We have almost a decade long history with Manaslu; Seth participated in the Manaslu Trail Race with some serious mis-adventures in 2013, Sudeep and Seth did the slowest known time in 2015 around the Manaslu circuit, and Sudeep took part in the trail race in 2016. 

Group photo at Arughat the starting point.

This was the first year for HAL organising the Manaslu Fastpack, after covid postponed it for two years, and what an adventure it was! After a 6 hr jeep ride from Kathmandu we made it to Arughat (the classic start point of the Manaslu circuit) and did a short trek to Sotikhola to stretch our legs. The next day, on our way to Macchekhola Gau we explored the alternative trail through Lapu, avoiding the jeep track. As we crossed the village of Khani (meaning a mine) we asked what is the village popular for. Leeches and diamonds the answer came! While there were no diamonds on the trail there were plentiful leeches. All in all a hard and a beautiful day on the hills of lower Manaslu.

Crossing a stream near Lapu.

After Jagat the weather had been cloudy and rainy since our night in Jagat. Although the weather forecast sided towards rain and clouds we were hopeful that it would clear up as we gained altitude. However, as we made our way up the trail, the rain only got heavier and the trail conditions began to deteriorate. The rain had caused landslides in several areas, making the trail treacherous and difficult to navigate. We had to take several detours and stop and wait to cross some of the more unstable sections of the trail.

Ruth navigating a big landslide before Jagat.

We stayed in Deng for two nights to reassess the developing situation; changing weather and trail conditions. After talking to Michael Fagin (our weather guy) and despite our best efforts, the trail conditions continued to worsen and we were forced to turn back. We made the difficult decision to return to the village of Macchekhola Gau, where we had stayed on day 1. The journey back was slow and treacherous, with the heavy rain making the trail even more difficult to navigate.

Landslide full of debris, on our way back from Deng.

The recent weather pattern and its effects had devastating effects on villages along Nubri and Tsum valley. The news of death in Mt. Manaslu, missing trekkers and damage to homes and communities in these valleys was saddening. Our thoughts are with the people affected by this adverse weather. 

Jeevan scans a house destroyed by landslide in Nyak.

We arrived back in Macchekhola Gau exhausted and disappointed, but grateful to have made it back safely. The bad weather and trail conditions had made it impossible to continue the trek, and we were forced to abandon our plans to cross Larke La, and around the circuit. Overall, our Manaslu Fast Pack trip was a challenging and difficult experience due to the heavy rain and landslides. We were disappointed to have had to turn back, but we were grateful to have made it back safely. We are already planning to go back to mountain of the spirit in May 2023

Ruth in her elements!

Once we got back to Kathmandu we explored a part of the north eastern side of Kathmandu Valley Rim Trail.

On our way to Shivapuri peak, in Shivapuri national park north of Kathmandu.

Here is another trip report on Manaslu trek around the same time by Lisa and Jason with important lessons on how to choose a reliable trekking company (and guide) in Nepal. 

Picture gallery below.

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