Trekking in the Himalayas – what should you know before you start?
The Himalayas offer vast trekking trails even for less demanding mountain hikers. In Nepal’s bookshops, entire walls are covered with maps of individual trails, and the imagination is particularly kindled by the routes around Mount Everest and Annapurna. Two famous peaks are located several hundred kilometers from each other, which is why you have to choose the most often. We decided on the second one. How to “bite” the Himalayas and what should you know before going on a multi-day trip?
Good information at the beginning – you don’t need to be a seasoned professional to enjoy your adventures in the highest mountains on earth. The experience gained, for example, in our native Tatras will certainly be useful, but on the way, we met people for whom the Himalayas were the first mountains in life. This does not mean that the trekking trails are light, easy and pleasant. On the contrary. Good condition and respect for the altitude (altitude disease) are important elements of a successful hike. It is also worth being prepared for large temperature fluctuations, including very cold nights and poor sanitary conditions (the standard is usually much lower than in our shelters).
In the vicinity of Annapurna (west of Kathmandu), the most popular are two routes: the several-day-old Annapurna Circuit and Annapurna Base Camp Trek, which can be crossed in a few days.
WHICH ROUTE SHOULD I TAKE?
Much depends on the time we have. ABC takes from 6 to 10 days – depending on our condition and the body’s reaction to the altitude. In turn, Circuit’s passage is estimated at 18 days (we heard that it could be done in 15). We had no way out, limited by holidays, we decided on ABC, so we have better knowledge about this route.
Landscapes are different for both routes. A circuit is wilder, leads around the whole massif, and during the hike reaches a height of as much as 5146m above sea level. (Thorong La Pass). The ABC is a route that runs through villages on picturesque hills for the first days. Around the trail, there is a normal life for the Gurung people. Only the last two days, over 3000m above sea level, provide truly mountainous views. The trail leads to the Annapurna Shrine (4130m above sea level), which is a glacial boiler with a beautiful view of six and seven-thousand and of course Annapurna herself.
The pace of the route can be adjusted according to your preferences – every few kilometers there are guest houses on the route where you can stop and spend the night. To be independent, we recommend to go to ABC without a guide and a swordsman, the trail is so simple, that having a map with you, it’s hard to get lost. If you have any problems, you can always ask for the way of the locals. Who likes who, but they know the paths there very well.
WHY NOT EVEREST?
Although Everest naturally seems to be the first choice when choosing a route for adventure in the Himalayas, the trails around Annapurna host more hikers (which in itself may be their minus). ABC and Circuit are considered easier and more varied in nature. Not without significance is also the simpler and cheaper logistics of the expedition to the region of Annapurna. You can get to Pokhara – the base for trekking (also around Dhaulagiri) by bus (8h) or by plane. In the case of Lukla, Everest’s starting point, it is only possible to get there by air.