Nepal in pictures: Into thin air on the trek to Mardi Himal
MARDI HIMAL (5587m) is the most southerly peak of the Annapurna range in Nepal. The multi day walk to reach its base camp is a fantastic off-the-beaten-path trek that not only takes you away from the main trekking routes but into high altitude pastures replete with grazing yak, blooming rhododendron and authentic village life.
Mardi Himal itself is a continuation of the southwest ridge of Macchapucchare, commonly known as the Fish Tail Mountain, and the enormous mountain rears its beautiful and snowy head for much of the trek.
The route to Mardi Himal trek is now somewhat established with basic lodging and food, but receives but a fraction of the numbers of other nearby tracks such as the Annapurna Sanctuary or Poon Hill trek on the Annapurna Circuit. This is definitely part of its charm, plus the feeling of isolation and real wilderness experienced in its deep forests and high reaches.
The trek to Mardi Himal is not particularly well marked and accommodation is limited so a guide is advisable or at least bookings along the way. The upper reaches of the track, in particular the last section to Mardi Himal base camp, are where a guide is very useful. These require a knowledge of the track and mountain experience as certain sections are tricky.
All images by Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com