|Dhaulagiri's crest stretches for 30 miles, lending structure to an otherwise
tangled topography of twisting ridges, glaciers, and ice falls. Along the main
crest, several pyramid-shaped peaks rise. Four of these summits, numbered from
east to west, rise above 25,000 feet.
Dhaulagiri forms the eastern anchor of the Dhaulagiri Himal, a sub range of the
Nepal Himalaya. The Dhaulagiri Himal lies in the Dhaulagiri Zone of
north-central Nepal, northwest of
Pokhara, an important regional town and
tourist center. Across the deep gorge of the Kali Gandaki to the east lies the
Annapurna Himal, home to Annapurna I, one of the other Eight-thousanders.
After its discovery in 1808 by the western world, Dhaulagiri was thought to be
the highest mountain in the world. This lasted for 30 years before Dhaulagiri's
place was taken by
In terms of rise above local terrain, Dhaulagiri is, in fact, almost
unparalleled in the world. For example, it rises 7000m over the Kali Gandaki
gorge to the southeast in about 30km of horizontal distance. The Kali Gandaki is
especially dramatic since Dhaulagiri and Annapurna both stand near the river,
giving a unique example of two Eight-thousanders facing each other over a deep
The South Face of Dhaulagiri is also a massive drop; it is approximately a
4000m wall, and it has been the site of some epic climbs (see the Timeline).
Dhaulagiri was first climbed on May 13, 1960 by Kurt Diemberger, Peter Diener,
Ernst Forrer, Albin Schelbert, Nyima Dorji and Nawang Dorji, members of a
Swiss/Austrian expedition. The expedition leader was Max Eiselin; they used the
Northeast Ridge route. This was also the first Himalayan climb supported by an
airplane. The airplane, a Pilatus PC-6, crashed during the approach and was
later abandoned on the mountain.
The vast majority of ascents to date have been via the first ascent route,
which is the "Normal Route" on the mountain. However ascents have been made from
almost every direction.