A Guide to Trekking the Manaslu Circuit in Winter

A Guide To Trekking The Manaslu Circuit In Winter

Manaslu Circuit in Winter
Trekking the Manaslu Circuit in Winter


The Winter season in Nepal comprises December, January, and February. Despite spring and autumn being considered the most suited season to trek the Manaslu circuit, it is completely doable in the winter season. 

Any trekker would be mesmerized by the stunning scenery in the Manaslu region. You will visit the historic villages of the Gurung, Magar, and Chettri communities on this breathtaking journey. You will enjoy meals cooked locally and stay in community-run teahouses. Along the routes, the stunning snow-capped mountains, massive valleys, crystal clear rivers, and soothing waterfalls will mesmerize you.

A temple in manaslu region
Manaslu circuit in the winter season

For those who enjoy hiking on the area’s peaceful and serene routes, this magnificent adventure is perfect. At lower elevations you will move along the subtropical forests and moving up the mountain foothills, you will reach the Larkya la pass which is 5,106 meters above sea level.

Besides, you will encounter a variety of Flora and Fauna as you walk through the Manaslu Conservation Area Project (MCAP). While traversing through the Manaslu region, ten mountains that are taller than 6,500 meters are visible, including other summits that are higher than 7,000 meters.

Moreover, individuals who are fond of challenges and harsh weather will enjoy the Manaslu trek during the winter season. The ill-famed Larkya La Pass will test you mentally and physically as altitude sickness starts to break you down. Because of the slippery trails due to snow, the chances of injuries and bruises are pretty common during the trek.

How difficult is the Manaslu Circuit Trek in winter?

During December, the Manaslu trek can be an epitome as December is the start of the winter season in Nepal. The weather is comparatively ideal than other winter months and snowfall is less frequent. However, mornings and nights can be chilly as the temperature can be as low as 4 degrees Celsius. 

During January and February, trekking Manaslu can be tougher as these are the prime months of the winter season in Nepal. The chilly weather supported by ample amounts of moderate to heavy snowfall is set to make your journey harder. Even during the day, the temperature will be in the range of -10 to -7 degree celsius. Moreover, as these months are the off-season for the Manaslu trek, getting help in case of emergency will be harder. Passing the Larkya La Pass can be tougher as the snow will make the trail difficult.

A view of the mt. Manaslu with a traditional Nepali house

Manaslu trek in December

The weather in the Manaslu region in December varies depending on the elevation.  Below an altitude of 3500 meters, the environment is still warmer whereas the higher parts are relatively freezing.

The temperature in the Manaslu region in December ranges from 4 to 10 degrees, and it rapidly drops as you ascend to higher regions. Additionally, the nighttime lows might be between -7 and 0 degrees. 

Beginning in December, the Manaslu region will experience a mild climate. The entire trail has bright skies, allowing you to witness the snow-capped mountains in all their glory. Overall, the chances of rainfall are minimum and the weather is cold but bearable during December.

Manaslu trek in January and February

There is little to no difference in climate and weather conditions in January and February. During these peak winter seasons, the Manaslu region is covered in snow and the temperature drops to its lowest. However, as February bids farewell to the winter season, the ending days of February are comparatively warmer.

When you hit the 3500 meters height, the temperature can be as low as -20 degrees in the mornings and evenings. The chances of getting frostbite and dry lips increase significantly. There are fewer people on the Manaslu trails because of the chilly weather. For those who value tranquility, January and February are ideal since they can enjoy solitude across the serene trails. Additionally, the off-season makes it simple to arrange accommodations.

Accommodation and food in Manaslu trek during winter

accommodation in Manaslu circuit

The cost of food and shelter is directly proportional to the elevation in any trek including the Manaslu trek i.e more you ascend, so the price. However, costs are lower compared to peak seasons. 

The cost of food and lodging decreases in Winter as businesses are slow. Additionally, you can take advantage of the wintertime discounts with some bargaining skills. However, it is advisable to carry a warm sleeping bag as the rooms are not equipped with heating systems.

As the lodges are mostly vacant, you can have a single room all for yourself for a cheaper price.

But you will have far fewer food choices as compared to the peak seasons. Foods that are common in all tea houses are rice, lentils, and curry. For breakfast, spaghetti, sandwich, eggs, and smashed potatoes are pretty common during the trek.

Pros of Manaslu circuit trek in winter

Clear sky

The chances of rainfall during winter are close to zero in the Manaslu region. Moreover, the probability of cloud formation is also negligible as the climate becomes cold and dry. This results in the clear blue sky and mesmerizing views of mountains and pristine panoramas of the surroundings. Moreover, one can enjoy the jaw-dropping view of millions of stars at dusk.

Unobstructed view of snow-capped mountains

When the sun’s rays hit the snowy mountain peaks, they glitter like huge heaps of diamonds. The magnificent views of the Manaslu, Himlung, Nemjung, Gyaji Kang,  and Annapurna II, Cheo, Kang Guru, among other magnificent snow-capped mountains are breathtaking. 

Less crowd

Fewer people trek Manaslu during the winter season as the temperature plummets. You will experience a peaceful journey and get to know your guide and porter without any disturbance. However, this also means that getting help will be harder in case some unfortunate incident occurs.

Affordable rates

Trekking Manaslu in winter is perfect for a budget hiker. Because of less traffic, the cost of food and shelter is quite low. The price of permits also decreases in the winter season. If you are good at bargaining, you can even have room for pennies. However, you must have meals at the lodge so as to support their businesses.

Festivals like Christmas and new year

You will experience a good time during the festivals as the tea houses will become vibrant. Besides, what could be the best way to start a new year other than a soul-lifting journey to the Himalayas? However, you might miss your family if you are trekking with friends during thanksgiving.

Cons of Manaslu circuit trek in winter

More trekking gears

The weight of your backpack will definitely increase if you plan to trek the Manaslu in the winter season. You will need to pack extra warm clothes because of the temperature. 

In addition to weight, the price to buy these gears will also increase. You must have a trekking outfit that can withstand temperatures as low as -20 degrees. Hence, you will be spending a couple of hundred dollars more than what you spend during other seasons.

Harsh weather

The climate is undoubtedly the biggest flaw when trekking in winter. The continuous snowfall will test your ability to resist cold throughout the journey, especially at Larkya La Pass. The chance of AMS(Acute Mountain Sickness) also increases once you are closer to the 3,500 meters mark.

Hypothermia and Frostbite

In addition to the bone-chilling cold, harsh climate can bring some complications. Hypothermia, which is caused by prolonged exposure to cold climates can be expected as your body will lose heat faster than it can produce.

Moreover, not having snow-proof gloves can lead to frostbite. You will not like the itching and paining sensations in your hands as it can slow you down.

traditional house in Manaslu circuit

Short days and long nights

Winter brings longer nights and shorter days. This means you will have a short time to trek as you will only trek during the day. Moreover, you will have to walk early in the morning before sunrise if you want to complete the route in the expected period of time.


Is the Manaslu circuit trek in Winter difficult?

You can easily finish the trek if you are both physically and emotionally prepared. Most trekkers find Larkya Pass to be the most challenging milestone to pass through.  Although the weather and temperature may provide some challenges, with the proper motivation and planning, you can complete the trek.

Is the Manaslu trek during the winter life-threatening?

Despite the cold weather of winter, bad incidents leading to death are very rare during
the Manaslu trek. However, one can expect frost bites and minor bruises because of the
snow and slippery routes. As you will be trekking with a guide, you will get help instantly.

What is the lowest temperature during the Manaslu trek?

It varies throughout the year as there are multiple seasons. During winter, the temperature can be in the range of -20 degrees to -5 degrees at a higher altitude.


The Manaslu trek in winter is definitely challenging yet achievable with proper guidance and planning. The assistance of a proper guide and porter will help you complete the journey easily. If you are not fond of cold weather and yet want to trek in winter, early December and late February can be ideal. Besides, views of mountain peaks during winter have their own flavor of uniqueness, and food and shelter are pretty affordable.

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