On a peaceful afternoon at Annapurna Base Camp (day five of my trek), I chose to hike extra miles while everybody was at rest. Half of the base camp compound is a deep glacier ravine, and this ravine is the path to the peaks of Annapurna I (8091m) and Baraha Sikhar (Fang, 7647m). I know very well that I will not have the chance to reach the peaks of these mountains in my life, but no harm finding out how the trails to their base camps are like. I requested my guide Rishi to lead me to the initial route of one of the greatest expedition - the route to Annapurna I, the 10th highest mountain in the world. The starting point is some 400 metres away from Annapurna Base Camp, via a dry land of short grasses and bushes.
The first trail was already a test to me - to descend a ridge. The stones, large or small, were loose and unstable that I slid down several times and hurt my right ankle. Rishi, as usual, descended ever steadily without sweat.
Only half way down the ridge, staring at the glacier covered with stones below.
The first sign of the expedition trail, just in case we lost our direction.
Down at the bottom now. A huge arrow painted on a giant rock, how could we miss it! But Rishi told me that glacier never stay in shape. Glacier moves, therefore its landscape moves, and the arrow moves too. Interesting fact huh?
Wow, another expedition sign! A smart climber could have deliberately left this chili as a hint of route change.
We detoured from the expedition trail, our main objective was to locate the glacier and not to climb Annapurna I! Tough climb, especially when the only things on the grounds are rocks. What's hidden beneath is a giant glacier river that could collapse any minute.
Not long, we sighted an amazing glacier site. Stones were constantly sliding down from the glacier wall causing a deafening sound. According to Rishi, very soon this glacier will collapse and form a giant lake. It was eerie standing at the ridge looking down the deep hole at the bottom, no one knows how deep the glacier is, and I don't want to know!
Standing on a glacier covered with rocks. Flashing my reliable Merrell hiking shoes, bought in the Philippines!
Rishi spotted a gap on the ground, he claimed it is a potential collapsing line. Without hesitation, he dug into the gap hoping to find glacier. Not sure if this was the right thing to do!
Enough for the day, it started to drizzle. On my way back I spotted another sign showing the way to Fang and Annapurna I. Who knows one day I'll revisit this place, with the hope of doing something extraordinary and the dream of reaching the peak of Annapurna I!
Looks arid like the Mustang area.
Taking a rest after a long hike. To be precise, Rishi was actually waiting for me to take a rest, he needed no rest, being a 'superman' he was.
Annapurna I covered in thick clouds.
To give you some perspectives of the Annapurna I summit expedition trail. One day to hit the endless glacier route, and hike up the mountain on the right to the base camp. Another day to reach the high camp - the first contact point with snow. From there on, climbers will traverse pass the third camp, fourth camp and so forth before reaching the peak. It takes between 20 to 40 days depending on individual fitness. I was glad I had done two percent of the trail. It wasn't the end yet, I would continue tomorrow!