Published on April 22nd, 2016 | by Common Wanderer
Conquer Annapurna with these tips and hacks
Read time: a bit over 4 minutes
Is hiking Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit on your bucket list?
Yes: Good Decision.
No: Soz but time to rethink your life goals, stat.
The Annapurna Circuit is one of the most popular treks in the world and for good reason: It is abso-freaking-lutely unbelievable.
We’re talking some of the most striking tallest mountains in the world, incredibly fresh air, clear mountain streams, quaint mountain villages and the famous Nepali hospitality.
Trekking through these parts can be equal parts challenging and inspiring, and you’ll likely come away with a renewed sense of life and some FOMO inducing photos. But it’s also long and hard and therefore you need to be prepared. Luckily, we aim to please.
If you’re hiking the Annapurna Circuit, it will be easy if you follow these tips (easier, we should say).
Train your legs
This should be a no brainer, but 6-8 weeks out from your departure get your backside into gear and start training. You don’t need to be a marathon runner; you just need to be able to walk for hours and days on end.
Spend your weekends away from the booze and get back to nature by hiking some of the trails around where you live; you’ll wear in your boots, you’ll build that cardio base and your body will thank you later.
Be uber positive
Annapurna is a positive vibes only kinda place so leave any negativity at home. Walking 13 days straight ain’t always easy, especially when altitude kicks in. You and your trekking mates will have as many ups as you have downs, and you’ll all need a little boost here and there.
Don’t be the whinger in your group; channel all the happy vibes. Simples.
Here’s the deal – eating gives you energy and you need a LOT of energy when hiking through Annapurna.
Don’t fret, you’re not going to pack on the kg’s. In actual fact, hiking at altitude means you’ll shed them so eat all the glorious food. The best food for energy on the trail is porridge for breakfast and Dal Bhat for lunch and dinner.
Trekking Annapurna is also the best excuse for a chocolate bar per day. Load up on your favourite treats and snack on these during the day for some quick energy!
Obvious but important notice alert: your body will dehydrate quicker than usual with all this walking, so it’s vital you keep knocking back those fluids. 4 litres a day minimum.
Tea, soup, and hot chocolate also count here, so if you’re sick of water substitute for some of these options at breakfast or lunch.
Bonus tip: you know how the chemical name for water is H2O? The O stands for Oxygen – which means drinking water can give your oxygen levels a mini boost when the air starts getting thin. Science, fo real.
Say No to Plastic Bottles
On the topic of water, show your love for the environment by not buying a new plastic bottle at each teahouse.
Instead, grab a few portable canteens in Kathmandu to use as your water bottles. Fill them up each day at the safe water stations in each village and add aquatabs or a steri-pen (to be extra safe!). Better yet, grab one of these camelbaks.
Shower when you can
There’s no better feeling than finishing a hard day’s walk with a quick shower.
Solar hot showers are a thing for most of the Annapurna trek, so make full use of these where you can. Be warned though, this may mean fighting your fellow travellers to get in first before the heat mysteriously disappears.
In the final days you’ll find it really is too cold to shower safely (ever tried to warm up in -10c weather with wet hair?!). The trusty wet wipe shower is key to your cleanliness and survival here.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint
“Bistaari, bistaari”. Slowly, slowly. These are the words you’ll hear from your guides most on your trek.
Why? Because walking slowly allows you to acclimatise better, which is important in these parts. An added benefit of walking slowly is you won’t fatigue as quickly and you’ll be able to take in more of the inspiring surrounds.
Don’t be a hero. Take it slowwwwly!
This tip is really up to you and your doctor, but we recommend taking Diamox (acetazolamide) after 3000m. Diamox can reduce the symptoms of altitude sickness (AMS) including headaches, tiredness, nausea, dizziness and shortness of breath and is a no brainer if you’re worried about AMS.
Take Diamox, walk slowly and everything should be fine. If not, alert your guide as soon as you feel symptoms.
Take Playing Cards
Whether it’s while your lunch is cooking or because you arrived early into camp, you’ll have on average four hours of downtime a day during the trek. That’s a LOT of time.
While it might be the perfect opportunity to read a book, they can be a drainer to carry around in your backpack. Instead, bring a pack of playing cards and unleash your competitive fury on your fellow travellers. It’s fun, wastes hours and it’s also a great way to meet new people. Who doesn’t like playing a game of cards?!
Have enough cash
This is the Himalayas, ain’t no ATMs up here until after Thorong La Pass. Stock up on cash before you leave and you won’t have to awkwardly borrow off your trekking mates.
$20USD a day should cover all your costs easily. If your budgeting skills aren’t super, separate your cash into plastic pockets for each day, and only spend what’s allocated in each.
Don’t forget to budget extra for tips for your guides and porters too!