Day Eleven: Trekking Thorong Phedi To High Camp On The Annapurna Circuit
Its the eleventh day on the Annapurna Circuit and it is a short and hard trek up to High Camp. Day eleven will just take us from Thorong Phedi (Base Camp) to High Camp. The total journey from Thorong Phedi to High Camp consists of 1 kilometer of hiking over 2 hours and a steep elevation increase of 400 meters.
Though, I will go through my journey between Thorong Phedi and High Camp in detail. That way, if you are planning your own Annapurna Circuit trek you will know exactly what to expect on day four.
Thorong Phedi (4450m) to High Camp (4850m): 1 km hike which takes 2 hours
Annapurna Circuit Day Eleven: Thorong Phedi To High Camp
Waking Up In Thorong Phedi (Base Camp)
Waking up at 5am the small village of Thorong Phedi is buzzing with life. Many of the trekkers are already hitting the trail to go over Thorong La Pass. Though, some will even pay for their bill after dinner and hit the road at 2am, arriving on the pass sometime around sunrise. This is a sure way to get a head start on the day, but trekking in darkness is never easy and you will be missing out on some incredible sights.
In all honesty, I am not feeling the strongest today. I am not sure if it is the early morning or perhaps the altitude, all I know is that I am in struggle street. Skipping breakfast I head back to the room and start packing up my bag. It is a little chillier than normal as well so I put on four layers which I can take off as needed.
Thorong Phedi To High Camp
Walking up out of Thorong Phedi to High Camp it is obvious to see how steep of a climb this is just going to be. Ascending about 400 meters in a kilometer is not going to make for an easy climb at all. It is now 7am, though we are not the last people to hit the trail, there are plenty more still chilling out at Thorong Phedi (base camp).
The ascent is steep as we zig-zag back and forth on the extremely thin path covered in rocks. I am extremely slow, not feeling well and lacking energy from skipping breakfast. Taking a breather by stopping is a must. I hate to think how many people overtake me and leave me in the dust. This morning I am certainly struggling to walk even just a couple minutes.
We spot some blue sheep on the trail munching in the sunshine eating their breakfast. These sheep are rare to see and it seems everyone’s goal is to spot one somewhere on the circuit.
Continuing the climb it is more and more exhausting. My not feeling well, mixed with the high altitude is certainly making things difficult. This portion of the trail is only meant to take one hour. Though, with my slower than a snail pace today it has taken double this time.
The lodge located at high camp is basic, but on arrival we see our friends waiting for us drinking a hot cup of tea in the sunshine. James wants to continue on with them, but I advise I don’t feel comfortable doing this. My body is not feeling strong today and it is already 9.30am. It just has taken me double the amount of time to trek one hour, the next portion of the trail is supposed to take 5-6 hours. So, at this rate I am trekking this would be stupid to do.
Arriving At High Camp
There are not many rooms at High Camp and surprisingly, even though it is only 9.30am, there are already a couple of groups here. There is only one lodge and in high season can be completely filled up by 11.30am. If you happen to come across this situation you can either go back down to Thorong Phedi or trek onwards over Thorong La Pass.
It costs $3.00 / 350NRS for a room here at high camp which is considerably more than any other lodges we have stayed in so far. The room has blankets and a small pillow. There are no charging sockets in the room and no WiFi is available. We do not have an attached bathroom. Rather it is located in the middle of the lodges in a small shed. The toilet is nothing special at all and the smell is overpowering.
Skipping lunch due to not feeling well I snuggle up in bed and try to sleep some more. My energy levels are minimal and it is freezing cold here!
Hike To The Viewpoint Above High Camp
After sleeping a few hours it is now 2pm and the temperature is the hottest it will be throughout the day. The sun has now hit our room, bringing it out of the shadows and cold.
We decide to get out and start moving. There is a viewpoint above high camp which we will trek to. It is a very steep climb to the top so we decide to bring out the trekking poles which will help pull ourselves upwards.
Starting the ascent it is short, but not an easy climb. This cliffside peak is made from horribly small loose rocks. For every step we take forward we seemingly seem to fall two steps. James makes it to the top first with me a few minutes behind. Though, reaching the lookout point the view has made this steep climb utterly worth it.
Amazing 360-degree panoramic views all around us. To the beautiful snow-capped mountains in the distance, a nearby glacier and a few horses precariously climbing a nearby hill. We sit down for a while and watch the world float by for a moment. Its crazy to think that the people who trekked passed here today would have missed out on these incredible views. No matter the route we took on the Annapurna Circuit I always planned to stay one night in High Camp so I could appreciate the journey which took me here and the peacefulness at that moment.
After some obligatory photo opportunities, we begin the steep descent down to the lodges at High Camp. I take tiny little steps to avoid slipping the entire way down the hill. Holding my breath, I am determined to not make the wrong move. Luckily I make it the entire way down without any incidents.
Staying In High Camp
Once turning from our walk up to the viewpoint we decide to head into the common room for a few rounds of cards. Throughout the day more and more people have arrived at High Camp and now it is full. We talk to a few people there, all unfamiliar faces. Unfortunately, one trekker is having issues with her porter as he is suffering from altitude sickness. He is an Indian local and told her he comes and porters the circuit regularly to make money. Truth is he has never done it before and this is his first time at a high altitude. This is surprisingly a common occurrence with trekkers in Nepal, so make sure you use a reputable company and check reviews!
For dinner we sit down to a plate of dal baht. The great thing about this meal is they will replenish your plate until you are completely filled up. It’s perfect if you are hungry and needing energy or haven’t eaten all day. Afterward, we sit around the fire in the middle of the common area trying to warm up. It’s snowing lightly outside which likely means our rooms will be freezing.
Chilling out in the common room chatting and playing cards we keep this up until we are well and truly tired. Heading back to our rooms with a quick toilet stop we bundle up in the warmest clothes we own and prepare for a massive day tomorrow.
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Want more Annapurna Circuit Inspiration? Check out….
- POKHARA TO BESISAHAR & BAHUNDANDA- STARTING THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT- DAY ONE
- BAHUNDANDA TO TAL ON THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT- DAY TWO
- TAL TO TIMANG ON THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT- DAY THREE
- TIMANG TO CHAME ON THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT- DAY FOUR
- CHAME TO UPPER PISANG ON THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT – DAY FIVE
- UPPER PISANG TO NGAWAL ON THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT- DAY SIX
- NGAWAL TO MANANG ON THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT- DAY SEVEN
- MANANG REST DAY ON THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT- DAY EIGHT
- MANANG TO YAK KHARKA ON THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT- DAY NINE
- YAK KHARKA TO THORONG PHEDI (BASE CAMP) ON THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT- DAY TEN
- HIGH CAMP TO MUKTINATH VIA THORONG LA PASS ON THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT – DAY TWELVE
- MUKTINATH TO JOMSOM ON THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT- DAY THIRTEEN
- FLYING JOMSON TO POKHARA AND FINISHING THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT- DAY FOURTEEN
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