Manaslu Circuit Trek Difficulty

The Manaslu Circuit Trek difficulty is at a ‘moderate’ level, which means that this beautiful trekking experience to the Manaslu region is suitable for both novice as well as experienced trekking enthusiasts. Manaslu Circuit Trek takes place in the Western-central part of the country at the foothills of the eighth-tallest mountain in the world, Mt Manaslu, at an elevation of 8,163 meters (26,781 feet) from sea level.

This trekking expedition to Mt. Manaslu in an of-beaten path offers magnificent views of the 10 white lad mountain peaks that are over 6,000 meters and a few of 7,000-ers and 8,000-ers including the occasional views of the tenth-highest mounts, Mt. Annapurna (8,091 meters)

If you are looking for a magical exploration of the Himalayas on less-crowded routes, the Manaslu Circuit trek expedition is an ideal choice for trekking enthusiasts who love serenity and solitude. Passing through the remote ancient villages and Tibetan monasteries of the Himalayas, Trans-Himalayan pastures, glacial zones, and waterfalls, the Manaslu Circuit trek also lets you explore the Budi Gandaki and Nubri valleys.

Manaslu Circuit Trek Difficulty Factors

Applying for Manaslu Trek Permit

Although the Masnalu Circuit Trek has been graded a ‘moderate difficulty,’ there are several factors that contribute to the difficulty level of this remote mesmerizing experience.

Trek Distance

This expedition to the remote and virgin errors of the Manaslu region stretched quite farther than even the popular mainstream trekking adventures; Manaslu Cicuti Trek stretches at a distance of 180 km from Kathmandu. Traversing across remote and rugged landscapes, this trekking adventure demands a high level of physical strength and endurance.

You will have to trek for an average of 5-6 hours, covering around 15 km- 20 km of distance in a span of a day. As the route in this trekking adventure follows the steep segments and rough paths passing along the rocky trail, it will take time to wrap up a day’s expedition. Generally, there are two trekking packages for the adventure in the Manaslu region, 15-day Manaslu Circuit Trek and 12-day Manaslu Circuit Trek; the only difference between these two packages is that the former involves two days’ worth of sightseeing in the Kathmandu Valley.

So, it is a considerably long trekking expedition and certainly a challenging one, so unlike other short-trekking adventures in the country, skipping physical preparation might not have a pleasant outcome.

Altitude Sickness

The altitude sickness on the high-altitude adventures is certainly a major concern during the expedition. Starting the expedition from Machhakhola at an altitude of 850 meters, the highest elevation point of the Manaslu Circuit Trek is Larkya Pass at 5,106 meters from sea level. If your adventure goes beyond the 2,500-meter altitude, there is always a risk of getting Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) as it gets hard for the body to properly acclimatize to the new environment.

If you rush without proper acclimatization, then the risk of you catching altitude sickness is significantly high. Some of the general symptoms of altitude sickness are fatigue, dizziness, headache, shortness of breath, and nausea. So, if you ever start showing the symptoms of altitude sickness, consult with your expedition leader immediately and get yourself checked.

But, it’s not that altitude sickness is invincible; the best way to counter the altitude sickness is to stay hydrated consistently throughout the trek, enjoy a slow-paced adventure, acclimatize properly, and avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.

Weather and Climate

Preparing for Manaslu Trek Permit

The weather and climate condition of the Manaslu region is another significant factor that determines the difficulty of the Manaslu Circuit Trek. In this high-altitude trekking adventure, you will pass through six-climatic zones; tropical, sub-tropical, temperate, sub-alpine, alpine, and finally, the arctic zone.

As you imagined, the expedition has warmer in the lower belt but starts freezing with a permanent snow-line on the terrain over 5,000 meters. Plus, the weather is quite unpredictable in the high-altitude environment; you might have to come across wind storms, rainfalls, and even heavy snowfalls.

Although the weather and climate can vary majorly depending on the season of the visit, the best time for trekking in Nepal is considered to be both spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November).

Manaslu Circuit Trek Difficulty in Autumn

Similar to other mainstream trekking routes, Manaslu Circuit Trek is at its peak during the autumn season. Although trekking comes with its own set of challenges, like the muddy trail, and light rainfall during the start of the season, the weather starts getting stable in mid-September, and you will be able to enjoy warm and stable weather.

Autumn is considered to be the best season for any trekking in Nepal; the cool chilly morning and night, clear, unobstructed views of the Himalayas, suitable temperatures, and the flourishing surrounding nourished by the monsoon rain make it one of the best seasons for an exhilarating experience in the region. The temperature of the Manaslu region during autumn can range from 13°C to 25 °C during the daytime and can drop to its lowest -3°C to -6°C.

Manaslu Circuit Trek Difficulty in Spring

Spring, consisting of months like March, April, and May, is another peak season for outdoor adventure in the country. It is also the season when the Himalayan and tropical and low alpine region comes to life, the spring season takes over the route with greenery and pleasant scented, colorful flowers. The moderate temperature, stable and clear weather passing through the immersive natural terrains make this season another popular time for high-altitude exploration.

Days are a little bit shorter during this season, and you may have to often start your trek quite early, as it is another peak season for trekking adventures in Nepal; you might also see a little bit of a crowd enroute. The temperature of the Manaslu region is around 15°C to 2 °C on average during the days and lingers around 6°C to -6°C during nights and early mornings.

Manaslu Circuit Trek Difficulty Off-Seasons

Off-seasons like monsoon (June to August) and winter (December to February) are the most difficult and challenging times for the exploration of the Manaslu region. Especially during the winter, the weather is freezing cold; temperature hovers around -6°C to -10°C even during the daytime in the high-altitude region. Although trekking is still possible during winter in the Manaslu region, the weather and temperature are pretty harsh, and you will need specific and reliable trekking equipment to complete the expedition.

Usually, the trail is covered in snow during the winter season due to the heavy snowfalls, and people in the temporary settlements near the foothills of Mt. Manaslu migrate to lower regions to evade the cold.

Also, during monsoons, in June, July, and August, the heavy rainfall doesn’t only make the trekking difficult but also adds risk factors to the adventure. The leeches-infested lower tropical regions, muddy and slippery trails, and risk of landslides make adventure, especially in the mountain region, extremely dangerous during this season.

You may also have to see flight delays and cancelations due to consistent rainfall, which can even kill the adventurous spirit. Days are usually warm in this season, and the temperature of the Manaslu region hovers around 10°C to 25°C during the daytime, and night temperature can fluctuate around 8°C to -5°C depending upon the weather conditions after rainfall.

Food and Accommodation

Food and Accommodation in Manaslu circuit trek

You need to understand that the Manasalu Circuit Trek takes place in the remote part of the Himalayas, so expecting a high level of food and accommodation facilities like in your luxurious exotic holiday destination might be a bit of a downer.

Although you might be able to enjoy high-end food and lodging services in the lower region of the trek, you might have to get by with a limited number of menus in this remote Himalayan exploration. But, of course, even though the food menu may not be extensive, you will be able to enjoy the tasty, healthy local delicacies, including Western and Tibetan food menus.

Generally, you will find the local menu ‘Daal, Bhaat and Tarkari’ (lentils soup, steamed rice, and vegetable dishes along with pickles options)’ throughout the teahouses along the trail with vegetarian and non-vegetarian options for the most part. But other food items like Tibetan bread, sandwich, toast, porridge, paratha, soup, pancake, eggs, spring rolls, pasta, macaroni, thukpa, pizza, spaghetti, papad, and potato dishes are pretty common in the Manaslu circuit trek.

And for water, you will find many water taps along the trail; you can use purifying solutions or tablets to make them safe to drink, and you will also be able to purchase mineral water bottles at the teahouses, which can roughly cost around US$ 2 at lower elevation and upto US$ 4 at the higher altitudes.

As for the accommodation facilities, it is also pretty rudimentary; most of the teahouses along the Manaslu Circuit Trek have double, single, or dorm-styled well-furnished rooms with mattresses, blankets, and pillows. So, it is recommended that you carry your own four-season bag and get yourself comfy without worrying about frigid weather in higher altitudes.

Physical and Mental Challenges

Physical and Mental Challenges of Manaslu Circuit trek

Undoubtedly the Manaslu Circuit Trek difficulty revolves around the physical and mental challenges of this expedition. Unless you are both physically and mentally prepared to take on this expedition to the remote virgin territories of the Himalayas on off-beaten rugged trails, there is a pretty slim chance that you will successfully complete this exploration.

Manaslu region is known for its challenging trails with huge boulders, cliffs, steep segments, and rocky trails. So, definitely, trekking on these remote and rugged routes of the Himalayan region is nothing like a walk in the park, especially when they are long-day treks with a minimum of 5 to 6 hours. Similarly, the lower oxygen saturation level at higher altitudes adds up to the physical challenges, and your body has to move along the trail overcoming these factors.

Similarly, the mental challenges during the expedition are also on par with the physical challenges. Although the Manaslu Circuit Trek difficulty is at a ‘moderate’ level and may not be as difficult as ‘strenuous’ or ‘challenging’ routes, a significant amount of will and determination is necessary to complete this adventure successfully. Your ability to handle stress, challenging situation, and discomforts along the route are the vitality points to complete the adventure of the remote- isolated parts of the Manaslu region.

Preparation for Manaslu Circuit Trek Difficulty

If you want to totally immerse in the untampered and glorious beauty of the Himalayan region from the Manaslu’s side, you better start preparing for this exhilarating experience. Being prepared will not only help you overcome physical challenges but also boost your confidence and will help you actually to focus on adventures rather than minor discomforts.

Strength and Endurance Training: The first part of your training should consist of straight and endurance training, it is recommended that you should start your physical training at least 8-12 weeks prior to the trekking experience. This way, your body will get accustomed to the exercise part, and your body will accept it as a part of your daily routine, and you won’t have much problems covering long distances during your trek.

For your preparation, you could include exercises like bench presses, planks, deadlifts, push-ups, bicep curls, and shoulder presses to improve your core strength. Hiking practices on steep natural terrains with a backpack or rucksack with significant weight, jogging, or using treadmills for at least a few hours will boost your stamina and endurance for the high-Himalayan adventure.

Cardiovascular Exercises: As it is a high-altitude adventure, cardiovascular exercises, which improve your body’s capabilities to deliver oxygen-rich blood to muscles, should be a vital component of your preparation. These exercises significantly improve your body’s flexibility and breathing ability and help you to adapt to the low oxygen saturation level parts of the trekking.

With the right amount of preparation, adapting to the high-altitude environment will not be a big deal. Exercises like jogging, running, cycling, and swimming are some of the best ways to boost your cardiovascular fitness level.

Mental Preparation: As we discussed earlier, the mental factor is a key component for the success or failure of this beautiful trekking expedition. The mountaineering enthusiasts with sheer determination for the conquest, regardless of age and physical fitness, have successfully completed this trekking expedition in the past. So, it all bottles down to the willingness and the passion for the adventure more than the discomforts and challenges.

You don’t have to awaken your psycho power to move the boulder from the path, although it would be convenient if you could. What we mean by mental preparation for this trekking is coming to terms with the discomforts and challenges during the adventure. The comfort level and services during the trekking experience might not be as luxurious as you had expected or as easygoing as they can be because, in any high-altitude adventure, the challenges are inevitable factors.

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Minimizing the Manaslu Circuit Trek Difficulty

Although the high-altitude Manaslu Circuit Trekking has some major factors that contribute to its difficulty level, it’s not that there isn’t a loophole to overcome those. In fact, with the right amount of preparation and a reliable trekking partner like Nepal Eco Adventure, the success rate for this exhilarating experience in the Manaslu region is 98%.

Here are some essential tips to reduce the Manaslu Circuit Trek Difficulty:

Proper Acclimatization and Staying Hydrated

Undoubtedly, acclimatization at an elevation over 2,500- 3,000 meters is very significant for the body to get used to the high-altitude environment. If you keep pushing for the higher elevation points without enough days of acclimatization, the risk for you suffering from altitude sickness drastically increases, possibly even putting your life in danger.

So, the best way from this situation is to select a slow-paced package that provides enough acclimatization days so you don’t have to exert yourself going overboard in this high-altitude adventure. Check out our Manaslu Circuit Trek (15 Days), Manaslu Circuit Trek (12 Days), and Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek (19 Days) to decide which best suits your palate for the adventure.

Similarly, continuing the trek without properly hydrating yourself will not only put you at risk of altitude sickness but also muscle breakdown and heat stroke. Your body is working harder in the low oxygen saturation level to inhale more oxygen and demands a high level of water intake. So, staying consistently hydrated through the expedition will increase the efficiency of your red blood cells in collecting oxygen at high altitudes.

Choosing the Right Seasons

It might not seem like a big deal, and you might even get tempted to switch your adventure for the off-seasons, which are relatively low-priced. But which season you choose to travel is a contributing factor that determines whether you will complete the adventure or it just withers due to unprecedented challenges.

Even though the trekking expenses in Nepal during the peak seasons like spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) can be slightly higher in comparison to off-seasons, they are worth it. The clear days, warm stable weather, blossoming flora, lush green forest, clear scenic views of the Himalayan ranges, and clear-fresh air during these peak seasons offer some of the most exhilarating experiences of the Himalayan exploration.

On the contrary, the off-seasons, like monsoons (June to August) and winter (November to February), have their own set of challenges. In the winter especially, the chilly winds, extremely cold environment, constant snowfalls, slipper paths, cloudy non-visibility days, and trails covered in the snow make expeditions very difficult during this season. Furthermore, the acclimatization process is harder during the winter, so this season isn’t suitable for beginners.

Similarly, monsoon comes with muddy trails, non-stop rainfalls, foggy & cloudy days, risk of landslides and rock blockage, and leeches along the lower trails, followed by flight cancellation is another tough season to set out on an exploration of the Manaslu region. Although the trek is doable in both of the off-season, you will need a specific set of tools and pack lists to complete the trek successfully.

Hire Professional Team

Although many experienced trekking enthusiasts often prefer to set out on the exploration on their own, the best way to minimize the trekking difficulty would be to hire a professional team. Manaslu Circuit Trek difficulty will certainly reduce significantly with a professional team with knowledgeable guides, porters to carry your baggage and equipment, and an overall experienced team who will handle your day-to-day itinerary from fooding services to comfortable accommodations arrangements along the trail.

Certainly, it is a tough challenge if you have to see all the arrangements along the trek and collect yourself from the physical exhaustion after a long days trek. So, instead of shouldering every part of the experience, just hire a professional team who will oversee everything, and you won’t have to worry about anything. This way, not only your trekking expedition will be a lot safer but also an immersive experience as you can just enjoy the adventure letting your professional expedition team handle all other components to the minor details.

Get a Customizable Itinerary

If you are just a beginner and want to explore the beautiful Manaslu region at your own pace, you could opt out for a custom-designed itinerary package instead of a regular expedition package. This way, you won’t have to stick to a specific set of itineraries that are usually around 12- 14 days; you can enjoy the trekking expedition to the best of your abilities.

In the customizable itinerary package, you can also adjust the number of acclimatization days if you feel like the acclimatization days are not enough. You can request to design the package with more resting days that cover shorter distances each day than the regular trekking itinerary plans.

Nepal Eco Adventure offers the best customizable trekking packages for the Manaslu Circuit Trek. So, if you are a new trekking enthusiast who has discovered his love for high-altitude adventures or you just want to enjoy a slow-paced perspective of the alluring Himalayas, we can custom-tailor specific itineraries that will support your first adventure to the glorious Himalayas.

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