Manaslu Circuit Trek Difficulty – A Grueling Adventure in the Heart of the Himalayas

By Glorious Himalaya on September 10, 2023 in Travel Tips, Trekking

Manaslu Circuit Trek is a fantastic choice for trekkers who want to experience adventure in the Himalayas. However, any trekker will face some challenges during the trek. This guide will discuss the difficulties of the trek and how you can help solve them.

The Manaslu Circuit Trek takes you closer to Mount Manaslu, 8,163 m, and the eighth-highest mountain in the world. It is a 13-day journey (18 days including travel and days in Kathmandu) around the world’s eighth-highest mountain. It starts in the busy market town of Soti Khola, follows a different path back, and finishes in Syange. This trek is for people looking for a unique experience in Nepal, which offers breathtaking scenery.

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Photo courtesy: Raj Malla

Although the trek is fun and offers countless opportunities to see different types of people, lifestyles, and atmospheres, it is also equally challenging. Certain factors control the trek’s difficulty if you are a beginner with no prior trekking experience. Factors such as altitude, distance, duration, rugged terrain, remoteness, accommodation, dynamic weather, etc., play massive parts in scaling the difficulty level of trekking.

So let’s get into it.

Manaslu Circuit Trek Difficulty

1. Altitude and Acclimatization

High altitude is one of the most common and primary trek difficulties that any trekkers will face during their trek in the Himalayas. Manaslu Trekking is no different since it starts at 900 meters in Maccha Khola and goes to a staggering 5106m in Larkya La Pass. There is a significant concern about altitude sickness at high altitudes. Altitude sickness is a feeling of illness inside your body due to a lack of oxygen. Generally, it starts over an altitude of 3000m. Some common symptoms of altitude sickness are repeated cough, headache, fever, shortness of breath, and tiredness.

Remember, planning your trip well is essential. When you go to high places, you need to take it easy for a while so your body can get used to the lower oxygen. If you don’t do this, you can get very sick.

2. Rugged Terrain

Manaslu Circuit Trek lies in the heart of the Himalayas, so you have to climb different terrains and trails to reach it. The trails are challenging as you have to pass through steep ascents and descents, narrow paths, rough curves, rocky roads, and slippery, snowy peaks. Furthermore, you must pass through different types of forests, waterfalls, streams, suspension, and wooden bridges. While trekking toward Mount Manaslu, you must climb a few hundred steps or use your stick to pass through rough terrains. A few places are also affected by landslides and avalanches, making the trail narrower and more challenging to scale. Hence, for favorable trek conditions, always trek in peak seasons.

3. Remote and Untouched Region

There are many trekking spots in Nepal. Some are popular, and others are less popular. More commercial treks, such as the Everest and Annapurna circuit trek, are more accessible with clear roads and transportation; however, this is not the case with the Manaslu Circuit Trek. Manaslu Trek lies in the remote wilderness, so they have less infrastructure and facilities, increasing its challenge. You won’t find huge hotels, lodges, hospitals, or medical centers in these remote villages. So be sure to pack all the necessary items, especially your first aid kits and toiletries. The teahouse accommodation is shared in these remote places where there will be a lack of electricity, hot water, and other necessary supplies.

4. Special Permits and Strict Regulations

The Manaslu Conservation Area is a protected region through which the trek passes. Special trekking permits are required for this area. Getting these permits and following local rules can be difficult. Trekkers need both Manaslu Restricted Area Permits and an Annapurna Conservation Area Permit. This makes the trek more complex and expensive.

5. Weather Extremes

The dynamic weather conditions are another significant difficulty that trekker face during their Manaslu Circuit Trek. Since the trekking lies at a high altitude of over 5000m, you will face relentless weather changes. Sometimes, the sunshine can immediately change into rain showers or snowfalls that can cause havoc in your trek.

The ideal trekking season falls between September and November and March to May. However, even during these peak seasons, trekkers may encounter unpredictable weather, including rain and snow at higher elevations. Proper gear and clothing are essential to tackle the diverse weather conditions.

6. Cultural Challenges

The Manaslu region is inhabited by various ethnic communities, including the Gurungs, Tamangs, and Tibetans, each with a unique culture and traditions. You must respect local customs and practices, which may differ significantly from theirs. Engaging with the local communities can be rewarding and challenging, as language barriers and cultural differences can present communication hurdles.

7. Physical Fitness

Perhaps the most significant factor contributing to the difficulty of the Manaslu Circuit Trek is the physical fitness required. Trekkers should be in excellent physical condition to tackle the steep ascents and descents, high altitudes, and long hours of walking each day. Regular cardio and strength training before embarking on the trek can help prepare the body for the physical demands.

Conclusion

Hence, the Manaslu Circuit trek is a fun and fantastic adventure, but it is not a walk in the park. Several challenges will make your trek difficult. The typical difficulties you will face during high-altitude treks are altitude sickness, distance and duration, rough terrain, and cultural differences. Despite all the difficulty, trekking to the Manaslu region is a reward. This trek will be one of the most unique adventures you have ever been through, and the memories will last a lifetime. You can also make your trek a bit easier by planning and preparing for the trek beforehand.

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