Avoiding Altitude Sickness in Manaslu Circuit Trek

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As regular trekkers already know, in higher altitudes, the oxygen levels in the atmosphere are low in comparison to the lower regions. But, our body functions in the oxygen levels of where we live. So, if we go to higher regions without giving our body time to adjust in the changing oxygen levels, our body suffers, which is basically called altitude sickness.

In case of the Manaslu Circuit Trek, you will start from Soti Khola which is at an altitude 700 meters. From Soti Khola, you will each day gain an average altitude of 400 meters each day. Your body should be able to adjust to this 400 meters of altitude gain each day. After a week of starting your trek from Soti Khola, you will reach Sama Gaun at 3530 meters. It is best to spend an acclimatization day here as you are at an altitude higher than 3000 meters.

While altitude sickness generally strikes only after 4000 meters or so, in some cases it can show up much earlier. Altitude sickness is a serious condition and if anyone ignores it, the case can be worse and cause death. In Nepal, most of the best treks are at the highest altitude. So, before you trek to the Manaslu region, it is important you know about the altitude sickness in Manaslu Circuit Trek: what it is and how to avoid it. With this information, you can help yourself and your fellow trekkers. In such altitudes, you may feel some symptoms like

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • An intense headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness

Exposing your body to higher altitudes in the daytime and sleeping at lower elevations at night can help your body adjust better. It also minimizes the chances of altitude sickness at this height. So, it is a good idea to spend your acclimatization day by taking a day trip to Manaslu Base Camp at 4130 meters. You may come back to spend the night at Sama Gaun.

After Manaslu Base Camp, the next day you will go to Samdo at 3865 meters. Many trekkers opt for a rest day here as well to help acclimatize better. You can also spend your rest day by taking another day trip to the Tibet border at 5100 meters. This is the highest point of the Manaslu circuit trek. To help reduce any chances of altitude sickness, it is a +good idea to come back and sleep at a lower altitude. So, after a day trip to the Tibetan border, it is best you sleep at Samdo.

Each day on your Manaslu Circuit Trek, you only gain altitude that your body can handle. You also start from a low level and slowly trek to the high altitudes of 5100 meters after giving your body enough days to adjust. So, the chances of altitude sickness are low in Manaslu Circuit Trek.

How to Avoid Altitude Sickness in Manaslu Circuit Trek?

Altitude sickness can happen to anyone who escalates to higher altitudes without giving their body time to adjust to the change in oxygen and pressure levels. So, it does not happen to a specific age, fitness or gender. Since it is not specific, it is best that everyone who goes for a Manaslu circuit trek follow measures that can minimize the risks of altitude sickness. Do note that these tips will also help you in other high altitude treks such as the EBC Trek. Here is a good post on preparing for the Everest Base Camp Trek.

Maintain Body Hydration

During your Manaslu Circuit Trek, you will walk for around 5-6 hours each day in the varying altitudes. In such longer walks it is common that your body dehydrates quickly. With dehydration, the risk of altitude sickness increases. So, you need to drink at least 2-3 liters of water every single day. So, it is a good idea to carry a water bottle and keep on taking sips of water while walking throughout the day.

Do not Jump into High Altitudes in a Single Day

While in the trek, your body gets easily exhausted due to the long walks and altitudes. In such situations, if you ascend the larger altitudes in a single day your body finds it difficult to adjust with the changing air. With this, the chances of altitude sickness increases. To minimize the risk you can climb around 500 meters (1500 feet) every day in the trails of the Manaslu region.

You need to give your body time to adjust to the thinner atmosphere.

Sleep at Lower Elevations

To cut the chances of altitude sickness, it is a good idea to go to higher altitudes for a day trip but sleep in lower altitudes. In the Manaslu Circuit Trek, you can explore the Manaslu Base Camp at 4130 meters in the daytime. After that, you can come back and sleep in Sama Gaon at 3530 meters. This will lessen the chances of altitude sickness.

Eat Carbohydrates

People living in the cities are afraid of carbs. However, during treks, it can be your best friend. At higher altitudes, in lower levels of oxygen, your body has to do extra work for its functioning. So, you need to eat more carbohydrates to stay nourished and healthy.

Embrace your Walking Pace

While trekking in the Manaslu region, you should walk in your own pace. Do not try to walk at a speed that your body cannot handle. If you walk at a fast pace and reach high altitude quickly, you can suffer from altitude sickness. On your trek, it is best to embrace your own pace, drink enough water and rest properly. While walking in the Manaslu region, if you or anyone in your group show the symptoms of altitude sickness, you should immediately inform your guide and fellow group members. Your guide, who normall has training on first-aid and medical measures, should provide you with immediate first aid. After that, you should take a rest for another day. You should also eat properly and drink at least 2-3 liters of water each day to recover from altitude sickness. In severe cases, your travel insurance comes helpful for the immediate helicopter evacuation as well.

Final Thoughts

In our 14 days Manaslu CIrcuit Trek you will be exploring through the varying altitudes and the weather conditions. Such variation may add some challenges along with the risks of altitude sickness in the trek. So, you need to traverse each day carefully while taking proper care of your body. If you maintain your pace of walking and body hydration while taking enough acclimatization days, then the chances of altitude sickness in the Manaslu Circuit Trek will be low.


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Jitaditya Narzary

Is a traveller disillusioned by the familiar and fascinated with the unknown... and of course the founder of this blog.

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