Annapurna is the 10th highest mountain in the world and was the first 8000m peak to be climbed. It was first summited in 1950 by Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal. It was not until 1970 that Annapurna was summited again. In the autumn of 1999 there were 120 expedition to Annapurna. 106 climbers reached the summit. 54 climbers never came back.
However, I am assuming you are more interested in trekking the Annapurna region , so most of this information will pertain to trekkers considering this trip. For an excellent accounting of one persons adventure doing the Annapurna circuit and tons of nice photographs see www.cs.dartmouth.edu/whites/nepal
Everything in Nepal starts from Kathmandu. A section of Kathmandu called Thamel tends to cater more to climbers and trekkers, and I would recommend staying there a couple days as you explore Kathmandu and make arrangements. You can have a tour agency there make arrangements to get you a guide and porters if you want . Frankly, if you are going to be trekking, unless you really travel with a lot of stuff, a guide may be all you need or would want. If you are good with map and compass you may not even need a guide. However, the guides are relatively inexpensive and are helpful plus you will have more opportunities to learn about the region. If you are going to be trekking you can readily book it all once you arrive in Kathmandu. There are numerous agencies there and and they are anxious to compete for your business. If you dont mind roughing it a little, and spending a day booking it all, this way is a lot cheaper than booking a trip in your home country through a more commercial agency. Plus it gives you far greater flexibility.
Gateway to the Annapurna region is the city of Pokhara. You can reach Pokhara by plane or bus from Kathmandu.
-Oh Yes! The general rules and regulations for expeditionary peaks are too lengthy to document here. To get all the red tape write directly to Ministry of Tourism, His Majesty's Government, Kathmandu, Nepal. Basically a permit must be obtained "with the recommendation of a reputed and recognized mountaineering institution in the appropriate country, or that embassy in the country of Nepal." Of course, there are the "usual royalties" for climbing an expeditionary peak.
You will also need a trekking permit for each region of Nepal you will be trekking. There is an "office" in Kathmandu where you can get your permit at Dilli Bazaar or you can also get your permit at the Pokhara airport. You will also need a visa.This can be obtained from the Nepali Embassy in your country. Regulations change from time to time so it is wise to check with the various trekking agencies in Nepal.
Willian Marler adds:
Yes there are permits required. These can be arrainged by yourself or the firm that you hire to support your team. There is also an entry visa to Nepal.
The below can be of help.
The General Secretary,
Nepal Mountaineering Association
Post Box No. 1435,
When To Climb
The usual trekking season in Nepal is from October to May. The rest of the year is the monson season and is not desirable for either trekking or expeditions. Besides the cold and rain, leeches are a problem during the monsoons. If you are going to be trekking to Annapurna, October and November are the best months.
If you are on an expedition to climb Annapurna you will surely have more information than I can give you here from the leader of the expedition. But assuming you are more interested in trekking in the Annapurna circuit region, you can either arrange a trip from a tour agency or do it on your own. Personally, I prefer to do it with a buddy or two rather than the organized tour. This gives greatest flexibility, and reduces expenses considerably. Most of the trekking routes have "tea houses" where you can stay for a nominal amount each night. These are usually accomodations for a few people to a dormitory type situation. Reservations are not necessary and you basically stay in a private home/lodge. Just try to hike early to arrive in your next village early as it is first come first served. Breakfast is also included. I find this a lot easier than lugging a tent around. Also, the added benefit of meeting travelers from around the world and living with the local people is much more rewarding to me than being isolated in a tour group.
Trekking possibilities are quite varied, but most will start at Pokhara. The circuit trek to the Annapurna Sanctuary will take at least 10 days, but allow 14 to have time to enjoy it and to allow for unforseen events. The route up the narrow Modi Khola river valley is quite wet and slippery and quite steep in a few places. It can be a bit dangerous. The trail up to the Annapurna basecamp is a more serious undertaking.
There are numerous circuits in this area and many people combine many of them. To get the latest route possibilities I would strongly recommend getting the book called "Trekking in Nepal" by Stephen Bezruchka.
Here is a good link to Annapurna if you read French: Annapurna
Miscellaneous Info/Current Events
Vito Corleone adds this bit of current information as of April 2004:
The situation in Nepal in the spring of 2004 became much more of a concern. It was worse than in the years before. That has to be said especially about the Annapurna region. The Annapurna circuit and treks to the Annapurna Base Camp were still possible, but: There was a big battle with a lot of dead police personnel and Maoists in Beni in march, a place were several tourists start or end their trekking. Numbers of killed people appearing in Nepali newspapers ranged up to several hundreds. No tourist got harmed, as the situation in Beni was tense in the days before, and tourists could avoid that place. Many locals knew in advance about the attack.
There were small fightings on the days following in the surrounding villages - for example in Landruk on the way to Annapurna Basecamp. No tourist was harmed, but some spend the night under their beds, listening to the sound of mortars. The next morning they ordered a helicopter to be flown out.
Further on, you have to expect encounters with Maoists in the southern and western part of the Annapurnas. That is not necessarily dangerous, but they make you pay a "donation" - you better pay to avoid trouble. It is usually about 1000 Rupies, not that much money.
If you want to go there, check the security situation closely before going, it can change all the time. Good sources are www.yetizone.com and www.nepalnews.com. Have a look at what western embassies say (not only the American). Also be very flexible with your itinerary.
William Marler submits the following report on the situation in Nepal as of 2002:
Note on Nepal. This once peaceful kingdom has been suffering recently from bouts of violence. Several hunderd police and military have been killed by ambush in the past year. Visitors should be warned that they may be approached by bandits and taxed. Your Guides or Sherpas will inform you on where and where not to go in Nepal. Even the school couriers that run between Lukla and the school in Khundi ( run by the Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation) have been stopped and robbed. It is hard to say how this will affect the Annapruna region. Let us all hope that this terrible situation clears itself up soon so that we can all enjoy this wonderful place in peace.
If you have information about this mountain that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.
I have had the honor and pleasure to meet two of the directors of the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation, (Jenni Lowe and Conrad Anker) and would encourage your support for this non profit organization and its activities to help the climbing people who live in remote regions of the world.
The Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation provides direction and financial support to community based humanitarian programs around the world in memory of Alex Lowe. Currently the foundation is involved in establishing a climbing school for Sherpas as well as the Babu Chirri School Project to build schools in the Khumbu region where Babu was from. The organization is also active in promoting climbing safety and technique in Mongolia. There is very little overhead in this operation, and a very high percentage of donations go directly to benefit the projects. You can show your support by making a tax deductible donation to:
Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation
PO Box 6666
Bozeman, MT USA 59715
The Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation
Courtesy of jck : Very important ascent was the third one made by British expedition led by Christian Bonington in 1970.
They climbed left pillar of south wall and the summit was reached by Don Whillans and Dougal Haston.In that time it was incredible achievment.During one day,in very difficult terrain and strong wind Whillans and Haston climbed the top from the camp at 7350 without using oxygen.They proved that's possible to climb very difficult route on high altitude without using oxygen.Experiences from that expedition had significant meaning for next expeditions on other 8000m peaks' walls.
Since that time many new routes have been climbed.Worth mentioning are:second ascent of summit 8051(little bit east from main summit)made in 1981 by Maciej Berbeka and Boguslaw Probulski via right south pillar, Reinhold Messner's route from the north-west side(1985) and Kukuczka and Hajzer's route on east ridge of east summit of Annapurna(8010) on 13th of October 1988.
Best page on the annapura circuit by far. many beautiful photos, very good discription of the trail. Plus many more features including prices on the trail and space pictures. Written in five languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish and German.
- Virtual guide to trekking in Nepal
The most complete "virtual" guide to the Annapurna circuit, as far as I know. Includes also some other main trekking areas
- More Good Stuff on Annapurna Circuit and region
Another summitpost page with lots of good information for those interested in traveling this area.
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