February 10th, 2008 – by: Riz7
I am woken before 6am by the head torch of my roommate shining in my eyes. I have made good use of my torch, but wish I had brought with me the head torch that I was given for Christmas. I wish my Korean friend well for the journey and turn over for another hour sleep. It is cold as we start up from Deurali but the sky looks clear ahead; it will be several hours before the sun is high enough to penetrate this deep into the valley. After 5 minutes I stop to put my gloves on and realize that I have left them behind in my room. Khim goes back and finds them under my bed, returning quickly, much to my surprise closely followed by Ine. I offer her one of my gloves but she tells me she doesn’t need them as she wears socks on her hands when it gets cold. We walk quickly to keep warm and reach the sunshine with Ine following.
The path here is good on hard packed snow and we reach Machhapuchhre Base camp (MBC) by 10. I have a warming cup of tea and bag my room at the guest house where I leave my pack. Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) is 2 hours further and with this much snow it is a slow plod. The Korean group of 5 are already there but no-one else and after they finish their photos we have the place to ourselves. My room mate had left his trousers in Ine’s room so she had been woken by him knocking at her door at 6am and was keen to exact some form of revenge for her early morning alarm call.
Machhapuchhre from ABC
ABC is at 4100m so I am surprised just how much accommodation there is, though none is open so early in the season. The view from ABC is fantastic and every bit as good as I had expected, magnificent 7000m peaks on every side and we are lucky that the weather is fine.
We stay at ABC for over an hour taking photos, though I do not think that photos can really convey just how great the view really is. We start back down for MBC in the now soft snow and by the time I reach MBC my feet are wet so I leave my boots to dry in the sun and go inside for some lunch. I the dining room is the girl we passed yesterday at Sinuwa. Ine knows her from Chhomrong; she is from Holland and is suffering from altitude sickness, but will stay here tonight and go up to ABC for sunrise tomorrow.
Me, Annapurna South behind
Eventually it seems they light the kerosene heater, but it is a very large table here with a deep (30cm) pit underneath, and with only 1 heater it seems to make little difference to the chill.
I try to find some newspaper to stuff my boots and remember that I still have the Suduko puzzle pages from the Kathmandu post in my pack, which just about does the job. Khim puts both my boots and his under the table near to the heater to help them dry. After dinner we play a game of “steal the heater” with the guides at the other end of the table after they have moved it down their end of the table I send Khim down under the table to steal it back to somewhere near us.
South face of Annapurna I
I stay up a bit later tonight pleased to have reached my goal and happy that tomorrow is downhill.