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Thread: INTL = International Annapurna Trek: Circuit + Base Camp
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post #33 of (permalink) Old 02-29-2020, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
zeljkok
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Default Day 7: Yak Kharka to Thorung Phedi

Distance (estimated): 7-8km
Elevation Start: ~4200m
Elevation End: ~4600m
Trekking Time: 4 hrs

Very cold night, but brilliant morning sunshine warmed up the valley; it was fascinating watching shadows giving way to light down mountain slopes with morning cup of "milk coffee" (If you ask just for coffee, you get instant coffee. If you ask for milk coffee, you get milk powder mixed in). Started trekking fairly late (after 9am) as I had less than 8km to hike to Thorung Phedi -- final stop before Thorung La crossing. I expected altitude to finally become an issue, so I took my time. No headache but on couple of steeper parts I had to stop every 10-15 steps to catch breath. Despite the snail pace, I still made it to Phedi by 12:30. This is fantastic place, but in full season overrun with hikers and I heard of stories of people just not being able to find room and sleep at benches in eating area. No such problems in off season, and one of keys why I really recommend off season, even if you have to sleep below freezing most nights.

After lunch and brief nap, still had over 3 hrs of sunshine -- why waste such a perfect day in Himalayas? So I thought I'd hike up to High Camp which was visible directly above. This is one reasonable steep talus slope, and it meant another 350m elevation gain but it also meant further acclimatization. I can not recommend enough this "hike high - sleep low" approach. So I traipsed slowly, making sure I was hydrated and not going fast, and boy did I get a reward! Simply a-m-a-z-i-n-g views of Jinjang and Purbung Himal group, I'd otherwise miss completely next morning as you start well before dawn!! SLR came out and I had beautiful light for some panoramic photography on a little rise above high camp already above 4900m. (This rise would also be fantastic sunrise spot if you happen to spend night at High Camp). Photo Journey:


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[I spoke of menu in one of early posts; well, this is illustration -- pic taken in front of Yak Kharka lodge]


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[Village water source, and good indication of overnight temperatures]


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[Another local about 1hr past Yak Kharka as trail continued low angle but steady rise]


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[Approaching Thorung Phedi you have to make this near horizontal traverse across the steep talus slope. There is potential for avalanche here when spring snow covers these slopes, and it is indicated on my map; no danger on this day though as everything is still almost bone dry]


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[Thorung Phedi, where most of Circuit trekkers spend night before Thorung La crossing. Trio of peaks directly center is rise above the high camp ~350m above where I hiked up later on. The lodge on the hill was already closed]


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[High Altitude Warning Table at Thorung Phedi. I really must bring attention to anyone reading this post to altitude issue. It is NOT a joke. I witnessed helicopter bringing people down from that group that drove to Manang. This trek all looks nice and pretty on Internet images, but if you don't have high altitude trekking experience do not mess with it. You MUST acclimatize and info on this table is excellent summary]


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[Panoramic view of Phedi as I started hiking up to High Camp]


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[And this is why you want to make this hike during daylight, and not tomorrow early morning in dark! Simply stunning views of Purbung Himal group; prominent glaciated peak in center is Jinjang (6111m). Note the cairn]


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[Closer look at 105mm at simply stunning Jinjang]


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[High camp, already falling in shadows as I hiked to viewpoint above. It also gave me excellent view where I must go tomorrow with headlamp. Incidentally, steepest part is already done and remainder of trail to Thorang La climbs much more gently across small ridges and talus slopes in direction of obvious notch center of the photo]


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[Panoramic view from the viewpoint of Purbung Himal range and one of scenic highlights of entire trek for me. You can't help thinking "Wish I was mountaineer and I can climb all these peaks"]

Descent back to Phedi and dinner, and I was in the sack by 7pm (with 2nd night in a row skipping the shower, simply too cold). Wake-up call was at 5am as I wanted to leave ~5:30 -- couple of other groups left as early as 3am, but I saw no need and wanted to trek the most important day of the Circuit as much with daylight as possible. That will be the next post.

Last edited by zeljkok; 02-29-2020 at 12:09 AM.
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