drive the Annapurna Circuit

Last Footfall in Nepal is a NY Times article posted a year ago by Ethan-Todras Whitehill:

… by 2012 a road will have been built on this path, destroying this experience and, according to many, placing the last nail in the coffin of what was once the greatest trek on earth. …

I assumed that was an exaggeration. The tourism industry would not be silly enough to degrade Annapurna, … would they?

So I checked with Andrew Ostrowski on what he saw on their recent trek on the Circuit and up to Base Camp:

… As to the road to Jomson, it’s there and all the way to Muktinath with larger trucks, jeeps, bikes, etc. traveling there every 15 minutes or so.

… We hiked to Jomson and then took a bus to Ghasa … it’s scary ride !!!, and continue walking along the road to Tatopani from where we hiked towards Sanctuary/Base Camp.

This road is in use for quite some time, I guess for some few years now, however it’s often damaged by some mud slides and some sections need to be walked across for a couple of hundred meters over the slides to continue on as was a case with us. Just a week or so before our scary bus ride there was an accident when a jeep with 12 people in it went over the edge and rolled down into the river, all died.

The road on the eastern side of Annapurna trek, leading someday to Manang is still under construction and only some easier sections are semi-complete, we were stopped a couple of times and needed to wait until rock blasting on the opposite side of the valley was completed before being allowed to continue on …

This road leads over extreme and steep terrain and my guess is it will take another 10-20 years to complete, if ever, not to mention constant rock/mud slides in this area. All work seems to be done by manual labour, no heavy equipment seen around, just blasting/scaling crews visible. …

Here’s one of Andrew’s photos from the ‘Circuit’ …

The Annapurna Circuit is one of our top 10 hikes in the world. Should it be taken off the list?


One thought on “drive the Annapurna Circuit

  1. They built a road to Muktinath???

    “Mukti” is Sanskrit for “power”; “nath” is “place”. The springs coming out of the rock there have been the destination of Sadhu’s, of pilgrims, for literally 3,000 years. It’s one of the world’s sacred places.

    I’m not easily dismayed, but this really deflates me. Nepal was never conquered by the British you know; the Gurkha’s fought them to a standstill; the Kingdom thus has remained a place where the new world can visit the old, and be refreshed and reminded of another way of life, where walking up and down mountains is not recreation, it is just how life is lived.

    I think you should start reporting on Best Hikes on Venus. I’m moving as soon as I can, and could use a few tips.

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