Mt Makalu Expedition – 8,463 m – with Himalayan Alpine Adventure Trek & Expedition.
The Mount Makalu Expedition in Nepal is one of our most popular expedition packages. Mount Makalu is the fifth highest peak in the world at an altitude of 8463m. Located in eastern Nepal, Makalu borders with China and is about 20km east of the highest peak in the world, Everest. The popularity of the Makalu Expedition has increased in recent years. Due to its dark brooding appearance, the mountain is called Makalu which means the Great Black One. A French team in 1955 first scaled Mount Makalu while the first attempt had been made in 1954 by an American Team. Mount Makalu has two important subsidiary peaks.
Makalu was formerly a restricted area in eastern Nepal with five ecological zones. The main summit route of Mount Makalu is the South-east Face. Makalu is an isolated peak and it has proved to be a challenging climb as only five of its sixteen attempts have been successful. We start our Makalu Expedition with a flight to Tumlingtar from Kathmandu. We then ascend through wonderful Sherpa villages and cultivated fields with views of the Chamlang Range in the distance and walk up the lush and beautiful Arun Valley.
The Climbing Day:
Our climbing itinerary may vary according to the climbers’ personal experience; the climbing day involves a steady climb for three to four hours in the morning. There is then a climb for about two to three hours after taking a lunch rest. However, flexibility in the climbing itinerary is necessary as people climb at their own pace and respond individually to the stresses of climbing.
Base Camp to Advance Base Camp ABC 5700m
We ascend from Base Camp to Advance Base Camp (ABC), which takes about seven hours. We head up the Barun Glacier passing the West Face of Makalu. Then we reach the place where the West Pillar Route of Makalu descends onto the glacier. We then turn northwards and continue on the glacier moraine up to the Advance Base Camp. ABC will be the main station for the next few weeks of the expedition.
Advance Base Camp to Camp 1 6347m
We walk up the mountain towards Chago Glacier after a prayer for safe passage. We establish a crampon point where we can leave our mountaineering boots and climbing equipment. After proper acclimatization, we head for the first visit to Camp 1. From the Crampon point, our route passes through some crevassed terrain on a glacier to a steep wall.
Camp 1 to Camp 2 6670m
To reach Camp 2 from Camp 1 takes about three hours and from ABC it takes six hours. But, before proceeding further, it is essential to properly acclimatize. The route involves some easy-angled, climbing glacier terrain. We wind around the huge crevasses. The fixed ropes will be put in situ across crevasses and snow bridges. On reaching Camp 2, we appreciate the awesome views of Lhotse and Baruntse.
Camp 2 to Camp 3 7400m
We properly acclimatize at Camp 2. We climb the easy-angled glacier and cross the snowfield. Further above the route is interspersed with sections of blue ice and rocks. We will explore the route up to Camp 3 onto one of the most technical sections of the mountain called Makalu La. After climbing Makalu La, we cross the glacier for a further 200m. Finally, we arrive at Camp 3.
Camp 3 to Camp 4 7600m
We reach Camp 4 from Makalu La traversing a large and flat glacier with many hidden crevasses. Our route heads towards the gigantic North Face of Makalu. Camp 4 serves as the launch pad for the summit bid. However, the tent space and time at this altitude are limited.
Camp 4 to Makalu Summit 8463 m
From Camp 4 our route passes through a steep ice band. We cross a huge snow ramp that leads to a heavily crevassed plateau. We have to cross the plateau to reach the bottom of the French Couloir. We climb the couloir to the height of 8350m where the summit ridge is revealed. Summit day is a long and demanding climb with the summit climb and then the return to Camp 4 or Camp 3.
Himalayan Alpine Adventure offers mountaineering trips in the Himalayan region. We have designed this flexible itinerary with enough time to acclimatize for the Mount Makalu Expedition. The expedition cost depends on the group size and trip types. Please feel free to contact us if you want to join the adventurous Mount Makalu Expedition with Himalayan Alpine Adventure.
Note: This expedition price will vary depending on the group size, duration and services required. Please contact us with your detail to obtain a quote.
Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu
Upon your arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport, the representative from Himalayan Alpine Adventure will receive you and transfer you to the hotel.
Days 02-03: At leisure in Kathmandu
You will have a full-day guided sightseeing tour of Kathmandu today. You will visit the major places of cultural and religious importance some of which are also listed UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Pashupatinath (the holiest temple of Lord Shiva), Swayambhunath (the Monkey temple, one of the largest Buddhist Stupa), Boudhanath (one of the largest and oldest Buddhist Stupa, also known as little Tibet), and Kathmandu’s Durbar Square among others. The next day will be for expedition preparation, including equipment. In the afternoon, you will be given a briefing about expedition conditions, safety and other matters at the Ministry of Tourism. We stay overnight at the hotel.
Day 04: Fly Kathmandu to Tumlingtar and drive to Chichila (1850m)
Today we catch our morning flight to Tumlingtar from Kathmandu. A 50 minute scenic flight from Kathmandu will land on a bumpy grass airstrip. We drive to Chichila from Tumlingtar. It takes about 3 hours to reach Chichila where we stay at our first camp.
Day 05: Trek from Chichila to Num (1505m)
Today is going to be a moderately paced walk through the picturesque villages and lush mountain forests. We are going to witness a ridge line with great views on both sides and perched on the end of it, Num. We stay overnight at Num.
Day 06: Num to Seduwa (1530m)
Today, we descend steeply down through the forests and terraced plots of land that take us to Arun Khola. Makalu National Park starts and we register our permits. We stay at the camp right at the top of Seduwa Village.
Day 07: Seduwa to Tashi Gaon (2065m)
Today we ascend the ridge bounded by the IpsuwaKhola on the west and KasuwaKhola to the east. We then cross the hillside through quiet villages and pass by the small paddy fields. We finally reach the village of Tashi Gaon.
Day 08: Tashi Gaon to Khongma (3562m)
Today we trek upwards towards Khongma. Khongma is the last stop before crossing the Shipton La and dropping down into the upper sections of the remote Barun Valley. We can witness the green forests,which are replaced by scrub and rhododendrons that cover the lower reaches of the mountains. We stay at Khongma overnight.
Day 09: Acclimatization Day at Khongma (4200m)
Today will be the rest and acclimatization day that allows our bodies to catch up with us before gaining more height. We cross the Shipton La the following day.
Day 10: Climb over the Shipton La and Descent to Mumbuk (4200m)
We today climb towards the summit of Shipton La which it takes a few hours to reach. Then, after the lake KaloPokhari, we pass over the Keke La at an altitude of 4152m. We then take an easy descent towards Mumbuk. We can witness the marvellous views of Chamlang (7319m), Peak 7 (6758m) and Peak 6 (6524m). Today, climbing high and sleeping low gives the opportunity for acclimatization.
Day 11: Mumbuk to YangriKharka (3610m)
We descend further down towards the Mumbuk through rhododendron forests that lead to the BaruniRiver and the upper reaches of the valley. We will enjoy the pleasant walk and gainaltitude slowly until we arrive at YangriKharka which is situated at the base of the valley.
Day 12: Yangri Kharka to Shershong (4650m)
Today, our trail climbs up the valley through yak pastures and boulder fields. We stay at the campsite at Shershong overnight.
Day 13: Shershong to Makalu South-east Base Camp
We trek onwards and gain height. We continue until reaching the Makalu South-east ridge Base Camp with Makalu on the left and Chamlang on the right.
Day 14: South-east Base Camp to Makalu North Ridge Base Camp (4800m)
Definitely, crossing the Barun Glacier poses a challenge. We cross the lateral moraines and gain a slight path that cuts through the rock and ice to the opposite side of the valley. We will be enjoying the great view of the top of the valley and ahead of the beautiful Baruntse. We branch off to the right and head towards base camp.
Days 15-17: Acclimatization at Base Camp
We spend a few days at Base Camp which helps us immensely in acclimatizing. Our team of porters carries loads to the Advance Base Camp.
Days 18-50:Makalu North-east Ridge Climbing Period
This is the Makalu North-east Ridge Climbing Period. And during this period, we will make a successful climb over the summit of Makalu and then return back to the Base Camp.
Day 51:Pack up Base Camp and Ready for Departure
Now, it’s time to get the gear organized and the porter loaded up ready for departure the following day.
Day 52: Descend to Yak Kharka
Today, we descend back down the valley and take our last glimpse of Makalu before turning the corner and eventually reaching Yak Kharka.
Day 53: Yak Kharka to Mumbuk
We continue with our descent and we eventually reach Mumbuk. The greeneries below provide a welcome relief from the snowy landscape on the mountain.
Day 54: Mumbuk to Tashi Gaon
Today we return back across the Shipton La and then cut across the hillside to eventually reach the Sherpa town of TashiGaon. We stay overnight at Tashi Gaon.
Day 55: Tashi Gaon to Num
Today we follow our footsteps all the way back down to the river. We climb back up the opposite side of the valley to Num.
Day 56: Num to Chichila
Today will be the pleasant and easy walk back to Chichila. We stay overnight at Chichila.
Day 57: Chichila to Tumlingtar
Today will mark the end of our trek.
We get ready for early departure to Kathmandu the following day.
Day 58: Fly Tumlingtar to Kathmandu
Today we catch the morning flight to Kathmandu from Tumlingtar.On reaching Kathmandu, you can have time for last-minute shopping or you can also explore Kathmandu city. At a farewell dinner in Kathmandu we celebrate with guides and company members.
Day 59: Final Departure
Today you are going to leave Nepal. Our representative will transfer you to the airport and you will catch your return flight home.
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