Blizzard October 2014 and its impact on Annapurna Circuit & Manaslu Circuit

Ocean wave named Hud-Hud had hit western himalayan range of Nepal unexpectedly on form of blizzard and snow recently on October 2014 as a result hundreds of trekkers were missing and more then forty trekkers lost their life during Annapurna Trek. Dolpo and Upper Mustang that lays further west of Annapurna Ranges was also severely affected by unexpected of blizzard. According to new weather forecast on 31st of October and 1st of November wave from Arabian Ocean will force weather of eastern Nepal to change but hard to predict whether it will end on disaster or simple change with snow and rainfall.
larke pass manaslu Fig - A night in tent before traversing Lakre Pass on Manaslu Range Nepal

Lots of trekkers who were looking for trekking in Nepal on mid of October, early and mid November are left on dilemma about uncertainty of weather. Best alternatives used by several agencies to get rid of impact of bad weather is shift trekking region from high alpine region to lower elevated region. Best example is Annapurna Circuit was shifted to Manaslu and Langtang as per convenient.
Is Manaslu Ok, What about weather condition and Possibility to cross the Larke Pass

Well we would love to say any himalayan range is ok now, hundreds of people had already traverse Annapurna Circuit even after this disaster within in two weeks of time span. Definitely Manaslu is ok as it belongs to mid western himalayan range of Nepal in between Annapurna and Langtang Massifs. As a relation of close neighbor to Annapurna people had generated idea about massive destruction on Manaslu region to, but most of people are not familiar about Thorong La Pass and Larke La Pass. In term of technical difficulties Larke Pass is more dangerous than Thorong La although is couple of hundred meter lower in term of elevation. Final part of Larke is more steep and slippery as well as during heavy snow it is almost impossible to traverse the pass even when lead by climbing Sherpa with full equipment. Main reason behind this is technical terrain and slope of Larke in compare to Thorong La Pass. Thorong it belongs to world’s widest pass and very pleasant trail.
Thorong La Pass by Bicycle
Fig - Joy of excitement after scaling the top of Thorong La Pass Trek

Because of this nature of pass most of people turns into mode of wait and see even in case of minor snowfall on Larke Region. Whereas on the other hand trekkers on Thorong side easily attempt to cross the pass on minor snowfall. Apart from Annapurna freelance trekkers can’t trek Manaslu on their own because of its restricted policy. No doubt when lead by professional guide, they can decide when to stop, whether to trek ahead or halts the trek retracing because of weather condition and other factors. It doesn’t mean that Manaslu is hundred percent safe instead we should understood it as region where precaution are vital things and past information too. Dharmsala is key point for Larke Pass as one cannot traverse toward Bimthang skipping day on Dharmasala.
What exactly had happened on Manaslu during blizzard

Entire people had halts the trek from Dharmasala completely either retracing back toward Samdo or Samagaon or turned wait and see mode. When condition had gone worse and completely out of control some had called for immediate evacuation, some had tried to retrace down to Samdo by collaborating with local people. This is the reason why no people were dead during blizzard and snowstorms. Meanwhile French citizen was found dead on Budi Gandaki near by village of Machhakhola after he fell down on river from slippery portion of trail.

Chorten near by village of samdo
Fig - Chorten on Samdo, Quite normal on each and every village of Manaslu at entrance of settlement
Is Manaslu Larke Pass ok

Yes, right after couple of days from blizzard and snowstorm number of trekkers had traversed Larke La Pass and undertake the trek successfully. Still there are some weather forecast about change in weather of Nepal on 31st and 1st apart from that it should be stable unless some ocean wave affect the weather of high alpine area.
Thorong Pass High Camp just before the top of the pass almost at the elevation more than five thousand meter Fig - Hiking up toward top of Thorong Pass with teahouses on high camp beneath

So without any dilemma and worry enjoy trekking on Nepal on coming November and December. All high alpine passes are ok; don’t forget to check for the latest update on weather, do not trek alone, health and travel insurance are the most before trek. Proper gears are the most for high alpine treks. Simply you can contact us for more details about pack list for trekking and other updates about weather of Nepal Himalayas.


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