Manaslu Mountain: Exploring Nepal's Eighth Highest Peak

Manaslu Mountain, at 8,163 meters, is the eighth-highest peak in the world. It lies in the west-central part of Nepal in the Manang and Gorkha districts at Thoche, Dharapani, and Samagaun villages. The word “Manaslu” comes from the Sanskrit word “manasa”, which means Intellect or soul.  


Geological and Geographical Overview

Manaslu Mountain lies inside the Manaslu Conservation Area, set up in 1998. This conservation area, covering 1663 square kilometers (642 sq mi), was created to conserve and sustainably manage natural resources and cultural heritage while promoting ecotourism to boost the locals residing.

Manaslu Conservations Area includes sub-tropical regions in the foothill that transform rapidly into various zones, resulting in an arctic zone above 4,500m. This variation is probably only possible in Nepal.

Floral and faunal diversity also makes the Manaslu Valley very precious. This valley is home to two very endangered animals - red pandas and snow leopards. Estimates show that the Manaslu region is home to 110 bird species, 33 mammals, 11 butterflies, and 3 reptiles. The 33 species of mammals include Himalayan tahr, mainland serow,  lynx, Asian black bear, grey wolf, dhole, Assam macaque, Himalayan musk deer, blue sheep, Himalayan goral, woolly hare, horseshoe bat, Himalayan mouse-hare, and black-lipped pika. In terms of floral diversity, biologists estimate that around 2,000 species of plants grow here. 

Manaslu region is heavily influenced by Buddhism, as evident by the large number of monasteries, mani walls, chortens, and other Buddhist religious landmarks. Nubri and Tsum are the main ethnicities inhabiting this region. Both of these ethnicities have mostly retained their unique identity to a great extent. The Gurungs in these regions have joined the Gurkha Brigade in the British Army. 

To the east, Manaslu is flanked by the Ganesh Himal and the Buri Gandaki River gorge, while to the west is the rugged terrain of the Marysyangdi Khola, home to the Annapurna range of hills. Southward lies the town of Gorkha, situated at the base of the hill, serving as a launching point for treks. 

Other nearby peaks include Ngadi Chuli, Himalchuli, and Baudha. On the north lies a saddle known as Larkya La Pass.

History of the Manaslu Mountain Expedition

The Manaslu has long ridges and glacial valleys, which makes Manaslu favorable for climbing. This mountain was first noticed in 1950 by H. W. Tilman, an English mountaineer who was launching an expedition in the Annapurna ranges. His team had set up a camp in Manang as they explored the region, and from Bumtang their team saw Manaslu.

Tilman’s team was unsuccessful in summiting Annapurna IV but returned three months later with another notable mountaineer, Major J. O. M. Roberts, also known as the father of trekking in Nepal. However, they did not attempt to climb Manaslu.

After Tilman placed Manaslu on the map, the Japanese started several expeditions between 1950 and 1955 AD. Finally, in 1956, Toshio Imanishi (Japan) and Gyaltsen Norbu (Sherpa) summited Manaslu for the first time under the leadership of Maki Yuko. There was a long pause in the successful climb to the Manaslu Peak, mainly due to the hostility with the locals. In 1971, the Japanese team succeeded in taking the north-west spur.


Best Season for the Manaslu Mountain Expedition

Nepal has four distinct seasons - winter (December, January, and February), spring (March, April, and May), summer (June, July, and August), and autumn(September, October, and November). 

The winter is quite cold in high elevations, and it snows heavily, making it difficult to climb Manaslu. The spring months have favorable temperatures, good visibility, and great trek trails. In the sub-tropical regions, you can also enjoy the views of colorful blooms of rhododendrons.

Summer coincides with monsoon, bringing in heavy rain, mainly in lower regions. The summer clouds obstruct the views of mountains and also make trails wet and slippery. However, autumn, which falls after summer, is another great season for trekking/climbing as the temperature is just right, the views are clear, and the trails are in good condition.

Manaslu Mountain Climbing Route

There are five main routes to the Manaslu peak. These are:

  1. Eastern ridge
  2. West face
  3. Northeast face (standard route)
  4. Southern face
  5. Southeast face.

The northeast face is the standard and easier route among all these routes. However, do not expect the climb through this route to be easy. It is easier but only compared to the other alternatives. This route starts from the base camp and directly heads to the summit, but it is a lengthier route that will test your stamina. There are no places for rest and recovery. Once you start on this route, you should either turn back or reach the summit and return. The path includes ice crevasses, glaciated terrain, and unpredictable avalanches.

All Manaslu expeditions start from the village of Sama Gaon, where climbers rest, recover, and acclimatize. However, climbers need to start on the trails from Soti Khola to reach Sama Gaon. 

The climbing route to the summit of Manaslu follows a challenging yet rewarding path characterized by steep ascents, technical sections, and breathtaking vistas. The standard route begins from the village of Sama Gaon and progresses through base camps at various elevations. Climbers traverse glaciated terrain, negotiate crevasses, and tackle high-altitude challenges before reaching the summit, where panoramic views of the surrounding Himalayan peaks await.


Visa and permits for climbing Mount Manaslu

Tourists, except Indians, entering Nepal require a visa, and most foreigners can obtain an arrival visa at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu or immigration checkpoints along Nepal’s borders. 

To apply for a tourist visa, you will need a valid passport and visa application fees. The current cost for a 30-day stay is USD 50. Foreigners can also apply for this online. For more information, please visit -


Permits Required for the Manaslu Circuit: For trekking the Manaslu Circuit, travelers need two main permits: the Manaslu Restricted Area Permit and the Manaslu Conservation Area Permit (MCAP). The Nepal Immigration Office in Kathmandu issues MCAP. This permit is essential as the Manaslu region is considered a restricted area for trekking, and solo trekking is not allowed. 

Similarly, you need a Manaslu Conservation Area Permit (MCAP), which you can obtain from the entry point of the Manaslu Conservation Area Project (MCAP) or the Nepal Tourism Board office in Kathmandu. These permits help to regulate and manage the flow of tourists and contribute towards conservation efforts. 


Manaslu Climbing Permit: The Manaslu Climbing permit is mandatory for climbers attempting to summit Mount Manaslu, the eighth-highest mountain in the world. This permit is issued by the Department of Tourism (DoT) in Nepal, and climbers can acquire these permits through registered trekking agencies. 

The climbing permit fee varies depending on the season and the number of climbers in the group. Additionally, climbers must be accompanied by a certified climbing guide and adhere to the rules and regulations set by the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) and the DoT to ensure safety and environmental sustainability during the expedition.



As one of Nepal's crown jewels, Manaslu Mountain offers a captivating blend of natural beauty, a playground for mountaineers, a cultural heritage, and adventure. Whether you are a seasoned mountaineer seeking to conquer its lofty summit or an adventurous traveler eager to explore its foothills, Manaslu promises an unforgettable journey filled with challenges and rewards. If you wish to trek to the foothills of Manaslu and enjoy this natural marvel, we invite you to Manaslu Circuit Trek