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Makalu Rapid Ascent™

27.7172° N, 85.3240° E
Makalu Expedition

Makalu Rapid Ascent™ Expedition

Advanced 35 Days Nepal
Climb Makalu (27,766’ / 8463m), the fifth tallest mountain in the world with our professional mountain guides. By utilizing Hypoxico tents for 6 weeks prior to departure and air support from Kathmandu to Advanced Base Camp, we are able to complete this typically 6-7 week expedition in just 35 days.
Apr 21, 2024 – May 25, 2024
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Adrian Ballinger climbing up Makalu for his ski descent of Makalu
Adrian Ballinger climbing up Makalu during his ski descent of Makalu

Makalu, a stunning 4-sided pyramid, stands isolated on the Nepali-Tibetan border, close to and easily visible from Mt. Everest and the Khumbu Valley, but far away from the common tourist treks and climbs.

For years, Makalu has seen few ascents and only non-commercial teams. The difficult and long trek into Makalu base camp was one reason for this. With the aid of pre-acclimatization and helicopters, we now avoid this trek and immediately access the stellar climbing on Makalu itself. From Advanced Base Camp at the foot of Makalu’s glaciers, we progressively place camps and ascend on Makalu’s slopes. 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 8,000 meter peaks.

FITNESS

Climbers must be in excellent physical shape to join this expedition. This is perhaps the most important aspect of high altitude climbing, and cannot be stressed enough. Regular, challenging exercise for many months in advance of departure is the only way to gain the necessary level of fitness that is needed on big peaks. We highly recommend a structured training regime with a gym or personal trainer to assist you in preparing for climbing at altitude. Please contact us for more information on physical training.

TECHNICAL

Must be able to climb moderate rock, ice, and snow terrain, often with an alpine pack on your back. You should be comfortable with camp craft in high-altitude camps, and able to perform at a high level for multiple days in a row at altitude. Prior ascents of multiple 6000 – 7000 meter peaks is required.

ALTITUDE

Climbers must have substantial climbing experience to join our Makalu Expedition. Prior ascents of multiple 6000 – 7000 meter peaks is required. Climbers must be able to climb technical terrain with an alpine pack on their back. Climbers should also be comfortable with camp craft in high- altitude camps and be able to perform at a high level for multiple days in a row at altitude.
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Makalu Expedition Itinerary

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Day 1
Arrive in Kathmandu, Nepal

Today you’ll arrive in Kathmandu and transfer to our hotel, and begin the process of getting over jet lag.

Day 2
Explore Kathmandu

After settling in from our travels, we explore some of Kathmandu’s most famous sites. These include Swayambhu (the Monkey Temple), Pashupati (Nepal’s largest Hindu temple), Boudhanath (Kathmandu’s most important Buddhist temple) and the old city’s original central square, Durbar. We also have our first team meeting, and organize our equipment.

Day 3
Fly to Pheriche

Today we’ll make our way into the Khumbu, taking a heli flight from Kathmandu to the village of Pheriche. After settling in, we’ll make a quick trek in the afternoon for some fitness and added acclimatization.

Day 4
Trek to Chukkung

We’ll continue working our way deeper into the mountains, trekking up the Chukkung Valley to the small village of Chukhung. At 15,400’, Chukhung will serve as our last stop before we fly to the Advanced Base Camp on Makalu. After finishing our trek, we’ll rest and prepare for our hike up Chukhung Ri (18,238’) in the morning.

Day 5
Climb Chukhung Ri

An early morning will see us trek to the summit of Chukhung Ri, a 18,238’ peak above the village of Chukhung. The non-technical peak will give us a chance to touch 18k and recover by sleeping low before heading to Makalu tomorrow. After finishing up the trek, we’ll pack and prepare for our Heli flight to Advanced Base Camp in the morning.

Day 6
Fly to Advanced Base Camp

The time has come to reach our objective. A quick and stunning Heli flight from Chukhung will see us arrive to ABC at 18,600’. We’ll spend the day settling into our new home for the next 29 days.

Day 7 & 8
Rest/Acclimatize in ABC

We’ll spend the next two days acclimatizing while we take in the magnitude and beauty of the mountain that we are about to attempt.

Day 9
Climb to Camp 1

After completing our Puja Ceremony asking the mountain for permission to climb its slopes, we’ll start our first acclimatization rotation by making our way up to Camp 1 at 20,300’, 6,300m. After departing ABC, we make our way up a rocky moraine before reaching the start of the glacier. The glacier here is low-angle and makes for easy climbing.

Climbing Makalu, however, is no easy feat, as proven by the steeper ice and snow wall that we’ll climb via fixed lines just before reaching C1. We’ll reach camp shortly after climbing the steep ice and snow section. It will take us 4-6 hours to climb the +1,700′ to C1 today

Day 10
Acclimatize in C1

We’ll spend the day resting and acclimatizing in C1.

Day 11
Touch C2 & Descend to ABC

After spending two nights acclimatizing in C1, we’ll cross a gentle sloping glacier and touch Camp 2 at 21,650’ before descending back down to ABC, marking the end of our first acclimatization rotation. The day will see us climb +1,350′ and descend nearly 3,000′.

Day 12 & 13
Rest in ABC

We’ll spend the next two days resting and preparing to make our second acclimatization rotation

Day 14
Climb to C1

Today we’ll start our second and final acclimatization rotation as we make our way back up the low angle glacier before once again climbing the steep ice and snow section to C1. We’ll move quicker this time around having made the same climb only a few days prior.

Day 15
Climb to C2

We’ll spend the day retracing our steps towards Camp 2, as we cross the broad glaciated slopes before reaching camp for the night at 21,650’.

Day 16
Touch 23,300′ & Descend to C1

Following the age old technique of “climbing high and sleeping low”, today we’ll make our the high point of our acclimatization rotations before our final summit push. After a nights rest at C2, we’ll climb towards Makalu La and C3, climbing to at least 23,300’. Having reached 23,300’, we’ll turn around and descend to C1. We’ll climb for 6-8 hours climbing +1,650′ and descending over 3,000′.

Day 17
Descend to ABC

Today we’ll make the descent to ABC, wrapping up our final acclimatization rotation.

Day 18-21
Rest in ABC/Prepare for Summit Bid

We’ll spend the next four days resting and watching the weather as we prepare to start our bid for the summit of the 5th tallest peak in the world.

Day 22
Climb to C1

After three weeks, the time to start our journey to the summit of Makalu. We’ll start by climbing the now familiar gentle slopes to the steep ice section that protects C1. We’ll climb this steep section for a third and final time, as we arrive at the first of three camps on our way to the summit.

Day 23
Climb to C2

A quick and easy day will see us cross the glacier to C2 for the third time. Tomorrow we’ll push up to C3 and our new high point on the mountain.

Day 24
Climb to C3

Utilizing oxygen from here on out to maximize success and safety, we’ll continue onward up the mountain. An early morning will see us start climbing the steep snow slopes as we make the long climb to the Makalu La and C3. The will be a long and hard day, but spectacular views of the summit and the rest of our route will give us the stoke to push on to C4 in the morning.

Day 25
Summit Bid

Today is the day, your years of preparation and hard work are about to pay off. An early alpine start will see us climbing well before the sun rises, as we charge towards the summit of Makalu. We’ll make a quick traverse to Camp 4, and continue on as we climb moderate glacial slopes to the French Couloir. The couloir is steep and entails crossing small rock bands interspersed with snow climbing. From the top of the couloir we follow the exposed ridge on rock past the false summit and to the top of the world’s fifth tallest mountain.Standing at 27,766’, 8,463m, the views from the summit are unparalleled. Kanchenjunga rises in the east, Shishapangma in the west, and the mighty Everest to the Northwest.

From the summit, we’ll descend back to C2. The summit day on Makalu is a big push, taking 14-18 hours and seeing us gain +3,300’ and lose another 6,000’.

Day 26
Descend to ABC

From C2, we’ll descend the gradual slopes to C1 and past the steep snow and ice section for the final time on our way back down to ABC. Once in ABC we’ll celebrate our successful summit of the 5th tallest peak in the world.

Day 27-32
Extra Days

These are extra days to use for weather delays, acclimatization, etc.

Day 33
Pack Up Camp

After celebrating our summit and getting some much needed rest, we’ll spend the day preparing to catch our Heli out of camp tomorrow morning.

Day 34
Fly to Kathmandu

Today we’ll say our goodbyes to the slopes on Makalu, as we catch a helicopter ride from ABC back to Kathmandu, marking the end of our adventure on the 5th tallest peak in the world.

Day 35
Fly Home

Today you’ll depart Kathmandu for home.

Our Makalu Guides

Meet some of the guides that you might be climbing Makalu with.

Makalu Expedition Questions

Below are some answers to commonly asked questions about climbing Makalu
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