28 Things Must Know Before Starting Annapurna Base Camp Trekking, Nepal – Otherwise, You’ll Lose…


Annapurna base camp trekking: – Annapurna is a mountainous massive located in the center of the Himalayas that culminates in Annapurna I, with 8,091 m of altitude. Being the tenth highest mountain on Earth and possible in the world the most difficult to climb along with the K2 and the Nanga Parbat. Annapurna means in Sanskrit goddess of the crops or goddess of abundance.

In Hinduism, Annapurna is the name of the goddess of food and cooking. The most widespread local cult is located in Kashi, on the bank of the Ganges River. Her association with the provider of food makes her at the same time the goddess of health, known in Sanskrit as Lakshmi.

The Annapurna massif has a length of 55 km, bordered by the Kali Gandaki canyon to the west, by the Marshyangdi river to the north and east, and by the Pokhara valley on the south side. The Annapurna I is the tenth highest mountain on Earth between the 14 eight-thousanders and is separated from the Dhaulagiri, 34 km. to the west, by the Kali Gandaki canyon, considered to be the deepest on Earth.

The entire massif and surrounding areas are protected within a 7,629 square kilometer nature reserve, known as the Annapurna Conservation Area, the largest national park in Nepal. The area of the conservation area has a large number of hiking routes, including the Annapurna circuit and its different routes of ascent.

Annapurna Base Camp Trekking Nepal Image Mountain
Annapurna Base Camp, Nepal

The different peaks that make up the Annapurna massif are among the most dangerous mountains to climb on Earth, along with Nanga Parbat and K2. The Annapurna massif comprises six large peaks above the 7,200 m altitude.

Advertisement

Annapurna Base Camp Trekking, Nepal – 20 Things Must Know Before Starting Treks

1. Annapurna I

The Annapurna I was the first eight thousand climbers. The mountaineers Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal, members of a French expedition led by Maurice Herzog (which also included climbers Lionel Terray, Gaston Rébuffat, Marcel Ichac, Jean Couzy , Marcel Schatz, Jacques Oudot and Francis de Noyelle), reached the top on June 3, 1950.

The ascent to its summit became the world’s highest altitude record in a peak obtained by the human being for three years, until the post-Everest ascent.

However, altitudes above 8,500 meters had already been reached by a man without making a summit attempt Everest climbing in the 1920s. The southern face of the Annapurna was first climbed in 1970 by Don Whillans and Dougal Haston, members of a British expedition led by Chris Bonington, which included mountaineer Ian Clough, who died during the descent due to the detachment of a block of seracs.

However, despite the setback, another British expedition led by Henry Day succeeded a few days later with a second ascent to the Annapurna.

In 1978, the expedition of American women to the Himalayas, a team led by Arlene Blum, became the first group of climbers in the United States who managed to climb the Annapurna I.

Advertisement

The first contingent of the team that climbed the summit was formed by Vera Komarkova and Irene Miller, accompanied by Sherpas Mingma Tsering and Chewang Ringjing, who made the summit at 3:30 pm on October 15, 1978.

The second attempt to access the team’s summit, conducted by Alison Chadwick-Onyszkiewicz and Vera Watson, concluded with the death of both climbers during the ascent to the summit.

On February 3, 1987, Polish climbers Jerzy Kukuczka and Artur Hajzer successfully completed the first winter climb of the Annapurna I.The first successful solo climbing was carried out by the Slovenian mountaineer Tomaž Humar in October 2007; the climber climbed up to what is known as Black Rock and then from there to the Annapurna East (8,047 m).

On May 23, 2008, the Spanish mountaineer Iñaki Ochoa de Olza died due to cerebral and pulmonary oedema that caused him to be exposed to life-limiting altitudes for a longer time than recommended, despite the sanitary attention he received.

He lent the Romanian Horia Colibasanu, passing him more than 72 hours in height and despite the rescue operation undertaken by the Swiss Ueli Steck, who climbed first to 7,400 meters of altitude just to help him. In total there were 14 climbers who tried to save him unsuccessfully.

On April 29, 2010, the Spanish mountaineer Tolo Calafat died. The cause of his sudden exhaustion and ultimately his death, was not, as originally had been speculated, by cerebral oedema, but by hypokalemia ( very low levels of potassium), which is responsible for muscle contraction, as a result of exhaustion and dehydration.

In October 2011, three South Korean mountaineers were reported missing on the mountain, following a dangerous and unsuccessful search by rescue teams who came to their aid.

Between 8 and 9 October 2013, the Swiss climber Ueli Steck successfully climbs the Lafaille route on the main and highest route on the south face of the Annapurna I. This was his third attempt of ascent in this way and has been described as “one of the most impressive climbs in the history of mountaineering in the Himalayas”,  because it was also carried out entirely from the base camp to the summit, including its return, in only 28 hours.

Until the end of 2009, there had been 157 ascents to the summit of Annapurna I and a total of 60 fatal climbing accidents.  The statistics show a 38% loss. In particular, the climbing route on the south face of Annapurna I is considered the most dangerous among all the climbs in the world mountaineering.

The Annapurna I had the highest mortality rate of the fourteen eight-thousanders until March 2012. Throughout that period, counting since 1950, there have been 52 deaths during the ascents, 191 successful ascents and nine deaths during the descents, which means, as well it has been said, that “for every two climbers eager for emotions that safely climb up and down the Annapurna, another of them dies trying.”

That same ratio is equal or superior in six to one to all the other eight-thousanders, except for the K2 and the Nanga Parbat, which are both almost at par in terms of sinisterness.

Among the dead climbers stand out the Russian Anatoli Boukreev in 1997, the Spanish Iñaki Ochoa in 2008, and the Korean Park disappeared in 2011.

2. Annapurna II

The Annapurna II, the easternmost peak of the Cordillera, was first climbed in 1960 by an Indian-Nepali-British team led by J. OM Roberts through the western ridge, following the slope of the North Face. The climbers who finally made the summit were Richard Grant, Chris Bonington, and Sherpa Ang Nyima.

As for the elevation and its isolation, with a distance of 30.5 km to the highest summit of the Annapurna I, and a prominence of 2.437 m, the Annapurna II does not appear much behind Annapurna I. Being a totally independent peak , despite the close association with the main peak, as its name seems to indicate.

Yugoslav Slovenes repeated this same ascent in 1969, also climbing the peak Annapurna IV. Among them, Kazmir Draslar and Majija Malezic arrived at the summit successfully. In 1973, a Japanese team directly attacked the North Face route between Fields IV and V before continuing along the western ridge. Among them, Katsuyuki Kondo, came alone to the top in a performance considered extraordinarily remarkable.

In 1983, Tim Macartney-Snape planned and participated in an expedition to Annapurna II, successfully reaching the summit through the first ascent through the southern ridge. The descent had to be delayed by a snowstorm and the expedition ran out of food during the last five days.

Finally, all the climbers were considered missing. In February 2007, Philipp Kunz, Lhakpa Wangel, Temba Nuru and Lhakpa Thinduk made the first successful winter climb. The team used to access the summit the first route of ascent on the North face.

3. Annapurna III

The Annapurna III was first climbed in 1961 by an Indian expedition led by Captain Mohan Singh Kohli on the Northeast face. The team that finally climbed successfully the summit was made up of mountaineers Mohan Kohli, Sonam Gyatso, and Sonam Girmi.

4. Annapurna IV

The Annapurna IV, very close to Annapurna II, was climbed for the first time in 1955 by a German expedition led by Heinz Steinmetz on the North face and the Northwest edge. The team that finally reached the summit was made up of climbers Harald Biller, Jürgen Wellenkamp and Steinmetz.

The rockfalls of Annapurna IV had blocked the Seti River, which rises near the summit, creating a temporary dam, which collapsed and detached, producing a huge flood of thousands of tons of mud, water, and rocks. That produced a total of 72 fatalities in the river towns of that region of Nepal.

5. Other peaks of the Annapurna massif

The Gangapurna was climbed for the first time in 1965 by a German expedition led by Günther Hauser, on the east side. The team that made the summit was composed of eleven members of the expedition.

The Annapurna South (also known as Annapurna Dakshin or Moditse) was first climbed in 1964 by a Japanese expedition on the northern ridge. The team that reached the summit was made up of the climbers S. Uyeo and Mingma Tsering.

The Hiunchuli (6,441 m altitude) is a satellite peak of the Annapurna South. The summit was first reached in 1971 by an American expedition led by Craig Anderson, a member of the United States Volunteers for Peace Corps.

The Machapuchare, 6,993m altitude, is another important peak of the massif that almost reached the 7,000-meter mark. The Machapuchare and the Hiunchuli are perfectly visible from the valley of Pokhara, very close to the route of ascent to the south face of Annapurna I.

The Machpuchare was climbed in 1957 (if we except the last 50 meters out of respect for the local religious deity) by Wilfrid Noyce and ADM Cox. Since then its escalation for strictly religious reasons is prohibited.

The Annapurna protection area is well known for being one of the most famous areas for hiking in the Himalayas. There are three important trekking routes in the Annapurna region: the Jomson Trek, between Jomsom and Muktinath (area increasingly altered by a future road construction project.

That of the Annapurna Sanctuary, which leads directly to the Annapurna I base camp area. And the Annapurna Circuit, which completely surrounds the Annapurna massif and includes the Jomsom route. 

Typically, the village of Pokhara serves as a starting point for these excursions and is also a good reference point for other shorter hiking routes between one to four days, such as those leading to Ghorepani or Ghandruk.

The Mustang district, an ancient Nepali kingdom bordering Tibet, is also geographically a part of the Annapurna region, but excursions to that region are subject to special restrictions.

About two-thirds of all hikers in Nepal visit the Annapurna region. The area is easily accessible, the guest houses distributed in the hills are plentiful and the walks offer a variety of incredibly diverse landscape.

Where is Annapurna Base Camp?

With views of two of the highest peaks of the massif and tours of the different villages in the valley area. Likewise, given that the entire area is inhabited, hiking in the region offers a unique cultural immersion and experience.

6. Annapurna Base Camp

The Annapurna Base Camp is a well-known hike because of its spectacular views, fascinating local cultures, and logistical ease. In the heart of Nepal, the Annapurna Sanctuary is a unique site, huge amphitheater facing more than 3000 m of peaks and ice.

Perched at an altitude of 4130 m, we savor a delicious moment of 360 ° contemplation on the 13 peaks of the Annapurna massif. This is the highlight of this trek. However, from the first day of the trek, we hike with the line of sight Machapuchare (6993 m), Annapurna III (7555 m), Annapurna II (7937 m) and Annapurna IV (7525 m).

Bath in hot springs in JhinuDanda, crossing villages embraced by terraced crops, hidden trails in the heart of a gigantic bamboo plantation, walking through a forest of rhododendrons. This trek offers all the pleasures and emotions the Nepalese Himalayas.

The main peaks of the western Himalayas are Annapurna, Hiunchuli, Annapurna South, Annapurna, Ganagapurna, Annapurna 3 and Machhapuchhare. They are almost all arranged in a circle with, in the center, an amphitheater covered with a deep glacier.

During the winter, the number of hikers decreases because of a difficult and dangerous walk due to heavy snowfall. Entering a narrow valley, one pass directly below Machhapuchhare before reaching the shrine, which is considered a home for the Gods.

The combination of beautiful villages and farmland in Ghaundrung, with a first panoramic view of high peaks, makes this trek one of the most scenic in Nepal. It is a moderate trek offering a close view of the mountain and various trekking grounds.

High Himalayan Trekking and Expedition organizes itineraries and hiking programs at Annapurna Base Camp throughout the year and according to the interest of the guests. From the sweetness of Pokhara, forests of rhododendrons, bamboos, terraced crops to the spectacle of the very high mountains at the foot of the Annapurna … this trek through the variety of Himalayan atmosphere.

7. Strong Moments For Annapurna Base Camp Trek

Enjoy the vibrant rice paddies from nearby Pokhara terraces. This trek offers a panoramic view of more than 10 peaks over 6000m, on Mount Dhaulagiri as well as on the Kali Gandaki Valley of Poon Hill. Besides, you will stand impressive snow-capped mountains.

Visit the fascinating villages of Gurung, Magar, and Brahmin as well as the culture and picturesque landscape. Take a dip in natural hot springs while admiring magnificent views of Machhapuchchhre (Fishtail), Hiunchuli, Annapurna South, Annapurna II, Annapurna III, and Gangapurna.

8. KATHMANDU

The amazing capital of Nepal will serve as a base to discover the wonders of the Kathmandu valley, its temples, villages, and ancestral rites.

9. THE HEART OF ANNAPURNA

The climb to the base camps passes through authentic villages, in a beautiful natural environment.

10. PANORAMAS ON THE ANNAPURNA

ANNAPURNA will offer you breathtaking views of peaks over 6000m including Hiunchuli, Fang, Annapurna III and the Machapuchare (Fish Tail).

11. GORGES OF THE MODI KHOLA RIVER

The trek crosses the narrow gorges of Modi Khola River. From natural springs of warm water to Annapurna Lookouts, from giant rhododendron forests to endless terraced fields on the banks of the Modi River or in this magical glacial cirque, every day views to cut the breath.

12. MACHHAPUCHHRE

Culminating at 6,993 m, the Machapuchare whose name means “fishtail because of its double summit, is revered by the population and, therefore, forbidden mountaineers.

13. POKHARA

Pokhara and its lake attract many travelers who come to enjoy its relaxed atmosphere at the foot of the Annapurnas.

14. Diversity and unity

During this great trek full of emotion, you will start in the low-lying Gurung villages, whose life revolves around rice fields and terraced fields. The Gurung are from the Tibetan family, as evidenced by their Mongoloid faces, their Buddhist rites and the attraction of their women for coral …You will also meet some Magar villages, the largest ethnic group and the 3rd ethnocultural group of Nepal after the Brahmins and Chettris.

15. The significance of Annapurna base camp trekking in Nepal

Nepal is a small country embedded between China and India in the beautiful Himalayan Mountains. Known worldwide for the incredible variety of ecosystems and thousands of villages with different ethnic groups and historic cities. The people are friendly and highly receptive to tourists and for all that Nepal offers incredible opportunities for cultural and adventure travel.

The trekking we will do in Annapurna will give us the opportunity to enjoy a wonderful view of the sacred mountain Machhapuchre, also known as “Fishtail”, one of the most beautiful mountains of Annapurna chain.

Along the walk we will also have the chance to get in touch with local people, getting to know the reality of the mountain people. Trekking has all the necessary support infrastructure, including chargers and qualified guides.

The Annapurna Circuit is very easy since there are buses from Kathmandu to either Besisahar or Bhulbule. Or to the opposite way, taking the bus from Pokhara to Nayapul or Birethanti. In addition, the Nepalese government has finished building a dirt road that follows the entire Circuit (with the exception of the road between Manang to Muktinath), which changes everything. And I’ll try to explain why.

1.    Flexible Itinerary:

Tourism is the main source of income in Nepal. And whether you want it or not, the local people know and want to benefit from it (which is very fair, of course!). Therefore, because of the new road and means of transportation, more and more people are having a chance to move and settle in the Annapurna region.

Whether it’s opening refuges/shelters or restaurants (or both), the steady flow of natives is why new villages are springing up every year (or faster). And this is something that allows trails to have a much more flexible itinerary. Since it is possible to reach a village almost every hour, you can basically stop when you want.

And while it may seem a rather obvious and not-so-important detail, the simple fact that you are aware that there is a ceiling and food within a relatively short distance really makes a difference in your psychological, which makes everything much more peaceful and profitable!

Advertisement

Written by

Jitendra Sahayogee

I am Jitendra Sahayogee, a Writer of 12 Nepali Books, Director of Maithili films, Founder of Radio Stations, Designer of Websites and Editor of Some Nepali Blogs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *