Never Stop Exploring – Annapurna Circuit Trek Day 10

We woke up at 4 am to move off to the highest point in our adventure – the Thorung La Pass! After breakfast we moved off at 5 am. It was still dark and we had to rely on headlamps and torches for the first part of the climb.

If it wasn’t so damn cold, we would all have stayed to enjoy the view as the sky starts to brighten slowly.

But we had no time for that as there were many other trekkers going up on the narrow path and we had to push on before the strong wind set in. And bit by bit it got brighter although not easier..And we press on and on. Some of the us were laboring under the double whammy of the cold and altitude and we were moving very slowly. And I think we actually envied those who decided not to tackle the wall and rode horses up! But we push on and finally!Yes we made it! The highest point of our trek at 5,416 metres and I dare say, the highest that I will ever possibly climb to. By now the wind was howling and after a cup of tea in the teahouse shack at the summit, we made our way down to Muktinath. 

Of course it being downhill, it was a much easier walk and we picked up some pace although we still stop often enough to take photo and of course to pee although it was kinda tough for the ladies considering the open ground.

This is the last suspension bridge that we were be crossing and of course we had to stop to take a group photo.

And finally we reached Muktinath!We had started at 5 am and it was barely 3 pm. We had descended 1,600 metres in slightly over 4 hours and covering from the time we set off from High Camp to here a distance of almost 18 km proving again that going down hill is always much easier!

This is Muktinath a little town that is actually like a big religious place with a temple and many shrines.

Because it was still early, we toured the temple and its surrounding before checking into our hotel Although we still have one more day to go, our guide told us that the trek is considered over and so we assumed that the next day will be an easy day but little did we know………….

 

 

Never Stop Exploring – Annapurna Circuit Trek Day 9

Today we start our climb to the highest point in our journey. We didn’t start too early though. At about 8 am when the sun was already out when we set off.

It was a hot day and it didn’t help that we were most of the time out in the open.

Along the way we saw many Blue Sheep. Mainly on the steep mountain slope. It just amazing how these creatures can bounce up and down the side without falling.We continued walking for the most part along the bank of the Jasang Khola before we stopped for a long lunch to build up our strength for the final tackle.The last part up to the Torung Phedi and High Camp was tough. 

It was a steep walk not helped by the thin oxygen and we walked very slowly so much so that by the time we reached High Camp, it was 5 pm. We had took 9 hours to walk 10 km! But we were at the 4,925 metre. But it wasn’t enough. Our guide suggested after we had put our packs in our room to take a short walk to the top – just another 10 minutes walk. And I am glad we did – because I saw the Tibetan Snowcock and this wonderful misty view of the surrounding.

The High Camp has got to be one of the coldest place in the region. Entering our little room was like entering a freezer. Everything was cold to the touch including the blanket and sleeping bag. To make it worse, the toilet was outside and to reach it, one had to walk into the open. It was a miserable night for most of us. Our only comfort was that it was our last night at this altitude and after the final summit the next morning we will be going down down down!

Never Stop Exploring – Annapurna Circuit Trek Day 8

After the high of Lake Tilicho, we got to descend a bit. Not much but still it was nice to go downhill through beautiful sights.

This was the view that greet us early in the morning before we start our journey for the day.

Our hike for the day or at least for the first part of the day was through open grounds with not much climb.

But we had to cross back the landslide area again. This is the view from the top where we had climb up the previously.

Our journey took us through some colorful plants. Interesting since this is not autumn or is it?

More of the colorful plants all over the place.

And then we came to this abandoned settlement at Upper Khangsar. 

Everyone especially the ladies were very happy to reach this place because this was like the only area that was not so open and the ladies all rushed to the abandoned buildings to let go. Hahaha

Another view of the settlement with the stone wall around it. Like a mini great wall of China.

More ridge walking. Not as scary as it look and definitely easier than the route up to Tilicho.The view in front of us as we near Yak Kharka, our destination for the dayThe mountain in front of us. Beautiful but lucky we are not scaling that.And finally crossing the Thorung Khola to Yak Kharka.

18 km today. 9 and a half hour. One of the longest but definitely not tough day. 

 

Never Stop Exploring – Annapurna Circuit Trek Day 7

Day 7 – When I first decided to follow my friends on this trip, I didn’t know where and what is Tilicho Lake. Our original trek did not include Tilicho Lake and when someone suggested to go there, everyone including me just agreed without knowing what exactly we were getting into. In fact, for me I just followed the crowd and didn’t even bother to find out anything about the trek at all. So on the morning of Day 7 of our Annapurna Circuit, I found myself together with the rest setting out to view the highest lake in the world.

This was the view that we saw when we set off from Tilicho Base Camp. Isn’t it awesome!

It started off easy enough through a wide open valley and several mountain pass.

And then we had to go through another rock fall landslide area.

And as we continued to climb, it became more and more difficult for us to walk. First was the altitude which makes it very tough for us to walk fast. And then there was the wind. Strong gushes of wind that blind us with the sand that it wipe up into our face threatening to send the lighter one down the side. But we had to press on. Step by step, we grind our way up slowly until we came to this.

3 small little lake. Was this Tilicho Lake? Did we got conned and came all the way for this? It can’t be and indeed it was not. After struggling up some more 

We finally came to THE LAKE! No words and no photo can describe the incredible scene of this large beautiful lake sitting so peacefully in the middle of the mountain.

The Tilicho Lake at 4km long and 2.5km wide is the biggest lake in the world at the altitude of 4920 m. Unfortunately with the strong cold wind howling at us, we had no time to enjoy the beautiful scene before us and had to head back down after a hot tea and the customary group photo.

Going down was of course much easier and now we can see how beautiful the mountain is as we go back downward to Tilicho Base Camp.

So after 6 hours and 12 km hike, we made it back to the base camp to await another day of new adventure – the Thorung La Pass……

Never Stop Exploring – Annapurna Circuit Trek Day 6

Day 6 is the first main highlight of the trip. This is the day where we will go to Tilicho Base Camp, the first stage to Tilicho Lake, the highest lake in the world.

The trek today see us climbing and climbing. This is the first real challenge for us as we make our ascend to the Tilicho Base Camp which was 4,150 m above sea level. While there was awesome scenery as usual along the way like this rock face  

and this

the main portion of this trail was the walk along what they called the “landslide area”, a ridge walk on a very exposed cliff face where rocks could just come raining down any time.

This is the cliff face looking upward

And this is looking downward

And looking behind

And looking in front.

I seriously don’t want to go sliding down these rock face and thank goodness nobody did. 

The entire journey from Khangsar to Tilicho Base Camp was only about 6 km but we took almost 6 hours! Of course that include the lunch and tea breaks which was like 2 – 3 hours long but still it was a tough day. And we had more to come the next day…..

Never Stop Exploring – Annapurna Circuit Trek Day 5

Day 5 is supposed to be our acclimatisation day in Manang.  

After breakfast we took a short stroll to the Gangapurna Glacier Lake just a stone throw away from our teahouse. 

It a beautiful place and the trip was really like a nice casual outing instead of the usual full day hike. 

This is the lake formed by the glacier

And this is the glacier

But after a relaxing morning, our guide decided that it was better for us to move to our next higher destination to continue the acclimatisation at Khangsar. So after lunch, we move on from Manang arriving at Khangsar some 2 plus hours later. The route took us downhill for a while and wind along the never ending Marsyangdi river.

Eventually after a long walk through open grounds and crossing a long suspension bridge, we reached Khangsar which was 3,745m above sea level to rest for the next day challenge.