Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Annapurna Circuit Trek: Day 9

DAY 9: Letdar to Thorung Phedi High Camp

Day nine saw me set off at around 8:30am. This seemed to be the norm, save for a day or two where earlier starts seemed more prudent. Letdar is close to 14,000 feet up, so the cold certainly has an affect before the sun's rays hit down on a place so high up. Within an hour of setting off, I was already beginning to peel off a layer to keep from sweating. Sweat mixed with cold and the wrong fabrics can lead to some severe problems. If you're thinking of trying such a high altitude hike, make sure to bring the proper clothing. Moisture wicking works the best, and wearing a series of layers - including your coat - is a big thing.

After a couple of hours hiking and even spotting more vultures, I made a stop to rest and be prepared for the last 'easy' section of the hike. By this point, my shoulder was feeling a lot better, as it essentially had become conditioned to the weight of the pack. The scope of the views can be seen below. A foursome riding mountain bikes and their Nepali guide made for good conversation, that day. One of those riders helped me to take this picture! If you're reading this, thank you!

Left: Annapurna III, Right: Gangapurna

Hiking on, it was only about another hour or so before hitting Thorung Phedi. Typically, people either stay here or make the extra 400 meter climb up to the High Camp. Feeling better acclimated this year, than last, I decided to push on up. The ascent to the high camp is not an easy one. Despite being maybe 1.5 to 2 km worth of a walk, at most, it will take some people as long as two hours to make the 1300 foot plus ascent. Switchback after switchback greets you. Loose rocks can be a problem, and this can hit about a 30-35 degree slope, which is steeper than it sounds. In the picture below, the top left area is where I was headed. You can't see it, but there are trekkers in the middle on the trail!

Believe it or not, there are trekkers in this picture!

Every ten minutes, I would stop for a breather, and then press on. After just 75 minutes, I could see more people - and without gear or packs! I had made it. I spent the remainder of the day relaxing and making sure I was drinking plenty of water too help combat the effects of the altitude. At this point, all of us are at just below 16,000 feet. In other words, over three miles up! The next day, however, would find me at my goal - the Thorung La Pass.

Cost: 2300 Rs.
Approx. distance trekked: 8 km
Next up: Day 10 and the Thorung La Pass!