Annapurna is a series
of peaks in the Himalayas, a 55 km
(34 mi)-long massif of which the highest
point, Annapurna I, stands at 8091m,
making it the 10th-highest summit
in the world and one of the 14 "eight-thousanders".
It is located east of a great gorge
cut through the Himalayas by the Kali
Gandaki River, which separates it
from the Dhaulagiri massif. (Dhaulagiri
I lies 34 km west of Annapurna I.)
Annapurna is a Sanskrit
name which literally means "full
of food" (feminine form), but
is normally translated as Goddess
of the Harvests. In Hinduism, Annapurna
is a goddess of fertility and agriculture
and an avatar of Durga.
The entire massif and
surrounding area are protected within
the 7,629 sq. km Annapurna Conservation
Area Project (ACAP), the first and
largest conservation area in Nepal,
established in 1986 by the King Mahendra
Trust for Nature Conservation. The
Annapurna Conservation Area is home
to several world-class treks, including
the Annapurna Circuit.
The Annapurna peaks
are among the world's most dangerous
mountains to climb, with a fatality
rate of 40%.
The Annapurna massif
contains six major peaks over 7,200
Annapurna I 8,091 m
(26,545 ft) Ranked 10th;
Annapurna II 7,937 m (26,040 ft) Ranked
Annapurna III 7,555 m (24,786 ft)
Annapurna IV 7,525 m (24,688 ft)
Gangapurna 7,455 m (24,457 ft) Ranked
Annapurna South 7,219 m (23,684 ft)
The south face of Annapurna IAnnapurna
I was the first 8,000-metre (26,200
ft) peak to be climbed. Maurice Herzog
and Louis Lachenal, of a French expedition
led by Maurice Herzog (including Lionel
Terray,Gaston Rébuffat, Marcel
Ichac, Jean Couzy, Marcel Schatz,
Jacques Oudot, Francis de Noyelle),
reached the summit on 3 June 1950.
(See the documentary of the expedition
"Victoire sur l'Annapurna"
by Marcel Ichac). Its summit was the
highest summit attained on Earth for
three years, until the first successful
ascent of Mount Everest. (However
higher non-summit points—at
least 8,500 metres (27,900 ft)—had
already been attained on Everest in
The south face of Annapurna
was first climbed in 1970 by Don Whillans
and Dougal Haston, members of a British
expedition led by Chris Bonington
which included the alpinist Ian Clough,
who was killed by a falling ice-pillar
during the descent. They were, however,
beaten to the second ascent of Annapurna
by a matter of days by a British Army
expedition led by Henry Day.
In 1978, The American
Women's Himalayan Expedition, a team
led by Arlene Blum, became the first
American team to climb Annapurna I.
The expedition was also remarkable
for being composed entirely of women.
The first summit team, comprising
Vera Komarkova and Irene Miller and
Sherpas Mingma Tsering and Chewang
Ringjing, reached the top at 3:30
p.m. on October 15, 1978. The second
summit team, Alison Chadwick-Onyszkiewicz
and Vera Watson, died during this
climb. (Vera Watson was the wife of
computer scientist John McCarthy.)
On 3 February 1987,
Polish climbers Jerzy Kukuczka and
Artur Hajzer made the first winter
ascent of Annapurna I.
With a fatality rate
of 54%, and as of 2005, only 103 successful
summits have been made, for the loss
of 56 lives, many to the avalanches
for which the mountain is known. Climbers
killed on the peak include famed Russian
climber Anatoli Boukreev in 1997,
Christian Kuntner in 2005 and Iñaki
Ochoa in 2008
The first solo climb
was October 2007 on the South Face
by Slovenian climber Toma Humar.
The other peaks
Annapurna South from Annapurna Base
Camp (4,130 m) before sunrise.Annapurna
II, the eastern anchor of the range,
was first climbed in 1960 by a British/Indian/Nepalese
team led by Jimmy Roberts, via the
West Ridge, approached from the north.
The summit party comprised Richard
Grant, Chris Bonington, and Sherpa
Ang Nyima. In terms of elevation,
isolation (distance to a higher summit,
namely Annapurna I, 30.5 km/19.0 mi)
and prominence (2,437 m/8,000 ft),
Annapurna II does not rank far behind
Annapurna I. It is a fully independent
peak, despite the close association
with Annapurna I which its name seems
Annapurna III was first
climbed in 1961 by an Indian expedition
led by Capt.Mohan Singh Kohli, via
the Northeast Face. The summit party
comprised Mohan Kohli, Sonam Gyatso,
and Sonam Girmi.
Annapurna IV, near Annapurna
II, was first climbed in 1955 by a
German expedition led by Heinz Steinmetz,
via the North Face and Northwest Ridge.
The summit party comprised Steinmetz,
Harald Biller, and Jürgen Wellenkamp.
Gangapurna was first
climbed in 1965 by a German expedition
led by Günther Hauser, via the
East Ridge. The summit party comprised
11 members of the expedition.
Annapurna South (also
known as Annapurna Dakshin, or Moditse)
was first climbed in 1964 by a Japanese
expedition, via the North Ridge. The
summit party comprised S. Uyeo and
Hiunchuli (6,441 m/21,126
ft) is a satellite peak extending
east from Annapurna South, Hiunchuli
was first climbed in 1971 by an expedition
led by U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer
m/22,943 ft) is another important
peak of the Annapurna Himal, though
it just misses the 7,000 metre mark.
Machapuchare and Hiunchuli are prominently
visible from the valley of Pokhara.
These peaks are the "gates"
to the Annapurna Sanctuary leading
to the immense south face of Annapurna
Home to eight of the
world's ten highest mountains, Nepal's
mountainous and hilly regions offer
some of the most spectacular trekking
sites in the world. The immense contrasts
in altitude and climate found in the
different parts of the country support
an equally spectacular mix of life styles,
vegetation types and wildlife.