Mt. Manaslu is the eighth highest mountain in the world at 8,163 meters (26,781 ft) above sea level. It is located in the Mansiri Himal, part of the Nepalese Himalayas, in the west-central part of Nepal. Its name, which means "mountain of the spirit", comes from the Sanskrit word manasa, meaning "intellect" or "soul". Manaslu was first climbed on May 9, 1956 by Toshio Imanishi and Gyalzen Norbu, members of a Japanese expedition. It is said that "just as the British consider Everest their mountain, Manaslu has always been a Japanese mountain".
Manaslu at 8,156 metres (26,759 ft) above mean sea level (m.s.l) is the highest peak in the Gorkha District and is located about forty miles east of Annapurna. The mountain's long ridges and valley glaciers offer feasible approaches from all directions, and culminate in a peak that towers steeply above its surrounding landscape, and is a dominant feature when viewed from afar.
The Manaslu region offers a variety of trekking options. The popular Manaslu trekking route of 177 kilometres (110 mi), skirts the Manaslu massif over the pass down to Annapurna. The Nepalese Government only permitted trekking of this circuit in 1991.The trekking trail follows an ancient salt-trading route along the Budhi Gandaki river. En route, 10 peaks over 6,500 metres (21,300 ft) are visible, including a few over 7,000 metres (23,000 ft). The highest point reached along the trek route is the Larkya La at an elevation of 5,106 metres (16,752 ft). As of May 2008, the mountain has been climbed 297 times with 53 fatalities.
Manaslu Conservation Area has been established with the primary objective of achieving conservation and sustainable management of the delimited area, which includes Manaslu.
Set in the northern Himalayan range in the Gorkha District of Nepal, Manaslu is a serrated "wall of snow and ice hanging in the sky". The three sides of the mountain fall in steps to terraces down below, which are sparsely inhabited with agricultural operations practiced on the land. Apart from climbing Manaslu, trekking is popular in this mountain region, as part of the Manaslu Circuit, a notable path by trekkers in Nepal.
The Manaslu Conservation Area, declared as such in December 1998 under the National Parks and Wild Life Conservation Act, subsumes Manaslu within it. The area covered under the conservation zone is 1,663 square kilometres (642 sq mi) and is managed by the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC) of Nepal. The status of "conservation area" applied to the Manaslu area or region was with the basic objective "To conserve and sustainable management of the natural resources and rich cultural heritage and to promote ecotourism to improve livelihood of the local people in the MCA region."
Manaslu Himal, as it is popularly known among trekkers, provides views of the snow-covered mountains of the Himalayas and allows close interaction with the different ethnic groups who live in hill villages scattered along the trek route.
The trekking route is through mountainous terrain prone to the consequences of monsoon rainfall, land slides and land falls. Encounters with passing yaks, and hypothermia and altitude sickness, are common. Trekking to Manaslu is thus a test of endurance.
The region, which is also termed the Manaslu Conservation Area, comprises sub-tropical Himalayan foothills to arid Trans-Himalayan high pastures bordering Tibet. Starting from Arughat and extending into the Larkhe La pass, the area covers six climatic zones: the tropical and sub-tropical zone, elevation varies from 1,000–2,000 metres (3,300–6,600 ft); the temperate zone (within elevation range of 2,000–3,000 meters (6,600–9,800 ft); the sub-alpine zone elevation range of 3,000–4,000 meters (9,800–13,100 ft); the alpine zone, a range of 4,000–5,000 metres (13,000–16,000 ft)) meadows; and the arctic zone (lying above 4,500 metres (14,800 ft)). The zones coalesce with the variation of the altitude from about 600 meters (2,000 ft) in the tropical zone to the 8,156 metres (26,759 ft) summit of Manaslu in the arctic zone.
Manaslu is known in the Tibetan language as "Kutan l", in which "tang" means the Tibetan word for a flat place. It is a very large peak with an elevation of 8,156 metres (26,759 ft) (the world’s eighth highest mountain). In view of its favorable topography of long ridges and glacial valleys, Manaslu offers several routes to mountaineers. Important peaks surrounding Manaslu include Ngadi Chuli, Himalchuli and Baudha. A glacial saddle known as Larkya La, with an elevation of 5,106 metres (16,752 ft), lies north of Manaslu. The peak is bounded on the east by the Ganesh Himal and the Buri Gandaki River gorge, on the west by the deep fissures of the Marysyangdi Khola with its Annapurna range of hills, to the south is the Gorkha town at the foot of the hill (from where trekking operates during the season), which is an aerial distance of 48 kilometres (30 mi) to the peak. There are six established trek routes to the peak, and on the mountain the south face is reportedly the most difficult for climbing.
The permanent snow line is reckoned above 5,000 metres (16,000 ft) elevation. Precipitation in the area is both from snowfall and rainfall; the average annual rainfall is about 1,900 millimeters (75 in) mostly during the monsoon period, which extends from June to September.
The temperatures in the area also vary widely with the climatic zone: in the subtropical zone, the average summer and winter temperatures vary in the range of 31–34 °C (88–93 °F) and 8–13 °C (46–55 °F) respectively; in the temperate climatic zone, the summer temperatures are 22–25 °C (72–77 °F) and winter temperatures are −2–6 °C (28–43 °F) when snow and frost are also experienced; in the subalpine zone, during December to May snowfall generally occurs and the mean annual temperature is 6–10 °C (43–50 °F). The arctic zone is distinct and falls within the permanent snow line; there, the temperatures lie much below freezing zone.
There are other major peaks in the region, namely Himalchuli (7,893 m.a.s.l), Ngadi Chuli (7,871 m.a.s.l), Shringi (7,187 m.a.s.l), Langpo (6,668 m.a.s.l) and Saula (6,235 m.a.s.l)
Unlike many other regions, this valley is a sanctuary to many highly endangered animals, including snow leopards and pandas. Other mammals include lynx, Himalayan black bear, grey wolf, dhole, Assam macaque, Himalayan musk deer, blue sheep, Himalayan tahr, mainland serow, Himalayan goral, woolly hare, horseshoe bat, Himalayan mouse-hare and black-lipped pika. Over 110 species of birds, 33 mammals, 11 butterflies and 3 reptiles have been recorded.Conservation of wild life in the area has been achieved by monks of the monasteries in the area by putting a hunting ban in place. This action has helped the wildlife to prosper. The area is now an important habitat for the snow leopard, grey wolf, musk deer, blue sheep and the Himalayan tahr.
Three main categories of vegetation have been identified in the area. These are categorized on the basis of the altitude as Low hill, Middle mountain and High mountain types with its exclusive types of dominant forests and other associated species. The types of vegetation, however, tend to overlap the adjoining ones at places. Depending on the microclimate and other aspects, an overlap of vegetation is noticed in adjacent areas. However, the forest types are fairly well defined. The flora in different forest types also does not show much variation. The valley basin has a rich ecotone diversity and includes nineteen different types of forests, most prominently rhododendron, and also Himalayan blue pine, which is flanked by Ganesh Himal and the Sringi ranges. Medicinal herbs and aromatic plants, have also been recorded in different forests types and adjoining vegetation. Overall, the presence of 19 types of forests and other forms of dominant vegetation have been recorded from the area. An estimated 1,500-2,000 plant species grow here.
A total of 110 species of birds have been identified in the area, including golden eagle, Eurasian griffon, Himalayan griffon, blood, impeyan, kalij and koklass pheasants, Himalayan and Tibetan snow cocks and the crimson horned pheasant.
There are two ethnicities mainly inhabiting this region; Nubri and Tsum. The branching off of the river at Chhikur divides these two ethnic domains. While Nubri has been frequently visited after Nepal opened itself for the tourism in 1950, Tsum still retains much of its traditional culture, art, and tradition. In the central hills of the region, Gurungs are the main ethnic group who have joined the Gurkha army in large numbers. Closer to Tibet, the Bhutias (also spelled Bhotias), akin to the Sherpa group, of Tibetan ethnicity dominate the scene as can be discerned from their flat roofed houses, and they are distinctly Buddhists. The region is dotted with austere monasteries, maniwalls, chortens and other Buddhist religious landmarks. The traditional faith of non-violence and compassion augments the wildlife diversity of the region.
Day 01: Arrive Kathmandu and transfer to hotel
Day 02: Prepare Expedition
Day 03: Expedition briefing
Day 04: Drive Arughat
Day 05: Arughat - Liding 5 hours
Day 06: Liding - Machhakhola 6/7 hours –
Day 07: Machhakhola - Pungpu (Thulo Dhunga)
Day 08: Pungpu - Philim – Camping
Day 09: Philim - Bihiphhedi 5/6 hours
Day 10: Bihiphhedi - Namrung 5/6 hours
Day 11: Namrung - Syalla village
Day 12: Syalla - Sama village
Day 13-14: Sama Village - Manaslu Base
Day 15 - 33: Climbing Period
Day 34-39: Base camp – Ahrughat via Sama village -Namrung village -Namrung - Philim -Machakhola - Soti
Day 40: Drive to Kathmandu
Day 41: Kathmandu
Day 42: final Departure
Traditionally, the "spring" or " pre-monsoon" season, is the least hazardous for bad weather, snowfall and avalanches. Manaslu is one of the more risky 8000ers to climb: as of May 2008, there have been 297 ascents of Manaslu and 53 deaths on the mountain, making it "the 4th most dangerous 8000m peak, behind Annapurna, Nanga Parbat, and K2."