Manaslu Trek Difficulty Review and Trail Route

 Hiking in Nepal Himalayas, it's not a rocket-science but just a passion.  You don't have to be a professional athlete or mountaineer to complete the Manaslu Circuit Trek.  On the other hand, it doesn't also mean that it is as simple as walking or running in the park.  Especially when it comes to the high altitude, a certain level of fitness and essential preparation helps tremendously to success the trek.   In the end, reading this article will let you know how difficult it is to trek Manaslu Base Camp Trek in Nepal. Whether your fitness and experience will fit for this trek? Or How can you prepare in advance? Most of my customer inquire ‘how difficult is Manaslu Trek’? Do we have to trek somewhere before going around Larke Pass in Mount Manaslu? Therefore, we are here with a piece of independent advice and information to prepare that you should consider taking up this trek.
 
In this article, I would like to highlight my experience about Manaslu Trek difficulties and the necessary preparations you may need before embarking on this great trail.  I suggest you read this article until the end for the effective result and how can you put yourself on the list of as a successful Manaslu trekker. Here is the quick video that summarised everything.

Distance

Approximately 175 km (109 miles) circuit trail Sotikhola where this trek began in western Gorkha Nepal, including two acclimatisation day and side trips at Samagaun and Samdo. That is roughly 100km (75 miles) one way to reach to the top of Larke Pass in 09 to 10 days walk in and 4 to 5 day walk out. Which is roughly 10 -12km (7-8 miles) walking distance each day.
 
Local bus or a private jeep is the only way to reach the trailhead. Sotikhola a small mountain village near Arughat Nepal located at 710m  ( 2,328 ft).  Higher the altitude lower the Oxygen level in the atmosphere. A majority that people are coming to the Himalayas from low land should always remember, irrespective of your fitness or muscular capacity. That means you shouldn't assume 10 Km a day it's not as easy as running in the park. You should prepare yourself at least 6-8 hours of walking which would gain roughly 400-500m of elevation every day.  Regarding the distance per day, Manaslu trek is fairly less distance compear to any other Trek in Nepal. 

Elevation and Acclimatisation

At the highest point of Manaslu, Larke Pass is at 5,100m (16,929ft) with an active oxygen level of about 17.3% (20.9% Oxygen level will remain in the air at sea level).  Throughout the treks, you will gain 500m to 700m (6 to 8 hours) of elevation per day. If you have not experienced any high altitude trek in your life, it could be difficult to reach certain heights in just a couple of days.  For example, the trail to Everest Base Camp requires a change of 1500m just in one day alone! The flight from Kathmandu to Lukla takes you 1,300m to 2,860m just in 30 minutes!  For someone who is not used to this kind of change, your body may not adapt quickly.  But the good things in Manaslu the elevation increased gradually before reaching high altitude makes it easy for acclimatisation. Regarding the safety point of view, Manaslu is relatively safer comper to the EBC trek in Nepal. 

Weather & Temperature

According to the weather report by MFD Kathmandu the temperature at the high  Camp or in the Larke Passes can drop to -12°C (10°F) in Mid-November (According to 2019 weather report) the temperatures of the Basecamp was measured maximum 15°C (59°F) and minimum -12°C (10°F) and the wind speed around 8 to 10 mph.  However, during the same time of the year at Sotikhola from where this trek begins, the temperature was minimum 8°C (46°F) to Maximum 20 °C (68°F). Particularly in Manaslu weather might be one of the most challenging parts after Samdo. If you are planning to complete the whole circuit, please take extra cautious and check the weather forecast. Larke Pass during snow blizzard might be challenging. If the weather is, please take extra caution. Make sure you trek  in a group or wait for other hikers to join. Do not walk alone.  Weather-wise Manaslu trek is one in the list of the arduous trek after Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek and Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek. 

Death and Casualty

Accidents and unfortunate news from the Himalayas often become a news highlight reaches globally. However, most of those incidents pertain to the expedition and not on trekking.  Mostly a lot of climber dies in the Everest region of Nepal. An avalanche claimed the lives of 19 climbers in camp II in 2015. The cause of most of the death is by the avalanche, 
In Manaslu, the trail is safe from an avalanche. There is no actual static available online about how many people die in Manaslu? A rough estimate we heard from the news is about 3-5 people die each year on the Everest Base Camp Trek out of roughly 30,000 people.  This is a death rate of about 0.01% mainly due to the high altitude sickness. But no data of death in Manaslu. This data will not apply to Manaslu as most of the hikers dies due to the altitude sickness which is very minimal chances in Manaslu due to it is a long day before reaching high altitude. Even for the first time hiker, they make it Manaslu easily. The weather might be challenging in during offseason (Especially in the winter), but with extra cautious, this will be efficiently preventing.  Manaslu Trek is far safer comper to Everest Base Camp in Nepal. 

How we deal to make 100% successful 

Manaslu Trek is NOT DIFFICULT in general if you follow some advice.  Acute mountain sickness due to high altitude and the weather is the main issue if you are not adequately acclimatised.  Due to it is located close to the capital of Kathmandu, helicopter facilities can be mobilised immediately. Before getting into the helicopter, I am sure you want to make some effort that you will not end up in the middle of the trek. If you follow some easy steps, it will help you to complete this trek with no issue.  From our recent data, trekkers who assign this trek with NEST Adventure have a 99% success rate from our expert guide who will monitor your health two times a day. In order to, increase the success rate in Manaslu, our guide in NEST Adventure are well equipped with a medical device such as Pulse Oximeter. It is a small medical device which helps keep track of our clients SPO2 (Running oxygen level in their blood) and BPM (Blood Pressure). Which tremendously helps to keep track if the hikers in the high altitude are being acclimatised or not. Do they need extra days for acclimatisation? It is indeed time to call the helicopter etc. 

Choose the Right Gear

As every sport is played with the right gear, it is vital that multi days trekking should not be compromised.  A lot of my customer planning Manaslu Trek for the first time think that trek in Nepal is like climbing a high mountain?.  Well, that makes sense because you know you are ascending 5,100m. As a true matter of fact, trekking in Nepal at until certain scale is not climbing a mountain from the bottom; instead, it is a gradual gain of altitude and distance while hiking day to day through the valley, small hills and passes etc.  The following items could equip you with requirements:

⇒ No climbing Ropes needed
⇒ No Ice axe needed
⇒ No expedition Goretex needed
⇒ No climbing shoe or crampon needed (Ground is not paved – rough, rocky and gravel strewn)
 
What you need is:

⇒ Hiking boot (high ankle boot recommended)
⇒ Sleeping bag  (It is highly recommended to have one)
⇒ Down Jacket
⇒ Pair of inner thermal sweater to keep you warm inside
⇒ Pair of  easy drying hiking pants
⇒ Hiking socks 
⇒ Hiking bag (minimum 50l+10)
 
Additionally, you could consider taking, warm hat/ head cover, scarf, sunglass, lip guard, sun cream, trekking pole, headlamp, windproof gloves, water bottle, water purification drop, camera accessory, first aid kit etc.

Acclimatization & itinerary

A detailed suggest hikers reaching an elevation of 3,048 m (10,000 ft.), You should only increase your altitude by 305m (1,000 ft) per day and for every 915 m  (3,000 ft) of elevation gained, you should take a rest day. 

Based on experts research from Princeton University, Altitude sickness may appear at the elevation of 2,438m - 3,658 m, (8,000-12,000 ft).  At this elevation, the experts recommend acclimatisation while ascending. The second altitude line is when you reach 3,658 - 5,487 m (12,000ft - 18,000 ft) , and the third extremely high line 5,500+ m (18,000+ ft). This report is just, and standard outputs based on research. It may depend on personal health and physical fitness as well. There is no specific factor such as gender or age could be worse or better at high altitude.

Acclimatizing shall be on top of your list if you wish to complete Manaslu without any issue.   Depending on where you come from plan an itinerary with enough days of acclimatisation in between. Manaslu Trek can be done in minimum 14 days to maximum 22 days to a side trip to Tsum Valley.  
 
I have experiences dealing with a lot of customers who are attempting Manaslu trek as their first high altitude trek with 98% success.  It is very important to identify the right company who can advise and suggest you the best Manaslu trek itinerary according to your experience and level of fitness.

Training

A certain degree of physical fitness would be helpful for any trek, but that does not mean you need a professional trainer or special mountain experience.  From my experience let me break down some of the basic training you can do at home or the park nearby as part of the preparation. 
 
Running in the park:  At least one month before the date of departure minimum 5-8 km a day.  This will help breathing and blood circulation in addition to building up your thigh and torso muscles.
 
Swimming: Holding your breath and swimming helps to store oxygen that will ease short breathing in the high altitude.

Yoga or Aerobic: Give some time doing yoga, stretching your body, jogging to tone up your body and muscles etc. 

Gym: If you are a gym person, we suggest extra exercise especially leg Squat, Leg press, Deadlift, Leg extension, Wall sit, Leg curl etc.

Test your gears

It is quite common that some trekkers cannot complete high altitude trek due to blisters on their feet. It mostly happens if you just bought a new pair of trekking boots and haven't tested the size and adjustment with your feet. Always remember your hiking boots should have enough room for fingers. Generally hiking boots for mountain trails should be not too big or not too small in size. It is recommended your hiking boots should be least 0.5 or 1 size bigger than your regular size. It also depends how you tight up shoeless. Let's say If you didn't tighten up you're shoeless It may cause blisters in your toes. Having a high ankle hiking shoes would help a lot to adjust your shoeless. 
Equally important is proper hiking shocks as well. The hiking socks should be thick and be able to regulate temperature to keep your feet from getting sweaty. When you purchase trekking shocks, you should consider buying Woolen socks. Wool is naturally antimicrobial, so it tends to retain smells less than synthetic fabrics.

Suggestion

⇒ Don't be nervous, feel confident and feel like an experienced hiker.
⇒ Drink enough fluids and always remain hydrated, Urine output should be clear.
⇒ Always give enough space for oncoming Yaks, Nyak, Ghokpe, Mule on the way and make sure you always lean up on the side wall.
⇒ Always drink purified water and bring some water purification drop/tablets with you.
⇒ Be aware of uncooked food, keep yourself vegetarian unless fresh meat available usually meat storage in the mountain is not hygienic.
⇒ Carry some extra calorie light food.
⇒ Always make sure you will pack the right gear that fits for high altituide trek
⇒ Stay away as much as possible from alcohol, smoking or any drug in the high altitude.
⇒ Bring your own basic first aid box you are comfortable with. Do not use any medicine that you are not sure about the brand.
⇒ Do not sleep during the day at high altitude. It is recommended to move around and keep yourself active.
⇒ Don't be scared or think that this might be the symptoms of Altitude sickness if you have a little headache or slight fever. It is normal to get these symptoms while adjusting to the varying altitude.
⇒ Make sure you will have a permit for Manaslu Trek. One for the National park and the other for a restricted area. 

Reminder

⇒ Did you research the trek you have chosen in accordance with your fitness?
⇒ Are you prepared physically and psychologically?
⇒ Did you select a trekking company which is specialised and has a good track record or rating in every aspect for your safety?
⇒ Did you plan a right itinerary that fits your level of fitness and desire?
⇒ Did you book your trip during the best time of the year? 
⇒ Did you find an insurance company that includes emergency and medical or other associated expenses in case of evacuation on the trail?

Conclusion

This is probably one of the best off the beaten trekking trails in the world itself and Manaslu trek cost is not expensive as you would think.  Since a lot of tea houses are increasing every season on the trail, It has all the logistics and communication facilities available at designated places. Almost every camp the teahouse offers a telephone to communicate with your family or friends.  A little preparation before you start will raise your confidence and make your trek enjoyable till the Base Camp of world's eighth highest mountain. Over 50 adventure travellers every year books trip with us. If you want to join with them feel free to inquiries us. If you enjoy reading this article share with your friends and family who's been missing this exclusive information about Manaslu. We would also appreciate if you give us a higher rating possible on the side pooping box for this article

About Rajendra Khanal (Raj)

Rajendra Khanal (Raj) Born and raised in Gorkha, Nepal, I am proud to call the Manaslu region my home! I have been in the travel business for over a decade from being assistance guide to being a guide/leader to being a manager and finally a founder of NEST Adventure. So you could say, I know my way well enough in the Himalayas especially in some of the off-the-beaten trails in Nepal like Manaslu, Kanchenjunga or Mustang

I am passionate about travelling and I strongly believe that seeing the world shouldn't break the bank (at least not too much!).  I have backpacked to over 15 countries in Asia, Central Americas USA and Canada, one-third of Europe, Caribbean Island and  Latin America.

I studied in the UK and moved to the United States. During that period, I had an opportunity working with multinational companies which taught me, how to deliver quality customer service in the business? As a world travelling backpacker myself, and travel expert of Nepal Himalayas, I started writing about my own country.  Incase, If you required free information about Nepal, please do not hesitate to visit my office in Thamel. We are located in the centre of Kathmandu Thamel. I am happy to share a cup of Nepali tea and free information.  Our team at NEST has earned 5/5 star ratings on TripAdvisor from about 200 satisfied customers. Don't forget to visit our customer feedback page on TripAdvisor.
If you believe our expert team can be helpful in planning your next trip to Nepal, then please do not hesitate to contact me. at nestadventure@gmail.com. I am also available 24x7 on WhatsApp  +977- 9851052042. If you are interested to know more about my travel journey follow me on  Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  
 
4 + 9 = ?


Hi Raj, could you help me with this? I am planning to trek manaslu with my boyfriend. I have a bit of knee problem, it generally starts to pain while climbing down. as such i am fit to do medium level treks like walking upto 10kms a day with 2-3 kms of hike included. I keep doing treks here and there but not a regular trekker. please suggest if I should go ahead with manaslu? we are actually planning to begin next week. however, this week i did a trek and redeveloped pain in my knee.
- Prerna Jain


Hello Prerna, 

I would say it's completely up to you. just to let you know after you reach the top of Thorangla pass, you have to go down from 5,160m to 3,000 I could Imagine that is going to be a lot for your knee. And one thing to let you know there is no camp in the middle you must reach to Bhimtang. If you are interested to know more about day to day itinerary of Manaslu open the highlighted link. 

- Nepal Explore Summit Treks Pvt. Ltd.


Hi

I am fit but suffer from vertigo on exposed paths. How exposed is the trail and could someone with vertigo handle it?

- Jonathan Evans


Hello Jonathan, 

Thank you so much for the comment. If you are fit enough to walk and had some Hiking experience I think You can do it. The trail is fine and smooth. However, if you are suffering from vertigo, Lower part of the Manaslu trek have suspension bridge like this. If can walk on those bridge you can do Manaslu Trek. Not only in Manaslu but also every trekking trail has connected with such kind of suspension bridge in Nepal. I hope that helps. Do not hesitate to contact us again if you have further questions about Manaslu circuit Trekking trail. 

- Nepal Explore Summit Treks Pvt. Ltd.


Hi there,


My gf and I would like to trek manaslu and as we have no experience trekking would like to understand just how hard it is? We are 26 and 23 I'm in good health and my gf generally is but has a liver condition which can make her tired. We both regularly go to the gym and are fit but I would like to know just how difficult the trek is and if itbwoukd be suitable for us?

Thanks

Alex 

- Alex Gavrilovic


Hello, Alex, Regarding the difficulty as Manaslu is ranked on high difficulty list. As the trail required to cross over 5100m high altitude,  you might have to prepare for that. As long as you have the previous experience doing high altitude trek you should be fine. Last season 5-year-old kid cross the Larke pass from our company. 
- Nepal Explore Summit Treks Pvt. Ltd.


Hi ..!!! It’s great to see your article about the Manaslu Trek. We are a family from the UK . We are planning to visit Manaslu Trek in October 2015. We have a kids (9 years) Would it be possible to Hike Manaslu Trek with the 9 year’s old kids? We are wondering how difficult is Manaslu Trek and especially how is the trail after the earthquake? I approach your blog about the Manaslu, which I found helpful. If you could please give us your personal review about the Manaslu Trek. We would be thankful with you. Thanks.
- Christopher


Hello Christopher , We are glad to assist your concern. we would like to Thank you, you found our blog as helpful. You are most welcome in our country with your family. The station right now in Manaslu Trek is not very well. This link might be very helpful for you with the recent updates about the Manaslu trek after the eartquake. http://manaslucircuittrek.com/2030/manaslu-trek-update-july-12-2015/. Regarding the condition of Trekking trail in October should be fine. As all of the government tourism department and local NGO are working for open the trail as soon as possible. Manaslu trek is not that difficult trekking trail compare to other trail. Out of 5 rating Manaslu is 3.5 in difficulty score . In other word we can say it’s moderate. It’s not very easy and not very difficult either. If the kids is strong enough to walk minimum 5/6 hour a day. He should be fine.
- Nepal Explore Summit Treks Pvt. Ltd.


It's very nice to see the information about the Manaslu trek difficulty . we heard quite many things about Manaslu trek. they said it's not possible with out guide. and pass is very difficult. we are wondering how difficult is that pass. we are quite strong people. we have lots hiking experience . would be nice to know about how we can reach the place .
- Krist


Hi, Krist Thanks for your concern . Manaslu Trek is not as difficult as people said . only some time might be difficult if the weather condition is bad . Mostly if the weather goes bad and if the snowfall then we have to think about the pass. or your guide will tell you the condition . Manaslu trek is not possible without guide . Due to the policy of the Nepal government no one allow in the Manaslu reason with out guide. you can check the further link http://www.nestadventure.com/blog/category/4/manaslu-trek-blog . If you have previous hiking experience it's even more helpful for you. otherwise you really don't need to be prepare physically specially for this trek. we design the itinerary for the people who can fit in to this. We also have acclimatisation during those days.
- Nepal Explore Summit Treks Pvt. Ltd.


If it suite your time frame in our schedule please look at our fixed departure above . where you can also join the trip, share guide and permit. just let us know we can try to find group for you.
- Nepal Explore Summit Treks Pvt. Ltd.

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