Annapurna Base Camp Trekking, Nepal. With a guide.
My second visit to Nepal Annapurna base camp… first visit was in 2014. For more details do read the earlier post Trekking to Annapurna Base Camp. Although the trails are about the same, this time it was done with a shorter time and a different stop, with a different group. I wondered, what will it be like… what to expect…
Just like the first time, I came by invitation from a friend to join this group which I’m not familiar. I packed the basic amenities, clothes for trekking, some meds, but this time minus my bulky DSLR, not planning to get a lot of pictures. I brought my iPhone SE, a book and my iPad (don’t know why, maybe it’s just habit)
Since this is my second trek to ABC, thus in confidence, I could recommend ‘seasoned’ hikers, who understand the cold weather, my essential stuff when attempting trekking to ABC for the first time.
- A good pair of hiking shoes.
- an outer windproof/waterproof jacket,
- one down jacket,
- one fleece jacket,
- one hiking pants,
- one outer shell windproof/ pants,
- one or two shirt, fast drying material, non cotton.
- 2 socks,
- Face mask/ face shield.
- Beanie/snow cap.
- A Sleeping bag. Unless you want to rent a sleeping bag, or confident that blankets are provided (some guest house also charge a small fee for blankets)
- Power bank for iphone.
- Water bottle.
- Cash money for food.
- Small towel to clean up.
- A comfy set sleeping shirt, pants (pyjamas)
All together, it wouldn’t weigh much, just under 8 kilos I guess, so you don’t even need a porter if you want to carry your own bags. To just over pack things and make the walk very difficult, is not my style. There’s no need for extra food as there is enough eating place along the way.
The ABC trek in my opinion is not too difficult, however it is also not an easy walk in the park either, there is a lot of very steep stairs to climb up and down, high ascents and descent, altitude up to 4000 meters which takes your breath away due to the lack of oxygen. Again, be prepared physically, mentally and a common sense of knowing what to haul on your back makes a big difference during the 7 day walk.
A simple description.
The first few days of trekking wasn’t that cold as I expected, you could manage with a pair of pants and short sleeve T. At night, it’s mostly cold with temperatures at 10-15 deg Celsius. Blankets are provided by guesthouse (some charge a fee some do not), so sleeping bags not needed at this moment, I personally bring my sleeping bag just in case it gets too cold.
In the morning, I usually wear thick clothes during breakfast and when on the way, take it off and shove it into the backpack as it gets warmer.
After a few days later, it starts to get colder, until at ABC where a blanket is just not enough. However, there are exceptions, A friend that we met along the way, managed to get through the night without bringing a sleeping bag, but lucky for her, this time it wasn’t as cold as I know ABC can be, no freezing water, snow etc.
I’ve seen those that struggled while trekking, because of carrying too much load, those that can’t handle the cold, striking heat from the sun or the most common problem, altitude. AMS or acute mountain sickness symptoms, starts with headache, nausea, vomiting, short of breath and difficulty sleeping.
Fortunately my endurance, agility and vitality maybe due to lots of physical exercise, or just in the genes, made my walk very pleasant. Out of the six of us not including the guide and one porter, I was ahead, first day, until base camp.
Some individuals tolerate the cold better than others and realising that prepares you. It doesn’t mean that if he is wearing 2 layers you must follow suit and vice versa.
Mental and physical preparation are both important before going for this trip. As a reference, try running 10k within 1 hour and not getting to winded. An average 5-7 hour walk of variable flat and uneven terrain. Move at your own pace and not over exert yourself, enjoy the scene.
Ever since the first trip, I always had a longing desire to return back to ABC, maybe I skipped doing something or a fragmentary of the ‘journey’ is incomplete.
The trek to ABC is a beautiful fulfilling journey, isolated from the outside world in the Himalayan range, out of mobile coverage most of the time, meeting people on the trek, strangers, that you meet at the guest house, together awaiting dinner, sometimes sharing foods, story or jokes, and later becoming friends. Amazing people who makes you smile. Star gazing at night waiting for bed time, because there’s nothing else to do.
Trekking ABC is tiring but nothing a warm coffee, nice meal of dhal bhat and a good night sleep can’t compensate.
I’ve learned a lot from many travel experience including this one too, becoming more humble, grateful in many ways, thankful for a wonderful life. There’s just something when at the mountains that makes you ponder. Just don’t just go for the showing off, bragging to have ‘made’ the journey, being the fastest, etc, as you’d get nothing but pain while wasting hundred of dollars and time.
The landscape is breathtaking, literally and metaphorically 😛 another reason why I don’t mind doing this a second time, maybe a third time, who knows, but at this moment, my next ambition is visiting Everest base camp and take a half-selfie with Mt Everest. I would climb it but then $200,000 in sponsor don’t just fall from the sky.
Throughout the journey, there is a lot of scene you can experience, instead of just euphoria when crossing the finishing line. Many times, If I found a wonderful scene or spot, quiet and not many people around, I’d just stop, listen to my iTunes playlist, and admire the scene. Looking out, enjoying the sun, breathing.
There are moments if you just slow down, observe and learn to appreciate, In the end, will leave you contended.
For now, it is good-bye Nepal and all the wonderful Nepalese, next time, another mission, I will return for another visit to this mythical landscape.
Dhandhibat … 🙂
ABC 2016; early December log.
Day 1; 3rd Dec, Chandra guest house, Tikedungha. movescount
Day 2; 4th Dec, Superview Lodge, Ghorepani, Poon Hill. movescount
Day 3; 5th Dec, Poon Hill 6:18am, arrive Discovery lodge Chumli, 3:45pm; sunset 5:30 pm, sunrise 6:40am. movescount
Day 4; 6th Dec, upper Sinuwa guest house 4:30 pm. movescount
Day 5; 7th Dec, leave Sinuwa guest house at 8:22am, lunch Dovan 11:00 am, arrive Shangrila, Deurali guest house 4:16pm. movescount
Day 6; 8th Dec, leave Shangrila at 8:30am arrive ABC at 12:30. Lunch at ABC. movescount
Day 7; 9th Dec, leave ABC back to Sinuwa… movescount
Day 8; 10th Dec, from Sinuwa to Siwai, then jeep to Pokhara. movescount
Day 9; 11th Dec, Around Pokhara.
Day 10; 12th Dec, 7 hour bus ride to Kathmandu.. arrive 4 pm
Day 11; 13th Dec, around Kathmandu, rest.
Day 12; 14th Dec, evening, to airport.
ps: Included are the suunto movescount link that logs the movement for that particular day just for fun and reference.