Previous trek photo albums
In 2010 we trekked around Manaslu in reverse (as the end segment of our Upper Mustang via Saribung and Nar-Phu):
Mouse over for controls and none of these photos are repeated below.
For our 2007 Manaslu trek start, we couldn't drive as far as we hoped due to deep mud on the road so we started walking before Arughat during the main Dashain festival which was really special, and hence the festival portraits beginning:
The second part and second album is our fantastic Tsum Valley exploration:
And the third part is our continuation of the Manaslu Circuit after Tsum, including our explorations and 6000m climb above Samdo:
Here are photos taken from the albums above. Later, I might add some more detail to each day.
Day 0 - early arrival
Arrive early to recover from long flights, shop for those last minute gear items and to sightsee. Arriving today also gives time to recover with a day in Kathmandu before we head out.
Day 1 - Arrive Kathmandu before 12 noon
Our trip start is minimalist so either arrive on Day 0, ie early, or arrive before midday today so as the office can pick up the various permits. We apply in advance however officials sight your passport to actually issue them...
Let's see if we can walk a few koras around Bauddha and have dinner out there.
The rooftop dinner view at Bauddha on a stormy evening - Jamie
2 - drive Soti Khola 730m
We rise early but still with time for a hearty breakfast at the hotel before hitting the road in our bus packed with us and the crew. We climb up and over the rim of the Kathmandu Valley then descend on the windy main road. After lunch the blacktop ends and the road gets rougher. It will be a relief when we finally get there, we deserve a beer!
A great low country camp - Jamie
3 - trek Machha Khola 890m
The low altitude is steamy but with the usual haze, shouldn't feel too hot. We are trekking in the classic middle hills following the Budhi Gandaki (river). This evening will definitely require a cold one for some recovery!
The terraces are so green! And, yes, she has a large load of firewood - Jamie
4 - trek Jagat 1350m
We are into the swing of this middle hills trekking, and slowly gaining altitude. We camp at Jagat where the Manaslu restricted area begins, so our permits are processed here ready for crossing tomorrow.
More green terraces with a stone trail up through them - Jamie
5 - trek Lokpa 2240m
As we squeeze between the Manaslu range on our left/west and the Ganesh range on our right/east, the gorge, the waterfalls, and steep hillsides leave us in awe. We might catch a glimpse of the striking Shringi Himal up valley too.
Check out the steepness of that drop! We are trekking through the main Himalayan chain here - Jamie
6 - trek Ripchet / Chumling 2400m
At a bridge we leave the main Manaslu Circuit trail to branch off and up the Tsum Valley, passing through Lkpa first and then we have a choice of routes although it is more normal now to stay at Chumling.
Above the steep hills are steep mountains - Jamie
7 - trek Chhokang Paro 3030m
An unusual chorten - Jamie
8 - trek Nile 3350m
All flat ground is used - Jamie
9 - trek Mu Gompa 3700m
Trekking at its finest - Jamie
10 - rest-explore Mu Gompa 3700m
Larry and Owen (in the shade) with students (tawas) at Mu Gompa - Jamie
11 - trek Chandip ~4100m
We leave the villages of the valley behind, heading up on the bulldozed track that reaches as far as here from Tibet. Howevre, at the valley T, the rough road takes a right and we take a left and back on to local grazing trails. We camp early with the altitude gain in mind and can explore around, admire the huge mountains around.
We will likely have mules rather than porters - Jamie
12 - trek Yanje Kharka ~4350m
Again, following grazing trails, we trek for the morning for a "lunch camp" to find that perfect base for some exploring this afternoon and tomorrow. Below, the picture looks to roughly where we will be going, but the valley base is hidden.
High country trekking, I love the spaciousness - Jamie
13 - explore Yanje Kharka ~4350m
Lets head to the top of the pass to Tibet, but as usual, we don't cross. This is a less used trading pass with Tibet.
High altitude exploring on the trail to Tibet where there is now a small road - Jamie
14 - trek Yamdro 4510m via 5066m pass
The quicker route to our next exploratory base is up a side valley and over a pass into another main valley. This route should be possible however we will seek local advice first. If this route isn't possible, then we can retrace our steps, taking the main valley to get there.
15 - explore Yamdro 4510m
Lets also explore up this valley, up another pass that leads to Tibet.
This is the Gyala La - will we find an official concrete border post at our different pass? Let's see! - Jamie
16 - additional weather day
We have this day in hand just in case and can take at any stage of the trek.
17 - trek Kalung 3850m
After a morning of further exploring, we trek back down to the T, to a camp we are already familiar with.
The little lamas (tawas) at Mu Gompa - Jamie
18 - trek Lamagaon 3300m
Now that we are heading down, we stretch our legs and cover some distance today, probably staying in a village that we didn't on the way up.
The old stone roofs have probably been replaced with tin, post-earthquake - Jamie
19 - trek Chumling or further
We position ourselves for tomorrow, camping at the last good camping with water before tomorrow's tricky traverse around.
20 - trek Dorjan Kharka?
Spectacular small trail trekking but will be a tough day. There is real exposure today and some tricky trails but with huge rewards.
I wonder if we can catch this view when it is fine? - Jamie
21 - trek Bihi 2130m
We make it back onto the normal Manaslu Circuit today.
A young mother with her child - Jamie
22 - trek Namrung 2630m
Now that we are getting through the main range, the valley opens up slightly.
Fields spread down - Jamie
23 - trek Hinang Gompa ~3300m
We head off the main trail for fantastic views of Himal Chuli and other mountains, staying at a camp that few ever go to (thanks, Richard, for the hint!).
We experience many gompas in the Buddhist high country - Jamie
24 - trek Lho 3180m
Explore or soak up the panorama in the morning and in the afernoon we head to Lho.
Round-faces snotty kids! - Jamie
25 - trek Pung Gyen Gompa ~4000m
Heading off the main circuit, we head up a side valley for more unbeatable views!
Manaslu - Jamie
26 - trek Sama 3520m
A half day walk so more time to explore.
27 - trek Samdo 3875m
Between Sama and Samdo - Jamie
28 - rest Samdo 3875m
The locals are big traders and from the village there are no less than four passes possible to cross for trading with Tibet. We can explore one of them.
Samdo is a small village - Jamie
29 - trek Dharmasala 4460m/ near
Leaving Samdo, the trekking is alpine. We stay either at Dharmasala or more probably nearby at the last good camping before the pass.
Samdo Peak in the background - Jamie
30 - trek Bimtang 3590m via Larkya La 5135m
A big pass-crossing day. We will start smartly and lets see how conditions are. To the top, the trail gains gradually but down the other side is far steeper. It is a relief to turn the corner into Bimtang.
Approaching the Larkya La, spectacular trekking - Jamie
Climbing the last section to the top of the spectacular pass - Jamie
31 - trek Tilje
Heading down is so easy! We pass through some pretty forest and kharkas.
Like the stream, we descend today - Jamie
Autumn colours and the mountains - Jamie
32 - trek Tal
A little way below Tilje, we cross a bridge out of the restricted area and onto the main Annapurna Circuit at Dharapani. There is a rough jeep road from here however the terrain is so spectacular that it is worth walking on the trail on the opposite side of the valley to admire the area, soak up the warmth of this middle hills area. We will probably stay at Tal or perhaps a little below, meeting jeeps there ready for a road trip tomorrow.
The steep country of this part of the Annapurna Circuit - Jamie
33 - drive Bandipur
34 - drive Kathmandu
We should arrive mid-afternoon.
Day 35 - depart