MAKALU BASE CAMP TREK
On the Makalu Base Camp trek, participants get up-close with the fifth highest mountain in the world – Mt. Makalu (8,485m). Eric Shipton was the first outsider to have trekked in the region in the 1950’s. Consequently, the Shipton Pass on this trek was named after him. The first climb on Makalu was made by an American team led by Riley Keegan and Sierra Club members including Bill Long and Allen Steck. They attempted via the southeast ridge but they turned back at 23,300 ft. due to bad weather. The first ascent of Makalu was by a French expedition team on May 15, 1955.
The Makalu Base Camp Trek starts at a relatively lower elevation which is home to Rai’s, Gurung’s and Tamang people. The last permanent settlement is Tashigaon which is the home of the Sherpa people. Ascending slowly, the trek follows a trail through the beautiful Makalu Barun National Park which is home to diverse flora and fauna. Continue to trek past the Barun river along spectacular granite rocks, pastures and waterfalls.
The Makalu Base Camp trek is quickly emerging as a popular trekking destination especially among trekkers who prefer solitude. Trekking to Makalu is a great alternative to the more busier treks in the Everest and Annapurna region. And with daily flights available to Tumlingtar, the Makalu Base Camp Trek is also quite easily accessible. It has all the makings of an epic Himalayan trek including stunning snow-clad mountain scenery, high passes, intriguing mix of Nepal’s culture and soaring Himalayan peaks.
The journey begins with a 35-minute flight to Tumlingtar from where we drive to the road-head on a chartered vehicle. The lower parts of the Makalu region are quite hot and humid with lush rhododendron and oak forests, cardamom plantations. Ascend slowly over several passes and follow the Barun river valley to the Makalu Base Camp. Return to Tumlingtar is along the same trail but vistas are quite spectacular in both directions. For more information, do check out Jwalant’s blog: My Makalu Base Camp Trek
ACCOMMODATION AND MEALS
The Makalu Base Camp Trek is a combo Lodge Trek/Camping Trek. This means you will sleep and eat meals in local lodges along the trail and also in tents where necessary. The lodges on this trek are quite basic. Meals are not as varied as on the Everest or the Annapurna treks but options do include rice with veggies, noodles, local breads etc. On this trek, we will carry some food to supplement what’s available at the local lodges and a certified trekking cook will accompany the group to prepare more varied meals. Furthermore, we will also carry tents so you may opt to sleep in tents in some of the more basic places.
Video of our monsoon trek (June) to Makalu Base Camp:
Like most treks in Nepal, the best seasons for the Makalu Base Camp trek are Spring (April-May) and Autumn (October-November).
The Makalu Base Camp trek is rated “CHALLENGING”. It is rated 5 on a rating scale from 1 (easy) to 5 (challenging). While it does NOT involve crossing 5,000 meter mountain passes, it is probably the MOST CHALLENGING trek in Nepal in terms of daily elevation gain/loss. No technical climbing experience is required but some sections of the trail (all stair-cases) are almost 50 degrees steep. The highest overnight altitude reached is at Makalu Base Camp (4,800 m/15,750ft) and the highest elevation reached is at the view point above base camp (5,300m/17,400 feet). There are two acclimatization days to allow for proper acclimatization.
Trekking to Makalu involves average daily hiking or around 6 hours with a few longer days of around 7-8 hours. Also, this is a relatively long trek in a remote area. Regardless of the rating, it is important to prepare for any trek in Nepal. Read our advice on training for treks.
WHY TREK WITH US?
The Makalu Base Camp Trek is a private trek for a minimum of two participants. We do NOT nickel-and-dime on services – inclusions and exclusions are clearly listed in cost details. Some companies will advertise trips for very low prices but they have a lot of exclusions that is usually not clear. With over 30 years of experience, most of our trekkers are either repeat clients or referrals. We employ the most professional and friendly staff. We are also proud to give back to our community through our giving arm – 3 Summits For Nepal – managed by Crystal Mountain Treks staff. Contact us to learn more…