Trekking - ABC

by Julia Laporte February. 08, 2019 700 views

The Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) is situated at an altitude of 4130 m. Although you follow a clear hiking path to reach it which does not require any actual mountaineering skills, I will still call that ascent a “climb” rather than a hike due our exertion and in some parts the slope.

The previous days it had been snowing at that altitude, not granting any views of the peaks as well as worsening the condition of the tracks leading up to MBC (Machhapuchhre/Fishtail Base Camp, 3703 m) and ABC. However, on the morning we started the climb the sky was clear and startlingly blue. An hour into the ascent we arrived at a section where an avalanche had come down the previous night. Before crossing our guide, Saila, was inspecting the site to ensure it was safe to do so. After traversing that section it was a long, steady and slow climb up to MBC. Finally arriving there, we slumped on a bench while enjoying the warm sunshine hitting our faces and waited for our lunch, along with many other people having the same intention of going up to ABC on that beautiful day.

Well rested and fed we started the last climb of two hours up towards ABC. Halfway through the ascent the weather started to come in and very quickly caused a complete whiteout with no visibility, apart from the next ten metres of our path ahead. Fortunately, the clouds did not linger and shortly before we reached ABC they had partially subsided. Having made it we had a celebratory drink (just a hot cup of tea), checked out the base camp and headed back down to MBC before dark, in the hope of sleeping better at the lower altitude. During the descent the weather and clouds came in again and this time did not dissolve. However, the next morning we were once again greeted by glorious sunshine and marvelous views of our impressive surroundings.

The avalanche that had come down the previous night

The avalanche that had come down the previous night

Our guide, Saila, checking for a safe spot to cross the avalanche with my husband waiting in line

Our guide, Saila, checking for a safe spot to cross the avalanche with my husband waiting in line

View up the valley towards MBC

View up the valley towards MBC

The thin blue line, the roof of one of the two tea houses at MBC, visible on the left hand side.

The thin blue line, the roof of one of the two tea houses at MBC, visible on the left hand side.

My husband “climbing” up the valley towards our MBC tea house

My husband “climbing” up the valley towards our MBC tea house

The warm lunch break in the sun at the MBC tea house; Saila, our guide, sitting out he bench with the crampons in his hands

The warm lunch break in the sun at the MBC tea house; Saila, our guide, sitting out he bench with the crampons in his hands

The view from MBC up towards ABC with Annapurna South towering over the valley

The view from MBC up towards ABC with Annapurna South towering over the valley

The view of Fishtail from MBC

The view of Fishtail from MBC

The glaciers on Fishtail

The glaciers on Fishtail

On the way up to ABC

On the way up to ABC

The weather slowly coming in, a huge different in temperature in the shade

The weather slowly coming in, a huge different in temperature in the shade

View down the valley, the clouds coming in and over Fishtail

View down the valley, the clouds coming in and over Fishtail

Annapurna South and ABC visible at its base in the distance

Annapurna South and ABC visible at its base in the distance

The clouds taking over

The clouds taking over

ABC and its surroundings barely visible in the distance, before the clouds completely consumed it

ABC and its surroundings barely visible in the distance, before the clouds completely consumed it

The clouds partially lifting

The clouds partially lifting

We made it! Photo credit to our guide, Saila

We made it! Photo credit to our guide, Saila

One of the tea houses at ABC

One of the tea houses at ABC

Prayer flags at ABC with Annapurna in the background

Prayer flags at ABC with Annapurna in the background

View down the valley towards MBC

View down the valley towards MBC

My husband on his way down to MBC

My husband on his way down to MBC

The view down the valley from MBC the next morning

The view down the valley from MBC the next morning

View up the valley towards ABC with Annapurna South in its full glory

View up the valley towards ABC with Annapurna South in its full glory

Views rarely get any better than this - the beauty of the mountains and the light were truly striking

Views rarely get any better than this - the beauty of the mountains and the light were truly striking

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There are 22 comments , add yours!
Ho Kim 2 years, 1 month ago

What an amazing shots! Those shots are something I could not get even from the google search!. Annapurna is not only the most demanding mountain to climb but also a mountain that I want to see with my own eyes. Your pictures give me very vivid feelings and makes me as if I were there. I don't want to add one more name to the notorious Annapurna's casualty but I want to stay base camp area couple of day to see myself what it looks like and feels like. Thank you so much for sharing!

2 years, 1 month ago Edited
Julia Laporte Replied to Ho Kim 2 years, 1 month ago

Hi Ho, happy you enjoyed these shots. While Annapurna is indeed one of the most dangerous peaks to summit and requires high skills and mountaineering experience, the base camp is accessible with a regular fitness level (the category we fall under). I can only recommend it as I found the experience to be truly magical!

2 years, 1 month ago Edited
Ho Kim Replied to Julia Laporte 2 years, 1 month ago

If you don't mind I'd like to get some help once I make up my mind to get there. Anyhow which season will be best to get there?

2 years, 1 month ago Edited
Julia Laporte Replied to Ho Kim 2 years, 1 month ago

Sure! The “best” season really depends on your own preferences regarding temperatures and people. In October, March and April (the high season) the mornings, evenings and nights are more moderate and not as cold. At the same time it can get quite hot during the day, especially considering you’d be walking many hours a day. In January, the mornings evenings and nights were really cold (I won’t sugarcoat it). However, the days were pleasant and cool and you can gear up against the cold. The second aspect is fellow trekkers; the Annapurna Sanctuary is one of the most popular trekking areas and therefore gets crowded during high season. Personally, I wasn’t looking forward to trekking in January as I dislike the cold, but having done it and seeing the amount of people even in January I am glad to have done it during low season and avoided the crowds, despite the cold.

2 years, 1 month ago Edited
Greg Blaney 2 years, 3 months ago

Spectacular shots, Julie. I just love the mountains and the Himalayas are something special. The blue of the sky just seems bluer than everywhere else. You've captured the feel of the place very well. My faves are photos 1 thru 26.

2 years, 3 months ago Edited
Julia Laporte Replied to Greg Blaney 2 years, 2 months ago

They really are special. I used a polarizing filter for some of the shots - mainly to reduce the glare off the snow but that will of course affect the blues in the picture. A polarizing filter cannot enhance what is not there, though, so the sky was certainly a daylong blue. :-)

2 years, 2 months ago Edited
Julia Laporte Replied to Julia Laporte 2 years, 2 months ago

*dazzling blue. Thank you, autocorrect

2 years, 2 months ago Edited
Richard White 2 years, 3 months ago

Hi Matt and Julie, I been really enjoying from photos and Julie I feel your next job should be with National Geographic! By the way, where is Mount Everest?

2 years, 3 months ago Edited
Julia Laporte Replied to Richard White 2 years, 3 months ago

Haha, thank you for those kind words Richard. I do enjoy all these landscapes immensely and that probably translates into the pictures. The Himalayas are lined up along the northern border of Nepal; while Annapurna is more in the centre of the range, Mt Everest is further East and would give you very different views. Would love to go there sometime in the future.

2 years, 3 months ago Edited
Björn Roose 2 years, 3 months ago

Some truly impressive landscapes you shot smile

2 years, 3 months ago Edited
Julia Laporte Replied to Björn Roose 2 years, 3 months ago

And I really can’t take credit for the landscape nor the weather - I was just the witness! The one thing I can take credit for is having the right gear (photography gloves) so my fingers wouldn’t freeze off while taking pictures. smile

2 years, 3 months ago Edited
Björn Roose Replied to Julia Laporte 2 years, 3 months ago

And having good eyes. There's plenty of people who even in that kind of landscape don't manage to shoot one decent photo smile I should look up what exactly photography gloves are though, since a few of my fingers go numb from the moment freezing point is approaching (and it takes like half an hour before they "wake up" again) ...

2 years, 3 months ago Edited
Julia Laporte Replied to Björn Roose 2 years, 2 months ago

Thanks, I’ll take it.
I have an older version of these photography gloves without which some of these pictures would not have been possible.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Markhof-Pro-Model-2-0-photographers/dp/B07KMC3114/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1550149942&sr=8-3&keywords=Vallerret+photography+gloves

2 years, 2 months ago Edited
Bill Baird 2 years, 3 months ago

Spectacular !!!!

2 years, 3 months ago Edited
Julia Laporte Replied to Bill Baird 2 years, 3 months ago

Thanks, Bill. It truly was.

2 years, 3 months ago Edited
Ueli Haldimann 2 years, 3 months ago

Wahnsinn wo ihr da überall rumwandert.

2 years, 3 months ago Edited
Julia Laporte Replied to Ueli Haldimann 2 years, 3 months ago

We only live once and this is our chance! smile

2 years, 3 months ago Edited
Ueli Haldimann Replied to Julia Laporte 2 years, 3 months ago

You are sure?? 😉

2 years, 3 months ago Edited
Heike 2 years, 3 months ago

Wow, wow, wow. Such beautiful views and photos!! I envy you. Any problems with the circulatory system in that height?

2 years, 3 months ago Edited
Julia Laporte Replied to Heike 2 years, 3 months ago

Thanks, Heike. We did not have any issues at that altitude. Some said they did have a mild headache but nothing too serious. I would recommend this trek to anyone with an adenturous spirit and no fear of gearing up against the cold. smile

2 years, 3 months ago Edited
Paul Kullar 2 years, 3 months ago

put your hands up in the air put your hands up in the air

2 years, 3 months ago Edited
Julia Laporte Replied to Paul Kullar 2 years, 3 months ago

smile

2 years, 3 months ago Edited
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