ABC Day 08 - Machapuchare Base Camp

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Machapuchare Base Camp

I took my sweet time that morning, as the views that greeted me overlooked the magnificent valley. The cliffs that ran down the sides of the mighty mountains were still shrouded in the dark tapestry of the mountain's shadow, but as I watched, that tapestry was once again pulled away by the light from the rising sun. Once I had my fill, I made my way up the stairwell past the final lodge and down into the valley.

The sheer ridges that surrounded me on either side were fairly barren except for a light coating of alpine grass. The valley itself was still deep in the shadow of the mountains, which ensured that the chill that lingered in the air remained. As I walked up the valley, Machapuchare (elevation : 6997 m) slowly made its appearance, its triangular peak nestled inside a v-shape 'window' of sorts between the slopes to my right. I got a brief feeling that it was watching me, with its steadfast gaze, before it melted away slowly as I made my way onwards.

The mountain 'gallery' of the western slopes of Machapuchare (elevation : 6997 m)

Looking back southwards at a group of trekkers. Hover the cursor over the image to pile on the snow!

The next 'window' that presented itself showcased Gangapurna (elevation : 7454 m) all the way to the north. Gangapurna was much further away than Machapuchare and the steep walls of the valley that framed it ran along a relatively straight fault, so Gangapurna resolutely hugged the horizon and remained with me for a while. Down below, the trail had met the edge of Modi Khola's riverbed, but climbed back up the slopes just beyond, where large patches of warm sunlight awaited me. Despite these patches of sunlight, the valley was still surrounded by ice.

Gangapurna (elevation : 7454 m). Hover the cursor over the image to pile on the snow!

The trek from Deurali to Machapuchare Base Camp (elevation : 3700 m) had taken me an hour and a half. MBC appeared to me as just one solitary guesthouse at first, but after a gradual walk up and over a rise, the other four guesthouses could be seen huddled together in a tight cluster. The mountains behind them seemed to close in and completely surround the valley. I decided to stop at 'Machhapuchhare Guesthouse' and to offload my heavy backpack, as I realised that most of the other trekkers would want to spend the night up at Annapurna Base Camp (elevation : 4130 m). I understood the appeal of this of course, but I think the appeal decreases significantly for those who have spent time at higher elevations. For me, the most important thing at the time was to 'sleep low' and to avoid the crowds as much as possible.

Next (Day 8) : Machapuchare Base Camp (Part 2)
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