How difficult is trekking to the base camp of Mt. Annapurna?
While grading the Mt. Annapurna base camp trek, it is neither easier nor harder. It is like a moderate trekking destination that can be done by every trekker with strong determination. However, there are lots of factors that determine the Annapurna base camp trek's difficulty.
One of the determining factors is the trekking altitude because it is very difficult to trek in high-elevation areas. But the highest trekking altitude of Annapurna base camp is only 4130 meters above sea level. And below 5000 meters is considered under the low risk of high altitude sickness. However, you may feel uncomfortable just after going over 3000 meters elevation. The headache, dizziness, diarrhea, shortness of breath, vomiting, and others are general symptoms of high altitude sickness.
Weather condition plays a vital role during trekking to Mt. Annapurna. Because the weather is an unforeseen thing though the weather forecaster does some predictions. It means if the condition of the atmosphere remains ok, the trekking will be easier. Otherwise, you might face hindrances.
Another factor is the trekking duration. It means how long and for how many days you need to walk to complete the entire trekking to the base camp of Mt. Annapurna. Normally, you have to trek for almost 6 hours per day mostly over the stone stairs. It is possible only when you are physically fit and passionately confident about the trekking destination. The total duration of the ABC trek is 10 days, but the itinerary can customize as per the requirements of the clients. This trek can be finished within a week too if you really want to join.
Trekking distance is an equally affecting factor while analyzing the difficulty level of the Annapurna base camp. The ABC is approximately 60 kilometers far from the valley, known as Pokhara. It means almost 120 kilometers in total and 10-20 kilometers in a day.
The Annapurna trekking trail also measures the difficulty level of the trekking destination. A trail of Annapurna base camp is full of ups and downs, twists and turns, and rocky routes. The steep stone trails consisting of 3300 steps are surprising, but walking on those steps may make you feel exhausted. It is a longer trekking trail.
The ability of trekkers to walk and experience also creates issues during trekking. If you are an experienced trekker, it would be very supportive while trekking to the Himalayas of Nepal.
Along with physical laborious factors, managing money for trekking is equally difficult. But the Annapurna base camp trek is a budget trek. It is not expensive compared to other trekking packages like the Annapurna circuit, Everest base camp, and the Manaslu circuit trekking.
Overall, the Annapurna base camp trekking in Nepal is not as hard as in other trekking destinations. Besides, the trekking preparation activities can reduce the difficulty level of trekking to some extent. They are as follows;
The trekkers can build up their stamina by daily walking and joining hiking activities. The ascending and descending walking habit would be very beneficial while going to the Annapurna base camp trek.
Similarly, if you have a previous trekking experience to the higher elevation, this would be very supportive to cover the day-to-day distance as per the itinerary. However, the Annapurna base camp is designed on the basis of a longer trekking itinerary. So, you can complete it easily.
Though, trekking to Annapurna base camp solo is possible. It is always recommendable to hire a guide or at least a porter. So, you can get a company and the trail would be easier as you do not need to pressurize your mind for searching the routes on a map.
On the other hand, a guide assists you in case of emergency. For instance, if you get altitude sickness, s/he will help you. A Helicopter charter is also possible if your health condition is serious.
In order to tackle the high altitude problems, you must make your body hydrated by drinking much water. Please, do not smoke and drink alcohol and take a balanced diet. Proper acclimatization is the most important preventative method for avoiding high altitude sickness. If you feel a headache or other altitude symptoms, you must tell your guide or porter. S/he always carries the first-aid medicine like Diamox and takes you down to the lower elevated place. If you need a doctor, s/he contacts us and we will send a helicopter to take you to the hospital in Kathmandu. But your travel insurance must cover your medical and helicopter charter expenses.
In the same, taking a sufficient amount of money with you make your trip comfortable because your ATM cards do not work in the Himalayan region of Nepal. And it is a bit expensive in the higher elevation of Nepal. So, please take enough money with you while trekking to Mt. Annapurna base camp.
At last, walking on the main route without following the sub-trails and selecting healthy foods and clean drinking water are enough to overcome the obstacles that promote the Annapurna base camp difficulties.
Best time for Annapurna Base Camp Trek
Spring and autumn seasons are taken as the best time for trekking to the base camp of Mt. Annapurna in Nepal. The former includes the months of March, April, and May whereas the latter consists of September, October, and November.
However, April and October months can be considered the excellent time for Annapurna trekking among these six different months. Because April says bye-bye to winter and welcomes the summer season. As a result, the temperature would be warmer in April. It means neither too much cold nor too much hot. But it may be colder in the higher elevation.
Similarly, the sky remains clear and displays snowcapped mountain views from the morning to the evening time. During April, a day extends day by day. So, you can walk for a longer time to reach the destination. Though it is snowy in high-altitude places, walking would be so difficult due to the use of the right trekking gears. But if it rains, unfortunately, it would be harder as the paths may get slippery.
Except for the views of mountains, you can enjoy the beautiful floras as the flowering plants like rhododendron blossoms during spring.
On the other hand, October is equally a beautiful month of the year. It comes after the monsoon season. Though September does not fall under the rainy times, there would be rainfall till the second week. But in October, there is no possibility of rain, though it happens sometimes. It is a drier month.
However, the rain washes out every dust from the sky. As a result, the sky looks transparent. The beautiful blue sky seems clear. So, you can enjoy crystal clear Himalayan panoramas every day.
It is well known that the month, of October, welcomes the winter season, but it is not a cold time. In case of rain, the temperature may go down and it may be colder at night. However, the temperature remains cold in the higher elevation of Nepal.
What to pack for the Annapurna base camp trek?
You must pack those things for trekking to the base camp of Mt. Annapurna that you really need. Otherwise, you can leave other redundant things at the hotel in Pokhara or Kathmandu or at our office free of cost. Your things will be saved whether it is in a hotel or our office and make your backpack light while walking.
You must carry with you your original passport, your passport-size photographs, travel insurance, wallet, credit cards, and other important paperwork. These are the compulsory things that you need while traveling.
Except for these mandatory documents, you must carry other essential things like clothes, bags, and so on. The backpack would be lighter if you take the light and warm clothes that dry instantly even in the wind within some hours. It helps you in making your bag not heavy and you do not need to carry lots. And the dresses depend on the seasons as well.
They are as bellows;
- Trekking Shoes
- Thermal Shorts
- Inner Thermal Set
- Light Fleece Jacket
- Down Jacket
- Minimum 2 pieces of warm trekking trousers
Compulsory Trekking Accessories
- Trekking pole
- Trekking gloves
- Woolen cap
- Woolen socks
- Sports Socks
- Raincoat & backpack rain cover
- Toilet Kit
Some Frequently Asked Questions
How fit is it need to be?
ABC is a moderately difficult trek. A physically fit and fine person without previous trekking experience can complete this trekking. But you must have strong determination mentally to do the trek.
How long is it needed to walk per day during the ABC trek?
It is needed to walk for almost 5-6 hours per day during the ABC trek on average.
What is the highest altitude of the Annapurna base camp trek?
4,190 meters is the highest altitude for trekking to ABC. It is the elevation of Annapurna Base Camp.
Are there facilities for battery charging and a hot shower on the Annapurna trekking route?
The facilities of battery charging and hot showering are available in the route of ABC. But you need to pay a small amount for having a hot shower at a higher elevation like almost $1.
Are there ATMs en route to ABC?
No, there are no facilities for ATMs on the Annapurna base camp route. And the tea houses do not accept credit cards as well. So, you must withdraw enough cash from Kathmandu or Pokhara. It would be easier if you have Nepali currency.
What about internet access?
There is accessibility to the internet en route to ABC. You can get Wi-fi at every tea house. But it may work slowly, especially in the higher elevation and you need to pay for using it in high altitude places. But it is free in the lower elevation. So, it is suggested to buy a data pack from the SIM card which may cost cheaper and work speedily.
Is it needed to hire a guide for Annapurna Base Camp trekking?
Annapurna region is not a restricted area. So, a trekker can join the trekking in this region solo. But it is advisable to hire at least one Nepalese whether a guide or a porter for making your trip easier and make your mind stress-free. This would be a safer idea too. But it depends on your confidence level.
How much do guides and porters cost?
It costs almost USD 25 for a guide and USD 20 for a porter in the Annapurna region trekking. But one porter can carry the backpack of two trekkers up to 20 kg in total.
How much should I tip guides and porters?
Tipping is western culture. But it is being a culture in Nepal as well, especially in the travel sector. A guide and a porter will be happy if they get a tip.
But the amount of tip is not set in Nepal. You can give a tip as per your preference depending on your satisfaction level.
Except for the guide and porter, you do not need to give a tip to the driver or hotel staff. Because it is charged already in a bill. However, it is up to you whether to provide a tip or not.
How long does it take to reach Pokhara from Kathmandu?
It takes almost 6 hours to reach Pokhara from Kathmandu on a bus. And it takes only 20 minutes by aeroplane.
What sorts of accommodation are available during the ABC trek?
During the Annapurna base camp trek, you will spend your night at the tea house. It is a small hotel and lodge which provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as a room for sleeping.
You can get good accommodation with an attached bathroom and free hot showering with free wi-fi in the lower elevation of the Annapurna trek route.
But the accommodation will be basic in the higher elevation. You can get a twin-sharing room with a bed, pillow, and blanket. The toilets are provided on a sharing basis.
Can beginners do this trek?
Annapurna base camp trek is the best destination for beginners. It is neither easier nor harder. It is situated in the normal elevation that every healthy person can adjust to with proper acclimatization. The walking trail is also not complicated.
How long is the Annapurna Base Camp trek?
The Annapurna base camp trek is almost 120 km long from and to Pokhara. It can be completed within 7 days. But our planned itinerary is 11 days.
How can we train ourselves for the Annapurna Base Camp trek?
We suggest you involve in normal activities like walking, hiking, swimming, and cardio exercises at least a month before your trekking begins.
What is the level of fitness expected from the participants?
Normally, healthy people can do the Annapurna base camp trek. S/He must be fit and fine both mentally and physically. Otherwise, it is ok.
How can we avoid altitude sickness during the trek?
You need to make hydrated your body by drinking lots of water and soup. And avoiding alcoholic things and smoking would be beneficial for overcoming altitude sickness during the ABC trek.