Annapurna Base Camp Trek in 7 Days

We did the ABC trek in late December 2017 (Christmas time). Although tecnically winter (December, January and February are regarded the winter months in Nepal) the weather was very warm and sunny, which is quite unsual for that time of year.

Generally in winter you should expect snow and spells of bad weather and pack accordingly. We did have gear for bad weather with us, even if we didn't use it. Having said that, although those months are colder there is usually less cloud coverage (blue skies) and it's also significantly less busy, which is very welcome as this is a very popular track.

Should you encounter bad weather during the hike, the areas just before and after Deurali is where you need to be careful as in case of avalanches there is nowhere to hide.

I always wondered what people meant by "be careful" if you're fully exposed in the worst case scenario anyway, but this is my take on it: Ask locals. If the risk is too high the track will be closed anyway from that point onwards. Otherwise look for snow, use the alternate route if necessary (on the other side of the gorge, right hand side if you are looking up) and don't dilly dally. You should be especially vigilant if there was heavy snowfall recently (winter) and during the first weeks of spring (due to melting of the winter snow). Those precautions should keep you reasonably safe, albeit not 100%. But hey, that applies to life in general.

We did the ABC trek directly from Poon Hill, which is why we are starting at day 2 here. You can have a look at the Poon Hill part of the hike here. The Poon Hill trek is optional and will add 1 or 2 days to your trek in total.

Day 2 - Ghorepani to Tadapani

8 hours - 7 km

This is where we get into some of our longest days of hiking, not intentionally but more forcefully by me towards B. Today we started at Ghorepani and headed towards Tadapani (2540M). Along the trek we saw many Mules, some which would not move and you had to wait for them to decide to pass. This part of the route you have many spectacular views and you end up at one of the most beautiful places on the trek to stay. Hanging out that night with hot chocolate and various people who you had met on the trek was a different way to spend Christmas. (I have to say the meals on the trek were fantastic, so delicious and exactly what you would want at the end of a long day).

Altitude chart Ghorepani to Tadapani

Crossing dodgy bridge
Bojan exited at the mountains
Nikki enjoying the view
View on the way to Tadapani
Mule caravan
Classical Nepalese tea house

Day 3 - Tadapani to Lower Sinuwa

10 hours - 9 , 5 km

Waking up in Tadapani and looking out on your deck to the sunrise makes you feel like you are on top of the world. You have had no cellphone or contact with the outside world for two days now and it just frees your mind. From Tadapani (2540m) we set out early at 9am and spent the rest of the day hiking till 6 pm at night, going through Chomrong (2170m) and then via the longest stone staircase steps ever to ending up at lower Sinuwa (2340m I think a bit lower).

This hike was all up and down with a lot of stairs, but was so worth it. About 3 hours into the walk we were lucky enough when … two red pandas went running out in front of us across the path and straight back into the bush. The most unbelievable sight ever. But we were also completely smashed by the end of that day and Sinuwa provided us with our worst accommodation we had, had on the whole hike.

Altitude chart Tadapani to Lower Sinuwa

Day 4 - Lower Sinuwa to M.B.C

11 hours - 14 km

By now it was Day 4 on our hike, we were tired but had a goal to reach Deurali (3100m). So we woke up early and started walking, stopping around 9 am for breakfast at Bamboo (2335m). Then we marched on to Doban (2505m) where we stopped to a packed camp site and decided to eat lunch before carrying on. By the time we reached Deurali it was 4pm and the camp was almost fully booked out by tours (watch out for this as people with guides book ahead, we had no guide so risked turing up to no accommodation).

Here we meet four guys who convinced us by saying MBC is only 2 hours away to hike the remained to make it to base camp. This was probably one of the silliest things we did on the hike. We reached MBC (3700m) just before nightfall and it was getting cold and dark. (The weather the whole hike was perfect and sunny, but night times were still super cold. We got very lucky with our hike as days later snow was predicted). We fell down on the couches and ordered a meal while watching the sunset over fishtail mountain, a surreal experience. About an hour later the guys turned up cold and hungry. We didn't get altitude sickness as we had taken tablets the day before, but looking at our video footage our faces were swallow like balloons.

Altitude chart Lower Sinuwa to M.B.C.

Nepalese prayer flags
Nikki between MBC and Deurali
Impressions along trek
Nikki crossing dodgy bridge
Sunrise at Tadapani
View over the ranges
Bojan on the way to Chomrong

Day 5 - M.B.C to A.B.C and back to Doban

10 hours - 6 , 3 km

This was a long day again. We woke up early ate breakfast and then hiked the remainder to ABC (4130m). I rushed it a bit and the locals commented on how fit I looked (haha). B was a bit mad at this point as he just wanted to enjoy the scenery while I wanted to make the top. At the top you look out over the himalayas and you feel this huge sense of accomplishment. Its a strange feeling to describe, but a feeling everyone should feel once in their lives. After an hour and a half at the top we hiked back to MBC for lunch and to collect our bags before the long decent to Doban (2505m). We had planned to make it to Bamboo but we were way too tired after these two long days. (Accomodation was great along the way, most places had showers, western toilets and amazing food - Doban we got to late and ended up sleeping in a room with no windows and right by the kitchen. This was a bad nights sleep).
Altitude chart M.B.C. to A.B.C.

Sunrise at Tadapani
Bojan arriving at ABC
Nikki on the way to ABC
View at MBC
Nikki at base camp
On the way to ABC
Annapurna base camp
Annapurna base camp
Looking at the mountains

Day 6 - Hot pools at Jinhu

6 hours - 6 , 3 km

Waking up on Day 6 I was so excited, we were off to Jinhu (1610m). The famous hot pools and relaxation on the hike. Along the way we saw so many monkeys, stopped at Chomrong after climbing 2500 stone steps, plus all the steps from Bamboo to Sinuwa for a much deserved chocolate cake. From there we were almost at Jhinu. On the way down a local had cut a tree and it had fallen on the power line (this would effect us later in the evening). We had to navigate through this to make our destination by early afternoon. On arrival we booked in at a room with a double bed over looking the mountains and a private bathroom luxury! B was straight to the beer in the sun, and I soon followed. After an hour of chilling we headed down to the hot pools. SO good, looking over the river water, I was in heaven. Dinner also that night was very romantic. The power was out, so the place had set up dinner by candle light over looking the himalayas. What an amazing last night.

Day 7 - Hike out

5 hours - 6 , 3 km

Day 7, was unintentionally longer than we wanted. We planned after looked at the map to head to Siwai (1640m) where we could get a jeep out and back to Pokhara. Along the way we somehow got lost and ended back up on the mountain. After hiking down this digger filled road we found a local man who kindly bush bashed for us all the way back to where we were meant to end up. This allowed for many laughs and an extra hour added to our hike out. By the time we were done it all felt surreal. Staying back in Pokhara it felt like it didn't even happen. I was glad to be back to some normality but also missed the fresh air and the time to allow my brain to relax with no distractions around me. Hiking in Nepal is definitely worth it, everyone is friendly and you get to be pushed out of your comfort zone. I am sure B will be pushing me to do another one of theses hikes sooner rather than later.

Bojan back at Pokhara
Nikki back at Pokhara
Sunset over Pokhara