One of our friend, Rajan Acharya was over there in Annapurna Circuit where more than 28 people lost their life due to blizzards and avalanches. This is a article written by Rajan Acharya after being back to hometown Pokhara saving his life luckily.
So, sorry to hear this news after I just arrived home safe from trekking in the Annapurna Sanctuary. I was not far away from where these Incidents happened on the 13th (yup, the unlucky 13 for those who lost their lives & who are still missing) & the 14th of October. This is what happened with us in those two days in the Sanctuary.
It (October-November) is the perfect time of the year for trekkers, adventure & thrill seekers to go for trekking in & around the Annapurna. So, you know why so many people are around these mountains now. The hotels above Chomrong(2170m) are completely full & pre-booked by the foreign tourists. You should consider yourself lucky if you get a bed at the dining hall at any hotels beyond this.
It was a tough & exhausting trek for us from Siwai, Ghandruk (1650m) to Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) (4130m). We woke early on the morning of 13th (our 4th day of the trek) at our hotel at Machhapuchhre Base Camp (MBC) (3750m) to hike to the ABC to see the first rays of the sun kissing the summit of the Mt. Annapurna. It was a very usual October morning (at that altitude) with chilly weather. It took us about 1 & half hour to reach the ABC taking some pictures on the way. Upon reaching there we were just awed by the beauty & the sheer size of the mountain towering over us. Sadly, we couldn’t see the majestic Sun rise we were hoping for due to the slightly overcast weather. We started taking some pictures of the Breathtaking view of the Mt. Annapurna & its Glaciers from the Base Camp on its foot, located on the Southern side of the mountain. Little did we know at that time, that her beauty & grandeur that has been attracting so many people from all over the world for so many years, could be the reason that so many people who wanted to be as close to her as possible lose their lives on her other side (the northern side – part of the Annapurna Circuit Trek) over the next 24 hrs.
We returned to MBC at around 10 a.m. The weather was deteriorating by the minute. The temperature instead of rising was diminishing by the time we were descending from the MBC. The sky was becoming completely overcast with heavy moist cloud. After descending for about 4 hours & coming down to Himalaya ( 2920m) it started to rain. It was just drizzle. Our legs were aching & we couldn’t go any further down. We asked for a room & luckily we got one. By the time we were untying our shoes the drizzle changed to a torrential downpour. We were told by one of the hoteliers that it was snowing at both the camps above. We thought ourself as unlucky for not getting the chance to play with snow. We went to sleep that night waiting for the weather to clear next morning.
But to our dismay it was still pouring when we woke up at around 6 a.m the next day. We waited for weather to clear till 8 a.m so we could continue our descend. But mother nature wasn’t on our side. After not seeing any signs of the rain stopping, we started our descend in the rain carrying our umbrella & wrapping our backpacks under the rain cover. But the umbrella came of little use & we were all soaked in the rain after just an hour of descend. We were shivering too much with the temperature a few degrees above freezing. So, we stopped at Bamboo(2310m) to have our lunch. We try to change our wet clothes with the dry one from our bags but to our surprise they too were all soaked in rain. The rain cover that came with the bag was of little use. We thought that we couldn’t move any further down & searched for a hotel room there. There are only 3 lodges there & all were either occupied or prebooked.
So, we decided it was better to move on & get to Chomrong where we were certain to find a room in any of the 17 or 18 hotels and lodges there. Our legs were aching too much.We were all soaked in the cold rain. And we were both mentally & physically tired. Every next stop which were never more than 3hrs apart where there were a few hotels where we could take shelter from the rain for a few moments , now seemed to be a day’s walk away. We could feel the pain in every part & every joint of the body which told us no to go a step forward but there was no way out. So, we walked for around 10 hrs completely soaked in the torrential downpour & quiet chilly weather that day to reach Chomrong. There we could finally take some rest at the same hotel we had stayed in when we were climbing up the trek.
Over these two days it is reported that ABC had received about 3ft of snowfall while MBC had more than a foot of snowfall. It is a very high quantity for the first snowfall of the season.
It was such a difficult trek for us. I now know what it was like for those who were trapped & for those who lost their lives in the blizzard on the other side of the Mountain. I hope that the lost ones will be found out alive & be rescued soon. I pray for the departed souls of those who lost their life to rest in peace & send my heartfelt condolences to their loved ones.