Annapurna (/ - -/; Nepali: अन्नपूर्ण) is a mountain situated in the Annapurna mountain range of Gandaki Province, north-central Nepal. It is the tenth highest mountain in the world at 8,091 metres (26,545 ft) above sea level and is well known for the difficulty and danger involved in its ascent.
|Elevation||8,091 m (26,545 ft)|
|Prominence||2,984 m (9,790 ft)|
|Parent peak||Cho Oyu|
|Isolation||34 km (21 mi)|
|Location||Gandaki Province, Nepal|
|First ascent||3 June 1950|
Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal
(First winter ascent 3 February 1987 Jerzy Kukuczka and Artur Hajzer)
|Easiest route||northwest face|
Maurice Herzog led a French expedition to its summit through the north face in 1950, making it the first eight-thousand meter peak ever successfully climbed. The entire massif and surrounding area are protected within the 7,629-square-kilometre (2,946 sq mi) Annapurna Conservation Area, the first and largest conservation area in Nepal. The Annapurna Conservation Area is home to several world-class treks, including Annapurna Sanctuary and Annapurna Circuit.
For decades, Annapurna I Main held the highest fatality-to-summit rate of all principal eight-thousander summits; it has, however, seen great climbing successes in recent years, with the fatality rate falling from 32% to just under 20% from 2012 to 2022. This figure places it just under the most recent fatality rate estimates for K2, at about 24%. The mountain still poses grave threats to climbers through avalanche danger, unpredictable weather and the extremely steep and committing nature of its climbing routes, in particular its 3,000-metre (9,800 ft) south face, renowned as one of the most difficult climbs in the world. It is also a dangerous peak for trekkers, as in the case of a 2014 snowstorm near it and Dhaulagiri which claimed at least 43 lives. As of 2022, 365 people had reached the summit of Annapurna I, while 72 had died in the attempt.
The mountain is named after Annapurna, the Hindu goddess of food and nourishment, who is said to reside there. The name Annapurna is derived from the Sanskrit-language words purna ("filled") and anna ("food"), and can be translated as "everlasting food". Many streams descending from the slopes of the Annapurna Massif provide water for the agricultural fields and pastures located at lower elevations.
Annapurna I was the first 8,000-metre (26,200 ft) peak to be climbed. Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal, of the French Annapurna expedition led by Herzog (including Lionel Terray, Gaston Rébuffat, Marcel Ichac, Jean Couzy, Marcel Schatz, Jacques Oudot, Francis de Noyelle), reached the summit on 3 June 1950. Ichac made a documentary of the expedition, called Victoire sur l'Annapurna. Its summit was the highest summit attained for three years, until the first successful ascent of Mount Everest (although higher non-summit points – at least 8,500 metres (27,900 ft) – had already been attained on Everest in the 1920s).
The south face of Annapurna was first climbed in 1970 by Don Whillans and Dougal Haston also without using supplementary oxygen, members of a British expedition led by Chris Bonington that included 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 Colonel 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, composed of Vera Komarkova and Irene Miller, and Sherpas Mingma Tsering and Chewang Ringjing, reached the top at 3:30 pm on 15 October 1978. The second summit team, Alison Chadwick-Onyszkiewicz and Vera Watson, died during this climb.
In 1981 Polish expedition Zakopane Alpine Club set a new route on Annapurna I Central (8051 m). Maciej Berbeka and Bogusław Probulski reached the summit on 23 May 1981. The route called Zakopiańczyków Way was recognized as the best achievement of the Himalayan season in 1981.
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 trip from Base Camp to summit and back again.
Several airlines offer sightseeing flights over Annapurna.
Along with K2 and Nanga Parbat, Annapurna I has consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous of the principal eight-thousander summits. Climbers killed on the peak include Britons Ian Clough in 1970 and Alex MacIntyre in 1982, Frenchman Pierre Béghin in 1992, Kazakh Russian Anatoli Boukreev in 1997, Spaniard Iñaki Ochoa in 2008, and Korean Park Young-seok in 2011.
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