Climbs 2
Rocktype UNKNOWN
Altitude 5587m a.s.l
Faces N

Hill features

The summit is 5,553m or 5,587m depending on sources. It was first summited in 1961 by Basil Goodfellow.

Summit of this hill

This summit has been climbed in no logbooks.

Approach notes

Good map at Mardi Himal Base Camp South + Mardi Himal Base Camp West

Peak is also spelt locally as Mardi Hymal, as well as Mardi Himal. The Nepalise use phonetics to spell a lot of place names. The Jimmy Roberts named "Sanctuary" is the base camp for the final push to the Mardi Himal summit, which itself lies beneath Machhapuchhare. The Mardi Himal Circular Trek was established in 2010 by an English climber. It is a 3-5 day, round trek of approx 70+km trek and reaches a height of 4,500m. The highest point in the trek is The Sanctuary, established in the 1950's by the father of Hymal trekking, Jimmy Roberts (not to be confused with the Annapurna Sanctuary).


Extract from a BBC article by Neelima Vallangi

The Sanctuary offers one of Machhapuchhare's finest and closest views. Another 1,000m upwards to Mardi Himal summit is the closest anyone can get to the peak.

That's because climbing Machhapuchhare is forbidden. The reason Machhapuchhare remains a virgin peak – as well as the explosion of commercial trekking and mountaineering in Nepal today – can be attributed to one man: Lieutenant Colonel James Owen Merion Roberts (1916-1997).

Jimmy Roberts, as he was popularly known, was a celebrated British Army officer whose contributions to Nepal and Himalayan mountaineering are profound. Roberts was appointed as the first military attaché to Nepal in 1958. He used his position, passion and knowledge of the Himalayas to open up the country's remote mountains for commercial mountaineering and trekking, an industry that has gone on to contribute significantly to Nepal’s economy and local livelihoods.

He not only pioneered a golden age of Himalayan exploration, but also made its beauty accessible to the rest of the world when he founded the country's first trekking agency called Mountain Travel in 1964. He even co-opted and popularised the term "trek", which has become synonymous with hiking in the Himalayas today. For that, he is still fondly remembered as the "father of trekking" in Nepal.

Roberts' fascination with Pokhara and Machhapuchhare began after reading a dispatch from Nepal written in 1936 by an army officer, who wrote of the mountain and a curious town on the banks of a lake. "To see Pokhara and Machapuchare [sic] and the villages in which my men lived, and especially the Gurungs [one of the main Gurkha tribes in the Himalayas] soon became an obsession," Roberts wrote in the preface to the book Climbing the Fish’s Tail by Wilfrid Noyce. "But in those days, the interior of Nepal was a forbidden land, more securely closed than even Mecca or Lhasa in their hey-day."

Established in 2010 and officially opened in 2012, the five-day Mardi Himal trek offers spectacular views of Machhapucchare.

In 1950, he finally saw his beloved mountain from close quarters. "I was the first Englishman into my private Mecca [Pokhara]. There was Machapuchare shining in the moonlight, a great white pyramid incredibly aloof," he wrote of his seminal encounter. "So Machapuchare became for me the ideal of a mountain, a personal possession yet out of this world, unattainable but mine by illogical right, brooding over a country and a people which would shape the rest of my life."

In 1957, after more than 20 years of fixating on Machhapuchhare, Roberts organised the first expedition to summit the mountain (led by Noyce and joined by a few other climbers), which had not been officially climbed till then. One thing that stands out in Noyce's account of the climb was the ease with which Roberts let go of his summit dream when logistical issues forced the summit team to be pared down to two. Roberts volunteered to take the support team down while Noyce and another climber went ahead with the final summit push. They, too, ended up abandoning the ascent, just 45m below the summit due to bad weather.

After the expedition, Roberts made a rather uncharacteristic request to the Nepal government: to have the peak restricted and thus to make Machhapuchhare a Himalayan summit that would remain forever unclimbed.

Surprisingly, they obliged.

Source credits: Edited extract from BBC Travel,The Himalayan peak off limits to climbers, by Neelima Vallangi : 17 February 2021 BBC The Himalayan peak off limits to climbers. By Neelima Vallangi : 17 February 2021

Source: Richard Smith, English Climber from solo 2010 expedition, FA of the trekking route.

Wikipedia edited extract from: Jimmy Roberts 

Access Advice

Warning: Read up on Altitude sickness & Acute Mountain SicknessHigh Altitude Pulmonary Edema, High Altitude Cerebral Edema,

These conditions can and do kill in the Annapurna region every single year. It gets very sad, boring and outright desperate trying to explain to someone who is laughing their head off in joy one minute and crying the next, that they are actually killing themselves by not going down the hill immediately. They instead claim magical powers to be able to "just walk it off" or "take a pill" or "I will have a sleep here and it will all be fine in the morning". Only for you to wake up in the morning and find your dumb ex-friend dead next to you. You have been warned - read up on these conditions BEFORE they affect you - at a guess 90% of low landers going to the Himals have been affected to some extent. 

Climb high every day & sleep low as possible every night - good rule.

Altitude is the main difficulty in reaching 'The Sanctuary' (Mardi Hymal basecamp), although no crossing of any high pass is required. Trekkers are often encountered in distressed conditions from attempting to go too high too fast. Every year, despite widespread warnings, there are fatalities in the Nepal Himalaya from AMS (acute mountain sickness).

The final two days trek above Chomrong, the highest permanent settlement in the area, are through dense, bamboo-and-rhododendron jungle lining the sheer-sided walls of the Modi Khola Gorge, with views ahead of the giant 7000m Gangapurna, before one emerges into the spectacular beauty of The Sanctuary.

October to December, the post-monsoon season, is the peak trekking period when the weather should be clear and dry but sometimes the walk-in is in heavy, prolonged rainfall.

Source credit: Sanctuary at the Top of the World : by Alan Ingram : The Sanctuary, Annapurna Region

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Summits, Scrambles, and Easy Climbs on this hill

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