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 customers 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 about Manaslu Trek Difficulty and to prepare that you should consider taking up this trek.
In this article, I would like to highlight my experience with Manaslu Trek’s difficulties and the necessary preparations you may need before embarking on this great trail. I suggest you read this article until the end of the effective result and how can you put yourself on the list of as successful Manaslu trekkers. Here is the quick video that summarised everything.
Approximately 175 km (109 miles) circuit trail Sotikhola where this trek began in western Gorkha Nepal, including two acclimatization 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 days walkout. 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 acclimatization. Regarding the safety point of view, Manaslu is a 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 during offseason (Especially in the winter), but with extra cautious, this will be efficiently preventing. Manaslu Trek is a 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 acclimatized. Due to it is located close to the capital of Kathmandu, helicopter facilities can be mobilized 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 that helps keep track of our clients SPO2 (Running oxygen level in their blood) and BPM (Blood Pressure). This tremendously helps to keep track of the hikers in the high altitude are being acclimatized or not. Do they need extra days for acclimatization? 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 thinks 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 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 ax 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 an 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 expert 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 acclimatization 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 acclimatization in between. Manaslu Trek can be done in a minimum of 14 days to a maximum of 22 days to a side trip to Tsum Valley.
I have experienced 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.
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 a minimum of 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 sits, 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 on how you tight up shoeless. Let’s say If you didn’t tighten up you’re shoeless It may cause blisters on 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.
- 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 upon the sidewall.
- 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 altitude 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.
- 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 that is specialized 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 for 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?
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 the world’s eighth highest mountain. Over 50 adventure travelers 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