31 Jul 2021 Peak Climbing Nepal
Mountaineers can all agree that Manaslu is a gift to them by nature. It’s a great adventure playground and a better one than many of them out there. It has got ample hidden places to explore and some delightful sights that the trekkers can enjoy.
Although not the world’s tallest mountain, Mt. Manaslu is still iconic and unreal natural beauty. It’s as breathtaking as it can get with surrounding snow-capped mountains, shimmering glaciers, seracs, and ice cliffs.
The mountain is a crown jewel of the Himalayas and a trekker’s paradise. But, climbing Manaslu isn’t easy, especially with the rugged trails, endless steep climbs, and snowy ridge. It’s more brutal than Everest and poses extreme challenges.
It’s probably why the mountain draws fewer trekkers than the other highest snow peaks in the world. Soaring up to 26,781 feet, Mt. Manaslu is a challenging walk and needs some great crampon and ice ax skills.
There are many technical difficulties that trekkers have to overcome to reach the summit. They’ll have to cross the deep crack using a ladder and ascent the glaciers, which are a bit strenuous. The reward for climbing the mountain is priceless, though hikers will watch the spectacular view of dramatic landscapes, towering peaks, and glacial lakes.
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Where is Mt. Manaslu Located?
The world’s eighth highest mountain, Mt. Manaslu, lies in the Mansiri Himal in west-central Nepal. It has an elevation of 8,163 meters above sea level and is surrounded by giants like Himalchuli and Ngadi. On the north of Manaslu is one of the longest passes, Larkya La, which sits between Bimthang and Dharamshala.
It has a latitude of 28.549444 degrees in the north, while the longitude coordinates of Manaslu is 84.561943 degrees in the east. It is about 119 km away from Kathmandu, but the trek starts only after taking a road drive up to Soti Khola.
Recognized as the tallest peak in the Gorkha District, Mt. Annapurna is roughly 40 miles far from Annapurna. It offers many trekking options for avid mountaineers, but the most popular one is the 177 km hiking trail that evades the Manaslu massif bypassing Annapurna.
Most of the trail that trekkers have to steer to reach the summit is rugged and filled with debris, rocks, and boulders. Climbing the sheer glaciers, long snowy ridges, and crevasse is equally difficult and strenuous.
Trekkers will have to learn technical skills like rope climbing and crevasse rescue before the trek. This will help them tackle the difficulties during the trek and successfully ascend the summit.
Mountaineers have to trek long and hard after the Manaslu base camp as the trail above is constantly inclined and covered in snow. There are many crevasses that trekkers have to cross and even have to face the snow slides. Climbing the glaciers and pass are some of the toughest challenges for the trekkers of Mt. Manaslu.
Why trek Mt. Manaslu? And what is it famous for?
Mt. Manaslu is one of the famous but less busiest trek mountains in the world. Hikers don’t climb this mountain as much as they ascend Everest and Annapurna. But, it doesn’t take away the fact that Mt. Manaslu is a stunning mountain with overwhelming views of Ngadi Chuli, Baudha, and Himalchuli. The region is crammed with such hidden places and mesmerizing natural beauties that trekkers can explore during their Manaslu expedition. A few of the major highlights of the Mt. Manaslu trek are as follows.
1. Stunning view
Mt. Manaslu is a classic Himalayan trek that comes with an impressive view of sweeping landscapes, rolling hills, and valleys. Trekkers will get to enjoy the picturesque view of snow-capped mountains from the minute they start walking the trail. Trekkers will have a chance to explore the traditional Nepali villages and also visit some ancient Tibetan monasteries with prayer flags.
Walking along the trail, they’ll get to witness a series of cascading waterfalls and roaring streams. Visitors of the Manaslu in Spring can see blooming wildflowers and rhododendrons throughout the forest. After reaching the base camp, they get a glimpse of steppe grasslands, colorful rock hills, and terminal moraines.
The honor of standing at the top of Mt. Manaslu already gives trekker’s a great sense of pleasure, but what makes it even better is the magnificent surrounding scenery of glistening mountains. Mountaineers can see more than a dozen of peaks from the crest, including Himalchuli and Baudha.
2. Glacial lakes and ice cliffs
Manaslu region is an ultimate magnet for trekkers who want to soak in nature without any disruptions from the crowd. It has many serene lakes that feed on the glacier in the Manaslu district. Some of the most stunning lakes that trekkers can explore during their trip to the region include Kal Taal, Birendra Tal, Narandkunda Lake, and Prok Lake.
Out of them, the most popular and biggest lake is Kal Tal which is perched at an altitude of 3,800 meters high. Visitors can also discover magnificent glaciers in the region, including Karkyo Glacier, Manaslu Glacier, and Tulagai Glacier.
3. Peaceful trails
Since Mt. Manaslu is a less climbed trek mountain than the other snow peaks in the Himalayas, its trails are quiet and relaxing. Trekkers can literally hear the sound of rustling leaves before even walking into the forest. They’ll get to enjoy the beauty of nature without being annoyed or disrupted by fellow hikers.
Unlike Everest, mountains won’t be stranded on the trail for a long time. Also, they won’t have long traffic jams like that in the popular mountains, creating many difficulties. Trekkers can reach the summit without being bottlenecked or standing in the long line for a race to the summit.
4. Cultural and Religious sites
Mt Manaslu is also famous for its religious and cultural heritage sites which carry great significance. It has many ancient Tibetan monasteries, religious shrines, and monuments that provide you insight into local culture, customs, and traditions. There are old Tibetan monasteries in Samagaon, including Pung Gyan Gumba and mani walls, which take visitors back to medieval times and give essence to the Himalayan people’s heritage.
5. Side trek destination
Mt. Manaslu is an abode to many snowcapped mountains, including Himalchuli, Baudha which provide astounding scenery. It also allows them to trek the surrounding mountains and enjoy the magnificent view of the surrounding. Mt. Manaslu itself makes a great trek destination, sitting between Ganesh Himal and Budhi Gandaki gorge. Laarkya La Pass and Larkya Phedi are some of the notable tourist attractions on the trek as they come with a fantastic view.
Mt. Manaslu is a visual pleasure and a fountain of delight with spectacular scenery. It’s like a picture straight out of the postcard, unbelievably stunning and glorious. Hikers climbing Mt. Manaslu get to enjoy the magnificent glimpses of sweeping landscapes, towering clifftops, verdant hills, and mountains.
The Mt. Manaslu expedition begins with a long and scenic drive to Soti Khola through Prithvi Highway. The road from Kathmandu to this beautiful town has many twists and turns, so it takes trekkers somewhere between 2 to 3 hours to get here. Soti Khola is a gateway to Mt. Manaslu and lies in the north of Arughat.
After arriving at Soti Khola, the trail rushes towards the bridge over Dudh Koshi River, then climbs off the rocks. It then gently moves to the Gurung village of Labishe and walks a few more miles from the picturesque hamlet to arrive at Machha Khola.
From there, the course walks alongside the bank of the Budhi Gandaki River before heading up to the ridge. The path from the narrow valley takes a huge descent to a wide sweep and follows an easy trail until Jagat which, is a gorgeous village. It’s perched in the Lamjung district and comes with a breathtaking view of lofty hills and mountains,
From Jagat, the trail proceeds to Deng, passing through Setibas, a village where trekkers can see lots of beautiful mani walls reflecting Tibetan culture. The course also walks past the stone-built houses of Ghatta Khola and then to Philim before running downhill.
The trail walks over the green meadow and heads to Budhi Gandaki River. The track gently ascent upward and into the bamboo forest that leads the trekker to Deng from the other end of the river. Visitors can witness the influence of Gurung culture in the region with prayer flags, ancient Tibetan monasteries, and Chortens.
On the next day, the Manaslu expedition continues with a walk to Namrung that lies at an altitude of 8,760 feet. The entire trek lasts almost 6-7 hours and has us follow a route with a series of ups and downs. We’ll walk past Ghap, a remote settlement with many stone houses and mani walls.
Leaving beside the village, we climb the steep hill and to the check post before turning to Namrung. This lovely village provides us a delightful view of vivid valleys, lush green terrains, breathtaking landscapes, and clifftops. The trek to Samagaun is a long and mostly uphill walk, so we’ll start the trek early and finish it on time.
Coming out of the village, the Mt. Manaslu trail takes a slow and steady walk, past the gushing waterfall pass over the village of Barchham. It tunes up to the village of Lhi that rises upward and shortly afterward plunges to the Hinan River. Fleeting the village of Sho, the trail comes across the Numla River and soon thereafter makes a long walk to the Samagaun.
It’s a beautiful village where many trekkers stop for a day or two to acclimatize before trekking any further. Trekkers spend their day at Samagaun by exploring the village and trekking up to Pung Gyan Gumba, a religious landmark overlooking the eastern face of Manaslu.
Other options include a short hike off the Bimthang Lake viewpoint which, offers a surreal view of glistening mountains, glaciers, and steep-sided rocky hills. After the day-off, the trek resumes with a sharply inclined rugged walk over loose rocks and boulders.
Trekking above glacial moraine, the trail paves its way through the Birendra Kund, which nestles at the foot of the glacier. The lake’s crystal-clear water provides a beautiful mirror image of Mt. Manaslu and its northern icefall to the visitors passing nearby.
Once we reached the base camp, we’re introduced to our trek guide and crew members, who look after all the preparation, including food. Climbing Manaslu takes a lot of groundwork and training, especially for walking crevasse and walking glaciers.
Most of all, it requires the trekkers to let the body adapt to the weather and temperature at high altitudes. Therefore, we’ll spend most of our day acclimatizing at the base camp and learning the needed technical skills from the Sherpa. As soon as the light comes out on the next day, we head up to the trail and march over the snowy ridge.
Supporting us on the trail is the Sherpa guide, who puts a ladder over the crevasse and fix the rope to create anchors. Following the instructions of our trek guide, we’ll climb the upward sloping snowy trail and walk over rocks.
Following the lead of Sherpa, we’ll reach Camp I and spend the next day scrambling a steeply inclined ice cliff. Climbing these sections requires an immense amount of physical stamina and balance. Due to the excessive elevation gain and low barometric pressure, mountaineers suffer from altitude sickness.
It’s therefore, we trek slowly on the trail and let the body adjust to the climatic conditions and temperature. Using the rope, we’ll ascend the snowy glaciers, passing crevasses and climbing the steepest icefall; the trail ends up at the crest.
After reaching atop the mountain, we spend a little time sightseeing the glorious view of Mt. Manaslu and surrounding snow peaks. We’ll also watch the spectacular scenes of the dynamic landscapes, magnificent glaciers, and exposed bedrock.
As soon as we’re done watching the mesmeric view, we’ll descend the trail back to base camp. After going down the route, we shall retrace the steps back to Samagaon. We’ll walk the path beside the glacial moraine and over the debris to end up at the village.
From there, the trail continuously walks downhill with a series of highs and lows. The course has us passing the villages of Samdo, which provides an unrivaled view of Manaslu and beautiful verdant hills. Following the path from the north bank of Budhi Gandaki River and to the farmland of Khoma Kharka, which offers a breathtaking view of Himalayan wildlands, valley glaciers, and mani walls.
The most difficult trek while descending back to the valley is Larkya La Pass which has continuous steep slopes. The trek takes almost 8-9 hours to finish at the clifftop from where you get an incredible view of Menjung, Kang Guru, and Gyagi Kang.
The excursion starts from Larkya Phedi and ends at Bimthang, during which mountaineers will be climbing over the ridge. The trails have them passing through ice sheets and snow-covered terrains, which requires crampons; otherwise, mountaineers won’t be able to walk the trail.
Due to the low level of oxygen in the air, most trekkers often struggle climbing the trail through Larkya La Pass at 5,106 meters. Hence, mountaineers will have to be extremely careful while hiking this part of the trek route. The trek gets easy from here with a mostly downhill walk which doesn’t need much time.
In the following days, we’ll be passing through a bunch of remote villages, including Dharapani and Syange. The trail running through these settlements treats us with an astonishing view of cascading waterfall and also makes us cross several bridges. After the last stop at the village of Syange, we’ll take a scenic drive back to Kathmandu which, lasts 8-9 hours.
Day 01: Arrival at Kathmandu
Day 02: Sightseeing at Kathmandu and Climbing Preparations
Day 03: Drive to Soti Khola (712m); 9-10 hrs
Day 04: Trek to Machha Khola (883m); 5-6 hrs
Day 05: Trek to Jagat (1,415m); 5-6 hrs
Day 06: Trek to Deng (1,804m); 6-7 hrs
Day 07: Trek to Namrung (2,670m); 6-7 hrs
Day 08: Trek to Samagaun (3,541m); 5-6 hrs
Day 09: Acclimatization at Samagaun
Day 10: Trek to Manaslu Base Camp (4,400m); 3-4 hrs
Day 11-35: Climbing period of Mt. Manaslu (8,163m), descend to base camp
Day 36: Trek to Samagaon (3,520m); 3-4 hrs
Day 37: Trek to Samdo (3,872m); 3-4 hrs
Day 38: Trek to Larkya Phedi (4,494m); 5-6 hrs
Day 39: Trek to Bimtang (3,720m); 8-9 hrs via Larkya La Pass
Day 40: Trek to Dharapani (2,006m); 7-8 hrs
Day 41: Trek to Syange (1,194m); 5-6 hrs
Day 42: Drive back to Kathmandu (1,350m); 8-9 hrs
Day 43: Leisure day in Kathmandu
Day 44: Final departure
Check out Manaslu Climbing route.