Annapurna (/ˌænəˈpʊərnəˌ -ˈpɜːr-/;[3][4] Nepali: अन्नपूर्ण) is a mountain situated in the Annapurna mountain range of Gandaki Province, north-central Nepal. It is the 10th 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.

South face of Annapurna I (Main)
Highest point
Elevation8,091 m (26,545 ft)
Ranked 10th
Prominence2,984 m (9,790 ft)[1][2]
Ranked 94th
Parent peakCho Oyu
Isolation34 km (21 mi) Edit this on Wikidata
Coordinates28°35′46″N 83°49′13″E / 28.59611°N 83.82028°E / 28.59611; 83.82028
Annapurna is located in Nepal
LocationGandaki Province, Nepal
Parent rangeAnnapurna
First ascent3 June 1950
Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal
(First winter ascent 3 February 1987 Jerzy Kukuczka and Artur Hajzer)
Easiest routenorthwest face

Maurice Herzog led a French expedition to its summit through the north face in 1950, making it the first eight-thousander to be successfully climbed.[5] 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 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 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.[6] 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.

Etymology edit

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".[7] Many streams descending from the slopes of the Annapurna Massif provide water for the agricultural fields and pastures located at lower elevations.[8]

Climbing expeditions edit

The Annapurna massif, view from aircraft
The south face of Annapurna I

Annapurna I was the first 8,000-metre (26,200 ft) peak to be climbed.[9] 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.[10] Ichac made a documentary of the expedition, called Victoire sur l'Annapurna. Its summit was the highest summit attained till that time, but not the highest climb; higher non-summit points – at least 8,500 metres (27,900 ft) – had already been attained on Mount 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.[11]

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 3 February 1987, Polish climbers Jerzy Kukuczka and Artur Hajzer made the first winter ascent of Annapurna I.[12]

The first solo ascent of the south face was made in October 2007 by Slovenian climber Tomaž Humar;[13][14][15][16] he climbed to the Roc Noir and then to Annapurna East (8,047m).[17]

On 8 and 9 October 2013 Swiss climber Ueli Steck soloed the Lafaille route[17] on the main and highest part of the face;[18] this was his third attempt on the route and has been called "one of the most impressive Himalayan climbs in history",[19] with Steck taking 28 hours to make the trip from Base Camp to summit and back again.[20]

Flights edit

Several airlines offer sightseeing flights over Annapurna.[21]

Fatality rate edit

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 [fr] in 1992, Kazakh Russian Anatoli Boukreev in 1997, Spaniard Iñaki Ochoa in 2008,[22] Korean Park Young-seok in 2011[23] and the Finn Samuli Mansikka in 2015.[24]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Annapurna". Retrieved 12 January 2009.
  2. ^ "Nepal/Sikkim/Bhutan Ultra-Prominences". Archived from the original on 25 December 2008. Retrieved 12 January 2009.
  3. ^ "Annapurna". Unabridged (Online). n.d. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  4. ^ "Annapurna". Lexico UK English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 15 April 2021.
  5. ^ "The Eight-Thousanders". 17 December 2013.
  6. ^ "Complete ascent — fatalities statistics of all 14 main 8000ers". 19 June 2008. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  7. ^ Julie Loar (2011). Goddesses for Every Day: Exploring the Wisdom and Power of the Divine Feminine Around the World. New World Library. pp. 287–. ISBN 978-1-57731-950-4.
  8. ^ Edith Rogovin Frankel (15 September 2003). Walking in the Mountains: A Woman's Guide. Derrydale Press. pp. 9–. ISBN 978-1-4617-0829-2.
  9. ^ "Stairway to heaven". The Economist. 29 May 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  10. ^ Herzog, 1953, p. 257.
  11. ^ Blum, 1980.
  12. ^ "8000m Peak". Archived from the original on 19 May 2007. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
  13. ^ "New Alpine Solo Route on the South Face of Annapurna". Archived from the original on 17 June 2011. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
  14. ^ "Climbing Annapurna: Tomaz Humar". Outside. 29 January 2008. Archived from the original on 29 April 2010. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
  15. ^ "Tomaz Humar klettert solo durch die Annapurna Südwand" (in German). Archived from the original on 7 November 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  16. ^ Von: Text: adidas eyewear (26 November 2007). "Tomaz Humar glückt Erstbegehung am Annapurna im Alpinstil - - Alle Infos für Bergsteiger und Kletterer" (in German). Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  17. ^ a b "Annapurna South Face Routes",, accessed 13 October 2013.
  18. ^ "Ueli Steck and Annapurna: the interview after his South Face solo",, accessed 14 October 2013.
  19. ^ "Steck Solos Annapurna South Face",, accessed 13 October 2013.
  20. ^ "Annapurna South Face Solo - 28 Hours",, accessed 13 October 2013.
  21. ^ "Annapurna flying- Nepali Times". Retrieved 18 July 2023.
  22. ^ "It's over: Iñaki Ochoa lost on Annapurna". 23 May 2008. Archived from the original on 15 October 2009. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
  23. ^ Woo, Jaeyeon (31 October 2011). "With Park Gone, Korea Loses Its Trailblazer". Korea Real Time (blog). The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
  24. ^ "Farewell Samuli Mansikka, the fearless Finn". 2 April 2015.

Bibliography edit

Further reading edit

  • Herzog, Maurice (1952). Annapurna. Jonathan Cape.
  • Neate, Jill (11 February 1989). High Asia: An Illustrated History of the 7000 Metre Peaks. Mountaineers Books. ISBN 0-89886-238-8.
  • Ohmori, Koichiro (1998). Over the Himalaya. Cloudcap Press. ISBN 0-938567-37-3.
  • Terray, Lionel (1963). Conquistadors of the Useless. Victor Gollancz Ltd. ISBN 0-89886-778-9. Chapter 7.

External links edit