Annapurna Sanctuary Trek

From: $2,899

per person dbl occ

Dates: Mar-Dec - see all dates

Total Days: 14

Activity Level: 4

Reserve This Trip

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Price:

2014

REI member: $2,899

Non-member: $3,199

2015

REI member: $3,099

Non-member: $3,499

Additional Fees

2014 Internal flight: $239

2015 Internal flight: $299

Single supplement: $499

Trip Dates:

2014

  • Apr 6–19
  • May 6–19
  • May 16–29 Sold out
  • Sep 25 – Oct 8
  • Oct 9–22
  • Oct 23 – Nov 5
  • Oct 29 – Nov 11
  • Nov 12–25
  • Nov 18 – Dec 1
  • Nov 26 – Dec 9
  • Dec 10–23

2015

  • Mar 14–27
  • Mar 26 – Apr 8
  • Mar 31 – Apr 13
  • Apr 7–20
  • Apr 19 – May 2
  • May 13–26
  • May 25 – Jun 7
  • Jun 6–19
  • Oct 1–14
  • Oct 11–24
  • Oct 21 – Nov 3
  • Oct 27 – Nov 7
  • Nov 2–15
  • Nov 14–27
  • Nov 20 – Dec 3
  • Nov 26 – Dec 9
  • Dec 8–21

Or, book a
private departure.

Group Size: 2-10

Activity Level: 4

Activities:

  • Trekking

Accommodations:

Boutique guesthouse, 2 nights; Standard city hotels, 2 nights; Campsites, 9 nights

Trip Highlights

  • Join a 14 day, fully-supported trek to enchanting Annapurna Base Camp
  • Take in spectacular 360-degree views of surrounding Himalaya ranges
  • Hike through forests of bamboo and chestnut trees, and along terraced fields
  • Camp comfortably along the trek, guided by our professional Nepalese staff

Even in a country where Himalayan panoramas are prolific, visitors and local people alike regard the intense beauty of the Annapurna Sanctuary with unique reverence. Encircled by a colossal ring of Himalayan giants, the Annapurna Sanctuary has been held sacred for centuries. It is believed that high deities of Hinduism, Buddhism, and ancient shamanistic traditions call this remarkable place "home." Passing through the gates of the Annapurna Sanctuary is a breathtaking experience that draws trekkers from all corners of the globe.

For many, entrance has been forbidden until recently. REI's route follows traditional paths used for centuries by Tibetan traders. Hiking through terraced fields and remote villages, our destination is the ice-bound heart of the mountainous amphitheater that holds Annapurna Base Camp. With over 25 years of experience operating outstanding Himilayan treks, our friendly Nepalese staff cares for all our needs as we immerse ourselves in this truly unforgettable adventure.

Extend your Everest adventure by experiencing more of Nepal's varied terrain and unique wildlife. Join our Chitwan Jungle Safari – Nepal Extension—or explore even more of Asia on our Angkor Wat extension!

Itinerary Summary

  • Day 1 - Namaste and welcome to vibrant Kathmandu.
  • Day 2 - Explore the Kathmandu Valley's most fascinating sites.
  • Day 3 - Fly to Pokhara where our Annapurna trek begins. Hike to Dhampus.
  • Day 4 - Hike past small farming communities to arrive at the village of Landrung.
  • Day 5 - Cross the Modi Khola River to the gateway of the Annapurna Sanctuary.
  • Day 6 - Hike in bamboo forests to the village of Dovan inside the Sanctuary.
  • Day 7 - Ascend to Machapuchhare Base Camp for amazing views of the sacred peak.
  • Day 8 - Hike to Annapurna Base Camp, the highest point on our trek (13,400').
  • Day 9 - After sunrise over Annapurna South, descend to Bamboo Village.
  • Day 10 - Descend to Chumrung village as the air becomes easier to breathe.
  • Day 11 - Hike along the Annapurna foothills through small Gurung villages.
  • Day 12 - Continue through rhododendron forests through the village of Nayapool.
  • Day 13 - Fly to Kathmandu and enjoy a final night in the city.
  • Day 14 - Our trekking adventure ends today in Kathmandu.

See full itinerary

Trip Itinerary and Details

Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.

  • Day 1 - Namaste and welcome to vibrant Kathmandu.

    Our trip begins today in Kathmandu, Nepal. After clearing immigration and customs, we are met by our staff and transferred to a lovely private guesthouse outside the city. Chhahari retreat is a new boutique property north of the city on the border of the national park, with terraced gardens, expansive views, mouth-watering cuisine, massage services and more. The afternoon is yours to relax and enjoy before our evening welcome and trip orientation. Dinner included.

  • Day 2 - Explore the Kathmandu Valley's most fascinating sites.

    Enjoy a half-day guided tour of the ancient cities and UNESCO world heritage highlights of the Kathmandu Valley. Nepal is a country rich in religious diversity and today we visit numerous Buddhist and Hindu shrines and temples such as Swayambunath (the Monkey Temple) and the ancient city of Patan on the holy Bagmati river. Returning to Kathmandu, we visit Durbar Square, showcasing centuries of artistry and craftsmanship, a wide variety of traditional architectural styles, impressive palaces and more. The rest of the day will be on your own to prepare for tomorrow's departure. Breakfast and dinner included, lunch is on your own.

  • Day 3 - Fly to Pokhara where our Annapurna trek begins. Hike to Dhampus.

    This morning we take a flight to Pokhara, west of Kathmandu, where our trek begins. The Pokhara Valley offers a spectacular panorama of Nepal's central Himalayas with Annapurna South and Machapuchare dominating the skyline. A short drive to Phedi in the Annapurna foothills leads us to our rendezvous with our terrific support crew, where our porters load up our supplies. Our trek starts out with a steady uphill climb and a series of stone stairways passing through villages and ultimately arriving at Dhampus. Enjoy big views of Machapuchare, 'The Fish Tail' (22,885'/6,975m), from our first night's camp. All meals are included during our trek, from breakfast on Day 3 through lunch on Day 12, and our cooking crew will strive to surprise you with their creative menus assembled from locally farmed produce, grains, meats and more.

    Trekking: 3+ hours, 2 miles with an elevation gain of 1,706'/520m from Phedi (3,707'/1,130m) to Dhampus (5,413'/1,650m).

  • Day 4 - Hike past small farming communities to arrive at the village of Landrung.

    After an early breakfast, we begin trekking from Dhampus to Landrung. Today we climb steadily out of chestnut forests to the small village of Potana and on to Deurali before descending to Bainshikharka and Tolka. In these small villages, many ethnic Gurung and Magar people make their homes. Predominantly Buddhist, the Gurung people are descendents of the Tibetans with a unique language (Gurung) and a rich musical and cultural tradition. The Magar people, while also descended from the Tibetans, are predominantly Hindu with 3 distinct languages and a complex history you may enjoy learning more about. Local people absorb themselves in the demands of agriculture and you'll find most people here to be very genuine, friendly and fond of humor. Our day ends in Landrung, a Gurung village where we spend the night.

    Trekking: 6 hours, 5.5 miles with an elevation gain of 1,476'/450m from Dhampus (5,413'/1,650m) to Deurali (6,500'/1,980m), followed by a 1,312'/400m descent to Tolka, and ending with a bit of up and down hiking that ultimately descends another 443'/135m to Landrung (5,134'/1,565m) for a total of 1,476'/450m of gain and 1,755'/535m of loss.

  • Day 5 - Cross the Modi Khola River to the gateway of the Annapurna Sanctuary.

    As we depart Landrung village, the trail leads down hill, crossing the Modi Khola on a suspension bridge (New Bridge). The trail ascends to a ridge top, passing through rhododendron forests and terraced fields. We reach Jinwa Danda (hot springs) in about three and a half hours before continuing another two hours to the Gurung village of Chumrung. This village is the gateway to the Annapurna Sanctuary and, weather permitting, we are treated to fantastic mountain views including impressive Annapurna South (23,684'/7,220m).

    Trekking: 5-6 hours, 4 miles with an elevation loss of 540'/165m from Landrung (5,134'/1,565m) to the Modi Khola River and a subsequent gain of 2,525'/770m to Chumrung (7,120'/2,170m).

  • Day 6 - Hike in bamboo forests to the village of Dovan inside the Sanctuary.

    Today the trail descends steeply to the banks of the river Chumrung Khola. We cross over the river on a suspension bridge, then climb steeply through bamboo thickets leading to the small village of Sinuwa Danda. Here, the trail levels off and follows a ridge traveling through rhododendron and bamboo forests, always in view of the mountains. After descending through Khudi and Bamboo village, we hike for about 1.5 additional hours before arriving at Dovan for the evening.

    Trekking: 6 hours, 4 miles total. From Chumrung (7,120'/2,170m) to the river Chumrung Khola we quickly lose 820'/250m before climbing a steep 1,475'/450m section of trail to Sinuwa Danda. From Sinuwa Danda, we ascend 655'/200m in 1.5 miles to Khuldhigar, then descend 665'/203m in 1.5 miles to Bamboo Village before climbing a final 560'/170m in 1 mile to end our day in Dovan (8,220'/2,505m). The day's total elevation loss is 1,485'/453m and total gain is 2,690'/820m.

  • Day 7 - Ascend to Machapuchhare Base Camp for amazing views of the sacred peak.

    From Dovan the trail climbs steadily crossing glaciers and small streams. As the vegetation changes from forest to shrubs, we emerge into the opens spaces above tree line and the views only become better. After trekking for about six hours the trail reaches Machapuchare Base Camp, where we establish camp for the night. The splendid panoramic views include Hiunchuli, Annapurna South, Annapurna I and Machapuchare. Sacred to the local people and considered to be of great importance to the Hindu god Shiva, climbing Machapuchare has been declared off-limits by the government of Nepal and the summit of Machapuchare has never been reached.

    Trekking: 6 hours. 5.5 miles over which we steadily gain 3,920'/1,195m in elevation from Dovan (8,220'/2,505m) to Machapuchare Base Camp (12,140'/3,700m).

  • Day 8 - Hike to Annapurna Base Camp, the highest point on our trek (13,400').

    This morning we ascend roughly two hours to Annapurna Base Camp leaving us with plenty of time this afternoon to soak in and explore the astounding beauty of this valley. Situated on a knoll, our camp offers 360° views of soaring peaks including the South Face of the Annapurna I, III, IV, Annapurna South, Machapuchare, Singa Chuli, Tent Peak and Hiunchuli. Standing at Annapurna Base Camp, fans of mountaineering lore may expect to gain a new appreciation for these beautiful but unforgiving giants. Annapurna I was the first 8,000 meter peak ever climbed, opening the door to a new chapter in climbing history in 1950, but since that time, only about 150 people have ever successfully summited the peak, while nearly 60 have lost their lives in the attempt, making Annapurna's mortality rate among climbers the highest by far of any mountain on Earth. Far from the menacing route above, at Base Camp we soak in the full awe of the Annapurnas and enjoy learning more about its fascinating climbing history and remarkable spiritual significance to the local people who revere the mountain as the Goddess of the Harvest.

    Trekking: 2 hours, 2 miles with 1,410'/430m of elevation gain from Machapuchare Base Camp (12,140'/3,700m) to Annapurna Base Camp (13,550'/4,130m).

  • Day 9 - After sunrise over Annapurna South, descend to Bamboo Village.

    If there was ever a morning warranting an early wake up – this is that morning, as the sunrise over Annapurna South is well worth any missed minutes of extra sleep. Enjoy the show with a hot drink, then settle in for a hearty breakfast, snap a few last-minute photographs, then prepare for our return descent from Annapurna Base Camp to Bamboo village. Breathing gets noticeably easier today as the air becomes more oxygen rich and the ice-clad walls of the sanctuary give way to green vegetation and hillsides once again dotted with small villages.

    Trekking: 6 to 7 hours, 7 miles with 5,890'/1,795m elevation loss from Annapurna Base Camp (13,550'/4,130m) to Bamboo village (7,660'/2,335m).

  • Day 10 - Descend to Chumrung village as the air becomes easier to breathe.

    From Bamboo village we retrace our steps along the trail to Sinuwa Danda, then descend the steep stone staircase leading down to the river Chumrung Khola and back up to Chumrung village on the opposite bank, where we spend the night.

    Trekking: 5 hours, 4 miles. From Bamboo Village the terrain climbs 665'/203m in 1.5 miles to Khuldhigar, then descends 655'/200m in 1.5 miles to Sinuwa Danda. In the final mile, we descend a steep staircase 1,475'/450m to Chumrong Khola before climbing the remaining 820'/250m to reach Chumrung village (7,120'/2,170m). Total elevation gain today is 1485'/453m, while total loss is 2,130'/650m.

  • Day 11 - Hike along the Annapurna foothills through small Gurung villages.

    Today we deviate from the route we ascended to enjoy new sights, beginning our hike on a relatively easy contour trail for 1.5 hours, passing through small Gurung villages. After a steady uphill, we descend toward the river of Kimrong Khola. Here we cross a wooden bridge over to the next ridge. From the ridge, another steady 1.5 hour climb leads us to the top of Komrong Danda where we'll break for lunch and enjoy spectacular views of Machapuchare. From here we can see the village of Ghandruk where we'll camp tonight after another 1.5 hours of further hiking downhill to reach our destination. Ghandruk is a truly picturesque traditional Gurung settlement and is considered a model village within the Annapurna Conservation Area Project, the first and largest conservation area established by the National Trust for Nature Conservation in Nepal. Tonight is the last evening that our outstanding staff will prepare dinner for us so we'll look forward to a memorable farewell celebration with music, dancing, great food, local drinks and more.

    Trekking: 5 hours, 6 miles, featuring alternating climbs and descents as we first ascend steadily from Chumrung about 985'/300m before descending 2,263'/690m to Kimrong. After lunch, we'll ascend again about 2,034'/620m to just over 7,874'/2400m in elevation before making our final 1,510'/460m descent on foot into Ghandruk (6,365'/1,940m).

  • Day 12 - Continue through rhododendron forests through the village of Nayapool.

    From Ghandruk the trail mostly descends along contours and through a lovely section of birch forest to Birethanti, situated on the banks of Modi River with bright mountain views through the rhododendrons. From here, we continue trekking another 40 minutes toward the town of Nayapool where we'll enjoy a final picnic lunch on the banks of the jade-colored river, Modi Khola, before hiking on another 20 minutes to our vehicle which is waiting to transfer us back to Pokhara by this evening. We say goodbye to our trekking staff, check into our hotel and have the rest of the day to explore. The peaceful Phewa Lake and the majesty of Machapuchare peak rising just in front of it create an ambiance of tranquility. Enjoy a hot shower, a cold beer and celebrate the end of an exceptional trek. Breakfast and lunch included; dinner on your own.

    Trekking: 4.5 hours, 5.5 miles from Ghandruk (6,365'/1,940m) to Nayapool (3,510'/1070m) hiking mostly downhill, losing 2,855'/870m in elevation. From Ghandruk, the first 1.5 hours of our hike is scenic villagers' trail that intermittently transects gravel jeep roads. We continue descending through terraced rice fields another hour to pass through Syauli Bazaar, where we'll walk a gravel jeep road (very few vehicles) about 2 more hours to reach Nayapool where we'll enjoy lunch, then finish our walk to the vehicle for the transfer back to Pokhara.

  • Day 13 - Fly to Kathmandu and enjoy a final night in the city.

    A morning flight returns us to Kathmandu. Our final night's lodging is a standard Kathmandu hotel in the Thamel district, an ideal location for shopping, dining and nightlife located in the heart of Kathmandu. Relax, shop, explore on your own, or join us for an optional city tour. The tour is likely to feature Kathmandu Durbar Square or the ancient city of Bhaktapur. The reminder of the day is at your leisure to shop or relax before your journey home. Breakfast included.

  • Day 14 - Our trekking adventure ends today in Kathmandu.

    Transfers from our host hotel are provided to the airport for flights home, or extend your stay to explore on your own. Breakfast included.

Explore even more with an optional Chitwan Jungle Safari – Nepal Extension.

Note on Itinerary

Although we do our best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.

Air Travel

Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate.

Price Includes

National Park fees, 2 nights private guesthouse near Kathmandu, 1 night standard hotel in Pokhara, 1 night standard hotel in Kathmandu, meals as outlined in itinerary, professional guides and porters, cooks and commissary crew, tents, foam sleeping pads, kitchen equipment, baggage portage, and airport transfers to and from our host hotel.

Not Included

Air transportation to/from Nepal, en route hotel costs (if routing to Nepal requires an overnight stay en route), flights within Nepal, 2 lunches and 2 dinners, visas, any necessary emergency evacuation arrangements and/or medical expenses, optional gratuities, additional sightseeing options in Kathmandu, airport transfers to any property other than our host hotel, airport taxes, cost of obtaining a passport or medical immunizations, insurance, and items of a personal nature such as liquor or laundry fees.

Qualifications

This trip is rated Vigorous [4]. Trekking in Nepal is for active people in good health who enjoy vigorous hiking. Nepal has an “up and down” topography, there is very little level walking. We expect participants to be strong, experienced hikers in good physical condition. Gear and supplies will be carried by porters and/or pack animals, leaving members free to carry only a daypack. No technical climbing or other special abilities are required.  However, each person should be equipped with a "spirit of adventure" and have prior experience with backcountry camping, sleeping in a tent and willingness to undergo the potential hardships of outdoor living and long days on the trail. This trek spends several days at altitudes above 10,000’. The trails themselves are only moderate, but at these altitudes hiking will feel more strenuous. A good physical conditioning program must be undertaken several months in advance to get into shape. 

Weather

The spring season, including March and April, is a lovely time for trekking in Nepal. The lowlands are full of blooming rhododendrons and the relatively mild temperatures make for comfortable trekking days (mid-70s) and evenings (colder with each day of elevation gain with near freezing temperatures when in the Sanctuary itself). Trekking in the fall is ideal as the days are typically sunny and clear with moderate temperatures though the evenings are cold. Daytime temperatures will typically average in the low 60s, while nighttime temperatures will drop into the 30s (and below in the highest camps). Late fall treks warrant additional warm clothing as suggested on the provided gear list, since nighttime temperatures will be even lower.

Single Travelers

If you are traveling alone and specifically request single accommodations, you will be asked to pay the single supplement fee. There is no single supplement fee for those willing to share accommodations, and we will assign you a roommate of the same gender if possible. Please be advised that there are a limited number of single accommodations available.

General Information

This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and pre-departure information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).

We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.

Annapurna Sanctuary Trek Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active adventure trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. Try to bring only what is necessary—this will help you and the field staff.

Gear Checklist

Flights to Pokhara have a weight restriction of 35 pounds. Please pack light and adhere to this list.

Provided Gear
  • Tents, stoves, fuel
  • Cooking and eating utensils
  • Sleeping pads
  • Trip Leader first aid kit
Official Papers
  • Valid passport
  • Copy of first page of passport
  • Airline tickets
  • Visa form for Nepal (or obtain at Kathmandu airport)
  • 4 extra passport photos
Luggage
  • Duffel bag - extra-large (5,500 - 9,500 cu. in.)
  • Duffel bag - for non-trek items left at the hotel in Kathmandu
  • Daypack to carry your camera, water bottles, extra clothing
  • Luggage tags and luggage locks
Camping Gear
  • Sleeping bag and stuff sack, rated to 15 degrees or less
Outerwear
  • Rain jacket with hood, water repellent and roomy
  • Rain pants (side zippers are convenient)
  • Insulated parka/ski jacket, down or synthetic filled
  • Backpack rain cover
Clothing
  • Midweight fleece jacket or wool sweater
  • Fleece pants or tights (see ‘optional’)
  • Midweight thermal underwear top & bottoms, synthetic or wool
  • Expedition-weight thermal top & bottoms
  • Hiking pants/skirt (1)
  • Long-sleeve shirts (1 or 2)
  • T-shirts, synthetic are best
  • Underwear
  • Hiking socks (4), wool or synthetic
  • Liner socks
Clothing Accessories
  • Wool or fleece hat (over ears)
  • Bandana
  • Wool or fleece gloves
  • Thin liner gloves
  • Snow gaiters (Fall treks only)
Footwear
  • Hiking boots, sturdy, ankle-support, water-resistant, well broken in
  • Camp shoes: trail shoes or running shoes (optional but nice)
City clothing
  • Bring a few lightweight, easily washable items for travel
  • Comfortable shoes
Travel Accessories
  • Reliable flashlight or headlamp, plus spare batteries and bulb
  • Ear plugs
  • Small quantity of favorite energy snacks
  • ‘Potable Aqua’-type water treatment tablets or drops
  • Hiking staff or trekking poles (really, a must)
  • Personal first-aid kit
  • Two 1-quart water bottles or hydration system
  • Sunglasses with strap (side-shields or glacier glasses recommended)
  • Sunblock and lip balm – SPF 30+
  • Toiletry kit
  • Small quick-dry towel
  • Personal first aid kit / medicines
  • Hand sanitizer gel or Handi-wipes
  • Several Ziploc plastic bags
  • Large, heavy duty plastic trash bags (2)
Optional Field Gear
  • Camera, film/memory cards, spare batteries
  • Down or synthetic-filled pants (Fall treks these are a very wise addition)
  • Down booties (Fall treks around camp at nighttime)
  • Knee supports
  • Altimeter
  • Spare contact lenses or glasses
  • Trekking poles
  • Games and toys: Frisbee, cards, etc.
  • Reading and writing materials

Things to Consider

  • Please remember to always pack essential items such as your passport, money, eyewear, a change of clothing (including hiking boots and cycling helmet) and medications in your carry-on baggage, in case your luggage is delayed.  Cameras should also be packed in your carry-on bag.
  • Culturally sensitive dressing tips: For women, pants (or Capri length pants) and/or a skirt (mid-calf or longer) is recommended. Skirts are quite comfortable for trekking (mid-calf length is ideal). Tights, hiking shorts, sports tops or tank tops are inappropriate unless worn under other clothing. For men, pants are best. Men may wear hiking shorts, but they should be longer, near the knees. Men should never go shirtless.
  • Your duffle bag should be able to accommodate all of your trekking gear and clothing. You may want to consider using an Extra Large duffel so that you have space to carry home all the great gifts and souvenirs you’ll be wanting to get. Most airlines allow for two bags with a maximum weight of 70 lbs each and linear dimensions not to exceed 62 inches. Additional charges may apply if you exceed these parameters.
  • Cotton is wonderful in warm weather. However, once it becomes wet, it will drain your body heat. Bring wool or synthetics such as Capilene, MTS and Thermax.
  • You may find that you will not use every piece of clothing that is on this gear list. However, the list has been created to provide for the full range of weather conditions that MAY be encounter during your trek. Should the weather be unseasonably cold or wet, you will appreciate having this gear.
  • Always test your layers before a trip. Your outer layer should fit easily over the inside ones without binding and bunching up.
  • Make sure boots are broken-in. Bring moleskin for foot treatment. Thin liner socks worn under regular hiking socks may minimize the risk of blisters. The liner sock should be synthetic, not cotton. Test your sock combination before you go on the trip.
  • Travel clothes, extra gear and purchases will be left in a storage room at our Kathmandu hotel. Please bring a small bag, luggage tag and lock for this purpose.
  • Clothing or gear that you brought along for the trip makes great gifts.  Please don’t bring extra gifts, as these are a burden to you and the staff while trekking.

Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
REI AdventuresAnnapurna Sanctuary Trek
 
4.7

(based on 20 reviews)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Guides (17)
  • Food (16)
  • Well organized itinerary (16)
  • Activity level (15)
  • Accommodations (13)

Cons

    Best Uses

        • Reviewer Profile:
        • Avid adventurer (7), Casual adventurer (3)
        • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
        • Destination (14), I liked the itinerary (14), Travel with like-minded outdoor enthusiasts (13), Active adventures (12), Good value (11)

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      (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Stunning Scenery and Great Staff

      By Rick U

      from Alexandria, VA

      Site Member

      Pros

      • Guides
      • Once in a Lifetime Experience
      • Scenery
      • Well Organized Itinerary

      Cons

      • Kathmandu

      Best Uses

        Comments about REI Adventures Annapurna Sanctuary Trek:

        Summary: Highly recommended for the incredible scenery and great staff.

        The long story: My wife and I went on the Annapurna Santuary Trek in October/November 2013. I was looking forward to living my dream of seeing the Himalaya. She was nervous about a long hike in the third world. In the end, we both had a great time. REI has run this trip with a local trekking company for over ten years and the experience shows. The logistics were nearly flawless. From the moment we were picked up at the airport until we were returned to it for our departing flight, our lodging, transportation, and most meals are handled by the excellent staff.

        The first two days of the trip are arrival and a tour of Kathmandu. REI puts you in excellent accomodations outside Kathmandu. The tour is interesting but has a number of negatives. On our trip, we spent a lot of time sitting in Kathmandu traffic, coughing in the pollution. Bring a mask. You also spend a fair bit of time touring run down parts of Kathmandu and its suburbs. Kathmandu is a dirty, overcrowded place, and while visiting these spots will probably inspire you to donate money to development efforts in Nepal, it isn't much fun.

        Fortunately, the tour is only one day and the next is the start of the trek. REI did an excellent job of shepherding us through the chaotic Nepal domestic flight process. Once we got to Pokhara, we were driven to the start of the hike.

        The hike days all follow the same pattern: Tea served in the morning, a packing period, breakfast, hiking, lunch, hiking, tea, dinner. The hospitality is incredible. The staff pitches tents, carries loads, cooks meals, hikes with you, and teaches you about the landscape and culture. I distinctly remember one day when we had heavy rain. My wife and I arrived to camp ahead of the other three members of the group with one of the assistant guides. Another assistant guide was already there, organizing the setup of camp. The dining tent was up, offering shelter and tea. In the deluge, one of the assistant guides ran back down the trail help the head guide with the rest of the group. The other worked to dig trenches around the tents, stopping once to apologize to us that we would need to pour our own refills of tea.

        Most of the hiking is at lower elevation (6000-8000 ft), where it is fairly warm and wet, so don't skimp on gear for that weather. It can also get very muddy when it rains. At higher elevations (Machapuchare and Annapurna base camps), the weather gets cold. We had snow both days. Every day we were there, the weather was clear in the morning, offering great views of the Annapurna range in camp and in glimpses in the morning hiking. By afternoon, there would be cloud cover and sometimes precipitation.

        The hike is well populated with other hikers, and small villages dot the trail. Closer to Annapurna base camp they are almost exclusively devoted to supporting the trekking industry, but others at the beginning and end of the hike include both tea houses and homes. Camping was often in a plot of land attached to a tea house. Bathroom facilities were sometimes associated with the tea house and sometimes latrine tent. Both were fairly clean, but that shouldn't stop you from packing copious amounts of hand sanitizer (the staff brought some also, which was just a piece of a thorough sanitation effort to keep us from getting a food or water borne illness, which is always a risk in the third world).

        As we reached the heart of the hike, the scenery turned from very pretty (steep, tree covered hills dotted with waterfalls) to unbelievably beautiful (towering, 6000+ meter peaks on all sides). The walk from Machapuchare Base Camp to Annapurna Base Camp is the most beatiful hike I have ever done, and the view from Annapurna Base Camp at night I can't even put into words. The hike back out, once you've been to Annapurna Base Camp, is a bit of a letdown since the highlight is past, but the same geography that gives you the view means you have to see it at the middle of the hike.

        The four day hike out is more relaxed and has the same wonderful hospitality. The hiking requires decent fitness, but is not overly challenging. There are some rock-to-rock river crossings, slippery (snow or mud) stretches, and lots of ascents and descents, often on rock stairs. Bring good boots and hiking poles. This trip will tax your knees, so bring braces, particularly if you're prone to knee pain. If you're on the fence about this trip, go. You won't regret it.

        • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
        • All the Details Planned for Me, Destination
        • Why did you choose this trip?:
        • I have always wanted to see the Himalaya.
        • What was the highlight of your trip?:
        • The night view from Annapurna Base Camp offered a 360 degree vista of peaks lit by starlight.
        • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
        • This trip covers a wide variety of conditions, from lush, wet climates to cold, snowy conditions. Bring the REI gear list recommendations, but make sure to also bring something you can use for a mask in Kathmandu; the dust and pollution there are terrible. Also, make sure you have enough "travel" clothing so you have something clean to wear when you complete your trek.
         
        5.0

        I wished it would never end

        By Mtn reverent Paul

        from Chelmsford, MA

        About Me First-Time Adventurer

        Site Member

        Pros

        • Accommodations
        • Activity Level
        • Exceeded Expectations
        • Food
        • Guides
        • Magnificent Views
        • Once in a Lifetime Experience
        • Outstanding Execution
        • Well Organized Itinerary

        Cons

          Best Uses

            Comments about REI Adventures Annapurna Sanctuary Trek:

            The trip unfolds deliciously as you progess from Kathmandu to Pokara and then work you way up thru the country to the high ampitheatre of Annapurna sanctuary. Seeing the villages and how people live and work really adds to the experience. The best aspect was being so well cared for by the guides and staff from the moment of arrival to departure

            • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
            • All the Details Planned for Me, Commitment to Sustainability, Confidence In Rei, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
            • Why did you choose this trip?:
            • I wanted to see the most beautiful, highest mountains in the world
            • What was the highlight of your trip?:
            • Being in Annapurna basin surrounded by massive peaks and campling to the sound of avalanches peeling off the high peaks.
            • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
            • Bring a real warm sleeping bag and two days of full winter clothes even though you will end up sleeping under a palm tree by the end of the trip. Be in shape before you get there and bring cold meds just in case.

            (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Fantastic Trip

            By Dreamweaver

            from Chelmsford, MA

            About Me Casual Adventurer

            Site Member

            Pros

            • Accommodations
            • Exceeded Expectations
            • Food
            • Group Camaraderie
            • Guides
            • Well Organized Itinerary

            Cons

              Best Uses

                Comments about REI Adventures Annapurna Sanctuary Trek:

                Everything about the trip was delightful. I felt fortunate to be hiking with such a great group of people and glad they were part of what made this trip so special. The staff that supported us along the way were amazing and lots of fun. They worked very hard to get all our gear and supplies to the next site and have everything ready for us when we arrived. Pema surprised and delighted us with such a variety of delicious meals. Army woke us up each morning with a hot cup of tea and warm wash water to get our day going. Our trip leader, Nima, kept us well informed every step of the way with what to expect from the next day's hike to what views we would be seeing.

                I loved the colors of Nepal. The landscape while hiking through the villages and their outskirts were beautiful. The terraces of rice and millet growing are a landscape painter's dream with the array of golds and greens. There are lush flowers and plants throughout the villages. The marigolds are vibrant.

                Going to the retreat at the end of the trip was a bonus. It was so relaxing after days of physical effort. The meals take a while but not a big deal if you plan ahead. They are well worth the wait. Imagine being greeted with an orange just picked off one of their trees. Such a great place to relax and regroup before heading back to routine.

                If you want to go see some of the biggest and most spectacular mountains in the world and be well taken care of, I would highly recommend this trip.

                • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                • Destination
                • Why did you choose this trip?:
                • Seeing the big mountains was what my husband always wanted to do. We planned this for our 25th anniversary. I am so glad we did this trip. We felt very comfortable going through REI and the trip exceeded our expectations. We felt safe and very comfortable at all times.
                • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                • The highlight of the trip was when Adam poked his head out of his tent early the second morning and yelled "Wake Up!" We all scrambled into warm clothes and got out of our tents to see the most beautiful sunrise over Fishtail. The previous afternoon was cloudy so this was our first (of many)"wow" moments in seeing the big mountains. Of course, ABC is the ultimate "wow" moment.
                • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                • My advice to others considering this trip would be to remember you are a guest in Nepal so be respectful of the culture. The people I meet along the way were so welcoming. Keep an open mind and you will be well rewarded with delightful surprises. The one thing that is out of your control is weather so make sure you have warm clothes and sleeping bag for MBC and ABC. Enjoy the journey!

                (8 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Breathtaking Mountain Experience

                By RestWhenUDie

                from Oregon

                About Me Casual Adventurer

                Pros

                • Activity Level
                • Cultural Experience
                • Guides
                • Once in a Lifetime Experience
                • Quality Equipment Provided
                • Well Organized Itinerary

                Cons

                • Hotel in Kathmandu

                Best Uses

                  Comments about REI Adventures Annapurna Sanctuary Trek:

                  I was on the March 5 -21, 2012 trip. I thought the trip was well organized. I appreciated having a few days in Kathmandu before the trek. It is a chaotic, colorful, hot mess of a city. The air pollution was awful. Bring a mask...all the locals use them. Go to the Rum Doodle for lunch or dinner. All the mountaineers go there after their expeditions and sign cardboard "yeti" footprints. We stayed at the Marshyangdi Hotel. Hotel was very noisy. Our room was infested with bedbugs. I brought bed bug spray so we didn't get bit. Ask REI to use a different hotel.

                  The trek itself was spectacular. Just the right amount of hiking each day with lots of breaks. I would guess we did 3,000' - 5,000' of elevation gain each day (even though we ended up at the same elevation at the end of the day) due to the constant ups and downs. There are an insane amount of steps. The total distance for the trip was about 55 miles.

                  I noticed one of the people on my trek posted a pretty negative review. I don't doubt her experience but speaking for myself, I never once felt we were in danger. I felt the trip leader did a great job of explaining the next day's hike. While he was a gentle, soft-spoken guy who wasn't prone to long discourses, I always felt I had the information I needed. I think there may have been some cultural differences that accounted for the perceived lack of information. To a certain extent, you have to accept some risk on a trip like this. You are in the high Himalaya and conditions can change in an instance. Always bring extra layers and rain gear in your pack when you are in the high mountains.

                  Don't be afraid to approach people in the villages. My friend and I were taking pictures of some women and children singing and dancing. They waved us over and invited us to dance with them. It was one of the highlights of the trip for me.

                  Annapurna Base Camp was gorgeous. It's almost unreal to be at 13,500' and have mountains towering 10,000' above you. We got about 6" of snow when we were at MBS. We listened to avalanches crash around us (in the distance) all night long. Another high point.

                  Lastly, kudos to the REI Adventures staff. They did an excellent job of providing us with pre-trip information. I would definitely go on another REI trip.

                  • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                  • Active Adventures, Destination, Good Value, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
                  • Why did you choose this trip?:
                  • I wanted a serious adventure that provided a physical challenge. I'd always wanted to visit the Himalaya.
                  • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                  • Enjoying the beauty of the mountains. Meeting the local people.
                  • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                  • Make sure you are prepared for this trip. It is rated a 4 for a reason. It is hard. I am very fit and I trained on a stairmaster for 3 months before the trip. It was still hard. Be honest about your abilities. Also, this isn't the trip for you if you are afraid of heights. There are sections of trail with steep drop-offs.

                  (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Safe, Beautiful, Challenging

                  By Cyclesafe

                  from San Diego, CA

                  See all my reviews

                  Site Member

                  Pros

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                        Comments about REI Adventures Annapurna Sanctuary Trek:

                        Compared to the Everest Lodge-to-Lodge trip, Annapurna Sanctuary was dust free, wetter, prettier, more Hindi, a bit more strenuous, less crowded with both fewer locals and fewer other trekkers.

                        The tipping issues have been solved with the trip leader dividing up the pooled tips for each service provider category and having a participant representative present to each. No stress - everybody happy.

                        • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                        • Consistency
                        • Why did you choose this trip?:
                        • Bucket List
                        • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                        • Witnessing the grandeur of the Annapurna range in the company of a great group of fellow participants.
                        • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                        • Sense of personal safety is subjective, but I, who gets dizzy on a jungle gym and gets sick from just a drop of sketchy water, had ZERO issues on this trip - despite snow and ice, and 3rd world (lack of) sanitation, respectively. With REI [@] the emphasis on personal and food safety ensures that injury and illness will be unlikely.

                        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        5.0

                        Fulfilling a life long dream

                        By hikers

                        from Anchorage AK

                        Pros

                        • Accommodations
                        • Activity Level
                        • Exceeded Expectations
                        • Food
                        • Group Camaraderie
                        • Guides
                        • Once in a Lifetime Experience
                        • Quality Equipment Provided
                        • Well Organized Itinerary

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                            Comments about REI Adventures Annapurna Sanctuary Trek:

                            This trek was ideal for us. The guides and porters were excellent, cheerful, and a joy to be around. Everything was handled professionally. The food was excellent, as well as carefully selected and prepared to maximize our experience. Our fellow trekkers were well traveled, pleasant, and full of interesting conversations. Given the possibility of snow at the top impacting the itinerary, we felt the overall schedule was perfect. It was nice to relax at the end of the trek in the excellent lodge on the edge of Katmandu. All in all, a wonderful experience.

                            • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                            • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Destination, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
                            • Why did you choose this trip?:
                            • Life long desire to trek in Nepal
                            • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                            • Experiencing the Nepali culture.
                            • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                            • Get in shape! Go up AND DOWN stairs - the stair climber by itself won't prepare you fully.

                            (6 of 10 customers found this review helpful)

                             
                            3.0

                            Good trip, but the details may get you

                            By AdventureGal

                            from Houston, TX

                            About Me Adventure Lover

                            Site Member

                            Pros

                            • Beauty
                            • Food
                            • Once in a Lifetime Experience
                            • People of Nepal

                            Cons

                            • Guides

                            Best Uses

                              Comments about REI Adventures Annapurna Sanctuary Trek:

                              - The trip was beautiful, and the interaction with villagers was great.

                              - The Sirdar was great, and showed real leadership. He encouraged, smiled, cajoled, and always jumped in when people needed a hand-- porters, clients, villagers.

                              - The logistical support was great. The porters made it very easy for us to just hike. The food was very good. I was particularly impressed with the amount and variety of vegetables.

                              - The hot water bottles at night were a great touch, highly luxurious in the camp setting!

                              - The toilet tents were a nice touch, sometimes very helpful. But your competitors do a better job of keeping toilet tents clean, sanitary and smell-free(well, smell-minimized).

                              - REI's recommendations on how much to take for tips, based on a recommended amount for each porter, guide, etc. were flawed. The total we needed based on the headcount was $150 more than REI's suggested total. Many had not brought that much cash, and this discrepancy caused a lot of confusion.

                              - The brochure did not make clear that this trip was pretty much all actual stairs on the mountain. Knowing that would have changed how I prepared.

                              -Only 2 of the 5 guides spoke English. While they knew the route, there was little opportunity for learning about the surroundings unless we were were with one of the English speaking guides.

                              - I've been on other REI trips (and trips with other companies), and this is the first trip on which I worried about my safety. 1) In the evening review of the next day's activity, the leader gave us little info, and even mislead us. For example, he would say that the trip would be "a little down and a little up" when the day
                              s trip would actually be 2,000 feet down followed by 2,000 feet up. This led to people not having poles when appropriate. This lack of good info happened pretty much every day.

                              One day he told us to wear the same clothes we had the previous day (tee-shirts), and did not mention that we would be walking 2 hours over snow, in treacherous conditions and in a very cold wind tunnel in which we would need hats, gloves, and layers. If we had believed him (rather than making our own guess based on altitude), it could have been deadly.

                              2) At the top we experienced a snowstorm. When we talked about going down the next morning, I expressed concern about our safety, based on the difficulty (slipping and sliding on ridges with substantial dropoffs) we experienced coming up, and the leaders had nothing to say to make me feel safe. One of the trip members with a lot of experience in snow explained to me why we would be safer than it appeared. The leaders have to be able to do this. On the actual descent, they did assign guides to help those who had difficulty or were uncomfortable in the conditions and the guides did a good job with that.

                              3)There did not seem to be back-up plans. When my colleague was really sick on the day with a 4,000 foot ascent, I asked if there was an alternative to continuing up the mountain, and the leader just said "you'll make it". We did, but safety demands that if a hiker is sick, the leader be prepared to discuss an alternative.

                              - Last year I travelled with another company whose guides all spoke Enlish, all had medical training and were prepared to send a trained, English-speaking guide down with anyone who needed to make a descent. The contrast between our safety with that group and with this REI group was marked. Even though I've had good experiences with REI in the past, on this trip I seriously considered whether I would travel with REI again, given my safety concerns.

                              - The end of the trip stretched out unnecessarily. We hiked 20 minutes, drove an hour and a half to town where the hotel rooms weren't ready, then had a day free to sightsee. Then the next day, we went to the owner's lodge outside of Kathmandu where there was really nothing to do. Perhaps the next-to-last day was a cushion in the schedule, but there was no point to the last day at the owner's lodge (where showers were cold and the lunch took 2 hours to prepare).

                              - It would be very helpful and interesting (and could affect preparation) for the trip notes to not just describe what the net altitude gain/descent is from one stop to the next, but to include total ascent and total descent, which is substantially more impressive than the net gain.

                              • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                              • Destination, Good Value, I Liked the Itinerary, Past Experience With REI, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
                              • Why did you choose this trip?:
                              • We wanted to go to Nepal, and did not have time for the Annapurna Circuit, and had heard that the Everest trip had lots of trash on the route.
                              • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                              • The beauty.
                              • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                              • Get prepared - there are a lot of steps! And while the trip logistical support will be good, you may need to take responsibility for your own safety.

                              (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                               
                              5.0

                              Beyond my expectations

                              By HuskerHiker

                              from Knoxville, TN USA

                              Site Member

                              Pros

                              • Activity Level
                              • Exceeded Expectations
                              • Guides
                              • Once in a Lifetime Experience

                              Cons

                                Best Uses

                                  Comments about REI Adventures Annapurna Sanctuary Trek:

                                  I have just returned from the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek and can only say good things about it. My life long dream to trek in the mountains of Nepal met every expectation I had with the added benefit of some wonderful cultural experiences. For my first trip to Asia, the people, temples and traffic of the city were enlightening and exciting.

                                  Our trek into the mountains was wonderful and not as difficult as I expected. Our guide Kale and his assistants were patient and helpful and did a great job of being with each group at our natural pace. They pointed out things in the villages and forest and never made me feel rushed.

                                  The one thing the guides could not control was the weather as we received a heavy and unexpected November snow. Our guide dealt with it professionally by arranging rooms in the lodges at no extra cost to us. The next morning due to the snow at MBC it did not look like we would be able to go to our destination at Annapurna Base Camp. Later in the morning porters had broken a trail down from ABC and our guide said the group could go on up if we wanted. The trail up was challenging but never dangerous. One member chose not to go higher so Kale arranged a room and left an assistant guide with her.

                                  At ABC we awoke early to cleared skies and the most beautiful moonlit mountains I could imagine. The sunrise was majestic beyond description or photos.

                                  Our hike down was more challenging because of the snow but not beyond the trek difficulty description. At this altitude you should always be prepared for unexpected weather. Trekking poles are certainly a good idea.

                                  The Annapurna Sanctuary Trek was beautiful, rewarding and a wonderful experience. The staff competent and helpful. Don't underestimate the number of steps and be prepared for unexpected weather. This trek may then fulfill your dream of travel to Nepal.

                                  • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                                  • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Destination, I Liked the Itinerary
                                  • Why did you choose this trip?:
                                  • This was a spectular mountain destination with cultural opportunites throughout.
                                  • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                                  • Either the village people along the way or the moonlit mountains at ABC
                                  • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                                  • Always be prepared for weather at this altitude and don't underestimate the number of steps on the route. Hiking poles are a great idea.

                                  (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                                   
                                  5.0

                                  Snow Monkeys =)

                                  By Bobo Mac

                                  from Kansas city

                                  About Me Avid Adventurer

                                  Site Member

                                  Pros

                                  • Accommodations
                                  • Activity Level
                                  • Food
                                  • Group Camaraderie
                                  • Guides
                                  • Well Organized Itinerary

                                  Cons

                                  • Quality Equipment Provided
                                  • Roads are encroaching
                                  • Tents small for 2 people

                                  Best Uses

                                    Comments about REI Adventures Annapurna Sanctuary Trek:

                                    Kale is an excellent guide. I have seen him really take care of trip members in need on both this trip and Everest trek. I have also seen him on several occasions extend help to other travelers and native Nepalis when he thinks I am not looking=). He is a genuine compassionate person as is Madhu who has a great sense of humor. On this trip I met a guide in training Ashok who was awesome as well. Plan on possible trying weather no matter what time of year. We had lots of snow. There is continuing development in Nepal which is a double edged sword. Roads are being built in the area and are almost to Ghandruk which will shave several days off trip in near future =( as a result our last day and night in Nyapul were anticlimactic. I do these trips to be away from civilization .

                                    • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                                    • All the Details Planned for Me, Commitment to Sustainability, I have used them before
                                    • Why did you choose this trip?:
                                    • I had done the Everest trek in 2007 with same crew. My cousin had done Annapurna and recommended it.
                                    • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                                    • Meeting new friends. Reconnecting with Kale our guide and Madhu our cook
                                    • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                                    • Plan for possible heavy snow regardless of time of year

                                    (5 of 9 customers found this review helpful)

                                     
                                    2.0

                                    A disappointment

                                    By mntngoat

                                    from El Segundo, CA

                                    About Me Avid Adventurer

                                    See all my reviews

                                    Site Member

                                    Pros

                                    • Accommodations
                                    • Food
                                    • Quality Equipment Provided

                                    Cons

                                    • Fell Short of Expectations
                                    • Group Camaraderie
                                    • Guides
                                    • Poorly Organized Itinerary

                                    Best Uses

                                      Comments about REI Adventures Annapurna Sanctuary Trek:

                                      Things that were not so great about the trip include poor leadership. Kali, our leader was incompetent. We had a major snow storm at MBC. So at some point Kali decided that it was unsafe to climb to ABC and anyway, there wasn't any visibility. Then all of the sudden, without notice, I was told that we will go (it was 11:00) am. I started and asked him several times to describe the trail for me. I wanted to assess if I could go up and down in those dangerous conditions. He never responded. (after all I live at sea level, near the ocean and don't go on snow often- when I do I wear snowshoes or crampons on ice) In fact, I think he got swayed by the rest of the group. I didn't care if I went up to ABC as I had nothing to prove. I had done longer and harder treks; but he showed no leadership and didn't seem to care at all. That was a big difference after the EBC trek where leadership was 100% good (Tek). Kali showed lack of decision making and was very irritating. I returned to MBC thinking I would be safer there than with him. A group of Spaniards who happened to be at MBC waiting to go up told me that they would take me with them to ABC. They told me I could have done it. I know that if I had been led by Tek, things would have been different. For that I am not happy with my trekking experience. The worse is that Kali sent Ossok a young assistant guide to guide me down the next day early. The poor guy had a huge tent to haul, that he had to hold with 2 hands, and was supposed to help me along the icy way. I think this was an extremely dangerous situation. I felt bad for the boy who told me later he prayed every minute that nothing would happen on this exposed portion of the trail leading to Deurali. He actually tripped several times. This left me a bad taste. I rated the trek to Kala Patar/EBC 5 stars. Here 2 stars are generous. I hope this review will show up, as negative feedback is a way to improve things.

                                      • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                                      • Past Experience With REI
                                      • Why did you choose this trip?:
                                      • I did 2 treks in Nepal, one in the Hinku Valley to Mera Peak and one (REI) to Kala Patar and EBC 2 years ago (2009). I wanted to complete my past experiences trekking with another one. REI offered Annapurna, so I signed. Also I wanted to select a trek a notch easier than what I have previously done in the past. I was told the area is spectacular
                                      • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                                      • Highlights: The scenery, the food. Annapurna South at sunrise is majestic, but I was captivated by Machapuchare dominating along this trek.
                                      • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                                      • This trek is rated easier than EBC. It's fine if the weather is good. In case of sustained snow storm like we had, this trek is treacherous and way more dangerous than EBC. The trail between Deurali and Machapuchare Basecamp is exposed. We ended up having to walk on shear ice on those steps. I don't know about anybody else, but to me, this deserves a higher difficulty rating. So things area really relative. EBC is higher, but not at all dangerous. If I had known that I would have carried micro spikes for safety. I wish REI made a mention of that. It's a simple precaution. In investigating possibilities to do the Annapurna Circuit, the company I inquired with told me to bring micro spikes for the high pass. But I kept hearing from the REI reps that the trail to Annapurna was super easy. That is not true. I didn't mind the stairs but I did mind ice on them.

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