Home Features 71 years of Annapurna expedition: Why did so few climb? 
June 4, 2021

71 years of Annapurna expedition: Why did so few climb? 

Kathmandu. The Central Committee of the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) and the Gandaki Provincial Committee have virtually celebrated the “71st Annapurna Expedition Day-2021” on Thursday to mark the 71st anniversary of the first Annapurna expedition.

On the occasion, the speakers expressed that the first Annapurna mountain above 8,000 meters was climbed for the first time but the expected development of mountaineering in the area was not achieved.

The 8019 meter high Annapurna I was first climbed on June 3, 1950 by French nationals Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal. Until then, no mountain above 8,000 meters had been climbed.

Three years later, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay successfully climbed the highest peak, Mount Everest. Herzog’s contribution to Nepal’s tourism was also discussed in the program.

Juddha Gurung, a member of the National Natural Resources and Finance Commission, said that Annapurna Himal has made history in climbing but so far only a few people have climbed it. “Looking at the statistics so far, very few climbers have climbed the Annapurna Mountains,” said Gurung.

Manaslu (8156 m) and Dhaulagiri I (8157 m) above 8000 m are also in Gandaki. As of 2019, 2230 people have climbed Manaslu, 550 people Dhaulagiri and 309 people climbed Annapurna.

Ganesh Gurung, an advisor to the NMA and a former member of the National Planning Commission, noted that Maurice Herzog has made a significant contribution to the development of tourism in Nepal.

Herzog wrote a book entitled “Annapurna” after returning from Annapurna. The book was sold more than 10 million copies a year and has been reprinted in 40 languages. “Yes, Herzog’s book did a great job of promoting Nepal in Europe and North America, and as a result, the number of people visiting Nepal increased exponentially,” he said.

He also added that new thinking was needed in tourism now.  Speaking on the occasion, French Ambassador to Nepal Francis Xavier Lager said that the Annapurna expedition of the French team will always remind the friendship and brotherhood between Nepal and France.

“That successful ascent was historic as well as an example of the good cooperation between the French and Nepali teams,” he said. He also requested to visit the International Mountain Museum in Pokhara as a gallery with photographs and various documents has been set up about the ascent of Maurice Herzog.

Congratulations were extended to six Nepali women climbers who have climbed Annapurna Himal this year.

In the program chaired by NMA Chairman Santabir Lama and conducted by General Secretary Kul Bahadur Gurung, the chairpersons of Annapurna Village Municipality of Myagdi and Kaski, Dum Pun and Yubaraj Kunwar respectively spoke about the efforts being made by the local government in tourism development in the region.

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