Annapurna is a massif in the Himalayas in north-central Nepal that includes one peak over 8,000 metres (26,247 ft), thirteen peaks over 7,000 metres (22,966 ft), and sixteen more over 6,000 metres (19,685 ft). The massif is 55 kilometres (34 mi) long, and is bounded by the Kali Gandaki Gorge on the west, the Marshyangdi River on the north and east, and by Pokhara Valley on the south. At the western end, the massif encloses a high basin called the Annapurna Sanctuary. The highest peak of the massif, Annapurna I Main, is the tenth highest mountain in the world at 8,091 metres (26,545 ft) above sea level. Maurice Herzog led a French expedition to its summit through the north face in 1950, making it the first eight-thousand meter peak ever successfully climbed.
The name for the range comes from the Hindu deity Annapurna meaning the giver of food and nourishment due to the evergreen flowing rivers originating from this mountain range which generates greenery and supports vegetation year round on the lower plains. She is also believed to be one of the daughters of Himavat, the king of the mountains.
The entire massif and surrounding area are protected within the 7,629-square-kilometre (2,946 sq mi) Annapurna Conservation Area, the first and largest conservation area in Nepal. The Annapurna Conservation Area is home to several world-class treks, including Annapurna Sanctuary and Annapurna Circuit.
Historically, the Annapurna peaks have been among the world’s most treacherous mountains to climb with the particular case of the extremely steep south face of Annapurna I Main – a wall of rock that rises 3,000 metres (9,800 feet) – making it one of the most difficult climbs in the world. By January 2022, there had been 365 summit ascents of Annapurna I Main, and 72 climbing fatalities for a fatality rate of just under 20 percent.