How to prepare for Annapurna base camp trek

With a height of 8091 meters, Mt. Annapurna is the 10th highest peak in the world. Annapurna Base Camp trek is one of the best hiking trails in the world and one of the most recommended treks in the world. Annapurna base camp trek itinerary goes along some of the most beautiful landscapes in Nepal, spectacular Himalayan views and to witness the best sunrise over the Himalayas. Annapurna base camp trek route is to explore high mountain settlements, different cultural traditions and discover varied flora and faunas of the Annapurna Conservation Area Project. This project is established to protect the fragile ecosystem of the Annapurna area. Annapurna base camp trek package is ideal for solo or group trekkers and also okay for those who haven’t have a trekking experience in the past. Upon reaching the Annapurna Base Camp, one observes the most stunning Himalayan views all around that include Annapurna I, Machapuchare (Fishtail), Hiuchuli and other peaks. Trekking in the Himalayas at high altitudes certainly requires pre-planning. Below are some of the tips that will help you prepare for your trekking to the Annapurna base camp.

Physical Training and Fitness
Annapurna Base Camp trek is regarded as a moderately graded trek. The trek doens’t require a previous alpine trekking experience nor involves technical mountain climbing. But the Annapurna base camp trek fitness level does require some preparations. These include walking, running or brisk walking about a month or two before your trek starts. Climbing stairs will also help since the trek has some longer ascents and descents. The bottom line is that you must be capable of walking at least 4-5 hours per day ascending and descending on high mountain trails.

Annapurna base camp trek best time
The best time for the Annapurna Base Camp trekking is during is September and October closely followed by April and May. September and October are the high trek season in Nepal and is the autumn season. It is also the most recommended time to visit Nepal. In this season weather will be great with clear Himalayan views with beautiful landscapes. April and May are the spring season in Nepal and another best time to trek in Nepal. Trekking during this season, one will witness nature at its best with lush green forests and full blossoms of rhododendron on the way to Annapurna Base Camp (ABC).

Annapurna base camp trek permit
Trekkers need to get two kinds of permits for trekking to Annapurna Base Camp. One is TIMS (Transport Information Management System). Another is the entry permit to ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Entry Permit). Some sections of the trek need to go through the Annapurna Project thus an entry permit is required. If you have booked your trek through a trekking agency, they will handle all the permits and you don’t need to worry. Annapurna base camp trek permit cost is NPR 3.000 per person. These permits are checked at the entry points during your trek.

Mental Preparation
Trekking anywhere outdoors and especially in the Himalayas, one should be mentally prepared beforehand. Trekking in the Himalayas requires walking uphill or downhill and about 5-6 hours each day in high-altitude areas. During the trek, you will be in locations where there will be no wi-fi, air conditioning, comfortable beds or toilets and so on. Be prepared for some of these factors and if you have high expectations, you might be disappointed.

Equipment and Gears
Trekking in high altitudes requires good equipment and trustworthy gears. Below are the recommendations for trekking into the Annapurna Base Camp which helps you to successfully complete the Annapurna Base Camp trekking. The list depends upon the season of your travel like in winter, summer or spring and needs to be taken as a guideline only.

Suggested Clothing
• sun hat with visor
• stocking cap
• scarf
• sun glasses
• sun block (minimum spf 6 for face, 12 for lips)
• t-shirts (cotton or wool)
• comfortable underwear
• long and short sleeved shirts
• polar fleece (pile) jacket
• wool sweater
• cotton pants
• shorts (culturally less acceptable for women)
• warm pants, e.g., polar fleece (pile)
• silk long underwear
• wool long underwear
• cotton socks
• wool socks
• ski jacket (gore-tex shell and down liner, see notes)
• rain gear (waterproof jacket and pants)
• tennis shoes
• hiking boots (broken in!)
• warm gloves and/or mittens

Trekking Supplies
• down sleeping bag
• medium size backpack/rucksack (50 liters)
• small flashlight or headlamp and batteries
• safety pouch (i.e., money belt) for passport, personal documents, money

Personal Belongings
• toiletry kit (soap & shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, small scissors, safety pins, mirror)
• personal pharmacy and first aid kit small sewing kit
• kleenex
• toilet paper
• towel
• multi-purpose (“Swiss army”) camping knife (NB: knives and scissors must not be carried on the plane as hand luggage and should always be packed with the checked luggage)
• nylon cord

Various Items
• camera and film
• small thermos or water bottle (1/2 liter), trail bars, vitamins
• umbrella/rain coat

Annapurna base camp trek without guide
Trekking to Annapurna Base Camp can be done with our without a trekking guide. But hiring an experienced trek guide who knows the area well is highly recommended. A guide will not only help and support you during trek like not getting lost on the way and also provides all the information regarding the local fauna, people, culture, place, landscapes, flowers and so on. In case of emergencies like injuries or altitude sickness, your guide will arrange rescues and medical attention. Trekking solo to the Annapurna Base Camp can also be done but at your own risk. Novice trekkers can get into trouble if they are injured or suffered high altitude sickness on the trail since medical facilities will be far-off, sometimes a day’s walk as well as rescue services being out of reach.

Travel Insurance
Good travel insurance is highly recommended For any trekking programs in the Himalayas. High Himalayas trek involves hiking in the high altitude where there is a risk of getting high altitude sickness. Your travel insurance should cover helicopter rescues, medical bills and hospital charges. This is for your own safety since mountain weathers are rather unpredictable. if you suffer from altitude sickness, you need to be rescued down immediately to the lower grounds in which case helicopter rescue is used. Make sure your insurance covers helicopter rescue charges and other medical attention costs.

Accommodation
While in Kathmandu or Pokhara, one can choose from a wide range of accommodation facilities from tourist-class to five-star hotels. But on the trail, the choice is limited to a local and traditional lodge known as tea-houses. These lodges have basic rooms often with sharing with others but they do have toilets and shower facilities. With the flow of trekkers increasing every year, the standard of the services these tea-houses provide has become better with comfortable and cozy rooms and even attached toilets at some locations.

Food and Water
Food available during the Annapurna Base Camp trek is basically Dal-bhat-tarkari (Steamed Rice, Lentils, and local vegetables), flatbread (roti) and so on. But they are wholesome meals that give you more energy for your next day’s trek. But of course, you can order other continental meals. For drinking water, you are advised to bring your own water purifying tablets, solutions. There are open water taps, streams, waterfalls along the trail but you are not recommended to drink directly from them. Use filters or purifying tablets. Bottled water is available; however the price increases as the altitude increases.

High Altitude Sickness
Get as much information as possible on high altitude sickness which will help you to understand, notice symptoms, take precautions and take necessary steps if they do occur. Do not ignore any symptoms as it is very risky and if not treated on time can be worse or lead to death. If going along with a guide, your trek guide shall be taking care of you and noticing if you have come across any signs of altitude sickness. In case of altitude sickness, he shall immediately stop the trek, take a rest and if required, descend you down to lower elevation. In the worst situation, arrange for the helicopter rescues.

Conclusion
Good preparation is essential for trekking into any high-altitude trekking program and The Annapurna Base Camp trek is no exception. Even though the trek is doable for anyone but if you have done the necessary preparation before your trek, you will enjoy the trek even more and without any difficulties. You should train yourself to walk uphill for 4-5 hours on a daily basis. This will be greatly fruitful on the trail to the Annapurna Base Camp. There are many trails to the Annapurna Base Camp and you should choose the right one for you. Or if you have to go through a travel agent they shall be happy to suggest to you the most suitable trekking trial.

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