Manaslu Circuit Trek Difficulty

Manaslu Circuit Trek Difficulty

Manaslu circuit trekking takes you to `the wilderness of the uncovered part of Western Nepal. To circumnavigate the eight highest mountains in the world, Mt.Manalsu (8160m) is like a hidden treasure game where you will need to follow the off-the-beaten-path to find the real jewel. You will be bestowed with the delight of dense forest, fast-flowing water streams, standing waterfalls, and diverse terrain as you go deep into Budhi Gandaki, Marsyangdi, and Nubri Valley.

The Manaslu Circuit Trek difficulty is considered to be moderately challenging, with the highlight of the trek being Larke La Pass. Ascending the Larke La pass with an altitude of 5100 m marks the highest altitude in your whole Manaslu circuit Trek. There are various routes you can take to embark on the Manaslu circuit Trek.

You can either start the trek from Kathmandu to Barpak, enter the Budhi Gandaki Valley, and then trek to the threshold of the high pass. Or, you can take an alternative route from Soti Khola and Maccha Khola if you want to have an expansive view of Annapurna and Manalsu mountains from the first leg of your journey. Despite whichever route you opt for, Manalsu Circuit Trek undoubtedly will bring out the best of the Manalsu region as you transverse the trails.

However, trekking on those rugged terrains in remote areas is not as easy as you may have thought. Walking at these higher altitudes means higher risk of altitude sickness. On top of that the long duration of hiking will definitely make you feel the exhaustion of trekking. So, to overcome all these difficulties, prior preparation and safety measures must be taken. You will need to have a reasonable level of physical fitness and stamina along with mental resilience to complete this trek with convenience.

Manaslu Circuit Trek Difficulty Breakdown

Manaslu Circuit Trek Difficulty Breakdown

Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness is a common problem faced by trekkers and adventurers alike when inclining to a higher altitude. The risks of altitude sickness increase as you enter altitudes 3000 m above sea level. Moreover, you will be walking most of your Manaslu circuit Trek above 3000 m, so you might face mild symptoms of AMS like nausea, fatigue, headache, shortness of breath, insomnia, etc.

When you incline to a higher altitude, the airline atmosphere gets thinner with a low percentage of oxygen level. Your body is not used to such a low level of oxygen level, so sudden change without adaptability causes AMS. Therefore it is necessary for you to acclimatize properly so that your body adapts to higher elevations.

Remote And Rugged Terrains

Manaslu Circuit Trek revolves around the remote area at the foothills of the mountains. You will have to transverse through the winding paths and stone staircases while making your way to the Budhi Gandaki Valley and Nubri Valley.

Moreover, the trek becomes more taxing when you have to overcome the rugged, dramatic landscapes along with loose soils and scree. The ascent and descent on the steep uphills and downhills demand a good level of stamina and endurance, along with flexibility in schedules. Hence, it is better to gain some training in advance to enhance your physical strength for this trek.

Long Duration Of Hiking

One of the major factors to increase the Manaslu circuit Trek difficulty is long hours of hiking. The total trek distance to be covered in this trek is about 180 km. Likewise, it will take an optimal 16 to 20 days to explore the Manaslu region. Hence, you will need to cover approximately 8 to 12 km per day by hiking for about 6 to 7 hours daily.

Additionally the difficult terrains add an extra layer of difficulty while you are walking such long hours daily.

Weather Factors

One thing about the weather in the Himalayas is that it can go from bright sunny days to dark clouds all over the sky in the blink of an eye. You can face some unexpected rainfall which will make the trails slippery and muddy, especially during the off-seaons. Similarly, you have to tackle the landslides and avalanches-prone paths, which adds twofold risk to the Manaslu Circuit Trek difficulty.

However, these factors are uncontrollable, so it is better to consider the weather factors before embarking on your journey and choose the peak seasons for the adventure.

Transferring To Various Climatic Zones

Beginning your trek from Arughat to reaching the highest point of your trek at Larke La pass, the Manaslu Circuit Trekking alone covers six different climatic zones with varying altitudes and topography. The sections of the trek will give you an extensive perspective of tropical, subtropical, temperate, subalpine, alpine, and arctic zones.

The introduction of these zones brings a variety of challenges, including temperature, routes, terrains, weather, and many more. So you will have to be equipped to handle all these changes and be adaptable in every condition.

Crossing Larkya La Pass

Larke la pass is both the highlight and difficulty factor in Manaslu circuit Trek. You will have to leave early in the morning to cross the pass so that you can avoid the strong winds during the daytime.

Furthermore, the pass involves a steep ascent, which requires a great extent of physical fitness and determination. On top of that, the pass may consist of icy slopes depending on the weather factor, which will demand the use of crampons and ice axes.

Heavy Backpacks

The packing list for the trek doesn’t have vast variations with the seasons, as you have to be ready for every unpredictable circumstance that may arise at the trek. It is undeniable that the trek will connect you with nature, but carrying a heavy backpack on those difficult terrains can be tricky when you are not used to it. So it is better to have a porter with you who will ease the burden of luggage.

Accommodations And Meals

As you are very well known that you are transversing the tranquil and isolated part of the Manaslu region, you will be offered basic accommodation and meals which you may not be used to. So, you have to compromise with the resources that are available in the region.

You may not get a wide range of food menus to choose from. But, all of the meals are prepared from local healthy ingredients and they are certainly delights. Similarly, teahouses and lodges are the common modes of accommodation in the Manasulu circuit trek. You will be offered twin sharing rooms along with two or three beds adjacent to each other. Hence, flexibility and adaptability are a must when you are making plans to go on the Manaslu circuit trek.

Manalsu Circuit Trek Difficulty In Different Seasons

Manalsu Circuit Trek Difficulty In Different Seasons

Spring season( March to May)

Spring is one of the preferable seasons for the Manalsu circuit trek. When nature comes out of the winter sleep during spring, it spreads liveliness in the trails of the Manaslu region. The temperature is moderate, with pleasant and stable weather in the region.

However, the warmer temperature melts the frozen lakes, rivers, and glaciers, which can potentially lead to the trails being slippery and muddy. Navigating slippery trails can be a huge obstacle in itself. The skies during spring are clear, but occasionally, it can rain and snow at higher altitudes.

Additionally, you may spot wildlife like animals, insects, etc, while you are passing the dense lush forest. Those who can get easily scared of insects will have to carry some shields for safety.

Autumn Season (September to November)

The fall season is another suitable time of the year to embark on the Manaslu circuit Trek. The festive atmosphere in the settlement areas of the Himalayan region allows you to discover the unique culture and tradition of Western Nepal. The forest will have its reddish color, adding more beauty to your adventure. The stable weather and clear skies give you unobstructed views of the panoramic mountains.

However as the autumn progresses, the temperature can drop significantly in the higher altitude with some early snowfalls. This can somehow disturb your schedule or hinder your plans to explore the region.

Monsoon or Summer Season

June to August is the summer season in Nepal, which brings heavy monsoon rainfall to the Manaslu region. Usually, monsoon is the off-season for all the trekking in Nepal, including the Manaslu circuit trek. There are certain sections on the trail that are susceptible to landslides due to monsoon rains. Moreover, you can play hide and seek with clouds as the views of the Himalayan can obstructed by sudden clouds and mist. Similarly, you have to walk alongside the forest and meadows where leeches and other insects are out in nature after the increased humidity. So leeches and insects playing out in nature can make your trekking uncomfortable.

Winter Season

From December to February, the Manaslu region is covered with a white blanket of snow, making it an off-season for trekking. The trails covered with snow and ice increase the Manaslu circuit trek difficulty in winter. Moreover, the tea houses and lodges along the trail may be closed as the owners come down to the valley to avoid the freezing cold.

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How To Avoid Altitude Sickness

How To Avoid Altitude Sickness

Acclimatize Properly

You should choose an itinerary that has specific days for acclimatization after covering a certain level of height. Going on hikes to explore other side highlights can be an ideal way to adapt your body to increasing altitude.

Stay hydrated

Dehydration is the primary cause that results the altitude sickness. So, it is very essential to drink plenty of fluids and intake about 3 to 4 liters of water daily. Moreover, during the Manaslu circuit trek, it is better to skip alcohol and caffeine consumption. These drinks will not only contribute to dehydration but also slow down the acclimatization process.

Do Not Skip Meals

The rugged terrain of the Manaslu region demands a huge amount of energy. So you should have a balanced diet food. Your diet shall include sufficient carbohydrates for energy and foods rich in iron and antioxidants to aid oxygen transportation in your body.

Why don’t you try the Nepalese staple, dal bhaat tarkari? Daal bhaat power 24-hour is a funny yet true fact that describes a well-balanced diet meal.

Gradual Ascent

You are on the trails of the Manaslu circuit trekking to enjoy nature, not to run a marathon. So, while ascending to the higher altitude, you should walk at your pace by taking short breaks to allow yourself to breathe properly. The general rule of trekking is to avoid ascending more than 500 m per day when you are walking above 3000m.

Adequate Rest

It is normal when you don’t feel sleepy in other places except your bedroom or any comfort place. However, you will be walking for about 6 to 7 hours in this trek, so your body will automatically feel fatigued, and you will just want to sleep at the end of each day. Hence, quality sleep is very necessary to tackle altitude sickness.

Even after such taxing hiking, if you do not feel sleepy, then it is an indication of altitude sickness.

Know Your Limits

Your body will have to handle and adapt to some extreme conditions during this trek. However, sometimes your body cannot handle such situations such as weather conditions, altitude etc. At that time, it is better to listen to your body rather than push yourself further with the trek. It is always okay to adjust your itinerary or even return back if your condition worsens. Nothing comes first before your health.


While packing for the Manaslu circuit trek, it is essential to pack some medicines that will deal with altitude sickness. Diamox tablet is one of the anti-nausea medications that will aid with the symptoms of altitude sickness.

Tips For Minimizing Manaslu Circuit Trek Difficulty

Tips For Minimizing Manaslu Circuit Trek Difficulty

Hiring Professional Guides And Porters

Guides and porters can be your companion for the trek. With their expertise and guidance, you will be able to complete the trek safely and comfortably. Guides will help you to navigate the rugged trails along with providing you with necessary information about the region. Moreover, they are well-trained in basic first aid. So they will be able to give you an immediate response in case of altitude sickness or any other accidents and mishaps.

Furthermore, porters will carry your luggage and equipment and reduce the weight from your back. They can carry 15 to 25 kg of weight. This will allow you to walk with ease. Likewise, you can have a porter guide who will carry the luggage and at the same time guide you along the Manaslu circuit trail.

Determining The Best Time For The Trek

Seasons play a huge role in determining the difficulty factors for the Manaslu circuit trek. So, it is very important to select the time as per the objective of your trekking. If you want to enjoy the solitude in the Himalayan region and connect with nature, then spring and autumn are the best seasons. The longer hours of sunlight in these deals allow you to explore the area for a longer time.

In case you are nature-enthusiastic and want to appreciate the green canopy with diverse flora then moonsson is the perfect time for you. If you are an experienced trekker and snow enthusiast, then the winter season can draw your attention with its pristine white scenery.

Getting Good Training Before The Manaslu Circuit Trek

It is better to prepare yourself beforehand rather than regretting during the trek. Since the trails lead you to the remote area of Manalsu region with steep ascents and descents in the rugged terrain, you will require a good level of physical fitness and stamina.

You can train yourself with some cardiovascular exercises to boost your stamina. Likewise, you can go on high-altitude hikes to gain prior experience with high altitude. There are various packages in the market to train you for trekking. You can opt for those various exercises to prepare yourself for the trek. Additionally, you can train yourself at home by looking at tutorials on YouTube.

Customize Itinerary As Per Your Needs

It is necessary to choose the package that can give you flexibility in your schedule. Your Manaslu circuit trek should be fulfilling in every aspect, from the highlights you want to explore to the culture and tradition you want to discover. Hence, you can customize the itinerary as per your requirements.

Packing Properly

Packing for trekking can either make or break your journey. It is usually recommended to pack light. However, you should not miss out on essentials. So, here is a small reference for you to tick off your packing list.

  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen with high SPF, Lip Balm
  • Hat and beanie
  • T-shirt and Shirt
  • Fleece Jacket and Down Jacket
  • Waterproof Jacket and Trousers
  • Warm Gloves
  • Hiking Boots
  • Additional pairs of socks
  • Day pack, Duffle bags
  • Torchlight
  • Water bottle (Minimum 2 liters)
  • Small Hand Towel
  • Sleeping Bag for up to -15 Degree Celsius

Have An Emergency Plan

Many people say that trekking is just carrying bags and walking on the trails. But trekking is much more than that. It requires proper planning from the very start to the end of the trek. One of the major things you should decide is your emergency plan. In case you suffer from altitude sickness or mishaps and cannot continue with the trek, you should be equipped with an emergency plan, including evacuation routes, communication strategies, and many more.

How To Train Yourself For The Trek

How To Train Yourself For The Trek
View from Samdo Hill (4860 m) on the Manaslu Circuit

It is a known fact that in order to complete the Manaslu circuit trek, one must be in his/her best physical form. So let’s know more about how you can train yourself.

Cardiovascular Exercise

Cardiovascular or aerobic exercises build endurance and flexibility, along with improving your overall fitness and stamina. Exercise like swimming, hiking, jogging, etc will help you to get your blood pumping and large muscle group working.

Leg And Core Strength

Trekking in the remote region of Manaslu includes ascending and descending in the uneven terrains. So exercises like squats, lunges, step-ups, calf raises, leg curls, glute bridges, deadlifts, etc, can increase the strength of your leg. Likewise, exercises like planks, crunch, sit-ups, etc, will develop your core strength. These exercises will enhance your stability and balance while crossing the high passes.

Practice With Backpack

Most of the time, you will carry the backpack on your back to complete the trek. So you can train with your backpack, which you will carry on the trek. You can add the weights as the training day progresses to adapt your body to additional strain.

Consistency Is The Key

Physical fitness is not something that will increase in just a day. Consistently training doesn’t mean practicing for long hours for a single day. you should train with a proper schedule and establish a consistent training habit. It is better if you start your training weeks prior to trekking so that you may have sufficient time to improve your fitness and stamina.

Rest And Recovery

Rest and recovery are essential parts of the training regime, especially when it is done to tackle the Manaslu circuit trek difficulty factors.

It is very necessary to take a break between the workouts so that your body has time to heal and strengthen. This will give you time to catch your breath for your next exercise.

Mental Preparation

Preparation for trek doesn’t mean preparing physically, but it also indicates preparing your mind for long days of trekking. Determination and a stable mindset are very essential to complete the trek. You should be prepared for long hours of hiking and adapt to any unpredictable circumstances. Moreover, you should be self-motivated to complete the trek and keep a low level of expectations about the Manaslu circuit trek to enjoy the journey to the fullest.

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