Tuesday, 15th Nov

Posted: November 22, 2011 in Trekking / トレッキング

The lodge at Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) was full last night including 3 huge men from Estonia. They ordered a large bottle of Kukri Rum and then began entertaining everyone with Estonian songs. The Nepalese porters then sang a trekking song and everyone clapped along. We turend in early and hoped for a clear morning. We shared a room with a German called Gert who was very friendly. He was a camera enthusiast and later gave Julian a can of Coke which must have cost a fortune being carried to Annapurna Base Camp, ABC.

Everyone woke early and we were out of our tiny room before 7. The temperature in our room at that time was minus 6. It was light although the sun wasn’t up yet. We stood on a huge bank of lateral moraine and and down below us was the South Annapurna Glacier. There was still a lot of thin night-time cloud around and so we only had brief glimpses of the mountains although Annapurna South and Machhapuchhre were clearly visible. During the night it had snowed and there was about 6 inches of snow on the ground. Everyone tried to get a good vantage point on the moraine which lead to the comical situation of an older German speaking woman berating the German speaking Gert for standing in a prime position and spoiling everyone else’s view but berating him in English! Eventually everyone spaced out but the clouds returned and there were no more shots to take so most people went back to one of the four lodges at ABC and had breakfast. Our kitchen was overloaded and before our omlette and Gurung bread arrived, the sky brightened outside and most people headed out to get another look. This time we were rewarded with the spectacular view of the whole Annapurna Range. It was awesome. We were surrounded by mountains and 50 metres below us was the glacier. Across the glacier the valley side was bare rock but all the higher peaks were covered in snow. We saw the sun emerge from behind Machhapuchhre and it was another glorious sight. People were shouting and cheering; it was a really festive atmosphere. Julian made a snow angel by lying in the snow and waving his arms and legs. Gradually people started drifting off but Julian and I walked up to the cairn area that I had seen the day before. It was all covered in snow now which made walking a bit treacherous. We found a nice spot in view of Annapurna I and Julian made a cairn in the shape of a ship. I just sat and gazed at the mountains. It was so peaceful…
We were some of the last to leave ABC although other people were just arriving who would stay the day and the night there. We left at 10:30 and the clouds were returning. As we walked down to Machhapuchhre Base Camp (MBC) it started to snow and visibility was down to 50m. The path was slippery and the going was slow. At times our porter was a dim figure in the distance. It took ages to reach MBC by which time we were walking in a sleety cloud and our porter was nowhere to be seen. I was just beginning to think that we should stop at MBC for the day and wait out the bad weather when we met our porter in the gloom and after a short discussion decided to continue on and try for Deurali. It was snowing continually but when walking we were warm. The path was quite clearly visible because of all the other people who had walked down that morning. But the main problem was that it was very slippery. We were having to test every footstep. We broke out our wet-gear and trudged on the slippery path. It was such a contrast to the glorious morning. In the late afternoon we fell into a lodge at Deurali – exhausted and pretty wet.
The evening was better. We met a woman again who we had met several times on the way up. She had a pain in her knee and so was moving up the trail almost as slowly as we were. This evening she still had the pain in her knee and I gave her some of our deep heat cream. (Kayo- I just gave her the tube. I didn’t actually apply it on her knee or anything like that!) Her next problem was that she needed an adaptor to charge her Nokia mobile phone. She was asking everyone; trekkers and porters alike and hence she became the Nokia Lady. Everyone took her to be an American because of her accent but it turned out that Inca (sorry about the spelling Inca but you did say as in the South American civilisation!) was from Finland! This made the Nokia phone charger quest even more ridiculous. We were joined at the dining table by Terry who lives in Southampton and is researching neuro-science. When he saw my slightly puzzled look he said “the brain”- I really must read some more intellectual books. There was also Reece, the dreadlocked Welshman who has been travelling around S.E. Asia for months and is just completing the Annapurna Circuit which had taken him 21 days so far. He was the only one of the party going up; all the rest of us were coming down the valley. After dinner Julian and I introduced the group to Annapurna Rules Rummy. It was good to play in a group of five. Terry won most of the hands. It was snowing outside as we then produced the poker dice. Reece got two perfect scores in a row and won the game. Eventually the porters started arranging their blankets to sleep in the dinning hall and taking the hint we turned in for the night. The snow continued and the last thoughts of the day were whether we would be snowed in and whether Reece would continue up the valley tomorrow.

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Comments
  1. Inka Pitkänen says:

    Hi Andy and Julian, good to know you made it back to the civilization. I continued to limp on all the way to Ghorepani and Poon Hill, took me forever but it was worth it, especially after the weather got better. However, after four more evenings of trying, I finally realized that finding a Nokia alarm clock charger in the Himalayas is a lot trickier than all those Connecting people -adds let you believe. Finding nice fellow trekkers willing to pound on my door around six in the morning turned out to be much easier.

    It was good meeting you both, I wish you many happy future adventures. Go team Yeti! And keep checking your email, with a little bit of luck (and bandwith) a photo of Julian in ABC might just appear there one of these days.

    -Inka the Nokia Lady

    Oh, and most importantly: It was me who won the poker dice!!!

    • Andy B says:

      Hi Inka
      Apologies for spelling your name wrong (or maybe the South American civilisation has been spelt wrongly all these years; who knows?). You won the poker dice? I must have been so distraught at losing my own game but we English have had a lot of practise at that.
      But well done for getting to Poon Hill and Ghorepani! You definitely are the heroine of this story. Hats of for the Nokia Lady. I hope you are taking it easy in Pokhara now.
      I think Julian and I were more likely to find a Yeti than you were of finding a charger for that Nokia relic! You might want to try the National Science Museum in Helsinki when you get home; if you’re not too embarrassed. But it was nice sharing some fun times with you and we look forward to any photos you send us.
      Team Yeti

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