The Annapurna Sanctuary is a perfect first trip into the Himalayas!
Join us for an unforgettable guided run into the heart of the Annapurna Range. We will travel through multiple eco-systems to Annapurna Base Camp (altitude 4,130m/13,549) while also making two side trips to the base camp at Macchapuchre or ‘Fish Tail’ Peak (3,700m, 12,139.11ft) and we will cruise along a crazy ridge to the rarely visited Mardi Himal Base Camp (4,500m/14,763ft).
This adventure is without porter support and designed for trail runners who are travelling quick, light and self-supported. It is what we like to call a ‘fast-pack’. This will be a good mix of power hiking and trail running to 4,500 meters. It is considered ‘exploratory’ in the sense we will sometimes be going down impromptu trails so that we can scout trails for future trips, get off the beaten track, get bonus miles, and simply have fun. Sometimes we split up into groups based on speed, sometime a group leaves a little early if they are not going to run. We usually regroup at a lunch spot. We always have a sweep and everyone carries a radio and is free to do as they like so long as we know what people are doing.
A minimum of 100k/60 miles across 11 days including over 6,400m/21,000 ft of gain. Note, these are bare minimum estimates with no side trips and they also include ‘rest’ days as we acclimate. We estimate adding up to 50 additional kilometers in exploratory trails. Expect amazing days and also some tough trail days! And before you get freaked out by the elevation profiles below, remember that Emma and Sudeep managed this in six days when they scouted the trails in 2015, and we have ten days!
A big part of our intention is a small group experience, so we are capping participants to 10, our minimum group size is 3. Most of our alumni are regular participants in triathlons and trail ultras. How you rank in these things is not important, how much you enjoy pushing yourself and being in the mountains is important.
The trip will be led by Sudeep Kandel who did recce’d the fast pack in 2015 with Emma Lee, a member of the Australian 24 hour World Championship Team and HAL alumni (Annapurna Circuit 2014 and Langtang 2017). Read their trip report here!
The full board cost for this trip in 2018 is $1,850 USD which covers almost all of your practical costs (airport pickups, food and double occupancy lodging in Kathmandu and on the trail, entry into cultural sites, vehicle transport to/from trail head in Nepal. Not included are things like beer and trail snacks and travel insurance.
Interested? Use our online application form
Here are some pics from Sudeep and Emma’s scouting trip, enjoy!
Please note that this is the bare minimum – we will be adding some bonus miles along the way. In general – each day is long and will require a good amount of hiking and trail running on flats and downhills. We will take breaks to help us acclimatize, following recommendations on altitude gain by the Wilderness Medicine Society.
Predeparture: We hold a web-based live briefing six months and 3 months prior to departure.
We also email out guides and stand-by for questions and answers. Participants are encouraged to be training with a small pack (<6kg) no later than 3 months prior to the event.
Day 1: March 3rd Saturday – Arrival day
We will pick you up at the airport, help you get settled into the hotel and do a gear check. Sometimes people have enough time and energy to go see the Monkey Temple or a World Heritage Site.
Day 2: March 4th Sunday – Briefing and Shopping
There will be an option for an early run in the hills above the hotel, marking the edge of Shiva Puri National Park. After breakfast we will hold a briefing on the trip logistics and then do any remaining gear checks. We will take a minivan to Thamel to buy missing gear, change money, get SIM cards, and have a little food. Back at the hotel is some free time and then an early dinner.
Day 3: March 5th Monday – Drive to Pokhara
This usually takes 6-8 hours but most participants are fascinated by the views throughout the drive – especailly of day to day life and of the cascading Trishuli River. We will stay in a hotel in Pokhara with hot showers – enjoy it while it lasts because we are about to hit the trail!
Day 4: March 6th Tuesday – Pokhara to Kande (drive), Kande 1770m to Pitam Deurali 2100m (Day 1 on trail)
We start early from Pokhara and take a short drive to Kande, the starting point. We will cross the mighty ABC(Australian Base Camp!) before reaching Pitam Deurali.
Day 5: March 7th Wednesday – Pitam Deurali 2100m to Low Camp 2970m (Day 2 on trail)
It’s a beautiful trail from Pitam Deurali to Low Camp through forest camp. As the name suggest the trail goes through lush green forest and opens up as we move towards low camp.
Day 6: March 8th Thursday – Low Camp 2970m to High Camp 3540m (Day 3 on trail)
It’s a pretty short hike to High Camp from Low camp. We will follow the elevation gain rules per day and stay at high camp for the night. There is an option of going up towards Mardi base camp and getting down to high camp.
Day 7: March 9th Friday – Acclimatization day High Camp 3540m (Day 4 on trail)
Rest day! Or you can call it a hike day! (Day 5 on trail)
Day 8: March 10th Saturday – High Camp 3540m to Mardi Himal Base Camp 4250m to Landruk 1565m (Day 6 on trail)
It’s a spectacular day with breath taking views of Macchapuchre, Mardi Himal, Annapurna 2 and Hiuchuli. After climbing up to Mardi Base camp there is a long descent to village of Landruk. Landruk connects ABC with Mardi himal trek.
Day 9: March 11th Sunday – Landruk 1565m to Himalaya 2920m (Day 7 on trail)
We will join the main ABC trail today and most probably see fellow travellers on this popular trail. (Day 8 on trail)
Day 10: March 12th Monday – Himalaya 2920m to Macchapuchre Base Camp(MBC) 3700m (Day 9 on trail)
This is a relatively short day with good views of Macchapuchre and Annapurnas.
Day 11: March 13th Tuesday – MBC 3700m to Annapurna Base Camp 4130 to Bamboo 2310m (Day 10 on trail)
Short trip from MBC to ABC! After soaking in the views we will follow back the same trail and come down to Bamboo. (Day 11 on trail)
Day 12: March 14th Wednesday – Bamboo 2310m to Kimche 1640m to Pokhara 820m – After party in Pokhara! (Day 11 on trail)
Last day on the trail! We will make it to Pokhara by late afternoon. People can relax or enjoy the lake(Fewa) side. Pokhara is such a good place to cool down even so after an adventure like ours.
Day 13: March 15th Thursday – Drive back to Kathmandu
Put on your seat belts!
Day 14: March 16th Friday – Departure day.
Awww…..time to say good bye to everyone. Except for the lucky few who booked an extra day to explore Kathamandu. Breakfast is provided and don’t worry, we will help with airport shuttles.
We hope this sounds amazing to you! We think it is! It’s different from the Annapurna Circuit because you will go into the heart of the Annapurna Range rather than going around it; you will also experience an immersion onto the trail without the jeep roads that are found on the circuit. And the trip to Mardi Himal Base Camp is something few people visiting the Annapurna Range know about, much less do – yet we will have a front row seat in the Himalayas. Come with us and travel quick, light, and self-supported in the company of other trail runners.
Interested? Use our online application form!