Amid the popularity of Everest and Annapurna, trekking in the relatively less visited trail; also, equally pleasing and adventurous can be the ultimate experience for every trekker out there. The fact that Nepal homes eight out of fourteen tallest mountains in the world, yet the dominated-popularity of just the eminent one, Everest at 8,848 meters is baffling. Craved in such an exquisite way by nature, every peak in the Himalayas is as enticing as the Everest and the journey obviously is worth seeking.
And Makalu, the fifth tallest mountain in the world at 8,485 meters attracts avid adventurers from around the world, and it's base camp has proved to be the equally favored destination of trekkers.
Located in the southeast of Mount Everest, Makalu homes two other notable subsidiary peaks Makalu at 7,678 meters and Chomo Lonzo at 7,804 meters. The magnificent range of mountains in such an impressive array is a major thing to witness in Makalu. So what lies further beyond the majestic peaks, let us see in details about the Makalu Base Camp trek.
About Makalu Base Camp Trek
Although Makalu is one of the eight-thousanders, it is least-sought and is also referred as an isolated peak. Its shape as a four-sided pyramid is another interesting part. Scaling towards the base of this towering peak is no less than any thrilling adventure.
Makalu Base Camp trek starts from the mid-eastern region of Tumlingtar and gradually scales higher to more serene and pleasing area. It is a high altitude trek that takes you through the stunning landscapes of delightful rhododendron forest, traditional settlements, beautiful rivers and streams, and the rich biodiversity.
As we move higher, the panorama of mountains gets bigger, and high altitude lakes and pass comes to show. Also, the diverse and distant settlement of Rai, Limbu, Sherpa, Gurung, Tamang, Brahim, and Chhetri all along is another charming part of the trek.
Makalu Base Camp Trek Difficulty
The trek is a long one that around 20 days and as long as the trek is, it is strenuous as well. The height of the base camp at 5,100 meters, that takes us to the extreme climatic zone, so apart from difficulty, the altitude sickness is another thing to be cautious of in Makalu Base Camp trek.
The long days of the trek can result in altitude sickness symptoms in almost every trekker, but the slow pace with acclimatization will help you cope with the situation.
Makalu Base Camp trek is best for experienced trekkers and adventure-junkies, so it is best if beginners avoid this trek.
Also, trekking in the favorable time of year increases the chances of success of trek. The best time for Makalu Base Camp trek is from September to November and March-May.
Makalu Base Camp Permits
It is often a matter of confusion for trekkers who wants to embark on Makalu Base Camp that “Is Makalu Base Camp trek restricted?” – Well, the answer is no.
All you need is TIMS card and entry permit of Makalu Barun National Park.
However, if you choose to connect the Upper Arun Valley with Makalu Base Camp trek, then you will need a restricted area trekking permit for Sankhuwasabha District. And if you visit the restricted area of Makalu Kimathangka, Chepuwa, Hatiya and Pawakhola, then again you will need restricted area permit. However, for the usual route of Makalu Base Camp trek, there is no restriction or whatsoever.
Makalu Base Camp Trek Solo
Going for Makalu Base Camp all on your own is possible, and many trekkers have accomplished this trek solely in the past.
If you have experience in trekking or skills and training, then you are up for this challenge. However, again, if you a beginner or this is your first time trekking, then best go for some lower altitude treks.
You can easily get a map of trek in Thamel, but they aren’t 100% accurate. But they are important to for the general knowledge of what proximity you are trekking towards.
Makalu Base Camp Trek Highlights
Full of Natural Wonder
The trek to Makalu Base Camp is extremely delightful where you will get captivated by stunning snow-capped mountains and also get an opportunity to explore the lakes and glaciers of icy and rocky land of base camp and then head downwards to green forest and valleys. Not to mention the high pass of Tutu La (4,125 meters), also knows a Shipton’s Pass while descending.
Makalu Base Camp showcases the wonders of nature at its best. Himalayan landscapes, granite cliffs, waterfalls, hanging glaciers; the trek will let you witness the utmost natural beauty.
Closer view of Everest
Getting a most closer and clear view of the tallest mountain in the world is certainly one of the rare moments in our life. Although the trek is in a different region, Makalu Base Camp serves as a perfect vantage point for viewing unobstructed view of Everest, Chamlang, Lhotse, Kanchenjunga massif and Makalu among others.
The staggering view of mountains from the camp and all along the route of various peaks in most tranquil paths is one of the attractions of Makalu Base Camp trek.
Makalu Barun National Park
Mount Makalu is the major part of Makalu Barun National Park, and trekking towards its base lets you observe the remarkable biodiversity of the park. There are 3,128 species of flowering plants in the park including 25 varieties of rhododendron and aromatic and medicinal plants.
Not just the flora, but the wildlife too has wide diversity. With 315 species of butterflies and 440 bird species of bird, the park is also perfect for bird and butterfly watching. Also, there are 43 species of reptile, 16 species of amphibians and 78 species of fish in the park. Snow leopard, red panda, musk deer, wild boar, black bear, clouded leopard are some of the mammals form 88 species in the park.
Meeting new people of different background, culture, and tradition is always an exciting moment. Their perspective and way of life can sometimes really inspire and awe us. In Makalu Base Camp trek, which is mainly dominated by the settlement of Sherpa and Rai ethnic groups are living a simple and isolated life retaining their rich cultural heritage. Right because of this isolation, the biological and cultural treasure of Makalu is still intact than other regions.
The trek welcomes a fewer number of trekkers because of its relative inaccessibility and trekking in one of the least-visited place of Nepal; you will have the unforgettable experience in Makalu Base Camp Trek.
Makalu Base Camp Route
The challenging yet rewarding trek of Makalu Base Camp starts with a flight to Tumlingtar from Kathmandu and driving towards Num.
From Num, we start ascending to the base camp and pass typical villages of Sedua, Tashigoan, Kauma, Mumbuk, Kharka, and Sherson before arriving at Makalu Base Camp. It typically takes a day for each villages to pass by with 5-7 hours of walk daily.
After spending a day of exploration in Makalu, from where the south face of Makalu and other tallest peaks like Everest and Lhotse are clearly visible; we pave our way back.
Yeti seen in Makalu Base Camp
So far, yetis’ are taken as a mythical creature, but are they? On April 9, 2019, the Indian Mountaineering Expedition sighted footprints measuring 32x15 inches for the first time near Makalu Base Camp.
Well, looking at the footages, it certainly raises the question of Yetis’ existence. Also known as Abominable Snowman, is said are the inhabitants in the Himalayas, and their existence has remained unproven so far.
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