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The name of this mountain is derived from Sanskrit word, “Dhavala” meaning white and “Giri” meaning mountain, which combines to become ‘White Mountain’. British surveyors sighted this mountain in India in early 1800s and one of the Indian surveyors, the pundits mapped it in 1873. However, the mountain became popular only after a Swiss aerial survey made in 1949.
In 1960, Swiss climbed Mount Dhaulagiri (8167m) for the first time.
When French got permission to climb either Annapurna or Dhaulagiri, they choose Annapurna after making a reconnaissance of Dhaulagiri in 1950. In 1953, a Swiss party failed then an Argentine group tried but failed one year later. And finally, Swiss expedition reached the summit in 1960, following a circuitous route around the mountain from Tukuche, over the Dhampus pass.
French failed to climb the summit from the North-East Col so their expedition was supported by a Swiss Pilatus Porter aircraft, the “Yeti” which landed on the North-East Col at 5977m. But the plane crashed just before the end of the expedition near Dhampus pass. The pilots, including the famous Emil Wick, walked down the mountain to Tukuche.
In 1969 seven members of U.S expedition team were killed in an avalanche on the eastern Dhaulagiri Glacier. Later, Japanese climbed this mountain in 1970. The Americans and Italians climbed in 1973 and 1976 respectively. Captain Emil Wick airdropped two bottles of wine and a live chicken to the US expedition team from a Pilatus Porter aircrafts. That chicken became the expedition pet, were carried, snow-blind and crippled with frostbitten feet, to Marpha, where it was finally eaten up in the cooking pot as Sherpa’s would not allow the chicken to be killed on the mountain.