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Makalu Expedition: An Overview

Elevation: 8,485 m  |  First ascent: 1955 |  Province: Himalaya, Nepal

Season: SPRING  |  Group size: Minimum 2 |  Price: ASK via Email or Contact form!

Mount Makalu (8485m/27,838ft) was first climbed by an American team led by William Siri in the spring of 1954. The expedition was composed of Sierra Club members including Allen Steck, William E. Long, and was called the California Himalayan Expedition to Makalu. They attempted the southeast ridge but were turned back at 7,100 m (23,300 ft) by a constant barrage of storms. A New Zealand team including Sir Edmund Hillary was also active in the spring, but did not get very high due to injury and illness. In the fall of 1954, a French reconnaissance expedition made the first ascents of the subsidiary summits Kangchungtse May 15, 1955 by Lionel Terray and Jean Couzy during a French expedition led by Jean Franco. The expedition was composed of Sierra Club members including Allen Steck, William E. Long, and was called the California Himalayan Expedition to Makalu. There was also a New Zealand team including Edmund Hillary that attempted the route but was turned back due to injury and illness. These were all major achievements especially considering that Makalu is such a difficult peak.

The fifth highest mountain in the world Makalu is located in the Mahalangur Himalayas 19 km southeast of Mount Everest, in the border between Nepal and China. One of the eight-thousanders, Makalu is an isolated peak whose shape is a four-sided pyramid.

The South East Ridge and the Northwest Ridgeare the main climbing routeson Mt. Makalu. The 8485m peak usually takes around 54 days to climb. Most climbers are able to climb Makalu in both the spring and autumn seasons. However, spring is more suitable for good weather and snow conditions. It is located at the coordinatesof 27°53’21” N and 87°05’27” E. The approach to Makalu is beautiful and elegant, the Barun Valley provides stunning contrasts where high waterfalls cascade into deep gorges, craggy rocks rise from lush green forests, and colorful flowers bloom beneath white snow peaks. This unique landscape shelters some of the last pristine mountain ecosystems on earth. Rare species of animals and plants flourish in diverse climates and habitats, relatively undisturbed by human kind.With seven valleys radiating from Mt. Makalu and it’s almost symmetrical four ridges it presents an incredible symmetrical elegance. Within this wide range of altitudes and climates, the Makalu-Barun area contains some of the richest and most diverse flora and fauna of Nepal. Diverse ethnic communities of Rai, Sherpa, and Shingsawa have inhibited the lower parts of country.

The climbing itself is appropriate for both the experienced climber and the novice climber making their first 8,000 meter peak ascent. The climbing consists of easy glaciers low on the mountain, steep ice and snow climbing to the Makalu La and above Camp IV a final rock ridge to the summit. Makalu is a steep and consistent climb, and in the spring season has excellent snow coverage and low hazards like icefalls, rock falling and avalanche. Extreme Expeditions utilizes oxygen above 7,200 meters and Sherpa support with fixed ropes throughout the climb.Each climbing day is reasonable in length and difficulty, However Extreme Expeditions will provide only Base Camp Services for climbers who want to do the peak in an unsupported fashion. The other exciting aspect of climbing Makalu is the lack of crowds. While we expect to share the mountain with other teams, they will generally be small and strong. This gives us support on the mountain in establishing the route and ropes, but avoids any overcrowding common on other 8000-meter peaks.

The trekking into the base camp and Makalu is an absolutely breathtaking and takes you back in time when all Himalayan mountains were approached on foot.  After a 25 minute flight from Kathmandu to Tumlingtar the trek begins from a low elevation of 920m. Climbers have a great chance to acclimatizeas the trail goes through: Num (1800m), Sheduwa (1510m), Tashi Gaon (2070m),Khongma(3760m),Mumbuk (3550m),Yangri Kharka (3600m), Sherson (4800m) and finally Makalu base camp (4870m). It is the perfect way to acclimatize before base camp is reached and to take on climbing relatively quickly.

Extreme Expeditions always follows a cautious acclimatization schedule we will utilize four camps on the mountain and use camp I and camp II for acclimatization purposes with us making a climb to 7000m before descending to advanced base camp in anticipation of a summit attempt. The summit push will go directly fromcamp IItocamp III on the Makalu La, we will then place camp IV to create a shorter summit day. Traditionally there is a very low base camp, abc camp at 5500m, C1 (6,500m), C2 (7,300m) at the bottom of the Southeast peak ridge and C3 (7,900m) and a high camp.

Makalu South East Ridge:

Makalu Advanced Base Camp (5600M/18,372ft):

Makalu Advanced base camp is located on a rocky moraine with amazing views of the Himalaya. Extreme Expeditions advance base camp will be setup for almost a one month period. On an 8000m expedition climbers spend most of their time at base camp, so naturally on any long expedition, base camp becomes a home away from home. We establish our camp at a walking distance between different groups and with a strategic view of the Makalu massif. Extreme Expeditions provides a personal tent which becomes your private retreat, a dining tent that is the common area, a shower tent and toilet tent. When you arrive at base camp it will already be fully established with hot beverages and snacksavailable immediately. Waiting for you there will be your base camp staff and high altitude climbing Sherpa. Prior to your climbing period you will have a Puja ceremony at the base camp for good luck. This is one Nepalese tradition not to miss, it represents safe climbing passage for everyone involved in the expedition.

Makalu Camp 1 (6400m/21,000ft)3-4hrs:

Once you have reviewed basic and advanced training by your climbing Sherpa guide, you will be ready for your attempt to climb to camp I which is at a height of 6400m/21,000ft. Prior to the first section of glacier you will encounter grassy slopes, rock slabs and moraine. Once on the glacier you will encounter mixed terrain including a few crevasses and 200m of blue ice. The first section of climbing on the moraine takes about an hour after that you reach the crampon point at the mouth of the glacier, the glacier portion takes about 2 hours. For average climbers it takes about 3-4 hours. Camp I is divided into two sections, lower camp I and upper camp I, the distance between the two is 100m/328ft. So camp 1 is fixed between 6400m-6500m.

Makalu Camp 2 (6800m/22,310ft)2½hrs:

The climbing from camp I to camp II is considered the moderate technical section on Mt. Makalu. During this section you encounter the heart of ice and snow. The first section is slogging over snow for about an hour, and then you encounter several steep sections of ice, there are small sections of ice fall that do not require ladder. These sections can be crossed with the support of fixed ropes, a few big steps and some steep snow climbing. For most people this is the crux of the route. This section will take slow climbers about 2½-3 hours. Camp 2 is situated above the snowy terrace.

Makalu Camp 3(7450m/24,445ft)4hrs:

The distance from camp II to camp III is the longest section of the route, it extends 600m/1,968ft. It does not require any ladder crossings, but there are a few crevasses that are roughly a half meter long that need to be jumped. The main ropes are fixed by a climbing Sherpa team. This section for most climbers feels easier, but still it is not to be taken lightly.The climbing is on sustained slopes and there is exposure to cold and wind. Although in spring there has been reports of direct sun hitting this section making it feel very warm. This is the camp that 40% of climbers plan to do their summit push from. However, Extreme Expeditions always fixes camp IV before the summit so that clients can get a half nights rest. This section takes about 4 hours for normal climbers and 5 hours for slower and first time 8000m climbers.

Makalu Camp 4 (7900m/25,918ft):

Climbing from camp III to camp IV feels like a short day, the distance is short but now you are nearing the death zone. The oxygen levels are very low at this altitude so it is expected that any effort no matter how minimum or trivial will feel arduous. In this section you have to climb for 3 hours on steep snow that is on a 50º-55º slope. This section is little dangerous in the autumn season because the snow slope is covering a layer of ice which make the section avalanche prone. This is the reason Extreme Expeditions only operates in the spring season. Many consider the crux of t route to be the Seignior Wall which will be crossed here.Camp will be set up above right above Makalu la. Our team makes an easy traverse to camp IV at 7900m which allows you to have a shorter summit day.

Makalu Summit (8485m/27,838ft)-16-17 hrs:

The main goal during the climbing periodis the summit. Most climbers begin their summit bid at 11:00pm. If all goes well they reach the summit between 7-10am. Below the main summit is a false summit, the main summit is reached via an exposed ridge. It takes about 5 hours to return to Camp 4 from the summit and another 2 hours to get to camp three for overnight stay. The climbing is not technical in the early part as you ascend through several basins with short snow headwalls. The climb passes the false summit and finishes on an exposed ridge to the true summit for a spectacular view of the mighty Himalaya. Our Sherpa guides will fix ropes, break trail and make every effort to assist the group to reach the summit of the 5th highest mountain in the world.


  Is one of the highest mountains in the world.

   It is one of the most challenging mountains of our world.

✓   Because is there.


Your hometown-Nepal-Return


  • Arrival and departure transfer services to and from both domestic and international flight as per itinerary.
  • 4 Nights Yak and Yeti or similar hotels accommodation in Kathmandu on B/B basis.
  • Experienced and government licensed high altitude trekking guide during the trekking and climbing period.
  • Schedule Flight Tickets for Kathmandu-Tumlingtar-Kathmandu sector to all climbing member, Sherpa guide, liaison officer and kitchen staff.
  • All trekking and mountaineering equipment such as: kitchen tent, stores tent, dining tents, toilet tents, tables, chairs, and cooking utensils for advance base camp and camp II.
  • Common climbing equipment (necessary fixed and main rope, ice bars, ice screws, snow bar etc)
  • Services of chef and kitchen assistant at base camp.
  • 3 meals a day: Breakfasts, lunch and Dinner with tea/coffee available at the tea house/hotel/lodge during the trekking.
  • 3 fresh meals a day: Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served at the advanced base camp.
  • All food and fuel for base camp and the higher camps during expedition for both members and crew.
  • 50kg baggage allowance per person during the trekking period, this will be carried by porters.
  • Daily weather report services from Seattle, Washington based company.
  • Trekking Permit (Makalu Barun National Park entry fee).
  • TIMS card (Trekking Information Management System).
  • Expedition Royalty and climbing permit of Nepal Government to climb Mt. Makalu (8485M).
  • Nepalese Government Royalty and fees.
  • One experienced, trained, government licensed, and 3x Everest summiteer climbing/expedition guide (Sherpa) per client.
  • All wages, equipment, medical and accidental Insurances for all involved staffs in trekking and expedition.
  • Equipment allowances and wages for climbing Sherpa, chefs, kitchen assistants.
  • Equipment allowances and wages for government liaison officer.
  • First aid medical kits for the group and the staff.
  • Satellite phone carrying by guide for communication and available for members at a cost of$3USD per minute.
  • Appropriate amount of food for high altitude and at base camp and above as required.
  • Required fixed and dynamic rope during the climbing period.
  • Heater will be provided at base camp for heating the dining room.
  • Emergency oxygen, mask and regulator provided upon request of the client with appropriate charge.
  • Each expedition member will have an individual tent available in the ABC.
  • Solar panel for light and battery charging.
  • All tents for camp 1, 2, 3 and 4 for members and staff.
  •  Ice fall charges by SPCC
  • Gamow Bags (Portable Altitude Chamber).
  • 5 Bottles (28L) of Poisk Oxygen will be provided each members (we use Poisk brands of the Oxygen).
  • Latest model of Summit or Top out system mask and regulators.
  • Sherpas tents, food for climbing, and insurance for staff.
  • Helicopter rescue insurance for high altitude climbing Sherpa guide, chef and staff.
  • Free assistance service for cargo clearance and duties.
  • Fresh cooked food and kitchen will be provided at camp II.
  • Trekking and Climbing map of the Mount Makalu.
  • EPI Cooking gas, stove will be provided in camp one, three and south col for cooking food, boiling water.
  • Generator will be providing for back- up of lighting power and charging electronic tools.
  • Transportation of food supply to Base Camp from Kathmandu (Cargo to Lukla and then by porter/Yaks to base camp)
  • Our service charge and Government Taxes levied in Nepal.
  • Complete pre-departure information
  • Flight ticket reconfirmation
  • visa extension procedure services (if necessary)
  • Farewell Dinner in a typical Nepali restaurant with domestic culture show in Kathmandu.


  • Lunch and dinner during your stay in Kathmandu (except for the farewell dinner)
  • Any packed food/snacks, aerated drinks, energy drinks, mineral water, alcohol, cigarettes, chocolates, nutria-bars during the trekking.
  • Items of personal nature, laundry expenses, tips.
  • Any extra expenses arising out of various/unforeseen situations like natural calamities, landslides, political disturbances, strikes, changes in government regulations, etc.
  • Extra transportation then what is displayed in itinerary program.
  • Any additional staff other than specified.
  • Rescue, repatriation, medicines, medical tests and hospitalization expenses.
  • Medical insurance and emergency rescue evacuation if required.
  • Travel insurance and helicopter rescue.
  • Walkie-talkies
  • Filming permit (special camera).
  • Personal climbing gear.
  • Expenses incurred towards usage of landlines, mobiles, walkie-talkies, satellite phone and internet expenses.
  • Clothing, packing items or bags, personal medical kit, camera/video fees or trekking gear
  • Nepal custom duty for import of expedition equipment.
  • Summit bonus for climbing Sherpa guides as per mountaineering association rules. Minimum $1000.00USD per climbing Sherpa guide.
  • Tips and gifts for base camp and high altitude trekking and climbing staff.
  • Airfare of international flights.
  • Nepal entry visa fee (Visa issuance on arrival in Kathmandu)
  • Any extra services or products or offers or activities which are not mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Any other item not included in “COST INCLUDES” section.


Day 1 Arrival in Kathmandu Airport and transfer to hotel Yak and Yeti or similar hotel accommodation in Kathmandu (1350M/4,430ft).

Day2-3:Preparation and briefings at the Departments of Tourism. Last minute shopping.

Day 04: Fly from Kathmandu to Tumlingtar. 50min.Drive to Num (1980m/6,496ft)6-7hrs.Lodge/camping accommodation.

Day 05:Trek from Num to Seduwa (1500m/4,922ft) 6-7hrs. Lodge/camping accommodation.

Day 06: Trek from Seduwa to Tashigaoun(2100m/6,890ft) 6-7hrs.Lodge/camping accommodation.

Day 07: Trek from Tashigaoun to Khongma Danda(3500m/11483ft) 6-7hrs.Lodge/camping accommodation.

Day 08:Exploration and Acclimatization day at Khongma(3500m/11,483ft) 06-07hrs.Lodge accommodation.

Day 09: Trek from Khongma to Dobsto (3650m/11,975ft) 6-7hrs.Lodge/camping accommodation.

Day 10: Trek from Dobute to Yangle Kharka (3600m/11,811ft) 6-7hrs.Lodge/camping accommodation.

Day 11:Trek from Yangle Kharka to Langmale Kharka (4410m/14469ft) 6-7hrs.Lodge/camping accommodation.

Day 12:Exploration and Acclimatization day at Langmale Kharka(4410m/14,469ft) Lodge/camping accommodation.

Day 13:Trek from Langmale Kharka to Makalu Base Camp (5018m/16,464ft) 6hrs.Lodge/camping accommodation.

Day 14:Rest and acclimatization at Hillary base camp (5018m/16,464ft)

Day 15:Trek from Hillary base camp to Advance base Camp (5600m/18,373ft) 5hrs.

Day 16-53:Climbing period for Makalu (8485M/27,838ft)

Day 54: Trek from Advance Base Camp to Yangli Kharka (3600m/11,811ft) 6-7hrs.Lodge/camping accommodation.

Day 55: Trek from Yangli Kharka to Dobato (3650m/11,975ft) 6-7hrs.Lodge/camping accommodation.

Day 56:Trek from Dobute to Khongma (3500m/11,483ft) 6-7hrs.Lodge/camping accommodation.

Day 57:Trek from Khongma to Seduwa(1500m/4,922ft) 6-7hrs. Lodge/camping accommodation.

Day 58:Trek from Seduwa to Num (1980m/6,496ft) 6-7hrs.Lodge/camping accommodation.

Day 59: Drive from Num to Tumlingtar. 4hrs.Lodge accommodation.

Day 60: Fly from Tumlingtar to Kathmandu (30min) transfer to request category hotel accommodation in Kathmandu in B&B Plan.

Day 61: Leisure day & shopping in Kathmandu; Fair well-Celebration dinner with culture program in the Evening.

Day 62: Transfer to the airport for final departure