Annapurna Circuit - DAY 6
The memory of today will probably remain with me for the rest of my life. It was one of the most difficult physical challenges i've ever experienced, and certainly one of the most emotionally exhausting days. It’s also been one of the spiritual treasures that i'll cherish until i die.
From Manang, the route to the Ice Lake is one of the most popular acclimatisation hikes around Manang, and we were all eager to see what an ice lake looked like, so we started out that morning to do just that. Between the five of us, we packed one bag with drinks, snacks and warm clothes and hiked back to Braga, from where we took a secondary route towards the lake. We were so awed by the views of Annapurna III (7,555m) that we didn’t notice the fork in the trail and kept going until we reached the route to Ngawal. After we spoke with some locals, we realised that we’d made a mistake and turned around to search for the correct route. Taking into account that we’d already started out late that morning and had taken some time to take photos along the route, we were running late. Fortunately, we found the way quite easily, and that was probably the last easy thing that we did that day.
From here onwards, the route zig-zagged at an unbelievably steep angle upwards, and the sandy trail, strewn with loose rocks, made it seem almost death-defying. That-Strong-Man went up and down between me and the rest of the group a few times and won my heart once again. We could all feel the effects of the altitude. The gradient was steeper than any of us were familiar with. The winds gusted by with extreme intensity which only increased the dust, and my sinus was mutating into something more serious.
Let’s just call it an exceptionally good altitude workout and leave it at that. By the time we reached the first teahouse, it was too late to continue towards the ice lake, and we had to turn back. Despite this disappointment, we had reached 4,200m altitude today, and we would be sleeping at 3,540m, which meant we were getting along very well with our acclimatisation.
DAY 6 PLANNED: Manang to Yak Kharka
DAY 6 IN REALITY: Manang (Acclimatisation)
DAY 6 DISTANCE: 12km
DAY 6 WALKING TIME: 8 hours
DAY 6 ALTITUDE GAIN: 660m
DAYS BEHIND: 1
DAY 1 BUDGET PP: $25
DAY 1 COST PP:$28
ACCUMULATED SAVINGS PP: $25
Other articles in this series include: