With well over 20,000 thousand stairs behind us, and 65 kilometers of full-pack hiking on our Nepal resumé, we snaked our way along the Modi Khola river with Annapurna South looming on our left and Fish Tail mountain slashing through the sky on our right.
Alert: Before you continue reading, make sure you read Anne’s account of the first four grueling days from Pokhara to Machapuchare Base Camp.
Day 5: Closing in on Annapurna Base Camp
As we climbed above 10,000 FASL (feet above sea level) the trees began to thin out, the mountain walls turned jagged and ominous, and the glaciers came out to play. This particular glacier had perfectly carved tunnels to be explored, thanks to the rivers that cascade down from Annapurna II all “summer.”
The Deadliest Mountain
Annapurna is the deadliest mountain on Earth, with a 38% fatality-to-summit ratio. A stupa, layered with prayer flags, was originally built to remember the great climber Anatoli Boukreev, and since has become a place for all to remember the lives that Annapurna has claimed.
Day 6: Daybreak at ABC
As if formed by a carpenter’s chisel these beautiful powder chutes were calling to the crazy skier inside me. Then I realized that stupa didn’t need any more prayer flags.
South Annapurna Moraine
Before beginning the four-day trek back to Pokhara, via Poon Hill, I had one more mission to accomplish…to reach HoneyTrek’s seventh proper glacier. Though this was a fairly unapproved move (by Anne and our guide, until a bit of cajoling), Dalip and I skidded our way down the 300-foot deep moraine to reach the South Annapurna Glacier…a little dicey, but worth it!
The Virgin Machapuchare
Machapuchare, aka Fishtail, is one of the few virgin mountains left in the Annapurna range, due to a combination of the insane summit routes and the fact that it is a sacred mountain to the Nepalese people. It’s already the prettiest peak in the range, and knowing that it’s untouchable only adds to its magnificence.
Day 7: Carrying on to Ghorepani
Day 8: Sunrise Hike to Poon Hill
We arrived at Ghorepani slightly worse for wear thanks to the roller-coaster of punishing hills (we wondered numerous times why the sherpas didn’t install some zip lines between those ridges!)…but with a good night sleep and dreams of the ultimate Himalaya sunrise, our muscles were “fired up and ready to go” for the 4:30am hike to Poon Hill.
Day 9: Cheers to the Annapurna Sanctuary
Day 10: The End of a Trip We’ll Never Forget
If you enjoy trekking and fantastical mountains, you must visit Nepal–no ifs, ands, or buts! With eight out of the ten tallest peaks in the world, Nepal is the ultimate high.