Made it!!

Beginners guide to the Annapurna Base Camp Trek – Overview

Part 1

Until recently, neither Liz nor I had ever done a multi-day trek. But since we were going to be in Nepal – one of the most best trekking destinations in the world – I felt like we should take advantage of the opportunity. There is a ton of information available online, but it is spread across so many sites that we couldn’t make sense of it all, so I did my best to take notes during our planning, to provide it here. We started our trek on November 3rd, after monsoon season and prior to the winter months.

Prayer flags at Annapurna Base Camp

ABC Trek Overview:

The Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) trek is one of the most popular in the Himalayan region and can take anywhere from 6 to 12 days – depending on starting point and pace – and climbs from about 820 meters on Day 1 to 4,130 meters at ABC. On most days you won’t climb above 2,200 meters, which means there are really only 3 days at high elevation. The terrain changes constantly, from rhododendron forests to riverside trails, so temperatures vary wildly. Speaking of temperatures, daytime in the sun is hot, but the nights do get cold, and Machhapuchre Base Camp (the 2nd to last night) and ABC both hit freezing temperatures while we were there.

The view from Poon Hill
The view from Poon Hill

Overall, we both found the trek to be very challenging, but in different ways. Liz suffered from more physical pain (blisters and muscle fatigue mostly), while I struggled with respiration and shortness-of-breath. But in the end, and especially now that we’ve been back a few weeks, I think we both agree that we made the right decision by taking this on. We feel like we experienced something that most people never will, and are really proud that we pushed ourselves out of our comfort zone. I celebrated my 34th birthday on Day 9, and spent the night surrounded by new friends from all over the world, including Nepali guides and porters we’d met along the way. This trek will definitely be too hard for some, but there are other shorter options available as well, which are totally worth the effort.

Made it!!
Made it!!

In the next post, I’ll address some or our main prep questions, and then will quickly go through our itinerary day-by-day.

  1. Which trek should we do?
  2. How many days is the trek? What route should we take?
  3. What equipment/permits do we need? Can we buy or rent anything we’re missing, including hiking boots?
  4. Where should we buy/rent equipment? Kathmandu? Or Pokhara?
  5. What fitness level do you need for the 10-day ABC trek?
  6. Should we hire a guide? A porter (to carry our stuff)?
  7. Can we book accommodations along the way?
  8. Do we need to worry about Altitude Sickness?

Leave any questions in the comments section and we’re more than happy to provide our feedback.