British mountaineering legend Sir Chris Bonington is heading back to Annapurna, the mountain that arguably cemented his reputation as one of the preeminent high altitude climbers of his generation. He’ll go back in 2010, a year of anniversaries for the mountain.
According to this story over at Wide World, which has just relaunched with a new snappy new site design, Bonington will be trekking the Annapurna Circuit with his son Joe. This will be his first trip back since 1970, when he was the expedition leader for a team that made the first successful attempt on the South Face of Annapurna. While Bonington didn’t reach the summit himself, he did plan and orchestrate the expedition that did claim that new route. He did, however, top out on Annapurna II back in 1960 as part of a British Army expedition.
In the article, Sir Chris tells Wide World that the trekking route will be much the same as the one they used back in 1960, although things have obviously changed a lot since then. There was only one main road in the entire country back then, and much of Nepal remained mountain wilderness. Bonington is obviously looking forward to revisiting the place that played a huge role in his mountaineering career.
The Annapurna Massif is actually made up of a series of peaks, with Annapurna I through IV being the most prominent. The jewel of the Massif is Annapurna I, the tenth highest peak in the world at 8091 meters (26,545 feet). It was first climbed by Maurice Herzog back in 1950, making 2010 the 60th anniversary of that first ascent. It’ll also be the 40th anniversary of the Bonington’s team making that first ascent on the South Face, and the 50th anniversary of his first visit to the region.
Hopefully, Sir Chris will share some of his thoughts while trekking or upon his return. It would certainly be an interesting read, especially with his keen sense of history. Better yet, you can join the trek yourself! Head over to BoningtonTreks.com for more info, and pricing.
Also, if you’d like to learn more about Chris, I highly recommend the book The Boys of Everest, which is a great read about Bonington and the elite group of climbers that he climbed with. Great stuff.
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