AdventureIssue 3Nepal

Trekking around Manaslu

A trek through this region takes you on a tough route through some of the wildest and most beautiful scenery you’ll see anywhere. Including the most dramatic Himalayan pass, the Larkya La (5,231m), the 177 kilometer route that generally takes about 20 days to complete, it skirts the Manaslu massif down to Annapurna, following an early salt-trading route along the Budi Gandaki River. Over ten Himalayan peaks over 6,500m can be seen from this route. Manaslu (8,156m), is the eighth highest mountain in the world.

The Manaslu trek begins at Gorkha, about 5 hours by road from Kathmandu. Once a kingdom in its own right, in the 18th century, its king, Prithvi Narayan Shah set out to conquer and unify Nepal. This resulted in the Shah Dynasty that ruled the country for around 250 years.

From Gorka, you start by hiking a couple of hours to Charkot (600m), continuing the following day to Siangdi Khola (650m). Trekking the next day on the level trail to Durondi Khola (750m) for about four hours or so, you carry on walking along the Durondi Khola, and then start climbing steadily to Barbak (1,900m) and then to Kharka Pass (2, 850m). Walking downhill the following day along the sheer cliff faces of the Budi Gandaki River, you’ll pass waterfalls, large bamboo groves, forests of rhododendron and fir, and mani walls with Buddhist inscriptions. Overnighting at Gumda (2,050m), you continue to Jagat (1,360 m), then the next day uphill to Nyak (2,300m). On to Ghap (2, 380m), you then pass through fir forests teeming with birds (keep an eye out for the Impeyan pheasant, the danfe, Nepal’s national bird). Eventually reaching Namrung village, you enter the Nupri region, where most people, men and women, are wearing traditional Tibetan dresses. Here you see many chortens and prayer wheels along the route, as well as tall watchtowers in the fields. These are to protect the wheat and buckwheat crops from being eaten up by marauding bears. From Bengsam (2,900m), the next couple of days takes you to Sama (3,360 m), and Kermo Samdo (3,780 m).

After about two weeks of trekking, you reach Larkya Bazaar (4,400 m), and the following day, the climax of your trek with challenging climb up to Larkya La, the pass situated at 5,100 meters. From here, you can see Annapurna II (7,937m). Himlung Himal (7,126m), Gyaji Kung (7,030 m), Kang Guru (6,981m), and Cheo Himal (6,820m).

Descending to the vast Bimtang valley (3,630 m), you are surrounded on all sides by impressive Himalayan peaks. This valley was once a staging area for Khampa guerilla activities during the time of the Khampa insurgency in 1974-1975. The following few days take you back down through lovely forests and along the Marsyangdi gorge to Tilche (2,640m), Tal (1,680m), Bahun Danda (1,260 m), and finally to Besisahar (760 m) from where you drive back to Kathmandu.

Photo; Piet Van Der Poel
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