Mt. Makalu Expedition 8481m.
Difficulty : Strenuous
Reference Code: MMENP
Trip Start: Kathmandu
Trek Start: Tumlingtar
Trek Days: 49 days
Peak Climbing Period: 30 days
Maximum Altitude: 8481m.
Age: 25-60 years
Season: Spring and Autumn
Accommodation: Lodge and Camp
Service: Full board
Trip End: Kathmandu
Trek End: Tumlingtar
Trip Durations: 55 days
Peak Grade: Strenuous
Physical Rating: Strenuous
Makalu is one of the harder and technical eight-thousanders, and is considered one of the most difficult mountains in the world to climb. Makalu expeditions are difficult because the mountain is notorious for its steep pitches and knife-edged ridges that make the climbing Makalu very open to the elements. The final ascent of the summit pyramid involves technical rock climbing. While there have been many a Makalu expedition, it is the only Nepalese 8,000m peak which has yet see a success in climbing Makalu in true winter conditions.
At 8463 metres, Makalu is the 5th highest mountain in the world and is located just 20 kilometers from Mount Everest in the Makalu Barun National Park, which is a natural wonder in its own.
Mount Makalu was first climbed on May 15, 1955 in by Lionel Terray and Jean Couzy of a French Makalu Expedition led by Jean Franco. Franco, G. Magnone and Sirdar Gyaltsen Norbu summitted the next day, followed by Bouvier, S. Coupe, Leroux and A. Vialatteon the 17th. The French team climbed Makalu by the north face and northeast ridge, via the saddle between Makalu and Kangchungtse (the Makalu-La), establishing the standard route.
Day 01 Arrival in Kathmandu 1350m.
Namaste! And welcome to Kathmandu, the colourful capital of Nepal where ornately carved balconies mingle with beautiful shrines and temples. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting on arrival at the exit gate of Kathmandu airport. Our staff will welcome you and pick you to your accommodated hotel. Please seek our company palmplate to find our staff at the main exit gate of the airport. Rest of the day you can relax at the hotel or short evening walk around local market on your own as per your wish.
Approximate Driving Hours: 30 minutes
Meals include: None
Day 02 Rest and Preparation day in Kathmandu
A well deserved rest day at cosy of hotel after a long tiring flight. This day, one can move around nearby local market to purchase or hire trekking equipment that is necessary for the trekking like sleeping bags, walking sticks etc, exchange currency as requirement or simply walk around in the local market or Kathmandu Durbar squire nearby with small entrance fee as per your preference on your own. Evening at the hotel lobby there will be pre-trip briefing in which you will be introduced with your trekking guide and explained about your trip in short, instruction for safety etc.
Meals include: Breakfast
Day 03 Pre Expedition briefing day in Ministry of Tourism
Day is at leisure to make necessary preparation for your big adventure and process for the Government formalities. Check the equipment, last minute shopping. Team will need to go to Ministry of Tourism for the Briefing before expedition.
Meals include: Breakfast
Day 05 Trek to Seduwa 1500m.
A strenuous day. We cut down into the dense jungles of the Arun Valley, descending 650m to cross the turbulent river by a spectacular suspension bridge, before climbing up the other side, to Seduwa 1600m.
Day 06 Trek to Tashi Gaon 2100m.
We continue climbing out of the valley, through dense forests of rhododendron, birch and bamboo which are especially rich in flora and fauna. We overnight at Tashigaon 2100m, the last important village on the route.
Day 07 Acclimatization day in Tashi Gaon.
We have an acclimatisation day at Tashigaon, and a local walk to gain height during the day is recommended, returning to spend a second night at the same altitude. This is a very important aspect of our trek and will undoubtedly assist with the success, as well as with our enjoyment of it.
Day 08 Trek to Kongma 3500m.
A long and steady climb but the terrain starts to open out, with less forest and better views of the mountains. Bamboo and rhododendron cover the slopes of the ridge we climb to reach Kongma Danda 3500m.
Day 09 Trek to Mumbuk 3540m.
A day of spectacular scenery with views of Chamlang 7319m and Makalu from the Shipton La 4217m. With its lakes and open heathland, the scenery at the pass is strangely reminiscent of that of the Lake District. After time at the pass enjoying the views, we descend back into the forest at Mumbuk 3540m.
Day 10 Trek to Yangri Kharka 3557m.
We make our way along the steep side of the Barun Valley. The route may become more challenging as the trails here are little used, except by yak herders whose huts dot the valley slopes. We overnight one of the huts at Yangle Kharka, above the river 3557m.
Day 11 Trek to Shershong 4630m.
We descend from your hut to the river and small monastery. It's a pleasant, flatish start keeping the river on your left, with the arresting scent of juniper as you walk. We pass many colourful prayer flags lining the trail. The dramatic cliffs soar either side of you, and the views ahead are dominated by Peak 4, Peak 6, Peak 7 and Yaupa. It really is a fabulous day, with jagged snow-clad summits, vertical cliffs, waterfalls, and sacred caves as a visual feast.
The trail opens out as we walk past the pastures of Jhak Kharka, Yak Kharka and eventually Merek where a welcome tea shop appears after about 2½ hours of walking. You'll doubtless indulge in a cup of chai here before continuing upwards. Take it slow and steady here as you will no doubt be feeling the altitude as you toil upwards towards Langmale Kharka. It takes around 2 hours to reach your tea house at Langmale from Merek. The views here are sublime, with Peak 7 providing a breath-taking backdrop to the lodge rooms. A mani wall adorned by prayer flags sits just in front of the row of rooms. Black redstarts and choughs are quite commonplace here.
Day 15-43 Mt. Makalu 8464m. climbing Period
For the first couple of days, there will be puja ceremony.
Ceremonies mark life. Many come with a birth of a child, a union of a couple or upon death. For the Sherpa, they will not climb mountains without one such ceremony, a Puja. Every sherpa people have a strong belief that each and every mountains abodes realm of gods and goddesses.
The Puja is an important ceremony where we pay respect to the mountain and offer blessings for safe passage before heading up onto Mountain.
Our Puja consisted of a Lama (Monk) and our entire crew participating in prayers, rice and flour throwing, and 3 sips of strong whiskey (just to name a few things from our 3-hour ceremony!). The stupa will be covered in beautiful decorations and sculptures made out of butter and tsampa, with plates full of food and drinks as offerings. It was incredible to witness and to be a part of.
We do forth and back to our various camps on the mountain to fit our body with high altitude and weather we face during the actual climbing. On the day of the summit, we walk early mid night from our final high camp so that we can reach the summit as early morning as possible so that we do get good weather to return too. As the day gets older, the weather in mountain starts to get voilent and we no one wants to be in mercy of the mountain. The time and the oxygen in our oxygen cylinder is very crucial on the day as summit is just the half way of our success. If any things gets serious(time, body fitness, Oxygen level...), there will always be next time if we live and it will be very wise decision to return back for the next day. After summit we will return back to our base camp.
Meals: Breakfast Lunch and Dinner; high altitude food during climb
Day 44 Cleaning and winding up Base camp
Its cruicial to clean up our base camp so that mountain remain clean. We clean our litter and pack up our equipment for move next day.
Meals: Breakfast Lunch and Dinner
Day 45 Trek to Yanglri Kharka 3557m.
It's with a heavy heart that we leave behind the overwhelming spectacle of Mount Makalu, and begin re-tracing our steps to Yangle Kharka. It takes around 1½ hours to reach the meadow of Shershong, marked with a hut with bright orange tarpaulin. A further hour or so brings we back to Langmale, where we may have tea and possibly lunch. About 1¼ hours walking downhill brings us next to the tea shop at Merek. It's good to chill here with a cup of chai before weaving our way through pine forests back to Yangle Kharka. It takes approximately 2-2½ hours to reach here from the tea shop at Merek. A welcome hot shower awaits if you pay 200 rupees!
Day 46 Trek to Dobate 3540m.
It's a really pleasant gentle meander following the river down to the tea shop at Themathang, passing many rhododendron bushes as you approach. There's a wooden bridge adorned by prayer flags to cross just before Themathang. It'll take around 1½ hours to reach here.
After a short while we will have to negotiate the landslide area, which takes around 1½ hours. Take care on this as there are some narrow sections to pass. After an undulating stretch, we start climbing steeply through the rhododendron forest. If you're lucky we may see a Himalayan monal here - Nepal's national bird, resplendent in its rainbow colours. The going eventually eases and the ascent becomes more gradual as you approach the hut at Dobate. Take note that after the tea shop at Themathang, which comes early in your walk, there are no other refreshment stops until you reach Dobate, so make sure you take plenty of snacks.
Day 47 Trek to Khongma 3500m.
Today is our last chance to get captivating views of the high mountains, including Kangchenjunga. We begin ascending to the Keke La at 4,170m, which should take around 1½ hours. It's a further 1½ hours to reach our highest point today - the Shipton La at 4,200m. Enjoy our stop here at the tea house. Another hour or so of contouring round the mountainside will bring us to the large cairn that marks Sano Pokhari Danda at 4,105m. A further hour of undulations brings us back to the final pass - the Khongma La at 3,890m, marked by a mani wall. Approximately 250m of descent, mainly on stone steps, brings us back to our lodge at Khongma. Look out for blood pheasant which can occasionally be seen wandering in the snow between the rhododendron bushes.
Day 48 Trek to Tashi Gaon 2100m.
We descend from Khongma down to Dhara Kharka which takes around 2 hours. We'll no doubt stop for a cup of tea here. The descent to Tashigaon then takes a further 3 hours.
Day 49 Trek to Seduwa 1500m.
Retracing our steps back to Seduwa today will take around 4-5 hours.
Day 47 Trek to Num 1560m.
It's a long, fairly steep climb, mainly on stone steps, all the way down to the Arun River at 770m. It will be feeling very warm now as we head deep into the forest lower down. We cross the river and endure the 800m climb all the way back to Num. It's a good idea to have lunch at a tea house approximately 300m below Num.
Day 51 Drive to Tumlingtar 410m.
Today we drive to Tumlingtar in 4WD in mountain rough road.
Day 52 Fly to Kathmandu 1350m.
Weather permitting we take a short early morning flight from Tumlingtar to Kathmandu. We'll return to the hotel and have free time during the afternoon for further sightseeing or shopping.
Meals include: Breakfast
Day 53 Rest day in Kathmandu
A chance to do some shopping, explore at leisure or merely relax by the hotel. We enjoy a final night together, reliving the trek and our extraordinary achievements.
Meals include: Breakfast
Day 54 Post Expedition briefing at Ministry of Tourism
Today we have a de-briefing at the Ministry of Tourism. Remaining day is at leisure.
Evening we gather with all members and celebrate your safe return and share some adventure stories.
Day 55 Final Departure
We say 'Namaste' for memories that will last a lifetime. There are no activities planned for today and you are able to depart the hotel at any time. Check out time from the hotel is at 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel. For your final departure, our staff will pick you up from the hotel and transfer to Kathmandu airport approximately 3 hours prior to your international flight time.
Driving hours: 40 minutes
Meals include: Breakfast
- Arrival & Departure Airport transfers
- 6 nights in Kathmandu Hotel on BB
- KTM-TUM flight with airport tax
- All ground transportation and cargo\
- Climbing Permit, National Parks,
- 1 Government Liaison officer and Garbage Deposit Fees
- 1 Trekking & Base camp Manager
- 1 Cook and Kitchen helper at the Base camp
- 85 kgs per member for personal Equipments
- Porters to carry members equipment and Food & Group Equipment
- All Nepali staffs' Insurance/ wages and equipment allowance
- Lodge accommodation as per itinerary
- All camping equiments for Base Camp & High Camp for member & Sherpa
- 1 Solar Pannel for light & battery charge at Base Camp
- 1 Gas heater for Dinning tent at Base camp
- 1 VE 25 North Face Tent per member at Base camp
- Base Camp Food for member & for all our Nepali staffs
- High Altitude Climbing Sherpa- Everest Summiter
- High Altitude Food for member & High altitude Sherpa
- 18 EPI gas 250mg / High Altitude Cooking Pot & cooking Stove ,
- 6 bottle oxygen with Mask & regulator for Member
- 4 bottle oxyent with Mask & regulator High Altitude Sherpa
- 1 Satelite phone and Radio Walkie talkies set for Group Use
- All necessary Climbing route equipments
- First Aid Kit & 1 Gamow bag for group Use
- Farewell Dinner in Kathmandu
- International Flight to Kathmandu Nepal
- Nepalese Visa fee
- Lunch & Dinner in Kathmandu
- Personal Travel, Medical and rescue Insurance
- All personal climbing equipments for ascent
- High Altitude Sherpa Summit bonus US$ 2500 Per Sherpa, if Summit
- High altitude Climbing Bonus US$ 1500 Per sherpa if not Summit
- Extra nights in Kathmandu hotel
- Tips for supporting staffs
- Extra Yaks or porter & Extra Oxygen bottle (on request only)
- Emergency rescue evacuation cost if needed
- and All other personal nature expenses
• Climbing harness;
• One 3 metre/10 foot sling and three 2 metre/6 foot slings. • Figure 8/Abseil belay device;
• 1 large mitten sized ascender (most members use the large petzl) and arm length leash;
• 2 locking carabiners, 1 large and 1 small;
• 4 regular carabiners;
• Ice axe w/leash;
• Crampons - must fit boots perfectly. Steel crampons with anti-balling (anti-bot) plates are the best;
• Optional; Adjustable trekking poles;
• 2 cotton t-shirts;
• 1 polypropylene t-shirt;
• 2 long sleeve polypropylene shirts, lightweight;
• 1 polar fleece pullovers, medium weight;
• 1 polar fleece jacket.
• Gore-Tex jacket with hood, waterproof and breathable;
• Lightweight down jacket for those chilly days in basecamp;
• For high altitude use, 1 very warm goose-down (duvet) jacket with hood, you may prefer a down/duvet suit;
• 1 pr. lightweight poly-liner gloves. These will be worn when tying knots, but not inside your mitts;
• 1 pair mittens, consists of 1 Gore-tex over mitt matched with the very warm polar fleece mitt liner
• Warm hat wool or synthetic that covers your ears;
• Face mask;
• Ballcap or brimmed suncap;
• Glacier sunglasses with side shields (you can purchase these inexpensively in Kathmandu, including prescription sunglasses, which can be made for $20, it might take a week or two);
• 1 pair ski goggles (Optional) with light and dark lens;
• Headlamp with extra batteries and bulbs;
• Bandana or head scarf, also useful for dusty conditions.
• Cotton underwear briefs;
• 1 pair walking shorts;
• 1 pair walking trousers for trekking and around camp;
• 2 pair lightweight thermal bottoms;
• 1 pair medium or expedition weight thermal bottoms;
• 1 pair polar fleece trousers;
• 1 pair Gore-Tex trousers, salopettes, or bibs. Waterproof/breathable with full side zips;
• 1 pr. Goose-down (duvet) trousers , salopettes or bibs. You may prefer a down (duvet) suit.
Your clothing should be kept dry using waterproof stuff sacks, bin-liners, or large plastic bags.
• 1 pair One-Sport Millet boots or equivalent;
• 1 pair sturdy leather walking boots with good ankle support (we mean leather trekking, not climbing boots) for the walk to advanced basecamp;
• 1 pair trainers, running shoes and/or sandals for Kathmandu and in camp;
• 1 pair down booties (optional);
• 2 pair med-heavy poly or wool socks;
• 2- pair of liner socks. Polypropylene or wool;
• 2 pair lightweight trekking socks, poly or wool;
• vapour barrier liner socks or plastic bread-bags;
• Cotton socks for in town.
• For high altitude, 1 down (duvet) sleeping bag (rated to – 20 Centigrade or -0 Fahrenheit). In the high camp, you can sleep in your down (duvet) clothing inside your sleeping bag;
• 1 additional sleeping bag for basecamp (good to -10 degrees C or 10 degrees F);
• At least 3 closed cell foam kari-mats for use in basecamp and high altitude, We do not recommend inflatable mats, as we have never seen one not puncture. You can buy these non inflatable mats very inexpensively in Kathmandu. Why carry foam mats around the world, when you can purchase them inexpensively in Kathmandu?
Your sleeping bags should be kept dry using waterproof stuff sacks, bin-liners, or large plastic bags.
Rucksack and Travel Bags:
• 1 medium rucksack (50-70 litres / 3000-4500 cubic inches, can be used for airplane carry);
• 2 large (120 L / 7500 cubic inch) duffle kit bags for clothing and equipment. Must be durable for use on pack animals;
• Small padlocks for duffel kit bags
• female or male hygiene supplies;
• 2 tubes lip sun cream, 1 large tube skin sun cream (min. factor 15);
• anti-mosquito cream;
• 1 toothpaste/brush;
• 1 bar soap or hand sanitizer gel/1 small towel;
• hand wipes.
Medications are inexpensive and readily available in Kathmandu with no Doctor`s prescription:
• small personal first-aid kit. (Simple and Light) Aspirin, first-aid tape, plasters (band-aids), personal medications, etc. The leaders will have extensive first-aid kits, so leave anything extra behind. Please let your leader know about any medical issues before the climb;
• 1 skin blister repair kit;
• 1 small bottle anti-diarrhea pills;
• 1 small bottle anti-headache pills;
• 1 small bottle cough and/or cold medicine;
• 1 small bottle anti-altitude sickness pills: Diamox, Acetylzolamide. For more about this medication,
• 1 small bottle stomach antibiotic: Ciprofloxacin, etc.;
• Do not bring sleeping pills. They are a respiratory depressant;
• 1 small bottle of water purification tablets or water filter;
• 1 set earplugs;
• Extra prescription glasses, contact lens supplies. Contact lens wearers, please bring glasses in case of emergency. A new pair could be quickly made in Kathmandu, Lhasa, or Kashgar for just $ 20. Please order upon arrival if you are interested.
Our skillful cooks prepare 3 delicious hot meals and plenty of drinks each day in basecamp and advanced basecamp.
On the mountain we supply plenty of food for you to cook 3 hot meals each day. This food will consist of soup, local cheese & sausage, biscuits, dried noodles, potatoes, rice, porridge, butter, dried and tinned vegetables, fruit, meats, and fish, tea with milk and sugar, powdered juice drink, and drinking chocolate. Our sherpas will be carrying this food to the higher camps.
• We ask each member to bring their own imported daily snack and energy foods. We also ask members to bring 5 dehydrated meals (freeze-dried dinners) for their summit attempt. We do not provide cold “snack” food such as chocolate or "energy-bars". We ask that you bring or buy your own "snack" or daily cold energy food, 3-6 kilos is a good amount. A growing variety of imported foods such as European and American cheeses, chocolates, biscuits, cookies, nuts, and locally made power-bars are now available in Kathmandu, at realistic prices. However, imported power bars, GU, re-hydration drinks, dehydrated food, "freeze-dried meals", imported cheese and sausage are not available. If you want these items, you must bring them from your home country. Many of our members, especially Britons, Europeans, and Australians with tiny baggage allowances, now purchase their daily snacks in Kathmandu. Our schedule in Kathmandu allows plenty of time for shopping.
• 1 small roll of repair tape, 1 sewing repair kit;
• 1 cigarette lighter, 1 small box matches;
• 1 compass or GPS;
• 1 battery powered alarm clock/watch;
• 1 camera and film, or digital camera with extra cards and extra batteries;
• nylon stuff sacks For food and gear storage, large Ziplocs are useful also;
• 3 Water bottles (1 litre) wide-mouth Nalgene (1 is a pee bottle);
• 1 plastic cup and spoon;
• 1 small folding knife;
• binoculars (optional);
• 4 large, waterproof, disposable rubbish sacks;
• passport, 2 extra passport photos, flight ticket, flight itinerary;
• separate photocopies of passport and relevant visa pages, proof of insurance;
• dollars, pounds or euros cash for purchasing Nepalese visa at Kathmandu airport, Tibet visa, for paying for restaurants and hotels, for gratuities, snacks, and to purchase your own drinks and gifts. Climbing members are requested to bring at least $1500 cash with them to Tibet.
• credit cards, Bank/ATM/Cash machine cards for use for withdrawing funds from cash machines (bring a photocopy of your cards), traveler's checks, etc.;
• 1 bathing suit/swimming costume (you never know);
• basecamp entertainment. It is good to bring additional items which you have found to be useful on previous expeditions. For example: paperback books, playing cards, ipod mp3 player, short-wave radio, game boys, musical instruments, ear plugs, lots of batteries, etc.;
• travel clothes for basecamp and in town.
• Please be sure and bring your patience and try to keep an open, relaxed, positive and friendly attitude as travelling in this part of the world may be very different than what you are used to, but things always seem to fall into place at the last moment. Thank you.
On Mountains, although some climbers wish to try it without, most members will prefer to have oxygen available and we only allow members to climb with the use of supplemental oxygen. Regarding oxygen, the cost is up to you. Some people want 1 bottle, others want 12. We suggest you bring five. All of the equipment is guaranteed to work well together, and it is easy to use, with simple threaded and snap-on fittings which require no tools. Our sherpas will try to help you carry the oxygen. We have a 40% buy back policy bottles on unused oxygen, and masks, hoses, and regulators in good condition. For more information about Oxygen,
Note: You may have to carry some or all of your own oxygen on summit day, as well as up and down the mountain. If possible, the group sherpas will help stock the high camps, as well as share in carrying extra bottles during summit attempts. If you are concerned you might not be able to carry your own oxygen, you may wish to hire a personal sherpa.
We provide a plethora of top-quality, and time-tested equipment, group gear, and supplies, including: rope, ice, rock, and snow anchor protection; basecamp, advanced basecamp and altitude tents; cookers, fuel, high-altitude food, walkie-talkie radios, bamboo marker wands, etcetera. We now provide an individual tent for each member in basecamp, so you do not have to share. We also have a shower and toilet tent for Basecamp. Please see the group EQUIPMENT link, in the menu bars above to study what we bring for your use and safety.