Annapurna III is a peak from Annapurna massif which measures over 7,000 meters. It was first climbed in 1961 by the Indian expedition through the Northeast face. It’s Southeast face has never been climbed.
Annapurna III is the 42nd highest mountain that is not the subsidiary of another peak. It measures 7,555 meters (24,787 ft). The prominence of the summit is 703 meters. Along with Annapurna I, II,IV and V, it forms the greater Annapurna massif.
Annapurna I remains the popular peak for climb among the all.
Hansjoerg Auer, Alex Bluemel and David Lama
The Northeast face of the peak was first summited by an Indian expedition led by Cap. Mohan Singh Kohli in 1961. It comprised of Cap. Mohan Singh, Sonam Gyatso and Sonam Girmi.
The Southeast fae has never been climbed before. The summit was attempted by a team, however, the entire team perished before they could make it to the top.
The latter summit was attempted by David Lama and the team in 2016 and 2017. However, they failed to successfully scale the peak.
Ghandruk is an ethnic village located in the Annapurna region of Nepal. A village predominantly inhabited by the Gurung and Magar tribes of Nepal, is also an important tourist destination of the country.
Ghandruk is the second largest village in the entire ACAP region, however, not more than 8,000 people reside in the village today. Due to its close proximity to the road and ease of access, the village is well equipped with many modern amenities, well-built houses and staircases.
Most of the houses are built out of stone, stone slabs and mud; well-resistant materials for the cold weather. Few houses in the region are found to be made out of concrete, cement and bricks too.
It connect the major roadways to many other important villages leading up to Annapurna Base Camp. Generally, people start trekking from Nayapul through Ghandruk, Chhomrong, Phedi, MBC and the Base Camp and back.
Annapurna range, Machhapuchhre, Gangapurna and Himchuli peaks can be seen up-close from the village.
You can only get to Ghandruk on foot. Buses and jeeps move between Pokhara and Kimche, 1-2hrs walk from Ghandruk.
Ghandruk is preserved as the ethnic Gurung village. It lies inside the Annapurna Conservation Area, hence, the entire preservation of culture and geography is monitored by the ACAP community and local leaders.
Most people still use firewood for heat and cooking purposes. Mules are the common form of beast-of-burden in the area. Well placed stone slabs are found throughout the narrow alleys of the village. Most inhabitants are the adherents of Buddhism and Hinduism.
Lhosar along with other national festivals are celebrated with much awe. People prefer to keep the village clean and use plastic less. Most of the items are re-used or are sent for the recycling. Operating hotels, lodges, tending sheep and livestock is the major form of trade in the area.
Machhapuchhre or the Fishtail is also known as the virgin peak because no human has ever conquered its summit. There are many stories and folklore in Nepal dedicated to the mountain, however, very few of them clarify why the peak has never been climbed.
Machhapuchhre standing at 6,993 meters is one of the small peaks of Nepal. It is popularly known for its majestic and unadulterated beauty, and the unique geography of its summit which gave its name ‘Fishtail’.
The peak lies just opposite the Annapurna massif and is closely connected to the Hindu God Shiva. It is believed among the Hindus that Shiva lives atop the mountain hence the peak is forbidden from climbing.
The trekkers doing the Annapurna Base Camp Trek must pass through the Machhapuchhre Base Camp. The peak from the base camp is up close. It is also seen from Pokhara, a tourist city located 23 km away from the mountain. The peak dominates almost every photo taken at the Pokhara due to its promising visibility.
It is generally believed that the peak hasn’t yet been climbed because it holds an important religious position among the Gurung inhabitants of the region.
One popular story goes as such;
In fact, it was a member of that expedition, one Wilfrid Noyce, who came the closest anybody ever has to the summit on a 1957 expedition. The king of Nepal had asked Noyce to respect Hindu religious customs and not set foot on the summit. He and his climbing companion, A.D.M. Cox, turned back 150 feet short of the summit. This expedition produced the only climbing record of this mountain, a very rare book called Climbing the Fish’s Tail.
However, the reason for not being able to scale the peak is more personal than religious. Col. Jim Roberts, a British Gurkha officer who led both the reconnaissance (1956) and expedition (1957) teams to the mountain, had to retreat just 45 meters short of the summit due to heavy snowfall.
Dr. Harka Gurung points out,
Col. Roberts happened to be Military Attache at the British Embassy in Kathmandu and it is not difficult to imagine that his sentimental advice to the Foreign Ministry (that handled expeditions) regarding Machhapuchhre’s sanctity influenced the fate of the mountain. ref
Dr. Harka, along with other stakeholders of tourism industry, believe that the mountain should be opened for the climbing, whilst more employment can be generated.
In his memoirs, Col. Roberts mentions,
So Machhapuchhre became for me the ideal mountain, a personal possession yet out of this world, unattainable but mine by illogic right, brooding over a country and a people which will shape the rest of my life.
Machhapuchhre seen from ABC
On the way to Choomrong, Machapuchare rises above the forested ridge.
Double-fluted peak of Machepuchare with the steep rock and snow flanks.
The Annapurna circuit is a 200 km long trekking trail located at the mid-western region of Nepal. A lengthy trek, it is mostly opted by the tourists seeking to enjoy their time traversing through the remotes of Nepal.
The Annapurna Circuit encompasses into one of the longest treks in Nepal. It may take well over 2 weeks to complete the trek and covers a great sparse of geography. You will get to cross 4 different districts during the trek, namely; Lamjung, Manang, Mustang and Myagdi.
Lamjung and Myagdi at the lower elevations are both predominantly Hindu regions with lush green subtropical valleys. Manang and Mustang at the higher elevations are predominantly Tibetan Buddhist region.
Manaslu, Langtang, Annapurna I, II, III and IV, Gangapurna, Machhapuchhare and Dhaulagiri are few of the major peaks you will get to see. The trek goes anti-clockwise, starting from Besi Sahar and ending at Ghorepani, mainly because, you will gain the daily altitude much slower and will get cross the Thorong La Pass with much ease and through the safer route.
You will get to witness people of varying tribes and ethnicity. The villages, settlements and lifestyles found along the trail may differ in every 30 km. Choose anytime between March-June and September-December for trekking the circuit, mainly for the good weather and ease of access.
Thorong La or Thorung La is a mountain pass located at the elevation of 5,416 meters in the Damodar Himal and inside the Circuit trail. The pass connects two different villages, Manang and Muktinath.
It is the highest point you may reach during the Circuit trek. It is advised to start the treacherous hike early morning to avoid any worsening weather at the pass.
Muktinath is a sacred place revered by many Hindus and Buddhists. Located in Muktinath Valley of Mustang, the ancient temple of Muktinath is dedicated to the God Vishnu (Hindu-Trinity). It is considered to be the 105th among the available Divya Desams (108 Vishnu temples that are mentioned in the works of the Tamil Azhvars). Hindus call the sacred place ‘Mukti Kshetra,’ which literally means the “place of liberation or moksha.”
The courtyard of temple has 108 Bull-faced spouts and pouring out cold Himalaya water. Pilgrims, making a visit to the temple, must also consider taking a shower under every spout for the ‘soul cleansing’.
Ghorepani at the Myagdi district lies within the Annapurna Conservation Area (ACAP), and is one of the most popular local places to trek. It serves as an important stop for the incoming tourists and traders. Most trekkers stay at Ghorepani and trek up to the Poon Hill to enjoy the mesmerizing sunrise and sunset.
It also links to the important Ghandruk village, which is a part of the greater Annapurna base camp trail.
Annapurna I 8,091 m (26,545 ft) is an Alpine PD+ peak and one of the 14 Eight-Thousanders on Earth. Annapurna I, II, III, IV, Gangapurna and Annapurna South combined forms the greater Annapurna Massif. The Annapurna trail receives most amount of tourists in a year. Most of these tourists arrive in Nepal for the trekking.
Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) is a rudimentary campsite located at 4,130 meters and just below the Annapurna I. A popular trekking trail, around 70,000 trekkers reach ABC every year. The availability of better tea-houses (lodges), campsites, professional guides and weather permits easy trek.
The trek begins at Nayapul and it slowly ascends towards ABC. Around seven days of continuous trekking will take you to the top, however, you can choose to stay exploring the trail or switch your itinerary to visit Ghorepani region of the trek.
Ghorepani is an independent trail at Annapurna. Most tourists visit Ghorepani while trekking to ABC as well. Poon Hill is a landmark destination and you can enjoy sunrise from it.