The Grampian Hillwalking Club

Grampian Hillwalking Club

Club Trip to the Annapurna Base Camp in Nepal October 2010

Five members of the club made the trip to Nepal. We arrived in Katmandu after 24 hours travelling and after one night there we took the tourist bus to Pokhara. The bus was inexpensive, but the journey took 7 hours and was certainly an experience to be remembered due to the state of the road and vertical drops! We then spent two nights in Pokhara getting ourselves ready for the trek.

Club members admiring the view of Phewa lake from the

On the second day in Pokhara we visited the Stupa which overlooks Phewa Lake from where there is a fantastic view of the Annapurna Himalayas. On the day we went up it was cloudy but warm. This was our first encounter with leeches due to the damp conditions

After much deliberation we decided not to hire a guide and porters. We kept our backpacks to a minimum (between 7kg & 10kg). We began our climb from Phedi (see map) and basically the whole of the trek consisted of climbing or descending on a grand scale, even by Scottish mountain standards. The temperatures and the climate experienced varied greatly. At lower altitudes it was hot throughout the day and night while at 4000 metres it was a lot colder and the terrain resembled that of the Scottish mountains.

Accommodation was basic (£3 per two-bed room) with all food provided at these ‘guesthouses’. The menus consisted of Nepalese and Western food to suit most tastes and pockets at £2 - £3. Beer was the only thing that was expensive at £3 a bottle and got dearer the further up we went, but on some evenings a welcome treat!

The main reason for the trip was to reach the Annapurna Base Camp at a height of 4130 metres, but the underlying reason was to be able to see incredible mountains. There was one mountain which shone above all else and was small in stature compared to many of its surrounding peaks, the mountain in question was Machhapuchhre, which still looked immense from Pokhara.

After five days of trekking we arrived at the Annapurna Base camp. At 8am the weather had closed in as was the case a lot of the time, but after a couple of hours waiting the weather broke for about one hour to reveal Annapurna and all the satellite mountains in an amphitheatre.

The descent from Annapurna Base camp turned into a very long day (12 hours) due to large organised groups who managed to book out completely all accommodation, such as in Bamboo. Because we made so much ground in one day this gave us the opportunity to walk from Sinuwa to Ghandruk via the beautiful village of Kimrong and here we had a rest day. Ghandruk is the largest village in the area, and like everywhere else the food was excellent and very fresh.

The people of Nepal were always friendly and very laid back.

Every morning we woke to fantastic views of the Annapurna region.

The descent from Grandruk to Birethanti was our last major day on the trek. Birethanti is only about an hour’s walk to the tarmac road and back to Pokhara, but we bargained for a taxi from Birethanti to Pokhara for £14. The journey from Birethanti to the main road was one we will always remember – avoiding large rocks, massive potholes and even through a river!

We eventually arrived back in Katmandu so that we could leisurely look around, do some last minute shopping and see some Nepalese culture. Durbar Square is a place worth visiting.