Annapurna Base Camp 2012

 

For two weeks from the end of November 2012, we trekked to Annapurna Base Camp in Nepal. Julie had wished to walk in the Himalayan Mountains, but her susceptibility to altitude sickness worried her. The beauty of Annapurna Base Camp is that, of all the Himalayan treks, it does not take you too high. At 4130m (13630ft) above sea level, ABC (as it is referred to) has a reputation for spectacular scenery.

 

Our holiday was organised through the UK company High Places, and in Nepal it is Explore Himalaya that is the trekking company. Our experience with both of these companies was superb, and we have no problem recommending either of them. You can book directly with Explore Himalaya, but we preferred to book with a UK company – and, indeed, there was little difference in price between booking either way!

 

Rather than giving a day-by-day account of our trip, I have uploaded a representative selection of our photos (of which there are many!)

 

IMG_3336

Jumping to the celebratory meal at the end of the trek, we can see all of the folk (or as Bharat referred to us, his family), from left:

Anne, Julie, Richard, Ontchue (phonetic), Michael (as he liked to be called; I couldn’t even get a phonetic approximation of his name!), yours truly and, last but not least, our guide Bharat.

 

It was a delight to share the holiday with Anne and Richard: they too had booked the holiday via High Places. Ontchue and Michael portered our luggage throughout our trek: they are two very fit guys!

 

Our holiday began by flying into Kathmandu (where we spent a couple of nights), and then a 7-hour car journey got us to the trailhead at Birethanti.

 

IMG_3100

IMG_3101

Where we experienced our first unheated bedroom, but also had our first view of Machhapuchhre: a peak that has never been climbed (the Nepalese authorities have designated this hill to remain inviolate). As the trek proceeded, we were to see many aspects of Machhapuchhre, which Julie and I agreed is perhaps the most beautiful mountain we have ever seen!

 

IMG_3105

IMG_3107

Our little family set out on our first day’s trekking

 

IMG_3108

IMG_3109

We saw many waterfalls, and several bridges – not all as secure as this!

 

IMG_3110

And all the time Michael and Ontchue lugged our luggage (30kg each) for us

 

IMG_8156

IMG_8157

I tried carrying our porter’s load. It was hard enough standing up, let alone take more than a couple of steps!

 

IMG_3115

IMG_3116

We ascended 3553 steps to reach Ulleri, where we were glad to stop for the night!

 

IMG_3123

IMG_3124

We passed through several villages, where we met lots of locals

 

IMG_3128

At 5am on day-3, we climbed Poon Hill to witness sunrise over the Annapurnas and Dhaulagiri

 

IMG_8166b

The full-moon setting behind Dhaulagiri. Jupiter (just visible near the moon at 1-o’clock) accompanies the moon down in the west

 

IMG_3141ab

It is a magic location to view moonset and sunrise

 

IMG_3136

IMG_3137

It is also a very cold location to view sunrise!

 

IMG_3139abb

Centre of this image is Annapurna-South, and to its left, and much further away, Annapurna-1. Machhapuchhre is the isolated peak on the right of this image

 

IMG_3144ab

We saw a beautiful cloud inversion, as the moon set in the west

 

IMG_3146

Michael and Bharat found it cold too!

 

IMG_3149

We warmed ourselves around the stove

 

IMG_8202

IMG_8201

Breakfast al-fresco at our lodgings in Ghorepani

 

IMG_3156

We were plied with Ginger, Lemon and Honey Tea – a beverage that became our favourite!

 

IMG_3162a

Sunrise on Machhapuchhre

 

IMG_3163

Water Buffalo also enjoy the warmth

 

IMG_3167

IMG_3172

More interesting bridges

 

IMG_8214

We were allowed to visit a primary school, in one of the small villages on our trek. Needless to say, we were all touched by the privilege afforded us.

 

 

IMG_3180ab

Our first view of the entrance to the Sanctuary: on the right of this image is the valley of Modi Khola, our route for today

 

IMG_3185

IMG_3186

Modi Khola was developing into a most beautiful valley walk

 

IMG_3190

IMG_3193

We had been concerned that the valley may be full of cloud, as is often the case. We were, however, very fortunate to have such good weather!

 

IMG_3218

IMG_3225

Further, and further, into the valley: the scenery becomes ever more beautiful

 

IMG_3216ab

IMG_3219

And always, Machhapuchhre dominates the landscape

 

IMG_3235

IMG_3237

As we approach Machhapuchhre Base Camp (MBC), the setting sun adds further magic to the scene

 

IMG_3238ab

In 1957 a climbing expedition (including Wilfrid Noyce and A. D. M. Cox) climbed to within 50m of the summit. That is the first and last occasion anyone has climbed on Machhapuchhre

 

IMG_3247

Sunset on Machhapuchhre from MBC

 

IMG_3249abc

Sunrise on the Annapurnas from MBC: Annapurna-South to the left, and Annapurna-1 to the right

 

IMG_3257

Moonset over Annapurna-South. Image taken as we climbed to Annapurna Base Camp (ABC)

 

IMG_3258

IMG_3272

ABC

 

IMG_3268

IMG_3269

Annapurna-1 and Annapurna-South

 

IMG_8317

IMG_3270

Memorial to climbers that have died in these mountains, which at 38% of all those attempting Annapurna-1 have died in the attempt, makes Annapurna-1 the most dangerous 8000m mountain. Julie leaves her scarf as an offering at the memorial

 

IMG_3265

IMG_8319

Julie and Annapurna

 

IMG_3273

IMG_3274

We descend back down the Modi Khola valley, on another beautiful day

 

IMG_8332

IMG_8364

It was a long and hard day, and we were very glad of a beer when we reached our lodgings for the evening

 

IMG_3277

IMG_3278

The huts were rather basic, and rather cold!

 

IMG_3301

IMG_3299

 

IMG_3298

IMG_3297

The hot springs were very welcome

 

IMG_3321

IMG_3319

Eventually we were back where we started, Birethani, and time to buy souvenirs

 

IMG_3330

IMG_3332

 

IMG_3331

IMG_3333

 

IMG_3329

IMG_3327

Post-trek party: a good time was had by all, in Pokhara

 

IMG_3341

IMG_3345

We flew from Pokhara back to Kathmandu

 

IMG_8441

IMG_3351

Back in Kathmandu we visited Swayambhunath, populated by lots of monkeys!

 

IMG_3359

IMG_3361

It has temples to both the Buddhist and Hindu religion

 

 

Return to Home Page