The Annapurna Circuit (Nepal-Himalaya).
On June 3, 1950 two french climbers, Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachnal,
the top of Annapurna I (8078m) as the first humans in history to climb an
8000-meter "giant". But this triumph almost turned into a tragedy as both
heavily injured by the cold. Herzog, who lost all his fingers and toes,
later became mayor of Chamonix.
The Annapurna region is a giant chain of mountains, with the Kali
Gandaki valley to the west and the Marsyandi valley to the north and east as
borders. Walking around these mountains is great trekking: beginning
in the rainforest and ricefields in the south, it follows the old route
pilgrims to the base of Dhaulagiri and further toward Muktinath (3800m)
north of Annapurna I in a high and dry desert, then crosses Thorong
La (5400m) and follows Marsyandi valley back to the south.
(Click on the little pictures to get larger images.)
One of the most fascinating things in the Himalayas (beside the people,
culture and the incredible landscape) is the light. This picture was
taken from Deorali Pass (3000m) at sunrise. Machapuchare (6997m), one of
the holy mountains, can be seen to the left. The twin-peak led to the name
"fish-tail". Although Machapuchare is as high as the highest mountain of
America, here it is just the beginning. I think
the dark streaks in
the sky are shadows of high mountains far to the east.
"What are these strangers doing here?"
A typical village in the Kali Gandaki valley. As we travel further
and further north the people and villages get more and more
tibetan. (Never forget: FREE TIBET!)
Here seen from the Kali Gandaki valley, this mountain was first climbed in
1960 by a Swiss expedition. Together with two sherpas and a German member
of this expedition, the Austrian Kurt
Diemberger also reached the top and became one of three climbers in the world
to climb two 8000-meter peaks for the first time! One of the others is
unforgettable Hermann Buhl, who first climbed Nanga Parbat and later Broad
Peak together with Diemberger. The third man is a Sherpa, whose name I
unfortunately don't know.
"Tschorten in Kali Gandaki valley"
These buddhistic shrines are found everywhere in Nepal, especially in the
northern parts. Looming over the scenery is again Dhaulagiri.
Although still in Nepal, the north part of the trekking leads through
regions which resemble Tibet in every aspect. This picture was taken
near the village of Kagbeni. The little kingdom of Mustang lies directly
ahead of us, but we turned to the right to reach Muktinath.
The trekking party at the highest point of our tour, the 5400m high pass
Thorong La. In the background you can see the northern parts of Dhaulagiri
Himal to the left and the mountains of Mustang to the right. Above us looms
the huge blue sky, a prominent impression in these regions.
From here the route leads down into Marsyandi valley and back to the south.