Annapurna annihilation

A personal account of my trek with further recommendations for future Trekkers.

What to pack:

  • Rain proof jacket
  • 3-4 pairs Proper hiking socks
  • 4-5 pairs of underwear- you will be hand washing for the most part anyways.
  • Safety pins to pin your laundry to the outside of your bag to dry whilst hiking.
  • hiking poles
  • breathable clothing that can be layered.
  • trekking/waterproof pants

Day 1 September 9th 2014 Basi Sahar

Today we are awaiting the arrival of our porter/guide to arrive in Besi Sahar with our permits along with his enthusiasm to carry our shit. We have spent the night and following afternoon at the Lion Star Hotel. A basic place that meets the human needs. The only place in this weird ol town to access wifi is at Tukuche Peak. They also create some nice foods and have a remarkable view of a man displaying both nipples through a singlet 3 sizes too small.

Our anticipation is at an all time high. We can see the mountains but are unable to climb them yet. It’s like being a child again, seeing the gifts under the tree but not quite ready to be opened. I have no doubts that the gifts of the wild will be plentiful. With the porter still not here by 5pm we are becoming notably anxious as we have less then 2 hours left of daylight and at least 2 hours worth of trekking until the next accomodatable town, even still we are now a day behind our ideal schedule. I would highly recommend hiring your porter from Kathmandu despite how much it may cost you additionally. It’s Nepal, it’s still cheap!

Day 2 September 10 Jeep from Besi Sahar to Chamche

Chamche with it's thundering waterfalls and rolling greenery.

Chamche with it’s thundering waterfalls and rolling greenery.

“The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure.” Pg 59 McCandless Into the wild.

Kumar, our porter/guide, arrived late last night with our permits and a timid composure. He’s a sweet kid, who means well and doesn’t take the lead too much. We were advised to take the jeep from Besi Sahar to Chamche as the roads for Trekkers are apparently not the best with the tilting jeeps that go by. If you have the time I would advise walking, even if it means trekking through quarries, power plants, construction sights and through a long, deep and dark tunnel. To say the jeep tilts is an understatement.

I am in a state of immense awe at our driver. Never before have I seen such rough terrain as he manipulated his steering wheel to dominate boulders, miss acute cliff angle drops and rush through flowing streams from powerful waterfalls. He also avoided local fauna such as donkeys and obnoxious avian along the way with a fierce toot of his horn.

Cati was in the back with anxiety at an all time high squashed between a sea of Israeli men whilst I was positioned above motor, with a hole in the floor at my feet, seated between Kumar and the gear stick. It was an intimidating ride that made us both grateful and longing for the touch of earth again.

We decided that it was best to relieve ourselves of the high stress and nestle in for the night at Chamche, where we enjoyed the hospitality of Uri at her Tibetan Lhasha Hotel. Our room for the night cost 50c per person with an incredible view of breathtaking mountains and their thundering waterfalls. After completing Jon Krakauer’s book Into The Wild, I am beyond ready and inspired to connect with nature and put my body to the test climbing the Himalayas.

Day 3 September 11
14.81 Kms to Daraphani in 5 hours where we stopped for lunch (45 mins) From Daraphani to Bagarchhap we completed a total of 18.1 Kms in 6 hours.

*** I would highly advise getting your larger notes 1,000’s and 500’s getting changed into smaller notes at a bank in KTM or Pokhara before the trip as acquiring change is proving difficult.

Let’s just stay that the joints are sore tonight. The trekking was underway at 7:30-am through the rain and it was uphill for most the way. We were lucky enough to have been guided by a local village dog who was completely adorable in every way possible. You know you are in for an intriguing day when you discover midway that you have phenomenally put your bra on properly inside out. Clips together and everything. I certainly took a bewildered moment to acknowledge my gifts.

Predominantly today will be known as the Attack of the seven Leeches. I felt an itch on my shin about an hour out of Daraphani. I lifted my pant leg to discover not one but 5 microscopic vampires feasting on my nectar on my left leg and 2 on the other. Leaving my pants and socks blood stained. Two bites in particular did not stop bleeding until well into the night. Thankfully a lovely French girl named Manu came to the rescue with band aids to limit the blood flow onto the pant legs.

From here on we found ourselves scaling waterfall walls, like Rambo and going Under, through and over waterfalls- any proposition but around. We stumbled upon donkeys arsing about the mountainside and messy goats who had not been taught as kids how to eat properly. One of them had an entire bush on his fur, I thought for sure he was some form of spy goat going incognito and trying to blend in with the fauna. Thankfully the scenery was breathtaking as carrying two backpacks put me into the Sherpa pose for an extended period of time, My back into spasms my hip joints into cramps and my muscles into aches. I will hence forth extend my sincere gratitude and salute all Sherpas. They certainly put their bodies to the test.

We snoozed and refuelled at: Eco holiday home and restaurant For 100 rps each per night. Pr. Nima Chhiring Thakuri mobile: 9746041311 or 9741168202

Day 4 September 12 Bagarchhap to Chame 11 + km To koto where we stopped for lunch.

Comradeship- lifting spirits.

Comradeship- lifting spirits.

The scenery today was breathtaking and as you are climbing mountains that appear to be vertical so is your breath. We climbed up 700metres of elevation and breathing has been problematic. The altitude is becoming to prove difficult so frequent rest stops have been adopted. This morning we rearranged the packs to limit our carry loads which has been the best idea yet. My mountain goating skills have been put to the test as you are navigating mountain sides on your hands and knees. We endured rain, for an extended period time throughout our trek.

We met 3 other Aussies along the way. Australians are awesome. Spirits were lifted instantly as we talked jargon, discussed the awesomeness of Vegemite and compared wild animals in varying countries.

We snoozed and refused at: hotel hill town for 50rps each per person with lukewarm water Bucket bathing.

Day 5 Saturday September 13 15.47 Kms from Chame to Lower Pisang.

Bhapoo

Bhapoo

The walk today was impressive with spectacular sheer cliffs, intimidating flowing glacial rivers, Hot Rod like forests, frolicking horses and enormous high mountains. The walk itself was not too daunting nor difficult but the ability to breathe easily is becoming more and more difficult resulting in numerous rests and breaks along the way.

I would certainly recommend stopping in and staying the night at lower Pisang and after you are well rested make the short journey up to the monastery and take in the phenomenal views from the top of upper Pisang. Just a side note don’t grab any foliage that appears to be mint, it’s not and it hurts. Lukewarm showers.

Bhapoo: we spent our night entertained by headlamps and torches with the most energetic and adorable 5 year old nepal has to offer. He called me Chimboo and played me nursery rhymes sung in Nepalese.

We snoozed and refuelled at: Moonlight hotel for 50 Rps per person.

Day 6 Sunday September 14 5 hours and 10. Km from Lower Pisang to Nawal
Steep hills, like incredibly vertically steep hills, walking backwards appears to be easier, won’t eat porridge again for breakfast as it played on the stomach, another night without electricity, Bishnu and Dave joined in with the banter, walk with Kumar to see yaks, sheep and monks playing football. No shower today as it was too cold. Snickers at the top of the mountain, with views of Annapurna made any points of difficulty worth it.

Day 7 Monday September 15 Nawal to Manang 9.01 Kms and took 2 1/2 hours
Thankfully today’s walk was much more pleasant being that it was predominantly downhill and Nepalese flat. We had an incredibly sunny day which was lovely but made the trekking quite hot. We all seemed to suffer some symptoms of altitude sickness today which made the trip not as enjoyable. We are blessed that it was a short distance.

We were stoked to rest in Manang where we had solar heated showers, electricity and our first internet connection. We were able to do some hand washing and clean up our gear a bit in preparation for the coming days. The afternoon was clear which enabled wonderful views of the mountains where we could see the snow capped mountains and glaciers in all their glory. Manang boasts some great bakeries too so we treated ourselves to some bread to accompany our meals and chocolate baked goods.

We snoozed and refuelled at: Mountain view Hotel for 100 rps per room.

Day 8 Tuesday September 16 Manang
Today I woke up much better then yesterday with no signs or symptoms of any further altitude sickness. We have had a lazy morning stocking up on some items that we may acquire for our next few days, writing postcard, updating our progress on our maps and continuing to fuel ourselves with baked goods. We farewelled Manu this morning but we will see her tomorrow in Gungsung in her new abode.

Day 9 Wednesday September 17 Manang to Ledar
Grandma turtle was born, getting annoyed at having shadows, need space and solitude. Met Manu and her new abode- south west lodge which had amazing muffins and Annapurna views, she joined for our trek to experience the yak attack. The road was not too bad today predominantly Nepali flat. We had lunch at Yak Kharkha after Manus departure, another wonderful veggie burger.

We snoozed and refuelled at: Snow land hotel

Day 10 Thursday September 18 on top of the world

Yak attack trek interruptions.

Yak attack trek interruptions.

My best day yet. Our journey was stopped early after Ledar due to yaks frolicking down the mountain and on the Path, they were harmless enough but we were quite wary of them with their fury bodies and large horns. I had to deal with heightened anxiety at landslide area, grandma turtle it all the way to the high base camp, sorted Kumar out, met some Israeli friends and played broken telephone on top of the mountain. Had some great yarns, saw penis in the snow. I would highly recommend walking up to the top of the mountain and chilling out once you arrive in high base camp. It will help you acclimatise and the view is breathtaking (no pun intended).

We snoozed and refuelled at: The only stop at the Thorung pass high Base Camp

Day 11 Friday September 19 The Pass to Muktinath 13. And 8 hours

I would do this trek all over again for sunrises like these.

I would do this trek all over again for sunrises like these.

” What goes up must come down. ” this rings very true with today’s adventures. I woke at 4am to get prepared for the day ahead and began ascending at 5:15 am. The morning view was magical as we had a smiling moon and stars so close it appeared you could grab them. I took the trek extremely easy so the walk itself was not too difficult. The sunrise was absolutely phenomenal as it hits the peaks and turns the snow covered mountains variations of hue from pink to orange. The walk to the pass is much more mentally exerting as you are trying to remain positive and reaffirm that you are on top of the world and soon to be the closest to heaven you’ll ever be as a living being.

Thorung Pass- we made it!

Thorung Pass- we made it!

The pass itself was quite disappointing as it’s a whole gang of prayer flags and two signs that simply congratulate you on your success and send you on your way. However, the emotional journey is indescribable. The small tea house doesn’t host a toilet so you have another 4 hours before you can pee with dignity. From the pass you have around 3-5 hours to walk to Muktinath. This walk is strictly downhill and extremely taxing on the joints and muscles, I could not preach higher the power of a stick, or two if you are lucky. The bamboo stick saved my soul so many times during this trek and I send all my gratitude to the guide dude who gave it to me… Legend!

We snoozed and refuelled at: Hotel Buddha & Himalayan Restaurant- hot shower and limited electricity. No wifi.

Day 12 Saturday September 20 Muktinath Rest Day

Muktinath mornings.

Muktinath mornings.

A nice sleep was had until 8 am and the morning was spent washing and airing clothes trying to recreate some form of order in our lives. Calves are feeling yesterday’s walk. Self massage, casual strolls, sun magic, postcards, awaiting world reconnection.

Day 13 Sunday September 21 Jomson 19. Km and 6 hours

Our bedroom view where monastery jams are had.

Our bedroom view where monastery jams are had.

Walked over 19 Kms in gale force winds against a dust storm to get to Jomson, going over unnecessary mountains to get to the town whilst it continued to look like a mirage. Our guide failed to communicate that it got windy after 10 am and windy was an understatement. He also failed to direct us and navigate us down the Rocky Mountain sides resulting in my booty supporting down-mountain bum slides. Once we had arrived in Jomson our guide decided to literally follow the buffalo trail to the other side of town, with no communication mind you, to find us a hotel. It appeared we were lost but the hotel was fine none the less and had the trifecta of working wifi, hot showers and electricity for most of the part. Once we were settled and thought the day couldn’t get anymore ridiculous we had a monastery jam happening right above us involving Tingshas, bells, drums, loud chanting and only Buddha knows what else.

We snoozed and refuelled at: Hotel Himalaya and German Bakery- hot water and limited wifi and electricity.

Day 14 Monday September 22 Tatopani
A horrible bus journey. We were tipping and tilting all over the place, I was on the right hand side which is the mountain side and we tipped so much that the rock touched my window. Not even joking. I had to share the only floor space I had with a shitty tea pot filled with Apple cider vinegar which leaked and went all through my bag. I would recommend not getting the front to seats when purchasing bus tickets.

To the right is the water-filled bus removed from the waterfalls grips and to the left are motorbikes which have been dragged through to safety.

To the right is the water-filled bus removed from the waterfalls grips and to the left are motorbikes which have been dragged through to safety.

To make things worse we were delayed because a bus had got stuck while crossing the waterfall and had filled up. I thought at that point that we wouldn’t cross but we did. I got wet from the water coming in the window. It was pretty hairy. The waterfall was literally coming in through the window and was again tilting all over the place while a man hung out the door. During this time our porter had got off the bus and decided to walk the safe route but had not advised us to do so nor inform us of where he was at all. Thankfully we made it and all was well once we arrived in Tatopani.

We snoozed and refuelled at: Hotel Himalaya – cold water shower and limited electricity and wifi which worked when the generator was switched on for cooking.

Day 15 Tuesday September 23 Pokhara Last Kumar Day
We made it back to civilisation. We shared a jeep with 4 other foreigners and 2 guides from Tatopani to pokhara. I would highly recommend this option as the ride was much smoother and enjoyable. I total it cost us 1000 Rps each plus we had to provide the transport costs for our guide. We met Bharat who is a guide and is absolutely amazing. Our porter did nothing for this trip and it was Bharat who set us up with our hotel and got us a discount for the duration of our stay in pokhara. We bid adieu to Kumar, our porter and returned to a life of making our own decisions and wearing thongs and shorts.

We snoozed at: Grand Holiday Hotel- wifi, electricity for the most part but no working hot water. Cost for a double room per night was $15 USD with breakfast.

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