19 Nights 20 Days
English, Hindi, Nepali
The Makalu Base Camp trek begins from Tumlingtar in the mid-eastern region. This is a high altitude trek, which takes in lower landscapes of lush rhododendron forests, picturesque Gurung villages, river valleys and the Makalu Barun National Park. At higher altitudes there are breathtaking panoramas of the Himalayas, high altitude lakes, and passes to cross to reach the barn, rocky base camp. This is a long, varied and quite strenuous trek suitable for those who are keen trekkers and nature enthusiasts and who would rather be in tranquil, pristine nature than follow the crowds. Makalu Base Camp is situated at 5100m so the long trek through ever increasing altitude is a great way to slowly acclimatize.
Makalu Base Camp Trek 1From base camp the Barun Glacier, the south face of Makalu (8,481m), and a complete panorama of Everest and Lhotse is seen. Time is given to trekkers to explore the lakes and glaciers around base camp before heading down from this icy, rocky land to green forests and valleys again. On the return journey trekkers cross the Tutu La Pass (4,125m) which is now known by the name of Shipton’s Pass. The Shipton Pass is named after the renowned mountaineer Eric Shipton who was involved with most expeditions to Mount Everest in the 1930’s and who, in 1951, was part of the team that mapped out the now famous route over the Khumbu Glacier.
The Makalu Barun National Park is home to 3,000 species of flowering plants, 440 species of birds and 75 species of mammals including the snow leopard, red panda, musk dear, wild boar, wild yak and the Himalayan Thar. With the possibility of spotting wildlife at lower altitudes, green pastures and fields, villages, and forests, combined with snow-capped mountains, glaciers and rocky trails, this is also ideal photography territory!
We will meet you at Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport and transfer to your hotel. When you have had your time to settle in and freshen up after your long flight, you will be invited to visit our office for a briefing about your program. You will have a meeting with your trekking guide and discuss the equipment needed for the trekking, and we will process for the trekking permits. During this visit, we will help you check your clothing and facilitate the processing of other necessary items such as National Park Permits, special permits, etc. If you arrive at night, we will have the same discussion in next day morning after your breakfast.
The very next morning, after breakfast you will be taken for a full day sightseeing tour around Kathmandu valley. You will visit the center of pilgrimage Pashupatinath Temple and Swyambhunath, very ancient and enlisted in UNESCO World Heritage sites. The biggest Buddhist Stupa at Boudhnath and the fine arts and historical architecture of Kathmandu Durbar Square take you to the ancient Nepalese culture. On the journey back to the hotel, you can explore the local areas, gullies, and lifestyle.
It’s about a 50-minute flight before we touch down on a grass airstrip at Tumlingtar (400m). The trail ascends through the forest of rhododendrons and sal trees passing few villages. The trail crosses a plateau and climbs gradually for about 3 hours. We camp above the town in large grassy fields. We walk north to Khandbari. We trek further an hour via the attractive fertile villages to the campsite.
On our first day of trekking, it’s and a relatively steady walk through the picturesque villages and lush forests of the foothills. The countryside will become more rural, and we will climb through bamboo forests along the ridge to Arun Than (1280m), after which we continue through bamboo groves and big rocks to Sheka (1350m). Trek further to a small village of Chichila, mainly inhabited by Gurungs and other communities as well.
The morning starts with beautiful views of Makalu and the surrounding snowcapped peaks. Eventually, we meet a ridgeline with great views on either side and descend through the forest by a small perennial river where you will walk on a flat trail for about one hour to Num, which is on a ridge above Arun Koshi River. Almost every evening, Num experiences a dramatic display of thunder and lightning, which makes life here that little bit more interesting.
We will descend steeply from the western end of the Num ridge through the cornfields of Lumbang. The trail passes over the suspension bridge and ascends through forest and a few traditional villages. People of this area are mainly engaged in agriculture, and crops grown here are paddy, millet, potatoes, and vegetables depending on the season. Ascend continues through dense forest, eventually brings to beautiful campsite Seduwa. Here is a broad flat camping lawn ridge above the Makalu Barun National park checkpoint, where needed to be registered. We can enjoy a beautiful view looking back towards Num and the ridgelines bounding the Arun Valley.
From Seduwa, we ascend the ridge, which is bounded by the Ipsuwa Khola on the west and Kasuwa Khola to the east, with flat and easy hiking through the bushes. The path cuts across the hillside, contouring through quiet villages along the way. You will see the locals using buffalo to plow the small paddy fields, as every piece of land possible is being utilized for farming. Finally, we climb to the last settlement of trek to Tashigoan. The camping spot in this village is a praiseworthy site below the national park office.
We ascend steeply through the dense forest of remote scrub and Rhododendron, passing many ridges and seasonal Yak herders. The trail rises to Chipola (2520m) and even becomes steeper, struggling up past stream and a large overhanging rock right below the Mani danda. We have a packed lunch because of the lack of water in between Tashigoan and Khongma. Khongma is the last opportunity we have to stop before crossing the Shipton La and dropping down into the upper sections of the remote Barun Valley. There are no buildings here, and many of the tent sites are on the sloping hillside.
From Khongma, climb the ridge on steep switchbacks to a stone chorten at 3840m and feast your eyes on views of Chhamlang, Peak 6, and Peak 7. Scrubby rhododendrons and mossy boulders line the trail as you climb a stone staircase over several false ridges towards the small pass known as Ghungru La (4050m). The path twists and turns steeply, passing through the forest before emerging on to a hill with Mani walls, numerous prayer flags, and superb mountain views, including Kanchenjunga. Descend to a small turquoise lake, after which we will ascend again through Shipton Pass. We then drop down the saddle for a rest by the lake Kalo Pokhari, before passing over the Keke La (4152m) and an easy descent walk through rhododendron and pine forest towards Mumbuk. It is a serene camping spot surrounded by green forests.
From Mumbuk, the trail drops down a scree-covered slope into the long, curving Barun Valley. The Barun River running through the path adds more dimensions to the trek with its spectacular views of Mt. Tutse (Peak 6) 6739m and Peak 7 (6185m). It’s a pleasant walk, slowly gaining altitude until we arrive at YangriKharka (3610m). YangriKharka is a tiny village situated in a meadow at the base of the valley. From YangriKharka climb gently to Nghekharka, another cluster of herd’s hut and prayer flags on the opposite side of Barun.
Beyond Nghekharka, the river makes a huge S-shaped curve between curtains wall of cliffs that tower on either side of the river. From the meadow at Riphuk (3930m), climb past a waterfall and up over swampy ground to a lonely stone hut. Another gentle climb passes a Mani wall to YakKharka (4400m). The final climb to the rather bleak campsite at Merek passes through a dizzying landscape of Himalayan giants. Have marvelous views of Chhamlang, Peak 3, Peak 4, and Peak 5.
As the path turns northwards into a side valley, Makalu finally soars into view. Stick to the faint, flat trail following the east bank of the river to Shersong (4660m). From Shersong, it is a gradual climb to a minor pass about 100 meters above Makalu base camp, after which we descend to a stream and cross boulders to the base camp on the west side of the river. There are terrific views of the south face of Mt. Makalu. There are no huts, shelters, or vegetation at base camp, which is at an elevation of about 5000m.
In truth, ‘base camp’ can an anticlimax after all the effort taken to get here. We spend a day exploring the base camp, intending to climb up towards the Advance Base Camp at the start of the Makalu’s southeast Ridge, where on the edge of the icy slopes, you get a fantastic view up the Barun Valley of Everest. A more rewarding endpoint to the trek is to climb the 5250m ridge northeast of Shersong on the lower slopes of Peak 3. From this high vantage point, there are also views northwest to Lhotse, Lhotse Shar, and Everest. When you are the tire of having your awe-inspired, return to Shersong for the night.
Continue descending through the rockfall and then climb the rocky gully to the Shelter of Mumbuk. Trek across Shipton La and fall to Khongma.
Make a long sleep descend back to the civilization at Tashigoan and after Lunch easy walk to Seduwa. Camp at Seduwa.
Start early morning for relatively easy trekking along the ridge to Chichila for around 5 hours. Camping at Chichila.
The final return leg of the trek will see us overnight at Tumlingtar, ready for an early departure to Kathmandu the following day.
We complete the journey with a flight to Kathmandu. In the evening, you can have your last night in Nepal, enjoying the Nepali cultural dinner show, taking some beautiful snaps, and making up your mind for the returning journey. (Or you may stay longer for short tours such as drives at National parks, rafting, Tibet tours, mountain flight, etc.).
Today you will have a free day in Kathmandu valley. Have some rest in your hotel. You can also take a stroll over the streets and buy some souvenirs and remembering from Nepal. In the evening we will have a typical Nepali dinner accompanied by cultural shows in the Hotel.
Today is free or last minute you have a few hour personal shopping for your relatives. If you have more time, you can do some shopping or sightseeing. We will drop you to the International airport to catch your flight back to your home and wish for your Safe journey.
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