Annapurna Circuit Trek Difficulties
When it comes to trekking to a region with diverse terrain, culture, and wildlife along with the spectacular view of the Himalayas, Annapurna can be the next best destination in Nepal.
Annapurna Circuit Trek is by far one of the easiest and shorter treks than other high-altitude treks in Nepal. It is a journey within the mountain ranges of central Nepal crossing the highest pass at Thorong La (5416m).
The circuit trek is around the entire Annapurna massif, walking through the edge of the world’s deepest gorge Kali Gandaki.
Virtually all trekkers hike the route anticlockwise so the altitude gain is slower day by day which makes it one of the easier treks compared to other Nepalese intense mountains treks.
The circuit trek to Annapurna offers us the panoramic view of Mt. Dhaulagiri, Mt. Annapurna I, II, III, IV, Nilgiri, Machhapuchhre, Manaslu, as well as Himchuli and Lamjung.
Annapurna Circuit Trek Difficulties
On the other hand, we will witness the fabulous mountain view from the Poonhill and perceive the diverse region of Annapurna.
Likewise, the Annapurna Circuit Trek introduces us to the popular tourist destination in the Himalayan region Manang, Mustang, and Muktinath which allows the visitors to explore the diverse Nepali landscapes along with the culture and tradition.
The Annapurna Circuit Trek is especially for those who want to have a more adventurous journey toward the Nepali Himalayas and experience the diverse culture, natural vegetation, geography, and different climatic zones of the Annapurna Region.
The Annapurna Circuit Trek is a challenging trek with dusty, bumpy, and narrow roads. The trek starts from a scenic drive from Kathmandu to Bhulbhule.
Then the trials passed through several villages in Jagat, Dharapani, and Chame and reached Pisang following the Marsyangdi river valley.
This trail offers you an outstanding view of the north face of Annapurna I, II, III, IV, Pisang, Gangapurna, Tilico, etc.
Besides, the trail passes through several Tibetan settlements where the trekkers get an opportunity to explore the Buddhist culture and tradition.
Then we will trek to managing and have full-day acclimatization here. Then the next day we will hike up to Thorung Phedi and from there finally to the Thorong La Pass at an altitude of 5416m.
After passing Thorong La Pass, we will descend to the pilgrimage sure Muktinath. It is a sacred place for both Hinduism and Buddhism.
Then, from Muktinath, we will drive to Tatopani where we will stay for a night. The next day we will head up to Ghorepani Poonhill.
It is one of the most popular places for the stunning view of the Himalayas as well as for exploring the typical Nepali village life.
We will witness the culture and tradition of mostly Gurungs and Magars living over there. Similarly, from Poon Hill, we will hike down to Birethanti and then drive to Pokhara.
How difficult is Annapurna Circuit Trek?
Many trekkers who are willing to make their next trip to Annapurna have the same frequent questions about its difficulties.
However, the Annapurna Circuit Trek is a moderately difficult trek on the high-altitude terrains of Annapurna. High altitude and the rough trails make this circuit trek more difficult as challenging.
The highest elevation in this trek is the Thorong La at an altitude of 5416m. And this part of the trek is especially so tough because due to heavy snowfall it remains close most of the time.
Throughout the trek, you will be within an altitude ranging between 3000m, where you have to pass through a few tough terrains that are dry, rough, steep, and difficult to pass through.
Therefore, the circuit is very tough at times, with the rise in altitude and rough trails.
The trek to Annapurna is demanding but can be made convenient by being prepared. As the traditional days for the trek is 18 days, however, it can be reduced to 14 days.
But basically, you are here for the trek, yes? Taking a porter and a guide will certainly make your trip a lot easier. It can relieve both physical and mental stress.
Even, if you are traveling alone and you are properly prepared with the right level of fitness, the right gear, and the right attitude, it doesn’t become much harder.
On the other hand, the weather condition in the Annapurna circuit trek adds another difficulty to the trek. As in the Himalayan region of Nepal, the weather is unpredictable.
Besides, snow, rain, and heavy wind can hit the Himalayan region anytime. Sometimes you may have to stay in one place because of bad weather.
Another difficulty for the Annapurna circuit trek is the route itself. The route to the Circuit trek is narrow, steep and dry, rough, and sometimes even slippery because of heavy rainfall.
Also, heavy snowfall may block the way sometimes. Therefore, before starting your trek to Annapurna Circuit you must be cautious about the difficulties that you have to face during your journey. as there is a famous saying that “Prevention is better than cure”.
Altitude Sickness in Annapurna Circuit Trek
For a high-altitude trek like Annapurna Circuit Trek, one of the main difficulties is altitude sickness.
People may find it difficult to trek in such a high-altitude place with no physical stamina and without physical fitness.
Despite being one of the easy treks to the Himalayas of Nepal, it is still very difficult for the freshers, beginners, and people who are the first to trek at Himalayan.
As you climb higher, the level of oxygen decreases, and the atmospheric pressure gets thinner. Your body suddenly experiences new kinds of environments that it was not used to before.
Because of this, you may face difficulty in breathing. The problem of altitude sickness is mainly because of the failure in proper acclimatization.
Sometimes, altitude sickness may happen even if you are physically fit and healthy. It’s just that your body cannot tolerate the new environment which is a lesser amount of air.
You may face some problems like vomiting, nausea, headache, loss of appetite, and most commonly fainting. Altitude sickness can start anytime with an elevation above 2500m.
During this trek, you will walk to a higher altitude of 5146m, and because your body is not used to this kind of high altitude you will feel altitude sickness. You can overcome such sickness by taking medicine.
Another way of reducing altitude sickness is by drinking a lot of water, take the walk slowly if you are exhausted, and listening to your body. Don’t rush for it or don’t push your body.
The Annapurna Circuit trek is seriously at a high elevation and almost everyone may experience some mild symptoms like headache or nausea. Therefore, listen to your body and rest if needed.
Annapurna Circuit Trek Difficulty
But because the trek to the Annapurna circuit is relatively at a high altitude, it is one of the moderate difficult treks to the Himalayas of Nepal.
It can be a bit harder for beginners without prior training and preparation.
Certain criteria make the trek harder and more difficult such as the steep and slippery routes, the heavy rainfall and snowfall, altitude sickness, and mostly the weather condition.
However, being at an altitude of more than 5000m in the Himalayan region of Nepal is not an easy task. You will
Have you walked for an hour ascending and descending, you may feel tired and exhausted and even suffer from headaches and other common symptoms like nausea.
Despite the challenges, the journey is full of refreshment exploring several cultures and people living around the villages. You may find Annapurna Circuit Trek difficult because of the following reasons.
Altitude is one of the major difficulties in this Circuit trek. As the highest altitude of this trek is 5416m at Thorong La Pass, anyone may face altitude sickness from an elevation above 2500m.
So because altitude sickness starts with an elevation of above 2500m, most people may face symptoms like vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite, and headaches.
It is common for the people who are a beginner to the higher altitude but if it becomes serious then you have altitude sickness.
Another most common difficulty that a trekker has to face is weather conditions. As bad weather can hit anytime in the Himalayan region of Nepal.
The weather is unpredictable in the Himalayan region of Nepal. Besides, snow, rain, and heavy wind can hit the Himalayan region anytime. Sometimes you may have to stay in one place because of bad weather.
On the other hand, sometimes because of heavy rainfall the highest elevation at Thorong La Pass is closed to the trekkers. Because of heavy wind, rainfall, and dark weather one may have to fault their journey.
Another trait of the Annapurna Circuit trek is the route itself. The route to the Himalayan region is mostly steep, rough, dry, and narrow.
Likewise, the road to the Annapurna circuit trek is difficult. However, on some trails, the roads become slippery with the heavy rainfall.
On the other hand, the heavy snowfall may block the road and you have to wait until the snow melts and clear the road.
Therefore, the weather is one of the great obstacles for the trek to a high altitude like the Annapurna Circuit trek.
Lack of Physical Fitness
Physical fitness is most in terms of an intense adventure like trekking to the Annapurna region.
One must prepare physically and mentally for the long trek as you will be trekking for a minimum of 14 to a maximum of 18days. You will be walking the whole day for the rest of 14-18 days.
So if you cannot walk, if you lack stamina the trek will be much harder for you. So being physically and mentally fit can lead to the success of the wonderful trek.
Best Season for Annapurna Circuit Trek
The circuit trek to Annapurna, being one of the most popular treks, can be done throughout the year.
Although, the trek to the mountains of Nepal is not possible throughout every season being the rain-shadowed region makes the Annapurna circuit trek an exception.
However, the trek to Annapurna Circuit can be a little more challenging in mostly two seasons, winter and Monsoon seasons.
The weather gets much colder in the winter seasons, besides the temperature drops below freezing points in the Annapurna region.
On the other hand, Thorong La Pass, the highest elevation of the trek is covered with snow, which makes it impossible to reach.
However, choosing the winter season for the trek can cause you to add extra gear and backpacking to your trek.
On the other hand, there might be chances of landslides, and mudslides in the lower region during the monsoon season.
You will either be trapped in the upper section or will have to fault your journey in the lower season because of landslides.
Furthermore, the leeches may trouble you in the monsoon season. As the monsoon season attracts fewer trekkers to this trek, however, the trek can be much more adventurous during this season with the right packing list and guide.
October and November
October and November are the peak season for trekking in Nepal. Most trekkers from all over the world choose this season for the Annapurna Circuit trek.
October and November are the autumn seasons in Nepal with the highest number of trekkers and visitors.
Similarly, the weather is in favor of the trekkers offering them the panoramic scenario of the Himalayas and the landscapes.
Walking under the clear blue sky, with the mesmerizing view of Mt. Annapurna Massif along with Machhapurchre, Manaslu, Dhaulagiri, etc is a brilliant experience to cherish for a lifetime. The chances of snowfall and rainfall are less during these seasons.
Likewise, The weather and temperature are perfect in October and November with moderate days and cool nights. The temperature is neither hot nor cold and is highly suitable for the trek.
The day temperature during the day is 15degreese Celsius with 7-8degreese Celsius of night temperature.
However, at a higher altitude like Thorong La Pass, the temperature is below the freezing point. Likewise, one can not predict the weather of the Himalayan region. But trekkers are recommended to bring warm clothes.
March to May
The weather from March to May in the Annapurna Circuit is moderate to hot. These months are the next popular season for the trek to the Annapurna Circuit apart from October and November.
The time in March to May is the spring season in Nepal which is also regarded as the season of colors.
During your trek to the Annapurna Circuit this season, you will witness several kinds of Nepalese flowers including the national flower of Nepal Rhododendron.
The panoramic scenario of blooming a colorful Rhododendron will be one of the perks of trekking in the Spring season. The weather remains quite stable and the humidity in the air is less.
You will be pleased to walk around the beautiful village witnessing the majestic view of the high Himalayas.
The average temperature can rise to 20 degrees Celsius in the Annapurna region during this month of the year.
However, the nights are cooler and the temperature decreases with the rise in altitude. The higher altitudes have a comfortable morning with freezing nights.
June to August
This is the monsoon season in Nepal where Monsoon starts in Mid-June and lasts till early September. Monsoon in Nepal is harsh so it is often an off trekking season in the Himalayas in Nepal.
But most of the Annapurna Circuit trails lie in the rain-shadowed area, trekking is possible during this month.
However, the trail to the lower altitude may get slippery and muddy because of heavy rainfall. Therefore, one must be prepared with their trekking gear, equipment, and footwear.
On the other hand, the trails are less crowded during this month. So if you want to enjoy the best of nature peacefully, this month is ideal for you.
The monsoon wind from the Bay of Bengal reached its peak during July. It can cause heavy rainfall and lightning on the hills with heavy snowfall in higher altitudes.
The average temperature stays between 15-20 degrees Celsius in the lower region but there is a decrease in temperature with the increase in altitude.
December to January
These are winter months in Nepal where the high mountains are covered in snow and the sky is clear blue presenting a stunning view of nature. The chances of rainfall in winter are relatively low.
The trekkers will be able to enjoy the obstructed view of the entire Himalayan ranges. The lodges, roads, and teahouses are less crowded compared to the peak season in Annapurna Circuit Trek.
However, The trails are covered with snow, making it challenging to walk. The snowfall can last up to 36 hours in favored conditions.
The temperature reaches nearly the freezing point at the lower altitude as at the higher altitude it is below the freezing point.
One should be careful crossing the highest elevation at 5416m, Thorong La Pass as the stormy wind starts blowing around 9 am.
The temperature of the Annapurna Circuit remains 5-10 degrees Celsius on average. However, the temperature may decrease to -20 degrees Celsius at a higher altitude.
Trek Facts of Annapurna Circuit Trek
Annapurna Circuit trek is the ultimate trek in terms of adventure and exploration.
With this trek you will discover the Himalayan lifestyle of the people living over there, exploring several monasteries and Gumpas as well as the culture and tradition that is similar to the Tibetan.
With this trek, you will have an amazing experience in the Himalayas of Nepal including the massif Annapurna.
Here are some facts about the Annapurna Circuit treks.
Trip Name: Annapurna Circuit Trek
Length: 131 km
Duration: 14-18 days
Max. altitude: 5416m at Thorong La Pass
Accommodation: Lodges, tea house, and homestay
Grade: Moderate difficult
Best season: All around the year with the right gears and equipment. However, October to November is the peak season.
Facts about Annapurna
- The word Annapurna means ” the God of harvest or the God of nourishment” for Hindus
- In Sanskrit, the word Annapurna means ” full of food”
- Annapurna is the massif in the Himalayas of Northcentral Nepal where Annapurna I is the world’s 10th highest peak
- The Annapurna massif includes Annapurna I, II, III, IV, and Gangapurna.
- The top part of the Annapurna is formed with limestone which is the same as Dhaulagiri and Everest.
- Annapurna is one of the most dangerous 8000m peaks to climb where the success ratio is just 38%.
- The whole Annapurna Massif is protected in the Annapurna Conservation area.
- Annapurna offers the highest number of the Trekking routes
Tips for Annapurna Circuit Trek
As for the trek to the Annapurna Circuit, the trekkers must be cautious of several things.
When trekking to Annapurna Circuit, it is always wise to start your trek early. Starting early is always safer in the Himalayan region than staying late.
Starting early one can be blessed with the view of the outstanding landscapes as well as the Himalayas. If you start early, you can get more time to explore nature.
Starting early and finishing early are likely to prevent any kind of weather disturbance in Annapurna Massif.
Choose the Right Backpack
Choosing the right backpack can make your trek comfortable and convenient. Make sure you carry only the needed stuff that will make your bag look smaller and saves you from the pain and discomfort during your journey.
Choose to stay hydrated, and grab water every once an hour. Staying hydrated helps you get a lower risk of altitude sickness and your body needs water for an extra trek like the Annapurna region.
Your body will dehydrate quickly in such high altitudes so you will need to compensate more by drinking a lot of water.
Choose Comfortable Trekking Shoes
Trekkers always should have proper trekking boots with a sturdy sole. You have to trek through various inclined, rough terrain and for a long distance.
Therefore, normal sports shoes can’t take the pressure off your feet. So trekking boots are one of the musts while trekking to Annapurna Circuit trek.
Carry Diamox for Altitude Sickness
As you go up higher, you may face the danger of altitude sickness. The level of oxygen decreases with the temperature rise.
From an altitude above 2500m, there is a chance of altitude sickness. However, the highest altitude of this circuit trek is 5416m at Thorong La Pass.
So one may face several symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, fainting, headache, etc. Therefore, carry Diamox medicine to relieve altitude sickness.
Brings food from Kathmandu or Pokhara
It will be a wise decision to carry extra food from either Kathmandu or Pokhara. Doing this, you will save money as in the upper region the cost of food is comparatively high.
So, all you can give in the higher area is your lunch, dinner, and breakfast. For other extra dry foods, you can carry them from Pokhara.
Interested in such a fabulous trek? If yes then here are the details.