Snowed in on the Annapurna Circuit – Manang

by Mike Still
Snowed in on the Annapurna Circuit – Manang

Getting snowed in on the Annapurna Circuit means I actually had some down time to put together this post.  Luckily the Throng La Hotel in Manang has some wifi so I thought I’d tell you all about the trip so far.  The first few days of our expedition has been quite enjoyable with a day in a jeep driving past waterfalls, 2 days on the trail hiking along a beautiful valley and 1 day hiking around Manang to acclimatize but today we woke up to a blizzard! 

We woke up in Manang hoping to head to Tilicho Base Camp but were greeted with a blizzard instead.  The trail to Tilicho no longer visible and the mountains surrounding Manang were now snow capped.  By breakfast the snow had come down to the streets of this mountain city making our guide Thakur worried about trekking anywhere today.

The Annapurna Circuit is listed as the #1 hike on this top 40 of Asia!

Manang is a popular city for trekkers to stay a day or two in for acclimatization.  It sits at about 3540m or 11600 feet and has a beautiful mountain view with 4 peaks and a glacier visible across the river (if it isn’t snowing)

A few groups opted to take the easier route to Yak Kharka while we waited to decide where to go.  The snow continues to fall as we huddle together in the common area of the Throng-la Hotel.  Nepalese flags wave in the distance when the winds picked up and the mountain views from yesterday are hidden behind thick clouds.

On the bright side this meant an extra day to acclimatize.  I had mild headaches the last two days and they are normal at these altitudes but thankfully they have disappeared.  I’m drinking extra water to stay hydrated and they unlikely to pop up again without climbing to a higher altitude.  At the advice of the Himalayan Rescue Association I started taking Acute Mountain Sickness pills called Diamox.

Normally if your symptoms disappear you will be fine but they recommend taking 125 mg twice a day as a preventative measure.  If your symptoms don’t subside then DO NOT climb higher.  You need to get to a lower altitude until you are symptom free.

My brother and I wanted to follow the other groups to Yak Kharka but opted to adhere to Thakur’s advice and wait a few hours to see how the conditions evolve.  So far the snow is showing no signs of letting up but the wind has died down.  We are safe here but anxious to get back on the trail.  Unfortunately our porter, Rasnath isn’t very experienced and is wearing beat up sneakers that are no match for this weather.  I wonder if part of our delay is because of his gear since the other groups with guides and porters continued onward to Yak Karka.

From left to right: Annapurna III, Annapurna V, Gangapurna, Khangsar Peaks

If the skies were clear we could see Annapurna III & V, Gangapurna and Khangsar peaks like we did yesterday at sunrise.  The golden glow topped each mountain with blue skies behind but alas today we are stuck with a white blanket over the whole valley.

Weather is unpredictable in the mountains and the Himalayas are even more wild than most.  Wish us good luck and good weather so that we can safely continue our trek through the Annapurna Circuit rather than turn around and descend from here!

Stay tuned for more posts about the Annapurna Circuit but if we get lucky and can keep going that means I won’t have wifi so you’ll have to wait a week or two.  Put your email in the top right corner so you don’t miss the posts when they go live!

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Mike Still
Mike is a travel enthusiast, photographer and teacher. He loves adventure travel, meeting the locals and exploring new culture. As an outdoor enthusiast you can often find him hiking mountains or exploring forests trying to capture the beauty of mother nature. In 2013 he founded as he left his home in America and has been teaching or traveling around the world ever since!

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