possible?
Manaslu Base Camp has an altitude of 4800 meters. The biggest challenge of this trek is crossing the Larkya La Pass which has an altitude of 5,123 m. When you trek to such high altitude, you might also experience altitude sickness. So you need to have good physical preparation in order to complete this trek. Walking in a slow speed, drinking plenty of water, taking regular rest and drinking onion soup are some ways that will help you stay away from altitude sickness.
You can begin your trek from the town of Arughat or Soti Khola which you can travel from Country’s capital ‘Kathmandu’ by bus in 8-9 hours. The distance you will cover on this bus ride is about 138 Km.
This total length of the trek is about 177 Km. It will take you approximately about 10-12 days depending upon the length of your walking days. The first few days of the trekking becomes little difficult if you are a beginner as the Budhi Gandaki Gorge is harsh steep. Also, you have to go uphills and downhills regularly. The trails and suspension bridges in this region can also be very breezy at times.
When you are traveling at this altitude, you will also have plenty of questions about the weather. The weather can make a difference in your trek difficulty.
Weather conditions in the daytime are usually warm. But at the night time in this region is always cold and the temperature usually below the freezing point. So, make sure you bring warm clothes with you. And remember the layered clothing is essential.
Nepal has four seasons – Summer, Spring, Winter, and Autumn. The temperature, rainfall, amount of sunshine, and wind conditions are different in each season.
The summer (June, July, and August) in the Manaslu region is hot and wet. The sun shines during the day making the daytime warm. The nighttime is usually below the freezing point.
Monsoon dominates the summer in the late June and July. Because of the rain, the trail is slippery, muddy, and full of leeches also. It might be tricky to travel Larkya la pass. So you need to bring trekking boots with a firm grip to make your trip more convenient.
The spring season (March, April, and May) is one of the best times to trek to Manaslu because of the ideal conditions for trekking. The chance of rainfall is least in this season. The temperature is mildly warm in the daytime around 16 degrees. But it’s quite cold in the night with the average temperature of 2 degrees.
Autumn (September-November) is the peak time for the Manaslu circuit trek. It has quite similar or even better weather conditions compared to the Spring season. Because of the stable temperature, the weather and the climate are pleasant. It gives you the phenomenal views of Mountains.
Winter in Manaslu Region (December-late February) is too cold. The temperature is least in this time with the average of -15 degrees in the night. Make sure that you pack warm clothes for evening and night time. During the winters, Larkya la pass may be closed because of the heavy snowfall.
All in all, Spring and Autumn are the best seasons for Manaslu trek.
Training is the best measure to keep you fit. It also helps to reduce muscles strain as well as helps you adjust at higher altitude. It helps you keep yourself physically and mentally fit. That’s why you should spend a couple of months training along with proper diet before you undertake the Manaslu trek.
Strength and Endurance Training
Strength and endurance training are key to maintaining your fitness level while trekking in this kind of route. You will be walking for 5-6 hours daily for several days in the forest. The paths are generally rocky with steep climbs and steep descents.
You can also walk for a few hours with a backpack to build your shoulder and arm along with your back.
Another important consideration for the Manaslu trek is your diet. While training, you should drink plenty of water. You should also eat food rich in carbohydrates, protein, and fibers. Make sure that you also balance your diet well while trekking. This will help you replenish the energy level while trekking.
Cardiovascular Fitness is another key for the Manaslu Circuit Trek. It helps in the function of your heart and lungs to supply oxygen-rich blood to muscles during the trek.
As the altitude increases, the air pressure also decreases. This means that there. less amount of oxygen to breathe. So to cope with less oxygen, you will need to build your cardiovascular fitness.
Few exercises such as cycling, running, jogging, and swimming develop your cardiovascular fitness.
You will not really have a feel of how difficult the trek is until you actually start the trip. So you should complete a few one-day hikes before you come for the Manaslu trek. There are a plenty of one-day hikes in Kathmandu that you can try before trekking in Manaslu region. Going to such hikes will give you a feel of how your body reacts to walking for long hours. That will also help you prepare mentally for trekking in Manaslu.
There is no doubt that Manaslu trek is a challenging one. But with appropriate training, mental preparation, and the right attitude, this trek could provide you the best moments of your life.
The Manaslu region is full of natural beauty with a rich culture of Tibetan and Gurkhas. It also gives you a notion of peace and spiritual. Since it lies in the foothills of the Himalayas, it’s a great choice for those who want to explore and have an unforgettable adventure.