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Published: March 4th 2013
Starting our trek after 8 hours in a Jeep the previous day.
We are back after 11 days of long trekking (9 actuals). It's called the Annapurna Circuit - because it evolves around the Annapurna chain of mountains which comprises of few top 10 peaks in the world. In Nepalese standards anything below 6000m is a hill, anything above deserves the right to be described as a mountain. So ladies and gentlemen in Europe – we do not have any mountains, our little French Mont Blanc would not even get noticed in this region of the world…
Down to business – It was by far the hardest challenge I have ever had to face. I will briefly mention the facts: 115Kms of hard walking mostly above 3000m, a pass at 5450m, possibility of altitude sickness - you are going to think that over 9 days this does not represent much – what you are missing is this: we had a day of snow like it had not done for over a decade in February… pictures in one of the Tea House (the mountain guesthouses) dating 15 years ago showed level of snow we encountered during our trek… It made the walking hard – very hard and nights
All sunny and easy walk.
were literally freezing. But snow is what may have saved my own trek – because what I thought would be my biggest challenge before leaving for Nepal did indeed materialize in proportions I had not anticipated: my acute fear or heights or Vertigo. I won’t lie - I shouted, I cried, I suffered mentally like I never did before; even writing this now brings back the feelings. I just had to keep going on and on despite those huge drops and cliffs along the way. Why did snow save my trek: because I could battle my way through 60-80cms of snow at times to avoid walking on the path set alongside the cliffs; exhausting technique indeed, especially when oxygen levels are dropping as you go along… sometimes I had no choice but to just ignore what was on my right or left… there was just no other path…
I’ll stop talking now and let you enjoy the picture – it was a fantastic experience full of souvenirs and amazing sceneries (you won’t see much of the drops – I was understandably not taking any pictures at the time); but before, the story of our final ascent:
The valley ahead
What you'd expect from one of the best trek in the world.
ascent took about 6 hours (for an elevation gain of 1Km to 5450m) we started at 5.30am. Our American friends Tom and Lauren (both in their early 60s!) had started over an hour earlier. We met them at what is called higher camp (4850) at around 6.30am after battling through -10C – they were walking towards us… Tom looked at us and said “we got here, we can’t see any path, there is a 500 feet fall, this was always supposed to be a holiday… we are going back to base…”. I do not know if it’s the cold that kept us going, or sheer madness, Vania and Manfred our Austrian friend were in front somewhere, we kept going. The rest was like walking in a desert, gigantic dunes of snow after another, oxygen levels dropping – but finally the reward of achieving your goals – against my odds. Hope you enjoy the pics because I’m not going back there any time soon… 😊
Love you all x
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