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Annapurna circuit Trek Nepal

Annapurna circuit Trek Nepal


Postby Mountainlove » Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:22 pm

Date walked: 04/10/2017

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I arrived in Kathmandu with the plan to do a trek. For those who think that you have to plan everything in advance to do any of the famous treks in Nepal, be assured that this is not the case. If you wish to plan everything from back home, be prepared that the cost will be double! Arrive in Kathmandu 2 days before your planned trek and you can arrange everything in a day or two before you head off :thumbup:

In my head I was toying between a return trip to Everest Base camp via Gokio, the Annapurna trek or get inspired to do a completely different trek.

When I arrived in my hotel, the manager asked me straight away if I planned to do a trek. If I had wanted, I could have set off in less than 12 hours time and that was before I even set a foot in my hotel room. Instead I walked around Thamel where over 300 travel agencies offer any trek you might want

After much consideration, I decided to do the Annapurna one. It was the last of the 3 most famous treks I haven't done.

The Anapurna trek can be done without a guide, but there are two reasons why I like a guide. 1. The guide will carry your backpack and 2. As I was traveling solo, I prefer the safety net of a local.

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There walks my backpack and guide

Costs
In case you are wondering how much you will have to pay here is a breakdown of the costs
Guide: 20 USD per day (that includes all his food and accommodation)
Accommodation: £2-£6.50 per night (if you travel in a small group, you can haggle and get the room for free, as long as you eat in the same hotel)
Food: £1.60-£3.60 per meal
Bus journey £20 (that's for you and the guide)
Trekking permit: £20
Accommodation in Pokkara and Kathmandu: Expect to pay between £10-20 for a decent room and breakfast.
Meals in Kathmandu and Pokkara: From £2 Pounds for meal

The journey to the starting point
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My alarm went off early, as we had a 10.5h Bus journey ahead of us. As promised the guide was in the lobby and a taxi was waiting to take us to the bus station.

The journey in the bus is pretty bad, but the countryside makes up for the crazy journey and some how adds to the trip.(if you watched Top Gear Nepal special over Christmas, you'll get an idea what lays ahead).
I was however rather relieved when we arrived in Bhulbule which was the stating point of the journey.
How far you will walk each day is completely up to yourself, but I would suggest to make sure you discuss your plans with the guide (remember he is the one with the heavy backpack to carry)

The journey I took

Bhulbule- Jagat
Jagat - Bagarchhap
Bagarchhap-Dhikur Pokhari
Dhikur Pokhari- Manang
Manang Rest day
Manang- Yak Kharta
Yak Kharta- Thorung Phedi
Thorung Phedi- High Camp - Thorung La Pass-Muktinat
Muktinat- Jomson

For the first part of the walk I let some pictures talk.

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The road across the valley

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One of the many villages you walk through ad can stay if you wish

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The road on the left (they used dynamite to blast it out of the rock) and the path

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Some parts are utterly stunning

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A close up of the road

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Can you imagine living here?

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The first high mountains come into view

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and another pretty village

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I was absolutely fascinated by the smooth mountain side

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All breakfasts, lunch and dinners are cooked over an open fire

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This lady was well into her 60s

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He was carrying 3 backpacks!

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Close up

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Across the Annapurna range

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Myself

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The path ahead

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The countryside was getting rather spectacular

When I arrived in Manang, I was in love with the village and countryside surrounding it. I was happy that I would be staying an extra acclimation day here. Across from my hotel I had noticed a small hill with lots of prayer flags on top.

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The hill with the prayer flags on the left

During my second day, after a long lay in I packed my bag and set off alone. Oh how nice was it to explore the area, without having to be at a certain place at a certain time. I reached the prayer flags, discovered a tiny shack in which I ordered a tea (water was boiled on an open fire) and continued further up the hill side. Higher up I visited a deserted settlement and could have walked for hours more, but aware of the time and the fact that I had not told anyone where I was going, I retraced my steps.

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The walk up the hill

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Glacier turning into river

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Ruins of an old village

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Me happy

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Looking down towards Manang

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So close, but yet so far

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Manang

The time in Menang was over too quickly, but I was keen to move on. The next stop was Yak Kharta which on took a leasurly 3 hours to reach. With Yaks grazing everywhere, I went for a walk to explore and saw my first wild blue sheep grazing and climbing along the rocks. This is snow leopard country, but unfortunately I failed to spot one.

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The road to Yak Kharta

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The Annapurna range
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Grazing grounds with a view

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Blue sheep

Thorung Phedi at 4525m is the last stop before the High Camp 4900m and the Thorung La Pass 5416m. It's a bleak and cold place, but offers far better accommodation than High Camp (which was full anyway). I decided to stay for the night and climp up to High Camp for acclimatization. The walk towards the High Camp was slow due to the altitude, but as I was in no rush I enjoyed the walk. Walking back down to my accommodation, I saw a helicopter arriving and a short while after leaving again.
When I asked what had happened, I was told that a girl had severe altitude sickness and and to be flown down. Scary stuff!

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The walk towards Thorung Phedi

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Looking down to Thorung Phedi

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The walk up to High Camp

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High camp summit

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View from Highcamp down to Thorung Phedi

That evening I started to get really bad toothache. I lay down in bed with some paracetamol, which helped a bit, but throughout the night I woke frequently and by 4am it was time to raise and start the 1000m climb. Tired I got up and get ready for the pass.

It is hard to imagine what walking in altitude feels like, when you haven't experienced it. There are some people who seem to be immune to it (I personally hate them :lol: ) but personally I struggle with anything over 5000m. Walking back up to Highcamp in the pitch black of the night, was pretty amazing, as a long line of head torches could be seen ahead and behind. With daylight appearing over the horizon, the mountains around me looked fantastic and pink in the morning glow.

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Good morning world

I reached high camp and rested with a hot tea break before continuing. Climbing higher I could see clouds rising from below the valley and for a while the spectacular spectacle let me forget my toothache and being totally exhausted for a while. The higher I climbed, the more exhausted I got. I walked 10 steps and had to stop to get my breath back. At the same time a couple of people where carrying mountain bikes on their shoulders and overtook me :shock: Slowly I crawled on, but I wasn't the only one. Exhausted faces where all around me and we all smiled at each other, knowing exactly what the other felt. After what felt like ages, I reached the Thorung La Pass and the highest part of the journey.I took some photos and took part of the celebrations around me.

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Pretty amazing

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The accommodation at Highcamp

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The walk ahead to the pass

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No words

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Love

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The highest point so close

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Made it! Summit pic with my guide (who was doing the climb in jeans and trainers)

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The walk down towards Muktinat, which is a long walk away

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Looking back up towards the high pass

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Arrival in Muktinat

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Muktinat

The journey to Muktinat seemed to never end and after an 8 hour day, I found a hotel and lay down exhausted. During the evening I met up with friends I made up during the journey and after dinner, I went to bed early.Another restless night followed and when I woke, looking as if I had a golf ball in my cheek. What I had was Altitude toothache, due to a dodgy crown which had now an abscess growing at the root the size of a jelly bean. Not the kind of thing you want to get at 4000 m days away from any dentist.

The thought of a 8 hour walk, was anything but appealing. When my guide and hotel manager saw me, they came up with the perfect solution. A local could take me on the back of his motorbike and drive me to Jomson to the nearest doctor/chemist (my paracetamols had stopped working by that point)

Gathering my gear I said good bye to my guide, who would follow on foot. The first first part of the road is paved, but soon the comfort came to an end and I was clinging onto the stranger while we drove along one of the worst dirt track roads. I was bounding up and down the saddle while we crossed rivers, rocks and sand. The Kingdom of Mustang was flying by us, it was a journey I will never forget.

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Leaving Muktinat

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A beautiful place with the leaves turning yellow

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The Kingdom of Mustang ahead

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my ride

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The better part of the road

Getting dropped of in Jomson, I discovered I had 3 problems. Due to some kind of festival all hotels I tried, where fully booked, the doctor/chemist was shut and I felt like :sick: :thumbdown: . Giving up on finding a hotel, I decided to wait outside the chemist until someone arrived. 2 hours later finally the doctor arrived and prescribed me Penicillin and a whole bunch of other tablets and cream. I took all and waited for my guide, who when he arrived found me accommodation which looked like it was out of a mass murder movie.
The room which I had to share with a female friend who I had met during the journey (just as well), had unmade beds, in one room meat was hanging down from the ceiling and was smelling like a slaughter house and in the garden in front of the toilet lay the remainder of a freshly slaughtered sheep.We did the only thing left to do...laugh. When we got fresher beds (at least I had my own sleeping bag) and sat down for a tea, I suddenly realized that my toothache was gone. Hallelujah for Penicillin.

From Jomson you could continue the whole circle of the Annapurna trek, but my plan had always been to take the bus from there. I had read too many reviews that walking along the road, which you share with buses and cars isn't very appealing. During the next morning I said goodbye to the friends I met and took one of the local buses. The journey was thanks to the working painkillers and penicillin a pleasure , specially as my face made me a local attraction and I ended up having lots of interaction with the locals, who took pity on me and tried to feed me during the whole journey. When we arrived in Pokkara, I said goodbye to my guide and relaxed a few days before heading back to Kathmandu (and went for a much needed dentist visit)

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The road back

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What altitude toothache does to you :roll: never felt prettier :lol: 8)

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It was a busy road

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Back in Pokkara with Machapuchare which at nearly 7000m is a beauty and due to its holy status un-climbed.
Last edited by Mountainlove on Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Annapurna circuit Trek Nepal

Postby Mountainlove » Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:26 pm

Sorry all for the delay with the photos...security setting were changed on my photos :roll:
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Re: Annapurna circuit Trek Nepal

Postby KB73 » Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:30 pm

:clap: Well done, great report and fantastic photos :clap:
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Re: Annapurna circuit Trek Nepal

Postby Alteknacker » Thu Jan 09, 2020 12:41 am

What a wonderful place - just sensational! What did you pay to get that weather dialled up???

"The higher I climbed, the more exhausted I got. I walked 10 steps and had to stop to get my breath back." Exactly my experience above 5000 metres, and on top of that it seemed to get exponentially worse with every 100m of further ascent :roll: But you did have THE most breathtaking views to compensate for the exhaustion (and even a dental problem to distract you :D :roll: ).
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Re: Annapurna circuit Trek Nepal

Postby Mountainlove » Thu Jan 09, 2020 8:07 pm

[quote="Alteknacker"]What a wonderful place - just sensational! What did you pay to get that weather dialled up???

"The higher I climbed, the more exhausted I got. I walked 10 steps and had to stop to get my breath back." Exactly my experience above 5000 metres, and on top of that it seemed to get exponentially worse with every 100m of further ascent :roll: But you did have THE most breathtaking views to compensate for the exhaustion (and even a dental problem to distract you :D :roll: ).[/quote

I am so glad I am not the only one with the +5000m issue lol. Was really thinking of taking an extra rest day at 4500m if I am heading up again high at some point. As for the weather, spring and autumn are usually amazing weather wise. :-)
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Re: Annapurna circuit Trek Nepal

Postby dav2930 » Fri Jan 10, 2020 12:27 am

Wow, that looked the trip of a lifetime! Mountain scenery on an unimaginably awesome scale, caught in some stunning photos. Machapuchare looks phenomenal, and it's nice in a way that it remains unclimbed.

It sounded a challenging trek in lots of ways, not least being the altitude, of course. 5400m is considerable. Some people acclimatise more easily than others, for no discernible reason. I remember suddenly feeling nauseous at 4000m on Mont Blanc, having felt no effects up to that point. I should have given myself more time to acclimatise. I don't know how I'd be at 5000+m - I'd have to take my time I think. I would love to visit the Himalaya one day, just to see them if nothing else.

That toothache you had sounded awful. Your jaw looked incredibly swollen in the photo. Hope it didn't spoil your enjoyment of the trip too much.

Amazing stuff :clap: :clap:
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Re: Annapurna circuit Trek Nepal

Postby gaffr » Sat Jan 11, 2020 11:03 am

Very fine images of the trek and region. My daughter and a freind walked the route around ten years ago....enjoyed it immensely... They had enough time in their schedule to walk the Langtang valley.
From what I recall Wilfred Noyce and companion reached within 50 metres of the summit of the Fishes Tail and with respect to the local folks to whom it was a sacred place...they retreated....1950s...real gentlemen:-)
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Re: Annapurna circuit Trek Nepal

Postby Mountainlove » Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:17 pm

@gaffr Thank you for the info about Fishtail...i did not know that it was nearly climbed, need to read up about it :thumbup:

@dav2930 I think taking time to acclimatize is the key. If you can, I would certainly recommend visiting the Himalayas its a magic place. The toothache did not spoil it, just made it rather memorable :roll: saying that would have preferred the trek without it
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Re: Annapurna circuit Trek Nepal

Postby past my sell by date » Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:09 pm

Great :clap: :clap: I am surprised - and disappointed - that there aren't more Himalayan reports on WH.
I've also had altitude toothache - in the alps. :( :( Antibiotics keep it at bay for quite a while, but in the end the only cure is an expensive root filling when you get home :(
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Re: Annapurna circuit Trek Nepal

Postby Mountainlove » Thu Jan 16, 2020 10:22 pm

past my sell by date wrote:Great :clap: :clap: I am surprised - and disappointed - that there aren't more Himalayan reports on WH.
I've also had altitude toothache - in the alps. :( :( Antibiotics keep it at bay for quite a while, but in the end the only cure is an expensive root filling when you get home :(

Poor you for having toothache as well! But thank god for antibiotics (I shall not travel without them anymore) As for more Himalaya reports, I have written 4 more a few years ago... :D

Langtang, Gosainkund and Helambu Trek – Himalayas
https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=26992

Everest Base Camp
https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=14775

Surya Peak (5145m) Himalayas Nepal
https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=26965

Kyanjin Ri 4773m - Himalayas and the epic with the avalanche
https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=27101
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