How difficult is it to trek to Annapurna Base Camp? - Himalayan Glacier
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How difficult is it to trek to Annapurna Base Camp?

How difficult is it to trek to Annapurna Base Camp?

Annapurna Base Camp Trek is one of the best treks in Nepal. Stunning view of the Himalayas, pristine culture, and traditions of the Gurung villages are the major highlights of Annapurna base Camp trek.  Every trekker dream about being on the base camp of the 10th highest peak, Mt. Annapurna (8,091m/26,545ft). However, before planning for this trip, you need to know about the Annapurna Base Camp trek difficulty. Being a demanding trek, you might face many barriers on the trekking route, but with good health conditions and courage, this trek is doable by any type of trekker. 

The gateway to Annapurna Base Camp
The gateway to Annapurna Base Camp

Like most treks in Nepal such as Annapurna Circuit trek, this trek might be quite demanding. However, with proper physical and mental preparation for Annapurna Base Camp trek, it is achievable as well as enjoyable. 

The Annapurna Base Camp, which is situated at an elevation of 4,130m/13,549ft, is a popular trekking trail in Nepal after Everest Base camp trek. This trek is popular between both novice and experienced trekkers. Likewise, both solo and group trekkers can trek this region. Passing endless stone staircases and long tiring walks is challenging, but still this trek is not as difficult as many other treks in Nepal. So, traveling in Nepal and getting to the mountainous region can be equally adventurous and exciting. 

Annapurna Base Camp Trekking Grade

Trek difficulties determine the trekking grades. Annapurna Base camp Trek takes you to an elevation of up to 4,130m/13,549ft. Annapurna Base Camp trekking is moderate trek even though it has various obstacles. This trek is not too strenuous. It has some sort of difficulties like steep and rugged trekking trails, walking over the stone stairs, continuous walking of 5 to 6 hours per day and so on.  However, this trek is easily achievable if you have patience, confidence, and are physically fit. 

Comparison Table

Nepal is a paradise for Himalayan treks. It has thousands of popular trekking destinations, which have been able to captivate the attention of trekkers with its charm and beauty. All those trekking destinations vary from each other because of the duration, distance, difficulty level and so on. Below we have presented a table to compare the major factors of the most chosen trekking destinations in Nepal.

Trip NameHiking DurationTotal Walking Hour (approx.)Difficult Level
Annapurna Base Camp Trek8 Days42 – 47Moderate + Demanding
Annapurna Circuit Trek18 Days81 – 96Demanding
Annapurna Poonhill Trek5 Days23 – 26Light + Moderate
Everest Base Camp Trek12 Days48 – 57Demanding
Manaslu Circuit Trek14 Days74 – 89Demanding
Kanchenjunga Trek18 Days84 – 102Demanding

If you have a limited time in Nepal, then it is best for you to either choose Annapurna Poonhill Trek or Annapurna Base Camp Trek as it will introduce you to the cultural and natural beauty of the Himalayan region beginning from 5 to 9 days.

Challenges and Risks of Annapurna Base Camp Trek

Annapurna Base camp is not a difficult walk, but there are some challenges associated with this trek. Factors like duration and distance of the trip, altitude sickness, preparedness, trekking season, and so on affect your trekking journey. So, before embarking on the journey, you need to know about the Annapurna Base Camp trekking difficulty and the prevention tips to deal with all those difficulties. 

Here, we have enlisted the possible factors determining the Annapurna Base Camp trek difficulty. 

1.  Duration of Annapurna Base Camp Trek

Annapurna Base camp trek usually takes 11 to 14 days to complete, but if you are short on time and want to do it within a short time, you can complete this trek in 8 to 9 days. On average, you have to walk for 5 to 6 hours daily. However, it can even take around 7 to 8 hours to get to your day’s destination if you are not used to walking or hiking. This could lead you to anxiety and other various problems. 

Glimpses of the beautiful Annapurna Base Camp Trail
Glimpses of the beautiful Annapurna Base Camp Trail

Annapurna Base camp trek itinerary depends upon the packages designed by different trekking agencies in Nepal. You can shorten or prolong the total trekking duration as per your interests. However, if you go for longer trekking packages, you will have enough time for rest and sightseeing

To overcome the Annapurna Base Camp difficulty associated with duration, trekkers need to increase their stamina and day-to-day walking capability. They should try long-distance walking, make ascents and descents in uphill and downhill trails, go hiking, and exercise your body. All these preparations will help you get used to walking and make your trip more comfortable. 

2.  Distance of Annapurna Base Camp Trek

One of the major determining factors of Annapurna Base Camp difficulty is its distance. This trek covers 115km in total where you will be walking 10 to 20 km each day. The distance covered by this trek is short as compared to other long-distance treks like Manaslu Circuit Trek, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Kanchenjunga Trek, and many others. An experienced trekker can cover the day-to-day walking distance sooner, but an inexperienced trekker may take more time. So, for the beginners, short Annapurna Base camp Trek is probably the best.

If you are trekking in the mountainous region for the first time, then always choose the 11-14 days Annapurna Base Camp itinerary.  This will give you more days so that you can complete the trek even if you walk at a slow pace. 

3.  Altitude Sickness

Whenever you are trekking in a high-altitude region, there is always a possibility of being hit by altitude sickness. Most of the Annapurna Base camp itinerary begins from Kathmandu, situated at an altitude of 1300m /4,265ft and ends up reaching up to 4130m /13,549ft within just a few days. The level of oxygen is lower at higher altitudes so it will be very hard to adjust your body in a new environment. Once you cross 3,000m/9,842ft, you may start to feel uncomfortable with the new environment and elevation. You might get symptoms of altitude sickness like headache, diarrhoea, dizziness, loss of appetite, vomiting, shortness of breath, and so on. Such problems will certainly make your overall trip quite a difficult experience.  

Trekkers walking slowly to avoid altitude sickness during Annapurna Base Camp Trek
Trekkers walking slowly to avoid altitude sickness during Annapurna Base Camp Trek

Even though solo trek to Annapurna Base Camp is possible, it is always best to hire a guide for ABC trek. You will have someone to whom you can inform about the changes occurring in your body because of symptoms of altitude sickness.

High-altitude can create serious problems for some trekkers. Remember, ignoring the symptoms of altitude sickness will only worsen the situation. So, whenever you start noticing any of these symptoms, it is best to return to a lower altitude region. Also, we recommend that you take medicine like Diamox, which helps in preventing altitude sickness. In addition,  keep yourself hydrated, avoid smoking and alcoholic items, maintain a balanced diet, and acclimatize to minimize the possible consequences of altitude sickness.

4.  Annapurna Base Camp Trekking Trail

Annapurna Base Camp Trekking trail is not as hard as other mountainous trails. However, there are lots of twists and turns, ups and downs, rocky boulders, and steep stone steps, which may add to Annapurna Base Camp difficulty. This trek doesn’t demand the requirement of any fitness level, but you should at least be in good shape and possess good stamina to pass through the moderately difficult hiking trail. Walking over 3300 stone steps and covering a long distance every day will surely exhaust the trekkers.

Trail from Machhapuchre Base Camp to Annapurna Base Camp
Trail from Machhapuchre Base Camp to Annapurna Base Camp

To minimize the risks associated with trekking trails, you should always be aware about your physical strength. Don’t try to push yourself too hard as it will only make the trip worse. We recommend you keep a slow pace and always have someone by your side like Annapurna Base camp guide who can provide guidelines about ways to walk safely even in a difficult route. Additionally, you should always stay hydrated, maintain a balanced diet, boost up your energy, and pack some energy boosters.

5.  Weather of Annapurna Base Camp

Annapurna Base Camp difficulty is also determined by the weather and temperature of this region as the weather in the Himalayan region is unpredictable. In winter (December, January, and February), drastic changes occur in Annapurna Base Camp weather as the temperature ranges between 9.3°C/48.74°F to -20°C/-4°F. The coldness becomes unbearable and creates difficulty while trekking. Most of the teahouses in higher-altitude areas remain closed. Likewise, in summer/monsoon (June, July, and August), the temperature ranges between 19°C/66.2°F to 4°C/39.2°F which results in strong haze from the sun and heavy rainfall.

Changing Weather in the Annapurna Region
Changing Weather in the Annapurna Region

If you want less traffic on the trekking trail, then plan your trip in summer or monsoon with proper preparation. However, we recommend you choose either autumn (fall) or spring for a wonderful experience.

Among all four seasons, autumn or fall (September, October, and November) and spring (March, April, and May) is considered as the best time to trek Annapurna Base camp. During these seasons, the weather remains calm, temperature is pleasant, and visibility of the mountains is clear. Moreover, the days become bright, and you will be able witness the green cultivable fields, and the flora and fauna on the trails. So, Annapurna Base Camp weather may make trekking difficult, but if you prepare yourself beforehand, you can complete the trek without any hassles. 

6.  Annapurna Base Camp Trek without Guide & Porter

Most of the trekkers plan for Annapurna Base Camp trek without a guide and porter. Remember, trekking is fun only when you get to know more about each destination, villages, and the local people and their cultures. But, if you visit this region on your own, there will be no one to elaborate about the historical sites, narrate stories or translate the local language. Likewise, you can’t get to the best viewpoint of Annapurna region without the help of a guide. Moreover, absence of a porter will increase your burden giving you less time for sightseeing. Thus, trekking ABC without a guide will add the difficulty and make your trip less exciting. 

Client Review of ABC Trek

Trekking to Annapurna Base Camp with a guide helps boost up the local economy and break the language barrier. It also provides unique cultural experience, sense of security, and a hassle-free trekking experience. 

There are no restrictions regarding solo trek to Annapurna Base Camp but hiring a guide for Annapurna Base Camp trek is always the best option for both safety and exploration purposes. Annapurna Base Camp difficulties can be minimized if you are with an experienced and qualified guide. Although this trek doesn’t have any technical sections, there are some rough and rocky sections. So, hiring a porter is indeed very helpful.

 7.  Budget Management Difficulty

Annapurna Base Camp is not an expensive trekking destination. The Annapurna Base Camp trek cost varies as per the itinerary, chosen route, number of days, and so on. If you consider the remoteness of this region, then the cost of accommodation and food is not so expensive. However, once you get to the higher altitude, the cost of everything from bottled water to accommodation increases more than threefold. So, if you don’t succeed in managing the budget, you may face the difficulty in fulfilling your personal expenses including food, water, and so on.

The reason behind the expensive price in higher altitude regions is because all the materials must be carried on horses, mules, donkeys, and even porters.  There is no availability of motorways in the Himalayan region, except at some places. Increased cost of transportation leads to the higher price of goods and services. Also, you can’t get access to any ATMs and bank services in the higher-altitude region. Thus, you must carry enough cash with you while embarking on the journey to make your trip comfortable. 

 8.  Packing List for Annapurna Base Camp Trek

While trekking in this region, you must make sure that you have a proper packing list for Annapurna Base Camp Trek. Packing a bag with essential items for around 2 weeks can be demanding itself. Likewise, not packing the essential gears and equipment can be inconvenient. Remember, you will not be able to buy anything that you require for the trek on the Annapurna Base Camp trekking trail. Thus, packing all the essential gears and equipment for Annapurna Base Camp trek is a must. 

Make sure to invest in reliable and qualitative clothing and shoes as your whole travel journey entirely depends upon them. 

If you avoid excess packing and focus on the right clothing, then you can enjoy a comfortable trip. Since the weather of Annapurna Base Camp is unpredictable, it is always best to pack both light warm clothes and thick woolen clothes. Don’t forget right shoes are key for increasing the success rate of Annapurna Base Camp Trek. So, always try on your shoes and walk with them before the actual trek because a new pair of shoes can result in blisters. Thus, make your backpack as light as possible by including only the essential items. 

 9.  Type of Trekkers

Annapurna Base camp difficulty also depends on the experience of the trekkers. If you are skilled and experienced, then Annapurna Base Camp trekking trails will not be too hard. To be precise, this trek is easily achievable and comfortable for those trekkers who can walk on rocky terrains continuously for 5-6 hours per day. However, for the novice trekkers, it will take more time to cover the same distance as compared to experienced trekkers. Also, it will be difficult for them to walk in the rough and rocky trails.

Group Trek to the ABC
Group Trek to the Annapurna Base Camp

To avoid the difficulties for the beginner trekkers, we recommend making the habit of walking uphills as well as downhills daily as it will help to increase stamina. Also, you can hire a guide and porter as they will help you make your trip enjoyable and less stressful. In the high-altitude, a porter will be there to share your load so that you alone won’t suffer from the heavy loads. Likewise, hiring an experienced guide for Annapurna Base Camp trek from an authorized local trekking agency will ensure your safety and security.

Are you planning for a trip to Annapurna Base Camp Trek?

If yes, then please feel free to contact us. Tell us about your requirements, available dates, and things that you want to experience. Himalayan Glacier adventure specialists will help you make your dream come true by designing customized Annapurna Base Camp trek itinerary. 

Is Annapurna Base Camp really a Difficult Trek?

The answer to this question depends on the perspective of every and their previous trekking experience. Most Himalayan treks in Nepal involve undulated paths and lower oxygen at high altitudes, which causes stress for any trekker. However, compared to other trekking destinations in Nepal, this trek is much easier, shorter, and located at comparatively lower elevations. If you are determined and physically fit, you can reach there easily.

Thus, Annapurna Base Camp trek is one amongst the many classic treks in the Himalayas. It is daring enough, but not so challenging that only body builders can complete it. Overall, it is a moderate level trek. Many trekkers attempt it as the first Himalayan trek where the scenery is out of the world and is sure to bring the tears of ecstasy on completion.

Tips to Overcome Annapurna Base Camp Difficulties

  • Take frequent rest and breaks while walking. Always keep a slow pace. 
  •  Always drink plenty of water and focus on hydrating your body.
  • Don’t smoke or consume any alcoholic drinks while you are on the trekking trail.
  • Build up your stamina and endurance by exercising a lot.
  • Stay alert about the quality of food and water.
  • Never forget that acclimatization is key for success of Annapurna Base Camp Trek, so acclimatize properly.
  • Remember to pack the first aid kit box along with your prescribed medications.
  • Always carry energy-imparting chocolates and snacks.
  • Plan your trip wisely by hiring a guide and porter from a trusted trekking agency.
  • If you have problems walking down a hill, then always wear a knee cap.
  • Keep yourself updated about the current affairs of the trekking region like weather, temperature and so on.
  •  Always follow the main trails. Don’t go for shortcuts or never-trekked trails as it might end up with bad consequences.

If you want to try trekking in Nepal and explore the beautiful Himalayan regions, then Annapurna Base Camp Trek must be on your bucket list. It is always fun to be part of varied flora and fauna, cultural and natural beauty by being far from the hustle and bustle of city life. This trek is one of the popular trekking destinations in Nepal where more than 30,000 people travel every year. Despite all the difficulties of Annapurna Base Camp, the closest view of the Mt. Annapurna, Mt. Makalu, Mt. Dhaulagiri, and others will make you forget about all the tiresome days. 

We, Himalayan Glacier, have been running safe trips to Annapurna Base Camp for several years by designing tailor-made itineraries for our wonderful clients. Our standard Annapurna Base Camp itinerary includes an experienced guide along with a porter. They will not only provide you guidance and support, but also introduce you to the rich local Gurung culture. Because of several years of experience, we know everything best about the Annapurna region. We will introduce you to the best place for overnight stay, local services, and activities to experience.  So, if you are thinking about traveling to Annapurna region, then please contact us and we will plan a memorable trip for you.

About the author

A leading adventure & tour operator in the Himalayas since 1992, Himalayan Glacier Adventure & Travel Company® is the number. 1 guide service adventure choreographer on Mount Everest Base Camp and beyond. Continuing its decades-old legacy, Himalayan Glacier is a little different from other adventure & tour operators. Each of our holidays is truly a tailor-made package which we design for all ages, groups, families & solo travelers. We have veteran mountaineering leaders who have been into this industry for several decades. So, we offer you complete choice and freedom to explore the real pleasure of traveling.

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