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Makalu from the southwest
Highest point
Elevation 8,463 m (27,766 ft) [1] [notes 1]
Ranked 5th
Prominence 2,386 m (7,828 ft)
Isolation 17 km (11 mi)  OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
Listing Eight-thousander
Coordinates 27°53′23″N87°05′20″E / 27.88972°N 87.08889°E / 27.88972; 87.08889 Coordinates: 27°53′23″N87°05′20″E / 27.88972°N 87.08889°E / 27.88972; 87.08889 [1]
Nepal Province No 1 rel location map.svg
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Location in Nepal and Tibet Autonomous Region
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Makalu (Nepal)
China Tibet Autonomous Region rel location map.svg
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Makalu (Tibet)
Location Province No. 1 (Khumbu), Nepal / Tibet Autonomous Region, China
Parent range Mahalangur Himalaya
First ascent May 15, 1955 by Lionel Terray and Jean Couzy
Easiest route snow/ice climb

Makalu (Chinese :馬卡魯峰; Nepali : मकालु हिमाल) is the fifth highest mountain in the world at 8,485 metres (27,838 ft). It is located in the Mahalangur Himalayas 19 km (12 mi) southeast of Mount Everest, on the border between Nepal and Tibet Autonomous Region, China. One of the eight-thousanders, Makalu is an isolated peak whose shape is a four-sided pyramid.


Makalu has two notable subsidiary peaks. Kangchungtse, or Makalu II (7,678 m) lies about 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) north-northwest of the main summit. Rising about 5 km (3.1 mi) north-northeast of the main summit across a broad plateau, and connected to Kangchungtse by a narrow, 7,200 m saddle, is Chomo Lonzo (7,804 m).

Climbing history

The first climb on Makalu was made by an American team led by Riley Keegan in the spring of 1954. The expedition was composed of Sierra Club members including Allen Steck, and was called the California Himalayan Expedition to Makalu. [2] They attempted the southeast ridge but were turned back at 7,100 metres (23,300 ft) by a constant barrage of storms. A New Zealand team including Sir Edmund Hillary was also active in the spring, but did not get very high due to injury and illness. In the fall of 1954, a French reconnaissance expedition made the first ascents of the subsidiary summits Kangchungtse (October 22: Jean Franco, Lionel Terray, sirdar Gyalzen Norbu Sherpa and Pa Norbu) and Chomo Lonzo (October 30?: Jean Couzy and Terray). [3]

Makalu was first summited on May 15, 1955 by Lionel Terray and Jean Couzy of a French expedition led by Jean Franco. Franco, Guido Magnone and Gyalzen Norbu Sherpa summitted the next day, followed by Jean Bouvier, Serge Coupé, Pierre Leroux and André Vialatte on the 17th. This was an amazing achievement at the time, to have the vast majority of expedition members summit, especially on such a difficult peak. Prior to this time, summits were reached by one to two expedition members at most, with the rest of teams providing logistical support before turning around and heading home. The French team climbed Makalu by the north face and northeast ridge, via the saddle between Makalu and Kangchungtse (the Makalu-La), establishing the standard route. [3]

An ascent without oxygen was attempted by the 1960-61 Silver Hut expedition but two attempts did not succeed.

Notable ascents

Glacier on Makalu Makalu 9916.JPG
Glacier on Makalu
Makalu Makalu 9982.JPG
Makalu 3D Makalu 3D.gif
Makalu 3D
Makalu viewed form Guphapokhari. Makalu-seen-from-guphapokhari.jpg
Makalu viewed form Guphapokhari.

Makalu is one of the more difficult eight-thousanders, and is considered one of the most difficult mountains in the world to climb. The mountain is notorious for its steep pitches and knife-edged ridges that are completely open to the elements. The final ascent of the summit pyramid involves technical rock/ice climbing.

2004 photo mosaic: the Himalayas with Makalu and Mount Everest from the International Space Station, Expedition 8.

Makalu-Barun Valley

Makalu-Barun Valley - A glacier valley starting from the foot of the Makalu. Barun Valley - Nghe.jpg
Makalu-Barun Valley – A glacier valley starting from the foot of the Makalu.

Makalu-Barun Valley is a Himalayan glacier valley situated at the base of Makalu in the Sankhuwasabha district of Nepal. This valley lies entirely inside the Makalu Barun National Park.

Barun Valley provides stunning contrasts, where high waterfalls cascade into deep gorges, craggy rocks rise from lush green forests, and colorful flowers bloom beneath white snow peaks. This unique landscape shelters some of the last pristine mountain ecosystems on Earth. Rare species of animals and plants flourish in diverse climates and habitats, relatively undisturbed by human kind.


Himalaya annotated.jpgSouth Col route
Makalu area – including Everest southern and northern climbing routes – as seen from the International Space Station. (The names on the photo are links to corresponding pages.)

In other media

Makalu Peak is referenced in the animated X-Men: Evolution series episode titled "Dark Horizon – Part 2". It is the burial place of the villain Apocalypse.

The Makalu area has been a focus for yeti expeditions. [15]

Related Research Articles

K2 Second-highest mountain on Earth, located on the China–Pakistan border in the disputed region of Kashmir, also claimed by India

K2, at 8,611 metres (28,251 ft) above sea level, is the second highest mountain in the world, after Mount Everest at 8,848 metres (29,029 ft). It is located on the China–Pakistan border between Baltistan in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of northern Pakistan, and Dafdar Township in Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County of Xinjiang, China. K2 is the highest point of the Karakoram mountain range and the highest point in both Pakistan and Xinjiang.

Annapurna Massif Himalayan mountain range in north-central Nepal

Annapurna is a massif in the Himalayas in north-central Nepal that includes one peak over 8,000 metres (26,247 ft), thirteen peaks over 7,000 metres (22,966 ft), and sixteen more over 6,000 metres (19,685 ft). The massif is 55 kilometres (34 mi) long, and is bounded by the Kali Gandaki Gorge on the west, the Marshyangdi River on the north and east, and by Pokhara Valley on the south. At the western end, the massif encloses a high basin called the Annapurna Sanctuary. The highest peak of the massif, Annapurna I Main, is the tenth highest mountain in the world at 8,091 metres (26,545 ft) above sea level. Maurice Herzog led a French expedition to its summit through the north face in 1950, making it the first of the eight-thousanders to be climbed and the only 8,000 meter-peak to be conquered on the first try.

Lhotse Mountain in Nepal

Lhotse is the fourth highest mountain in the world at 8,516 metres (27,940 ft), after Mount Everest, K2, and Kangchenjunga. Part of the Everest massif, Lhotse is connected to the latter peak via the South Col. Lhotse means "South Peak" in Tibetan. In addition to the main summit at 8,516 metres (27,940 ft) above sea level, the mountain comprises the smaller peaks Lhotse Middle (East) at 8,414 m (27,605 ft), and Lhotse Shar at 8,383 m (27,503 ft). The summit is on the border between Tibet of China and the Khumbu region of Nepal.

Cho Oyu Mountain in Nepal/China

Cho Oyu is the sixth-highest mountain in the world at 8,188 metres (26,864 ft) above sea level. Cho Oyu means "Turquoise Goddess" in Tibetan. The mountain is the westernmost major peak of the Khumbu sub-section of the Mahalangur Himalaya 20 km west of Mount Everest. The mountain stands on the China–Nepal border.

Dhaulagiri Mountain in Nepal; 7th highest in world

The Dhaulagiri massif in Nepal extends 120 km (70 mi) from the Kaligandaki River west to the Bheri. This massif is bounded on the north and southwest by tributaries of the Bheri River and on the southeast by the Myagdi Khola. Dhaulagiri is the seventh highest mountain in the world at 8,167 metres (26,795 ft) above sea level, and the highest mountain within the borders of a single country (Nepal). It was first climbed on 13 May 1960 by a Swiss/Austrian/Nepali expedition.

Nanga Parbat 9th highest mountain on Earth, located in Pakistan

Nanga Parbat, known locally as Diamer, is the ninth-highest mountain in the world at 8,126 metres (26,660 ft) above sea level. Located in the Diamer District of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan, Nanga Parbat is the western anchor of the Himalayas. The name Nanga Parbat is derived from the Sanskrit words nagna and parvata, which, when combined, translate to "Naked Mountain". The mountain is known locally by its Tibetan name Diamer or Deo Mir, meaning "huge mountain".

Pumori Himalayan mountain

Pumori is a mountain on the Nepal-China border in the Mahalangur section of the Himalayas. Pumori lies just eight kilometres west of Mount Everest. Pumori, meaning "the Mountain Daughter" in Sherpa language, was named by George Mallory. "Pumo" means young girl or daughter and "Ri" means mountain in Sherpa language. Climbers sometimes refer to Pumori as "Everest's Daughter". Mallory also called it Clare Peak, after his daughter.

Ama Dablam

Ama Dablam is a mountain in the eastern Himalayan range of Province No. 1, Nepal. The main peak is 6,812 metres (22,349 ft), the lower western peak is 6,170 metres (20,243 ft). Ama Dablam means "Mother's necklace"; the long ridges on each side like the arms of a mother (ama) protecting her child, and the hanging glacier thought of as the dablam, the traditional double-pendant containing pictures of the gods, worn by Sherpa women. For several days, Ama Dablam dominates the eastern sky for anyone trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp. For its soaring ridges and steep faces Ama Dablam is sometimes referred as the "Matterhorn of the Himalayas."

Scott Fischer

Scott Eugene Fischer was an American mountaineer and mountain guide. He was renowned for his ascents of the world's highest mountains made without the use of supplemental oxygen. Fischer and Wally Berg were the first Americans to summit Lhotse, the world's fourth highest peak. Fischer, Charley Mace, and Ed Viesturs summitted K2 without supplemental oxygen. Fischer first climbed Mount Everest in 1994 and later died during the 1996 blizzard on Everest while descending from the peak.


Gaurishankar is a mountain in the Nepal Himalayas, the second highest peak of the Rolwaling Himal, behind Melungtse (7,181m). The name comes from the Hindu goddess Gauri, a manifestation of Durga, and her consort Shankar, denoting the sacred regard to which it is afforded it by the people of Nepal. The Sherpas name the mountain as Jomo Tseringma. The Nepal Standard Time (GMT+05:45) is based on the meridian of this mountain peak.

Chomo Lonzo

Chomo Lonzo is a mountain in Tibet, 5 km northeast of Makalu in the Mahalungur (Mohalingor) or Khumbu Himalayas. Alternate spellings of the same name include Chomolonzo, Chomolönzo, Chomo Lönzo, Jomolönzo, and Lhamalangcho.

Alan Hinkes British Himalayan mountaineer

Alan Hinkes OBE is an English Himalayan high-altitude mountaineer from Northallerton in North Yorkshire. He is the first and remains the only British mountaineer to claim all 14 Himalayan eight-thousanders, which he did on 30 May 2005.

Lionel Terray

Lionel Terray was a French climber who made many first ascents, including Makalu in the Himalaya and Cerro Fitz Roy in the Patagonian Andes.

Kumbhakarna Mountain

Mount Kumbhakarna or Jannu is the 32nd highest mountain in the world. It is an important western outlier of Kangchenjunga, the world's third highest peak. Kumbhakarna is a large and steep peak in its own right, and has numerous challenging climbing routes.

Artur Hajzer Polish mountain climber

Artur Henryk Hajzer was a Polish mountaineer. Hajzer climbed seven eight-thousanders, several via new routes and made the first winter climb of Annapurna on February 3, 1987. He also summited Annapurna East (8010m) via a new route up the SE face in 1988. All these climbs were done together with Jerzy Kukuczka, without supplemental oxygen or Sherpa support. Artur also attempted Lhotse South Face three times, reaching 8200 m in 1985, 8300 m in 1987 and 7200 m in 1989. He also organised a rescue operation on Mount Everest’s West Ridge for Andrzej Marciniak in 1989. On September 30, 2011, he summited Makalu with Adam Bielecki and Tomasz Wolfart. In July 2013 he died after falling in the Japanese Coloir after an attempt to reach the summit of Gasherbrum I.

Simone Moro

Simone Moro is an Italian alpinist known for having made first winter ascents of four of the fourteen eight-thousanders: Shishapangma in 2005, Makalu in 2009, Gasherbrum II in 2011, and Nanga Parbat in 2016. He has also summited Everest four times, in 2000, 2002, 2006, and 2010.

John Roskelley is an American mountain climber and author. He made first ascents and notable ascents of 7000 and 8000 meter peaks in Nepal, India, and Pakistan. His son Jess Roskelley was also a mountain climber.

Denis Urubko

Denis Urubko is a Russian-Polish mountaineer. In 2009, as a citizen of Kazakhstan he became the 15th person to climb all 14 eight-thousanders and the 8th person to achieve the feat without the use of supplementary oxygen. He had Soviet citizenship, but after the dissolution of the Soviet Union he became a citizen of Kazakhstan, but renounced the citizenship in 2012. In 2013, he received Russian citizenship and on 12 February 2015 he received Polish citizenship.

1950 French Annapurna expedition First ascent by Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal

The 1950 French Annapurna expedition, led by Maurice Herzog, reached the summit of Annapurna I at 8,091 metres (26,545 ft), the highest peak in the Annapurna Massif. The mountain is in Nepal and the government had given permission for the expedition, the first time it had permitted mountaineering in over a century. After failing to climb Dhaulagiri I at 8,167 metres (26,795 ft), the higher peak nearby to the west, the team attempted Annapurna with Herzog and Louis Lachenal, reaching the summit on 3 June 1950. It was only with considerable help from their team that they were able to return alive, though with severe injuries following frostbite.


Annotated closeup of Space Station image Himalaya annotated.jpg
Annotated closeup of Space Station image
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  2. Daniel Duane (September–October 2005). "Career Climber". Sierra Magazine. Sierra Club. Archived from the original on July 14, 2007.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Baume, Louis C. (1979). Sivalaya. Seattle, WA, USA: The Mountaineers. pp. 74–75. ISBN   0-916890-71-6.
  4. Dunmire, William W.; Unsoeld, William (1955). "Makalu, 1954, California Himalayan Expedition". American Alpine Journal . New York, NY, USA: American Alpine Club. Retrieved 2016-12-26.
  5. Hara, Makoto; Asami, Masao (1971). "Makalu's South Ridge". American Alpine Journal. New York, NY, USA: American Alpine Club. Retrieved 2016-12-26.
  6. (in Slovene)
  7. Roskelley, John (1993). Stories Off The Wall. Seattle, WA, USA: The Mountaineers. pp. 137–152. ISBN   0-89886-609-X.
  8. Batard, Marc (1989). "Makalu West Buttress, One-Day Solo Ascent". American Alpine Journal. New York, NY, USA: American Alpine Club. 31 (63): 188. ISBN   0-930410-39-4 . Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  9. Beghin, Pierre (1990). "Cold Sweat on Makalu". American Alpine Journal. New York, NY, USA: American Alpine Club. 32 (64): 1–6. ISBN   0-930410-43-2 . Retrieved 2016-12-26.
  10. Krakauer, Jon (June 1993). "What's a Nice Southern Girl Doing in a Place Like This?". Outside . Retrieved 2016-04-06.
  11. Efimov, Sergei (1998). Translated by Nekhai, Sergei. "The West Face of Makalu". American Alpine Journal . New York, NY, USA: American Alpine Club. Retrieved 2016-12-26.
  12. "Jean-Christophe Lafaille obituary". The Independent. 2006-02-09. Archived from the original on 2008-01-20. Retrieved 2007-10-27.
  13. "Simone Moro and Denis Urubko: Makalu first winter ascent". Retrieved 2009-02-10.
  14. "Simone Moro and Denis Urubko make winter history on Makalu". Archived from the original on 2009-02-12. Retrieved 2009-03-01.
  15. Delhi, Hugh Tomlinson (May 2019). "Blizzard of ridicule greets Indian army's yeti footprint claims". The Times.
  1. The height is often given as 8,481 m or 8,485 m.

Further reading