About Makalu Base Camp Trekking
The trek to Makalu Base Camp, 4700m, is an exciting tea house trekking into a remote and fairly inaccessible region where few trekkers have ventured. Courageous trekkers prepared to do without the comforts guest houses will find a wilderness just waiting to be explored.
Trekking to the base camp of the world's 5th highest mountain, Makalu, 8463m Nepal, is considered one of the tougher treks in the Himalaya of Nepal, as the trek begins at an altitude of just 400m and reaches 5500m in only ten days; however, this is what accounts for the great diversity of vegetation, culture and scenery that makes this trek exceptional. Trekking at elevations above 3000m is physically demanding but our itinerary allows for acclimatization, so this trek is feasible for any physically fit hiker.
The Makalu Base Camp Trekking starts after a short flight to the airstrip at Tumlingtar, Sankhuwasabha District in Eastern Nepal. Tumlingtar is beside the beautiful Arun River in the base of the Arun Valley. We take a private Jeep ride from Tumlingtar to reach to Chichila, and the next two days the trail descends back into the Arun Valley. During these days we are surrounded by fertile terraced fields and pass through numerous farming villages.
We make a steep ascent up to Tashi Gaon village, where we spend two nights to acclimatize. We continue climbing, leaving the bamboo and rhododendron forests behind us as we reach Khongma Danda, which we call the dry camp as there is no water source there. From here on the barren tree line, we get magnificent views of Kanchenjunga and Makalu. We spend one night in Kongma Danda before the next steep ascent over rock boulders up to the pass, Shipton La, 4229m and begin the long descent down to Dobate, which is the similar altitude as Kongma. Once again we cross the Arun River, and follow the deep gorge with juniper forest lining the walls on either side of us. Further up we follow the route to Yangle Kharkha and Langmale Kharkha before reach a surface of rock and loose scree, called Sherson, 4700m, below the Base Camp of Makalu, where we stay two nights.
We have a full day to explore the area around the tip of the Barun Glacier. From a view point above base camp we get breathtaking views of the highest mountains in the world: Everest 8850m, Lhotse 8516m, Makalu 8463m, Chamlang 7319m and Baruntse 7220m. From Sherson we descend on the same trail to Tumlingtar. The descent is less tiring, but the loose scree below base camp, and forest trails covered with leaves can be more slippery descending than ascending. We retrace our trail back up to Num 1,524m and then take a Jeep ride to Tumlingtar. Next is our flight back to Kathmandu, some free time, relaxation, celebration before our flight back home.
Makalu Base Camp Trekking is diversity at its best. This single trek passes through distinct vegetation zones including sub-tropical jungles at low altitudes, sub-alpine valleys with forests of fir, birch and rhododendron and high alpine zone with herbs, grasses and juniper shrubs and pastures. Makalu Conservation area is known for its uncountable species of flowering plants, birds and animals. You will also observe a wide cross-section of Nepali ethnic groups with their unique cultures. The Rai, Limbu and Newar ethnic groups dominate the lower altitudes, whereas the Sherpas live in the higher altitudes.