Manaslu Circuit Trek and Tsum Valley

Hi! Keen to do Manaslu Circuit + Tsum Valley side trip which can be done in 16-18 days if in a hurry, or 20 days for more time to explore. Will be arriving in Kathmandu around December 27 2015, will base myself in Pokhara from Dec 28, and interested in starting the trek around Dec 31. Dates are flexible. Open to one other trekker, or multiples. Prefer a small group. Don’t know the possibility of deep-winter alpine crossings but have heard overall that the state of the trek is ok post-earthquake. All adds to the adventure! Looking for open minded people, who are interested in adding, in some small way, to the tourist dollar for Nepal, and who are keen for an adventure.

Tom

Reply
Australia

Replies

24 replies
  1. Hi Tom. I’m Lorelei. I’m looking into a Manaslu Circuit + Tsum Valley trek around that time. Dates are slightly later, but flexible: need to arrive after Jan 1. Was planning for a longer/20+ day trek – think it might take longer than usual given the re-routes/issues from the earthquake. As you say, just adds to the adventure.

    Let me know if you’re still thinking of doing the trek and maybe, hopefully we can plan something.

  2. Hi Lorelei! Yes, actually Jan 1 onward works better for me now – I will be in northern India for the week before New Years. I am still keen to do Manaslu and Tsum, 20+ days, but do you think it’s possible to actually do the trek? I was reading how many of the tea houses close down at the higher passes over winter, since the trekker numbers are typically low, especially compounded by the earthquake. And as a result you can either call ahead (somehow) to see if a teahouse will facilitate you, or camp. Do you have any information to add to this? If Manaslu is not possible I was going to do the Annapurna circuit, more popular but probably no less spectacular. And logistically easier – just show up and start walking. However, the inaccessibility of Manaslu adds to its appeal….
    Tell me what you think,
    Tom

  3. I was hoping you had better information than I about doing the trek in winter. I’ve got the same concerns about weather. Like you, I’d be ok doing the ACT – it wouldn’t be so crowded at this time of year and, yes, would still be gorgeous – I’ve just had my heart set on Manaslu for a while.

    Here’s what I’ve been able to figure out:
    Most damage from the earthquake is around Jagat – some pretty treacherous bridges and a couple re-routes that require light climbing. There are some issues leading up to the Larkya area, but mainly a couple landslide areas to avoid, which a good guide should be able to navigate around. Tsum Valley looks ok.

    As for the teahouses, Larkya Phedi/Dharamsala and Bimthang are closed in Jan/Feb, and Samdo has very few open. In theory, we can have someone open up Larkya Phedi/Dharamsala. Our guide supposedly calls ahead to Samdo and tells them we want to pass through. They then get a guide to hike up with us to open up/cook. The next day, the guide goes back to Samdo and we continue onward. The issue is that someone has to be willing to do hike up with us. Otherwise, we camp. Think we’d have to camp at Bimthang regardless. So that’s 1 or 2 days of camping during the hardest and coldest part of the trek. And if weather rolls through, we may not get through at all.

    How adventurous are you feeling? Honestly, I don’t mind the cold and a night or two of camping. A snowstorm, however, could make this miserable and I don’t want to make things overly-difficult.

  4. See http://www.manaslutreknepal.com/manaslu-circuit-trekking-reroute-after-earthquake/ for a brief mention that some parts of the route are dangerous. Overall, I think the Manaslu route is probably fine (I recently read the report of a Swiss geologist who did the trek a few weeks ago, just noted that there are some diversions etc.) However its my understanding that Tsum’s village has been very badly affected by the earthquakes, and as such, infrastructure catering for tourists in that area would be (I’m only guessing) thin or nonexistent, compounded by the winter.

    I think we should contact someone, in Pokhara or thereabouts, who knows whats going on. We should find a reputable trekking agency (or if there is an agency for contacting Nepalese guides?) and ask them if Manaslu + Tsum are possible post-earthquake and in-winter.

    I’m feeling pretty adventurous. I would rather try and fail at something difficult than succeed at something easy. I live my daily life within my comfort zone and am eager to push.

    If Manaslu + Tsum are simply not possible then Annapurna is a good fall back, we could add side trips onto it to make it longer/more challenging.

    One concern however: as an Australian I have no experience camping in overnight temps of less than 0 degrees Celsius (i believe thats 34 fahrenheit?). It snows down here in southern Aus, in the mountains (I’m in Melbourne), however I’ve never experienced the joy of subzero camping. Have you?

    If we were to go through with this I would equip myself with the best subzero sleeping bag/thermal clothing I could afford, but I don’t have a 4-season tent. All this is secondary to whether we can actually do the hike or not though.

  5. Hmm – I had not heard about Tsum Valley but my access to info is currently limited to the Internet. I agree our best course of action is to reach out to someone. A friend put me in touch with his friend who just spent 6 months there and I have another friend returning from ACT next week. I can see what she says and/or if she has a guide she can recommend we contact. She was part of a group package though, so not sure how helpful it would be. Worth a shot. Otherwise, I think we start reaching out to some agencies(?). I came across this site/blog: http://www.thelongestwayhome.com/Countries/nepal.html. The writer seems legit, but who knows. I’ll reach out; can’t hurt.

    If you’re up for trying it, so am I. I think the reward would be well worth the effort, and I prefer a challenge. We should at least continue to gather info. We can easily fall back on ACT – maybe make a judgement call in Kathmandu?

    As for camping, I’m in the same boat as you (I almost mentioned it in my last post – ha). I’ve never camped in freezing temps, but I have spent plenty of sub-0 F (-17 C?) days hiking/skiing. Not ideal, but if you’re moving or shielded from the wind, not too terrible either. My game plan would be the same as yours re: sleeping bag and clothes. In general, my wardrobe is going to be my skiing wardrobe – lots of long, sweat-wicking layers. I’m thinking we could rent a 4-season tent in Kathmandu. We might also need crampons.

  6. Hmm – I had not heard about Tsum Valley but my access to info is currently limited to the Internet. I agree our best course of action is to reach out to someone. A friend put me in touch with his friend who just spent 6 months there and I have another friend returning from ACT next week. I can see what she says and/or if she has a guide she can recommend we contact. She was part of a group package though, so not sure how helpful it would be. Worth a shot. Otherwise, I think we start reaching out to some agencies(?). I came across this site/blog: http://www.thelongestwayhome.com/Countries/nepal.html. The writer seems legit, but who knows. I’ll reach out; can’t hurt.

    If you’re up for trying it, so am I. I think the reward would be well worth the effort, and I prefer a challenge. We should at least continue to gather info. We can easily fall back on ACT – maybe make a judgement call in Kathmandu?

    As for camping, I’m in the same boat as you (I almost mentioned it in my last post – ha). I’ve never camped in freezing temps, but I have spent plenty of sub-0 F (-17 C?) days hiking/skiing. Not ideal, but if you’re moving or shielded from the wind, not too terrible either. My game plan would be the same as yours re: sleeping bag and clothes. In general, my wardrobe is going to be my skiing wardrobe – lots of long, sweat-wicking layers. I’m thinking we could rent a 4-season tent in Kathmandu. We might also need crampons. Something to ask the guide…

  7. Hey Tom. Trying this reply again – looks like my reply wasn’t posted (a note says it’s “waiting in moderation” whatever that means.

    Hmm – I had not heard about Tsum Valley but my access to info is currently limited to the Internet. I agree our best course of action is to reach out to someone. A friend put me in touch with his friend who just spent 6 months there and I have another friend returning from ACT next week. I can see what she says and/or if she has a guide she can recommend we contact. She was part of a group package though, so not sure how helpful it would be. Worth a shot. Otherwise, I think we start reaching out to some agencies(?). I came across this site/blog: http://www.thelongestwayhome.com/Countries/nepal.html. The writer seems legit, but who knows. I’ll reach out; can’t hurt.

    If you’re up for trying it, so am I. I think the reward would be well worth the effort, and I prefer a challenge. We should at least continue to gather info. We can easily fall back on ACT – maybe make a judgement call in Kathmandu?

    As for camping, I’m in the same boat as you (I almost mentioned it in my last post – ha). I’ve never camped in freezing temps, but I have spent plenty of sub-0 F (-17 C?) days hiking/skiing. Not ideal, but if you’re moving or shielded from the wind, not too terrible either. My game plan would be the same as yours re: sleeping bag and clothes. In general, my wardrobe is going to be my skiing wardrobe – lots of long, sweat-wicking layers. I’m thinking we could rent a 4-season tent in Kathmandu. We might also need crampons. Something to ask the guide…

  8. Hey Tom. Trying this reply a 3rd time – looks like my reply isn’t getting posted. A note says it’s “waiting in moderation” whatever that means. I had a link in there so took it out. Hopefully this works.

    Hmm – I had not heard about Tsum Valley but my access to info is currently limited to the Internet. I agree our best course of action is to reach out to someone. A friend put me in touch with his friend who just spent 6 months there and I have another friend returning from ACT next week. I can see what she says and/or if she has a guide she can recommend we contact. She was part of a group package though, so not sure how helpful it would be. Worth a shot. Otherwise, I think we start reaching out to some agencies(?).

    If you’re up for trying it, so am I. I think the reward would be well worth the effort, and I prefer a challenge. We should at least continue to gather info. We can easily fall back on ACT – maybe make a judgement call in Kathmandu?

    As for camping, I’m in the same boat as you (I almost mentioned it in my last post – ha). I’ve never camped in freezing temps, but I have spent plenty of sub-0 F (-17 C?) days hiking/skiing. Not ideal, but if you’re moving or shielded from the wind, not too terrible either. My game plan would be the same as yours re: sleeping bag and clothes. In general, my wardrobe is going to be my skiing wardrobe – lots of long, sweat-wicking layers. I’m thinking we could rent a 4-season tent in Kathmandu. We might also need crampons. Something to ask the guide…

  9. Actually, all of these got through! It must just be a glitch in the system telling you it’s failed.

    Yes I agree with you regarding reaching out to someone – I’ll look up a reputable Guide agency in Pokhara or Kathamandu (However I assume you and I would meet on Pokhara since it’s closer to the Annapurna/Manaslu areas) today and email them.

    And regarding freezing temps – yep I’ve also skiied, hiked etc in snow, including Canada and New Zealand, but never camped. I’m sure with the right gear we wont have any troubles. Renting a tent is a good idea. I have a small JetBoil stove too but have never operated it at high altitudes. We can bring simple dried dhal or other dehydrated meals plus energy-dense foods for when we will (likely) not be able to stay at a teahouse.

    Tell me how you go re: your friend who was in Nepal recently. Speak soon, Tom

  10. Well looks like my note posted 3 times so at least I made my point. Gonna talk to my friends this weekend and will let you know what they say.

    On a separate but related note, a guy messaged me via an old chain I was on and said he’d be up for Manaslu. His timing is similar to ours and looks like he’s got some winter camping experience.

    You up for potentially adding a third? I’m on-the-fence. Given that numbers can sometimes persuade teahouses to open up and he’s got some winter camping experience, he could be a good addition. On the other hand, adding even one more person can make things more difficult than they need to be. Thoughts?

  11. I’m open regarding other people – but don’t mind either way. I like the idea of having small and nimble crews as it makes movement faster, but then again, more people = more experience. Like you, I am totally on the fence, and as such am no help haha.

    Am gonna be out of town for the weekend but will try find details for trek agencies in Nepal when I return Sunday afternoon.

  12. hey guys the guide i used two years ago is currently guiding on manaslu. i meet up with him, when he returns, in ktm on 20th. if you want me to have him contact you, let me know. i will be using him a couple days after for kanchenjunga but he can point you in the right direction. he knows who to call to open a teahouse before and after the pass. he did this for us dec. jan 2013. cheers, j.c.

  13. Hey – if you could put us in touch that would be great. I’m getting mixed messages, but the people I’ve been in touch with don’t have a lot of info on Manaslu – mainly ACT and Everest. Thanks!!

  14. No problem I meet up with him on 20th nov. he’s guiding on manaslu right now. I used Siri, the guide two years ago for manaslu and he was great. The only reason we got over the pass was because of him. All other groups turned around. He calls ahead and gives the two villages a heads up and they opened a house for us on either side. We went over the pass jan 1st. The winter is colder but there shouldn’t be any snow or rain. I mean it could happen but every day we hiked,20, was brilliant blue skies. Ill write to you guys when I see him. J.c.

  15. Hi Jcalaska,

    Let us know when you make contact with the guide for Manaslu. We are very keen to go ahead on this walk in Jan.

    Thanks mate,
    Tom

  16. Hey Tom and Lorelei,
    i dont know if you are still open for a third person joining you? I will arrive in Kathmandu on the 5th of january which could be also little too late for you both … but if it suits in anyway to your plans let me know. I would be exited doing a treck like Mansalu.
    Would be happy hearing from you!
    Anna

    • Hi Anna we would be open to joining you if you were to arrive a little earlier in Pokhara, like Jan 3 since we hope to start the trek on Jan 4 from Pokhara. However i assume your flights are already booked?
      Let me know,
      Tom

  17. Hey guys i just finished manaslu circuit trek around 12 days ago i have since been told by an aid worker that larke pass has been closed now due to weather . I have a great guide who got me safely around the circuit in 12 days i can double check with him about the pass as there is no other route . Hope this helps

  18. Hi JP. Thanks for reaching out. We’ve done some research and it seems the pass usually closes for the winter, as most folks head down the mountain to avoid the weather. We’ve been told, however, that winter treks can still happen as long as a big storm doesn’t roll through and the guide can call ahead to open up the teahouses around the pass. We’ve tried to reach out to folks in the area to verify this, with limited success.

    So…if you could reach out to your guide, or even put us in touch with him, that would be great.

    Hope you had fun on your trek!

    • Cool . It will be best to speak to the guy who we booked with the best way is by facebook they are called top of the world adventure and they are based in kathmandu they will give you all the infomation needed and there price for a guide is good too .. Hope this has helped .

    • Hey there i just spoke to my guide he says its possible to trek manaslu and to contact him via facebook for all the infomation you will need. His name on facebook is singlelife nowife he is from manaslu area too so his imformation is spot on . Hope this helps with planning your trek . Good luck

  19. Yes i already booked my flights so its not going to be possible…but if you have some news about the treck in winter let me know!
    Anna

    • At the moment we are waiting to hear back from a guide, we have been trying to contact him but he has been on a trek.

      To do manaslu in winter you need minimum 2 people and a guide, because the higher pass (larkle la i think its called) is very cold and all the villagers leave for the winter, meaning you either have to call ahead to ask them to attend their teahouses or camp in the freezing cold. Its difficult!

      Annapurna circuit is easier in terms of logistics and apparently is still extremely beautiful. I’ll contact you when we make contact with our guide to let you know of our plans. Hopefully he contacts us within a week.
      Tom