Mount Makalu at 8463m is a benchmark for climbers to measure their skills in high altitude mountaineering. It demands strong physical and mental strength as it is one of the most technically challenging peaks. Its steep pitches and knife-edge ridges make climbing Makalu harder than other peaks over 8000 meters.
Makalu lies approximately 20kms east of Everest and is the fifth highest mountain in the world. It lies in the remote region of Makalu Barun valley, where nature is pure in its wilderness. It is partly because this region remains isolated from the popular expedition destination of the Khumbu region.
The exotic flora and fauna in this region of Nepal remain untouched in its purest form. The green hills and the snowy mountains make for a dreamy landscape. On reaching the summit, the views of some of the world’s highest mountains like Everest, Cho Oyu, Baruntse, and Lhotse will leave you in awe.
The trekking route to the basecamp involves 10 days of trekking through the remote region of Makalu Barun National Park. At present, helicopter access to the basecamp has made it easy to reach the starting point of the expedition. You will see very few expeditions conducted in this region due to its remoteness.
For ascending the peak, you will be using the northeast ridge, which is the frequented route for summiting Makalu. Unlike other mountains, Makalu ascent makes use of 5 different camps above the popular Makalu Base Camp at 4800m. There is an advanced base camp at 5700m and 4 different camps above it at different altitudes.
Advanced Base Camp: After acclimatizing for 2-3 days at the Makalu Base Camp, you head towards the Advanced Base Camp at the foot of Makalu Glaciers at 5700m. You will be spending most of your time in this camp during the expedition.
Camp I: We have Camp I for the Makalu expedition at 6347m. The route from the advanced base camp passes through the rocky moraine of the Chango Glacier. This day’s climb involves walking through crevasses and ascending a steep ice-snow wall with fixed lines.
Camp II: The climb from Camp I to Camp II is relatively easy. It involves a trip across an easy glacier to reach the altitude of 6600m, which is a small and flat sheltered area in between ice walls.
Camp III: The climb from Camp II to Camp III involves climbing across a relatively easy section followed by some mixed climbing technical parts till Makalu La at 7450m. However, Camp III is at an elevation of 7450m for your convenience as climbing Makalu La requires careful consideration of weather conditions.
Camp IV: To reach Camp IV, you traverse through a large flat glacier with multiple crevasses. It takes 3 hours to reach Camp IV at 7800m from Camp III.
Descending from Makalu is not as easy as other mountains. It takes almost 16 hours on the final summit day to ascend and descend from and to Camp IV. By then, your body will feel the exhaustion, and you will need to keep yourself focused on further descending on the same day or the following day.
A short history of the Makalu expedition
A French expedition team led by Jean Franco first completed the Makalu expedition. Eight members from the same team made it successfully to the summit, which was a record given the success rate of previous expeditions at the time. This team used the same route by the north face and northeast ridge.
Why You Will Love Makalu Expedition
- You will be climbing one of the most challenging technical mountains in the world. Makalu tests your physical strength, endurance, determination, and technical skills at its best.
- Makalu offers spectacular views of the world’s tallest mountains, including Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, and many more.
- You will enjoy the remoteness and wilderness of this expedition, unlike any other region of Nepal. You will be trekking through the hills of eastern Nepal before reaching the tranquil Makalu Barun Conservation Area.
- You will be climbing with a highly professional team of expert mountaineers experienced in climbing in extreme weather conditions.
Is Makalu Expedition Right For You?
- If you’re looking for a challenge to enhance your skills as a professional mountaineer, Makalu is a perfect peak to establish yourself as a professional.
- You will be trekking through the region known for its wilderness, exotic flora and fauna, and unmatchable beauty of the landscape.
- If you love trekking in the remote regions, you will surely love the Makalu Expedition as it takes you to one of the least explored areas of Nepal.
- There are five different camps at different altitudes used for climbing Makalu that make the ascent easier for climbers.
- Makalu is a comparatively cheaper expedition than the Everest expedition. It gives you great insight and experience to prepare you for climbing Everest.
Makalu Expedition – Outline Itinerary
|Days||Itinerary||Altitude(in meters)||Duration(in hours)|
|Day 01||Arrival Kathmandu & transfer to hotel||1400|
|Day 02||Prepare for Expedition, Hotel||1400|
|Day 03||Expedition Briefing in Ministry of Tourism, Hotel||1400|
|Day 04||Fly to Tumlingtar & Drive to Num, Lodge||1490||2 hours|
|Day 05||Trek to Seduwa, Lodge||1460||5-6 hours|
|Day 06||Trek to Tashigaun, Lodge||2070||5 hours|
|Day 07||Trek to Khongma La (Danda), Lodge||3760||6 hours|
|Day 08||Trek to Mumfuk, Lodge||3550||5-6 hours|
|Day 09||Trek to Yangle Kharak, Lodge||3610||5 hours|
|Day 10||Trek to Merak, Lodge|
|Day 11||Trek to Sersung (half day rest) for acclimating, Lodge||4615 m||3-4 hours|
|Day 12||Trek to Makalu Base camp, Camp||5000 m||4-5 hours|
|Day 13-42||Climbing Period for Makalu (8,463m), Camp|
|Day 43||Trek to Mumbuck, Lodge||3550 m||5-6 hours|
|Day 44||Trek to Khongma La (Danda), Lodge||3760 m||5-6 hours|
|Day 45||Trek to Seduwa, Lodge||1460 m||6-7 hours|
|Day 46||Trek to Chichila, Lodge||1980 m|
|Day 47||Trek to Tumlingtar, Lodge||285 m||4-5hours|
|Day 48||Fly back to Kathmandu & transfer to hotel||1400 m|
|Day 49||Free Day in Kathmandu, Hotel||1400 m|
|Day 50||Final Departure|
Makalu Expedition Itinerary (50 Days)Expand/Close
Altitude: 1400 m
The first day marks your arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. After you land, our representatives will come and get you at the airport. They will welcome and guide you to your hotel.
Once you’re at the hotel, you’re free to rest and spend your time on your own. After a long flight, you might be having jet lag. Get proper rest, and enjoy the delicious Nepali cuisine for dinner in the evening.
- 3-star hotel for accommodation
- Delicious, tasty and authentic Nepali cuisine
You will spend the day in Kathmandu and finish all the preparations for the journey. You can get anything from food products, climbing gear, books to equipment. Stroll around the old markets of Kathmandu and witness the vibrant and colorful market coming to life.
Besides that, proper physical preparation and rest are equally important. If there are any medicinal requirements you need, you can get it in Kathmandu too.
- Explore the streets and markets of central Kathmandu
- Experience the vibrant culture and traditional market
This day, you will be attending a briefing session in the Ministry of Tourism. This briefing session will help you understand your expedition journey better. It will brief you about your daily activities.
These include details on the itinerary, food and accommodation, and a description of the trail which you will be following. Moreover, you will also receive your permits for the expedition from the Ministry of Tourism in Kathmandu.
- Visit the Ministry of Tourism office and get detailed information about the expedition
- Get your permits for the expedition
After an early breakfast, you’ll head on to the airport for a flight to Tumlingtar. Tumlingtar is a small town in Sankhuwasabha district at the bank of the Arun River. It is one of the deepest valleys in the world at 285m from sea level.
From here, you will be heading towards the trek’s starting point, Num village, which is a 2-hour drive from Tumlingtar.
- A quick and short flight to the eastern hilly region
Altitude: 1460 m
After breakfast in Num village, you hit the trails descending through forests and terraced farms to reach Barun river. The walk through the woods will expose you to the rich biodiversity of this region.
There are 650 species of birds and more than 800 different species of butterflies. Besides that, the rich flora and fauna in the lower regions spread throughout the higher regions.
Before reaching Seduwa, the entry point of Makalu Barun National Park comes to your sight. You should check your permits here and move ahead.
- Encounter hundreds of species of birds and butterflies
- Check your permits at the Makalu Barun National Park entry point
- Pleasant walks through forests and terraced fields
Altitude: 2070 m
An early breakfast follows the walk on this day. You start your walk ascending the ridge bounded by the Ipsuwa Khola on the west and Kasuwa Khola to the east. The walk is satisfying with the sound of the flowing river constantly hitting your ears as you walk by them.
The walk continues through the hillside passing through some of the traditional Nepali villages and small paddy fields. You will experience the laid back lifestyle of Nepalese people in these rural villages.
Tashigaun is your final destination for the day. Once you are there, you will see the mesmerizing views of the surrounding mountains.
- Immerse yourself in the traditional lifestyle of rural villages in Nepal
- Recharge your soul with a walk alongside rivers through forests and villages
- Extraordinary views of Himalayas from Tashigaun
Be prepared for a tough walk through steep rocks and ridges and too in higher altitude. On this day, you will mostly have an uphill walk through forests. You will come across a stream and eventually to a ridge. From here, the trail gets even steeper.
As you trek higher, you will notice a few pasture land and small lakes at the top. The greenery and the lake make up a serene environment.
Finally, you ascend from the top of the ridge down to Khongma Danda, our destination for the night.
- Tough day of walking through steep rocks and ridges
- Lush green pasture land with small lakes make for a picturesque view.
This day involves comfortable walks through hilltops and eventually descends through beautiful valleys. You will be crossing multiple passes above the 4000-meter mark, namely Shipton Lama and Keke La.
After crossing the passes, you descend through a beautiful valley and continue walking through the forest of rhododendron trees until we reach Mumfuk.
- Easy day in terms of walking
- Beautiful valleys and the forests add up for a magical landscape
The next day, you leave Mumphuk after an early breakfast. The day’s walk involves walking through dense rhododendron forest that lights up the forest in red during the Spring. Once you reach the Barun river, the trail starts being a bit steep and arduous.
Be careful while walking on this narrow and steep trail. Slow and steady walking leads us to Yangri Kharka situated at the base of the valley.
- An exhilarating walk through narrow, rocky, and steep trail
- Opensky view will keep you in its grasp throughout the walk.
The landscape changes dramatically, and walking is easy as it’s mostly plain land through yak pastures, lush forests, and boulder fields for the first half. The valley walls stand with all their elegance and beauty to welcome you as you gain momentum in walking.
In no time, you’ll reach Merak, your destination for the day. As you approach, the view of the mighty Himalayas will leave you spellbound with its beauty.
- Comfortable walking through pastures and lush forests
- Spell bounding views of the Himalayas
Altitude: 4615 m
Now that you are above the 4000m mark, you should walk slowly to reduce the chances of altitude sickness.
As you leave Merak, you slowly make your way up to Serusung. The view on this day is the best you have seen so far. The flat trail will allow a comfortable walk. The only problem is the gain in altitude. To avoid any difficulties, you will call it a day once you reach Sersung.
- Magnificent views of the landscape.
- Snow-capped mountains and glaciers start to appear.
Sleeping during the day while acclimating will have adverse effects on the process. You can instead talk to the locals or engage in photography or simply rest for half of the day.
This day is the final day of trekking. Chasing the Makalu mountain far at sight, you move forward towards the base camp. As you approach the base camp, a magnificent panoramic view of the Himalayas will surprise you.
Makalu Base Camp is a place with a rocky landscape with the remarkable Barun Glacier beyond it. It offers a close view of the south face of Makalu and a panoramic view of Everest and Lhotse.
Surrounding lakes and glaciers make the Makalu Base Camp look like a dreamy landscape. Once you’re here, you can truly feel the essence of being in the middle of the giant rocky pyramids covered in snow.
- Up Close view of the mighty Makalu mountain.
- Gigantic Barun Glacier
- Impeccable view of surrounding peaks like Everest and Lhotse.
- Lakes and Glaciers are the icings on the cake.
Upon reaching the base camp, you will not start trekking immediately. First, you need to acclimatize with the altitude. Spend a day exploring the base camp, do some basic climbing drills, scale, and plan your climb. These activities will give you some time to adjust to the altitude and environment physically and mentally.
You start your climb from the northeast ridge of the mountain. The first part of the trek begins with technical rock climbing and eventually involves a lot of ice climbing. You will be ascending and descending through multiple camps for proper acclimatization.
Weather can be very harsh, especially while crossing the Makalu La at 7450m. Thus, the final summit push is an extremely challenging one.
However, the feeling of pride that takes over on reaching the top is surreal. As a mountaineer, it is a special feat when you summit the Makalu peak successfully. Along with the excitement and energy that comes after a successful ascent, you need to be highly focused while descending too.
Despite how challenging it is to scale Makalu, the views of Everest, Lhotse, and Cho Oyu, among other peaks, will make it worthwhile.
By the 42nd day, you will be down at the base camp after a challenging and successful ascent of Makalu, the world’s fifth highest mountain.
- Surrounding peaks of Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu and many more gives you a view of a lifetime on reaching the top
- Challenging yet extremely satisfying climb
- A proper test of technical, mental, and physical strength
- Good facilities at the camps
- Excellent team of Sherpas and guides
Altitude: 3550 m
You will bid farewell to Makalu and its base camp, which was your home for one and a half months. Pack your bags and gears and start walking back with your team. This time the walk becomes extremely easy.
In no time, you will be down at Mumfuk village passing through pastures and forests filled with rhododendrons. This time it feels like the flowers have to come to life to greet you, birds singing their songs for you.
- Easy walking through picturesque landscapes.
We pay extra attention to our social and environmental responsibilities. For that reason, there will be a small cleaning session before we leave the base camp. Make sure you do not leave a single piece of trash in the mountains. Dispose of the ones that are disposable and carry the non-decomposing waste back.
On this day, your walk may not be as comfortable as the day before, as you will frequently pass through steep ascents and descents. Tracing back your path through Keke La and Shipton Pass, you will eventually reach Khongma La (Danda) for an overnight stay.
The walk is comfortable for most of the part as you walk through fir and pine trees of the Himalayan region. The wildflowers of Makalu Barun national park offer a scenic beauty throughout the journey to keep you motivated for the walk.
- Cross high altitude passes like Keke La, Shipton Pass, etc.
- Enjoy the exotic wilderness and beauty of Makalu Barun National Park.
The trek on this day continues with frequent steep descents along the hillside. You will walk through thick forests, villages, and fields. A short break at Tashigaun will boost your energy and recharge you for the remaining walk of the day.
Shortly you arrive at the check post of Makalu Barun National Park. From here, the trail further descends to the Barun River. You will come across several small settlements on the other side of the river before finally reaching Seduwa.
- Experience the warm hospitality of people in this region.
- Witness the sherpa culture firsthand.
- Peaceful walks through rivers and forests.
Altitude: 1980 m
This day involves walking mostly through the villages and fields. At times you come across forests and rivers too. For most of the day, you will see people engaged in their household chores in a traditional rural setting. The remoteness of this place makes hospitality and humility more authentic.
- Get along with the warm hospitality of the people from this region.
- Experience a typical rural Nepali lifestyle as you observe the villages and villagers.
This day is the final day of the trek. After an early breakfast, you take one last glimpse of Mount Makalu from Chichila and hit the trail ahead. The trail is descending almost throughout the day.
If you’re lucky, you will encounter a variety of bird species on this day. Likewise, this place is also known for different species of butterflies. Finally, we reach Tumlingtar.
- Hundreds of unique species of birds and butterflies.
On this day, you take an early flight to Kathmandu after a delicious Nepali breakfast at Tumlingtar. You will be flying on a small twin otter. It takes 50 minutes to reach Kathmandu. You will be at Kathmandu by the first half of the day.
Once you’re at Kathmandu, our representatives will guide you to your hotel. After that, you’re free to spend time on your own. Crash at the comfortable bed, and enjoy all your luxuries.
- Adventurous flight on a twin otter
- Treat yourself to the comfort and luxury of a 3-star hotel.
You can spend the day in Kathmandu and explore the city. The centuries-old culture and tradition balanced perfectly with the modern lifestyle give the city a unique charm.
You can choose to explore the World Heritage Sites within Kathmandu. There are 7 World Heritage Sites in and around Kathmandu. You can explore the centuries-old market places of Asan or buy souvenirs for you and your family at Thamel. Besides that, you can explore the food, music, art, culture, and so much more.
Plan your time wisely, or you will be confused as there are many options you can go for.
- Experience the perfect blend of traditional and modern lifestyle.
- World-renown, centuries-old art and architecture of Kathmandu
- Explore anything from food, markets, heritage sites, traditional culture, urban culture, and more
This day marks your last day in Kathmandu. Depending on your airport time, our representative will pick you up at the hotel and drop you at the airport.
Makalu Expedition Cost
- Arrival and departure cost on domestic and international flights
- Food and accommodation in Kathmandu on B/B plan
- All the meals (Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast) During the Trekking and climbing of Makalu Summit and back
- All of the transportation service from initial and endpoints of Makalu Expedition
- Climbing Sherpa guide for the expedition
- Makalu Expedition Group climbing equipment like climbing rope, ice ax, ice screw, ice bar, etc.
- All the required permits for Makalu Expedition
- High altitude meals
- All of the insurance and expenses of Liaison officer (Government of Nepal)
- All necessary camping and kitchen equipment provided including base camp tents, dining tent with table and backrest chair, kitchen with all utensils, toilet with commode, etc.
- High altitude tents and crucial gadgets like EPI gas and burner
- Warm clothes and trek gear for Nepali staffs including porters
- Life and medical insurance of all the staff and porters
- Portable Altitude Chamber (PAC) and Gamow Bag along with the comprehensive first-aid kit
- Communication devices like a walkie talkie and satellite phone in case of emergency
- Emergency Oxygen with regulator and mask while climbing Makalu
- Agency service charge
- Farewell dinner with Nepali song and dance
- International airfare as well as airport tax
- Nepal entry visa fees
- Medical and personal high-risk insurance
- Lunch and dinner while in Kathmandu
- Bar and beverage bills
- Personal climbing gears and equipment
- Emergency rescue evacuation
- Climbing bonus and tips for Makalu Base Camp staffs and personal expenses
- Permit fees and charge for satellite phone, communication gadget, and commercial filming while on Makalu Expedition.
- Garbage deposit USD3k (sharing of the total person), and the deposit fee won’t be refunded if the climbers don’t take back their garbage to Kathmandu.
Why Nepal Social Treks for Makalu Expedition?
Well Qualified Teams
Our team of experts is a group of well-qualified experts who excel in their respective departments or works. Over the years, we have managed to gather a team of hardworking, passionate, dedicated, and well-organized members.
Our guides have 5 years of experience in mountaineering, and all of them have scaled Everest at least 3 times. They are associated with the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association(IFMGA). Thus, you can expect world-class professional service.
Higher Success Rates
We have maintained a strong reputation with our high success rates compared to the competitors. Our guides and their tactical approach in expeditions have helped us build trust and reputation.
We have a high success rate with 100+ expeditions on peaks, including Everest, Manaslu, Makalu, Baruntse, Lhotse, Nuptse, Makalu and other 6000+ peaks over time. We provide a 1:1 climber to guide ratio for expeditions above 7000 meters, which provides higher support and safety to each climber.
We do not compromise with your trust in us and the agreed-upon package. We tailor each package to suit the wide range of clients we receive. We are also open to adjustments to plans, and you can coordinate with our office staff to make changes that suit you.
In the mountains, accurate weather forecasts are crucial for a successful expedition. Harsh weather conditions and improper communication can cause severe risk to lives. We use the best and the latest technology for weather forecasting and communication to reduce risks.
We use the latest high-tech satellite phones for communication that ensures uninterrupted communication between teams at different camps, climbers, and their families. The weather forecasting team consists of meteorologists and veterans who have known these mountains and their weather conditions for years.
Excellent Food and Accommodation Facilities
Our clients come from all over the world. Most of them have different cultures regarding food and accommodation. Hence, we acknowledge this variation and try to do justice to our clients by ordering food from abroad. Our sherpas in the kitchen make sure that you do not miss the taste of home away from home. Likewise, accommodation facilities throughout the expedition range from 5-star hotels to teahouses to tents, depending on the remoteness and altitude of the place.
For the Makalu Expedition, you need to pay USD1800 per person to the Nepalese Government for the permit during the Spring. Likewise, you need to pay USD900 per person if the expedition is in the Autumn and USD450 if you’re climbing in Summer. Besides the royalty fees, there are other costs associated with logistics that differ according to the concerned agencies.
Makalu is the world’s 5th highest mountain with an altitude of 8463m. Mountaineers worldwide identify the peak as one of the hardest peaks to climb among other 8000ers. It is so because of its complex structure. It is rocky in the lower part and gets narrow and icy as we head towards the summit. It demands a lot of physical and technical strength. So, we set up 5 different camps at different altitudes besides the base camp.
The Makalu expedition is a lengthy challenge to undertake. Starting from Kathmandu, the journey lasts for 50 days, including 11-12 days of trekking to reach the Makalu Base Camp, the starting point for the climb. The actual climb then takes place for the next 29 days, where you go climb across different camps at different altitudes.
The weather conditions are particularly unwelcoming around Makalu. There is only a short window of time when the weather becomes suitable for climbing here. Like most mountains, Spring and the Autumn are ideal for the climb. However, this is the only peak over 8000m in Nepal without a successful ascent in true winter conditions.
Climbers around the world have made attempts for the summit of Makalu. So, you can find multiple routes leading to the top. For your expedition, you will be using the Northeast route, which is the most popular route with a high success rate.
Here are some of the personal trekking gear that you can carry during the Makalu Expedition:
Waterproof Stuff Sacks (large and small)
Trekking Shirt – Pack 4 to 5 breathable trekking shirts, balancing both half and full sleeves
Thermal Layer – At least one pair of a thermal layer
Fleece Jacket – Pack a lightweight fleece jacket for the lower region
Trekking Trousers – Minimum 2 water and wind-resistant trekking pants
Trekking Shorts – Pack a couple of trekking shorts for lower reaches of the trek
Lightweight, long underpants – pack 2-3 pairs
Mid-weight long underpants–pack 2-3 pairs
Down Jacket – Carry a high-quality down jacket to keep you warm from the extreme weather at the trek’s upper reaches
Waterproof Shell Jacket – One waterproof jacket to stay protected in the wet weather
Breathable Underwear – Carry at least 4 to 5 pairs of breathable and comfortable underwear
Gaiter (For Winter)
Sun Protection Hat
A Pair of Inner Gloves
A Pair of Outer Gloves
Heavy gloves (mitten)
Sleeping Bag for Base Camp
Down Sleeping Bag – 20 to -40 degree celsius for extreme conditions
Thermarest Mattress (Cell Foam and Inflatable)
UV Protection Sunglasses
Water Purification Tablets
Headlamp with Spare Batteries
These are some of the important climbing equipment that you should carry while taking on the Makalu Expedition: