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Annapurna trekking

Himalayas: as many as eight of the fourteen 8,000m peaks rise into the thin air of Nepal. Everest, Makalu and Manaslu are just a few of the names that bring to mind famous ascents, legendary mountains which continue to witness human events bordering on the impossible.

All this happens up there, above the 8,000m mark. However, a little lower down is another fantastic, infinite world where walking is still the main action of human beings, where people are born and walk all through their life!

Annapurna, one of the giants of the Himalayas, was the first 8,000m mountain scaled by climbers, by a legendary French expedition in 1950. The second major step in the history of Himalayan climbing on Annapurna was the ascent of its vertical south wall by a group of British climbers in 1970. After all these years, this colossus of rock and ice is still feared and respected even among the cream of the world's modern mountain climbers.

To the hikers who arrive at her feet, the Goddess of the Harvests (the meaning of the name Annapurna) opens welcoming arms, doing everything in her power to bestow infinite beauty on all those who approach her. Today, we are here, too, wearing our new Condor Cross GTX walking boots for a challenging test in the most extreme conditions for this kind of boot: walking without stop for days over all the different kinds of terrain to be found on an endless path that rises from 0m to over 4,000m towards one of the most amazing views to be had on our planet, the Annapurna Sanctuary!

After ten days' walking we came to this place of incredible beauty in the presence of the huge south wall of Annapurna and are completely surrounded by peaks that reach or rise above 7,000m altitude. A vast amphitheatre where we can almost feel divine presences in the air, invisible yet tangible, piercing your heart and capturing your eyes. Five days of ascent, another four thousand metres' difference in altitude and the magic circle is closed. One of the most fantastic hikes in the world behind us, but, with great joy, we carry on walking!

Franco Gionco