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Makalu: History, Routes, Weather and more


Makalu is the 5th tallest mountain above sea level in the world. Its highest point is 27,838 feet. Makalu is located 12 miles south east of Mount Everest in the Mahlangur Himalayas. It has 2 subsidiary peaks, Makalu II at 25,190 feet, and Chomo Lonzo at 25,604 feet. Makalu is a 4-sided mountain in the shape of a pyramid. This article identifies Makalu’s history, indigenous people, and other interesting facts and useful information.


The first recorded attempt to climb Makalu was in 1954 by an American team. However, the first recorded summit of the mountain was made on May 15, 1955 by a French team including Lionel Terray and Jean Couzy. Makalu has been summited a little over 200 times. The fatality to summit ratio is 11%.


Makalu is probably the 3rd most difficult mountain to summit, behind Annapurna I, and Kangchenjunga. The routes on the western side of the mountain are extremely steep. The easiest route to reach the summit is along the north face of the mountain and along the northeast ridge. The ridge connects Makalu II to Makalu.

The climbing route is divided into 3 sections. The first involves hiking to Base Camp on a glacier. This section has a gradual slope and is reported as being the easy part of the climb. The second part involves climbing along the ridge in exposed conditions, which is more difficult. The last part of the route is the most difficult and involves an extremely steep rocky ridge summit.


Most people choose to summit Makalu in May. May is generally regarded as the best time to summit an 8,000-meter peak in Nepal. If you are visiting and have no intention of summiting, fall and winter have great weather for views. Spring is also good, but it can get a little cloudy. Summer time is probably the worst time to visit.


Sherpa, Tamang, and Sunwar are the primary ethnic groups of the Sagarmatha area. There are also other indigenous groups, which include Bhote, Jirel, and Thami. However, I do not have any information on the last three groups.


Sunwar people are from eastern Nepal. They primary follow animism, which is similar to shamanism. There are 52 different subgroups or clans of Sunwar people. Sunwar means golden.


Sherpas are one of the most famous groups of Nepal, receiving notoriety for their ability to live in high altitudes. They are hired to carry equipment for people who attempt to summit Mount Everest. The word Sherpa means Eastern People, which describes where they live and where they come from. Sherpa people speak a dialect of Tibetan. There are many sub-groups or clans of Sherpa people.


The Tamang are an indigenous group of people in the north east area of Nepal. Their name means horse trader in Tibetan. Tamangs are divided into several subgroups or clans. They have their own language that is similar to Tibetan-Bhurmese like the group Gurung. Most Tamangs follow Buddhism.

Makalu-Barun National Park and Conservation Area

The Makalu Barun National Park is the 8th national park in Nepal. The park is over 580 square miles and protects endemic plants and animals. The parks ecosystem ranges from tropical to alpine tundra. The National Park was established in 1992 as part of the Sagarmatha National Park.

Naturalists identified 3,128 species of flowering plants and over 500 animal species with many of them being endangered.