Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal 6 - 17 Sept 2012


6th Sept 2012
Phewa Lake
We took the 7:30am Tourist Bus to Pokhara, it wasn’t a luxury bus like what we have back home. The only difference is that this bus doesn’t do stops every few meters to pick up local on the street and it stops at descent restaurant for lunch. We arrived at Pokhara around 2:30pm, our guide brought us to our hotel near to Phewa Lake, we were told to have a lake view from our room but we only have view of banana trees and other building. The room was all right with attached toilet. We head out for lunch and to view the lake which is about 100m away from the hotel, there is a small island in the lake where it hosts a temple. Soon after it started to drizzle, we went back to the hotel and started packing our bags for the hike. Whatever that we don’t need we left them in the hotel. Luckily our porter is young and strong, we combined our stuff in one bag and it was quiet heavy. We both have our camera, important documents, money and water bottle in our daypack. It weight around 4 to 5kg.

Birethanti
7th Sept 2012
Trek start : Nayapul (1070m)
Trek end : Tikhedungha (1570m)
Duration : 3.5 hrs
Difficuties : Easy

Today is the start of our trek. We left very early, the weather was still cloudy, we could not see the Annapurna mountain range from the hotel. We took a taxi to Nayapul which is about 1hr drive from Pokhara where we start our trek. The town is very small, a short walk later we arrived at Birethanti where there is the first tourist check point. Our guide handles everything. He has to register us using the TIMS card. The trail continues along the Bhurungdi river and climbs gently uphill to Hille. There are many waterfalls, rice terrace and small villages along the way. We crossed path with groups of ponies transporting food down/up to/from Birethanti. Today we stop at Tikhedungha for the night. The trek was relatively easy and short today for a start. :-)

My first Guesthouse/Teahouse impression, it is very simple and basic. Don’t set your expectation too high. We get the local toilet with a hole on the floor, the toilet normally don’t have light so a head light is necessary. The shower usually at the ground floor, it either uses solar power or gas to heat up. Every hot shower is chargeable! Don’t forget to ask this to be included in your package. We were told that we have to eat and drink at the same Teahouse that we stay. No hopping around to other teahouse for meals. The room is simple with 2 single beds and a thin mattress. A small light which hardly light up the room. Blanket is provided as request. I am glad that I have my own sleeping bag. The only problem with my sleeping bag is that there is a big hole on it, every time I open it up, loads of feather flew out from it, when I woke up from it I look like I just came out from a chicken farm. Lucky I am not allergic to furs or feathers.

8th Sept 2012
Trek start : Tikhedungha (1570m)
Trek end : Ghorepani (2840m)
Duration : 6 hrs
Difficuties : Difficult

Leaving Tikhedungha we started with a steep climb up to Ulleri (2070m) a 500m ascent. Phew! 45°-50° steps after steps, it was very hot with the sun shining right on us. We took many stops to catch our breath and occasionally we could see the peak of Annapurna South. Eventually we reached Ulleri, OMG I hope this is not the whole way! Luckily the trail continue ascent more gently through some oak and rhododendrons forest and finally arrived at our lunch point at Nangethanti (2460m) We were tired and hungry, this place seems to be where every trekkers’ limit are, everyone stops for lunch here to recharge! Another 2 hours hike after lunch, we arrived at Ghorepani. Oh boy…it was a tough day today. 

Ghorepani is a relatively large village with excellent view of the Annapurna range. We could only see little peak hiding behind the cloud. As it is almost 3000m, the temperature drops as soon as the sun set. In the Teahouse we have a heater in the dining hall where we can keep ourselves warm and dry our cloths. In the room there is no heater, that’s when the sleeping bag comes in handy. :-) We slept early tonight for a very early start tomorrow, we are going to hike up to Poon Hill at 4am in the morning to view the spectacular sunrise over the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. Hoping for a clear day!!

 9th Sept  2012
Trek start : Ghorepani (2840m)
Trek end : Tadapani (2710m)
Duration : 5.5 hrs
Difficuties : Moderate

Woke up at 3:30am and put on few layer of warm cloths, gloves and hat, we had our camera, torch, and water bottle to hike up to Poon Hill (3210m) From Ghorepani, we could already see the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges below the millions of stars. We were excited to get up to Poon Hill for the sunrise. :-) It was only an hour hike up, but today we woke up with some muscle ache. :-( When we arrived at the top, there were only 2 other trekkers, it was windy, there is a tower where we could climb up for better view but the wind was just too much and too cold. We waited for the sunrise but we could see some large pieces of cloud moving towards the ranges. In no time, the peaks were covered, we lost the spectacular view! Damn! Disappointed we headed back to Ghorepani. 
Annapurna South Peak

Heater and dryer
After breakfast, we continue our trek to Tadapani. We first have to climb another hill where we were able to view the Annapurna South Peak occasionally, then it was a steep downhill along the waterfall to Banthanti (2660m) where we stop for lunch. Rain started pouring, after 2 hrs of walk in the rain we finally arrived at Tadapani. We were cold and wet. After a hot shower, we stayed in the dining area where they start up the heater. We quickly hang up our wet cloths around the heater hoping that they get dry. There was no electricity that night. Candle light dinner. :-)


Machapuchare on the right 
10th Sept 2012
Trek start : Tadapani (2710m)
Trek end : Chommrong (2140m)
Duration : 5 hrs
Difficuties : Easy

From the Tadapani Teahouse, we were supposed to have a nice view of the Machapuchare and Annapurna South but that morning it was cloudy. :-( We started early so we could avoid the rain in the afternoon. As it rains over the night, the path was muddy. All of us got some leeches on our legs. It was an easy day today as compared to yesterday, we arrived just in time to Chommrong before the rain starts.


11th Sept 2012
Trek start : Chommrong (2140m)
Trek end : Dovan (2505m)
Duration : 5 hrs
Difficuties : Difficult

The trail drops down with thousands of steps to Chommrong River, we thought in our mind that we have to go back up these steps when we come back from ABC. Oh gosh!! After crossing the bridge we continue a steep climb up to Khuldighar (2380m) and then a steep decent down by rocks banks until we enter the bamboo forest. We stopped by Bamboo for lunch, here we met 2 Nepalese who worked in Malaysia before, they were able to speak Malay :-) We pushed on another hour to arrive at Dovan, just 15 minutes before we arrived the rain started pouring. Wet again! We were death tired today.

12th Sept 2012
Trek start : Dovan (2505m)
Trek end : Machapuchare Base Camp (3700m)
Duration : 5.5 hrs
Difficuties : Moderate

It has been raining whole night, our cloths are still wet. Today we will try to reach MBC if we do not feel any altitude sickness symptom along the way because it is 1100m elevation different. The trek started with a climb thru bamboo forest up to Deurali where we stopped for lunch. The mist surround us as it continue to drizzle, we didn’t see much what is around us, we walked pass several huge waterfall and finally arrived at MBC at around 2pm. It was cold! Here they have no heater in the dining hall, you have to pay for one if you need. We put on as much cloths as we have and sit in the dining room where everyone gathers. I had a slight headache but after drinking lots of water and a short nap, it was ok. We waited for the mist and cloud to clear so we could see Machapuchare.

Note from Wikipedia : Machapuchare is a striking peak despite a lower elevation than some of its neighbors. Its double summit resembles the tail of a fish, hence the name meaning "Fish's Tail" in Nepali language It is also nicknamed the "Matterhorn of Nepal".

Machapuchare has never been climbed to its summit. The only attempt was in 1957 by a British team led by Jimmy Roberts. Climbers Wilfrid Noyce and A. D. M. Cox climbed to within 50 m of the summit via the north ridge, but did not complete the ascent; they had promised not to set foot on the actual summit. Since then, the mountain has been declared sacred, and it is now forbidden to climbers.


13th Sept 2012
Trek start : Machapuchare Base Camp (3700m)
Trek end : Annapurna Base Camp (4130m)
Duration : 1.5 hrs
Difficuties : Easy

South Annapurna Glacier
Today is our final hike to our final destination - ABC. It was actually an easy walk in the valley, even though we were surrounded by mountains and peaks, we can’t see them, our vision is only about 10-15m around us. Where is the spectacular unobstructed view of mountain scenery? We came this near to see nothing! :-( But we were happy to reach here after 7 days of pain staking walk. We want the sun! When it gets a bit warmer at noon, we went out for a walk around the base camp. There was a huge glacier channel running pass the base camp just 10m away. The glacier has melted and retreated to the mountain few hundred meters away, what is left is only a deep channel of rocks. Nearby the base camp there is a memorial stone structure to remember those who never made it back to the base camp. Up here everything is expensive and cost 100% more. Just for example a roll of toilet paper cost NPR15 in Kathmandu, here it cost NPR150.

14th Sept 2012
Trek start : Annapurna Base Camp (4130m)
Trek end : Bamboo (2335m)
Duration : 5.5 hrs
Difficuties : Easy

Annapurna South and Annapurna I

Early in the morning, I peep out of the window to see if there is a sunrise or blue sky. No there wasn’t! :-( Just mist! After breakfast, we saw a bit of clearing in the sky, we quickly run out with our camera, finally we had a few minutes of view on Annapurna South and Annapurna I but Machapuchare still refused to show itself. 

We had to leave, we have a long descent today to Bamboo where we will spend the night. After we walked pass Deurali, it started to rain, lots of leeches, we were almost running towards Bamboo. We were soaked wet from top to bottom, outside to inside. Crap! This is no fun at all! We can’t dry our cloths as there is no heater in Bamboo.

Jhinu Hotspring
15th Sept 2012
Trek start : Bamboo (2335m)
Trek end : Jhinu (1710m)
Duration : 4 hrs
Difficuties : Moderate

We put on our wet cloths again today as we had nothing dry, remember the few thousand steps after Chommrong? We had to head back the same way today. :-( My knees started to complain as we walked down the steep trail to Jhinu. Here we got a nice room with attached toilet, the room has a nice view over the canopy of the forest. We were able to spot some beautiful birds on the trees. After the rain stop, we head to the nearby hotspring which is a 45mins downhill to the river. There were thousands of leeches along the way, the leeches here are special, they parachute themselves from the tree, we got them on our hands, body, neck and legs. We plugged them off like pulling hair out of our body. It became more like a norm now. :-) The hospring is located just by the river, after few days of rain, water from the river has risen, pretty close to the pool, every year the river destroyed the hotspring and locals has to rebuild the pool. We were lucky we could still soak in it, It was so f****** nice.

16th Sept 2012
Trek start : Jhinu (1710m)
Trek end : Nayapul (1070m)
Duration : 5.5 hrs
Difficuties : Easy


Nothing new as we woke up, it was still raining. We were all not motivated to walk but we have to leave. We were supposed to trek to Tolkha today for one more night in the mountain. Our guide suggested that there is a short cut back to Nayapul from here, if we want we can change our plan and head back to Pokhara one day earlier since the weather is not good.  He will provide us the accommodation in Pokhara instead of Tolkha. We were actually glad that we were given a choice, we took the option with no hesitation. We do not want to spend another day in the rain and another night in the mountain in this weather so we head back to Nayapul.


It was a relatively easy walk back. We got back to Pokhara around 5pm, got a nice hot shower and nice dinner to celebrate our achievement.


17th Sept 2012

We have a good rest in the hotel while it continues to rain outside, we have one more night at Pokhara. With the constance rain, we can’t hike to the Peace Pagoda on top of the hill. We decided to head to Chitwan National Park the next day. A small agency outside the hotel gave us a good rate so we signed up with them.

We had a good experience during our 10 days trek to ABC, it was unforgettable even though we wish we could have some nice weather. I did it, my dream to be at ABC before 40 has come thru and I enjoy the whole journey with a special one. :-)

14 comments:

  1. Amazing.. just loved the story. I want to do it, like so many things you've done Alice. thanks for writing for your fans!

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  2. My journey start from 26feb2014 till 11march2014... cant wait to be part of my story life..

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    1. I am sure it will be a great story Yusaini. :-)

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  3. hi there,thanks for this great sharing experience.. love it :) may i know how much for it cost? i am planning to get there in december 2014..tq

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    1. Hi Hetty,
      December is too cold to hike in my opinion. Unless you like walking in feet of snow!
      ABC trekking package - US$620 from Amazing Nepal Adventure (www.amazingnepaltreks.com)
      Alice

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    2. BTW my guide has open his new travel agency, you can find his website here http://www.goodvibeadventure.com

      Alice

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  4. Yes, Alice your guide have own travel company Good Vibe Adventure in Nepal so ABC trekking package for the group more than 2 person new price is 595 US$ check out www.goodvibeadventure.com E mail info@goodvibeadventure.com

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  5. thanks for this great sharing experience.. love it :) may i know how much for it cost? i am planning to get there in december

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  6. Thanks for sharing your story. With my husband, I am planning to go to ABC on the 1st week of September this year. But now i think it'll be a mistake because of the weather. :(

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  7. Awesome writing and a meticulous one as well! :)
    I've planned the ABC Trek along a very similar route this year (18th-25th Sept)!!! So a big thank you as well!!!:)

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  8. The name is Sarang actually but thanks a lotttt :) Your blog has been very helpful as the time & season is similar.

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    1. Opps! sorry, I hope you have a great weather during your climb this year!

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    2. My email ID is tilak.sarang@gmail.com. I'll send you pics if you could send a test mail to me.

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