Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Saturday 18 June 2022

November 2004 - The Annapurna Circuit - Day 9

Tuesday 9 November
A Day Off In Manang
Itinerary: DAY 9 Manang A day to explore and acclimatise in Manang, which lies at the foot of the northern side of the Annapurna range. People and culture here are of Tibetan origin. The rain shadow caused by the Himalayan range deprives the valley of rain and as a result life here is harsh. The view of the Annapurna range from here is incredible with Annapurna II, Annapurna IV, Annapurna III, Gangapurna and Tilicho Peak forming a massive chain. There is the opportunity to hike to the glacial lake formed by the water of Gangapurna and Annapurna III. 

[Diarist: Martin]
After a cool night - it was 0C in the tent - warm sleeping bags were needed - we were allowed a lie in until 7 am. Outside, the sun was shining on Annapurna III and Gangapurna, and the Gangapurna glacier - huge across the valley. 

By breakfast at 8 am it was reasonably warm, though gloves were still handy. Porridge was followed by chapattis and vegetable omelette. 

My diarrhoea which started yesterday has not been cured by a ciprofloxacin tablet taken yesterday, so I take another. Sue and I continue with Diamox for acclimatisation purposes and have no significant side effects except lots of tingling ends of fingers when plunged into hot washing water.

View from Manang camp

After breakfast, water for washing clothes is provided and we spend a pleasant hour in the sun on this activity. Mark and Lindy, equipped with a freshly purchased scrubbing brush, manage to take longer than the rest of us in their bid for total cleanliness.

Wash day at Manang

A goat tries to eat our rubbish and is shooed off, a tea bag label dangling from its mouth. A man digs a drainage trench, sending a cloud of dust over freshly washed clothes hanging from the line above. Andrew proudly empties his newly acquired pee bottle that he has managed to fill during the course of the night. Mary and I have both suffered nosebleeds, which Sanjeev says are common at altitude. 

By 10.10 the shower is ready. Andrew is the first to go. It is very pleasant sitting here on the dusty campsite. The wind has not yet risen, and all is calm. Those continuing their journeys have left, those here for an acclimatisation day are chilling like us. Showering was taken in turn in a concrete cell. We were told which knob to turn if it became too hot. It didn't! It was pretty cool actually, but a shower is a shower, and it was welcome. 

Then from 10:30 until 1 pm, time to ourselves. Sue went up a path to the north east, for a bit of acclimatization height gain, and spectacular views across the valley as far as Annapurna 1. I stayed in the tent, sealed from the dust, reading about 'The Life and Times of Michael K' by J M Coetze. It got hot.

Manang High Street

View to camp from Sue's walk above Manang, with Gangapurna

View to Tilicho Peak and AP1

Gangapurna, 7454 metres

View from Sue's walk above Manang

We all reconvened for lunch, the other four having wandered in various directions, and were served with club sandwiches, fried potato slices, fried luncheon meat, vegetable rissoles, and coleslaw. Excellent. 

Then we all went on an acclimatization walk, first down to the glacial lake at the foot of the Gangapurna glacier, then up to a viewpoint at about 3760 metres, high above Manang, with views back to Manaslu and on to the route ahead. It was a steep climb but we managed the 200+ metres in 25 (Mark) to 35 (Andrew) minutes, compared with the signposted time of one hour.

Manang, from the walk to the glacier

Views from glacier walk

Hosta and Manesh were with us, as well as Sanjeev. The top of the path had hard packed snow or ice under a layer of dust. Care was needed on the descent. We did this after wandering across to a viewpoint over the glacier. More good views, but we were now in the shade and it was cool. So a rapid retreat to camp by 4 pm, followed by tea and biscuits and popcorn at 4:30. 

Manang, from the glacier

Can you spot the tents?

Glacial moraine on the descent

The wind, which had started at lunchtime, dropped now and it was quite cosy in our tent. Dinner is at 6:30 so all except Mark and I have adjourned to sleeping bags to warm themselves in preparation for another evening in the mess tent. A second cipro pill seems to have abated my diarrhoea, and Sue and I have now taken our last Diamox tablets. Hopefully we will continue to acclimatize. 

The washing was dry by the time lunch was over, so that operation was successful. Now, at 5:45, I will also try to get hot in my sleeping bag for a while... 

Dinner was vegetable soup and prawn crackers, then yak burgers, crispy spring rolls, macaroni cheese and cauliflower. Coconut cake for pudding, decorated with bright green icing and red cherries. Short Uno with four of us, and bed at 8:30. 

Today's Statistics:
Ascent and descent: 225 metres
Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

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