BIKEPACKING THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT:::::::::::::: Pt 11, Thorong Base Camp to Muktinath via Thorong La.

You don’t really conquer a mountain, you conquer yourself”

Humble words by a famous climber. How true. So here we were, closeted inside a dimly-lit, cold and cramped 4-bedded room with no other furniture. We were only too eager to get up and going over the pass to conquer ourselves.

At 4am the next morning, while it was pitch dark and freezing cold (like 7-layers-of-clothing kind of cold. I didn’t check but it couldn’t have been anything less than -5Cº, maybe even -8Cº) we headed out towards the hardest part of this 7km section – 2kms of winding, steep, narrow and gravelly switchbacks. Continue reading

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BIKEPACKING THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT:::::::::::: Pt 9, Manang to Yak Kharka

From Manang onwards, progress is strictly on the hiking path. Everyone — hikers, bikers, porters and pack-donkeys, all have to share the same narrow trail all the way to Thorong La and all the way down to Muktinath on the other side. Continue reading

BIKEPACKING THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT:::::::::::: Pt 8, Acclimatization in Manang.

For the first time on this trip, I experienced one of the symptoms of AMS — the inability to sleep. We were at 3,500m, after all. I was tossing and turning almost the whole night; I just could not sleep.

Finally, around 5 in the morning I dozed off. It wasn’t sound sleep though. The temperature had also dropped to zero early in the morning. Manang, in reality, is cold all the time, even in the daytime outdoors. Continue reading

BIKEPACKING THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT:::::::::::: Pt 6, Timang to Thaleku

We had endured a very cold night, and I was glad for the -5C down sleeping bag that kept us snug and warm.

I was feeling rather knackered, not just from the hard going, but also from a boil on the butt that had decided to pop up a couple day ago. From Timang, it was pretty hard going. I was pushing a lot. The terrain was steep and not very forgiving. Continue reading

BIKEPACKING THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT:::::::::::: Pt 5, Tal to Timang

The riding was getting noticeably harder, the breathing more laboured, and the number of stops increasingly more frequent. But, the vista around us was getting increasingly more spectacular as well. Just as well too, the elements were very energy-sapping. It’s only the immense beauty surrounding us that’s keeping us going. Continue reading

BIKEPACKING THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT:::::::::::: Pt 3. Besisahar to Syange

Cycling an arduous trek like the Annapurna Circuit meant we would be climbing from around 900m to 5,416m. Along the way, we would be experiencing distinctly different climatic zones with the accompanying change in temperature, vegetation, ethnicity of the people, their culture, and the ever-changing panorama of magnificent mountains. Continue reading