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Mountains near Thorung La - Annapurna CircuitMountains near Thorung La - Annapurna Circuit

Annapurna Round
Fifteen Days

In autumn of 2010 I ventured out into the Nepali Himalayas, accompanied by my trusty porter-cum-guide Dhan, to attempt one of the classic treks in Nepal - the Annapurna Circuit AKA Annapurna Round.

I opted for a package with Alliance Trek & Expedition costing $650, which included my aforementioned porter-cum-guide; all accommodation and three meals a day whilst trekking; three nights bed and breakfast at Pokhara on completing the trek; permits; plus transport along the way. I'd been advised to just pay for the porter/guide, and pay for everything else as I go . . . but I know what I'm like. I'd be constantly worrying about money along the way and skipping meals to save a few rupees. I did a few sums and didn't think I'd save much that way either, and at least I wouldn't have the stress of worrying I'll run out of cash.

You can read how I got on by clicking the links below.

Getting There, 25th September - Kathmandu to Bhulbhule
Day One, 26th September - Bhulbhule to Jagat
Day Two, 27th September - Jagat to Dharapani
Day Three, 28th September - Dharapani to Chame
Day Four, 29th September - Chame to Pisang
Day Five, 30th September - Pisang to Manang

Day Six, 1st October - Free Day Manang

1/10/10 17:25 Manang - 3530 metres

Dhan had said that we'd walk up to the glacier at eight o'clock (on acclimatisation days it is a good idea to day-hike up, returning to sleep at the lower altitude), but we didn't get going until a quarter to nine (when the sun was too high for decent shots, annoyingly). From the viewpoint I wandered off along a ridge strewn with prayer flags, which was really lovely, and then further up to a stupa which was surrounded with low stone houses, for the animals to shelter in during bad weather. The viewpoint is at 3,800 metres, which should stand us in good stead for tomorrow's climb to 4,000 metres. I felt like some sort of cyborg insect coming back down the steep zigzag path, with my sticks clicking along, keeping me balanced.

Prayer Flags on ridge ManangBuckwheat field ManangPrayer Flags on ridge Manang

On the way back I went to visit Gangapurna Lake, which we'd seen from our journey up to the viewpoint; it is where the glacier melt-water ends up. I had a paddle in the beautiful lake . . . well I dipped my feet in briefly, as it was mind-numbingly cold. The only trouble was that I'd got my feet all muddy waddling over to the water, so had to repeatedly dip them in for short bursts to clean them off. I stuck my trusty thermometer in the water, and it told me it was ten degrees centigrade, but it felt much colder. I returned to the hotel and had soup for lunch, followed by samosas at a small cafe along the road.

Gangapurna Lake ManangRiver through ManangBridge at Manang

I decided to have a nap . . . which was going well until a loud French group arrived at the lodge, they and their porters all shouting to each other. I had a chat with some of them later, and they were a nice bunch, so I forgave them their noisiness. I started packing my bag, putting as much stuff into the side pockets as possible, so as to leave enough room in the top of the main section for Dhan's bag to fit in. I was going to buy a bigger daypack, so I could fit more stuff into it, but Dhan says the quality here is not good, and insists that it is not the weight that has been a problem, but carrying the two bags rather than one. After a bit of negotiating, I got him to agree to me leaving at seven tomorrow, with him following on an hour later. This way I can get the good light for my pictures, and he can have a bit of a lie in. It's only a short day, just three or so hours walking, as we have to be careful not to ascend too far too fast. Above 3,500 metres 300 metres per day is recommended, with 500 metres being the maximum you should ascend.

Click here for more pictures from Day Six

Day Seven, 2nd October - Manang to Yak Kharka
Day Eight, 3rd October - Yak Kharka to Thorung Phedi
Day Nine, 4th October - Thorung Phedi to Mukinath - Crossing Thorung La
Day Ten, 5th October - Mukinath to Marpha
Day Eleven, 6th October - Marpha to Ghasa
Day Twelve, 7th October - Ghasa to Tatopani
Day Thirteen, 8th October - Tatopani to Ghorepani
Day Fourteen, 9th October - Poon Hill Sunrise then Ghorepani to Hile
Day Fifteen, 10th October - Hile to Nayapul then Pokhara by Bus
Annapurna . . . Finiss! 11th October - Reflecting on the Trip from Pokhara

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