Got back a couple of weeks ago. Didn’t stay out as long as originally planned. Trekked Annapurna Base Camp (ABC). Was brutal. Practically all stairs. Killed my knees. Once I was done, spent about a week in Pokhara, Nepal to recover. Went on to Cambodia, Vietnam and Bangkok. Still sifting thru my pictures. Will post some more.
Oh, the first shot is on the way to Annapurna Base Camp and the second is at the basecamp. I was originally on the Annapurna Circuit; on the way up; when the storm/avalanche hit the pass. Forty-three people were killed and the pass was closed for several days. I, along with most people who were heading up, decided to head back down. Those of us with open plans went on to other treks (I went to ABC) but most people had a limited amount of time and decided to return home.
Because no equipment or technical skills are required to do he ABC or Circuit treks, it is very easy to underestimate them and have a false sense of security. Some of that is perpetuated by the guidebooks. They are often written by seasoned hikers who do this for a living. They can give the false impression that these hikes are equivalent to a walk in the park and anyone can do them. That could not be less true. The vast majority of the people have porters to carry their backpack and also a guide. Even with a porter these are very difficult hikes. I carried my own backpack and I think I hit the limit of what I could do physically and I think (thought) that I am (was) in pretty good shape.
It is very hot at the lower altitudes – upto 1000 meters. After that it is hot during the day and cold once the sun sets; typical mountain weather. Once you get around and above 4000 meters the nights are very, very cold. I heard that many of the people going over the Thorong La pass (where the storm occurred) did not have proper winter gear. Some people did not even have gloves, hats or heavy jackets.
As a result of this tragedy there are going to be some changes. For one, the government is going to build emergency shelters along the pass. Although not formally announced, the rumor has it that people will no longer be allowed to hike alone. They will need to have at least a guide. Not sure if this will apply just to Annapurna Circuit or all the other high altitude treks.