The trek leading to Mardi Himal Base Camp has become famous only in recent years. In fact, until a few years ago Mardi Himal Base Camp was a decidedly little-known trek.
Currently, however, it is one of the most beloved treks. In fact, all agencies in Pokhara sell organized tours leading to Mardi Himal Base Camp. In fact, this trek is marked by a lie, which was done for good. Before we get to this lie, however, it is only fair to describe the trek!
I made this trek in just three days, and was accompanied by Arnaud, a French boy, and Tea, a Croatian girl. The Mardi Himal Base Camp trek is linked to the Annapurna Base Camp trek.
The Mardi Himal Base Camp trek begins in Kade, easily reached by cab from Pokhara. The duration of the ride is about one hour and the cost about 20 euros.
Once you arrive by cab in Kade, the Annapurna Base Camp route immediately gives you its main feature: stairs! In fact, Annapurna Base Camp is famous for its beauty and endless stairways! Within a little more than an hour, Australian Camp is reached: from here the first views of the sacred Machapucchare (whose summit is forbidden for religious reasons to all climbers) and the Annapurna Mountains can be seen.
Soon after is the small flower village of Pothana.
After about six kilometers you reach Pittani Deurali. Here there is a detour: on the right you go to Mardi Himal Base Camp, on the left you continue to Annapurna Base Camp.
From Pittani Deurali the trail enters a forest, very dense in places. The weather that day was marked by some frost-the effect with the dense forest was spectacular!
At Forrest Camp we met a Canadian: the group of three became four, with the pleasant inclusion of Morgs!
From Forrest Camp the trail climbs further into the forest until it reaches Low Camp, at an elevation of 3,000 meters. After about half an hour of further ascent, we leave the forest and reach the lower part of Middle Camp. From here it is possible to appreciate the immensity of the Himalayas, with views of Annapurna and Machapucchare getting closer and closer!
The trail continues to climb to High Camp:today’s day, though short, consists of 1200 meters of elevation gain and 8 kilometers of walking.
Arnaud, Morgs, Tea and I arrived at High Camp for lunch. The afternoon was spent relaxing and gathering the necessary information to reach Mardi Himal Base Camp. Some people were telling us that it was possible to reach the 4500-meter Base Camp it took only three hours round trip: having to make an elevation gain of as much as 1000 meters, this estimate seemed decidedly by default. The next day I would find out why!
Our group of four decided not to wake up to see the sunrise from Upper View Point. The night chill was ill-matched with an early wake-up call! So we left at six in the morning, and we are rewarded by a beautiful sunrise as we walked to Upper View Point.
To reach this vantage point we faced an endless flight of steps that covered 400 meters of elevation gain. Once we reached Upper View Point, after about an hour of walking characterized by ups and downs, we arrived at the fateful Mardi Himal Base Camp sign. This sign read 4500 meters, but both the clock and my map agreed: we were only at 4150 meters and the real Base Camp was still far away.
Most people who take on the Mardi Himal Base Camp Trek stop at Upper View Point (elevation 3950 meters) or the mock sign. The four of us, knowing that the real Base Camp was higher up, kept walking.
What we did not know was that the trail would give way to real mountain terrain, suitable more for goats than people. To climb the last three hundred meters, you have to do some real climbing on grassy and very exposed terrain. Fortunately, it was not frozen!
I admit that we were in a bit of a critical situation at times, as some passages were not at all trivial. We thus arrived at Mardi Himal Base Camp, the real one!
The views are truly sublime! Annapurna and Machapucchare are really close: it almost feels like touching them! While we were appreciating these majestic views, two other trekkers, from Nepal, arrived. To descend, therefore, we formed a group of six people: the descent was easier because, thanks to the help of the Nepalese, we traveled an easier path than the ascent.
We therefore descended to High Camp, taking about seven hours, including breaks: the three hours suggested by the trekkers we met the day before did not include the last piece, the decidedly mangy one!
On the same day we descended to Low Camp,Completing 18 km of the trail. Before arriving at our guesthouse, we witnessed a beautiful sunset from Middle Camp!
The next day we said goodbye to Morgs. In fact, the Canadian girl took the shortest route to finish the Mardi Himal Trek: with about two hours of walking (1,200 meters of descent) she reached Sidhing, from where she was able to take a jeep that took her all the way to Pokhara.
Arnaud, Tea and I followed the same route as the outward journey to Forest Camp.
Just past Forest Camp we took another trail, and descended to the 1,600 meters of Landruk. Once we reached this small village (about a three-hour walk from Low Camp) we entered the trail leading to Annapurna Base Camp.
On this day I walked 15 km: in fact, once I reached Landruk I added another 6 km to get to Jhinu Danda.