Why is Annapurna so deadly?

8 Nov 2020 Prakash Devkota

Why is Annapurna so deadly?

In this article, today, we are going to discuss Why is Annapurna so deadly?

As the winter precedes mountain, climbers of Annapurna fear severe weather that can halt the expedition. They horrify sub-zero temperature which leaves the trekker with slurred speech and numbness in hands.

Trekkers climbing Annapurna find it daunting to walk the trail especially snow-coated which has them skid over and again. It’s really hard to get the grip on the course leading to the summit without crampons.

The more you climb higher, the more it becomes hard to resist the cold weather followed by low oxygen. Likewise, the heavy snowfall creates havoc across the region during winter which makes the trek pretty tough.

But that’s not the only damage Annapurna causes to its visitors. The steep snow trail and soaring cliffs leave them gasping for the air. The desperate need for oxygen in the mountains can be harmful unless it’s not addressed on time.

In winter, trekkers will have to walk through a knee-high snow trail from the north base camp which is quite annoying. Following the frequent changes in weather conditions, the mountain can turn deadly anytime so you must prepare for all the possible challenges.

Trekkers must keep a record of the weather forecast before climbing the mountain otherwise they might be stuck on the trail. Unseasonal snowstorms are quite evident in Annapurna which impedes the pace of climbers and causes them to lose the track.

On numerous occasions, Annapurna has witnessed deadly crashes, most of which occurring from snow slides and hurricanes. Trekkers will also have to walk through the death zone which can become fatal if not moved quickly or spend a lot of time there than they actually should.

Why is Annapurna so deadly?

Packing list for Annapurna Circuit Trek

From far-off, it looks like another glistening mountain in the Himalayas with huge metamorphic rocks and ice-sheets. But that’s not what Annapurna is all about. In fact, it’s one of the most vicious mountains in Nepal with an encase of glaciers, steep snow slopes, and cirque.

The tracks are precarious with ice shelves and seracs that are intimidating to watch, let alone scrambling. Some sections of it are as difficult or even more than Mt. K2 with crevasse and shrewd ridges.

Climbing the mountain is an absolute challenge and the worst nightmare of many trekkers. Even the hardcore mountaineers struggle on their way to the Annapurna summit due to its landform and topography.

The inhospitable conditions and rising altitudes are other excuses for why Annapurna is so deadly. Winds at the summit are as strong as a hurricane while the temperature is lower than -15 Degree Celsius.

Even though it soars only up to 26,545 ft. altitude, climbing Annapurna is way tougher than scaling up Everest. It’s much steeper as compared to other snow peaks in the Himalayas with not many flats where you can ease off.

The chances for a successful ascent of Annapurna is awfully low as compared to Mt. Everest. Not even half of those who ascend the base camp or do Annapurna Circuit Trek make it to the acme. And it’s probably the reason why merely pro trekkers attempt to climb the peak.

Most often, it’s the altitude and climate that compels trekkers to quit the hike. The weather is quite unforeseeable in the mountain with increased possibilities of regular snowfalls and jet streams. This eventually adds technical difficulties to the hike and makes Annapurna so deadly.

The wind velocity is tremendously high on the summit while the temperature at its lowest, making the region unpleasant. The weather changes really fast from the base camp and most of the time takes a vicious form which is terrifying.

Possibilities of an avalanche and rockfall are extremely high on the mountain which bills Annapurna as one of the detrimental mountains in the Himalayas. It sees frequent rockfall and the collapse of strong snow ice down the mountain. The gradient of slope and extreme snowfall often fuels avalanches, causing great loss.

The effect of low atmospheric pressure can be easily noticed as you go higher. Trekkers of Annapurna suffer from intense altitude sicknesses like hypoxemia, muscle aches, and even high altitude cerebral edema.

    Is it possible to climb Annapurna in winter?

    Annapurna Circuit Trek In Winter

    Annapurna is one of the least trekked mountains in Nepal due to its increased challenges and toughness. On the scale of difficulty and technical climbs, Annapurna is much deadlier and nasty than Everest. It’s therefore, trekkers pick the best time to ascend the mountain which is spring or autumn.

    The weather is relatively amazing during the season which makes climbing a bit easier and less exhausting. And while Annapurna remains to be one of the cruelest mountains in the world, it’s still worth doing, given its spectacular sceneries and charm.

    The view from the summit and even on the trail is awe-inspiring with lush-green verdure that quickly turns into glaciers and moraine after the base camp. Trek to Annapurna summit takes nearly two months to complete during which it passes deep gorges, idyllic Nepalese villages, and beautiful ridges.

    The trek normally starts with a short drive to Pokhara before taking the trail to Tikhedhunga. The journey to Annapurna is easy at the beginning with a short and relaxing walk on the trail to Ghorepani and Poon Hill.

    The scene from the hilltop is incredible, displaying Annapurna massif, serene lakes, and vibrant valley. As you walk farther, the well-marked trail starts to fade, and in-comes, the rugged track leading towards Lete and Thulo Bugin Campsite.

    With the rising elevation, trekkers begin to show mild symptoms of altitude sickness. The trails from here are really hard to tackle with rocks and cliffs. Most of the paths are zigzagged with too many ups and downs which leaves trekkers out of breath.

    Walking through the woods may be soothing but as soon as you move to the rugged tracks, it’s grueling and severe again. The path rising upward from Mirsti Khola to North Base Camp of Annapurna takes a lot of time and physical strength.

    However, the hard work pays off as you’ll get the breathtaking view of Annapurna and Gangapurna as a reward for coming such a long way. Scrambling the summit from base camp takes about a month during which you’ll climb the steep glaciers with the help of a fixed rope.

    The walk on the sheer ice sheets is always dreadful. Therefore, the trekkers must be firm with their feet and should maintain the balance as much as possible. The bad weather with blizzard and avalanche makes the trek to Annapurna agonizing and tragic.

    Every now and then, there are snow slides in the mountain which is quite serious. You’ve to take a long shot before arriving at the summit which requires a lot of preparation and enough time. Without acclimatization, it’s impossible to climb Annapurna successfully and that’s the reason why most climbers take proper rest.

    Under the instruction of Sherpa, trekkers will spend maximum time training and practicing the climb on snowy trails. In the following days, they’ll walk over the snow holes and pass crevasse with the help of a ladder.

    Upon reaching the summit, you’ll get a magnificent view of Manaslu, Dhaulagiri, and Pisang Peak to relish for. The sight from the top is divine with shimmering glaciers and jaw-dropping landscapes. After the sighting is over, mountaineers will retrace their steps back through the same trail.

    They use rope and ladders to descend the mountain as fast as possible due to the risk of avalanche. From the base camp, they’ll head back to the trail that’s extremely easier than climbing the snow peak. The trail walks over Miristi Khola to get to Thulo Bugin Campsite which offers a stunning vista.

    From here, the trek gets easier with more descent and a fascinating view from the cliff. The route passes several quaint villages including Lete, Ghasa, and Tatopani before turning up at Beni. While walking the trail, you’ll get to witness the deepest gorges, Kali Gandaki, and cascading waterfalls along the way.

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    Trek Difficulty of Annapurna

    Annapurna Trek Difficulty

    If not the only one, Annapurna is some of the few treacherous mountains in the world that’s incredibly difficult to climb. Its trails are wicked and full of a deep crevasse, vertical ice cliffs, and seracs. The long and steep climb over glaciers doesn’t make you feel good either.

    The weather is, of course, vile in the summit than that of base camp. Mornings and nights are unbearably cold with temperature at its lowest. The odds of an avalanche are high both in summer and winter which trekkers must be extremely careful about.

    Annapurna is definitely not for the inexperienced climbers so you must come fully prepared and with all essentials. Some of the trek difficulties that help to explain why is Annapurna so deadly are as follows.

    1. Altitude Sickness

    Little does it surprise us to know that trekkers in Annapurna are more likely to get altitude sickness than in any other mountains. It takes the mildest form before getting harsh and causing fatal illness like high altitude pulmonary edema and cerebral edema.

    The altitude sickness gets even worse during winter when the temperature is below sub-zero. Terrible weather conditions succumb to dizziness, shortness of breath, and loss of energy. Climbers of Annapurna I have to survive low oxygen while scaling up all the way to 8,091 meters.

    Henceforth, you’ll have to prepare enough for your body to resist the barometric pressure at high altitudes. Be more cautious with each elevation gain and read the change in body after climbing height.

    There is no better way to prevent altitude sickness than acclimatization so get enough rest. If that didn’t help much then consult with the doc or take prescribed medicine. In the worst-case scenario, climb down the trail and get the needed help as soon as possible.

    2. Weather and Temperature

    Weather and Temperature is another major drawback for climbers on the Annapurna expedition. The climate is unpredictable and brutal at the apex, even if it’s trekking season. The more you gain an elevation, the more intense weather gets following reduced air pressure at high altitudes.

    In winter, the temperature drops below -20 Degree Celsius at Annapurna, making trekkers shiver with cold. The average temperature is normally in minus which is why it’s dry and bitterly cold on the top. Hence, if you’re climbing all the way to the top of the summit, carry enough warm clothes.

    Spring and Autumn often tend to have mild weather at lower hills more than it is in the mountains. April comes with long days, giving trekkers extra time to walk the trail. The weather is frigid in the summit and even before during winter which makes hiking quite harsh.

    3. Steep Trail

    Why is Annapurna so deadly? The only answer is a steep trail. Not many trekkers dare to climb Annapurna due to its endless steep trail that soars high. The parts of the track are inclined upwards with an open gully which is a lot harder to voyage than it looks.

    It’s an incredibly tough and strenuous walk to the mountain right from Thulo Bugin campsite. There are ample boulders and rocks along the path which is quite disturbing to walk over. It’s even tougher to scramble the trek route in monsoon as the foothills are way slippery.

    Winter doesn’t help it either to stride the mountain due to thick layers of snow and sleek glaciers. Following heavy snowfall and icy wind, the snow comes right up to the knees, making your leg freeze.

    Henceforth, trekkers will need a crampon as well as a trekking pole and high insulated climbing boot to walk the steep trail of Annapurna. Regarding the uphill climb, you must start slow and save energy to prevent altitude sickness.

    4. Finding the guide and porter

    Annapurna Trek porrter and guide

    It may sound absurd but finding a right porter and guide is a tedious job especially during on-season. The trails are crammed with hikers from all around the world during the month, following which you’ll have to get in a race to find the right trek and porter.

    You can take all the needed help from locals to find the guide and porter at a reasonable price. But make sure that whoever you choose as your guide can speak English fluently. In that way, you’ll be able to interact with the locals and know more about the places in the region.

    Usually, trekkers climbing Annapurna do the expedition through a travel agent due to which they don’t have to bother finding one. The company provides them a few crew members and Sherpa who’ll accompany them throughout the excursion.

    Sherpas are usually native to the Himalayas who help mountaineers to climb the peak. They take care of all the difficult jobs like putting a tent, building an anchor, and fixing the rope and ladder over the crevasse. Hence, seeking the guide and porter would explain Why is Annapurna so deadly.

    5. Preparation for the trek

    Preparation for the Annapurna Trek is probably the hardest and most challenging job of all. It takes a lot of planning and forethought before getting ready for the mountain hike. Trekkers will have to spend at least 2 months walking the trail either short or long.

    In addition, they’ll have to hit the gym and spend enough time there to increase muscle strength. Hardcore exercises like cardio and plank are of great help in improving endurance power and maintain stability.

    It’s easy to run out of energy when trekking gigantic mountains like Annapurna so you must also work on your speed. Climbing loftier places needs more physical stamina and balance so you must keep your body fit.

    Nothing is worth more than equipment when doing mountain hikes as they’re meant to be your companion. So, spend a considerable amount of time when buying trekking gear and check out whether the item is convenient for the season or not.

    6. Avalanche

    Avalanche is the primary reason for Why is Annapurna so deadly. The mountain is highly prone to snow slides due to the ever-changing climate and steep slopes It poses threats to mountaineers particularly during the warm climate as the snow begins to melt.

    The mountain is a shell of glaciers and in the cold, it stays firm. But as soon as the weather gets warm, the layer of ice on the surface softens causing an avalanche. Thus, to avoid the catastrophe, most climbers scramble the mountain before sunrise.

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      Prakash Devkota

      Managing Director and Team Leader

      Mr. Prakash Chandra Devkota is a well-known entrepreneur with a deep-rooted passion for elevating the tourism industry in Nepal. Due to his dedication, hard work, and hospitable nature, he has established himself as a successful businessman. He also has a great enthusiasm for adventure and social work.

      Mr. Devkota hails from the beautiful hilly region of Gorkha District. He started his career as a guide in 1997 and quickly became a reputed figure in the Tourism Industry because of his extensive experience. He has gathered impressive experience in all Trekking and Climbing Routes, such as Mera, Island, Lobuche, Ama Dablam etc.

      His success also lies in his brilliant mind and hospitable nature. He is fully dedicated to providing excellent services and introducing innovative concepts. With more than 15 years of experience in trekking and expedition operations in Nepal, Tibet, India, and Bhutan, he has earned a reputation as a renowned leader in the field. He understands the importance of personalized service for creating memorable experiences for his clients and constantly seeks innovative company operation methods. He strongly believes in the power of the tourism industry and is confident that its development can empower the youth and help the economy flourish in the long run.