Annapurna trekking adventure
Climbing up to ABC
We had done lots of climbing and walking in Spain, but this was a bit different….
Filed Under: Nepal by Rob November 29, 2012, 04:03
Ever heard of the great Annapurna mountains in Nepal? We hadn’t until we went to Nepal and booked ourselves on to a 8 day trek in the Himalayas. As most people, we wanted to trek around the famous mt Everest, but since we had actually already seen it, we thought we would do the famous Annapurna trek, as it’s supposed to be the best in the world.
We had our trek organised by ITourNepal, a company that were truly great in everything they did. Normally you would need about 10-12 days to do the Sanctuary trek to ABC (Annapurna Base Camp) and to take the long scenic route there, but the company helped us doing a personal itinerary spanning over 8 days so we had time to do it before our flight out of Nepal. It was a mix of the Circuit and Sanctuary treks. We headed off on our trek with our kind guide Ram and jolly porter Thapa, not really knowing what to expect and how we would manage walking and climbing for 8 days straight!
We arrived to Pokhara after a 6 hour bus journey through Nepal near the base of the Himalayas. It was at an elevation of 800 meters and since our goal of getting to ABC was at 4200 meters, we had a long way to go….
The next morning we took a short taxi ride to Nyapool, and this is where we started trekking from. The first day was an easy trek, only 3.5 hours to break us in. We stayed at a lovely tree house look a like tea house next to an impressive waterfall on the hillside of a minor mountain at Tikhe Dhunga (1540m). Thapa had gone ahead and got us the best room in the house with a panoramic view of the whole place. A beautiful start to our adventure!
We were up early the next morning, to get a start on the days trek, as the first part was 2 hrs up 3000+ stone stairs, and Ram said it was best to do it before the sun got onto it. It was quite hard work but after a few hrs it got slightly less steep… for another 4hrs, until we reached Ghoreapani (2860m). Quite a big sized village, at least 20 or so tea houses. We checked in to our tea house and then went to sit in a small stone square and had some cake from the local bakery where the last of the days sun was still shining before it disappeared behind the mountains. Oh did we mention them… We now had a perfect view of the Himalaya range, and watched the sun set turning them orange, red and finally dark. Our tea house had a fire lit so it was nice and warm, and they had a storming chicken curry for dinner, so that was great.
The next morning we got up at 4:30am, had no breakfast as we had to do an early morning hike up Poon Hill (3210m) for an hour, to get to a nice vantage point for the sun rise. We patiently waited for it, and then it came. A little cloudy so we didn’t get the same colours as sunset, but it was still very nice. Back down and then breakfast, then we were off again, another 5hrs to get to Tadapani (2680m).
Now we where even closer to the mountain range and we had full view of the range. Again, wonderful sunset and beautiful pictures. We met quite a few new friends at this stop as we all sat outside looking at the view. Once the sun had set and we had eaten, we then went out to look at the stars… You could see the milky way in such clarity it was wonderful. Though we’ve seen it many times, it was so clear this time that you could actually see what looked like an extra cluster of stars running parallel to the main line, and also the middle looked like a big ball of stars. It was lovely and then we got a moon rise over the mountains lighting up the few clouds that had started to form.
In the morning we started our trek to Sinuwa (2300m). At the time we didn’t know it, but this was probably our toughest day. 6hrs… down a steep climb, up to Chhomrong (2170m), then down 1000s of steps and then a 2hr climb in the sun… It nearly killed us, but we made it to Sinuwa. To top off the agony of the climb, 2/3 of the way up we passed a sign saying that the locals dont like meat up here and there was no chicken,pork or anything from this point on…. What a nightmare, Rob nearly turned back!
It was now getting colder as we were at 2300 meters, and shaded from the sun a lot as we were in the valley heading up to ABC. This area seemed to get lots of land slides as the sides of the mountains were bare rocks in places where it looked like recently it had slid away… Ram told us that only happened in the monsoon season, so we felt ‘fine’.
The next day was much easier, lots of ups and downs but nothing like the day before. We arrived at Deurali (3200m) and we were now high enough to get the clouds rolling in at our level. Luckily we got to the tea house before it was low enough to cover the ground. We had to go another 50 or so meters up once we got to our tea house, spend 30 minutes at that level and then back down. This was to acclimatise us a bit since now we were above 3000 meters. We got another great sunset, by now the clouds had gone below us into the valley, and we actually got the sunset on top of the clouds…lovely.
Since we were doing this trek a bit shorter than its normally done, the next day we had to make the trek up to ABC and then back down again in 1 day. 8hrs, and the final 1-2 were quite hard work, as now the height was making it harder to climb, with every step making it harder and harder to breath. The river that we had been following for days was now freezing over and we soon got to the snow line and over the hills in front of us we sighted ABC and now Annapurna 1 peak. We eventually made it in time for lunch and to take in the Himalayan peaks that now were around us, 360 degrees, and we were now at 4200 meters. Finally we had made it!
The trip down was considerably easier, and we made it back to Deurali again before night fall.
The next day we had to make it all the way to Chhomrong (2170m) again. It took us about 8hrs, and the last bit up to the village was just steps… There were 2700, Rob counted them! Thapa ran ahead as normal and got us a room looking over Annapurna South peak. The wall facing the mountains was all windows, so we got to see the sunrise in the morning from our room.
Unfortunately Rob started to get a bad cold that day, so the last day was a bit more difficult for him. Now we were getting lower it was getting warmer, but the climbing was getting less now. As Ram told us the last bit of the trek was ‘Nepalie-flat’ which wasn’t flat, but significantly less steep than what we had been doing before. The river had now turned into a huge channel of blue/green water and we continued to follow it down the valley. The track eventually turned into a dusty road and a few hrs later we arrived back where we had started in Nyapool.
We had done it, 8 days, 120km, ABC at 4200 meters and all the peaks in between. Thanks to Ram and Thapa we made it back with no problems and now it was a short taxi drive back to Pokhara.
This was our second tour with ITourNepal and they excelled again. Great company all the way, teaching us Nepalie card games, and fixing everything we needed along the way, we would like to thank them greatly for a wonderful experience.
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