Dharmasala to Larkya La pass and Bhimthang

9 March, 2024 By Dambar Khadka

Located in the Manaslu Conservation area, the day’s ninth trek of Larkya la Pass on the Manaslu Circuit takes you through stunning landscapes, adventurous terrain, and the region’s untouched beauty. The ninth day of the Manaslu Circuit trip is the longest and most exciting.

Day ninth on the Manaslu Circuit is the eagerly waiting day on the trek, and on this day, trekkers get on the most significant pass in the Himalayas of Nepal. Early in the morning, with the crisp air and chirping sound of birds at Dharmashala, enjoying the area’s beauty, you’ll make your way to Larkya La Pass.

You’ll have a light breakfast at your tea houses in Dharmashala before moving toward your destination. You’ll leave Dharmashala to get Larkya La Pass with a packed lunch and plenty of water. Regarding drinking water, our guides and porter provide boiled water from the Dharmashala’s teahouse.

Trekkers need to wake up early to start hiking to the Larkya La pass due to longer trekking time. Around 3 am, it is necessary to start trekking towards the day’s destination. Mornings are colder in the higher elevations, including at Dharamshala and Larkya La pass, so you should begin walking by wearing warm clothes. Additionally, trekkers should bring headlamps to see the routes along the way.

Larkya la Pass

At 5106m/ 16751 ft above sea level, Larkya La Pass is the longest pass in Nepal’s Himalayas. It is also the most significant and highest point on the journey to the Manaslu circuit between Dharmashala and Bhimthang. Getting to the top of Larkya La is challenging; however, as you reach the top, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment as the majestic peaks of the surroundings encircle you.

Hiking trail

The trail to Larkya La Pass via Bhimthang begins with a trek from the village of Dharmashala. In the first phase, trekkers get to Larkya La pass and descend to Bhimthang. At first, hiking through the Cho Chanda and high mountain pass over the moraine route, you’ll get to Larkya La Pass. However, the trail to Larkya La Pass from Dharmashala consists of two different trekking trails. The last part of the trail is more complex than the first one. Along the way to the top of Larkya la, you can see two different tea shops where you can stay for a while to recharge your body. You’ll also walk through the Larke Glacier until you reach the top of Larkya La.

DHARMASALA TO LARKYA LA PASS AND BHIMTHANG

After enjoying the views from Larkya La top, you’ll start descending for your day’s resting point, Bhimthang. As you descend, you’ll descend steeply through the grassy moraine. You’ll get to a small settlement of Larche after some trekking time. Little below from Larche, there are two different ways: one way is to Bhimthang, and another leads you to Salphudanda Glacier and Ponker Tal. You must follow your guide so that you will stay on your way. Once you get lost, you won’t be able to get to Bhimthang. Yet, if you follow your guide, you’ll reach Tanbuche Kharcha and reach the day’s destination, Bhimthang.

Walking distance from Dharmashala to Bhimthang

The distance from Dharmashala to Bhimtang via passing through Larkya La Pass takes approximately 14 km/8.9 miles. The trekking duration generally differs depending on the walking pace and the situation of the hiking trail. As the trekking routes go through the glaciers, during the winter season, there will be much snow along the way. Generally, it takes around 8-9 hours to get to Bhimthang from Dharmashala.

The trekking time required to reach the top of Larke La Pass is 4 hours, and from Larkya’s top, it takes 4 to 5 hours to get to Bhimthang. During the 8-9 hours, each step takes you through beautiful paths offering snow-capped mountains and glacier views. However, the trail switches back as it ascends the mountain, so you need to follow the iron pole for physical support and should follow your guide for mental support.

Views from the top of Larkya La

As trekkers get to the top of the Larkya La, the awe-inspiring views of some of the stunning mountains will welcome them. The panoramic views of Mount Manaslu (8,163 m/ 26,781 ft), Himlung (7,126m/23,379ft), and Annapurna (8,091 m/ 26,545 ft) are eye-catching from the top of Larkya La. Additionally, Kang Guru (6,981 m/22,904 ft), Ganesh Himal (7,422 m/24,350 ft), Cheo Himal (6820 m / 22375 ft), Annapurna II (7,937 m /26,040 ft), and Gyaji Kung (7,030 m/23064ft) are also spectacular from the Larkya pass.

Besides the snow-capped mountains, you can enjoy the stunning views of the small town of the Manaslu Circuit. However, the views of the valley are not possible from the top of Larkya La; trekkers need to descend for half an hour and can take a moment to appreciate the scenery of the surrounding villages, along with a view of glaciers and lakes.

Glacier and Lakes

The stunning natural features of glaciers and lakes make the entire trek from Dharmashala to Bhimtnag appreciable. Trekkers can see two different lakes until reaching the top of Larkya La. Another lake called Dudh Kunda lies on the horizon. An icky and rocky glacier is also the best view along the way to Bhinthang via Larkya Pass.

One of the notable glaciers throughout the journey includes the Larkya Glacier. Trekkers need to walk over the cliff of the Glacier of the Larke to reach the top of Larke. Furthermore, the Salpudanda Glacier and Bhimdang Glacier’s beauty motivates trekkers to walk further while enjoying the views.

Day’s difficulty

The trek from Dharmashala to Bhimthang consists of moderate to challenging difficulty levels. As the trail involves passing through the highest pass on the Manaslu Circuit trek, it is relatively adventurous. From Dharmashala to reaching Larkya La top, the trek is adventurous, passing through the rocky terrain over the Larke Glacier. As you descend from the top of Larke Pass, the descent journey is less challenging than the ascent.

As trekkers get on an elevation over 5000 m, altitude sickness is the central issue that trekkers are most likely to experience. The altitude-related issues make the trekking on the ninth day of Manalsu difficult. The unpredictable weather conditions also add to the difficulty level while trekking from Dharmashala to Bhimthang through Larkya La Pass. Furthermore, the long trekking distance also makes the trekkers tired and makes trekking difficult, although we’ll take a rest at some points.

Although we can’t make the trail easy, we try our best to provide you with proper acclimatization throughout the journey. Boundless Adventure ensures the safety of the trekkers and believes that the trekker’s safety is foremost. So, throughout the trip, our team helps you provide comfort and complete the trek with less difficulty and worry and more enjoyment.

Guide and Porters

Whether you are an experienced or a first-time trekker, we recommend hiring a guide and porter for the Manaslu Circuit trek. Due to the location in a restricted area, the Manaslu Circuit trek is only possible with a licensed guide and a minimum of two people in a group. While hiring a guide is mandatory, it is your choice to hire a porter. However, hiring a guide for the challenging trekking, including the Larkya La Pass, is best. A porter carries all your equipment, and you’ll be free from any burden and can only focus on the trip.

Boundless Adventure believes the trekking experience is only good with a friendly and supportive team. So, we undoubtedly provide a delicate and brilliant guide and porter for Manaslu Circuit Trekking. Our guides and porters are experienced and knowledgeable and ensure your safety and enjoyable trek throughout the journey. Our guides and porters are dedicated to their work and ready to make your journey on Manaslu Circuit unforgettable.

Headlamp

The ninth-day trek begins early, at 3 a.m. Trekkers should carry a headlamp with them. The routes are not visible in the morning, so carrying a headlamp is crucial while trekking from Dharmashala to Larkya la Pass. The trekkers are more likely to get injured in the darkness, so having a headlamp helps them be safe. Each trekker should have a headlamp at their head.

Get to Bhimthang

Getting to Bhimthang involves many exciting and adventurous journeys. You’ll feel relaxed when you reach Bhimthang at the end of the day. Trekkers find peaceful comfort in Bhimthang, surrounded by magnificent Himalayan scenery. Getting on the Bhimthang takes 8-9 hours, passing through Larkya la Pass and the small towns of Larche and Tanbuche Kharka.

Bhimthang is a beautiful settlement in the Manaslu region, 3720m/ 12204 ft above sea level. It is on the considerable ground of a meadow alongside the river that comes from the melting glacier. There is also a beautiful settlement of Gurung people on the surrounding ground.

Bhimthang is known for its peaceful atmosphere and stunning natural surroundings. Some trekkers spend two nights in the Bhimtang to enjoy the view of the village and for an extra one day rest. Majestic peaks, dense forests, and alpine meadows surround Bhimthang, providing trekkers with a peaceful and beautiful place for rest and recovery after a strenuous day of trekking, making it a popular resting point.

Altitude Gain and loss

Throughout the trek from Dharmashala to Bhimthang, trekkers gain altitude and lose at some point. Your journey begins from Dharmashala at 4470m/ 14665ft. Then, the trekkers ascend towards Larkya La, gaining altitude. As Larkya La is at 5106m/ 16751ft, trekkers gain 636m/ 2086 ft elevation upon reaching Larkya top from Dharmashala. Trekkers must ascend slowly and pay attention to their bodies while hiking towards Larkya Pass from Dharmashaala. Staying hydrated and proper acclimatization is necessary.

As trekkers pass Larkya, they’ll start descending towards Bhimthang. As they descend from Larkya La, they’ll start losing altitude. On the descending trek, trekkers reach Larcha and Tanbuche Kharka before reaching Bhimthang. At each point, trekkers lose altitude before getting to Bhimtang at 3720m/ 12204 ft. The altitude trekkers lose while descending to Bhimthang is 1386m/ 4547ft. Trekkers must descend slowly as the steep trail causes ankle pain.

Altitude gain and loss cause challenges during the trek; on the same day, trekkers gain 636m elevation and lose 1386. So, the trekker should listen to their body throughout the journey. Additionally, proper acclimatization is necessary to allow your body to adapt to the changed environment and surroundings to ensure your safe and comfortable trek.

Accommodations

Although Bhimthang lies in a remote location, you’ll find fine accommodation on the Bhimthang. Trekkers can stay in local and fine hotels, where they can enjoy delicious meals and experience the lifestyle and culture of the region.

At Bhimthang, trekkers get a unique opportunity to stay at elegant hotels. The hotels provide a simple and comfortable room with a twin bed. The hotel’s people serve meals in communal sunny dining areas. Trekkers have an option to choose either to have local dishes or to have international cuisine. However, we recommend that trekkers try the local cuisine, which is tasty and hygienic. The local dishes that the hotels of the Bhimthang offer are nutritional and hygienic, as they are directly picked from the farm and served on your plate after cooking. Furthermore, you’ll have options for beverages. The accommodation point of Bhimthang is more comfortable and fine than tea houses in other areas of Manaslu conservation.

Dambar Khadka

Dambar Khadka, a passionate adventurer and the founder of Boundless Adventure Nepal, has spent his entire life writing about nature and Nepal's developing tourism business. Dambar's passion with nature and its different cultures began as a child in Nepal's stunning landscapes. He began writing following successful treks and expeditions across Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan. Dambar Khadka created Boundless Adventure Nepal in 1992 to share the majesty of the Nepal Himalayas with the rest of the planet. As an explorer and writer, he is committed to responsible tourism and cultural connection, allowing readers and adventurers to immerse themselves in Nepal's enchantment through his works.

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