Manaslu circuit trek is a hike around the off-beaten trails encircling the Manaslu mountain range. Such high-altitude treks of Nepal are never a piece of cake and need some effort. Factoring in aspects affecting the trek, the average Manaslu circuit trek difficulty, however, is moderate.
When discussing the Manaslu circuit trek difficulty, there is no answer set in stone. It usually depends on your itinerary, route, experience, and travel time. Ordinary people with a basic level of fitness can easily complete this trek with adequate effort. Novices and amateurs might find it a little challenging. On the other hand, experts will find this trek very easy and comfortable.
Despite the challenges and difficulties, doing the Manaslu circuit trek is very worthwhile. The trek takes you to remote trails of the Manaslu region and shows you unique land forms. Along the trails, you also get to see a few of the many diverse Nepali cultural settlements. The mountain views and beautiful remote landscapes are the highlights of this trip. Such attraction weighs out the Manaslu circuit trek difficulty easily.
But if you are still worried about the trek’s difficulty, don’t fret, we have you covered. The common issues of the Manaslu circuit trek come from weather issues, long itineraries, routes, high altitude, harsh times of travel, etc. Let us dissect these issues and learn more about the Manaslu circuit trek difficulty.
The difficulty level of the Manaslu circuit trek
The Nepali mountain trail trekking is divided into four different levels of difficulty. They are mostly based on the number of travel days and the altitude you are traveling to. This division lands the Manaslu circuit trek as the combination of first and third levels of difficulty.
The first-level treks are the simplest and easiest treks in Nepal. On the other hand, third-level treks are easier than the hardest trail treks in Nepal. This averages to the level of difficulty to be moderate for the trek.
You need to hike very high altitude places like the Larkay La pass at 5106 meters. This lands the most challenging part of the trek due to its high altitude. Other than that, most destinations of the trek are below the height of 4000 meters. This marks the level one type of trek in Nepal. Hence, the combination of strenuous and easy treks makes the whole experience moderately challenging.
Common difficulties of the Manaslu circuit trek
Altitude related sickness
Although Manaslu circuit trekking trails do not take you to insurmountable altitudes, you still need to be cautious. Altitude sickness can occur when you trek to places higher than 3000 meters. Since the trek’s general route is located at this height, altitude sickness is highly likely to occur.
The most common type of altitude issue, acute mountain sickness, or AMS, is probable during most parts of the trek. If hiked without rest, higher altitudes like Larkay La pass could even cause HAPE or HACE cases. If such minute sickness isn’t treated on time, you might develop worse health conditions. To prevent occurrences of such issues, you need to put acclimatization days in your itinerary.
You also need to be aware of mitigation measures in other ways. Hydration is essential while traveling long high-altitude walks. You also need to ensure your caffeine and alcohol consumption is minimum. Caffeine and alcohol cause dehydration increasing risks of altitude sickness.
You should also keep a quick note of carrying Diamox tablets to overcome minor symptoms of altitude sickness. These symptoms include nausea, vomiting, slight headache, dizziness, etc. Diamox tablets help overcome these issues, most specifically nausea-related issues.
Eating enough nutritious meals is also essential to overcome long high-altitude hikes. Walking for hours without enough calories to fuel you will exhaust your body. A weaker body is an easy target for sickness to fester. So it is important to have a nutritious meal in your lodges for fuel. The tea houses and lodges provide healthy and satiating food required for your treks.
Unstable and unpredictable weather
High altitude travels bring in very unprecedented weather issues. The weather fluctuates quickly from a bright sunny clear sky to a cloudy and dark sky in hours. Rainfalls and snowstorms also occur in such areas, which are very unstable and sudden. Such weather makes up for the risks of muddy and slippery trails, increasing the chances of accidents. You might even be at risk of avalanches at certain times of the year due to snowstorms.
But the unstable and unpredictable weather issues become easier to overcome if the trip is planned well. The weather on the Manaslu trails is tolerable during trekking seasons. These fall during the spring and autumn months, precisely from March to May and September to November.
Such seasonal treks allow for a clear blue sky with minimum chances of rainfall and snowfall. The temperature is also bearable, making long hikes very convenient. The trails are pretty dry, mitigating risks of accidents caused by slippery and muddy trails.
However, if you wish to do treks in monsoon or winter, it is still possible, but with a lot of caution. You must carry rain/snow gear to protect yourself from snowfall or rainfall. Carry sunscreen and an umbrella during hot days of monsoon. Make sure you have enough warm clothes for winter and appropriate tools to walk through the snow. You also need to consider accommodations as most tea houses close during winter and monsoon.
Accommodation and food
The remote areas of the Manaslu circuit trek provide local tea houses as primary means of accommodation. They have facilities for meals and overnight stays in these tea houses. However, due to its remote location, the resources in these businesses are very scarce. You will get the bare minimum basic facilities needed for the trek. But you might be very unfamiliar with such conditions and might account for a difficult stay.
The remote high-altitude places do not have proper modes of transportation. Carrying essentials on buses or airplanes is not feasible. People carry goods either on foot or by animals
You get beds, mattresses, bed sheets, and blankets to sleep on, but they do not get washed often. So bringing personal sleeping bags would be a better idea to ensure hygiene.
You also do not get hot water facilities in these areas for bathing. It is possible to pay extra bucks to heat water over the fire and use it with a bucket, though. You also need to work with squatting toilets in these areas to which you might be new.
The meals in these tea houses are mostly basic “Daal bhat tarkari.” It is a Nepali staple of rice, lentils, and vegetable curry. The food will be nutritious and fulfilling but limited in options. The scarce resources of the Himalayan hamlets give you simple and basic foods. You need to satisfy yourself with what the tea houses have to offer. If you have special dietary needs, you need to prepare beforehand. The tea houses may or may not be able to fulfill those, so be aware.
Despite the limited facilities, you will enjoy these remote tea houses. Make friends with your service providers and enjoy the local lifestyle.
Long exhausting walks through remote, rugged trails
Manaslu circuit trek is among long duration treks of Nepal. Your Manaslu circuit treks will likely take more than a fortnight to complete. You must walk almost every day for 6 to 8 hours, covering more than 10 kilometers a day.
These long walks need to be done within the rugged, remote roads of the Himalayan foothills of Nepal. So, you can get an idea that these hikes require much effort. Numerous natural obstacles will be present, such as steep cliffs, river crossings, and other difficult terrains. There is no option but to overcome these challenges, as they are inevitable.
These long exhausting walks can be fun if you do it right. Such long-duration hikes need to be done with a group. The trek will be more exciting if you do it with an adequate number of people accompanying you. You will have a great support system and can overcome many issues throughout the trek. The long exhausting walks will be enjoyable with laughter and hours of banter if you have a friend group with you.
If you were planning to trek alone, you could hire guides to accompany you too. Professional guides of mountain trail treks help you make your trek very convenient. They ensure issues you might face due to high altitude, accommodation, sickness, etc. They will also give you an insight into the place’s history, nature, culture, and lifestyle. Such advice allows you to fit in the remote hamlets well and not be alienated.
Several days of travel require you to carry many essentials for daily use. You have to bring clothes and essential items for a fortnight or longer duration of travel. Trekking for such a long duration with heavy luggage will be quite exhausting. Especially if your fitness level is not on par with it, it makes up for a great hassle.
So, make sure you prepare yourself physically for this trek. This will not be a problem if you work out regularly and are at an adequate fitness level. But you must put in an effort if your exercise regimen is non-existent. Develop your strength, hop on the treadmill and upgrade your stamina for this trek. This way carrying some luggage will not be much of a difficult job.
You can also hire porters to help you with your luggage during your trek. A porter will carry as heavy as 25 kilos of luggage for you. So if you have huge luggage, you do have an option for help.
The Manaslu circuit trek is not a life threatening task. You can easily traverse through these treks with minimal effort and preparation. Walking for long days through remote areas will never be comfortable. But doing the right preparation will make this trek very enjoyable.
We at Adventure Great Himalaya have great packages for the Manaslu circuit trek. We curate our itineraries and facilities in such a way that your Manaslu circuit trek difficulty will be minimum. Our excellent team will provide you with myriad facilities ranging from guides and porters to permits and travel tools. You will not regret choosing us on your trip to the rugged trails of Manaslu’s foothills.