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Larke La Pass, also known as Larkya La Pass, lies along the Manaslu Circuit Trek. It is one of the longest Himalayan passes in Nepal, standing at 5106 meters above sea level. 

The pass lies between Dharmashala and Bhimthang on the Manaslu Circuit Route. It is the highest point of the trek. The Manaslu Larke La Pass Trek is an adventurous journey into the untouched wilderness of the Manaslu region. It is ideal for trekkers looking to explore Nepal’s remote and less-crowded trekking routes. 

The Manaslu Trek route began operating in 1991. It also gave access to Larke La Pass. Despite the trek being strenuous, it has been gaining popularity among nature and trek enthusiasts in recent years. It has been given the nickname the “New Annapurna Circuit.”

The Larke La Pass links two of Nepal’s major conservation areas, i.e., the Annapurna Conservation Area and the Manaslu Conservation Area. It is also close to the Tibetan border. As a result, trekkers can see the influence of Tibetan Buddhism in the region. Prayer flags, chorten, and mani walls are common sights while trekking to the pass. 

Larke La Pass is popular for being the Manaslu Circuit Trek’s highest point and for its captivating views. From the top of the pass, you can see the world’s eighth-highest mountain, Mt. Manaslu. You can also view Mt. Himalchuli, Ganesh Himal, Ngadi Chuli, Cheo Himal, and several other peaks. 

During the trek, you will pass by several charming villages, like Machha Khola, Jagat, Deng, Namrung, Sama Gaon, and many more. Also, you can explore the region’s biodiversity and culture along the way. Let us explore the Larke La Pass more in the following sections. 

Getting Up to Larke La Pass

As mentioned before, Larke La Pass is the Manaslu Circuit Trek’s highest point. The trek duration can take anywhere from 12 to 18 days. It depends on your itinerary. So, to get to the starting point, you must drive from Kathmandu to either Soti Khola (597 meters) or Machha Khola (690 meters). The drive takes 8 to 9 hours. 

Starting your trek from Machha Khola gives you a day’s head start. The trail goes along the Budhi Gandaki River and gradually ascends towards the Sal forest. En route, you will pass by Tatopani village, famous for its natural hot springs. After 7 hours of trekking, you will finally reach Jagat (1410 meters). 

The trail goes through the dense tropical forest alongside the Budhi Gandaki River from Jagat. The world’s eighth-highest mountain, Mt. Manaslu (8163 meters), slowly comes into view as you reach Deng.  

After Deng, you will follow the route to Namrung (2660 meters), Lho Gaon (3100 meters), Sama Gaon (3530 meters), Samdo (3780 meters), Dharmasala (4200 meters), and then to Larke La Pass. As you ascend from Sama Gaon to Samdo, you will start noticing the vegetation change. The green vegetation becomes sparse and turns into barren landscapes. 

Similarly, the trail also enters into remote and isolated areas. There is the influence of Tibetan Buddhism in these higher regions. So, as you trek to higher elevations, you can see many prayer flags, age-old monasteries, stupas, mani walls, chorten, etc. 

Likewise, it is crucial to take acclimatization day during the trek days. Most often, trekkers choose to acclimatize at Sama Gaon. It helps to combat altitude-related sickness. From Dharmasala, it is a challenging uphill climb to Larke La Pass. So, usually, trekkers rest for a night at Dharmasala and climb to the pass the following day. 

Despite the strenuous uphill climb, it is also the most adventurous part of the trek. Once you climb the Larke La Pass, mesmerizing mountains like Manaslu North, Annapurna II, Himlung, Larke Peak, Cheo Himal, and other surrounding peaks will greet you.   

After the rewarding climb, the trail descends towards Bimthang (4200 meters). You will pass by villages like Kharche, Tilijie, and more as you head towards Dharapani (1992 meters). Descending the trail is comparatively easier than an uphill climb. From Dharapani, you take a jeep to Besisahar. You can take a bus or jeep from Besisahar to Kathmandu. You can check our guide to Manaslu Trekking for detailed information!

Larke La Pass Difficulty

Larke La Pass sits at 5106 meters. It requires the trekkers to climb steep uphill and rocky trails. The pass lies in a remote area that has very few infrastructures. Trekkers have to walk on off-the-beaten paths while ascending and descending varied terrains. 

Some sections of the trail are steep and narrow. Additionally, trekkers have to hike on rocky and rugged terrains. The trekking duration is from 12 to 18 days. During trekking, you have to walk from 5 to 6 hours on average.

The trail gets harsher and physically demanding as you climb higher. In addition to rough terrain, it is steep and icy. It is significantly tougher during winter. You can get frostbite or slip on the icy trails. 

The high elevation also adds difficulty in reaching up to the pass. Trekkers can often experience altitude sickness. A properly planned itinerary and acclimatization can minimize the risk.  Overall, the Larke La Pass is a physically and mentally demanding trek.   

Permits For Larke La Pass

The permits for the Larke La Pass include the following: 

Trekkers Information Management System Card (TIMS)

Trekkers need to obtain the TIMS card for any trekking tour in Nepal, including for Larke La Pass. It ensures the safety and security of the trekkers. They must provide their personal information, itinerary, and emergency contact number. The TIMS card is beneficial during the time of emergency and natural disasters. 

You will need a copy of your passport and 2 passport-size photos to issue the TIMS card. You can get the card through a registered trekking agency. The costs for a TIMS card are as follows: 

  • Non-SAARC residents: USD 10 per person for group trekkers and USD 20 per person for individual trekkers
  • SAARC residents: USD 3 per person for group trekkers and USD 6 per person for individual trekkers

Manaslu Restricted Area Permit (MRAP)

The trail to Larke La Pass goes through the Manaslu restricted area. Hence, trekkers have to obtain the Manaslu Restricted Area Permit. You will have to show the restricted permit from Jagat to Sama Gaon. 

The cost of the permit varies depending on the seasons. Also, there is an additional cost depending on your stay between Jagat and Dharapani. 

The costs for MRAP are as follows:

  • September to November: USD 100 per person for the initial seven days and USD 15 per person for each additional day
  • December to August: USD 75 per person for the initial seven days and USD 10 per person for each additional day

Manaslu Conservation Area Permit (MCAP)

You will also need a Manaslu Conservation Area Permit for the Larke La Pass. There is a checkpoint at Philim where you must show the permit. Unlike the MRAP, the cost of the conservation area permit remains the same throughout the year. 

Similarly, there is also no additional costs. The cost of the Manaslu Conservation Area is USD 30 per person. You will need a printed photo for the MCAP permit. 

Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP)

During the trek, you will also access the Annapurna Conservation Area. Therefore, you must also obtain the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP). You will need this permit from Dharapani to Besisahar. 

The cost for ACAP also remains the same all year round, and there is no additional charge. It is USD 30 per person. Like MACP, you will need a printed photo for an ACAP permit.

Best Time For Larke La Pass

Trekking to Larke La Pass requires traveling off-the-beaten trails. Weather and climatic conditions play a significant role in making the trek safe and enjoyable. Therefore, choosing the best time is crucial. 

The spring and autumn are the ideal time for the Larke La Pass is . Here are a few reasons why these seasons are the best for trekking to the pass: 

Spring Season

The spring season in Nepal begins from March up until May. The temperature gradually starts to become warmer at both the lower and higher elevations. The weather is also favorable, with a low chance of rainfall. There can be occasional rain showers. Visibility during spring is also brilliant. 

In early March, the temperature is still cold, and there can be remnants of snow in higher regions. But as the month progresses, it gradually becomes warmer. The vegetation and wildlife also start to become active. The rhododendron forests along the trail blooms in red, pink, and white shades. 

Similarly, the days also become longer, so you can trek at your own pace. The temperature can range between 5 to 15 degrees Celsius during daytime. Meanwhile, the temperature at night can drop to 6 degrees Celsius. As May approaches, the days become hotter as spring transitions into summer.  

Autumn Season

The autumn season starts in September and goes up until November. The temperature is warm with favorable weather conditions. It falls in the post-monsoon season in Nepal. So the vegetation looks more luscious and greener. The air is crisp, and the days are sunny. There is minimal precipitation. 

The temperature, including higher elevations, is warmer in the early autumn. The average temperature ranges between 5 to 7 degrees Celsius. As the season progresses, it becomes chilly, especially in the morning and nighttime. The temperature can drop to 0 to -2 degrees Celsius in mid-autumn. 

By the end of autumn month, the temperature at higher elevations ranges between -3 to -6 degrees Celsius. Although a bit chilly, it is the best time to witness the snow-capped mountain views surrounding Larke La Pass. 

Altitude Sickness And Prevention

Here are a few essential details you need to know about altitude sickness and its prevention methods:

Altitude Sickness

Altitude or acute mountain sickness (AMS) is common among trekkers climbing higher elevations. Generally, trekkers can experience it when they rapidly ascend to higher elevations above 2500 meters. 

The oxygen levels and air pressure begin to reduce as you climb to higher altitudes. It leads to trekkers experiencing altitude sickness. Its symptoms can include headache, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, insomnia, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, and rapid heartbeat. Among these symptoms, shortness of breath and rapid heartbeat are considered severe. 

The Larke La Pass stands at 5106 meters above sea level. Due to the high altitude, trekkers are prone to altitude sickness. Thus, trekkers have to take proper precautions to avoid or minimize the risk. 

Prevention Method

Acclimatization is the best tried and tested measure to prevent altitude sickness. It refers to a rest day at mid-regions before climbing to higher regions. Acclimatization allows your body to adapt to higher altitudes, temperatures, and surroundings. 

Your body cannot adjust to growing elevation when you ascend quickly. During acclimatization, trekkers must remain active. It further helps in adapting to the elevation. Medications like Acetazolamide (Diamox) and Ibuprofen are available to reduce the symptoms of altitude sickness. 

The other preventive methods include staying hydrated, resting, and sleeping well. Trekkers should drink 3 to 4 liters of water daily while on the trek. Avoid excessive intake of caffeine, chocolate drinks, and alcoholic beverages. Also, it is best to avoid excessive smoking. 

These safety precautions help a great deal to avoid altitude sickness. However, if the symptoms persist, you should descend to a lower elevation immediately. Altitude sickness can prove to be fatal if not treated properly. There have been cases where trekkers have lost their lives due to altitude sickness. 

FAQs

How difficult is Larke La Pass?

Larka La Pass lies in the remote region of Gorkha district. The trail to the pass is rocky and rugged. Similarly, there are steep ascents and descents on rugged terrain. It is a challenging trek that requires good physical fitness, endurance, and stamina. It is more suitable for experienced and intermediate trekkers.

Is there a risk of altitude sickness?

Larke La Pass is the highest point of Manaslu Circuit Trek, which sits at 5106 meters. As a result, there is a risk of altitude sickness during the climb. The climb is also physically demanding, so trekkers must properly acclimate to minimize the risk of altitude-related sickness.

What permits do I need for Larke La Pass?

You need three permits for the Larke La Pass. These include a TIMS (Trekkers Information Management System) card, an MRAP (Manaslu Restricted Area Permit), an MCAP (Manaslu Conservation Area Permit), and an ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Entry Permit). You can obtain these permits from government-registered trekking agencies. 

How can I get from Kathmandu to Soti Khola?

You must travel through the roadway to get from Kathmandu to Soti Khola. There are local and private transportation available. You can travel via local bus or hire a private jeep. It takes 8-9 hours of driving to reach Soti Khola. The local bus is budget-friendly but takes a longer time. Private jeeps are faster and more convenient but are expensive.

Do I need travel insurance for Larke La Pass?

Yes, you need travel insurance for Larke La Pass. The travel insurance must cover medical and emergency expenses. It should include high-altitude trekking, altitude sickness, helicopter rescue, and evacuations. Aside from these crucial points, travel insurance can include trip cancellation, postponement, and coverage for loss, theft, and damage of personal belongings. 

  

Tej Bahadur Gurung

With an experience of almost two decades, founder Mr. Tej Bahadur Gurung has established Nepal Alternative Treks as a widely recognized and reliable tourism operator. His degree in Tourism Studies and devotion to the sector has given him in-depth knowledge about trekking, climbing, cultural, and geological aspects of the country. He is a pioneer in introducing the concept of ‘off-beaten tracks’ and ‘alternative routes’ as well as treks and tour packages surrounding it.

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