The Dhaulagiri massif in Nepal extends 120 km (70 mi) from the Kaligandaki River west to the Bheri.
This massif is bounded on the north and southwest by tributaries of the Bheri River and on the southeast by the Myagdi Khola. Dhaulagiri is the seventh highest mountain in the world at 8,167 metres (26,795 ft) above sea level, and the highest mountain within the borders of a single country (Nepal). It was first climbed on 13 May 1960 by a Swiss/Austrian/Nepali expedition.
धौलागिरी (dhaulāgirī) is the Nepali name for the mountain which comes from Sanskrit where धवल (dhawala) means dazzling, white, beautiful and गिरि (giri) means mountain. Dhaulagiri I is also the highest point of the Gandaki river basin.
Annapurna I (8,091 m (26,545 ft)) is 34 km (21 mi) east of Dhaulagiri. The Kali Gandaki River flows between the two in the Kaligandaki Gorge, said to be the world’s deepest. The town of Pokhara is south of the Annapurnas, an important regional center and the gateway for climbers and trekkers visiting both ranges as well as a tourist destination in its own right.
Looking north from the plains of India, most 8,000-metre peaks are obscured by nearer mountains, but in clear weather Dhaulagiri is conspicuous from northern Bihar and as far south as Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh. In 1808, survey computations showed it to be the highest mountain yet surveyed. This lasted until 1838 when Kangchenjunga took its place, followed by Mount Everest in 1858.
Dhaulagiri I’s sudden rise from lower terrain is almost unequaled. It rises 7,000 m (22,970 ft) from the Kali Gandaki River 30 km to the southeast. The south and west faces rise precipitously over 4,000 m (13,120 ft). The south face of Gurja Himal in the same massif is also notably immense.
Dhaulagiri I climbing history
Most ascents have followed the northeast ridge route of the first ascent, but climbs have been made from most directions. As of 2007 there had been 358 successful ascents and 58 fatalities, which is a summit to fatality rate of 16.2%. Between 1950 and 2006, 2.88% of 2,016 expedition members and staff going above base camp on Dhaulagiri I died. On all 8,000 metre peaks in Nepal the death rate was 1.63%, ranging from 0.65% on Cho Oyu to 4.04% on Annapurna I and 3.05% on Manaslu.