Annapurna Sanctuary is a magnificent glacial basin at an elevation of 13,500ft (4,100m) surrounded by the mountains of the massive Annapurna Range with Annapurna itself standing over the sanctuary at 26,545ft (8,091m) the 10th highest peak in the world.
On 3 June 1950, Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal became the first climbers to climb a peak over 8000m when they summited the Himalayan mountain Annapurna I, the 10th-highest mountain in the world. The ascent was all the more remarkable because the peak was explored, reconnoitred and climbed all within one season; and was climbed without the use of supplemental oxygen. It is also the only 8000 meter summit that was reached at the first attempt.
The south face of Annapurna was first climbed in 1970 by Don Whillans and Dougal Haston, members of a British expedition led by Chris Bonington which included the alpinist Ian Clough, who was killed by a falling serac during the descent. They were, however, beaten to the second ascent of Annapurna by a matter of days by a British Army expedition led by Henry Day.
Annapurna I has the greatest fatality rate of all the 14 eight-thousanders: as of March 2012, there have been 52 deaths during ascents, 191 successful ascents, and nine deaths upon descent, which means that for every three climbers that make it safely up and down Annapurna I, one dies trying.
Day 6 was to be a short climb of about two hours to Annapurna Base Camp but first there were some glorious sunrise photos to be captured.
So off we trekked to ABC with magnificent views unfolding as we went. On arrival Tom and son Peter kindly agreed to sleep in a tent on mattresses so Sian and I were back to a room of our own. We were there mid morning so there was lots of time to explore and to take photos. Lots of photos. So sit back and enjoy them and I’ll shut up for a while.
Right I’m back again I hope you enjoyed the photo tour of Annapurna Base Camp. Views don’t get much better than this.
The afternoon was cloudy and as you would imagine at 13,500ft quite cold. Down jackets were put on and we passed the time reading. Because of the altitude this was our third night without even a beer. I cant rember the last time I had three nights on holiday without alcohol. Alarm clocks were set for 5.30am to catch the sunrise and it was really worth getting up for.
So after that excellent start to the day we had a hearty breakfast in the chaotic restaurant (see photo) to prepare us for the long descent to Dovan a drop in altitude of 5,000 ft. Just a few photos as we are retracing our steps.
When we got to Dovan Sian and I had a shock. In the Annapurna Conservation Zone tea houses are only allowed to have six rooms. We were in room 7. Which turned out to have an entrance off the porters dining room and separated from the kitchen by a corrugated iron wall. Note in the photo how the laminated floor had been continued to make a skirting board. As you can see it was a little on the small side. It was christened the “Prison Cell” The only consolation was the best shower on trek. We had not had a shower for several days.