It was a pretty three hour walk, with 900 metres of climbing, to reach the Annapurna Base Camp (ABC). We crossed stretches of old snow in avalanche chutes, before bursting into the sunshine above the Macchapuchare Base Camp. Helicopters buzzed overhead, much closer than they were yesterday.
There are four lodges located at ABC, at an elevation of 4130 metres. There is not a cloud in the sky, the wind is light, and it feels warm (although the snow and ice are just starting to melt in the sun). ABC is completely ringed by close mountains, several of them 7000 to 8000 metres. It is magnificent here.
I strolled up from the lodges and found myself in a forest of monuments to climbers and trekkers that have died here. Percentage wise, Annapurna is the deadliest of the 8000 metre peaks, with only about 200 successful climbs and 70 climbing deaths. The plaques and monuments are certainly not an inducement to “Seek the Freedom of the Hills” as one popular climbing guide is titled.