Manaslu Circuit Trek Difficulty

  • Admin
  • Last Updated on Jun 13, 2024

Manaslu Circuit Trek is a wonderful way to bust out of the swarming environment and seek tranquility through the awe-inspiring beauty of the Himalayan vistas and exploration of the Himalayan settlements. The spectacular beauty of the 8th tallest mountain in the world, Mt. Manaslu (8163m), awaits your presence as you decide to embark on the Manaslu Circuit Trek. Being one of the mainstream trekking sites, the Manaslu Circuit Trek invites thousands of people from all around the world to seek its panoramic beauty. While the journey may present you with an excellent Himalayan experience with the stunning beauty of Himalayan vistas, the journey is riveting as you’ll have to conquer the journey by surpassing the forthcoming challenges along the way.

The magnificent journey to the Larkya La Pass (5,106m), the highest point of this trek, takes you through a cluster of sightseeing places like Soti Khola, Machha Khola, Jagat, Deng, Namrung, Ghap, Lho, Samagaon, Samdo and Dharamsala. Manaslu Circuit Trek is a unique adventure as the returning route of the trek is different and takes you through places like Bimthang, Yak Kharka, Gho, Tilije, and Dharapani. The journey demands ascending over 5000m, and it's not as easy as a short trek to the park. The challenging journey demands physical strength, mental resilience, and strong determination. The rewarding journey presents you with the magical beauty of the Himalayas, but the journey poses numerous challenges along the way, which we’re going to discuss in detail.

With off-beaten paths, challenging terrain, and rural facilities, the Manaslu Circuit Trek tends to be challenging, and without a doubt, it is considered one of the toughest hikes in Nepal. Along with that, other factors like longer trek distances, altitude sickness, climatic challenges, health and safety concerns, navigation difficulties, and physical difficulties make this trek more challenging and rip-roaring. While these may hinder your movement and pace, its nothing that cannot be coped with proper preparations. For your safe, secure, and smooth journey to the heartland of Mt. Manaslu, we’ll be discussing the Manaslu Circuit Trek Difficulty along with suggestions for necessary preparations regarding it.

Table of Contents

Altitude related challenges

Altitude sickness

The Manaslu Circuit Trek demands ascending in altitude all the way to 5106m above sea level. This trek takes you to Larkya La Pass through a series of ascents and descents along the way. Ascending in altitude results in changing atmospheric pressure and decreasing oxygen levels. If the body can’t adapt to the changing surroundings, it has a risk of catching altitude sickness. The symptoms of altitude sickness are nausea, headache, loss of appetite, lack of coordination, insomnia, and reduced performance.

The mild conditions of altitude sickness can prolong and turn into high-altitude cerebral edema (HACE) and high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE). This is why it is important to maintain a steady pace during the trekking journey. Proper acclimatization is crucial in order to let your body adapt to the changing surroundings. Along with that, staying hydrated and consuming healthy and nutritious food is essential to let your body cope with the sickness. Be mindful to bring diamox to prevent altitude sickness, and in case of emergency, you can call for helicopter evacuation.

High altitude hurdles

Besides altitude sickness, there are some other major concerns about High altitude. As you ascend gradually to more than 5000m, the air of the region gets thinner. This can result in reduced oxygen levels, which can further lead to fatigue, shortness of breath, and difficulty sleeping. As you ascend higher in altitude, you’ll begin to face climatic fluctuations, which include rapid changes in the temperature of the region. This can result in sicknesses and injuries along the way, which every trekker should be mindful of.

The higher altitude region summons strong winds as well, which is another major concern. Other risks like dehydration and respiratory issues are also important factors to consider during any high Himalayan trekking. On top of that, as you reach higher altitudes, you’ll notice changes in sunlight, and the intense UV radiation can cause snow blindness. This is why it is important to stay hydrated, be equipped with proper gear like a wind sweater and sunglasses, and plan the event during a suitable time.

Physical Difficulties

Daily Trekking hours

The Manaslu Circuit Trek takes you through a cluster of challenging paths and rugged terrains. The journey resumes from Arughat, Liding, or MachhaKhola and takes you all the way to Larkya La Pass by a series of places like Jagat, Deng Namrung, and Samdo. Passing through such places means navigating the path and trekking for about 6-7 hours per day. This can result in tiredness and lead to minor injuries or sickness along the way. This can result in muscle soreness and decrease your energy levels.

Along with that, it has other risks like strains and sprains, and on top of that, the remote region of Manaslu cannot deal with major incidents. This is why it is important to be mindful of such conditions and maintain a steady pace during the trekking journey. To minimize the effects of long trekking hours, you can take breaks in between while staying hydrated. Along with that, consuming nutritious food and energy boosters shall help you cope with the challenging hours of the trekking journey.

Physical fitness level

When it comes to hopping on a stimulating journey like the Manaslu Circuit Trek, it is important to be prepared with the necessary strength and essential planning. The journey is about two weeks long and takes you through a series of ascents and descents, challenging terrain, and rugged paths, and this demands your keen observation, sheer determination, and strong physical strength to reach the heartland of Mt. Manaslu. The challenging journey can pose issues like back pain, joint pain, leg pain, and extreme tiredness. The tired body can alter in rapid decision-making and may result in minor accidents or falls along the way.

Therefore, to prepare for this trek, consider practicing lightweight exercises and cardiovascular exercises. It is to enhance the body’s performance during the trekking journey. Exercises like squats, push-ups, pull-ups, crunches, planks, and others will help in honing the muscle's strength. Similarly, cardiovascular exercises like running, walking, jogging, swimming, and others will help in developing your stamina, which is essential during long trekking hours. Along with that, also consider honing the body’s flexibility by practicing stretching exercises and yoga practices. By doing this, you will have a smooth journey without any issues during the Manaslu Circuit Trek.

Climatic Conditions

Permit and Fee For Manaslu Trek in December

Seasonal Difficulties

It is very crucial to plan such a high Himalayan trekking journey during a suitable time when the climatic conditions are stable. The climatic conditions of the high Himalayan region can pose numerous challenges allong the way that can ruin the trekking experience. If we compare the climatic conditions of all seasons, Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to November) are considered to be a favorable time for you to embark on the journey. It is because, during this time, you’ll experience stable weather, which alleviates the major climatic challenges.

Compared to these seasons, Monsoon (June to August) and Winter (December to February) pose numerous challenges along the way. Some of the hurdles like rainfall, snowfall, windstorms, slippery tracks, and others are common challenges that you will face during Monsoon, while other issues like extreme coldness, temperature fluctuations, snowy trails, hypothermia, frostbite are other challenges to face during Winter. Therefore, it is important to plan the journey during a suitable time to ensure a safe and secure journey. Also, it is important to be equipped with the necessary gear and proper clothes before hopping on the Manaslu Circuit Trek.

Weather Extremes

The weather of the high Himalayan region can be altering over time. This is why it is important to be certain of these issues and check regular weather forecasts before hopping on the journey. The minor issue during any high Himalayan trekking is as you ascend, you’ll expose yourself to bright sunlight and UV rays while also taking the risks of extreme coldness. Rapid temperature fluctuations are common as you ascend at a high altitude, and this can result in severe challenges. Light rainfall and light snowfall can be seen commonly in the Manaslu region, but if the cases reach their extreme, they pose numerous threats.

The result of heavy rainfall includes slippery paths, summoning of insects, floods, landslides, and cancellation or postponement of the trekking journey. Along with that, heavy snowfall can obstruct the paths and make it harder to navigate the path. On top of that, heavy wind in this region can affect your stability and movement and alter your visibility. This is why it is important to be aware of weather extremes and check the weather forecast to avoid any such issues. It is crucial to be mindful of such and take preventive measures and necessary actions regarding it by being mindful of not being prey to natural calamities as well.

Mental and Psychological Challenges

Mental Resilience

Being far away from known surroundings and heading for a distinct Himalayan adventure filled with thrilling moments and challenges along the way can test one’s mental resilience. The challenging journey demands a strong mental state in order to make quick decisions in time of need. The journey can cause physical exhaustion, and on top of that, facing unpredictable weather conditions can lead to losing the sense of mental strength. Therefore it is important to maintain a positive attitude, set realistic goals, and stick by your sheer determination.

Conquering the forthcoming challenges to reach Larkya La Pass requires a lot of deviation and a not-giving-up mentality. It requires perseverance and tackling skills, which come after honing the mental state of one’s being. Therefore, practicing mindfulness, meditating, staying hydrated, consuming nutritious food, and coping strategies to navigate challenging paths can help you develop mental resilience. Manaslu Circuit Trek is a once-in-a-lifetime journey, and small steps working on mental resilience pay tribute during the journey and ultimately lead you to have a secure and amusing experience.

Dealing with Isolation

The Manaslu Circuit Trek takes you through a remote village and rural lifestyle. Along the way to Larkya La Pass, you’ll pass through numerous local villages that will give you insights into the traditional way of living and the Himalayan lifestyle. The lifestyle of this region is comparatively poor compared to the city life and facilities. You may feel a lack of services and facilities, and trekking through such places while spending the night in the local teahouses can make you feel isolated. It may generate feelings of loneliness, anxiety, or a sense of vulnerability as you are far away from your familiar surroundings.

Therefore, it is important to practice self-care and socialization. If you don’t feel much good about socializing, then you can trek with your own groups. Along with that, maintaining open communication with the trekkers, actively engaging in the local culture of the region, and communicating with the local villagers will address such psychological effects and let you enjoy the trekking in a peaceful manner. You should think of this as an excellent opportunity to delve into the Himalayan atmosphere, explore the settlements, and gain insights into the cultural vibe of the region. No matter the challenges and how you feel, the journey will reward you with personal reflection and personal growth.

Logistical Challenges

Trekking from Dharmasala to Bhimthang via Larke-La Pass

Navigation Difficulties

As we discussed the major challenging factors of the Manaslu Circuit Trek above. The challenges like altitude-related concerns, changing weather, and rugged terrain can lead to you having navigation difficulties. The Manaslu Circuit Trek takes you through a series of local places that are unknown and uncertain to you. You are embarking on a journey through distinct places with distinct cultures, religions, and topography. On top of that, the journey demands walking about 6-7 hours per day, which is about accomplishing more than 10km in distance in a single day.

The route can be confusing without proper knowledge and information. In addition, challenges like reduced visibility, fog, climatic issues, and tiredness can lead to falsifying your navigating skills. Therefore, it is important to carry out proper research and take a map and compass with you. Also, hiring an experienced guide can help you a lot during such conditions and also alert you of risk-prone areas like landslide and avalanche-prone areas. This will ultimately let you have a wonderful experience, and you can enjoy the beauty of the Himalayan with stunning Himalayan exploration along the way.

Accomodation and Food

The accommodation during the Manaslu Circuit Trek is mainly teahouses or lodges. The lower part of the Manaslu region is rich in providing you with suitable accommodation and food but as you ascend towards higher altitude, it can result in limited facilities. On top of that, you may face competition in acquiring proper accommodation in the higher altitude of the Manaslu region during peak times. This is why it is important to trek alongside a guide who knows the best spot to provide you with the best accommodation facilities. It is important to be prepared with basic accommodation facilities and limited food options during trekking in the Himalayan region.

Also, as you ascend higher, you may not access non-veg items which means you’ll consume healthy and nutritious vegetarian food throughout your journey. You can also pack some snacks and dry fruits along with you. Another major concern during trekking in higher altitudes is drinking water. Make sure not to drink water from taps, wells, or rivers. You can purchase mineral water in the teahouses or carry a bottle to fill with boiled water in teahouses. Being mindful that you’re trekking through remote areas and keeping your expectations within the limit is key to having a wonderful experience.

Health and Safety Concerns

Health Risks

Health is a major concern while trekking in the Himalayan region, where the standard facilities are lacking. One of the major health-related issues is altitude sickness, which we discussed above. In addition to altitude sickness, other major concerns are gastrointestinal issues. The high Himalayan region lacks standard quality facilities, and carelessness in personal hygiene and consumption of contaminated food or water leads to gastrointestinal issues.

These issues can prolong and pose a threat to you through symptoms of gas, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. This can further imbalance the body’s coordination and cause dehydration. Therefore, it is important to be mindful of such risks and maintain personal hygiene. Intaking a balanced diet, bacteria-free food, and water is important. Being cautious of the food you’re consuming and maintaining a healthy routine is essential. Along with that, it is important to carry a first aid box and personal hygiene items with you to deal with any sickness or injuries along the way.

Emergency Preparations

The Manaslu Circuit Trek enrolls your presence to open climatic and topography challenges. Along the way, there can be emergency risks that need to be dealt with immediately. Conditions like falls, exposure to extreme climatic conditions, injuries, accidents, severe altitude sickness, and prey to natural calamities require immediate medical services. Sometimes, risks prolong and pose a threat to you via different means, and this all needs to be taken care of immediately.

This is why proper planning and trekking in a group and alongside an experienced guide is essential. Trekking with an experienced guide will help in navigating such dangerous paths and help in seeking emergency medical services. The emergency preparations include immediate evacuation by helicopter. Along with that, being equipped with proper gear, carrying essential first aid knowledge, and being aware of symptoms of altitude sickness is crucial.

Environmental Challenges


Natural Challenges

When trekking in the Himalayan region, fluctuating weather conditions can pose challenges like heavy rainfall, heavy snowfall, and windstorms. These challenges are risky but turn out to be dangerous if such challenges invite natural calamities. While trekking in the Himalayan region, there are significant risks of landslides, avalanches, and others. Mainly, these can be seen during the Monsoon season when there is heavy rainfall leading to flash floods and avalanches.

These can not only pose a significant threat but can take one’s life if not careful. Therefore, firstly, it is important to plan the trekking journey during a suitable time when the climatic conditions tend to remain stable. Along with that, being equipped with necessary trekking gear and essential clothing is necessary. Embarking on the journey by monitoring the weather forecast and hiring an experienced guide will contribute to your safe and enjoyable trekking experience.

Wildlife Encounters

Another aspect of the Manaslu Circuit Trek Difficulty is the wildlife encounters. As your journey passes through the Manaslu Conservation Area, there is a huge chance of encountering wildlife species along the way. The journey takes you through lush green forests and lively valleys where the different species of wildlife wander around, and you’ll get to catch stunning glimpses.

While seeing the wildlife is fun and enjoyable, at the same time, it can pose a threat to you as well. When you encounter wildlife, it is essential to remember their territory and give them safe space. It is important not to approach wildlife and try to feed them. Along with that, during the time of encountering wildlife, it is important to stay calm and avoid sudden movements to let them feel safe. During such Himalayan trekking as the Manaslu Circuit Trek, it is important to prioritize your own safety along with the safety of wild animals.

Cultural and Social Factors

Cultural Differences and Language Barrier

Cultural differences and language barriers are kind of a new opportunity to learn about new ethnic groups and their culture instead of considering it as a challenge. While you get to immerse in the distinct culture and explore the Himalayan lifestyle during this journey, you might have trouble communicating and seeing a distinct culture for the first time. But remember, it's all about exploring new things and connecting to new people from different regions. On top of that, the people of the Manalsu region are kind, and they shall welcome you warm-heartedly to their village. You’ll be bestowed with a wonderful opportunity to know the cultural differences, moral values and different languages of different parts of the world.

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Some Helpful Tips for Manaslu Trek

manaslu circuit trek in december

  • Stay hydrated, maintain a steady pace, and acclimatize properly during the trek
  • It is better if you complete a medical checkup before embarking on the trek
  • Physical fitness plays a vital role during this trek, which is why cardiovascular training, strength training, and flexibility exercises are important
  • Continuing in-depth research and selecting a suitable trekking agent is crucial
  • Familiarize yourself with the trek’s route, trek itinerary, weather conditions, and others
  • Carry first aid items that contain medications for altitude sickness, diarrhea, fever, cold, and common injuries
  • Be equipped with essential gear and necessary clothing
  • Plan your trekking journey during a suitable time to alleviate the risks of climatic challenges
  • Be aware of natural calamities and do not approach wild animals
  • Stay in a group and trek alongside an experienced guide
  • It is important to be attentive to minor details of the trekking route during the trekking journey
  • Eat healthy and nutritious food and avoid meat items in higher altitude
  • Respect local culture and traditions in the Manaslu trekking region


Indeed, the Manaslu Circuit Trek is challenging and is also considered one of Nepal's toughest off-beaten paths, but with proper preparation, planning, and essential packing, the journey can be accomplished without difficulties. The thrilling journey is a testament to your mental resilience, physical fitness, and sheer determination. The magnificent Manaslu Circuit Trek will offer you the magical beauty of Himalayan vistas, creates an opening for cultural immersion and opens more space for Himalayan exploration.

The rip-roaring journey is blended with the excellent beauty of snow-capped mountains, lively valleys, cascading waterfalls, thundering rivers, lush green forests, magical glaciers, and distinct Himalayan flora and fauna. The beauty of this trek stretches to infinity and offers a wonderful experience. The alluring trails, local settlements, and pristine Himalayan peaks promise an adventure of a lifetime. Through this journey, you’ll gain insights into different perspectives, and by the end of this staggering journey, you’ll be rewarded with personal growth, a mental boost, and a great sense of achievement.



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