AsiaNepalChame

Annapurna Circuit - Day 5 (Bagarchap-Chame)

Chame Travel Blog

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Annapurna II (7937m - 26040 ft)

Up somewhat early (6:30-ish) to another mostly haze free and clear morning.  That seemed to be the pattern in the spring in the Annapurnas - clear mornings with clouds rolling in by late morning or early afternoon obscuring most views.  So the goal was to get going relatively early to be able to see some decent sites along the way.  This morning there were some decent views of Annapurna II to our west from Bagarchap.  After heading generally north for most of the first 4 days of the trek we had turned west yesterday and would be circling around the north side of the Annapurna Himal.  Annapurna II and IV, anchoring the east end of the range, were the first major peaks that we could see.

I actually felt a bit nauseous this morning.

Taking the High Road from Danaque
  Not really high yet, but thought maybe the altitude might be affecting me.  Nothing really came of it though as after eating some breakfast and beginning to walk I felt fine.  Today's trekking section was from Bagarchap (2160m, 7086ft) to Chame (2670m, 8760 ft).  The first short section to Danaque was relatively flat.  In Danaque I saw the first of what would prove to be many of the large (2-meter high, 1-meter diameter) prayer wheels in Nepal (also would see some in Mongolia as well).  Proceeding from Danaque we had to take the higher trail, as the lower trail had been mostly obliterated by landslides and was not being maintained any longer.  So we quickly began a long, arduous climb on a very muddy section of trail.
Manaslu (8156m - 26759ft) - Eighth highest peak in the world.
  We also had to share this section of trail with many other trekkers and multiple mule trains which led to some very tight traffic jams.

But the traffic tie-ups provided an excellent opportunity to stop and take in the views.  And they were worth it.  From the views back down to the Marsyangdi valley and Danaque below to my first view of an 8000m peak.  Yes, Manaslu was visible to the east.  Located the next subrange over from the Annapurna Himal, Manaslu is the eighth highest peak in the world at a height of 8156m (26758 ft).

We had a tea stop in Temang at 2500m (8200 ft).  Shortly before arriving we reached the snow line for the first time as well.  It was spotty and in areas that remained mainly in the shade, but snow nonetheless.

Snow along our trail...what does this mean for the higher elevation???
Continued on to the village of Tanchok for lunch (not the greatest of food here) before continuing on and arriving at Chame.  The trail through here was an absolute mudddy, mess from the melting slow.  This led to some tricky walking conditions on the slight descent to Tanchok before the final climb back to Chame.

During the walk today I definitely began to feel some of the effects of higher elevation.  Beyond the slight nausea this morning, it was definitely harder walking the steep uphill sections than yesterday's walk to Tal.  Nothing that I would consider major, but the rest breaks are much more welcomed now when we walk.  It's also getting noticeably cooler (hence the snow).  It's warm enough to melt the snow that's fallen, but when the sun sets or goes behind the clouds, it feels very cold.

Nar Phu Valley entrance

Today was not as long as yesterday, only 6:30 start to finish and 4:30 of trekking time.

Typical Trekking Day

On a typical trekking day we would wake up between 6:00 and 7:00 AM depending on the agreed upon departure time.  Pack up all the gear and take our bags out to the porters.  We would meet in the dining room for breakfast (that we had placed our orders for the night before) and then would strive to be on the trail between 7:00 and 8:00 AM.

Walking on the trail was pretty slow going.  We took multitudes of short breaks throughout the day.  At first I wasn't thrilled with all the breaks, but the higher in elevation that we reached the more beneficial these became.

Entering Chame
  (The only time we didn't break much was when we were caught out in the rain - then it was push for the next stop as quickly as possible).  After 2-3 hours of walking we would take a longer stop at a teahouse.  Order a drink and maybe a snack and rest for 30-45 minutes.  Then it was typically another 1.5-2.5 hours to lunch.  Lunch orders would be placed at another tea house and food would be served.  Lunch took anywhere from 1-2 hours (2 hours was pretty slow but did happen at least once - usually it was about 30-45 minutes for lunch to be prepared then 15-30 minutes or so for consumption.  Then back to the trail to finish the days walk.  This could be anywhere from another 1-3 hours.

Arriving at our stop for the night we would place a dinner order then head to our rooms to "freshen up".  If we were lucky there might be a hot shower, but often it was just trying to clean up as best as one could.  Dinner was between 6:30 and 7:00 PM.  Before and after was time to read, write, play some cards or other games, or just converse with fellow trekkers.  Bedtime came quickly after meals and I found myself calling it an evening not much later than 9:00 PM most nights.

The next day the pattern would start all over again.

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Annapurna II (7937m - 26040 ft)
Annapurna II (7937m - 26040 ft)
Taking the High Road from Danaque
Taking the High Road from Danaque
Manaslu (8156m - 26759ft) - Eighth…
Manaslu (8156m - 26759ft) - Eight…
Snow along our trail...what does t…
Snow along our trail...what does …
Nar Phu Valley entrance
Nar Phu Valley entrance
Entering Chame
Entering Chame
Mixed clouds on the horizon.
Mixed clouds on the horizon.
Large Prayer Wheel in Danaque
Large Prayer Wheel in Danaque
Mule Train sharing the trail on th…
Mule Train sharing the trail on t…
Manaslu (8156m - 26759ft) - Eighth…
Manaslu (8156m - 26759ft) - Eight…
Koto Village
Koto Village
Koto Village
Koto Village
Nar Phu Valley entrance
Nar Phu Valley entrance
Store selling supplies in Chame
Store selling supplies in Chame
Lodge in Chame
Lodge in Chame
Smoked out in the dining room... (…
Smoked out in the dining room... …
Chame
photo by: Kramerdude