ABC Day 08 - Machapuchare Base Camp

Annapurna Base Camp

Once I had packed my daypack with the essentials and had refilled my water bottle with filtered water, I began the gradual ascent up the slopes towards ABC. The trail was quite wide, and was predominantly made up of steps and dirt, but was occasionally interspersed by rocks and boulders. Alpine grass covered the edges of the trail on both sides, whereas the foothills of Hiunchuli (elevation : 6441m) to the left were completely covered by snow. Snowboard tracks and footsteps marred the otherwise pristine slopes.

Looking back towards Machapuchare

Looking back towards Machapuchare (elevation : 6997m) and Machapuchare Base Camp (elevation : 3700m)

Walking with a day pack was notably easier, as a huge burden had been lifted both figuratively and literally. Views of Annapurna South (elevation : 7219m) appeared every now and then before being obscured once again by the clouds just as quickly as they had appeared. The surprisingly easy and quick hike to ABC took an hour from MBC, and the lack of a large backpack seemed to make all the difference.

Annapurna South

Annapurna South (elevation : 7219m) peeking from behind the cloudcover

The altitude reading of my Suunto Spartan Ultra at Annapurna Base Camp (elevation : 4130m)

The guesthouses that made up ABC were located at the top of a rise, and they were surprisingly devoid of people. I made my way around and to the back of them and towards the prayer flags and the memorials of the 141014 snowstorm, a snowstorm that caused 43 deaths after dumping just under 2 metres of snow within 12 hours. The memorials, and the crumbly precipice that overlooked the South Annapurna Glacier that they were located on, were a morbid reminder of both the hazards of the mountains, as well as the frailty and transience of life--memento mori. My rumination was interrupted by the squeaks of Alpine choughs (Pyrrhocorax graculus) as they circled overhead.

Alpine choughs at ABC

Alpine choughs (Pyrrhocorax graculus)

The mist and clouds had begun to encroach even more, and had completely engulfed the views. I figured that I would instead stop by one of the guesthouses for lunch whilst waiting for the views to clear. Since it was only the second lunch that I had purchased from a guesthouse since the beginning of the trip, I decided to go with tomato cheese pasta (NPR590) and a cup of hot lemon (NPR120), a treat of sorts.

I had been the only hiker in the dining room at first but over time, the other slower hikers began to arrive at the guesthouse one by one by one, until the dining room was completely and utterly full. All the bags had been heaped at the sides of the room and the sheer amount of people that had somehow managed to cram inside made it quite a chore to simply move around. With crowds also comes a din, a terrible one at that, so after finishing off my hot lemon, I quickly paid for the meal and hurried back out of the guesthouse. I was very glad to have decided to spend the night at MBC instead!

Next (Day 8) : Machapuchare Base Camp (Part 3)
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