Manaslu is one of the quietest trekking destinations in Nepal. As the region borders with Tibet, you will need special permit to trek in this region. Apart from the permits, the most important factor to consider while trekking in Manaslu is the weather of the region.
Manaslu is a high altitude trek. It takes you a maximum altitude of 5213 meters to Larkya La pass. Needless to say, in such high altitude the weather of the region is cold throughout the year. In such high altitude regions, the weather can change abruptly too.
Another factor that makes the weather of the Manaslu trek quite tricky is the fast altitude gains and the altitude drops that you have while trekking in this region. These abrupt changes in altitude brings about sudden difference in vegetation as well as the landscapes that you encounter.
Table of Contents
Geography of Manaslu
Manaslu is the eighth highest peak of the world. It stands 8136 meters tall. It lies in the central western part of Nepal, around 64 kilometers east of Annapurna. The area surrounding the Manaslu peak was declared a conservation area in 199. The conservation area covers a total of 1663 square kilometers.
The range of elevation in manaslu conservation area is quite high. The lowest point along the conservation area is 1400 meters compared to the highest point of 8163 meters. This means that there is a great diversity of plants and animals in this region.
A total of six climatic zones is found in this region ranging from tropical to the Arctic. This region is home to 1500-2000 species of flowering plants. Variety of birds, mammals, and reptiles are found in this region. Some of them include snow leopard, musk deer and Himalayan Thar.
There are various mountain peaks in the Manaslu region. These peaks include Himalchuli (7893 meters), Ngadi Chuli (7871 meters), Shringi (7,187 m), Langpo (6,668 meters), and Saula (6235 meters). In addition, there are also long ridges and glacial valleys in the Manaslu area.
Seasons in Manaslu Region
There are four main seasons in Nepal- summer. Winter, autumn, and spring. This is no different in the Manaslu region. However, as there are different climatic zones in the Manaslu region, the weather in different seasons is different in these regions.
Above the 5000-meter mark, there is permanent snow throughout. In such a high altitude, the amount of precipitation observed in the monsoon is also quite low.
On the other hand, in the lower regions the temperature can be as high as 18 degrees C in the winters. The lower altitude regions also experience greater amount of rainfall compared to regions in relatively high altitude.
Let us take a look at the weather in each season. This will give you a clearer picture of how the weather conditions are during the various months. That way, you can also decide which month is the best for you in order to trek to Manaslu.
Autumn is the most glorious of all months for trekkers to most parts of Nepal. The trekking trails are in fantastic shape as the rain from summers is completely dried during these months.
Autumn in Manaslu falls in the months of September, October, and November. Let us take a look at the weather of these months in detail.
September is the first month in the autumn Season. It is also the wettest of the autumn months. The effects of the monsoon can be seen in the early days of September when there is some amount of rainfall.
In Samdo, which lies at an altitude of 3860 meters, the average temperature in September is 7.7 degrees C. In the lower regions of the trek like Jagat (1410 meters) the average temperature is 21 degrees C. There is a great variation in the precipitation of these places as well. You expect a precipitation of 337 millimeters in Jagat while only 41 mm of precipitation will be observed in Samdo.
Most of the rain in September will be observed in the earlier days of this month. The latter part of September is quite dry.
October is deemed to be the best trekking month. Some amount of rainfall you would see in the month of September is also almost non- existent this month. As the winter is also a month away from October, the temperature is also not quite low.
The precipitation in the higher regions of the trek is around 23 mm in average compared to around 60 mm in the lower regions. A slight cold is observed in this month as the minimum temperature in Samdo is as low as -2 degrees C. In the lower regions like Jagat and Arughat, the average temperature is around 15 degrees C.
November is the coldest month in the autumn season. It also is the driest month of the autumn season. The precipitation observed during this month in around high altitude places like Larkya La, Samdo, and Samagaon is merely 3 mm. This gives you a very good idea as to how dry this month is for trekkers. Low precipitation also results in awesome viewing of the mountains of the Manaslu region.
As the Manaslu trek starts from lower altitude regions, you expect a great change in the weather of the lower altitude regions compared to higher altitude regions. You can feel this difference greatly in the month of November. The average temperature in Arughat, the starting point of your trek, in November is 13.7 degrees C. But in Samagaon and Samdo, the minimum temperature is as low as -3.4 and -6.6 degrees C respectively.
Winter season in Manaslu region falls in the months of December, January, and February. In all of these months, you will find dry climatic conditions. If you have not trekked in high latitude before, you might want to see if you have done all the proper packing to complete the Manaslu trek in winter.
On average, December is the driest of all months in the Manaslu region. Precipitation is only slightly lower than in the month of October.
During December, the temperature can get as low as -8.8 degrees C in Samdo. If you trek higher up, the temperature gets as low as -16 degrees in Larkya La pass. So you should pack all the necessary gear if you want to make your December trek to Manaslu a success.
However, there are also very good reasons to be happy. The lower temperature and precipitation make for excellent mountain viewing conditions. You will hardly encounter a day which is partially cloudy in December. There are also very low chances of overcast conditions.
January is the coldest month in the Manaslu region. The precipitation in this month is slightly higher than in the November or December.
The minimum temperatures in Samdo and Samagaun during January are -10.2 and -6.9 degrees C respectively. The temperature of Larkya La pass in January can get as low as -20 degrees C.
You also might experience occasional snowfall in January. The number of sunshine hours are also at a yearly low in January.
February is the last of the winter months in Manaslu. The temperature of the places along the Manaslu trek is quite similar in February and December.
The only difference between the weather of December and February is the amount of precipitation. February is a lot wetter in comparison to December. In fact, the February is almost 4 times wetter than the month of December.
Spring falls in the months of March, April, and May. This season is not only popular for trekkers but also for mountaineers. You might be lucky to interact with people who have come for mountaineering expeditions if you come to trek to Manaslu in the spring season.
The coldest of the spring months is March. The earlier days of March have weather that is quite similar to that of the days in February. Temperature can be as low as -6 degrees in certain regions of the trek.
The precipitation observed in March is almost double of that in February. An average of 50 mm of the rainfall is observed in the lower regions of the trek compared to 30 mm in the higher altitude regions.
Spring season is the most popular season for trekking after the autumn season. Of all the months in spring, April is the most popular amongst trekkers.
The gentle amount of rainfall and precipitation brings the vegetation of this region to life. Forests, flowers, and vegetation of the rural areas is lush green. Clear skies with some sun beating down will freshen your trekking mood.
The precipitation in the lower regions of Manaslu during April is greater than March. But in regions like Samdo, Smagaon, and larkya La Pass, the precipitation in April is significantly lower than March.
The average temperature in Samdo and Samagaon is 6 degrees making for beautiful trekking conditions.
May is the final month of spring season. As this month is quite close to the monsoon that begins next month, this is the wettest of all spring months.
The temperatures are fairly warm. Even in Samdo, the minimum temperature is not below the 0-degree mark.
Summer season in Manaslu coincides with the monsoon. This means that the trekking trails are often wet and require sturdy trekking boot with firm grip to complete the trek. Summer falls in the months of June, July, and August
You can virtually start your trek in the summer season in T-shirts as the temperatures are really warm in the low-altitude regions. The average temperature in the tropical zones in June is about 25 degrees. Even up to an altitude of 4000 meters, the average temperature is 10 degrees C.
An average of 460 mm of rainfall is seen in June around the altitude of 1400 meters. As is the case, as you trek higher up, the amount of rainfall decreases. It gets to around 30 mm at an altitude of 4000 meters. If you trek higher up, it gets even lower.
July is the hottest of the summer months. It rains almost every other day. But it doesn’t rain all the time. Generally, it rains during the evening and the night time. Mornings are generally clear.
If you are coming to trek in July, you have to keep your timings flexible. On some days, you might not be able to trek due to rain or other slippery tracks. In those cases, you need to take rest.
The temperature in the August and June are almost interchangeable. However, August is the wettest of all the months.
If you want to trek in any of the summer months including August, you need to bring umbrellas, rain cover for your backpack and your clothes.
Manaslu is a trek that is not completed by a lot of trekkers. Only about 1000 trekkers complete this trek every year. The villages are quaint and the views of the mountains gorgeous. Autumn and Spring have the best weather of all the months. But if you prepare and pack well, there is no reason why you can’t go for this trek during the monsoon or the winter.