Manaslu is one of the most elegant of the 8000 m giants, flanked by the Annapurnas to the west and Ganesh Himal to the east. Physically taxing, culturally enlightening, and visually inspiring, it takes you from the humid lowlands—with their terraces of rice and millet—through the formidable gorges of the Budi Gandaki to the snow-capped Larke La near the Tibetan border, then down the well-known Marsyangdi Valley to the lush foothill country once more. It’s a visual feast from beginning to end, but you must be in shape.
Bill Tilman arrived in this area in 1950, but the Manaslu circuit wasn’t accessible to more than 400 hikers annually until 1991. The traditional route begins at Gorkha, however there are many shorter options.
The highest point of the trip is the Larkya La pass, at 5135 meters, where you may stand among cairns and wind-tossed prayer flags while being encircled by the Manaslu outliers to the south and border peaks to the north. The most amazing view can only be obtained after you have over the pass and moved down a pretty flat corridor to the west. The clearest views are to the east returning the way you came.
A large glacial cirque suddenly appears in the distance. A torrent of glaciers is cast down by a magnificent wall formed by Cheo Himal, Himlung Himal, and Gyaji Kangand Kang Guru, while Annapurna peaks above the impassable mountain in front of it.
The journey is worthwhile just for that vista.