Annapurna Base Camp Trek is a moderate and challenging trek that is quite popular among beginners as well as experienced trekkers. This trek is absolutely amusing and relatively easier than the Everest Base Camp Trek and is suitable for both group and solo trekkers. But before you plan to indulge in this trek, you must understand the Annapurna Base Camp difficulty level.
Understanding how difficult is Annapurna Base Camp Trek will not only allow you to plan and prepare well but also help you develop a positive mindset to tackle and cope with any challenges that the ABC Trek may bring along.
So how difficult is Annapurna Base Camp Trek?
Trekking into the Himalayas is never as easy as you think. And, Annapurna Base Camp is not a short trek.
The Journey to ABC brings along lots of highs and lows, twists and turns. Weather in the mountain is always varying, and with the change in climatic settings and seasons, the Annapurna Base Camp Trek’s difficulty level differs. The rise and fall in the temperature and weather can introduce several difficulties in the treks.
Walking over steady ups and downs (7–10 km per day) in the terrain might be challenging and the tedious stone steps with thousands and thousands of stairs aren’t so easy. The mountains will add hurdles to each step.
But, if you dare to encounter the challenges that the Annapurna region holds, you will have a delightful trek that is worth the difficulties. And, Conquering the Annapurna Base Camp trek difficulty and standing at the base camp is one of the best feelings you get in nature. Not to worry! Because the steady ups and downs add adventures to your walks, and difficulties are what you learn from.
Is Annapurna Base Camp Dangerous?
The cause that makes Annapurna Base Camp dangerous is the risk of regular Avalanches and Accessibility that sometimes results in casualties. This is one of the major reasons for Annapurna Base Camp Trek Difficulty.
There is a frequent avalanche in the Annapurna Base Camp trek from Bamboo to Fishtail Base Camp, and they are indeed dangerous that have taken the lives of many trekkers, guides, and porters. Tragically, trekkers lose their lives due to the lack of information.
How Long is Annapurna Base Camp Trek?
The total distance of the Annapurna Base Camp Trek Route typically covers a distance of around 115 kilometers, which will require 10 to 20 kilometers each day. You will require to walk for an average of 6 hours per day for a period of 7 to 12 days, depending upon your itinerary and length of walking days.
The trek doesn’t require any athletic level of physical fitness. However, it requires good health conditions.
Additionally, there are also other important considerations to be taken before venturing to Annapurna Base Camp Trek such as Weather and High Altitude; Distance; Duration; Walking hours; Weight you are carrying, and the preparations that will enable you to better understand what you are getting yourself into before deciding the ABC Trek.
Let’s have a look at the ABC difficulty factors in detail so that you will get a better idea of how the Annapurna Base Camp trek is difficult.
Table of Content
- The difficulty of Altitude and Sickness
- How to prevent altitude sickness?
- The difficulty of Duration and Distance
- The difficulty of weather and Season
a) Autumn (September, October, and November)
b) Winter (December, January, February)
c) Spring (March, April, May)
d) Summer-monsoon (June, July, August, September)
- Annapurna Base Camp Trail Difficulty
- The difficulty of Budget Management
- The difficulty of Accommodations, Food, and Drinks
- How do I train for ABC?
- Do I need a prior trekking experience?
- Useful Tips
The difficulty of Altitude and Sickness
Altitude is the major issue of every mountain trek in Nepal, and ABC is not an exception.
Get ready! High altitude comes with several challenges for trekkers and walking to high elevation mountain terrains isn’t so easy.
With an increase in altitude, the air gets thinner as a result of lower atmospheric pressure consequently resulting in the lowering of the oxygen level. The possibility of Altitude sickness always entreats after you reach 2500 meters.
You will have to trek up to 4130 meters to ABC within a few days. As, trekkers are mostly from or even below sea levels, and are not used to the sudden change in altitude, their bodies might not adapt quickly.
High altitude can be mild for some, while for others it can get serious. If you live very close to sea level and have not previously experienced any high-altitude treks, you must acclimatize properly to familiarize your body with the change in Altitude.
Be careful! Because you might go through some symptoms of Altitude Sickness (Acute Mountain Sickness).
Signs of nausea, diarrhea, headache, insomnia and loss of appetite are some symptoms of Altitude Sickness.
Do not ignore these symptoms which may result in serious problems, even leading to the death of trekkers if not taken action.
How to Prevent Altitude Sickness?
The best way to put yourself fit at this height is to add some extra days for acclimatizing.
So, take as much time for acclimatizing.
The more time you take, the better your body gets tuned with the tone of the Annapurna Region.
Therefore make a proper acclimatizing schedule and plan your itinerary with enough acclimatized days in between. Keep yourself hydrated.
Having warm soup and maintaining your diet, is also a good way to minimize the risk of altitude.
Though there is some medicine available to prevent Altitude Sickness.
You are suggested to take rest and take precautions rather than medicine.
Acquire some knowledge of Altitude Sickness, precautions, symptoms, and remedies.
Get advice from your medical consultant.
Remember to keep your distance from alcohol while trekking and do not consume any sleeping tablets.
Stick to the rule of “slow and steady” and if you find some symptoms of Altitude Sickness while on the journey, you should immediately return to the lower region as soon as possible.
Always keep safety first priority!
The difficulty of Duration and Distance
Usually, Annapurna Base Camp Trek takes 10-11 days to complete. But if you go quickly, the trek can also be completed within 9 days. The duration of your trek can be elongated or shortened according to your requirement. Also, the itinerary of ABC can vary with the packages offered by the different trekking and travel agencies.
Some people decrease trekking duration and head for the Short Annapurna Base Camp Trek. However, some also extend the number of trekking days.
If you pick the longer packages, you will get more time to rest and enjoy your trek. We also offer the longer version of Annapurna Base Camp Trek.
The total distance of a classical Annapurna Base Camp Trek is around 115 kilometers which roughly translates to 71 miles. You will require to walk 10 to 20 kilometers each day.
Having said so, 15 km (average) a day will not be on a flat paved path, and isn’t easy as running in the park. But will be a hike on a rocky trail with several ups and downs.
Normally on average, you will have to walk for 5 to 6 hours a day during the trek. Occasional snow and weather circumstances sometimes might also decrease your walking speed. If you are an experienced trekker and used to hiking, you can reach your destination earlier
But, if you don’t have the habit of a long walk, then it may take 7-8 hours to reach your destination which may lead you to problems and discomfort.
So to avoid this circumstance, you can increase your walking strengths by developing a habit of walking long distances by engaging in hiking up hills. Set a hiking routine for a few months before starting your trek to ABC and focus on building your leg muscles.
And make sure you don’t over-exhaust yourself! Which is one of the main reasons why some people cannot complete the trek.
Difficulties in Different Seasons
The weather in the mountain is always changing. The changes are mostly based on the seasons. The rise and fall in temperature and weather bring along several challenges in the treks. With the change in seasons and subsequent climatic conditions, the Annapurna Base Camp Trek Difficulty varies.
Autumn (September, October, and November)
Autumn is one of the best times to trek Annapurna Base Camp. Although, you will face several challenges and difficulties during the ABC trek such as:
- Autumn is the busy season, and the trek route remains busy with a lot of trekkers. If you love to trek in solitude and peace, this might not be the right time for you
- Accommodation and food cost is relatively higher than in the low seasons.
- Difficulty in arranging accommodations. We suggest earlier booking of teahouses during this season
Winter (December, January, February)
The Himalayas are very cold in winter, especially in the higher mountain regions. Annapurna Base Camp in winter comes with several challenges that might make you think twice before choosing this season.
- The weather is not stable and can change at any time.
- It is extremely cold during winter, especially during the morning and night. Temperature can drop down below -17 degrees.
- The frequent snow during the winter will cause difficulty in walking. Most routes of upper regions get covered with snow. You will have to make sure you bring along crampons and trekking poles.
- Avalanche is the biggest risk during trekking to Annapurna Base Camp in winter
Spring (March, April, May)
Spring is the season of blossom and vibrant colors. As it is the second-best time for Annapurna Base Camp Trek, some difficulties you might have to face during your ABC trek in spring are:
- Busy routes with a high number of trekkers. If you love peace, this might not be the right time for you
- Difficulty in finding rooms and finding a solo room during spring is almost impossible in ABC trek.
- The higher regions are still cold during the early spring
- Busy teahouse. You will have to stand in long queues to wait for food.
Summer-monsoon (June, July, August, September)
Summer and monsoon coincide in the Himalayas. The very hot temperature also brings frequent downpours. This is an offseason to trek to ABC and trekking in Annapurna during summer is not advisable. Following are the difficulties of Annapurna Base Camp in summer:
- Sunny days are very hot making you sweat very soon.
- The humidity offers low visibility of mountains and surroundings.
- Frequent rainfalls make trails wet and slippery.
- Risk of avalanches and landslides.
- Leeches will add difficulties to your trek.
Annapurna Base Camp Trail Difficulty
It is obvious that trekking into the mountains is not going to be smooth. The trails are full of frequent ups and downs, with lots of twists. You will be walking on unparalleled rugged trails for many days which can be difficult sometimes and exhausting for some trekkers.
This will require good endurance and strength to overcome the trail difficulty. But the efforts and time put into is equally rewarding with stunning views. Take frequent small breaks and know your limits. Be patient, and go slow. Save your energy and eat a balanced diet.
The difficulty of Budget Management
The higher you, the high is the price. It is because of the difficulty of transporting goods in the mountainous region. Mules and Porters are the only means of transporting goods in the Annapurna Regions.
As a result, the cost of even basic facilities in teahouses is 3 times more priced than the services in Kathmandu and Pokhara. One liter of bottled water costs on average costs about US$ 2-3. But after you get into the remoteness of the area, you will acknowledge the value you’ve paid is very fair. As there are no ATM machines on the trail, getting enough hand cash before embarking on the trek is very essential.
The difficulty of Accommodation, Food, and Drinks
The Annapurna Base Camp Trek is a popular and one of the remote teahouse treks in Nepal.
Accommodation and food provided are basic yet optimal. It can be quite disappointing if you seek luxury in ABC trek.
The tea houses and lodges offer basic necessities like food, drinks, a bed, and a blanket. Finding a singing room is very difficult during the high seasons of autumn and spring. You have to share the common bathrooms and toilets and pay some extra for getting a hot shower if available.
The higher you go, the less availability of a variety of delicacies with limited options. Remember to carry a refillable water bottle and take water purification tablets or water straws.
Drink safe water, eat healthy foods, and Avoid consumption of Alcohol.
How Do I train for ABC?
You can engage in several training programs in order to prepare for the uphill trek to Annapurna Base Camp. Start training a few months before trekking to ABC.
Walking, jogging, running, sprinting, swimming, cycling, and hiking are some of the popular exercises that help you to prepare for the ABC Trek. Aim to build your upper leg muscles as they will be used a lot during your trek.
This will allow your body to get familiarized, and balance with the environment when altitude gradually increases while trekking uphill.
Read through our Annapurna Base Camp Training Program to get more details that will make your trek to ABC much easier and more enjoyable.
Do I need Prior Trekking Experiences?
Some prior trekking experiences will prove beneficial. If you are an experienced hiker and someone used to walking a long distance with a day backpack, this trek might be comfortable for you. But, if you are a novice trekker, then ABC Trek might be a sort of challenge for you.
However, any novice or an experienced trekker with average fitness completes the trek with or without any prior trekking experiences.
The trek may be a sort of a challenge but is rewarding in every way. With a little bit of determination and training, you can achieve the feat and tick it off your bucket list.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Get your equipment early.
- Eat healthily and get proper nutrition.
- Learn a few stretching exercises for the trek.
- Take frequent breaks during the hike and enough time to acclimatize
- Go slow and steady
- Hire licensed guides who will help make your trek more enjoyable.
- Do 5-10 minutes of stretching workouts before and after your hike.
- Don’t try pushing yourself any further if you do feel the symptoms of Altitude Sickness during your trek.
- Get travel insurance!
- Put safety your 1st Priority!
- Believe in yourself
- Start Planning
The Annapurna Base Camp trek is a moderate-level trek and a perfect trek for beginners as well as experienced trekkers. Get into training and keep a positive mindset. Acquire information about Altitude Sickness and plan and prepare well.
With proper preparation and a little endurance, you can overcome every difficulty that might come along and tick ABC trek off your bucket list. This trek is indeed a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
If you have any questions or doubts, feel free to contact us.