Makalu Expedition Overview
Mount Makalu is the fifth highest mountain on earth raising at an elevation of 8,463 meters above sea level. It is located in the Mahalangur Himal 19km southeast of Mt. Everest on the Nepal-Tibet border in Makalu-Barun National Park. The name “Makalu” is derived from the Sanskrit word “ Maha and Kala” which means “Big Black”. As its name, it is the mountain having four sharp ridges forming a perfect pyramid of rock and ice on the top. The Everest summiteers take Makalu as evidence of reaching the summit of Everest if anyone presents a photograph having Makalu on the background, as Makalu is visible from the Everest summit. Makalu was first climbed on 15th May 1955 by a French expedition team members Jean Couzy and Lionel Terray. Later in a couple of days, other seven team members reach the summit.
Arrive in Kathmandu
You will be met at the airport and taken to the hotel to relax.
Free day in Kathmandu for equipment preparation, attend government briefing, and arrangement of documentation needed for the expedition.
Welcome dinner will be at a Le Sherpa restaurant
Fly to Tumlingtar and drive to Num (1550m)
Depending on your flight time, after breakfast, you will be transferred to Kathmandu domestic terminal for 35 minutes flight to Tumlingtar. From Tumlingtar Airport you will take a 4 hours’ drive towards Khandbari to Num. The drive is not a pleasant one as it’s off-road, rocky, muddy, and bumpy.
Trek to village of Seduwa (1530m) - 6 hours
The trek starts with a couple of hour’s steep descent to the bank of the Arun River and after crossing the suspension bridge you start a steep climb to Seduwa passing through bamboo forest and small teahouses.
Trek to Tashigaon (2065m) – 6 hours
In the Arun valley, you continue through the bamboo and rhododendron forest and the fields of small hamlets up to the Sherpa town of Tashigaon (2.180 m), the highest permanent settlement in the valley.
Trek to Khongma Danda (3500m) – 7 hours
Leaving Tashigaon, you climb uphill through dense forest and lushly blooming rhododendron trees to the small mountain pasture of Kauma La (3560 m), at the foot of the high passes to the Barun valley.
Rest and acclimatisation day at Khongma Danda
Today as part of the acclimatization to cope your body with the altitude, you hike up to an elevation of 3,900 meters to Khongma-La. After breakfast at the hotel, start ascending on the stone steps through the rhododendron forest to reach the Khongma-La. After spending 15-20 minutes, retrace the same route down to the lodge for a hot lunch. The afternoon is on your own either to relax or to explore.
Trek to Dobato (3860m) – 7 hours
After leaving the steep forest you enter the high alpine landscape with shrubs and pastures. Many walls with prayer stones and flags, as well as ice-cold, deep blue lakes make for a scenic setting in front of the gigantic mountain massive of Makalu. With traversing the double passes of Shipton La (4170 m) and Barun La (aka Tutu La 4080 m) for the first time we surpass 4000m of altitude. A long descent takes you down to the jungle clearings of Dobato (3860 m) or Mumbuk (3520 m) above the densely wooded valley floor of the Barun river valley.
Trek to Yangle Kharka (3690m) – 5 hours
A pleasant descent through the rhododendron and pine forest and thickets of shrubs down to the Barun River is followed by a long traverse alongside the stream, at last crossing over a wooden bridge to the high pastures of Yangle Kharka (3690 m) on the other side.
Trek to Langmale (4420m)
Behind a wild valley end, we leave the timberline behind us and camp on the high pasture of Langmale surrounded by numerous impressive six and seven thousand meter high peaks.
Trek to Hillary BC/Makalu Basecamp (4800m)
Today you will reach the historic Makalu Basecamp also known as Hillary Basecamp passing the uninhabited pasture of Sherson (4650 m) in a short Day. This will give you time for a short stroll through the vicinity with spectacular views on the West Ridge of Makalu in the afternoon. You will spend a couple of nights at the base camp.
Trek to Makalu Advance Base Camp (5300m)
An arduous ascent will take you up to the advanced basecamp (ABC). Following the side moraine of the glacier, you finally cross the stream of ice and scree to the other side. Steep slopes, covered with big blocks of rock, are obstructing the way up the side valley of the Chago Glacier. Beware of rockfall and to lose the at times hardly visible path amongst the scree! On a small hill right at the tongue of the Chago Glacier, you reach ABC at 5300 meters.
- Rest day – Puja – climbing training
- First Rotation
- Climb to camp I (6100m)
- Touch Camp II (6600m) and descend to Advance Base camp
- Rest day at Base camp
- Second Rotation
- Climb to camp I (6100m)
- Climb to Camp II (6600m)
- Touch camp III (7400) and descent to Camp II (overnight)
- Descend to Base camp
- Rest and prepare for the summit push
- Summit Push
- Climb to camp I (6100m)
- Climb to camp II (overnight) – start at 5 am
- Climb to Camp III (overnight) – start at 9 am
- Climb to Camp IV – start at 4 am – reach by 1 pm – rest for 6 hours – start for summit at 8 pm
- Climb overnight at reach summit around 6-7 am and descend to Camp IV
- Descend to Camp II
- Descend to base camp
- Packing and clearing the Base camp after the summit
Note – Be advised that the mentioned activities during the climbing period are a tentative plan. The actual planning of the summit is made at the base camp by your climbing guide. The activities may change because of the unstable weather conditions in the Himalayas and also your level of fitness. We advise you to book a Flexi flight and allow extra days in case if you need for the summit push.
Retrace the trial to Num and drive to Khandbari or Chopper in Optional
After the expedition is over, retrace the same route to Num passing Yangle Kharka, Dobato, Khongma, Tashigaon, and Seduwa, and drive to Khandbari.
Note: In case of time shortage for the summit attempt, you can save 6 days by booking a chopper from the Makalu Base Camp to Lukla Airport or to Kathmandu. You can also save some money if you took a chopper to Lukla and take the Lukla-Kathmandu flight.
Drive to Tumlingtar Airport and fly to Kathmandu
Early morning drive from Khandbari to Tumlingtar Airport. Fly back to Kathmandu. After 35 minutes of flight, our representative will be waiting for you at the domestic airport to take you back to the hotel where you can enjoy your chilled beer and warm shower.
Free day in Kathmandu for official documentation and collect the certificate
Free day in Kathmandu for official documentation, closing briefing by the government, and collecting certificate if successfully reached in the summit. Farewell dinner and celebration day.
Depending on your flight time you will be transferred to the airport. The airport check-in is 3 hours before the departure time and the hotel checkout time is noon. In case your flight is late evening please let us know if you require half day use of the hotel.
Government & Related charges
- Makalu climbing royalty fee of US$ 1,800
- 1 X Government liaison officer with flight, accommodation, meals, and wages
- Garbage deposit fees of US$3000
- Makalu-Barun National park fee
- Route fixing charge for higher camps to the summit
- Summit certificate from Department of Tourism after the summit
- Weather forecast report from Switzerland
Service in Kathmandu
- International and domestic airport transfers
- 4 nights in a preferred hotel in Kathmandu with breakfast
- Welcome and farewell dinner in Kathmandu
- Return flight from Kathmandu to Tumlingtar
- 2 X Thamserku Duffel bag per member
Service during Trekking
- 15 nights’ accommodation in a local lodge on full board (breakfast, lunch & dinners)
- Transportation from Tumlingtar Airport to Num, and Numb to Khandbari to Tumlingtar Airport after the expedition.
- Hot water for drinking purpose
- Medical Kit and oxygen during the trek
- Porters to carry trekking and expedition gears (1:1 ratio)
- The assistance of Guide and Sherpa during the trek
- Single tent per member with comfortable mattress & pillow
- Tent for climbing and Kitchen crew on twin sharing
- Kitchen, Dining, Shower and toilet tent (communication tent for 8 pax above)
- Solar panel/generator for light and battery charging
- Gas heater for the dining tent
- 3 meals a day, snacks, and unlimited tea and coffee on request
- Internet facility depending upon the network provider & group size
Service at higher camp: CI, CII, CII & CIV
- Brand new tent North Face/Ozark/Red Fox on twin sharing for members and climbing crew
- Total 7 bottles of POISK oxygen – 4 for members, 2 for Sherpa & 1 for emergency
- Latest Mask and regulator for members and Sherpa & one extra for emergency
- High Altitude food (B, L&D) for members and climbing crew
- Enough Epi gas, gas stove, and cooking pot set for CI, CII, CIII, and CIV
- 1 satellite for emergency and walkie-talkie for a member, Sherpa, and basecamp
- Group safety equipment, i.e. extra rope, carabiners, ice axe, ice screw
- Porterage of personal and group camping equipment
- Transportation charges for supplying fresh meat, fruits, and vegetables to the Base Camp
- Expedition Crew Allocation & Cost
- Climbing Crew: Expedition Manager/Climbing Guide and 1 personal Sherpa (1:1 ratio) for the summit
- One High Altitude Cook for group size 6 or above
- One Cook and required number of kitchen porters at the basecamp
- Porters to carry camping equipment’s and supply food from Lukla to Basecamp
- Equipment’s, daily wages, carrying bonus, and medical insurance for climbing crew/Sherpa
- Equipment’s, daily wages, and medical insurance for Kitchen crew and porters
- Summit bonus of US$1000 for climbing Sherpa once you make a summit attempt from Camp IV or US$500 if dropped from Camp IV
- Unexpected increment in the royalty fee/climbing permit
- International airfare and Nepal visa fee
- Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu
- Extra hotel nights in Kathmandu
- Personal travel, medical and rescue insurance
- Medical evacuation charge if required
- Personal trekking and climbing gears
- Tips for climbing Sherpa and Kitchen team at basecamp
- Service besides mentioned in inclusions example – extra oxygen, Sherpa and porters
MOUNTAINEERING GEARS CHECKLIST (7000m to 8848m)
- Down Suit - Recommended Absolute Zero Over suit by Mountain Hardwear, or Ulvetanna Suit by Berghaus, or The Himalayan Suit by The North Face, or the Expedition Suit by Rab.
- Down Jacket and a pair of Down Salopettes - Recommended Absolute Zero Parka and Absolute Zero Pants by Mountain Hardwear, or by Rab. - not very bulky
- Waterproof Jacket and Over trousers that goes over your alpine boot
- Balaclava - Recommended The North Face A3543 Unisex Wool Balaclava or similar covering nose and face
- Long sleeve Thermal shirt and Trousers - Recommended anti-sweat
- Fleece Jacket and Trousers - Recommended Patagonia, or The North Face, or Mountain Hardwear
- Liner gloves - thin and warm
- Down mitts - Recommended The North Face, or Marmot Expedition mitt, or Mountain Hardwear Absolute Zero Mittand.
- Mountain Gloves - Recommended water & windproof
- Gore-Tex Primaloft Glove - Recommended the North Face, or Mountain Hardwear.
- Smartwool Mountaineering Socks (2 pairs - new)
- Ultra-Soft Running / Hiking Socks (2 pairs - new)
- Mountaineering boot Recommended La Sportiva Olympus Mons Evo or Millet Everest GTX
- Alpine boot - Recommended La Sportiva Men's Nepal EVO GTX Boot or similar
- Climbing helmet - Recommended Black Diamond
- Ski Goggles with UV protection and anti-fog system
- Headlamp - Recommended Black Diamond &Petzl
- Spare batteries - Recommended Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries
- Harness Set
- Lightweight Harness - Recommended DMM Super Couloir, or Black Diamond Couloir Harness, or MammutOphira 3 Side climbing harness
- Ascender (Jummer) - Recommended Petzl or Black Diamond
- Abseiling device - Recommended Black Diamond ATC Guide Bley Device, or Petzl GRIGRI 2 Grey Belay, or Descent Device D14BG
- Screwgate Carabiners (2 X large, 2 X small sizes) - Recommended Petzl or Black Diamond
- Bent Gate Carabiners (2 medium sizes) - Recommended Petzl or Black Diamond
- 6 mm rope - Recommended 2 meters UIAA tested
- 6 mm rope - Recommended 5 meters UIAA tested
- 1 X tape sling - Recommended 120 cm UIAA tested
- Dynamic 8.9 mm rope (single rope) - Recommended 2 m UIAA tested
- Classical Alpine ice-axe - Recommended (70-90 cm) Petzl, or Grivel Air Tech, or Black Diamond
- Crampons that fits Mountaineering boots - Recommended Grivel G-12 New-Matic Crampons
- 55-65 Liter Rucksack - Recommended POD Black Ice, Crux AK47 (extendable) and Crux AK57
- Base Camp Duffel – XXL
- 2 X 5 season sleeping bag with compression bag - Recommended North Face and Mountain Hardwear
- 2 X 5 season foam sleeping mat - Recommended 72 x 20 inches (20 x 5 x 5.5 inches folded) and weigh around 14 ounces
- Swiss Army Knife with a multi-tools system or leathermen
TREKKING GEARS CHECKLIST (2000m to 5000m)
- Sun Hat/Normal cap
- Fleece or woollen hat
- Earmuffs/Ear warmers (optional)
- Sunglasses with UV protection
- Buff Scarf / thin face mask
- Fleece or woollen thin gloves
- Gore-Tex mitten gloves
- Gore-Tex Jacket
- Gore-Tex Pant
- Hiking pant
- Fleece trouser and jacket or warm jumper - Recommended not thick but warm enough that fits inside the Gore-Tex pant
- Anti-sweat T-shirt
- Thermal inner trouser
- Down jacket with hoodie
- Trekking boots
- Hollow Out Outdoor Slipper
- Trekking socks (4-5 pair)
- Snow Gaiter
- Sleeping bag (comfort rated - 15 ºC)
- 30 Liter Rucksack with cover
- Large size Duffel Bag with padlock
- Headlamp with spare batteries
- Water bottles 1 Liter
- Basic First Aid Kit including antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), altitude (Diamox), painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, insect repellent, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite). Glucose tablets and multi-vitamin tablets are also a good idea.
- Waterproof washing kit bag
- Towel - medium size
- Washing soap, towel, tooth pest, toothbrush etc.
- Sun Lotion Enough +30SPF (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)
- Handwash& sanitizer
- Toilet paper (you can buy this in the lodges)
- Wet tissues
- Trekking poles
- Trainers or similar for use in the lodges
- Baselayer leggings
- Sleeping bag liner
- Earplugs (particularly if you are not the one snoring)
- Pen-knife (remember to pack sharp objects in hold baggage)
- Repair kit – (e.g. needle, thread, duct tape)
Once services are price have been agreed and a booking has been secured then a deposit of 25% of the tour cost is required. The deposit can be made in any one of the four currencies (US$, £ Sterling, € Euros or NPR). The deposit sum required is to be made by cash or Credit/Debit card and any Credit/Debit card payment will carry a service surcharge of 3.5%. The balance (full payment) of the cost of the services to be provided is to be paid two month prior to the departure date of the first service to be provided. Once the full payment is been made, below cancellation charge applies:
- From 45 to 30 days: 30% cancellation charge of the total cost.
- From 29 to 15 days: 70% cancellation charge of the total cost.
- Less than 14 days: 75% cancellation charge of the total cost.
The deposit is non-refundable except owing to cancellation by Thamserku Trekking in which case the deposit will be refunded in full. In the event of cancellation by the client/s, only in exceptional circumstances might the deposit, or a part of the deposit, be refunded on a ‘good-will’ basis. Under no other circumstances will the original deposit be refunded. In the event of postponement by a client/s once the deposit has been paid, the deposit paid can be reallocated to a subsequent date (fixed or unfixed) within a 12 month period from the date of postponement advice. In this case prices are subject to review. Once the contracted program has begun no refund will be made or any consideration can be made only under extreme circumstances.
Tipping is generally expected by all the expedition staff at the end for the excellent service they had provided to make your expedition successful. Normally the tips are given at the end of the expedition and this is best done as a group. We recommend that each group member contributes around $1000 - $1500 for the expedition crew at the last evening at the base camp and part of the collection to the climbing guide/ leader in the last day dinner in Kathmandu. You are welcome to give away some of the equipment’s or clothing that you are not going to take back home, you can donate to the local staff, for this your group leader will make arrangements for a fair distribution among the crew.
Visas on Arrival
For the arrival visa in Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu, the immigration gets really busy during April, May, October and November; sometimes it takes hour to get the visa. Also, the wait is longer if you stand in the wrong queue. So below is the guideline for the visa on arrival and clearing the immigration at the airport. 1st Queue: Filling the application form. The clients can avoid this queue by filling the online application form (https://online.nepalimmigration.gov.np/tourist-visa) in their home country. A sample of the online application form with the necessary details has been filled (see attached). The clients should put the exact information as seen in the attached file; the hotel name could be different. Once you fill up the form and submit, they will receive another slip (see attached) which they need to print it out and bring along with them. 2nd Queue: Cash Counter. If the clients have online slip beforehand, they can stand directly at the cash counter avoiding the 1st queue. It is advised for the clients to carry the exact visa fee amount (cash) either in US $ or Euro, but not in Nepalese Rupees. 3rd Queue: Immigration. Once the payment is done, the clients need to stand at the Immigration line with the receipt from the cash counter and necessary documents.
Please ensure that you have a current passport well before travelling. It also needs an accurate photo and should be valid for at least six months after you are scheduled to return home. Also check that your airline tickets are in exactly the same name as your passport.
Copies of key documents
We recommend that you photocopy the main pages of your passport, your airline ticket, itinerary, insurance policy and credit cards. Keep one set of photocopies with you, separate from the originals. Leave one set of copies at home with family or friends. It is also worth taking some extra passport photos with you.
The Trekking Day
The day usually begins between 6.30 am and 7.30 am. After you have packed all your gear into your kitbag, breakfast will be ready. While you are eating, the crew members will make up the loads for the porters. You will often be on the trail by 7.30 am, though at higher altitudes the start is usually later, as we wait for the sun to warm the air a little.
Medical preparation/Travel Insurance and Safety Guidelines
- Every Thamserku Trekking traveller is required to have comprehensive travel insurance. This covers you for medical costs associated with hospitalization, emergency travel and repatriation back to your home country. Remember to bring a copy of your insurance policy with you or send us the scanned copy.
- Apart from having travel insurance and being in generally good health, some pre-holiday health preparation is advised. We strongly recommend you visit your doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. They will advise you regarding the appropriate inoculations and in some places anti-malarial medication may also be required. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure so allow plenty of time. Obtain a certificate of vaccination and carry this with you on this trip. A dental checkup is also highly recommended before departure.
- Acclimatization to high altitudes (generally for trips over 3500 meters): We take this very seriously, which is why we have one of the best safety records in the Himalaya. We have over 30 years of experience in the region and our success rates on high altitude treks are very high. Our itineraries allow for a safe approach to high altitudes, following the guidelines set out by the Himalayan Rescue Association. We even carry Oxygen, mask and regulator for your safety and peace of mind on all treks proceeding above 4000 meters.
- Our leaders are highly experienced mountain guides. Please follow their instructions very carefully as you ascend to high altitudes: walking slowly rather than hurrying, wearing sunglasses during the day, maintaining a high level of (non-alcoholic!) fluid consumption, not sleeping during the day, wearing adequate warm clothing are all factors of importance. Your leader will brief you fully on these considerations prior to the start of your trek.
- In addition, if you are taking any medications with you which may have been suggested as an aid to acclimatization - Diamox is quite commonly suggested - it is vital that you advise your leader in Kathmandu before you leave for the start of the trek. He will then discuss with you the advantages and disadvantages of taking this medication, and in particular when you should consider starting it and the duration for which it should be taken. Be aware that many trekkers have no need for such medication.
- The official currency of Nepal is the Nepali rupee (NPR). Its symbol is often displayed as Rs.
- Refer to https://www.nrb.org.np/fxmexchangerate.php for current exchange rates.
- ATMs can only be found in Kathmandu, Pokhara and Bhaktapur. Money exchange facilities are available in Kathmandu, Pokhara, Chitwan (only outside the park) and Bhaktapur.
- The Government of Nepal has banned the import, export and use of 500 and 1000 Indian rupee notes in Nepal. You should ensure you are not carrying these notes on arrival in Nepal as they will be confiscated and you may be fined.
- Please note that most establishments in Asia will not accept foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded and they can be very difficult to exchange or extra fees added when exchanging at banks. Please ensure that you have new, clean notes.
If you have booked an arrival/departure transfer or is included in the program price. Please ensure that we have been advised of your correct flight details into Kathmandu by either yourself or your travel agent. Your Group Leader will be at Kathmandu airport to meet your flight and transfer you to your hotel.
If you encounter any problems on or need any assistance, please Contact our Emergency number below:
- 1st Contact: Dawa Sherpa (Expedition Manager): +977-9801333616
- 2nd Contact: Yalamber Rai (Operations Manager): +77-9851131344
- Office Hours only: Thamserku Office: 00977-1-4433886
We are a partner with Travelife – sustainability in Tourism. We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimize the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects.