Annapurna is a section of the Himalayas in north-central Nepal
that includes 8,091 m Annapurna I, thirteen additional peaks
over 7,000 m and 16 more over 6,000 m. This section is 55
km-long massif enclosed by the Kali Gandaki Gorge on the west,
the Marshyangdi River on the north and east, and Pokhara
Valley on the south. Annapurna I is tenth among Earth's
fourteen eight-thousanders. 8167 metre Dhaulagiri I rises 34
km to the west across the Kali Gandaki Gorge, considered
Earth's deepest canyon.
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 "... the universal
and timeless kitchen-goddess ... the mother who feeds. Without
her there is hunger a universal fear: This makes Annapurna a
universal goddess ... Her most popular temple is located in
Kashi, on the banks of the river Ganga." Her association with
the giving of food (wealth) led her in time to be transformed
into Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth.
The whole massif and surrounding area are protected within the
7,629 km2 Annapurna Conservation Area, the first and largest
conservation area in Nepal. The Annapurna Conservation Area is
home to several world-class treks, including the Annapurna
The Annapurna peaks are among the world's most dangerous
mountains to climb. As of the end of 2009, there had been 157
summit ascents of Annapurna I, and 60 climbing fatalities on
the mountain. This fatality-to-summit ratio (38%) is the
highest of any of the eight-thousanders.
Annapurna I was the first 8,000-metre peak to be climbed.Maurice
Herzogand 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. Its summit was the highest
peak attained on Earth for three years, until the first
successful ascent of Mount Everest.
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 serac 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 United States team to climb
Annapurna I. 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.On 3 February 1987, Polish climbers Jerzy
Kukuczka and Artur Hajzer made the first winter ascent of
The first solo ascent of the south face was made in October 2007
by Slovenian climber Tomaž Humar; he climbed to the Roc Noir and
then to Annapurna East (8,047m).
On 8 and 9 October 2013 Swiss climber Ueli Steck soloed the
Lafaille route on the main and highest part of the face; this
was his third attempt on the route and has been called "one of
the most impressive Himalayan climbs in history", with Steck
taking 28 hours to make the return trip from Base Camp to summit
and back again.
Annapurna massif contains six major peaks over 7,200 m (23,620
Annapurna I (28.595°N 83.819°E)
It is located at an elevation of 8,091 m. Ranked 10th,
Prominence is 2,984 m.
Annapurna II (28.539°N 84.137°E)
It is located at an elevation of 7,937 m, Ranked 16th;
Prominence is 2,437 m.
Annapurna III (28.585°N 84.000°E)
It is located at an elevation of 7,555 m, Ranked 42nd;
Prominence is 703 m.
Annapurna IV (28.539°N 84.087°E)
It is located at an elevation of 7,525 m.
Gangapurna (28.606°N 83.965°E)
It is located at an elevation of 7,455 m, Ranked 59th ;
Prominence is 563 m.
Annapurna South (28.518°N 83.806°E)
It is located at an elevation of 7,219 m, Ranked 101st;
Prominence is 775 m.
The Annapurna Conservation Area is a famous trekking
region.There are three major trekking routes in the
Annapurna region: the Jomson Trek to Jomsom and Muktinath;
the Annapurna Sanctuary route to Annapurna base camp; and
the Annapurna Circuit, which circles the Annapurna Himal
itself and includes the Jomsom route. The town of Pokhara
usually serves as a starting point for these treks, and is
also a good starting place for other short treks of one to
four days, such as routes to Ghorepani or Ghandruk.
The Mustang district, a former kingdom bordering Tibet, is
also geographically a part of the Annapurna region, but
treks to upper Mustang are subject to special
restrictions. About two-thirds of all trekkers in Nepal
visit the Annapurna region. The area is easily reachable,
guest houses in the hills are abundant, and treks here
offer incredibly diverse scenery, with both high mountains
and lowland villages. Also, because the whole area is
inhabited, trekking in the region offers unique cultural
exposure and experience.
Annapurna I has the greatest fatality rate of all the 14
eight-thousanders: as of March 2012, there have been 52 deaths
during ascents, 191 successful ascents, and nine deaths upon
descent, which means that "for every three thrill-seekers that
make it safely up and down Annapurna I, one dies trying." That
same ratio is at or above six-to-one for all of the other
eight-thousanders, except for K2 and Nanga Parbat. Climbers
killed on the peak include Russian Anatoli Boukreev in 1997,
Spaniard Iñaki Ochoa in 2008, and KoreanPark Young-seok, lost in
Annapurna II, the eastern anchor of the range, was first climbed
in 1960 by a British/Indian/Nepalese team led by J. O. M.
Roberts via the West Ridge, approached from the north. The
summit party comprised Richard Grant, Chris Bonington, and
Sherpa Ang Nyima.
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
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.
Machapuchare (6,993 m or 22,943 ft) is another important peak
though it just misses the 7,000 metre mark. Machapuchare and
Hiunchuli are prominently visible from the valley of Pokhara.
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 Craig Anderson.
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 Mingma
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.