I went to the base camps of two of the best-known mountains– the Annapurna South and the Machhapuchhre (also known as Mt Fish Tail)– for the first time last week (11-17 March). Here’s what I saw and felt.
A Himalayan bowl: At the Annapurna Base Camp (4,130m, ABC) I felt like I was in a huge bowl. There were snowy mountains on all sides- their heights ranging from 8091 m (Annapurna-I) to 5,663 (Tharpu Chuli aka Tent Peak). They didn’t look very far. The 360-degree view of the Himals was spectacular. Mornings and late afternoons offered some of the best and dramatic views of mountains. Around noon was super hot– so much so that I encountered a bare-chested foreign trekker as I was heading up to ABC from MBC (Machhapuchhre Base Camp). It looked as if he and a bare-armed woman in shorts who was walking behind him weren’t worried about being sunburned.
Around mid-day was the time to take nap and rest as the unforgiving sun made it almost impossible to walk around and watch the mountains. Moreover, I wasn’t feeling particularly well. I had a mild headache and caught cold. Fortunately signs of altitude sickness disappeared after a couple of hours of rest. I experienced the difficulties despite spending 22 hours at MBC (3700 m).
Weather conditions determine view in the Himalayas.Weather was fine when I was at ABC. Same was the case in Langtang when I was there in 2003. But lack of rhododendron flowers in the ABC trail was a big disappointment.