Manaslu Trek Difficulty: How hard is the Manaslu Circuit Trek?
Trekking in Nepal is not rocket science but just a pure passion. You don’t have to be a professional athlete or experienced trekker to do the Manaslu Circuit trek. However, that does not mean it is as simple as walking or jogging in the park. Especially when it comes to high altitude trekking, you require a certain level of physical fitness and the necessary preparation to make your trekking a successful one. In this article, you will learn about the Manaslu Trek difficulty and what can be the difficulty factors during the trek.
Most of my clients have the same question, “How difficult is the Manaslu Trek?” Do we have to do other low-altitude treks before going on Manalsu Circuit Trek? So, I have come up with this article on “Manaslu Circuit Trek Difficulty” to give you an idea regarding the difficulty level and how to prepare for the trek.
Trekking in the Manaslu region gives you a unique trekking experience as it is one of the off-the-beaten-trail treks in Nepal. Manaslu Trekking takes you on a journey to a prosperous cultural village in the remotest part of Nepal. You will walk through the lush green forest, varied landscapes, beautiful rivers, waterfall, and breathtaking views of the pristine mountain ranges. But along with the fascinating adventures comes the Manaslu Circuit Trek difficulty.
This Manaslu Trekking is a demanding trek. Thus, it can be difficult for beginners. But with the proper preparation and good level of fitness along with solid determination, anyone is capable of taking this trek.
Factors That Determine the Manaslu Trek Difficulty
Total Distance of Manalsu Trekking
Distance is one of the significant factors that determine the difficulty level of Manalsu Trek. The total distance of the trek is about 177 KM approximately. Since the trek is so varied and you have to walk in diverse terrain, thus, it is one of the factors that can make the trek challenging.
Under 15 Days trek itinerary, you will have to walk for 10-12 days with an average distance of around 15-20 each day. The Manaslu Circuit Trek distance highly depends on the number of trekking days.
Crossing the Larke Pass is one of the most challenging days you will face during this trek. This challenge lets you discover your endurance and gives you a deep sense of satisfaction and achievement.
You will start your Manaslu trekking with an 8-9 hrs drive to Arughat or Soti Khola from Kathmandu. Transportation is easily accessible from Kathmandu. You will cover 138 KM with this bus ride.
The first few days of the trek will be tricky since the Budhi Gandaki Gorge is very steep. Thus, you will have to walk through lots of uphills and downhills.
Sometimes you have to walk via open trails and cross suspension bridges over the Budhi Gandaki river. Due to the rugged terrain, you may face many difficulties. Furthermore, it would help if you prepared physically and mentally to cope with the challenges.
So, train yourself and get into walking on uneven surfaces before you take up the trek.
Manaslu Trek Difficulty Due to Altitude
Manaslu Circuit Trekking is a high-altitude trek in Nepal. The altitude varies significantly in this trek that takes you through varied landscapes and climates. The starting point of this Manaslu Trek is Sotikhola, situated at the altitude of 700m, and the altitude goes up to 5,123m, i.e., the Larke Pass.
Thus, one of the common challenges that most trekkers are likely to face is their ability to adjust their bodies to the changing altitude. And as you go to a higher altitude, there is a high chance of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS).
Due to this reason, an itinerary with longer days is very helpful as it gives you enough time to acclimatize and adjust your body to a higher altitude.
So before going on a high-altitude trek such as this one, it is essential to learn about the symptoms of AMS and precautions to minimize the risk.
The best way to avoid AMS is by walking slow, taking a rest, drinking plenty of water, etc. Also, avoid alcohol during the trek as it increases the risk of AMS.
During the trek, if you encounter any symptoms of AMS, immediately seek help from your trekking guide, porter, or team leader. Never avoid the symptoms of AMS and push too hard on yourself. And descend immediately if the symptoms don’t seem to go away.
Manaslu Trek Difficulty Due to Weather
Trekking at a high altitude opens up various questions regarding the weather. The weather can make a huge difference in your Manaslu trek difficulty. Also, the weather around the Manalsu Circuit is quite unpredictable.
Usually, the days are warm, but the weather becomes freezing at night, and the temperature can drop below the freezing point.
Nepal has four seasons – Summer, Spring, Winter, and Autumn. And these seasons determine the temperature, amount of rainfall, amount of sunshine, and wind conditions in the region.
The Manaslu region gets quite hot and wet during the summer (June, July, and August). The days are sunny and hot, but the nighttime is usually cold, and the temperature is below the freezing point.
In late June and July, Monsoon takes over the summer. As the monsoon kicks in the Manaslu region, the trail becomes wet, slippery, and full of leeches.
Hence, crossing Larkya La pass during monsoon is tricky and dangerous at the same time. So, make sure to buy trekking boots with a firm grip to make your trip more convenient.
The spring season (March, April, and May) is one of the best seasons for Manaslu Circuit Trek as it offers the ideal conditions for trekking. You will walk under a clear sky with minimal chances of rainfall. The temperature is soothingly warm in the daytime, around 16 degrees. But it’s pretty cold at night with an average temperature of 2 degrees.
Autumn (September-November) is the peak season for the Manaslu circuit trek. The weather condition is similar and even better compared to the Spring season. Due to the stable temperature, the weather and the climate are perfect for trekking offering phenomenal views of the Mountains.
Winter in Manaslu Region (December-late February) gets extremely cold. The temperature drops very low, with an average of -15 degrees at night—pack warm gears for evening and nighttime. Due to heavy snowfall at the Larke Pass, the pass is mainly closed during the winter season.
Hence, Spring and Autumn are the best seasons for the Manaslu Circuit trek.
Training is the best measure to keep you fit physically and mentally and prepare for a challenging trek. Proper training can make your trek much more accessible.
While trekking in the Manaslu region, strength and resistance training are crucial to maintaining your fitness level. You will be trekking for 6-7 hours each day along the bumpy path with steep ascends and descents for this trek.
Hence, train your body by walking for a few hours with a backpack to build your shoulder and arm strength before the trek.
With the increasing altitude, the air pressure decreases continuously. That means you will have less and less oxygen to breathe as you climb higher. So to cope with this challenge, you have to work on your cardiovascular fitness. Some of the exercises you can do are cycling, running, jogging, swimming, etc.
Besides, going on a one-day hike before the Manaslu trek is a good idea to prepare yourself mentally. You will have a brief idea about how your body reacts to walking for long hours. This will also help you prepare mentally to minimize the Manaslu Trek Difficulty.
Travel and Guide Permit
Since some villages have an open border with Tibet, the Nepal government has declared the Manalsu region a restricted area. Due to this and for your safety, you are not allowed to trek solo in the Manaslu region. A licensed trekking guide must accompany at least a group of two trekkers.
Hence, all the foreign trekkers will need three Manaslu trekking permits and a registered guide to trek in the Manaslu region. The necessary Manaslu Trek Permits are:
- Restricted area permit
- Manaslu Conservation Area Permit
- Annapurna Conservation Area Permit
Please read our blog on Manaslu Circuit Trek Permit and Cost for more details.
Although Trekking in Nepal is very affordable, you can have a hard time if you are not financially stable. Thus, you need to make sure that your budget will support you in making your treks more comfortable. Your budget also affects your choice of teahouses, food, transportation, etc.
Packing in the right way with all the necessary gear and equipment helps make your trek smooth and less complicated. Depending upon the season, your packing changes.
Make sure to check the weather and temperature condition of the region before you start your packing. This will give you an idea about what to pack and what not to.
We recommend you pack less than 20kgs. And don’t pack unnecessary things.
Some must-have packing lists are as follows:
- Insulated Jacket
- Waterproof jacket
- Down jacket
- Thermal Tops
- Trekking shirts
- Waterproof trousers and pants
- Hiking shorts
- Breathable underwears
- Rain gears
Head and Hand:
- Headscarf or Bandana
- Woolen hat
- Sun hat
- Buff, Neckband
- Gloves(inner thermal gloves and outer waterproof)
- Headlamp with extra batteries
- Hiking socks
- Woolen socks
- Waterproof hiking boots
- Hiking sandals
Other necessary materials for personal hygiene and toiletries:
Towel, water sanitizers, sunscreen, shampoo, soap, lip balm, face, and body moisturizer.
Trekking poles, Sleeping bag, Backpack, Small daypack to carry valuables, Personal first-aid kit, water bottles, etc.
Some Tips for Manaslu Trek to reduce Manaslu Trek Difficulty
- Trek in the right season to avoid some of the Manaslu trek difficulties.
- Be sure to check the weather condition before the trek and pack accordingly.
- Pre-book for accommodation and food along the route if trekking in peak season.
- Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated.
- Rest properly whenever you feel the need to.
- Trek during offseasons (summer and winter) if you want to trek in less crowded trails.
- Hire a licensed trekking guide and porter for your safety.
- Do not feel hesitate to reach out for help in case of Acute Mountain Sickness.
Manaslu Circuit Trek is a moderately difficult trek in off-the-beaten trails of the remote foothills of Mt. Manaslu in the Gorkha District. With enough preparation and physical and emotional strength, the trek will not be challenging for you.
Please contact us for further inquiries on this trek or any other treks in Nepal.