Annapurna massif, lying in the northern central region of Nepal has the world’s tenth highest mountain, the Annapurna I. The name Annapurna comes from Sanskrit word Anna and Purna which basically means “full of food”, and is often viewed as a goddesses who always feeds. The whole massif sits between two of the major river system in the Nepal; Marsyangdi and Kali Gandaki. Apart from the tenth highest mountain in the world, Annapurna massif has 13 peaks over 7000 meters and 16 peaks over 6000 meters high.

The Annapurna massif has six prominent peaks. Annapurna I (8091 meters) was the first of the 14 eight thousanders to be successfully climbed. A French expedition led by Maurice Herzog made history by successfully climbing Annapurna on June 3, 1950. Annapurna remained the highest summited mountain for 3 years until Everest was summited.

The southern face of Annapurna was first climbed by Don Whillians and Dougal Haston, members of British expedition led by Chrish Bonington. Ian Clough who was also a part of the expedition was hit by a falling serac during his descent.

The other prominent peaks of the regions are:

  1. Annapurna I (Main) 8,091 m

  2. Annapurna II 7,937 m

  3. Annapurna III 7,555 m

  4. Annapurna IV 7,525 m

  5. Gangapurna 7,455 m

  6. Annapurna South 7,219 m

Notable Mountaineering Facts:

  1. May 23, 1981 Maciej Berbeka and Boguslaw Probulski of Poland reached the summit of Annapurna I via a new route. The route then went on to become the famous Zakopianczykow Way.

  2. February 3, 1987 Jerzy Kukuczka and Artur Hajzer made the first winter ascent of Annapurna I

  3. October 2007, Slovenian climber Tomaz Humar, made the first solor ascent on south face of Annapurna

  4. October 9, 2013, Ueli Steck of Switzerland made a history by summiting the Annapurna and returning back to base camp in just 28 hours via the Lafaille route, the feat has been called “one of the most impressive Himalayan climbs in history”

  5. Up to March 2012 there was 191 summit of Annapurna I and a total of 61 fatalities.

  6. Annapurna has the highest fatality to summit ratio of 32% of all the mountains that are over 8000 meters.

Dhaulagiri I

Looming over the western region of Annapurna, the Dhaulagiri massif is a mountain range separated by Annapurna massif by the Kali Gandaki River. The name Dhaulagiri comes from a Sanskrit, where the word Dhawala means White and Giri means mountain. The Dhaulagiri I is the 7th highest mountain in the world. Soaring high above, the massif runs down on the eastern side to the deepest gorges in the world on the Kaligandaki river basin. Once presumed to be the highest mountain in the World, Dhaulagiri has four peaks, named Dhaulagiri I, II, III and IV. The main peak of Dhaulagiri was first climbed on the 13th of May, 1960 by an expedition team consisting of Swiss, Austrian and Nepali nationality.

Notable Mountaineering Facts:

  1. May 13, 1960 A Swiss-Austrian expedition led by Max Eiselin successfully climbed the Dhaulagiri.

  2. 1970, Tetsuji Kawada and Lhakpa Tenzing reached the summit with a Japanese expedition led by Tokufu Ohta and Shoji Imanari.

  3. 1973, An American team successfully summited via the northeast ridge. The team was led by James Morrissey, the team members included John Roskelley, Louis Reichardt and Nawang Sampden.

  4. 11978, Seiko Tanaka of Japan led a successful climb of the very difficult southeast ridge, four people died during the ascent.


Machhapuchhre, one of the most famous and easily noticeable mountains of Nepal is a part of Annapurna massif. Machhapuchhre gets its name as its two peak resembles the tail of a fish and lies towards the southern extremity as a spur of the main Annapurna massif. Locally Machhapuchhre is considered as a sacred mountain pertaining to Lord Shiva.

An attempt to summit Machhapuchhre was made in 1957 by a British team led by Col. Jimmy Roberts, the team had to return back from a point 150m shorter as they had promised not to climb to its summit because of religious reason. Machhapuchhre, till this day remains an un-summited mountain.

Trekking peaks

There are 27 peaks in Nepal classified as “trekking” peaks by the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA). To earn trekking peak status, the peak must be accessible and close to popular trekking areas and range from 5,800 to about 6,500 meters in elevation. Many trekking peaks are less technical than “expedition” peaks, and don’t require as much time or skills from climbers. Because of their accessibility and comparative ease, certain trekking peaks are a perfect introduction to Himalayan mountaineering. Some can even be climbed as part of an extended trekking holiday. Below are some of the most popular trekking peaks you can climb in Nepal in the Annapurna region.

Pisang Peak

One of the most renowned trekking peaks in the Annapurna region, Pisang peak (6091 meters) lies in Manang district. Standing above the beautiful village of Pisang, the peak lies in the Annapurna circuit. The peak is considered to be one of the most challenging trekking peaks of Nepal due to its loose scree, the peak is nearly vertical climb with its snow covered pyramid alike shape, which requires a basic climbing skills. The summit offers a spectacular view of mountains of Annapurna range to Manaslu range, along with the view of Trans-Himalayan Tibetan plateau to the north. The first ascent of Pisang peak was made by a German expedition in 1955.


Hiunchuli (6441 meters) is a trekking peak in the Annapurna region, connected to the south Annapurna it falls under the Annapurna sanctuary. It was first discovered by Col. Jimmy Roberts. The peak is not technically difficult, but is vulnerable to rock falls and its obscure routes has become a drawback for not attracting many climbers. The peak offers a possibility of lesser traveled or even new routes to a peak. Hiunchuli was first climbed by an American Peace Corps expedition led by Craig Anderson in October 1971.

Mardi himal

Mardi himal (5587 meters) is a recent addition to the trekking peaks in Annapurna region, opened in 2012 it is yet to see large number of trekkers. The mardi himal trekking offers a pristine environment with a magnificent view of Annapurna range, especially Machhapuchhre, as it falls under the Machhapuchhre massif. The Mardi himal climb provides a basic technical climbing difficulty at reasonably low altitude. Col. Jimmy Roberts in 1961 first climbed the Mardi himal with two Sherpa.

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