Annapurna Circuit: 4th – Upper Banana to Ngawal, Nepal

From Nightmare to Dazzle


Ghyaru village II
Ghyaru's House as seen from the track that continues to Ngawal, above a pile of Buddhist prayer slabs.
Nepal on the back II
A resident of Ngawal returns to the village laden with combustible vegetation.
Stupa II
Detail of a stupa with Buddhist prayer flags stretched out in various directions.
one more stupa
Stupa between the shadow and the setting sun, with the Anapurnas mountain range in the distance.
an unexpected hiker
Nepalese porter and guide on the then bleak trail a few hundred meters from Ghyaru.
back to top
Yak clears a stony alley in Ghyaru.
Ghyaru village I
Ghyaru's houses seen from the beginning of the trail that goes to Ngawal.
flock in the sun
Goats roam a still sunny alley in Ghyaru.
Nepalese chef
Nepalese owner of a small restaurant and hotel just outside Ghyaru.
Nepal on the back I
A resident of Ghyaru carries two large baskets of dried pine needles.
majestic Buddhism
Bright prayer flags and, in the background, a majestic mountain of the Annapurnas.
Yak Ru hotel this way
Entrance to the Yak Ru restaurant and hotel in Ghyaru.
Buddha's Way
Detail of Buddhist religious art on a prayer wall that precedes the climb to Ghyaru.
Meanders of the Marsyangdi River
Excavated bed of the Marsyangdi River is a constant in much of the Annapurna circuit.
Himalayas
View from the zigzag slope that runs from the bank of the Marsyangdi River to Ghyaru.
a silky amulet
Buddhist religious scarf tied to a rock just before the ramp to Ghyaru.
stepping from below
View of Lower Pisang on the edge of the Marsyangdi River, with the Annapurna II mountain high above.
Unbeknownst to us, we are faced with an ascent that leads us to despair. We pulled our strength as far as possible and reached Ghyaru where we felt closer than ever to the Annapurnas. The rest of the way to Ngawal felt like a kind of extension of the reward.

As we move away from Upper Banana, we enjoyed the side view of the village.

Its houses dappled with snow, as if challenging the original village below, along the opposite bank of the Marsyangdi.

Lower Pisang, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal

View of Lower Pisang on the edge of the Marsyangdi River, with the Annapurna II mountain high above.

Further along that forested stretch of the Annapurna Circuit, we skirt a meander of the river that expels us from the broad valley of Banana and delivers to a new alpine-looking canyon filled with pine trees.

We walked it from end to end. Until we found a new wall hands and, in its extension, the Italo-Hispanic couple we had met the day before: Edoardo Berto and Sara Perez.

Meanings of Marsyangdi, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal

Excavated bed of the Marsyangdi River is a constant in much of the Annapurna circuit.

We complain about the excessive weight we carried. In her quick way, Sara warns us that, in that case, we would suffer twice as much. “Have you seen the punishment that is coming? Josh and Fevsi are up there.”

a punishing slope 

Not on the map, not on the terrain. The truth is that the slope that led to Ghyaru had passed us by unnoticed, far more frightening than the one that had led us to Upper Banana in the late afternoon before.

Buddhist painting, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal

Detail of Buddhist religious art on a prayer wall that precedes the climb to Ghyaru.

Edo and Sara leave us to an already deserved snack. Shortly after, on his heels, we came upon a suspension bridge over an uneven tributary of the Marsyangdi. On the other side, the trail confronts us with a zigzag that seems to go on endlessly up the slope of the mountain.

At that moment, it still occurs to us to go back, to the alternative and much flatter trail that started from the already distant Lower Pisang. Until we glimpse the bodies of the other buddies, farther up the top.

Its relative imminence encourages us to face the slope, according to a plan we agreed on: we would regain our breath and our posture, even if it were just twenty seconds at the end of each zig or zag.

Prayer flags in Ghyaru, Nepal

Bright prayer flags and, in the background, a majestic mountain of the Annapurnas.

So said, so done. Forty-five minutes later, we returned to the company of Edo and Sara, both still dazzled by the scenery that lay ahead.

We salute them and share with them the unbelievable sight. Never, in the days we were already hiking, did the Annapurnas Mountains seem so close and so intimate as there. It was, in fact, the reason why Edo, Sara, Fevsi and Josh had decided to settle in the first of the guesthouses of the village.

We join them in delicious multilingual play. We celebrated the achievement and the six of us had lunch on a wooden terrace overlooking the surreal panorama we had so deserved.

By then Josh had discovered that he had forgotten his allow of the circuit in Chame and that, as frustrating as it sounded, she would have to go back two or three journeys to retrieve it, starting the following morning.

In solidarity with the German but also because of the view, the four companions decided to spend the night in that same inn. We, we needed to proceed.

Tea House Owner from Ghyaru, Nepal

Nepalese owner of a small restaurant and hotel just outside Ghyaru.

In agreement, even though we were upset, around three in the afternoon, we bought some mini-chocolates as a reserve and ran off to the next village on the map.

"It's about two hours. Two, but flat!” This is how the Nepalese owner of Ghyaru's inn describes the path, displeased at seeing the sources of profit she already counted on leave.

Yak Ru Hotel, Ghyaru, Nepal

Entrance to the Yak Ru restaurant and hotel in Ghyaru.

The path (even so) much smoother to Ngawal

We soon learned that, despite being wilder and more monumental than most of the stretch between Upper Banana and Ghyaru, the trail had, neither near nor far, such a profile.

It included a series of climbs and descents often stolen from the slopes and which loomed large precipices over the river carved into the gorge. Marsyangdi – it couldn't have been another – was escorting us again.

Resident of Ghyaru, Nepal

A resident of Ghyaru carries two large baskets of dried pine needles.

During all the time, we came across only a European cyclist who was driving a mountain bike and a native of the Nepal who introduced himself as a guide or porter, whichever suited us best. Both went in the opposite direction.

The fact that the sun has stopped giving out on large sections of the route and that we suspect that the reinforced wind was bringing clouds that were previously trapped by the mountains, makes us speed up our pace.

Stupa between Ghyaru and Ngawal, Nepal

Stupa between the shadow and the setting sun, with the Anapurnas mountain range in the distance.

With the destination in sight, the easy and vain promises of the raiser at the door, convince us to stay in the second of guesthouses we found.

Seven and a half hours after departure from Upper Banana, five of a hard walk, we enter Ngawal, the village that would welcome us in the night that, like us, has almost fallen.

More information about hiking at Nepal No. Nepal Tourism official website.

Annapurna Circuit: 1th - Pokhara a Chame, Nepal

Finally, on the way

After several days of preparation in Pokhara, we left towards the Himalayas. The walking route only starts in Chame, at 2670 meters of altitude, with the snowy peaks of the Annapurna mountain range already in sight. Until then, we complete a painful but necessary road preamble to its subtropical base.
Annapurna Circuit: 2nd - Chame to Upper BananaNepal

(I) Eminent Annapurnas

We woke up in Chame, still below 3000m. There we saw, for the first time, the snowy and highest peaks of the Himalayas. From there, we set off for another walk along the Annapurna Circuit through the foothills and slopes of the great mountain range. towards Upper Banana.
Annapurna Circuit: 3rd- Upper Banana, Nepal

An Unexpected Snowy Aurora

At the first glimmers of light, the sight of the white mantle that had covered the village during the night dazzles us. With one of the toughest walks on the Annapurna Circuit ahead of us, we postponed the match as much as possible. Annoyed, we left Upper Pisang towards Escort when the last snow faded.
Annapurna Circuit: 5th- Ngawal-BragaNepal

Towards the Nepalese Braga

We spent another morning of glorious weather discovering Ngawal. There is a short journey towards Manang, the main town on the way to the zenith of the Annapurna circuit. We stayed for Braga (Braka). The hamlet would soon prove to be one of its most unforgettable places.
Annapurna Circuit: 6th – Braga, Nepal

The Ancient Nepal of Braga

Four days of walking later, we slept at 3.519 meters from Braga (Braka). Upon arrival, only the name is familiar to us. Faced with the mystical charm of the town, arranged around one of the oldest and most revered Buddhist monasteries on the Annapurna circuit, we continued our journey there. acclimatization with ascent to Ice Lake (4620m).
Annapurna Circuit: 7th - Braga - Ice Lake, Nepal

Annapurna Circuit - The Painful Acclimatization of Ice Lake

On the way up to the Ghyaru village, we had a first and unexpected show of how ecstatic the Annapurna Circuit can be tasted. Nine kilometers later, in Braga, due to the need to acclimatize, we climbed from 3.470m from Braga to 4.600m from Lake Kicho Tal. We only felt some expected tiredness and the increase in the wonder of the Annapurna Mountains.
Annapurna Circuit: 8th Manang, Nepal

Manang: the Last Acclimatization in Civilization

Six days after leaving Besisahar we finally arrived in Manang (3519m). Located at the foot of the Annapurna III and Gangapurna Mountains, Manang is the civilization that pampers and prepares hikers for the ever-dreaded crossing of Thorong La Gorge (5416 m).
Annapurna Circuit: 9th Manang to Milarepa Cave, Nepal

A Walk between Acclimatization and Pilgrimage

In full Annapurna Circuit, we finally arrived in Manang (3519m). we still need acclimatize to the higher stretches that followed, we inaugurated an equally spiritual journey to a Nepalese cave of Milarepa (4000m), the refuge of a siddha (sage) and Buddhist saint.
Annapurna 10th Circuit: Manang to Yak Kharka, Nepal

On the way to the Annapurnas Even Higher Lands

After an acclimatization break in the near-urban civilization of Manang (3519 m), we made progress again in the ascent to the zenith of Thorong La (5416 m). On that day, we reached the hamlet of Yak Kharka, at 4018 m, a good starting point for the camps at the base of the great canyon.
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