Manaslu (Nepali: मनास्लु, also known as Kutang) is the
eighth highest mountain in the world at 8,163 metres (26,781 ft)
above sea level. It is located in the Mansiri Himal, part of the
Nepalese Himalayas, in the west-central part of Nepal. Its name, which
means "mountain of the spirit", comes from the
Sanskrit word manasa,
meaning "intellect" or "soul".
Manaslu was first climbed on May 9,
1956 by Toshio Imanishi and Gyalzen Norbu, members of a Japanese
expedition. It is said that "just as the British consider Everest
Manaslu has always been a Japanese mountain".
Manaslu is the highest peak in the
Gorkha District and is located
about 64 km (40 mi) east of Annapurna. The mountain's long
ridges and valley glaciers offer feasible approaches from all
directions, and culminate in a peak that towers steeply above its
surrounding landscape, and is a dominant feature when viewed from
Manaslu region offers a variety of trekking options. The popular
Manaslu trekking route of 177 kilometres (110 mi), skirts the
Manaslu massif over the pass down to Annapurna. The Nepalese
Government only permitted trekking of this circuit in 1991. The
trekking trail follows an ancient salt-trading route along the Burhi
Gandak River. En route, 10 peaks over 6,500 metres (21,300 ft)
are visible, including a few over 7,000 metres (23,000 ft). The
highest point reached along the trek route is the
Larkya La at an
elevation of 5,106 metres (16,752 ft). As of May 2008, the
mountain has been climbed 297 times with 53
Manaslu Conservation Area has been established with the primary
objective of achieving conservation and sustainable management of the
delimited area, which includes Manaslu.
4 Ethnic groups
6 Trekking in the region
7 Area development project
8 See also
10 Further reading
11 External links
Set in the northern
Himalayan range in the
Gorkha District of Nepal,
Manaslu is a serrated "wall of snow and ice hanging in the
sky". The three sides of the mountain fall in steps
to terraces down below, which are sparsely inhabited with agricultural
operations practiced on the land. Apart from climbing Manaslu,
trekking is popular in this mountain region, as part of the Manaslu
Circuit, a notable path by trekkers in Nepal.
Manaslu Conservation Area, declared as such in December 1998 under
the National Parks and Wild Life Conservation Act, subsumes Manaslu
within it. The area covered under the conservation zone is 1,663
square kilometres (642 sq mi) and is managed by the National
Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC) of Nepal. The status of
"conservation area" applied to the
Manaslu area or region was with the
basic objective "To conserve and sustainable management of the natural
resources and rich cultural heritage and to promote ecotourism to
improve livelihood of the local people in the MCA region."
Manaslu Himal, as it is popularly known among trekkers, provides views
of the snow-covered mountains of the
Himalayas and allows close
interaction with the different ethnic groups who live in hill villages
scattered along the trek route.
The trekking route is through mountainous terrain prone to the
consequences of monsoon rainfall, land slides and land falls.
Encounters with passing yaks, and hypothermia and altitude sickness,
are common. Trekking to
Manaslu is thus a test of endurance.
Manaslu from base camp
The region, which is also termed the
Manaslu Conservation Area,
comprises sub-tropical Himalayan foothills to arid Trans-Himalayan
high pastures bordering Tibet. Starting from Arughat and extending
into the Larkhe La pass, the area covers six climatic zones: the
tropical and sub-tropical zone, elevation varies from 1,000–2,000
metres (3,300–6,600 ft); the temperate zone (within elevation
range of 2,000–3,000 metres (6,600–9,800 ft); the sub-alpine
zone elevation range of 3,000–4,000 metres (9,800–13,100 ft);
the alpine zone, a range of 4,000–5,000 metres
(13,000–16,000 ft)) meadows; and the arctic zone (lying above
4,500 metres (14,800 ft)). The zones coalesce with the variation
of the altitude from about 600 metres (2,000 ft) in the tropical
zone to the 8,156 metres (26,759 ft) summit of
Manaslu in the
The morning view of
Manaslu from Samagoan Village
Manaslu is known in the Tibetan language as "Kutan l", in which "tang"
means the Tibetan word for a flat place. It is a very large peak with
an elevation of 8,156 metres (26,759 ft) (the world’s eighth
highest mountain). In view of its favourable topography of long ridges
and glacial valleys,
Manaslu offers several routes to mountaineers.
Important peaks surrounding
Manaslu include Ngadi Chuli, Himalchuli
and Baudha. A glacial saddle known as Larkya La, with an elevation of
5,106 metres (16,752 ft), lies north of Manaslu. The peak is
bounded on the east by the Ganesh
Himal and the Buri Gandaki River
gorge, on the west by the deep fissures of the Marysyangdi Khola with
Annapurna range of hills, to the south is the
Gorkha town at the
foot of the hill (from where trekking operates during the season),
which is an aerial distance of 48 kilometres (30 mi) to the peak.
There are six established trek routes to the peak, and on the mountain
the south face is reportedly the most difficult for climbing.
The permanent snow line is reckoned above 5,000 metres
(16,000 ft) elevation. Precipitation in the area is both from
snowfall and rainfall; the average annual rainfall is about 1,900
millimetres (75 in) mostly during the monsoon period, which
extends from June to September. The temperatures in the area also vary
widely with the climatic zone: in the subtropical zone, the average
summer and winter temperatures vary in the range of 31–34 °C
(88–93 °F) and 8–13 °C (46–55 °F)
respectively; in the temperate climatic zone, the summer temperatures
are 22–25 °C (72–77 °F) and winter temperatures are
−2–6 °C (28–43 °F) when snow and frost are also
experienced; in the subalpine zone, during December to May snowfall
generally occurs and the mean annual temperature is 6–10 °C
(43–50 °F). The arctic zone is distinct and falls within the
permanent snow line; there, the temperatures lie much below freezing
Major peaks of
Mansiri Himal range (left to right): Manaslu, Ngadi
There are other major peaks in the region, namely
Ngadi Chuli (7,871 m.a.s.l), Shringi (7,187 m.a.s.l), Langpo
(6,668 m.a.s.l) and Saula (6,235 m.a.s.l)
Unlike many other regions, this valley is a sanctuary to many highly
endangered animals, including snow leopards and Red pandas. Other
mammals include lynx, Asian black bear, grey wolf, dhole, Assam
macaque, Himalayan musk deer, blue sheep, Himalayan tahr, mainland
serow, Himalayan goral, woolly hare, horseshoe bat, Himalayan
mouse-hare and black-lipped pika. Over 110 species of birds, 33
mammals, 11 butterflies and 3 reptiles have been recorded.
Conservation of wild life in the area has been achieved by monks of
the monasteries in the area by putting a hunting ban in place. This
action has helped the wildlife to prosper. The area is now an
important habitat for the snow leopard, grey wolf, musk deer, blue
sheep and the Himalayan tahr.
A total of 110 species of birds have been identified in the area,
including golden eagle, Eurasian griffon, Himalayan griffon, blood,
impeyan, kalij and koklass pheasants, Himalayan and Tibetan snow cocks
and the crimson horned pheasant.
Three main categories of vegetation have been identified in the area.
These are categorised on the basis of the altitude as Low hill, Middle
mountain and High mountain types with its exclusive types of dominant
forests and other associated species. The types of vegetation,
however, tend to overlap the adjoining ones at places. Depending on
the microclimate and other aspects, an overlap of vegetation is
noticed in adjacent areas. However, the forest types are fairly well
defined. The flora in different forest types also does not show much
variation. The valley basin has a rich ecotone diversity and includes
nineteen different types of forests, most prominently rhododendron,
and also Himalayan blue pine, which is flanked by Ganesh
Himal and the
Sringi ranges. Medicinal herbs and aromatic plants, have also been
recorded in different forests types and adjoining vegetation. Overall,
the presence of 19 types of forests and other forms of dominant
vegetation have been recorded from the area. An estimated
1,500–2,000 plant species grow here.
There are two ethnicities mainly inhabiting this region; Nubri and
Tsum. The branching off of the river at Chhikur divides these two
ethnic domains. While Nubri has been frequently visited after Nepal
opened itself for the tourism in 1950, Tsum still retains much of its
traditional culture, art, and tradition. In the central hills of the
region, Gurungs are the main ethnic group who have joined the Brigade
of Gurkhas in large numbers. Closer to Tibet, the
spelled Bhotias), akin to the Sherpa group, of Tibetan ethnicity
dominate the scene as can be discerned from their flat roofed houses,
and they are distinctly Buddhists. The region is dotted with austere
monasteries, mani walls, chortens and other
Manaslu from Timang Village
H. W. Tilman
H. W. Tilman was the first European to lead an expedition to
Annapurna Range with a small party of five compatriots. They
walked on foot from the
Kathmandu valley (six days of trekking from
the valley), and using
Manang as their base camp they started
exploring the mountain ranges, peaks and valleys of the Annapurna
massif. During this exploration, while making a reconnaissance of the
higher reaches of the Dudh Khola, they clearly saw
Bumtang. Three months later, after their aborted trip to
Tilman, accompanied by Major J. O. M. Roberts, trekked to Larkya La
pass and from there saw
Manaslu and its plateau and concluded that
there was a direct route to the summit, although they did not make an
attempt on it.
After the reconnaissance visit by Tilman, there were four Japanese
expeditions between 1950 and 1955 that explored the possibility of
Manaslu by the north and east faces.
In 1952, a Japanese reconnaissance party visited the area after the
monsoon season. In the following year (1953), a team of 15 climbers
led by Y. Mita, after setting up base camp at Samagaon, attempted to
climb via the east side but failed to reach the summit. In this first
attempt by a Japanese team to summit via the north-east face, three
climbers reached a height of 7,750 metres (25,430 ft), before
In 1954, a Japanese team approaching from the Buri Gandaki route to
the peak faced a hostile group of villagers at Samagaon camp. The
villagers thought that the previous expeditions had displeased the
gods, causing the avalanches that destroyed the Pung-gyen Monastery
and the death of 18 people. As a result of this hostility, the team
made a hasty retreat to Ganesh Himal. To appease local sentiments,
a large donation was made to rebuild the monastery. However, this
philanthropic act did not ease the atmosphere of distrust and
hostility towards Japanese expeditions. Even the expedition in 1956
which successfully climbed the mountain faced this situation and as a
result the next Japanese expedition only took place in 1971.
In 1956, Toshio Imanishi (Japan) and Gyaltsen Norbu (Sherpa) made the
first ascent of
Manaslu on May 9, 1956. The Japanese expedition
was led by Maki Yūkō, also known as Aritsune Maki.
In 1956, David Snellgrove, a noted scholar in
Tibetan culture and
religion, undertook a seven-month sojourn of mid-west and central
Nepal. The route that he followed, accompanied by three Nepalese
people, was via Bumtang and Buri Gandaki river and crossing over to
the Larkya La.
The next successful climb to the summit of
Manaslu was in 1971. On May
17, 1971, Kazuharu Kohara and Motoki, part of an 11-man Japanese team,
reached the summit via the north-west spur. Also in 1971, Kim
Ho-sup led a Korean expedition attempt via the north-east face. Kim
Ki-Sup fell to his death on May 4. In 1972, the south-west face was
climbed for the first time by an Austrian expedition led by Wolfgang
Nairz. In 1972 only, the Koreans attempted the north-east face.
On April 10, an avalanche buried their camp at 6,500 metres
(21,300 ft), killing fifteen climbers including ten Sherpas and
the Korean expedition leader Kim Ho-sup, and Kazunari Yasuhisa
from Japan. On April 22, 1973, Gerhard Schmatz, Sigi Hupfauer and a
Sherpa climber reached the summit via the north-east face. In the same
year, a Spanish expedition led by Jaume Garcia Orts could reach only
to 6,100 metres (20,000 ft). The first Japanese women
expedition led by Kyoko Sato was successful on May 4, 1974, when all
members reached the summit after a failed attempt from the East ridge.
They were thus the first women team (Naoko Nakaseko, Masako Uchida,
Mieko Mori) with Jambu Sherpa to climb an 8,000 metres
(26,000 ft) peak. However, one climber died on May 5 when she
fell between camps 4 and 5.
Manaslu (L), Thulagi (M),
Ngadi Chuli (Peak 29, R)
In the pre-monsoon period of 1980, a South Korean team led by Li In
Jung reached the summit via the normal route, which was the eighth
ascent to the peak. The year 1981 marked several expeditions: the
largest contingent of 13 climbers of a team organized by the
Sport-Eiselin of Zurich led by H. V. Kaenel, made it to the summit
along the normal route; in autumn, French mountaineers opened a new
route, a variation of the west face route; and a Japanese team, led by
Y. Kato, made an ascent via the normal route. In 1983, two
climbers from Yugoslavia, trying to climb the peak from the south
face, were buried under an avalanche. One of them was Nejc Zaplotnik,
a notable climber of Slovenian origin. A Korean team reached the
summit in the autumn of the same year. A German team led by G. Harter
was successful in climbing the peak via the south face, which followed
the "1972 Tyrolean Route". During the winter of 1983–84, a
Polish team led by L. Korniszewski successfully followed the Tyrolean
Route. In the spring season of 1984, a Yugoslav team led by A. Kunaver
climbed the peak via the south face. During the same year, in autumn,
Polish teams climbed the south ridge and south-east face. On
January 12, 1984,
Maciej Berbeka and
Ryszard Gajewski of a Polish
expedition made the first winter ascent via the normal route.
On November 9, 1986, Jerzy Kukuczka, Artur Hajzer, and Carlos Carsolio
made the first climb of the east summit (7894 m) of Manaslu. The
next day, Kukuczka and Hajzer reached the summit via a new route,
ascending the east ridge and descending the north-east face.
On May 2, 1993, Sepp Brunner, Gerhard Floßmann, Sepp Hinding and Dr.
Michael Leuprecht reached the summit via the normal route and
descended on skis from 7,000 metres (23,000 ft) to the basecamp.
The Austrian expedition was led by Arthur Haid. On December 8,
1995, Anatoli Boukreev summited
Manaslu with the Second Kazakhstan
Himalaya Expedition. On May 12, 1996,
Carlos Carsolio and his younger
brother Alfredo, reached the summit of Manaslu. For Carsolio it was
his fourteenth and final eight-thousander, becoming the fourth person
in history and the youngest to achieve the feat. In 1997, Charlie
Mace made the first American ascent.
During the spring of 2000, there were four expeditions to Manaslu. One
climb was on the east face by the '
Japan 2000 Expedition' led by
Yoshio Maruyama. The other three were on the north-east ridge: the ETB
2000 Expedition of Spain led by Felix Maria I. Iriate; the 2000 Korean
Manaslu Expedition of
Korea led by Han Wang Yong; and the
Expedition from Italy led by Franco Brunello. On May 22, 2001, a
three-member team of
Ukraine Himalaya 2001 Expedition comprising
Serguiy Kovalov, Vadim Leontiev and Vladislav Terzyul successfully
Manaslu via the challenging south-east face; all climbed
without oxygen support. During the autumn of 2001, three members and a
sherpa of the
Japan Workers Alpine Federation climbed the peak via the
north-east face on October 9, 2001.
On May 13, 2002, five Americans, Tom Fitzsimmons, Jerome Delvin,
Michael McGuffin, Dan Percival and Brian Sato and two Sherpas reached
Piotr Pustelnik and Krzysztof Tarasewicz climbed
Manaslu on May 17,
2003. However, Dariusz Zaluski, Anna Czerwinska and Barbara Drousek,
who started the climb after Piotr and Krzysztof, had to turn back due
to strong winds and bad weather. With this ascent Pustelnik has
summited 12 of the world's 14 highest peaks (
Broad Peak and Annapurna
On May 29, 2006, Australian mountaineer
Sue Fear died after falling
into a crevasse on her descent after summitting. In 2008, Valerie
Parkinson was the first British woman to climb Manaslu.
Arjun Vajpai an Indian mountaineer summitted
Manaslu on the
5th of October and became the youngest climber in the world to have
Manaslu at the age of 18.
Eleven climbers were killed in an avalanche on September 23, 2012.
September 25, 2014 – Polish ski-mountaineer
Andrzej Bargiel set a
record time from base camp to summit at 14 hours 5 minutes and also
record time for base-peak-base of 21 hours 14 minutes.
Traditionally, the "spring" or " pre-monsoon" season, is the least
hazardous for bad weather, snowfall and avalanches.
Manaslu is one of
the more risky 8000ers to climb: as of May 2008, there have been 297
Manaslu and 53 deaths on the mountain, making it "the
4th most dangerous 8000m peak, behind Annapurna, Nanga Parbat, and
Trekking in the region
Manaslu region offers a variety of trekking options. The Manaslu
Circuit Trek now usually starts in Arughat Bazaar and ends two to
three weeks later in Besisahar, the starting point of the Annapurna
Circuit Trek. Until recently the trek required camping, but building
of tea-houses means the trek can be completed using local
accommodation. The trek requires a Restricted Area Permit of $50 per
week and that trekkers travel in a group of at least two persons with
a registered guide. The trek lies on the newly developed Great
The trek follows an ancient salt–trading route along the steep sided
Budhi Gandaki river. From Deng, the slopes of ravines ease and views
of snow peaks start appearing from Ligaon (Lhi). Further from Lhogaon
(Lho), an impressive view of Manaslu, with its double peak, appears
described as "a soaring monarch with a double-edged summit towering
above fields of barley".
Manaslu circuit trek
The route follows the pine-forested Syala village, which has the
backdrop of many horseshoe-shaped peaks, and reaches the village of
Samagaon (Sama) at the foot of Manaslu. There is a
at Samagaon, where monks and nuns reside. After half a day’s trek
from Samagaon, the village of Samdo is reached. Samdo is the highest
village in the Budhi Gandaki valley and is inhabited by Bhotias. This
village commands a view of the valley and Pang Phuchi village with a
backdrop of the Tibetan border. Further trekking leads along a major
secondary valley to the Larkha La (Larkja La). Along this route, Cheo
Himal (Nemjung) and
Kang Guru are seen, along with
occasional views of the
Annapurna Massif. From here, the meadowland of
Bimtang (Bimdakhoti) at elevation 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) is
reached, from where
Manaslu is clearly visible. From Manaslu, the
circuit passes through Dudh Khola (a tributary of
criss-crosses Marsyangdi River before reaching Bhulbule, Tarukha Ghat,
crosses the Chepe Khola and Dorandi Khola before returning to
Two alternative routes are also popular. One is on the Annapurna
Circuit trail but leaves it at Dharapani to reach Manang, crossing
Thorong La and
Kali Gandaki valley). From
depart to Pokhara. The other alternative route is from Bhulbule,
crossing Marsyangdi to Khudi, divert from
Annapurna trail and trek
cross country through valleys and ridges to Sisuwa town on the bank of
Begnas Tal. From here a road approach is available to Pokhara.
When trekking through the
Manaslu region, ten peaks of over 6,500
metres (21,300 ft) in height are visible, including peaks of over
7,000 metres (23,000 ft) elevation. People add Tsum Valley and
Himal Base Camp as acclimatization trips before going on
expeditions through the high passes. The Tsum region, which was
restricted for tourists for a long time, is now the centre of
attraction for intrepid trekkers, with the government of Nepal
recently opening it for group tourists. In order to retain its
pristine culture and sustain its fragile ecosystem, the Tsum Welfare
Committee is involved in the promotion of responsible tourism in Tsum.
However, local participation for sustainable tourism is still a
challenging task with a long road ahead.
Area development project
Under loan funds provided by the Asian Development Bank, the
Nepal has an infrastructure project titled "Manaslu
Eco-tourism Development Project" under implementation. The objective
is to improve the capacity of the
Manaslu area to support tourism in
an environmentally benign manner.
List of mountains in Nepal
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Manaslu in Photographs.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Manaslu.
Manaslu travel guide from Wikivoyage
Manaslu on Himalaya-Info.org (German)
Manaslu on Summitpost
Manaslu on Peakware
Things to know before
Manaslu circuit trekking
Manaslu Circuit trek in Nepal
Annapurna I East
Annapurna I Middle Peak
List of ski descents
List of climbers
List of deaths