Manaslu (8,156 m/26,759 ft) Alpine PD+, also known as “Kutang” or “Mountain of the Spirit,” is the Eighth Highest mountain in the world and one of the Eight-Thousander. The first ascent of Manaslu was made on May 9, 1956 by Toshio Imanishi and Gyalzen Norbu, from a Japanese expedition.
It is said that “just as the British consider Everest their mountain, Manaslu has always been a Japanese mountain.”
Manaslu Circuit Trek (Traverse trek) is one of the popular treks enjoyed in the Himalaya. Primarily, located in the historical Gorkha district of Nepal, the sightings of high mountains, canyons, wild ponies and ethnic villages is common. Some even call it the best all-round trek in northern Nepal. Manaslu circuit trek can certainly be a great alternative to Annapurna circuit trek. The trek advances through the beaten tracks providing tea-houses along the trail, making the camping optional.
Manaslu Conservation Area (MCA) (1,663 km2 /642 sq mi), est. 1998, is a protected area founded in the Mansiri Himal range in Gorkha District. Mt. Manaslu lies inside the park, along with the base camp.
The area is home to 33 species of mammals including Snow leopard, Musk deer and Himalayan tahr . There are over 110 species of birds and three species of reptiles and over 1,500-2,000 species of flowering plant.
~Trek Map & Seasons~
Manaslu Circuit can be accessed mainly in two different seasons, namely; Pre-monsoon/Spring (Mar-June) or Post-monsoon/Autumn (Sep-Nov). During these time of year, the weather remains moderate and dry. Attempting to trek the circuit during monsoon can prove to be fatal due to wet and slippery path and minor landslides.
~Gear and Equipment~
- Pair of hiking boots (well broken in) – One could spend over 5 to 6 hours a day on the trail, therefore, long-lasting boots are essential. The boots can range from light to medium, high or low. If one plans to trek during the months when it snows, the high boots become essential for proper hiking.
- Soft and light shoes (sneakers) – Carrying light-weight sneakers for ‘after the day hike’ serves comfort.
- Lightweight knapsack – It is useful for short trips away from one’s lodge, and will save you from carrying large backpack along. It should be large enough to fit a camera, spare clothes and a sleeping bag, if one plans to spend a night away.
- Lightweight sleeping bag – Essential during peak seasons (October-December). Lodges do offer blankets, but are scarce during the peak season, therefore carrying a sleeping bag (-10 C°) can be a great precaution.
- Fabric band-aids – Blisters are common due to rigorous walking. A good alternative to bandaids is duct tape. Works great for blisters and also proves invaluable in many other ways.
~Costs & Permits~
It is a restricted area, whereas, MCAP is highly protected, therefore, requiring permits prior trekking in the region. Trekking permit can be registered through a reliable trekking agency. A minimum of 2 travelers is needed for a group.
- Permit fee for Manaslu: USD $10 p. day.
- Permit fee for Tsum Valley: USD $35 for 8 days.
In addition, there are entry fees needed to be paid:
- Manaslu Conservation Area Project fee of 2000 Nepali Rupees (Approx. USD $21)
- ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Project) fee of 2000 Nepali Rupees (Approx. USD $21), since the Manaslu Circuit ends in the Annapurna region.