My friend Rick McCharles of Best Hike fame is up to his usual tricks. Rick recently to Nepal where he walked the Manaslu Circuit, a 252 km (156.8 mile) sojourn that takes roughly 12-13 days to complete. Following his Himalayan adventure, Rick has posted his thoughts on the trek, sharing daily info on the walk and lots of beautiful photos as well.
As the name implies, this hiking circuit encircles Manaslu, an 8156 meter (26,759 ft) peak that is located in west central Nepal. The trail first opened back in 1991, but Rick says that it has gained in popularity over the past few years as more tea houses have sprung up along the route, giving trekkers more comfortable options for their adventure.
All told, the circuit features 12,585 meters (41,289 ft) of climbing and 11,279 meters (37,004 ft) of descent. It reaches its highest point at Larkya Pass, which falls at 5106 meters (16,751 ft). While that is plenty of altitude, Rick says that it rises at an acceptable rate, allowing plenty of time to acclimatize. The route will take you through six climate zones along the way, giving backpackers an opportunity to experience a host of beautiful scenery. As with most treks through the Himalaya in Nepal, it also exposes travelers to the great culture there as well.
Rick spent a total of ten days on his hike and from the sounds of his reports, he enjoyed every minute of it, despite some challenges. The thing that intrigues me most about his notes on the hike is that he compares it quite favorably to the legendary Annapurna Circuit from years past. There are many long distance hikers who feel the Annapurna Circuit is the best hiking trail in the world, although the addition of a road to the region altered that perception some. If the Manaslu Circuit is anywhere near as good, it says a lot about just how amazing this walk must be.
If you’re looking for a new adventure for 2014, then perhaps the Mansaslu Circuit should be added to your list of potentials. Rick says October and November are the best times to go, although April and May aren’t bad either. It looks like yet another amazing Himalayan hike I need to add to my bucket list.
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