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Makalu (8,481) is the fifth highest in the world. It is an isolated mountain that lies just 14 miles east of Mount Everest. Its shape looks like a four-sided pyramid and considered to be one of the most challenging mountains in the world to climb due to having steep pitches and knife-edged ridges. The final ascent towards the summit involves technical rock and ice climbing.
At the foothill of Mt. Makalu, there lies the Barun Valley. This valley offers stunning elevated waterfalls falling inside the deep gorges, diverse species of flora and fauna with rich cultures of ethnic communities like Sherpa and Kirat. Although this area is somewhat isolated, every visitor who explores this part of the world will surely have a lifetime memory. There are 4 camps that we follow to reach the summit of Makalu. The base camp is normally established at 5,600m, Camp1 is at 6,100m, Camp 2 is at 6600m, Camp3 is at 7200m and the last camp is at 7600m.
After spending several evenings at base camp for acclimatization and climbing training, we will make the short walk to Advanced Base Camp that lies at an elevation of 5,600 meters. Advanced Base Camp is our main camp located on a rocky dome at 5,600 m. From Advanced Base Camp we climb a rocky moraine and then enter into a gentle angled glacier. We climb a steep ice and snow wall with fixed ropes in place just before reaching Camp 1 located at an elevation of 6,100 meters. The route from Camp 1 ascends to an easy broad glacier to the site of Camp 2 located at an elevation of 6,600 meters. The climb to Camp 3 is long and steep and takes us to the Makalu La at an elevation of 7,200 meters. This is the hardest part of the climb. We make an easy traverse to Camp 4 at 7,600 meters which allows us to make a shorter summit day. From Camp 4 we climb moderate glacial slopes to the French Couloir. The couloir is steep and involves crossing rock bands mixed with snow climbing. From the top of the couloir, we follow the ridge on a rock past the false summit and on to the true summit.