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Why I trekked ABC?

23 Oct 2016 . category: Travel . Comments
#trek #nepal #annapurna #abc #fitness

16th October 03:00, Machapuchchre Base Camp(3170 metres)


It’s freezing cold as I wake up to the Himalayan ranges towering above me in the backdrop of a pitch-black starry sky! Today is the day we catch the sunrise at ABC, still a two-hour trek from here. I inspect the lighting on our route and find no sign of human life on it, delaying our start-time from 03:30 to 04:00. Going back to my cot, I replay mental images of reaching ABC for one last time, zoning into Wiz Khalifa playing in my ears.

03:50, Machapuchchre Base Camp

As excited as a 5-year old, I’m all set to trek! I spit on my palms, and sprint a couple of 30 metre stretches to warm up. Gyani’s vlogged the customary beginnning of the day – we trek 400 metres uphill to ABC, watch the sunrise and then begin our 2000 metre descent to Bamboo, all within 12 hours.

Man, it’s gonna be a long day!

04:20, On the ABC Trail

annapurna view

We’ve been going at a fairly good pace so far, with just a short break in between. The full moon peeking from above the Annapurna seems like our lone friend through the dark trek, guiding us along. A brazilian trekker has crossed us so far, and as we look behind, we find a few trekker camps with headlamps following the trail. Doing pretty good!


I feel a little light in the head, and stop for a break. We hadn’t carried our backpacks or water to avoid overhead, a big mistake. The altitude is getting real!


I’m actually feeling dizzy, as I stumble on a couple of rocks, taking another break. I push my head backwards, angry and helpless at this situation, my will power leaving me for a few moments. A few trekking groups pass by, encouraging us to take some more rest and move slowly.

Our Polish friends whom we’d met earlier, recognize us and give me some water, caffeine tablets and a couple of Oreo cakes. Lifesavers! I pop in a Diamox with the water which I believe to be liquid oxygen. I genuinely mistake the water for oxygen, and the Placebo kicks in immediately! Getting back up, I feel better – but this time, I take it slow.

It’s not about the altitude, it’s about the attitude!

05:30, The Base Camp is visible!

“It’s all in the mind”, I repeat in my head! Putting one foot in front of another, baby steps. At this stage, I’m trying to minimize the breaks I take, so as to maintain my rhythym.

The Base Camp recognizable by its constant lights, looks so much within my reach, and after every turn it gets even further away! The Annapurna South stands straight up in our faces; the scale is unimaginable. The sun has not yet risen, but the Himalayan ranges from all sides look at me, and I just stare back in awe.

05:55, Almost there...

At this stage, I can’t even feel my face, the temperature is definitely in negative. Gyani and me check each others’ status regularly with minimal affirmatives, this has been the toughest stretch for me in the whole trek! I can see the sun shining on the peak, the gold-white snow is absolute beauty.

06:04, We made it!

abc board

As we inch closer, the vlogging camera is out and our emotions are captured in their rawest forms. We take a couple pictures, and you can see “pure relief” on my face! We have a thermos of boiled water to warm ourselves, as I realize my fingers’ existence!

I try and soak in the mountains, it’s too much to take! Watching the Himalayas is one of the more humbling experiences you can have. You’ve worked so hard to get here and when you realize the scale of the mountains, all sense of achievement and pride dies!


15:00, Bamboo (2100 metres)

We’d begun our descent from ABC at around 07:30, and it’s been an unsurprisingly introspective trek for me. When I reflect on the risks I’d taken today morning, I ask myself “Why did I do it?” I still have no answers, but there are a few probables!

Probably because it’s there to be done,

Probably I like the struggle,

Probably I just like the feel of jumping up and down on rocks, the adrenaline I get after climbing 500 steps without a stop,

Probably I had to finish what I’d thought of,

Probably everyone has something to prove, not to anyone else, to themselves,

Probably I just wanted to break through, get out and explore,

Probably I like listening to peoples’ stories,

Probably there’s no reason and it doesn’t matter after all!

Probably the experience of watching the sunrise over the mountains is unexplainable.

Why you do it can’t be explained. Humans are a strange people.

abc selfie

One day you'll leave this world behind, so live a life you will remember! -- Avicii


Shubhankar is an awesome person. He's Co-Founder & CTO of Houseware, building the command center for modern revenue teams. In his spare time, he likes to go out on runs!