Asia Journey travel blog

The start of the trek is Pedhi. You climb up to Dhampus...

A local villager

On the left is Prem, my guide, and on the right is...

Climbing up the valley....

Village girl sifting rice

The traditional Nepalese meal - Dal bhat with rice. Very tasty and...

The first checkpoint - you have to show your Annapurna permit....

The first few days involve a lot of steep stone steps....

My room for the night. This is a typical room - two...

The porters gambling their money away on dice....

Brief rest after lunch...

One the way up on day 2 - the mountains getting nearer...

Nepalese village girl

Onwards and upwards...

This was a fun bridge....

 

A bonus - a Western toilet. No toilet seat, but beats squatting...

The mountains get ever closer....

On the right is Machhapuchhare - Fishtail Mountain

ABC....easy as 123....on the Michael Jackson tour....

Donkey trans are common, carrying goods to the villages up in the...

A porter, and on the wall the huge loads that these guys...

Village girl

I think this is a pressure cooker. Higher up wood is not...

Note the Union Jack mug....

Yummy....

A chilly mountain valley morning

Morning exercises. We were plagued by a group of 30+ Koreans and...

Getting closer...

Sunrise....

 

Machhapuchhare Base Camp. We slept here, then climbed up to ABC in...

Annapurna from Machhapuchhare Base Camp. The South Face here was first climbed...

Machhapuchhare from MBC

At Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) with my son Philippe's Mont Saint Anne...

At ABC with my daughter Emma's good luck card which she gave...

This is a memorial chorten to the people who have died on...

Memorial to Ian Clough who was killed by an avalanche on the...

Memorial to Anatoli Boukreev, a brilliant Russian climber who was killed attempting...

A Yeti....

Approaching sunset at ABC...getting pretty cold. Annapurna in the background....

Machhapuchhare at sunset from ABC

 

You can get a feeling for how cold and brutal these faces...

Machhapuchhare at sunset, reflected in a lake at ABC

 

Annapurna at sunset

With Raju, prior to our post-sunset descent to MBC

 

My favourite time on the trek - descending to MBC after the...

Next morning we left MBC at 4:30 a.m. and got to ABC...

Sunrise over the mighty Annapurna range

 

ABC at sunrise, standing in the shadow of Annapurna

Korean photographer..(I helped take her photo the previous day)...Burberry no less.....

 

One of the porters at ABC

Another porter, enjoying the ABC sunrise

The Annapurna range...

Back down to Machhapuchhare Base Camp ....cold....

So cold that the water in the buckets outside the guest house...

Starting the descent, back down the valley...

Everything is recycled....including these paint cans as flower pots.....

Aaaaggghhhhh...the Koreans again, no room at the guest house.....

 

Porters....note their wellington boots.....

Our cook at the guest house.....and the kitchen

Some of these steps get a bit brutal.....

This may look like a nice picture of a man taking his...

Supermarket ABC style. The stuff up here is much more expensive than...

For my father - tree tomatos. Very tasty, used to make pickle...

The donkeys again. They wear bells, so you hear their jingling as...

Wash day. It's cold up on top, so I didn't shower or...

The view from my balcony at Chhomrong.....

This was the best dal bhat on the whole trek.

An eagle riding the thermals

My room at Chhomrong...almost looks organised. Didn't have to share, which was...

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Using filtered water as part of the Safe Drinking Water Project. Using...

Calling Pascale, Philippe and Emma fom the side of the mountain.....

This is a local wine - Raksi. Not too bad after a...

 

We were treated to some traditional Nepalese entertainment - singing and dancing....

Afterward we retired to the kitchen for a drop of rum....

The son of the guest house owner....

I lent him my pen and note book for some drawing....

Descending through beautiful flower gardens...

The vampire women here serve a mean "Mashroom Soup".....I guess it was...

Machhapuchhare from the flower covered valley....

 

Next time she will be my guide.......

Local village lady

Sometimes hot, sometimes cold....always draughty....

Traditional Nepalese entertainment - you have to flick the counters into holes...

More rum. You drink it with hot water, hence the kettle...

 

Frosty in the morning....

Close to Ghorepani, where you can see a panorama of the Annapurna...

Playing pool in Ghorepani....you know you've arrived back at civilization....

Taking sunset photos in Ghorepani....without having to get too cold.....

Annapurna South at sunset....

Raju cracking another rum bottle. I didn't drink on the way up,...

Deep pan pizza (ish)

This is the watchtower at Poon Hill. From this hill you get...

At Poon Hill in front of the Annapurna range at sunrise

The sunrise wasn't that great, but the moon made for some interesting...

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, sun rise over Poon Hill. Worth getting up at 4:30 a.m....

I was not alone.....Poon Hill is on a short loop trek, so...

Sun's up, time to get out of here....

Join the line.....

 

 

On to the final day's descent, from Ghorepani to Naya Pul....

Be careful where you step....

A bridge too far....

Drying sweetcorn. Strange, one of my favourite photos on this trip.

After lunch nap (5 minutes only)...after which I had to be pulled...

 

It's the chicken man....

In the lower valley the temperature is warm and the river inviting...

Fisherman...

This is buffalo meat being dried. It is surprisingly tasty when curried...

Getting my Annapurna permt card stamped at the final checkpoint...trek almost complete.....

Into the taxi at Naya Pul. Pascale will recognise this as the...

Back at the Kiwi Guest House - Raju, me, Prem and Tilak,...

Postcript - my only war wound - one blackened toenail. No blisters...


This was a ten day trek from Pokhara (Pedhi) to Annapurna Base Camp. On the way back I detoured to Ghorapani and Poon Hill, before finishing at Naya Pul.

These are - so I have read, have been told and can now verify - some of the most magnificent mountain views anywhere in the world. Annapurna is only the 10th highest mountain in the world, but it is one of the most difficult - the fatality rate is 40%, three times that of Everest. It was the first 8,000 meter mountain ever climbed, in 1950, by the French men Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal, who after a desperate descent subsequently had a large number of their toes and fingers amputated due to frostbite.

The South Face of Annapurna - as shown in the pictures - was first climbed by Dougal Haston and Don Whillans as late as 1970, in a British expedition led by Chris Bonington. It still stands as one of the classic Himalayan climbs, with high altitude technical climbing that had nver been attempted before this date.

Just walking to and around the Annapurna base camp evoked fantastic memories of the above and other stories that I have read about this great mountain. When you stand at base camp at sunrise and sunset you can feel what attracts people to want to climb these great peaks. You can also sense the intense lurking power of the mountains - and why many of the people who attempt to climb them lose their lives doing so.



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