Appetite reasonably restored again, we make our push up the river valley to MBC (Machhapuchhre Base Camp). This morning doesn’t feel as cold as the previous morning and the trail not as steep, even though it’s about a 1000 meter climb from Deurali to ABC (Annapurna Base Camp).
We follow the same amazing river up the valley. After we hit sunshine again we warm up quickly. Further along the valley the sight of the peaks pulls us forward. The sky a crystal blue.
We make pretty good time to MBC, arriving before 11AM, but I start to worry as the clouds begin to appear over the peaks. I down my biscuits and tea as fast as I can and hurry up to ABC before it is shrouded in white.
The way is only mildly steep even though the trail climbs another 400 meters between MBC and ABC, leveling off somewhat as you approach the camp. The grass is golden, the peaks white and the sky as blue as blue can be. Truly magical. The clouds continue to mound and I’m pulled into camp by a combination of excitement and adrenaline.
We reach camp at about 12:30PM. Laxmi urges us to put our packs down and eat lunch, but we head out instead to the view point to catch the last views of the morning.
The size of the cirque is just too immense to capture in pictures. The glacier below Annapurna I is 750 meters wide and nearly 4 kilometers long, lying before the peaks that rises 4,000 meters above base camp.
The clouds dance for a while around the peaks before blocking most of the view and we head inside for lunch. I’m hungry but a few bites into my veg and egg fried noodles I lose my appetite, altitude I imagine. By the time we finish eating the valley is cloaked in a low lying cloud which hangs around until just before 4PM.
By late afternoon the fog has lifted but by this time the sun has already dipped behind the southern peaks leaving only Fish Tail North still lit until sunset.
Terrible night sleep. The sleeping bags rented from 3 Sisters are inadequate; a flimsy polyfill she told me was down. This has been my only complaint with the company. To make matters worse, Don has developed a cough over the last week and has great difficulty lying down without coughing himself silly.
On a midnight trip to the bathroom I pass by the ABC view point. The moon lights Annapurna South and the peaks to the north against a jet-black star-filled sky. So, was it worth it to be here at this moment?
November 3, 2012
For links to all the posts related to the trek see the Annapurna Base Camp page.
For links to all the posts in this series see the Nepal page.