Post Script, lists & useful sites
Trip Start Sep 13, 2009
31Trip End Oct 14, 2009
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Brenden is planning to return to Nepal to complete the whole circuit, with Tillicho Lake and ABC added on. Me too.
We are in contact with Ziv & Yael, and Alain, and Heinz & Daniela who are due in Oz round March/April.
Heinz & Daniela did come to stay; Brenden took them to a Mixed Martial Arts class - no-one wanted to box with Heinz! B is planning to trek at the end of 2012 for schoolies.
Reading through this blog it is evident how unprepared we were, even with all the research I did (A years worth). We underprepared and overpacked. Next time I will be leaner and fitter and will carry much less - no cotton exept socks - and I'll be not so concerned with having clean clothes. Clean dry socks are most important! The heaviest items will be camera stuff.
Here's a list of what you need for a tea-house trek like the Annapurna Circuit, where food and lodging is easy to come by the whole trail and you DO NOT need a porter or a guide.
We started our trek on the 17th September and it was HOT; of course it cooled down as we ascended and got downright cold high up. We had one day of rain in 16 days, but late monsoon rains hit once we were back in Pokhara in the first week of October which caused problems with landslides and falling rocks. The list below is suitable for the same time of year. Go with light, quick-dry fabric wherever possible & practicable. Of course, if you do hire a porter minimising your packing will be less important because you'll be sharing the load.
A 35-45 litre pack, properly fitted, with cover.
A good, light, waterproof pair of boots, worn in
A set of thermals (pants & top) wool is best but more expensive than polypropelyne(and takes longer to dry)
2 short sleeved shirts or t-shirts
2 pairs of trekking pants with detachable legs or 1 pants 1 shorts
3 pairs of good quality wool/cotton thick socks
3 pairs of thin, close-fitting cotton socks
4 pairs of undies
A thick fleece jacket
A waterproof jacket like gortex ($$$$!) or similiar.
Swimmers (hot springs - mmmmmmm)
A travelling towel
Gloves, beanie, sunhat, sunglasses.
As you get higher and colder you just wear nearly all your clothes (Of course when you get back to Kath or Pokhara you can buy more clothes!) You put the cotton socks under the thick ones-instead of the sock and shoe moving together & rubbing on yr foot, they rub on the light cotton sock instead. Some people use vaseline as well.
Painkillers, bandaids for blisters, salt for leeches & some paw paw ointment or similiar - you don't need a full First-Aid Kit.
Camera, iPod, etc, chargers & batteries, an adapter & a double adapter.
A piece of string or light rope for washing & safety pins for pinning wet stuff to
Very basic, small containers of your toiletries; sunscreen, insect repellant.
Handkerchiefs or tissues - runny noses are common in altitude
A headlamp or small torch
Water purifying tablets & 2 x 1 litre water bottles - most tabs have a ratio of 1 tab to treat 1 litre water.
Pair of surf sandles or slip-ons- easier to wear with socks than thongs; you can wear in the shower & at night with socks to give yr feet a rest from boots.
A couple of plastic bags, for rubbish and wet clothes
Antiseptic hand gel
For women, whatever sanitary items you need - often you can only buy pads in Nepal. A zip-lock plastic bag to carry out all the soiled stuff - sounds gross I know but not as gross as it ending up on a mountain side!
Optional: If you plan to do Poon Hill, or if you are trekking in colder months - make your fleece a duck down one. And although most lodges have eiderdowns a compact but warm sleeping bag is a good idea.
Trekking poles are handy, or you can just buy a stick like Nepali people use.
You can buy all this except yr boots, in Kathmandu or Pokhara. You could also buy your pack in Nepal and take a chance on it falling apart mid-trek....
You will also need to buy your TIMS (trekkers) card, pay your ACAP (National park) fee & purchase your transfer from wherever you are to the start of the trek at Besi Sahar - bus is cheapest, people usually leave from either Kathmandu or Pokhara. All this can be organised by dropping into a Travel Agent. If you think you need a guide or porter (you don't) please know that you are as responsible for their health & comfort as you are your own.
The bigger villages along the trail stock some supplies like toilet paper, toiletries and snacks. We also enjoyed putting some flavoured vitamin c/magnesium powder in our water sometimes, and the magnesium helps with muscle aches.
In Manang you can buy medication for AMS, bandaids, etc, although the best action for altitude sickness is to GO DOWN. During the trekking season Oct-Nov there is a clinic in Manang staffed by volunteer G.P's & nurses; they run an info session every day. Money raised is used to treat locals.
You should ascend no more than 500 metres in a day, and ideally should sleep lower than you've ascended. For example you may begin the day at 2800 mt, be at 3250 by 2pm then sleep the night at 3200. This is why doing the circuit anti-clockwise is best for acclimatisation; it's all up and down! Also drink LOTS of water, especially as you get higher.
Register with Smartraveller or a simliar site, and remember to see your GP about vaccines before you leave your own country. I also got my visa in Melbourne before leaving Australia because that's what I do....lots of people just buy their visa's when they get off the plane in Kathmandu - it's up to you but make sure you've got a couple of passport-size photo's.
I've found these groovy sites below are the most useful, aside from other people's blogs.
http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/50192/6ec/ (this IS a blog!)