Week 2 | Trekking the Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Episode 7/13 | Tilicho Lake
Seerikhadka 4,150m - Tilicho Lake 4,949m | DIST 6km aprox.
Climbing to the highest lake in the world! Packing only the necessities, at least trying too, we ascend 800m and back again. Staying at Tilicho Base Camp for the night.
Episode 8/13 | Negotiating Yaks on Route to Yak Kharka
Tilicho Base Camp 4,150m - Yak Kharka 4,050m | 16km
Despite feeling completely shattered after 2 days of steep climbs the shortcut across to Yak Kharka, back onto the circuit was one of my favourite parts from the trek. A little off the beaten track, the nature seemingly untouched and not another soul in sight - hard to beat!
Other than that there were a few shady moments trying to negotiate Yaks on narrow trails and a moment were we thought we'd lost our compadre Jose! All ended well though with a toasty fire place and a few Yak Burgers, fresh from the farm!
Episode 9/13 | To High Camp ‘or’ Not to High Camp
Yak Kharka 4,050m - Thorang Phedi 4,450m | 7km
To sleep at High Camp or to Not? A fierce debate among men has begun. Sleeping at 5,000m has a few obvious draw backs. Including 50% oxygen or less - not to mention the cold...
Not enjoying the relatively short trek today, completely exhausted and keen for some rest I almost twist my ankle. Not at all keen on High Camping...
Episode 10/13 | Thorong La Pass
Thorang Phedi 4,450m - Mutkinath 3,800m | 14km
Cold fingers and wobbly knees!
Myself and Rhys quickly discover that our "North Face" replica gloves aren't up to the sub zero challenge - having to make a hasty retreat back to base camp... Thorong La Pass at 5,416m is without doubt the most challenging part of the trek. With active oxygen levels as low as 10% it quickly turns to astronautical baby steps.
I'd like to say I was jumping with joy at the top but the reality is quite different. The mountains have no mercy and the only easy ride home is via chopper, direct to A&E!
Episode 11/13 | Exploring and Capturing Muktinath
After yesterdays mammoth trek over the High Pass I take a rest day and wake up early, keen to explore and capture Muktinath. An ancient, serene and fairytale like village.
Having arrived late the previous evening I struggle to navigate and find a composition for sunrise. Discussing even exposures through exposure bracketing. While capturing the locals doing their thing.
Jose, Rhys and Norbert continue on so I keep my eye out for a new trekking crew!
Episode 12/13 | Heading Home
Mutkinath 3,800m - Kagbeni 2,800m | 15km aprox.
Damaged toes and desert trails. With the majority of the trek behind us I join a new trekking crew and we start to make our way back to civilisation. Stopping off at Kagbeni for some Yak Donalds! The Yak Burger ‘Happy Meal Special’ - Hats off the best burger i've had in Asia.
Trekking back into hotter climates we skirt along the edge of the Mustang region with arid desert like terrain. Many dislike this part of the trek due to dust, wind and untouched terrain. Personally it was one of my favourite parts - Like another world altogether.
Episode 13/13 | Catching the Bus from Jomsom to Pokhara
Kagbeni - Jomsom - Pokhara | 160km
Coming to the end of the Annapurna Circuit, Jomsom, where most trekkers tend to hop on a bus or a plane back to Pokhara. I decided to negotiate the bus system and here's what happened!