Annapurna Sanctuary – photos, maps & stats

There are so many photos to share that it makes sense not to put them all on this blog, so here’s a link to Picasa Web instead.

Annapurna Sanctuary photos on Picasa Web

I also put together some video footage of the trip and posted it to YouTube.

Annapurna Sanctuary video on YouTube

I took my GPS to Annapurna Sanctuary, and this has supplied me with numerous maps and statistics. Here are the tracks we walked laid out over a Google Earth background:

The Google Earth paths can be downloaded directly if you want a closer examination of where we walked. Here’s a summary table of the individual walks we did.

Track Start time Time Miles Height (m)
Phedi to Dhampus 11 Apr 9:59 2:37 2.1 1100-1750
Dhampus to Landruk 12 Apr 7:47 7:05 7.5 1750-1650
Landruk to Chomrong 13 Apr 7:45 7:05 5.3 1650-2200
Chomrong to Bamboo 14 Apr 7:46 6:57 4.7 2200-2300
Bamboo to Deurali 15 Apr 7:37 6:57 4.8 2300-3100
Deurali to MBC 16 Apr 7:59 3:06 2.7 3100-3650
MBC to ABC 17 Apr 7:45 2:37 1.9 3650-4100
ABC to Bamboo 18 Apr 7:43 8:41 11.2 4100-2300
Bamboo to Chomrong 19 Apr 7:45 4:15 4.6 2300-2200
Chomrong to Tadapani 20 Apr 7:26 6:48 5.5 2200-2700
Tadapani to Ghorepani 21 Apr 7:29 6:25 5.1 2700-2900
Ghorepani to Poon Hill 22 Apr 4:19 2:23 1.9 2900-3200
Ghorepani to Hille 22 Apr 7:16 6:59 6.4 2900-1500
Hille to Naya Pol 23 Apr 7:33 2:52 5.1 1500-1000
3d 2:47 68.8

Over the few weeks we walked almost 70 miles, none of which was on the flat. And in total we also walked for 3 days and 2 hours – which sounds like a lot! The longest day was returning from Annapurna Base Camp which took 9 hours. There were no particularly excessive days but, for me, the struggle was the early starts!

Finally, here’s an elevation profile of our trip. The Himalayas just aren’t flat – there are more valleys than you would ever want to encounter in a lifetime.

Annapurna Sanctuary – Twitter commentary

Posted on 9 April 2011 by Rob J
Off to the Himalayas in a few hours. Spent all morning squeezing my kit into a bag. Had to leave behind too much.

Posted on 9 April 2011 by Rob J
Have left lots of clothes behind. I do have 1 SLR, 1 camcorder, 1 compact camera and 3 phones. Plus chargers and batteries. Priorities…

Posted on 9 April 2011 by Rob J
Just got to watch Everton beat Wolves and the Grand National and then the taxi will be here to take us to Heathrow. Gulf Air awaits.

(Edit: Everton beat Wolves 0-3)

Posted on 9 April 2011 by Rob J
Grand National, for me = Blueseacracker, Ballabriggs and Niche Market. Should be easy money…

(Edit: Turns out Ballabriggs won and Niche Market was 5th, so my each way bets on top 5 places turned out very nicely indeed)

Posted on 9 April 2011 by Rob J
Gulf Air, our airline, has the lowest user reviews of all airlines out of Heathrow. Apparently impossible to get a proper drink on board!

Posted on 9 April 2011 by Rob J
@amelia_legs Ok. Will give it a go. My expectations are low so hope to be pleasantly surprised!

(Edit: My derogatory comments, based on brief online research, got spotted by somebody from Gulf Air. After 4 separate flights with Gulf Air I can promise that there is nothing at all wrong with the airline. Food, drink and entertainment met expectations of a reasonably low cost airline. Good, polite service across the board and nothing like the horrible, horrible experiences that Ryanair put upon their customers)

Posted on 9 April 2011 by Rob J

Restaurant at Heathrow T4 playing Simply Red. Never wanted to leave the UK quite so suddenly before.

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Rob J
Enjoying 5 hour stop in Bahrain airport. Gulf Air actually quite good. A hose and no toilet paper in the restrooms here. Carmel confused.

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Rob J
Were given garland of flowers to wear on arrival. Had not had enough beers so quietly left them to one side. Now with beer in the hotel.

Posted on 11 April 2011 by Rob J
At Kathmandu domestic airport terminal. Mayhem is an understatement. Expecting our plane to have chickens in the aisle.

Posted on 11 April 2011 by Rob J
Flight to Pokhara excellent fun. Views of Himalayas very impressive. Now possibly leaving phone/twitter reception as we start trek proper.

Posted on 11 April 2011 by Rob J
Hot hot hot here. Climbed up to first camp this morning. Means we have the afternoon to relax. Will be necessary after late night in bar.

Posted on 11 April 2011 by Rob J
Very lazy after in Dhampus village. There was some thunder, lightning and rain to clear the hazey views.

Posted on 11 April 2011 by Rob J
After dinner about 50 villagers entertained us with Nepalese dancing and music. Not high quality but was entertaining. Up at 6am tomorrow.:(

Posted on 12 April 2011 by Rob J
Woken up at 6am. Ridiculously early. Weather looks hazy but should be very warm. Got a sn

Posted on 12 April 2011 by Rob J
Got tiny bowl of water with which to try and have some sort of shower. Nice b&b next door. Not sure camping was correct choice. Need coffee.

Posted on 12 April 2011 by Rob J
Longish day today. After early start have arrived mid afternoon at Landruk for next camp. Amazing views of massive massive mountains.

Posted on 12 April 2011 by Rob J
It rained while walking this afternoon. Gave me the chance to realise I’d left my waterproofs in the hotel in Kathmandu. Got very wet.

Posted on 12 April 2011 by Rob J
It’s 7:30pm and since I’ve had dinner I see no reason to not be in my sleeping. Will be trying to find rancid toilet by head torch no doubt.

Posted on 13 April 2011 by Rob J
Woke up to a grey day. Within 30mins it is pouring with rain. Guide has given me a slightly stinky poncho to wear. Hope rain stops soonish.

Posted on 13 April 2011 by Rob J
Rain stopped after an hour. Smelly poncho did its trick. Was very grateful. Now stopped for coffee. Surrounded by wild marijuana plants.

Posted on 13 April 2011 by Rob J
Walked a long way down and then a long way back up before lunch. Saw plenty of monkeys but not too close up. A steep 2 hours to camp next.

Posted on 13 April 2011 by Rob J
Plenty of yak around here. Also just seen my first chicken be beheaded by an axe. The body does keep on running around for quite a while!

(Edit: Er – pretty much zero yak on the whole route. We were seeing hairy water buffalo apparently. Yak tend to live above 3,000m and most of our trekking was not through appropriate habitat and altitude. On the return leg we did see 3 yak calves in a shed, but that was our total live yak experience)

Posted on 13 April 2011 by Rob J

The afternoon ascent to camp was fairly merciless. This was not helped by constant drizzle. Again questioning decision to camp in the rain.

Posted on 13 April 2011 by Rob J
Sun came out for an hour this afternoon. Still can’t see tops of peaks. Wish hadn’t washed (under) pants yesterday. They refuse to dry.

Posted on 14 April 2011 by Rob J
Last evening was the first clear evening. From our camp in Chomrong we had fab views of Annapurna South and the Fish Tail mountain.

Posted on 14 April 2011 by Rob J
So many things about camping are rubbish. Today’s moan is having to pack everything away by 6:30am. Small tent + incessant packing = misery.

Posted on 14 April 2011 by Rob J
Expect this morning to be last phone reception until we return to Chomrong in 5 or 6 days. We’ll see.

Posted on 14 April 2011 by Rob J
Absolutely beautiful start to the day. Sun shining with clear blue skies outlining the snow of the mountains. Only 4 hours walk today.

Posted on 14 April 2011 by Rob J
Big steep valleys here. Just descended one and now half way up other side. Locals make far more from selling us cold drinks than farming.

Posted on 14 April 2011 by Rob J
Nearly at our Thu lunch spot. Going very slowly today due to one of our group’s legs not working as well as the other days. Lots of waiting.

Posted on 14 April 2011 by Rob J
All the food has a curry taste. Brought a single tub of squeezy marmite. It is necessary for breakfast of kerosene grilled toast.

Posted on 14 April 2011 by Rob J
In tiny village deep in the Himalayas. Can’t believe I have almost full reception on my phone. My pants have not dried 3 days after washing.

Posted on 14 April 2011 by Rob J
Lunch was normal weird Nepalese food again. Not complaining as is different everyday and v tasty. Today: potato cakes, squash, bread, tuna.

Posted on 14 April 2011 by Rob J
Raging river next to tent is making me want to pee. 4 of our group of 10 got the trots today. It would be funny if I knew I was not next.

Posted on 14 April 2011 by Rob J
Dinner was mash, rice, noodles and curried veg. Am going to get bored of this. Good views of mountains today. Lots of rhododendrums today.

Posted on 15 April 2011 by Rob J
Not a great night’s sleep but I was happy since I didn’t have to get up and clamber out to the disgusting toilet in the dark, rain and cold.

Posted on 15 April 2011 by Rob J
Weather dry this Fri morning but definitely colder. Close to mountains now so constantly in their shade from the sun. Legs working fine atm.

Posted on 16 April 2011 by Rob J
Had nice walk up valley following the river this morning. Sun was shining and saw lots of cool plants. Cobra plant that eats insects my fav.

Posted on 16 April 2011 by Rob J
The afternoon’s walk was just as good. Gained lots of altitude as we made our way to camp at Deurali. Had rest under huge overhanging rock.

Posted on 16 April 2011 by Rob J
It rained all afternoon and evening. We were either in our tents or in the dining area of the neighbouring lodge so stayed dry. Still yucky.

Posted on 16 April 2011 by Rob J
After dinner our Nepalese guide played guitar for us + some other trekkers. He knew a weird mix of Bob Dylan and traditional Nepalese songs.

Posted on 16 April 2011 by Rob J
Some Spanish trekkers then took their turn with some sort of hippy flute. I wasn’t overly impressed and preferred the Nepalese Dylan songs.

Posted on 16 April 2011 by Rob J
Officially above the snowline now and also it seems above the treeline. Expecting cold night in tent. Pants still aren’t dry from day 2.

Posted on 16 April 2011 by Rob J
We passed various fresh avalanches on the way this morning. Path was obliterated in places. Hope no people on them during the avalanches!

Posted on 16 April 2011 by Rob J
After an hours walking saw an amazing sunrise over the mountain tops. Sun stayed with us all morning until we reached camp.

Posted on 16 April 2011 by Rob J
This morning I gave up on my pants actually drying and put them on wet. Sun at next camp persuaded us to do more washing. Maybe a mistake.

Posted on 16 April 2011 by Rob J
Today leaving Deurali at 3200m and heading to Machhapuchhre Base Camp at 3800m. We are following the narrowing valley into the “Sanctuary”.

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Rob J
Some indecision whether to just walk to Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) or to move camp there. Pleased we are moving camp there. More hassle tho.

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Rob J
Cold night, cold start. Waiting for sun to rise and warm us up. Mountains almost circling us now. Very imposing and very impressive.

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Rob J
Had a very lazy afternoon reading a book about Scousers migrating to S Africa. Cloud surrounded camp so not much else to do.

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Rob J
Definitely at altitude here at MBC. Climbing the 20 steps to toilet leaves me out of breath for a good few mins. ABC will be a bit higher.

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Rob J
Well our “summit” day to ABC was short. We arrived at 10:30am. The porters confused by our early arrival are serving us lunch immediately.

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Rob J
Got up, packed and staggered over to high point near camp to catch sunrise. Was last of 50 trekkers to get there. Sunrise good. But v cold.

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Rob J
V cold at ABC so crowded for dinner. Rum followed – good. Carmel broke neck of glass rum bottle opening it in scary feat of strength.

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Rob J
To be fair I have eaten very well. Never my first choice of food but when fried food offered I have always scoffed more than anyone else.

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Rob J
ABC is at 4130m and at the moment caked in snow. Are literally surrounded by ~10 peaks over 6000m inc Annapurna 1 at 8000m. I feel v small.

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Rob J
Intermittent clouds make guessing where avalanches are quite scary. Every now and again we see some tumbling snow a few hundred metres away.

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Rob J
Tent bitterly cold over night. Cold combined with increasing desperation for a pee made night’s sleep v troublesome. Dogs howling too.

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Rob J
Afternoon tea is generally at 4pm. The standard issue black tea has been supplemented by the world’s most expensive Pringles. £5 per tube.

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Rob J
After the mid morning lunch Carmel and I took a wander to edge of a glacial canyon in the sanctuary. A long non stop slide down if you slip.

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Rob J
Away from camp there are many stone memorials. Not sure what for. Presume dead locals and climbers. Hopefully they died of natural causes.

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Rob J
At 12:30 it seemed most sensible to have a beer. Highest beer I’ve ever had. Only probs is increased urination in dodgy facilities. Cheers!

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Rob J
Experienced all weather on descent; snow, sleet, rain and sun. Sadly sun only formed a small part of the day. Much warmer as we descended.

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Rob J
Took a few 360 vids while trying to keep balance. Fingers numb. Hurried back for brekkie. Was porridge for 8th day running. Just had coffee.

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Rob J
Our walk from ABC was long. With rests it took us 7 hours to descend 1900m to Bamboo camp. Took 3 days for us to ascend from there!

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Rob J
This sort of trek attracts lots of weirdos seeking spiritual enlightenment. In space of 24 hours met right tossers from England and Spain.

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Rob J
Woke up at ABC to the Sound of America. 3 Yanks stood outside our tent at 5:30am discussing how awesome they felt. What is wrong with them?

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Rob J
Avalanches making one hell of a racket here. They are coming down all around us. Hope that our camp is in a safe position.

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Rob J
Celebrated return to warmer climes at Bamboo camp with quite a few cans of beer. Only Carmel and I boozing though. Quiet night in the end.

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Rob J
Shouldn’t have drunk those beers. Had to get up middle of night 4 toilet. Almost left luxury British toilet roll in camp. Had panic attack.

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Rob J
Dry start today. On way back to Chomrong at 2000m. Stopped off for a coffee and sat admiring views back to mountains. Then clouds came

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Rob J
Hard climb back up the valley to Chomrong. For me really hard. Feel quite achy, hope not ill. 1800 steps up the valley to camp at 2000m.

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Rob J
About 30mins after we hit camp it rained monsoon style. Zero visibility so watched rain from safety of lodge. Ground covered in white hail.

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Rob J
Camping + rain is v wrong. No idea why people do it if are options. And there are plenty of nice dry lodges that we aren’t staying in here.

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Rob J
Raining afternoon so found a small coffee house. Might be time for a beer soon. Carmel loving reading an Indian/Nepalese fashion mag.

Posted on 20 April 2011 by Rob J
Had a few beers in coffee place. Even bought a pizza between the two of us. Felt almost civilised but could see our tents through window.

Posted on 20 April 2011 by Rob J
Woke up this morning in Chomrong to beautiful sunshine. All green around us but white peaks stick up from behind the hills. Hope 4 dry day.

Posted on 20 April 2011 by Rob J
Walking from 2000m to Tadapani at 2500m today. Feels weird going back up. Psychologically feel like we should have finished trekking now.

Posted on 20 April 2011 by Rob J
Had to up and down two valleys today. Second one was low and gave us a few hours ascent up the other side. It’s lovely and sunny.

Posted on 20 April 2011 by Rob J
Great views over lunch of mountains + steep rolling green hills. The hillsides are terraced in places to allow for growing of various crops.

Posted on 21 April 2011 by Rob J
Longish trek up hill to camp at Tadapani. Didn’t get the best camping spot. Tadapani is not very nice. Built with trekkers in mind.

Posted on 21 April 2011 by Rob J
Optimistically decided to do some more washing. Expect this will take 4 days to dry. It is one member of our group’s birthday today. 52.

Posted on 21 April 2011 by Rob J
Our cook decided to make the birthday boy a cake. This is surely very difficult when all the cooking is done out of village cowsheds.

Posted on 21 April 2011 by Rob J
There appeared to be no sugar in the birthday sponge cake. But the gesture was very nice. Went to another room in village for bday drink.

Posted on 21 April 2011 by Rob J
For bday drink i had fanta and rum. Separately. Had to leave early as was ill and thought i might vomit. Clothes still soaking prior to bed.

Posted on 21 April 2011 by Rob J
Lunch at Deurali was good. Lots of home made chips. Group craving cheese. Any kind. Almost got some fresh yak cheese. Unconvinced how safe.

Posted on 21 April 2011 by Rob J
New day. Just 2 nights of camping left. Today going to Deurali at 3000m for lunch and then Ghorepani for camp at 2800m. Washed clothes v wet.

Posted on 21 April 2011 by Rob J
Swear are doing 500-1000m ascent most days. Getting between camps involves at least 1 valley crossing. And they are incredibly steep sided.

Posted on 21 April 2011 by Rob J
Thu afternoon and after lunch we trekked up a bit higher and over a hill to Ghorepani. Arrived early pm with plenty of time for a few beers.

Posted on 21 April 2011 by Rob J
Getting closer to end of camping so our few beers turned into many. Hut we were in was burning wood and dung for heat. Dried out pants. Ace.

Posted on 22 April 2011 by Rob J
Big big morning for us. Along with a hundred or two others we have climbed Poon Hill in the dark at 4am. Freezing but amazing sunrise.

Posted on 22 April 2011 by Rob J
Sunrise at Poon Hill might have been trek highlight for me. The light from sun as it shines on the mountains 1 by 1 was really fantastic.

Posted on 22 April 2011 by Rob J
The weather was magnificent for the sun rise at 3130m. No clouds. Watched the billions of stars disappear as the light and warmth arrived.

Posted on 22 April 2011 by Rob J
After the 4am start this morning was nicely all downhill. We have descended to 2100m at Ulleri. Sun much warmer, apparently 32C at bottom.

Posted on 22 April 2011 by Rob J
After lunch we are starting in earnest on the 3,700 steps down. Knee breaking for sure. Heading down to Hille @ ~1600m for final camp night.

Posted on 22 April 2011 by Rob J
Trail quite busy now. Full of 1-3 day trekkers rather than the smaller hardened bunch that go on to Annapurna Base Camp. We see all sizes!

Posted on 23 April 2011 by Rob J
Wildlife and vegetation very different low down than high up. So tropical here. Have seen banana trees. Constant sound of grasshoppers.

Posted on 23 April 2011 by Rob J
Lovely trek down to Hille put into perspective by very violent wind storm shortly after arrival. All sorts of damage to surrounding village.

Posted on 23 April 2011 by Rob J
Finally descended all 3700 steps. So very pleased that we were going down them not up them. Final camp site is very green and tropical.

Posted on 23 April 2011 by Rob J
After dinner we were treated to lots if dancing by the locals and our porters and guides. Good fun. As was half bottle of rum that i drank.

Posted on 23 April 2011 by Rob J
Last night in the mountains was good fun. This morning we simply had to walk the 3 hours or so to Nayapool where the trek finished. V sunny!

Posted on 23 April 2011 by Rob J
Trek was mostly downhill and felt very warm and tropical. We found the last 90 mins was along a new road in middle of construction. Yuck.

Posted on 23 April 2011 by Rob J
Worse followed however. The village at end turned out to be sprawling mess of rubbish + noise. A massive reality check after 2 wk serenity.

Posted on 23 April 2011 by Rob J
Nayapool was only at 900m. Said thanks and goodbye to guides and porters. They were a good bunch who worked endlessly to look after us.

Posted on 23 April 2011 by Rob J
Bus back to Pokhara took 90 mins. Drove through bendy mountain roads and past dirty dusty villages and farms. And passed our starting point.

Posted on 23 April 2011 by Rob J
Hotel in Pokhara very nice. Pool etc. And “sitdown” toilets! Had a wander around town and down to v large lake. Pokhara is touristy but clean.

Posted on 24 April 2011 by Rob J
Watched Everton lose v Man Utd in Amsterdam bar. Good Gurkha beer and chilli chips. Stayed to watch live rock band. All bars close at 11pm.

(Edit: Man Utd beat Everton 1-0 in a game fairly low on clear chances)

Posted on 24 April 2011 by Rob J

Routine woke me up at 6am. Annoyed should’ve had lie in. Lunchtime flight back to Kathmandu. Belongings no longer fit in holdall. Perplexed.

Posted on 24 April 2011 by Rob J
In hindsight chilli chips may not have been a good idea. Johnny Cash comes to mind. Pokhara airport v relaxed and quiet. How flying should be.

Posted on 24 April 2011 by Rob J
Kathmandu as dirty, manic as it was 2 wks ago. Lunch in hotel gardens by pool. Then sightseeing – to a Hindu temple and a Buddhist stupa.

Posted on 24 April 2011 by Rob J
Little dream just come true. Having dinner in the Rum Doodle Bar in Kathmandu. V funny must read book. Am tired today after being tourist.

Posted on 25 April 2011 by Rob J
Up at 5am for sightseeing flight to Mt Everest. Tiny plane with passengers equipped only with cameras. Not v closeup view of Everest. Hmm.

Posted on 25 April 2011 by Rob J
Everest flight lots of fun. Got to have chat about mountains with pilot and see the view from cockpit. He definitely had best view in plane.

Posted on 25 April 2011 by Rob J
At lunchtime took trip to Bhaktapur. A 1500 year old town with old intricate temples and palaces. Lots of security so no hassle from locals.

Posted on 25 April 2011 by Rob J
Rain came down after a good lunch in Bhaktapur so made quick exit. Now at Kathmadu airport heading home. Excellent first trip to Himalayas.