Makalu (8,463m)

The fifth highest mountain in the world 

Latitude: 27° 53’ 23” N, Longitude: 87° 05’ 20” E

Mt.Makalu is 20 km east of Everest in the Khumbu region and is the fifth highest moutain in the world. The mountain lies in the Makalu Barun National Park and is known for its perfect pyramid shape with four sharp ridges. North of the mountain lies Tibet and it has two notable subsidiary peaks. Kangchungtse, or Makalu II, 7,678 m lies north-northwest of the main summit. The other is Chomo Lonzo which lies just north of the main peak. The first attempt on Makalu was made by an American team led by William Siri in the spring of 1954. They attempted the southeast ridge but were turned back at 7,100 m by a constant barrage of storms. In the fall of 1954, a French reconnaissance expedition made the first ascent of the subsidiary summit

Kangchungtse on 22nd October. They were Jean Franco, Gyaltsen Norbu and Pa Norbu. Makalu was first climbed on 15th May 1955 by Lionel Terray and Jean Couzy, members of a French Expedition led by Jean Franco. The very next day, Franco, G. Magnone and Gyaltsen Norbu also summitted followed by Bouvier, S. Coupe, Leroux and A. Vialatte on the 17th. The expedition climbed from the north face and northeast ridge via the saddle between Makalu and Kangchungtse which subsequently became the standard route. The first ascent of the southeast ridge was made by Y. Ozaki and A. Tanaka from a Japanese expedition on 23rd May 1970. An American team had tried before them and failed. The very technical West Pillar route was climbed in May 1971 by Frenchmen B. Mellet and Y. Seigneur. Makalu is one of the harder eight-thousanders and is considered one of the most difficult mountains in the world to climb. The mountain has challenging steep pitches and knife while the final ascent of the summit pyramid involves technical rock climbing. In 2006, a French mountaineer named Jean-Christophe Lafailee disappeared on Makalu while trying to make the first winter ascent. This mountain is the only Nepalese 8,000 m peak which has yet to be climbed in true winter conditions. The first Nepali to climb Makalu was Ang Chepal Sherpa on 1st May 1978. Note: Most of the sherpas who climbed with the expeditions in the 1950s were considered Indian nationals as they had been living in India.

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