MACHHAPUCHARE & MARDI HIMAL –
7 Days. Max. Altitude 5,588m.
Fully Supported Tented Trekking with guides and porters.
Pre-trek Briefing: HE Base Camp (Pokhara) 5 pm on day prior to Day 1.
Machhapuchare – the famous triangular skyline that is seen from Phewa Lake at Pokhara – is the most southerly high point of the Annapurna Massif, the awesomely majestic grouping of mountains in the central Himalaya that includes 5 of the 12 highest mountains in the world – and all five are seen at close quarters on our route. As we shall soon see, from a closer and more westerly vantage point, the mountain possesses twin peaks – thus its name ‘Machhapuchare’ – ‘Fishtail’.
Mardi Himal is our access route and is the name given to the long rising ridge and its crest that form the south-westerly lower slope of Mount Machhapuchare.
Ours is an eight day expedition climbing through the forests, above the tree-line and on up to form our high altitude camp at 4,100m. We establish this ‘High Camp’ with a view to climbing up towards the knoll of Mardi Himal (5,588m) from which vantage point there are the most amazing close-quarter views of all. DAY TO DAY PLAN –
Day 1: To Village Camp
(O/nt Altitude 1,620m/3 hrs trek approx.) Rendezvous at Himalayan Encounters’ Pokhara Base Camp for breakfast at
0830. Drive to drop-off point and set off on foot to Suikhet. In the afternoon, after an unhurried lunch, we climb from Phedi steeply up to the main trail along the ridge to Dhampus. Here our first night’s camp is in full view of Machhapuchare. (B,L,D)
Day 2: To Forest Camp
(O/nt Altitude 2,550m/6 hrs approx.) Dawn should bring a spectacular sunrise: ‘Fishtail’ pink turning to gold, the more distant bare rock wall of Annapurna II still in shadow. Today we will start our ‘secret trail’ leaving tourists, other trekkers and even villagers behind. We enter an enchanted forest of birch, giant rhododendron, mountain oak, maple, hemlock and daphnie, camping in a small clearing far from the beaten trails. (B,L,D)
Day 3: To Low Camp
(O/nt Altitude 3,400m/4.5 hrs approx.) As we climb the flora has turned to classic ‘cloud forest’ with mosses and lichen, tree ferns and orchids hosted by the hardier trees. There are natural windows in the woods that look out onto thrilling panoramas – towards Hiunchuli and the knife-sharp traverse towards Annapurna South. Far below, to our left, we can see the Modi Khola Valley leading up into the Annapurna Sanctuary. We reach camp for lunch; for it is wise not to go too high too fast. Though still surrounded by forest, we have spectacular northerly views of the ever-closer ‘Fishtail’. (B,L,D)