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 is many!).

 

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.

 

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!

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

It is a magic location to view moonset and sunrise…

 

It is also a very cold location to view sunrise!

 

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…

 

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

 

Michael and Bharat found it cold too!

 

We warmed ourselves around the stove…

 

Breakfast al-fresco at our lodgings in Ghorepani…

 

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

 

Sunrise on Machhapuchhre…

 

Water Buffalo also enjoy the warmth…

 

More interesting bridges…

 

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.

 

 

 

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…

 

Modi Khola was developing into a most beautiful valley walk…

 

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!

 

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

 

And always, Machhapuchhre dominates the landscape…

 

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

 

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…

 

Sunset on Machhapuchhre from MBC…

 

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

 

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

 

ABC…

 

Annapurna-1 and Annapurna-South…

 

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…

 

Julie and Annapurna.

 

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

 

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

 

The huts were rather basic, and rather cold!

 

 

The hot springs were very welcome…

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

We flew from Pokhara back to Kathmandu…

 

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

 

It has temples to both the Buddhist and Hindu religion…

 

 

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