Book lodges, guides and flights for your next trek.

Saving the Annapurna Circuit- The Annapurna Seven Passes Trek

Two trekkers celebrate awesome views during the Annapurna Seven Passes Trek

Tripple P. Gurung is a man on a mission. He is on a mission to build an alternative to the Annapurna Circuit Trek because a large part of what was once one of the best treks in the world is now a motorable road. Because of this, trekkers are increasingly hesitant to do the Annapurna Circuit which raises the possibility that tourism in the region will slowly dwindle to a trickle. To make sure that it doesn’t happen, Tripple has created the Annapurna Seven Passes Trek.

Tripple P Gurung raises the Nepali flag on top of the Naar Pass.
Tripple P Gurung raises the Nepali flag on top of the Naar Pass. PC: Anup Vaswani

The Annapurna Seven Passes Trek is a 20-day trek that takes a trekker through seven high passes, four of which are above 5,000 meters. In addition to the challenge of the high passes, this trek offers a mix of wilderness and culture that is missing from treks that run through villages. With the Annapurna Seven Passes Trek, you will sip butter tea with yak herders, pick yarsagumba with locals, and earn some serious bragging rights and live through some crazy stories.

The Annapurna Seven Passes Team celebrates the crossing of the Kangla Pass. From L-R: Mingma Sherpa, Amrit Ale, Anup Vaswani, Aaloka Tumbahangphey, and Tripple Gurung.
The Annapurna Seven Passes Team celebrates the crossing of the Kangla Pass. From L-R: Mingma Sherpa, Amrit Ale, Anup Vaswani, Aaloka Tumbahangphey, and Tripple Gurung. PC: Anup Vaswani

Manang Youth Society headed by Tripple recently teamed up with adventurers from Nepal’s trekking sector to explore the Annapurna Seven Passes Trek in May 2018. Based on Tripple’s recce treks from this year and the past few years, the information on the Annapurna Seven Passes Trek can now be found in:

  1. HoneyGuide’s Trekking in Nepal mobile app. Android / iOS
  2. Annapurna Seven Passes Trek Page.
  3. Everything about the Annapurna Circuit Trek Section
  4. The Classic Annapurna Circuit Trek

For those who want to know about the highlights of the Annapurna Seven Passes Trek here is what the team members of the trek had to say about their personal highlights during the May Reconnaissance Trek. Feel free to contact them if you need more information about the Annapurna Seven Passes Trek.

Tripple Gurung, Manang Youth Society | Contact: tripplegrg@hotmail.com
This time one of the sightings that we saw was the flying squirrel, you know that was amazing. It was the first time in my life that I saw this. It was on the way to Shongle and besides that, the second moment was when the herd of yaks was coming below the cliff. Suddenly, you see so many yaks which is like very interesting and intimidating at the same time.

'The' Flying Squirrel
‘The’ Flying Squirrel. PC: Amrit Ale.

Amrit Ale, Founding Director, Himalayan Quests | Contact: info@himalayanquests.com
Untouched Unspoiled Total Off the beaten path with stunning views. And tons of fantastic flora and fauna.

Anup Vaswani, Photographer, Canon Heads | https://www.instagram.com/anup_vaswani/

Aaloka Tumbahangphey, Trek Leader | Contact: tumbahangphey@gmail.com

Mingma Sherpa, Product Manager, Thamserku Trekking | Contact: mingma@thamserkutrekking.com

Kids in Tachai
Kids in Tachai. PC: Anup Vaswani.

Ashish from HoneyGuide recently sat down with Tripple to understand more about the man and his mission. Here is an excerpt:

Why is the Annapurna Seven Passes Trek necessary?

Well, it is necessary because of the already developed and developing road that has affected the tourism sector in that region. And, without tourism, the economic benefit for the local people is less, and there is the fear of migration if there is no tourism. Also, to keep the local tradition and culture alive, the tourism regarding the economy is very important.

If you look at the numbers, the number of trekkers coming to Annapurna Circuit Region is still the same, the round figure is 20 thousand a year. But, it is the same because the people who used to trek is declining, but it is adding up to the number of people who are going by jeep to the several points and start their trek. It is an advantage for some people who do not have the time, and it is a disadvantage which has ruined the beauty of the 21 days original Annapurna Circuit Trek.

While the number and growth rate compared to the rest of the trekking region in Nepal is not encouraging, but we aren’t discouraged either. That is precisely why we came up with the Annapurna Seven Passes Trek to give different choices to different kind of people. For those who want to enjoy and who have the time to enjoy the beauty of the different regions from Tal all the way to Naar-Phu to Manang and some people don’t have much time and want to do it in 10 days. So this will mix up, and we hope the number will increase in the future.

What are the highlights of the Annapurna Seven Passes Trek?

This is a trek for all season and for all reasons. For example, in Namkyu during summer, you can see the wildflowers in the meadows with big fields with Mt Kangaru at the back and Annapurna and Lamjung Himal. In autumn, if you want to look at the changes in the color of the trees, then the jungle from Namkyu to Meta is beautiful. And if you just want to see the mountains, Phu Pass, Kangla Pass, and Naar Pass are the best.

The Colors of Fall in the Annapurna Seven Passes Trek
The Colors of Fall. PC: Saran Subba.

What are the basic things a trekker should plan for?

Since it is the beginning of our journey to popularize the trail, we need to trail signs. So for now, you need to have a guide who knows the area, and since there are no lodges in some places, you have to be prepared for that. But otherwise in terms of trekking it is not very hard you know though it may sound so with the name Seven Passes. It is a fairly doable trek, except the short last bit of Naar Pass which is slippery. However, it only lasts an hour. From there pretty much everything is just like in a normal trek.

Aren’t seven passes in one trek too much to handle? What are my options if I am not so adventurous?

There are a lot of options for people who don’t have twenty-one days and who think they aren’t fit enough for twenty-one days. There is a side product that we have developed within the Annapurna Seven Passes trek like the Dona Trek which is about a week, or you can do the Kangaru Trek which is also about a week. You can do the Naar and Phu Treks separately. Also, we have given quite a few options depending upon which month you want to come. For example for the Yarsagumba Trek, May-July is the best times. During March-May, we have the Rhododendron Trek. So you see there are quite a few options for people who can’t spend 21 days but still want to get away from the crowds and the road.

Dona Lake, Nepal.
Dona Lake. This lake is 2 days walk from Nachai Village. PC: Tripple Gurung.

How will the Annapurna Seven Passes Trek develop in the years to come?

The ideal case for the next five years is that the Annapurna Seven Passes Trek will be as famous as the Round Annapurna Circuit Trek used to be. That trekker gets the same pleasure out of the Annapurna Seven Passes Trek that they used to get from the Annapurna Seven Passes trek.

For that, we will be putting up trail signs, lodges, and training for local people. After that, we need to do a promotion with the trekking companies in Nepal and abroad and tell them about the Annapurna Seven Passes Trek.
And if everything goes alright, we go to international fairs and show our product and introduce how Annapurna Circuit used to be and how it is right now.

What do you think about trekking trails being converted into motorable roads?

Well, the first thing I would like to say is we don’t want to be a museum of poverty. You know what I mean. You know people come to see old houses and poor people. So we definitely need the road, and we need development. But what I would suggest to the government and to the concerned people that we should always plan the road in regards to the trekking routes that exists so that it doesn’t hamper the trekkers or the local people, to the economy that is being generated from tourism. The government and concerned parties like ACAP and NTB should consider how the existing local people can benefit even if there is the road. Or the people who aren’t helping from the road before.

For those of you who are geared up, here are some useful resources:

  1. Comprehensive Guide to the Annapurna Circuit Region
  2. Annapurna Seven Passes Trek Detail Page
  3. Prem Rai’s Page on the Annapurna Seven Passes Trek
  4. An Expert’s Guide to Annapurna Circuit

Related Post

mountain teaser trees
’Going to the mountains
is going home.’
- John Muir
‘Great things are done when
men and mountains meet.’
- William Blake
‎’There is no such thing as bad weather,
only inappropriate clothing.’
- Sir Ranulph Fiennes