Dispatch 17/Manang/5.20.08

Warm Tuborg beer from a dusty brown bottle flowed through my lips while the howling winds of the Marsyangdi valley pelted the windows with sand and dust. I sat there shivering in the calm air after taking my first shower in about a month. We are now on the Annapurna Circuit, a popular route for travelers to Nepal.

We dropped 5000′ out of basecamp and into the town of Manang yesterday morning in a little under 3 hours. It feels good to be fresh after the climb and healthier here at 11,800′. We ate for a few hours and then slept in silence in our small but clean teahouse rooms.

In three years a road will reach Manang, making it,like it’s equally remote counterpart the province of Mustang…modern. The access for many of these areas has been pedestrian only since their settlement centuries ago, this remote accesss is what has driven tourism in this region of Nepal and created a viable ecomomic sector capable of handling thousands of tourists a day in the October high season.

We are the last of the pre monsoon circuit hikers. This hotel, the hotel Yeti and the movie theater, yes…Seven years in Tibet is playing…will shut down in just six days. We are priveleged to be here for one last pedestrian only tour of the circuit, for Tim and me, it is our second. It is also the second time we have stayed longer and given the mountains a proper and exhaustive go. Last year we celebrated a summit, this year-my last days as a bachelor!

Today we will hike to 15,500′ Thorung Phedi before climbing over Thorung La pass at 17,800 and into Muktinath. Josh is still fresh from the climb as well so we figured why not have one last little taste of the high Himalaya before we go home? We’ll keep sending updates and sharing the tale of the annapurna circuit, one of the worlds most famous treks in it’s last days.

And we’ll continue to have a blast.

Ben Clark

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