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How difficult is Manaslu Trek?

Mount Manaslu

Manaslu trek is a moderately difficult trek. It is suitable for both novices as well as experienced trekkers. For some trekkers who have never done high-altitude treks, this trek could be a bit challenging to undertake.

Manaslu trek is an off-the-beaten-path trek that offers stunning views of 10 peaks over 6,500 meters, including a few over 7000m and an occasional view of Annapurna massif.

In the western-central part of Nepal rises the eighth-highest mountain in the world, Manaslu. At 8,163m, Manaslu is a prominent peak in Nepal, and the region offers a popular trekking route that follows the ancient salt-trading route along the Budhi Gandaki River. 

Manaslu trek, unlike other mainstream treks, offers a less-crowded trail, perfect for those who love solitude. The adventure lets you discover the picturesque Budi Gandaki and Nubri Valleys amidst dramatic landscapes, sub-tropical Himalayan foothills, Trans-Himalayan high pastures, ancient villages, glacial rivers, waterfalls, and high passes.

Larkya La Pass at 5,106m is the main highlight of this trek and the highest point in the trek.

The adventure starts from Arughat Bazaar and ends in Besishar. However, you can also start the trek from Barpak as well.

Until recently, trekkers needed to be fully self-sufficient, but the establishment of plenty of tea houses along the route means that trekkers can use local accommodations. 

Although the trekking permits were issued in 1991, this region has arguably failed to garner the attention it deserves. But that said, there is a rise in the number of trekkers exploring this region.

I totally agree that very few travelers take this journey through the Manaslu Circuit every year. There are many reasons for this, one being the difficulty. 

Yes, the difficulty level of this trek is plausibly among the many reasons why this trek is under the radar. So in this blog, I will be discussing the difficulty of Manaslu Trek and the factors determining it.

The trek's difficulty depends on many factors; the prime are numbers of trekking days, weather, and elevation, to name a few. Without further ado, let's get into the factor determining the difficulty of the Manaslu Trek.

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The weather of the Manaslu region is the main factor that contributes to the difficulty of this trek. Manaslu conservation area covers six climatic zones with permanent snow lines above 5000m.

This means trekking during winter is almost impossible. The temperature in this area varies with the climatic zone.

During the winter season, due to frigid temperatures, many tea houses remain closed. And Larkya La Pass remains impassable due to heavy snowfall. 

Bad weather, wind storms, and icy trails can be a tough deal for you. Although the days are generally warm, the morning and night can be icy-cold due to a sudden drop in temperature. 

The trekking route features mountainous terrains which are prone to landslides and landfalls during the monsoon. In this regard, trekking during monsoon and winter should never be an option. 

Spring and autumn season offers ideal condition for trekking. However, the weather in this region is unpredictable throughout the year. The weather of the Manaslu region can sometimes stun visitors. Although I don't have a weather stat, we can be aware of the erratic weather condition in the Manaslu region and prepare accordingly.

Altitude Sickness

Starting from 600m and extending to 5,106m at Larkya La Pass, Manaslu Trek is a high-altitude trek. This means altitude sickness is a real deal while trekking in the Manaslu region.

Altitude sickness can develop in your body above 2500m and is a bodily disorder experienced at higher altitudes with symptoms like headache, breathlessness, and nausea.

If you rush, there's a high chance that you're susceptible to altitude sickness. As you ascend to the higher altitude, there is a high chance of altitude sickness. 

You may not know when your body developed the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), and therefore, it is absolutely imperative that you know about it and the measures to mitigate the risk. 

The best practice is to walk slowly, drink enough water, and avoid alcohol consumption. You should never rush in an attempt to finish the trek early. 

That said, your itinerary should be carefully crafted, and it is always better to entail at least one acclimatization day in your trek itinerary. Remember, lack of sleep and dehydration also leads to this fatal sickness in the mountain.

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Trek Distance

The trek distance of the Manaslu trek stretches up to 180km from Kathmandu and it can be intimidating to even think, let alone trek. Even the popular Everest Base Camp Trek covers only 130km.

The trekking trail features diverse terrains, and walking through rough terrain for a couple of hours-5-6 hours on average per day could be a daunting task. And it could be challenging at time, even for seasoned trekkers due to rough-and-tough terrains.

The fact that you'll be walking on rugged terrains, ascending and descending, gaining certain altitude daily tunes to the difficulty of Manaslu Trek. This means you need to be physically fit to trek for hours every day carrying a light backpack.

But rest assured, it is doable. Before flying to Nepal, make sure you exercise and walk for a couple of hours in your hometown for a few weeks. This will help you set up physically for the challenging trek in the Manaslu region. 

Number of days

Now, this factor could be confusing, but considering the fact that you will be trekking for at least 12 days through rugged terrains and off-the-beaten-path, it is definitely one of the factors leading to the difficulty of the trek. 

I mean, you know Everest Base Camp Trek, which is a moderate trek, has 9 to 10 days of trekking-day. Read the Everest Base Camp Trek difficulty blog if you haven't already.

Only a handful of trekkers explore the trail around Manaslu. Although no technical skills are required, and the walk is straightforward, there is an exception when the trail brings you around the landslide area. The ground in some areas is slippery, demanding extra attention while walking.

The trek officially starts from Barpak, given the itinerary offered by Third Rock Adventures and you will continue to trek for 12 days, just before you depart from Kathmandu.

En route to Bimtang via Larkya La, probably on the 14th day, you will walk for 8-9 hours. The walk is quite tough and challenging as you'll cross Larkya La. On average, you will have to walk for 5-6 hours every day.

Writer’s Note: The itinerary can vary. I took the standard 17-day Manaslu trek offered by Third Rock Adventures. Some travel agencies offer 14-day itinerary and 12-day itinerary as well.

Final Say

I hope you get my points here! This trek is relatively lesser-known and hence counted among underrated treks in Nepal. The fact that the trek is a difficult one makes it even more oblivious to trekkers, especially novices. But like always said, with strong determination and the burning desire to complete the trek, blended with proper planning, you can do the trek. 

Anyone, who can walk for a couple of hours, can do the trek. In that sense, you need to be physically and mentally fit. You can train and exercise to strengthen your leg muscle, and build your cardiovascular fitness. Like I said earlier, you can train to walk for a few hours every day.

If you want further information, or maybe expert assistance about the Manaslu Trek, you can comment down, or contact us. Our travel consultants are always ready to help you; even the guides who have done the Manaslu Trek many times will be there to help you for the adventure.

Recent Comments

Aiden Harrison | Wed May 18, 2022
It is indeed a difficult trek. Trekker with previous trekking experience at least above 4000m are suggested to do this trek.
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Nathan Moore | Wed May 11, 2022
it is definitely difficult than the ABC and EBC trek, at least for me. I had to fae breathing challenge at times. But the reward is priceless. Manaslu Trek is awesome
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Molly Ross | Sat Feb 12, 2022
Not so difficult who are used to running, or exercising on daily basis. Yes, unlike other trek it is off-the-beaten but is doable.
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Lawrence Grant | Wed Feb 9, 2022
Been about a week, I've been researching this trek, and this blog is one of the best blogs. Thanks for the info.
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Carson Dixon | Wed Feb 9, 2022
I read the blog until the last word. Can you please offer me 16 day itinerary for the Manaslu trek?
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Angel Franco | Mon Feb 7, 2022
Last time I did Kanchenjunga Base Camp trek and now I think I WILL go for this.
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Sylas Adams | Mon Feb 7, 2022
I have barely seen vlogs on the Manaslu circuit trek. There are very few travel blogs on this. So this blog comes on the top for Manaslu trek and preparation.
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Bradley Spence | Mon Feb 7, 2022
So that means I can do the trek, I have never been to the Nepal trekking trail. Thanks for the informative blog.
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