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Thread: Trekking Annapurna in August

  1. #1
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    Talking Trekking Annapurna in August

    Hi,
    I am looking at trekking in Annapurna in August. I know that this is not the normal/peak season and there could be some problems. Has anyone trekked at this time of year..?
    If so does it rain for prolonged periods or just an hour or 2 ? Is it possible to have an enjoyable trek ? or is the place just covered in mud and water with no views ?

    Many thanks for any suggestions !

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Trekking Annapurna in August

    There are many posts on this subject if you search.

    I trekked in June and July, and found July better. August should be better still. Althoug in June I only trekked the Kagbeni Jharkot and Kali Gandaki side.

    You are likely to have rain and heat until about Chame (2500m) on the Marsiangdy side, about 3 days into the trek. From there on maybe for the next nine or 10 days, until you reach Jomsom/Marpha/Dana - you are likely to get nice weather (this section is protected from most of the monsoon effects by the Annapurna range). Mild with quite a lot of views. The meadows are nice and green and there are lots of flowers. In my view a much better trekking experience than in the "traditional" season. The last 3 days of the trek are likely to be overcast, rainy and hotter, although the rain does not last the whole day, usually 2-3 hours as you say. And it could be in the evening or at night. But you could cut this last part off, by getting into a 4wd or getting someone with a motorbike to take you to Beni, where you pick up the bus to Pokhara

    So the bulk of the trek, the most interesting 9-10 days middle part, will be quite nice. Including crossing Thorung La.

    Just buy some good strong insect repellent for the first 2-3 and last 2-3 days. It will keep the leeches away. Although I must say I had no problem with the suckers, and did not need to use the repellent. Maybe they don't like my blood or something. Felt quite offended.
    Last edited by yakshaver; 9th April 2009 at 06:20 AM.
    yakshaver

  3. #3

    Default Re: Trekking Annapurna in August

    Quote Originally Posted by Sratch
    Has anyone trekked at this time of year..?
    Yes, Iīve trekked in the area four times in August. It is a wonderful time north of the Great Himalayan Range where there are four seasons (not three as in Kathmandu). Once north of the main range there is rain shadow, and conditions pretty much like alpine summer, all coniferous forests and meadows. As there are no high peaks in Thak Khola (Kali Gandaki) blocking of the trail of the clouds there is also a special rain shadow on the Jomosom side that stretches along the valley down to Kalopani and Lette. Strong wind after 10 AM, and little or no rain fall in the main valley which is kind of arid.

    The trails south of the main range, especially, Annapurna Base Camp should be avoided, as there may be a lot of torrential rain and trails have a low standard, not monsoon proof.

    Last time we had no rain beyond Thak, on the Marsyangdhi side.

    Leeches are not found at all on higher elevations, e.g., Jomosom and Manang, and are only problem on small trails (like ABC). The worst leech problem, especially for first time visitors, is encountered in Thamel. They typically pose as friends, and will tell you anything to make you spend money so they can get as much as possible of you. Can cost you hundreds even thousands of dollars.

    Be particularly aware of guides that are not aware of the rain shadow and the pleasant summers in Manang, it implies that they are from three-season-places and donīt know anything about Marsyangdhi and Thak Khola, except for which lodges gives most commision for bringing clients.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Trekking Annapurna in August

    Guys,
    Many thanks for your replies - most helpful! This is a great forum.

    Im definitely going to do the circuit so, but will try and leave it until as late in Aug as possible. Duly noted about the leeches - Asian bugs do seem to have find my blood sweet, but I will be in India for 6 weeks prior so should be adept at spotting them by then.

    Im still in 3 minds as to what way to trek. As a 1st timer (Iv never trekked over 1,000m but am reasonably fit) would you recommend? (a)travelling with a reputable trekking company (b) travelling with a guide (c) travelling on my own and hopefully meeting some fellow trekkers on the way with the possibility of a guide/porter on the higher routes.

    I plan on travelling light and will stick to the tea house trails.

    Thanks again

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Trekking Annapurna in August

    You can easily to the AC without any support, in terms of finding you way etc. There are plenty of villages and lodges along the way to ask for directions etc at least until Manang.

    My suggestion for a first timer, expecially if you travel light, is to go with a guide or porter guide.

    In August there are likely to be few tourists on the AC. When I did it in July 06, we met just one Austrian lady and her porter-guide, all the way to Ranipawa, near Muktinath, where we met a couple more tourists.

    Since you cross Thorung La (5400m) I do suggest you have support with you. If you get struck by altitude sickness, sometimes your judgment is impaired, even if you could still walk. Bad things can happen. Also you may twist your ankle on your way down from the pass to Ranipawa. Having said that, there are plenty of people, who've done it solo, I am sure. I mean Messner has conquered Everest on his own (still, not the first time around...). But I don't suggest to you to go on your own over Thorung La. Maybe after you conquer Everest.

    It is not easy to find support in Manang, for example, if you all of a sudden decide that you're in need of support. You can probably find a donkey and a donkey handler to accompany you over the pass, but it will be relatively expensive, I don't know maybe over 1000-1500 rupees a day (not that expensive in "western" terms). Few Nyasheng, if any, will do portering. They are rich enough not to need to do that.

    My suggestion would be to go with one of the recommendadions from this forum perhaps (Sharon has some good people she usually treks with, and so do I...), in terms of a guide or porter guide.
    yakshaver

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Trekking Annapurna in August

    Thanks Yakshaver. I will take your advice and go with a guide/porter. I can see there are plenty of recommendations from yourself and others so will arrange one of them. For the reasonable fee, peace of mind and local knowledge seems like a no brainer.

    This forum is of great help re clothes, equipment, advice etc.. Keep up the good work!

    I will of course let everyone know how I get on. In the meantime you will probably see a few more silly questions when I cant find answers in the forum.

    Thanks
    Scratch

  7. #7

    Default Re: Trekking Annapurna in August

    Quote Originally Posted by Sratch

    I plan on travelling light and will stick to the tea house trails.
    Then, you will do very well without a guide or servant. The trails is well known and utterly well described. AC is not a wilderness area. There are lodges catering to trekkers every few miles just waiting for you. There are a number of drawbacks with going with a guide. What if it turns out he is a pain in the ... after two days? Etc.

  8. #8

    Talking Re: Trekking Annapurna in August

    Nameste, as this is the time the monsoon season begins pack for that situation. I'd purchase a nylon waterproof cover for your pack (about 200 rupees) and a rain poncho made from the same material (also about 200 rupees) in Kathmandu or Chame, lightweight and when the sky opens up you will be glad you humped the combined weight of about 10 oz. You'll see leeches gaurenteed at lower levels below 10,000 ft. Try not to lean up against brush when a team of mules pass you as they will crawl onto your pack and slither onto your neck and shoulders. They are a bummer. Check your bod out at rest stations and remove with salt or a hot match, don't pull them off, they will leave part of their heads in you that can cause infection. Aside from that, happy trails.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Trekking Annapurna in August

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Sunkist
    You'll see leeches gaurenteed at lower levels below 10,000 ft. Try not to lean up against brush when a team of mules pass you as they will crawl onto your pack and slither onto your neck and shoulders. They are a bummer. Check your bod out at rest stations and remove with salt or a hot match, don't pull them off, they will leave part of their heads in you that can cause infection. Aside from that, happy trails.
    On large spacious trails leeches are easy to handle. I have trekked around Annapurna in July and August without a single leech bite.

    On large trails one walks mostly on flat stones, which are used to harden the trail. Then, you will hardly see any leeches, as they only appear when they can pick up your body heat. When you take a brake avoid grass. Sit on stone and look around. If a leech appears, they are really slow, you can easily flick it away with a thumb nail. Remember, leeches are utterly dependent on dampness, canīt live where it is dry.

    If you are bitten, the best thing to do is to simply pull it off. Unlike ticks leeches leave nothing behind, and are clean, in the past they were sold in pharmacies and used to clean out infected gums etc. There are various brutal ways to get rid of them, salt, cigarette lighter, etc., but none is better than simply pulling them off as it is fastest, has the same effect, and means they get less blood.

    As for dangers, the leech itself is clean, but there is a danger that something gets into the bite afterwards. Even the smallest infected wound can turn into a tropical ulcer, especially this season.

    If you are going to hike on minor trails, with a lot of underbrush, they can be a real annoyance, as they sit on blades you brush against. An option, which should not be needed on the AC, is to soak your socks in the local snuff (khaini) over night, 1 l of water one packet of khaini, it will kill any leech that gets to your shoes.

    By the way the first time one is leech bitten it may be kind of unpleasant. But once one realises that they are pretty much like mosquitoes that you swat, the drama disappears, one just tears them off and forgets about them.
    Last edited by Per; 14th April 2009 at 12:39 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Trekking Annapurna in August

    Thanks for advice guys. I'll try to take these precautions to avoid the little buggers. Im not too squeamish and expect to get a few bites. As you say they are for the most harmless but hopefully I can avoid them.

    Per,
    What has your experience been with guides/porters ? As a 1st timer I would be a little nervous about traveling on my own. I dont have much trekking experience and although Im reasonably fit Im not sure how I would cope with a bag on back at 4,000/5,000 meters.

    Also what was your experience of trekking at this time of year. Was weather a big issue ? Was there many other trekkers or is the trail deserted apart from locals ?
    Thanks

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