When winter arrives it’s cold everywhere, even in your bed. Well, if you are laying and waiting for winter to go away. That’s a bad idea. Rather go to a colder place and flare heat in your body. If okay, then trek to Annapurna circuit in January and February. Its difficult one but you know that “Difficult roads often lead to Beautiful Destinations”
Annapurna Circuit is a supreme place to stray and lost in nature and its wildness. It is the second-most walked trail only to Everest Base Camp trek in Nepal. Annapurna circuit trek in Autumn, Spring season are the most popular times. Whereas, due to rainfalls the Summer trek to Annapurna circuit is preferred by trekkers. So, if you are a peace lover and missed out on Autumn and Spring, the snowfall months of Jan and Feb are here to take you to Annapurna Circuit.
No rainfalls, clear skies and plain visibility of snow-filled mountains are some of the pros of Winter trek. The cold is worth enough to bear, as it provides the most beautiful views of the most beautiful peaks.
This trial will take you from traditional villages of the Lamjung to the snowy heaven. You will come across a range of ethnic peoples. Heavenly hills, snowfield mountains, fast-flowing rivers, and endearing villages are the main attributes of this Annapurna circuit trek. This circuit has ample beauty to pour in front of your eyes may resemble shutterbug’s paradise.
Poon Hill, one of the stops of this trek provides an astonishing view of sunrise over Annapurna Massif. From there you can enjoy the sight of towering peaks like Manaslu, Dhaulagiri, Annapurna I and several others. Likewise, “Thorong La Pass (5416m) the highest pass of the trek” this uphill climb can wake your long-hidden power.
Table of Contents
Highlights of Annapurna Circuit trek in January and February
- Peaceful trekking routes
- Reaching the Thorong La Pass (5416m)
- Crystal-clear views of Mt. Manaslu, Mt. Dhaulagiri, and Mt. Annapurna
- Trailing through Nepal’s Largest protected area-Annapurna Conservation Area
- Beautiful villages and apple farms of Mustang region
- Evidencing the cultures and civilizations of the Annapurna region
- Visiting the most sacred Muktinath Temple
- Trails along with the speedy Marshyangdi River
- Walking by the world’s deepest gorge Kali Gandaki Gorge
- The breathtaking sunrise from Poon Hill
- Healing hot spring bath at Tatopani
Facts of Annapurna Circuit Trek
- The distance that will be covered – 260Km i.e 161 miles(Complete route)
- Length: 8 to 21 days
- Difficulty level – Moderate to Strenuous
- Highest point – Thorong La Pass(5,416 m) 17,769 ft
- Accommodation – Hotels, Teahouses
- Food – Nepali, Indian, Western Cuisine
- Permits required – Annapurna Conservation Area Permit and Trekkers Information Management System Card
Weather conditions of Annapurna Circuit Trek In January and February
The weather conditions of the Annapurna region in January and February vary with altitudes.
Lower altitude areas are warmer than the higher altitude areas on the same day. The average temperature of Annapurna Base Camp(highest point of this trail) during January and February is -5 degrees C.The minimum temperature during January can mark -11 degree C. And, in February the temperature can get even colder by dropping to freezing -13 degree Celsius. On the other side, The lower altitude circuits are much comfortable to deal with
Let’s look at months specific weather and temperature of the Annapurna Circuit are places:
Annapurna Circuit place’s Temperature and Weather in January and February:
Pokhara | Altitude: 1400m | Min Temp Jan: 7.3°C, Max Temp Jan: 19.1°C | Min Temp Feb:8.6°C, Max Temp Feb: 21.4°C
Ghorepani | Altitude: 2750m | Min Temp Jan: -3.3°C, Max Temp Jan: 7.2°C | Min Temp Feb: -2.2°C, Max Temp Feb: 9.4°C
Chhomrong | Altitude: 2340m | Min Temp Jan: -5°C, Max Temp Jan: 18°C | Min Temp Feb: -5°C, Max Temp Feb: 19°C
Dobhan | Altitude: 2600m | Min Temp Jan: -8°C, Max Temp Jan: 15 °C| Min Temp Feb: -8°C, Max Temp Feb: 16°C
Ghorepani | Altitude: 4130m | Min Temp Jan: -19°C, Max Temp Jan: 7°C | Min Temp Feb: -20°C, Max Temp Feb: 6°C
In the months of January and February, 19-24 days are sunny, 4-6 days partly cloudy, and some days are overcast. So, there is a very low chance of rainfall during the months of January and February. And, sunny days allow the best observance of clear and clean views of terrains and Mountains.
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Fitness Level Required For Annapurna Circuit Trek in January and February
Annapurna Circuit trek demands a good level of fitness. The average of 4-7 hours of walking is done every day. The entire trek covers 160km to 230km by foot. The toughest climb of the whole trek is from Thorong Phedi(4,540m) to Thorong La pass(5,416m). It normally takes 45 minutes to climb and tests your fitness level.
If you can walk for 7 hours a day, you are eligible for this trek. If not, you can do some fitness training to make yourself fit for this trek. Moreover, visit the doctor for a checkup and to discuss altitude sickness. Altitude sickness is the major problem of this trek. To avoid altitude sickness you should walk slowly and take Acclimatization day.
Annapurna Circuit Trek Difficulty in January and February
Annapurna Circuit Trek in January and February is a possible trek to do. There are some trekkers who favor this period to trek. The main issues are freezing cold, high altitudes, and snowfalls. The temperature during January and February is the coldest one. So, higher altitudes are even colder than lower ones. Also, an average of 6 hours walk per day is done. So, You may find it difficult to walk and cope with the cold.
Acute mountain sickness (AMS) is a common problem faced by trekkers. The level of oxygen lowers as you move up to higher altitudes. Headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, tiredness, loss of appetite, shortness of breath are the major symptoms of High Altitude Sickness. No immediate action can lead to serious health problems. If you can brace the cold and acclimatize well with altitudes, you can do it.
The snowfall can increase the difficulty level of Annapurna Circuit Trek in January and February. This area may receive moderate to an extreme level of snowfall during winter. Snowfall can add adventure depending on the level of snowfall. If it’s mild snowfall, you can trail on. If not, you have to make way back.
Pros of Trekking in January and February
Annapurna Circuit trek in January and February is most popular for the clear views of snow-capped mountains. During these months, this area receives little or no rainfall. No rainfall means no clouds and overcast. So you can just enjoy the gorgeous views of snowy hills and mountains.
Also, you will enjoy peaceful routes in the months of January and February. Plus, trekking in January and February is also cheaper as there is a winter discount offer. Altogether, Annapurna Circuit Trek in January and February is a lifetime experience.
Cons of while Trekking in January and February
The harsh cold is the main problem of Annapurna Circuit Trek in January and February. Temperature can fall down to -20 degrees Celsius. With a fall in temperature, it’s very difficult to walk. Sometimes, the high points of Annapurna Circuit are restricted or blocked to travel due to shivering cold or snowfalls.
Also, such highpoints have a higher risk of Avalanches. Thus, trekkers have to know every bit about the weather and conditions of Annapurna Circuit before tying shoelaces. Thorong la pass can be the most difficult trail due to harsh cold and ice-filled tracks.
Also, there will be fewer open tea houses around trails. Most Tea house owners move down to lower altitudes due to freezing cold. It means you need to carry some food items to face an emergency supply.
Accommodation During the Trek
Finding accommodation during January and February is the easiest thing to do. As it’s the off-season, the hotels and tea houses are mostly empty. You can also do some bargaining as well. Annapurna Circuit has hotels ranging from basic rooms to reasonably good hotels. They provide basic arrangements for your comfortable stay. They also provide heaters and hot waters to avoid cold. But keep in mind that, the price of accommodation increases as we move up.
Foods During the Trail
You will get a typical Nepali cuisine i.e Dal Bhat known. It is a popular trekking food in Nepal which can be found in other popular trekking routes like Everest Base Camp Trek, Manaslu Circuit Trek, Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek, and Langtang Valley Trek. The mixture of steamed rice and cooked lentil with other condiments provides long-lasting calories. As the Nepalese say “Dal Bhat Power, 24 Hour”, you can walk the whole day by having one diet of Dal Bhat.
Annapurna Circuit hotels also serve snacks like steaks, pasta, chop suey, Macaroni. They also provide some energy and soft drinks. There are plenty of bakery shops as well in Annapurna Circuit. All you need to have is the money to buy.
Equipment List for Annapurna Circuit Trek in January and February
It’s too cold in Annapurna Circuit Trek during January and February. Your essentials have to be thicker and warmer. Here is the list of things you will need:
- A strong pair of trekking boots
- Thick windcheater Jacket
- Full Sleeve shirts
- Down jacket
- Waterproof trek pants
- Warm winter hat
- Thermal Underwear
- Woolen gloves
- Pair of Sandals
- Lip Balm
- Water purification system
- Sleeping Bag
- Toilet Paper
- Face towel
- Diamox- for altitude
- Mosquito spray
- Antibacterial sanitizer
- Playing Cards to kill time
- Notebook and Pen
- Voltage converter
Permits Required for Annapurna Circuit Trek
You need to have two special permits for the Annapurna Circuit Trek. These permits can be taken from both Kathmandu or Pokhara’s Tourist information center. The two permits are:
Annapurna Conservation Area Project Permit(ACAP)
Annapurna Conservation Area is a protected area in the Annapurna region. It is Nepal’s largest protected area. ACA is rich in biodiversity which is home to varieties of plants, mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. You have to pay NRS 3,000 for the ACA permits.
Trekker Information Management System Card(TIMS)
This Trekker Information Management System Card is for the safety purpose of trekkers. TIMS Card is compulsory for ensuring the safety of trekkers in the trekking areas. There are various checkpoints in Annapurna Circuit where you have to show this particular card. If any visitor goes missing the checkpoints provide the exact search area. That is why it is an important card to get. The fee for specific regions trekkers are as below:
For SAARC countries trekkers TIMS Card fee are Group Trekkers: NRS 300 per pax, Free Individual Trekkers: NRS 600. Whereas, for Non-SAARC countries trekkers TIMS card fees are: Group Trekkers: NRS 1000 per pax, Free Individual Trekkers: NRS 2000 per pax
DO’s and DON’Ts of Annapurna Circuit Trek in January and February
Annapurna Circuit Trek is a difficult trek and even more difficult in winter months. So if planning for Annapurna Circuit trek in January and February, here are some Dos and Don’ts to look upon :
This is the most important thing while trekking. Drinking enough water makes you hydrated and walk continuously. High altitudes make you dehydrate so fast. So, be hydrated to walk easily in higher regions as well. Carry hot water it will help to warm your body.
Wear the Right Gears:
When trekking in winter, carry correct trekking gear. The right clothing and gears will make the trek easier and safer. Thick windcheater jacket, Full Sleeve shirts, Down jacket, Waterproof trek pants, Warm winter hat, Thermal Underwear, Woolen gloves, and Strong trekking boots are the perfect gears to wear in this trek.
Don’t consume alcohol:
Consumption of alcohol causes dehydration to your body. And, a dehydrated body is not got for any steep and strenuous trek.
This is a high altitude trek, you have to reach the altitude above 5000. During the trial, you can have altitude sickness. Diamox will help you to avoid this problem.
Don’t trek alone:
It’s very dangerous to travel without a guide in the Winter season. The trails can go crazy with heavy snowfall, so having a guide will be helpful in such situations.
Check the weather before embarking:
Harsh weather can be deadly in higher altitude treks. You have to be smart enough to check the weather forecast and prepare accordingly.
Altitude Sickness is real:
The altitude sickness in the Annapurna circuit can hit anyone, even the healthy and fit ones. Thorong La pass(5416m) is the highest reach of this trek. Inadequate acclimatization day and nonstop walk can lead to altitude sickness. Headache, nausea, vomiting, and lightheadedness are the major signs of Altitude sickness. It can take a life if immediate action is not taken after symptoms.
Don’t walk as if its race
The continuous walk is one of the factors causing altitude sickness. You may encounter breathing difficulty. So, walk as if it’s a slow walk-in Heaven. Give short breaks to yourself and then walk.
Annapurna Circuit trek is a difficult endeavor. Anything can happen on this trek to the Annapurna region. Travel insurance covers all the costs of bad events of the entire trek. For instance, events like Medical treatment, Lost of Luggage, Personal Items, and High-Value Items.
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