• 14 days in Nepal

     

    We all have bucket lists. Some attainable and some not so attainable, full of distant goals like, "Sky Diving in NZ," or, "Cycling across South America"— and it's easy to dismiss them off as being too expensive or time-consuming. So, we decided to share our experience with a certainly attainable bucket list destination: Annapurna Base Camp. Neither too expensive, nor too time-consuming Annapurna base camp hike is a great himalayan experience. However, that said, it is still a landscape that demands respect and can expand your outdoors knowledge to make even greater adventures possible in the future. 

     

    THE TRAIL

     

    The launch point for your ABC trek is Pokhara Valley, around 200 km east of Kathmandu. With a myriad of resources to reach Pokhara from Kathmandu , it's more accessible than ever. There is a wealth of information online for making it to ABC trek, but to simplify things for you even further, here's a glimpse of what the trail is actually like, along with a few preparation and packing tips.

     

    Annapurna base camp trail

     

    Above 12,000 feet in the Himalayas you are never really cozy and warm, rather you just experience varying degrees of cold. On the trek to ABC, the last three to four days are spent at relatively higher altitudes and well at relatively chilling temperatures. You generally start the trek from Nayapul, a small share cab ride from Pokhara. Its a small village near the river and its a good starting point for the ABC hike. Its a good 7-9 day hike from Nayapul to ABC depending upon your hiking speed and conditions. A general hiking schedule to follow is an early morning start latest by 7.30 am and continue hiking until 2 pm. As the sun hides behind the mountains the valley gets cold and the post 2 pm time is best enjoyed at the tea houses in the villages mingling with other hikers and retiring early in the night by 8 pm.

     

    Annapurna circuit trail

     

    Overall the trail to ABC is not that technical, barring the final day where you may have to walk on Slit/Ice, but nothing that is not manageable for anyone with decent fitness. It starts low in the millet fields and finishes with a breathtaking sight of the Annapurna peaks standing tall from the base camp. What makes the strenuous hike worth it is the view when you are standing at the base camp and looking at the 8000m+ peaks in front of you. 

     

    Villages along Annapurna base camp hike

     

    PREPARATIONS

     

    You are going to be hiking 7-8 hrs a day and you will mostly be on your feet. So run, climb steps, go to gym and do whatever it can to up your strength and endurance. Build yourself enough endurance to sustain long hours of hike with around 20 kg of backpack on your shoulders. 

    Also, one thing to remember is  altitude sickness is less about how your cardio or fitness and is more about how your internal system reacts to altitude. Don't rush the elevation gain during the final 3 days as you reach the base camp. Also, carry Diamox or any altitude sickness medication, as these pills can prevent you from getting altitude sickness.

     

    ESSENTIAL GEAR

     

    Find a great pair of hiking boots that fit you and spend enough hours before hand in them to break them in. Here's a good tip: Most trail running shoes are light and can double up as good hiking shoes. I used Salomon Speedcross 3 and they worked like a charm.

    If carrying luggage on a flight is an issue I would suggest renting a warm down jacket at Pokhara or Thamel for around USD 1-2 a day. You can also rent sleeping bags in Thamel or Pokhara, just ensure the bags are rated for around -20 C. I rented a sleeping bag from Thamel for around USD 1-2 a day. 

    I would also recommend renting/buying walking sticks. For around USD 10 or so you can get decent walking sticks which will last you the hike. Trust me, a good walking stick will save the unnecessary pounding on your knees.

     

    Preparations for Annapurna base camp hike

     

    THAMEL: SINGLE STOP FOR ALL YOUR NEEDS

     

    Thamel is the main market in Kathmandu. In Thamel, you can rent a guide/porter and also rent your hiking gear. It’s easy to find guides in the market and generally, you can save money by booking guides and porters on the spot instead of pre-booking.

    Overall, it's a good 2 week trip including a day of unwinding in Pokhara and Kathmandu. You'd be amazed at how easily you can reach Pokhara and how with decent fitness, you can hike the Annapurna Base Camp. 

     

    Poon hill hike



    Essential Gear for Annapurna Base Camp hike

     

    Pravin Dhake is founder and one of the editors at Athlos. 
    He's passionate about fitness, reading and backpacking. 
    Follow him on Twitter
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  • Comments on this post (3 comments)

    • Rajan gupta says...

      Tour in nepal

      On July 06, 2016

    • pravin dhake says...

      Hi Shivam, I have just emailed you a bunch of stuff about the licensing.

      On July 05, 2016

    • Shivam says...

      Hi Pravin, nice entry and info about the hike but you haven’t mentioned the costs. Normally the licensing for am expedition costs a lot in Nepal but I have no clue about this base camp trail. I am planning to do it in October but am missing a plethora of information.

      On July 04, 2016

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