Crossing Larkya La: High Altitude Endeavors in Nepal

Nepal's rugged terrain and towering peaks have long attracted adventurers from around the globe, offering a playground for high-altitude endeavors. Among the many challenges that await trekkers in this Himalayan wonderland, one stands out as both exhilarating and daunting: crossing the formidable Larkya La pass. 

Larkya La, at an altitude of 5,106 meters (16,752 feet), is the highest point along the renowned Manaslu Circuit trek, which circles the majestic Manaslu massif in the remote reaches of the Gorkha district. It is one of the longest passes in the Nepali Himalayas and lies between Dharmashala and Bimthang. 

This high-altitude mountain pass serves as a gateway between the lush valleys of the Manaslu region and the barren landscapes of the Tibetan Plateau, offering trekkers a breathtaking panorama of snow-capped peaks and glacier-carved valleys.


Preparing for the Journey

Dharamsala is the last point of accommodation before crossing the Larkya La Pass or Larkya La Phedi (foothill). Crossing Larkya La is a challenging undertaking. You will have to be ready for a long day trek. 

The ascent to the pass requires careful acclimatization, physical fitness, and mental fortitude. You must endure long days of hiking through varying terrain, from verdant forests and alpine meadows to rocky moraines and icy glaciers. 

Even within the prime trekking seasons of spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November), weather changes abruptly. Particularly, during winter (December to February), the pass is notorious for fierce winds and snowfall. You must prepare for fluctuating weather, ensuring you have suitable clothing and gear to navigate potential snow, ice, and frigid temperatures.

The Trekking Experience

To reach Larkya La Pass, you should participate in the Manaslu Circuit trek. Your anticipation grows as you journey from Kathmandu to Arughat and onwards to Soti Khola, immersing yourself in the breathtaking landscapes of Nepal. The drive alone takes a full day, setting the stage for the adventure ahead.

As day two dawns, you leave behind Soti Khola and begin your trek toward Machha Khola, traversing through enchanting forests, challenging ridges, and picturesque terraced fields. Suspension bridges add to the allure as you make your way to Machha Khola (890m / 2,965ft), where the tranquility of the surroundings rejuvenates your spirit.

With renewed energy, you press on towards Doban (1,070 m/3510 ft), passing the mesmerizing Tharo Khola and the traditional Gurung Village of Khorla Besi. Here, the confluence of two rivers at Doban welcomes you, marking the next phase of your journey.

The following day, you leave Doban behind, trekking onwards to Philim. The rugged terrain presents challenges and rewards, offering glimpses of the majestic Sringri Himal along the way. Philim, a sprawling Gurung settlement, invites you to explore its vibrant culture and agricultural traditions.

Next, the trail leads you from Philim to Deng, where the landscape becomes even more captivating, adorned with cascading waterfalls and ancient suspension bridges. As you arrive at Deng, the atmosphere is imbued with the spirituality of the Buddhist village, setting the stage for the awe-inspiring sights to come.

Continuing your ascent, you journey from Ghap to Namrung, soaking in panoramic views of the towering Ganesh Himal and Mt. Himalchuli. Namrung's serene beauty provides a prelude to the adventures awaiting in Lho.

From Namrung, you press onward to Lho, where the majestic peaks of the Himalayas dominate the horizon. The following day, your path leads you to Samagaun, a quaint village nestled amidst stone-built houses and ancient monasteries. Here, you take a well-deserved day of rest, exploring wonders, like Birendra Lake and Pungyen Monastery.

Refreshed and invigorated, you continue towards Samdo, passing through pastoral landscapes and dense forests teeming with life. As you approach the Tibetan refugee village of Samdo, the sight of Mount Manaslu beckons you forward, fueling your excitement for the challenges ahead.

With Larkya La Pass looming on the horizon, you make your way to Dharamsala, where the anticipation peaks. The trail offers glimpses of the Larkya glacier, serving as a reminder of the rugged terrain ahead.

Finally, the day arrives for your ascent of Larkya La Pass, the pinnacle of your Manaslu adventure. Setting out early, you traverse the frozen lakes and rocky terrain, taking in the awe-inspiring vistas of the surrounding peaks. Crossing the pass, you descend to Bhimtang, completing the circuit around Mount Manaslu and marking a milestone in your journey.

As you bid farewell to Bhimtang, the return trip begins, with each step bringing you closer to the end of your adventure. Passing through dense pine forests and charming villages, you make your way to Dharapani, which signals the conclusion of your trek.

On the final day, you board a local bus from Dharapani to Besisahar, reflecting on the memories made and the challenges overcome during your Manaslu Circuit trek. Passing through quaint villages and picturesque landscapes, you make your way back to Kathmandu, bringing your unforgettable journey to a close.

Throughout your trek, the allure of Larkya La Pass reminds you of the breathtaking beauty and boundless adventure that awaits in the heart of the Himalayas.


A Triumph of the Human Spirit

Crossing Larkya La is more than just a physical feat; it is a testament to the indomitable spirit of the human adventurer. It is a journey of self-discovery, resilience, and camaraderie as trekkers from all walks of life come together to conquer the ultimate high-altitude challenge in the heart of the Himalayas.


Crossing Larkya La is a high-altitude endeavor that pushes the limits of human endurance and offers a profound connection to the natural world. For those who dare to tackle the Larkya La Pass, the rewards are plentiful - stunning landscapes, cultural immersion, and a sense of accomplishment that will last a lifetime. For a rich trek experience, we recommend you for a Manaslu Circuit Trek with us.