Annapurna Circuit - Day 16 (Tatopani to Ghorepani)

Ghorepani Travel Blog

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Leaving the Kali Gandaki Gorge and beginning our climb to Ghorepani

Today was a "long..." day.  But a better day overall than yesterday.  After a short walk (30 mins) on the jeep road leaving Tatopani, we turned off the road to begin the climb to Ghorepani.  And by climb, I mean a serious climb.  While we weren't at the altitude that we were for the climb to Thorung La we would be climbing 1700m (5577 ft) total from 1150m (3373 ft) to 2850m (9350 ft).  The trail would go UP pretty much consistently for the entire way to Ghorepani.

But getting off the road was a boost for morale.  Views were simply stunning as we climbed.  Seeing the Kali Gandaki behind us as we climbed up this ridge and all the fileds and villages that graced the mountainside in front of us.

Climb, climb, climb...
  And all in all as tough as the climb was we were all acclimitized to the altitude by now and managed the effort pretty much with ease.  The toughest part was simply dealing with all the stone stairs that had been placed into the ground.  While I'm sure it helps from an erosion standpoint, it does make it a bit tough on the knees and I dread the fact that we have to go down the same amount on the other side of the ridge tomorrow.

Even though we were handling it well, the walk took forever.  Thankfully the scenery that surrounded us and the life that was going on around us provided many diversions from the interminable climb.  The last section seemed to stretch on endlessly.  We could see Ghorepani high up on the ridge but still had a few hundred meters still to climb to reach it.

Terraced fields on display again.
  And when we finally arrived in Ghorepani our lodge was one of the highest ones up the mountainside in the village.

After settling in a few of us wandered back down into the center of the village.  Ghorepani had a few small shops with books and other items for sale, and a few of us were looking to make some purchases.  Eventually after a few purchases, it was time to head back to the lodge.  Jess and I got caught in the rain and hail and had to make a fast dash up the steps back to the lodge.  It was mostly hail falling so we didn't get too wet, but the rain started in earnest when we arrived back at the lodge and continued throughout the evening.  And the temperature dropped markedly leaving a pretty cold dining room after we were getting used to the warmer temperatures of the lower elevations.

A rest break during the unending climb...
  Ate dinner in the dark as electricity was cut off.  A few drinks of hot chocolate with a splash of rum really hit the spot and warmed myself up before heading to bed.  We had an early morning wake-up call to make the short assault of Poon Hill for what is supposed to be an amazing view of the entire Annapurna Massif.

Time and Distance

Astute readers will notice that I have rarely mentioned distances in any of my journal entries.  One reason is that they aren't that accurately measured.  Another is that between the altitude and terrain, its impossible to correlate distance to the time trekked.  Lastly they just aren't found on any maps and signs in the area.

By rough approximation the Annapurna Circuit is somewhere between 210 and 250 km (130 and 155 miles) with the more conservative number probably being closer to the mark.

More stairs to climb...and more, and more, and more.
  But on a daily basis we walked according to a rough guide of time to reach the next destination as opposed to distance.  So signs would say 2 hours to Manang or 4 hours to Ghorepani not 6 miles or 10 miles or the like.  My guide for the trek would give us estimates each morning of the time to reach each of our intermediate stops (tea break/lunch) and our final destination (these would include actual trekking time and our breaks).  Most of the time he was right on within about +/-15 mins for the time our day would take.  The only time this would prove wrong was on days that it rained.  In that case we would power through at a faster pace, with fewer breaks, and less (read none) picture taking.

And then who cares about the distance to a large extent.  We had a destination in mind for each day and we would get there when we got there.  Besideds it wasn't like there was a whole lot to do once we reached our village for the evening so there was no need to rush to the destination.

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Leaving the Kali Gandaki Gorge and…
Leaving the Kali Gandaki Gorge an…
Climb, climb, climb...
Climb, climb, climb...
Terraced fields on display again.
Terraced fields on display again.
A rest break during the unending c…
A rest break during the unending …
More stairs to climb...and more, a…
More stairs to climb...and more, …
A final, hazy view of Nilgiri.
A final, hazy view of Nilgiri.
Flowering rhododendrons
Flowering rhododendrons
Santosh and Chandra working on ope…
Santosh and Chandra working on op…
Ghorepani
photo by: stefmuts