Completing the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal is high on the bucket list for many trekkers. For Avril and Rich Revel of Comox, the dream of completing this Himalayan trek became a reality in October, 2014.
“It’s quite fantastic” report Rich and Avril. The Annapurna Trek involves some of the highest trekking in the world. The 182 km trek ranges from 800 to over 17,000 feet. “You move from the green subtropical valleys up into the alpine glaciers and stupendously high mountain terrain. It is simply glorious. Every turn along the trail brings a view that is even more fantastic than the last.”
Travelling with a Sherpa and a porter, the Revels, who are experienced trekkers, planned to trek 12-15 km per day. For 17-21 days, they intended to trek by day while staying at night in the tea houses along the trail.
This circuit around the Annapurna Massif is usually good trekking in October. There is typically not any snow, although a few hours through ankle deep snow might be expected through the Thorong-La Pass. The Revel’s trek, however, became anything but typical.
On Oct. 14, a cyclone in the Bay of Bengal dumped huge amounts of snow on the higher elevation portions of the circuit. Avalanches ensued and, at final count, over 40 people were killed.
The Revels were trapped by their circumstances for three days at over 16,000 feet. At first, the military promised an evacuation by helicopter, but it soon became apparent that this would not be reality. As a result, the Revels, along with their guide and porter, made the decision to trek out and save their hides. They hiked 30 km per day in deep snow to reach safety and meet their schedule in spite of some illness.
While unable to complete their intended trek, the Revels were inspired by their journey. Once through their adventure, they report that “it was still a wonderful experience once we reconciled the tremendous loss of life.”
You are invited to come and experience the beauty and challenges of this trek as Avril and Rich share their stories and their photographs on Friday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. at St. Peter’s Anglican Church Hall, 218 Church St. in Comox. Refreshments will be served.