Annapurna is a series of peaks in the Himalaya, a
55-km-long massif whose highest point, Annapurna I,
stands at 8,091 m (26,538 ft), 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 Himalaya by the Kali Gandaki River,
which separates it from the Dhaulagiri massif. (Dhaulagiri
I lies 34km (21 mi) west of Annapurna I.) Annapurna is a
Sanskrit name which is translated as Goddess of the
The Annapurna massif contains six major peaks over 7,200
Annapurna I 8,091 m (26,545 ft.) Ranked 10th;
Prominence=2,894 m 28.595° N 83.819° E
Annapurna II 7,937 m (26,040 ft.) Ranked 16th;
Prominence=2,437 m 28.539° N 84.137° E
Annapurna III 7,555 m (24,786 ft.) Ranked 42nd;
Prominence=703 m 28.585° N 84.000° E
Annapurna IV 7,525 m (24,688 ft.) (not a separate
mountain) 28.539° N 84.087° E
Gangapurna 7,455 m (24,457 ft.) Ranked 59th;
Prominence=563 m 28.606° N 83.965° E
Annapurna South 7,219 m (23,684 ft.) Ranked 101st;
Prominence=775 m 28.518° N 83.806° E
Annapurna I was the first 8,000 metre peak to be
climbed. Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal, of a French
expedition, reached the summit on June 3, 1950.
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.
In 1978 an expedition led by Arlene Blum became the
first American team to climb Annapurna I. The expedition
was also remarkable for being composed entirely of
women. Sadly, Alison Chadwick-Onyszkiewicz and Vera
Watson died during this climb.
On 3 February 1987, Jerzy Kukuczka and Artur Hajzer, a
Polish climber, made the first ascent of an eight-thousander
The Annapurna peaks are among the world's most dangerous
mountains to climb, with a fatality rate of 40%. 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.
Conservation Area Project (ACAP).
ACAP was established in 1986 under the guidance of the
King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation. The project
encompasses the entire Annapurna range, more than 7600
sq km. In an innovative approach to environmental
protection, it was declared a "conservation area"
instead of a national park. A large number of people
live within the protected region, but traditional
national park practices dictate that few, if any, people
reside within park boundaries. In an effort to avoid any
conflicts of interest, ACAP has sought the involvement
of local people and has emphasized environmental
ACAP projects include the training of lodge owners, with
an emphasis on sanitation, deforestation and cultural
pride. They have trained trekking lodge operators and
encouraged hoteliers to charge a fair price for food and
accommodation. ACAP encourages the use of kerosene for
cooking throughout the region, and requires its use
above Chhomrong in the Annapurna Sanctuary and on the
route between Ghandruk and Ghorapani. ACAP is supported
by a "conservation fee" of Rs 650 that is collected from
all trekkers who obtain trekking permits for the
ACAP has encouraged the construction of toilets
throughout the area; use them no matter how disgusting
they are. ACAP has also made provision for the supply of
kerosene in those parts of the conservation area where
the use of firewood by both trekking groups and hotels
In Pokhara, visit ACAP's Trekkers Information &
Environmental Centre next to the Hotel Lakeside. In
addition to providing information, the centre sells
iodine, solar battery chargers and other products that
can help you to protect the environment while you are
trekking. There is also a "trekkers meeting board" and a
battery drop-off centre.
The other peaks
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) and prominence (2,437 m), 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 to imply.
Annapurna III was first climbed in 1961 by an Indian
expedition led by Mohan 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
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 Mingma Tsering.
Machapuchare (6993m) is another important peak of the
Annapurna Himal, though it just misses the 7000m mark.
Tilicho lake is one of the highest lakes in the
world. It is 4,949m high in the Annapurna range of
the Himalayas in Nepal. Another source lists Lake Tilicho as being 4,919 meters high(16,138 feet).
Mountain lakes are known to geographers as tarns if they
are caused by glacial activity. Tarns are found mostly
in the upper reaches of the Himalaya, above 5,500 metres.
Due to the extremely inhospitable surrounding terrain
and the difficulties associated with reaching the area,
this lake is rarely visited by outsiders.
The Gandaki River, also known as the Kali Gandaki and
the Gandak, is a tributary of the Ganges River. It rises
in the Himalayas in the Mustang District region of
Nepal, near the border with Tibet, where it is known as
the Narayani. It flows southward through a steep gorge
known as the
Kali Gandaki Gorge, between the mountains
Dhaulagiri (8167 m) to the west and Annapurna (8091 m)
to the east. South of the gorge the river makes a
right-angle turn and runs east for a time until turning
sharply to the southwest. The river later curves back
towards the southeast as it enters India. The river
flows southwest across the Gangetic plain of Bihar
state, eventually merging with the Ganges near at
If one measures the depth of a canyon by the difference
between the river height and the heights of the highest
peaks on either side, the Kali Gandaki Gorge is the
world's deepest. The portion of the river between the
Dhaulagiri and Annapurna massifs is at an elevation of
between 1300 metres and 2600 metres, 5500 to 6800
metres lower than the two peaks.