I love it when you do an article and then someone says: “hey, what about this one….” and you find that their suggestion is wonderfully interesting too, and well worth writing about.

Which is why, today, I have bothered to find out more about Annapurna – or, to be more precise, Annapurna I, which is an enormous Himalayan massif standing at 8091m (26,545 ft), making it the 10th-highest summit in the world and one of the 14 “eight-thousanders”. It is situated in Nepal.


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). It is a series of peaks in the Himalayas, a 55 km (34 miles)-long massif of which Annapurna I is the highest point. The mountain has glaciers on its western and northwestern slopes which drain into this gorge.

Annapurna is a Sanskrit name that can be translated as ‘Goddess of the Harvests’ or more simply ‘The Provider’.

One of Annapurna I’s claim to fame is that it was the first 8,000m (26,200 ft) peak to be climbed.

It was first summitted by a French expedition led by Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal on 3 June 1950. It remained the highest summit for 3 years until the first successful attempt of Mount Everest. It is worth noting that higher climbs had been made prior to this but as they were non-summit climbs they don’t count!

In 1970 the south face of Annapurna I was conquered by Don Whillans and Dougal Haston, members of a British expedition led by Chris Bonington which included the alpinist Ian Clough.

As of 2005, there had been only 103 successful summit attempts. 56 lives have been lost on the mountain, many to the avalanches for which it is known. Climbers killed on the peak include alpinist Ian Clough in 1970, 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 Tomaž Humar.

The Annapurna massif contains six major peaks over 7,200 m

  • Annapurna I            8,091 m
  • Annapurna II          7,937 m
  • Annapurna III        7,555 m
  • Annapurna IV        7,525 m
  • Gangapurna             7,455 m
  • Annapurna South  7,219 m

The best months for climbing Annapurna are April/May and a good starting off point is Pokhara, Nepal. The closest airport is Kathmandu.

The greatest enemy to climbers of Annapurna are the avalanches.  These have taken the lives of many of the climbers that have dared to reach its highest point. The possibilities of severe and inhospitable climatic conditions are high with extreme cold and regular snowfalls to be expected.

Dhaulagiri looms directly opposite Annapurna, and between these two eight-thousanders lies the trekking route from Pokhara to Jomsom which runs through the deepest valley in the world.

It is an area of stunning beauty.

If climbing mountains and conquering peaks is not quite your thing, but you really want to get over there and witness for yourself the magnificent scenery, then the the Annapurna Circuit is just waiting for you.

It is the popular name for a 300 kilometre trek around the Annapurna mountain range in the Himalayas. The trek reaches an altitude of 5,300 metres on the Thorung La pass, touching the edge of the fabled Tibetan plateau. The magnificent mountain scenery, seen at close quarters includes Annapurna 8,091 metres, the magnificent ice pyramid Dhauligiri 8,167 metres, once the home of the legendary Buddhist guru Padmasamba, and Machhupuchhare 6,993 metres, considered by many to be the most beautiful mountain in the world.


The trek follows ancient paths used as trade routes between Nepal and Tibet. These paths have long facilitated the flow of cultures and religions in this remote and formerly inaccessible region. There is an unusually wide range of climatic zones in this small small area, but the path ascends from 900 metres to 5,300 metres which provides a chance to see many different plants and animals, and the different ways of life of the many peoples who live there.