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Annapurna v Everest Base camps

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 Simon Torr 27 Apr 2020

Hi. 
well, we can live in hope it can happen soon. 
a mate of mine went to Everest Base camp last year and loved it. He now wants to do Annapurna. He’s suggested I go. 
Has anyone done both and if so, how do they compare from overall enjoyment, numbers on the routes, etc etc. 
I’m keen to do something, so thoughts would be appreciated. 

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In reply to Simon Torr:

We enjoyed Kanchenjunga (north and south base camps) more and K2 base camp is the jewel in the crown if access is permitted. To be honest, Manaslu base camp was better too. Better in terms of quieter, incredible views, great walking off the honeypot trails, more varied walking. Depends if you want huts all the way or are happy to camp and how long you’ve got. 

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 wilkesley 28 Apr 2020
In reply to Simon Torr:

I have been to both, but it was in the 1980's so things are very different now. Back then Annapurna only had a ramshackle tea shack. There was nobody else there apart from the owner of the tea shack. The valley and views were memorable. Experience only spoilt because I had Giardia and then got even worse gut rot from Bacillus Cereus after eating re-heated rice at the tea shack.

The views on the last couple of days walking to Everest base camp were spectacular. I had spent days sleeping without a sleeping bag on the way to Ama Dablam base camp (long story). After a freezing cold night at Namche Bazaar and being bitten by bed bugs I was feeling particularly pissed off, until  Everest and Lhotse suddenly appeared. Just that view was worth all the suffering.

I did spend a day at EBC. However, even in those days it was an overpopulated dump.

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 chris fox 28 Apr 2020
In reply to wert:

I did Kangchenjunga BC in the 90's, stunning trek. Bumped into Al Burgess at Gunsa then all the way up to BC as he was guiding  group. Ended up on a couple of 'benders' in Thamel with Al when we all got back - good times.

Post edited at 17:33
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 RuthW 28 Apr 2020
In reply to Simon Torr:

I did the EBC trek as acclimatization for Island peak in October.  I have to say, I had always heard how much of a dump EBC itself was so I had zero expectations.  When I got there I was quite overcome as it is really a stunning amphitheater surrounded by big snowy peaks.  I did not see any evidence of rubbish etc (although it was not climbing season so there were also no tents).  Spent a very enjoyable few hours there contemplating life!

The trek itself is pretty busy, but not prohibitively so.  I understand from chatting to others on the trek that Annapurna is relatively quieter and very scenic, but the tea houses are less well developed with regard to facilities etc.

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 Mowglee 29 Apr 2020
In reply to Simon Torr:

I visited Annapurna as a two day side trip at the end of the circuit. Due to everyone going the same direction on the circuit, it feels a lot quieter than the trail up to (and back from) the sanctuary. Also having spent two weeks trekking around the circuit  and getting quite well aclimatized, we marched up to the Sanctuary in a day, and back down to Pokhara the following day, so the time spent on the relatively busier section was limited.

Overall the views going up to EBC are more dramatic I think. We didn't go to base camp having heard what a dump it is, but went up Kala Pathar instead which is a stunning viewpoint. I've trekked in the Khumbu again since and unfortuantely it felt a lot more of an overcrowded circus the second time, and the rate of development is surprising. It does feel quite spoiled, to me at least. 

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 Sl@te Head 29 Apr 2020
In reply to Simon Torr:

Over 25 years ago I chose the Annapurna Sanctuary trek over the Everest base camp based on the fear that EBC was overly commercial. My experience on the Annapurna trek was fantastic, I trekked up to the basecamp with my Paraglider, I didn't manage a flight above the basecamp due to a snowstorm but did manage a flight down a narrow valley on our decent. Whole villages came out to watch me take off and land, at that time they'd never seen anything like it before! I was also one of the very first to fly from the hill above Pokhara again  with similar reactions from the locals, good times and great memories....

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 andrewm1000 29 Apr 2020
In reply to Simon Torr: Both are great treks but different. If your friend did EBC already then maybe he won’t want to do it again but you could take a route variation to get EBC eg via Gokyo. I would go for that one, slightly off season better eg late December or January and brave the cold. If it’s Annapurna then no need for flight, can be done in fewer days and nice views of the Annapurna range walking out of Pokhara and great being in the Sanctuary. For me it’s a} EBC via Gokyo b} Langtang valley and c} Annapurna Sanctuary in that order. Other options if more adventurous. regards Andrew

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In reply to andrewm1000:

Good point about which month to go. My understanding is October is peak treking season, both times I have been in mid November - mid December and it has not been too busy with fantastic weather although I'm sure the nights would be less cold in October and there is a risk of early winter snow, didn't effect us though on Annapurna circuit/sanctuary and langtang.

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 BigBoyDanny 29 Apr 2020
In reply to Simon Torr:

I did the Langtang + Gosaikunda Trek, EBC +3 passes (Island+Luboche Peak) and also Manaslu trek +Tsum Valley in March-May 2018.

Everest can be a bit of a faff and there are better treks to do in Nepal if you just going to EBC and back without the extras, your pals also been before so you might as well head elsewhere!

Langtang was fantastic, a real adventure (but tolerable) bus journey,  a really nice intro to Himalayan trekking, easy acclimatisation, some wonderful peaks to walk up once you've got to the end of the valley, and nice options to extend the trek via Gosaikunda or take slightly alternative routes back down the valley. A real winner if you can't commit too much time to Nepal, or if you have loads of time and want to squeeze an extra adventure in!

Manaslu was very special and felt much for cultural than the other treks, it takes you through a wonderful journey of agricultural farm land, Tibetan communities (if you add Tsum Valley, which would be a must) and the views are as spectacular as the other treks. A walk to Pung Gyen Gompa swallows you with 6-7000m+ mountains, very special. You tick off a nice high pass and the diversity of terrain and geography you pass through is mind blowing and much more than any other treks imho. 

I can't speak for Annapurna (so why even reply ey? ;) ) but some friends prefered it to others and vice vera .

It really depends on what you want to get out of the trek and Nepal, where ever you go you will have a life changing experience and not regret a single decision you've made! If your pal is keen to do Annapurna and has already done Everest then go for it, you will have the time of your life! Go in the fringe seasons too...

Feel free to ping me any questions,
Dan

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 Simon Torr 21 May 2020
In reply to Simon Torr:thanks all, great tips and input. 
loads of food for thought.  I wouldn’t suggest my mate did EBC again, he just tell me where to go 🤣🤣 now to convince the mrs 😱 not to mention able to travel again 

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In reply to BigBoyDanny:

Chances of me doing a trek anywhere are zero, but I've been doing some looking around Manaslu and if I could (which I can't, and no amount of positive thinking will change that) then that's the one I'd go for.  Looks to be a stunning area.

And all the looking around I've done has only unearthed two British ascents of Manaslu.  Surely that can't be right; who have I missed?

T.

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 apwebber 21 May 2020
In reply to Simon Torr:

I did EBC a couple of years ago and it was great. But there is one downside in comparison to the other treks, which is the flight into Lukla. My flight out was fine but I got stuck in Lukla for three days at the end, an absolutely miserable place to be and with no hope of getting out. In the end I got a helicopter back to Kathmandu. If I did it again I would probably do the longer hike into Lukla, but this comes with the downside of the "bus ride from hell" (as one blog put it) to get from Kathmandu to the start of the trail.

The trek itself was great. But if you do go, try and do some of the passes (ideally the three passes but at least Cho La) as they are stunning. The bog standard there-and-back-again EBC trek isn't half as good. You don't need a guide except perhaps to deal with the plane companies, who are utter assholes and couldn't care less if you get out of Lukla!!

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 wilkesley 22 May 2020
In reply to apwebber:

We started at Jiri. There was a bit of a problem getting there as part of the road had been washed away by a flood. The first couple of days involved trekking through steamy tropical vegetation complete with leeches. After that the route was enjoyable. We had one bad crossing the Lamjura pass. The place we were supposed to be staying was so bad (rat droppings in the rice to name but one problem), that we descended to Nantale, which made for a very long day!

We were woken in the middle of the night by a group of Koreans. Some of them had been on K2 the previous year and had been in the top camp with Al Rouse, Kurt Diemberger and Julie Tullis.

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