Around Manaslu Part Three
Around Manaslu Part Three – by Issie Inglis
Day 14 – 17 Bimthang to Bhulebule & Besisahar
I know I have used the words, stunning, beautiful and awesome throughout this series, but the fact is, it is, and just continues to be like this all the way to Dharapani!
Leaving Bimthang the descent takes you back down into the pine trees, another stunning day with startling views all the way down to Tilje. Tilje is nice but very poor, not a good place for a rest day.
From here it is just over an hour to Dharapani and on to the Annapurna circuit. It is strange starting to meet so many people when you have seen almost no trekkers during the whole circuit. Here there were hordes, all going in the opposite direction. It makes you really appreciate the quietness of Manaslu.
Then 3 hours up and down through the gorge to Tal for lunch, showers and well deserved beer. If you are looking for stops on the way out definitely choose Tal as it is a village full of flowers with the Kali Gandaki river running through it.
After Tal it becomes “pretty horrid” after the last amazing 15 days. The ‘’big down’.
The path is OK to Chamje then lots of bits of road, jeeps, landslips and loads of people going the other way.
If you want a quicker walk at this point out then camp at Syange and walk(or jeep now from here) out along the road to Bhulebule.
If you want a pretty walk out then go on the other side of the river, camp/lodge at Ghermi and go over Bahun Danda, which is much, much nicer, albeit with more uphill and longer.
In 2008 my group opted for the road which in fact was reasonably pleasant as had no trekkers as they were all on the other side of the river and no traffic as the road was not open yet. But it is now open and I would check before you leave to see where the road has got to as you might be able to get a jeep from even further up than Syange by this time 2014. In 2009 we went the other way, over Bahun Dhanda, and this was a lot more pleasant. We still got to Besisahar that evening.
We had arranged for 2 minibuses which met us in Bhulebule and it was one hour of driving to Besisahar. We camped in the middle of the town, at the Thorong La hotel, which sounds and looked horrendous when we first arrived but in fact was fine.
Day 18 Besisahar to Kathmandu
If you arrange for the bus to be in Besisahar the evening before you depart so you can get away early. It is about six hours back to Kathmandu.
The weather for us, on both occasions, was really stable and seems like end of October in to November is a good time for this. However, it is still pretty hot even at the higher altitudes during the day.
Make sure all your clients have all their gear as there is nowhere to buy anything en route. There is a shop in Sama Gaon which has bits and pieces like batteries. It is pretty cold on this trip at night and a down jacket is a must.
If you are a strong group, and the chances are because of the nature of the trek you will have been in Nepal before and just be more experienced trekkers, your kitchen team will struggle to get ahead of you either to lunch or to camp. So lunch stops can belong if your group walks at a pretty fair pace as the kitchen guys only just get there ahead of you. On most of my other commercial treks, at lunch or on arrival at camp, the tents have always been up and lunch is ready or almost ready. Sometimes it can be a struggle on this trek with all of that.
Campsites on this trek are small and not many of them. If you end up with another group on the same day you may need to either send someone ahead or adjust your itinerary slightly. There are lots of terraces though so you can always find somewhere but if your group is a bit fussy they might not like camping in stubble all the time!
There are no real big, major climbs (that go on and on for ever!) apart from the one up to the pass, and to Namrung, but even they are OK as fairly gradual. Lots of ups and downs to the river. It is just a really interesting, beautiful trek.
My itinerary is below. Depending on the speed of your group you may find you are walking faster or slower. Give yourself a couple of contingency days for weather and acclimatisation.
The times given are actual walking times, add one to one and a half hours for lunch stops.
Actual Itinerary Hours
1 Kathmandu to Arughat 7 hours
2 Arughat to Lorsami Bari 5 hours
3 Lorsami Bari to Macha Khola 6 hours
4 Macha Khola to Louri (just after, at suspension bridge) 7 hours
5 Louri to Ekli Batti 5 hours
6 Ekli Batti to Bihi 5+ hours
7 Bihi to Namrung 6 hours
8 Namrung to Shyala 6 hours
9 Shyala to Samdu 4+ hours
10 Rest and Acclimatisation day
11 Samdu to Dharamashala 3+ hours
12 Dharamashala to Bimthang 9 – 13 hours
13 Rest day
14 Bimthang to Tilje 7+ hours
15 Tilje to Tal 4+ hours
16 Tal to Ghermi 6 hours
17 Ghermi to Bhulebule 5 hours
(+ pick up and 1 hrs travel in bus to camp at Besisahar)
We took a 50m rope and I also had a short rope. 2 Snowstakes in case you need to fix a line. A couple of slings and krabs. Sticks and Grivel spiders for all the group. I had an axe, as did the sirdar and two of the sherpas.
I used a 1:90,000 Around Manaslu Himalaya Kartographisches Map which seemed more accurate than any of the other maps.