Makalu – 3 Cols Trek

Arrival City

Kathmandu

Departure City

Kathmandu

Lodging level

Accommodation: Hotel, Tented Camps

Meals

3 Course Meals

Trip Grade

Challenging

Maximun Altitude

6146m

Attractions

Three high mountain passes; Sherpani Col (6135m), West Col (6143m), and Amphu Lapcha Pass (5850m)

Get a glimpse of amazing and diverse cultures, each with its own traditions

Activity

Trekking & Cultural Tour

Overview

A high mountain traverse from Makalu Base Camp across Barun glacier to Khumbu across 6000m East and West Cols.

3 Cols Trek is an absolute classic adventure right into the heart of the wildest Himalayas where only a few people dare to venture into. The trip makes a high mountain traverse across Barun Glacier from Makalu base camp emerging into Hinku valley and finally into the high alpine valley of Khumbu across the most challenging East Col (6100 m) and West Col (6135m).

A very high and demanding yet truly spectacular route where you are treated with the best views of the 8000-ers Cho Oyo (8153m) Lhotse (8501m), Everest (8848m), Makalu (8475m) and Kangchenjunga (8586m). This is an extremely challenging trek involving a sustained period at high altitude with some very steep slopes that is only intended for people with alpine experience and good stamina.

Itinerary

You will be greeted by a panoramic view of snow-capped mountain peaks sprawling down below once you fly in the sky of Kathmandu. A representative and driver from our office will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel. The representative will help you check into your designated hotel. At the hotel you will be briefed about your trip activities.

Kathmandu is the historical and cultural heart of Nepal and has been a popular destination for tourists ever since Nepal opened its doors to visitors. The city presents a wonderful mix of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism and Western influence. There will be a guided tour to UNESCO World Heritage Sites namely Boudhanath- the largest Buddhist Stupa in Nepal, Pashupatinath- the most popular Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva and Patan or Lalitpur (the City of Artisans), which is 5km away from Kathmandu. At Patan Durbar Square, you will delight in the architectural wonders of Malla era. Mahaboudha Temple, Kumbeshwor Temple, Krishna Temple and Golden Temple are the major attractions at the square.

Your beautiful adventure in Nepal starts with an early morning flight from Kathmandu. 50 minutes of adventurous flight away from Kathmandu will take you to Tumlingtar. After reaching Tumlingtar, you drive to Num for overnight stay which takes around 3 hours.

Your Makalu trek begins today from Num. You continue along the trail descending steeply from Num through the corn fields of Lumbang. Below the village the trail drops very steeply through a jungle to a suspension bridge over the Arun River (660m). From the bridge you climb steeply to some tea shops, then through corn and buckwheat field. Moving along the rocky path and tiny terraces planted with corn and barley, you make a long, steep, rough climb to Seduwa (1460m).

Leaving Seduwa, you make a gradual climb high above the Kasuwa Khola to Gyang (1770m). Climbing past the school at Gyang, it is a gentle walk-through terraced fields and forested areas to Hindrungma village, and on to Rupisa. En route, you cross meadows and several streams, and then climb to the Sherpa village of Tashi Gaun, the last permanent settlement in the valley.

You climb over the ridge and ascend through forests to a stream and onto a ridge where there is a small campsite. The trail levels out, and then climb to a shepherd’s hut called Chipla atop another ridge. You climb past two small streams, then switchback up the ridge in forests to a kharka and up to a saddle and Unshisha, a tiny meadow. Here you walk along IswaKhola River and make some uphill climbs along the ridge to reach Kahuma Danda.

After breakfast, you continue your trek to Mumbuk. Your trekking trail goes uphill and takes you towards Shipton La summit. You pass through Kalo Pokhari, Ke Ke La and cross the Ke Ke La pass. From here you will begin up towards Tutu La Pass. Beyond the pass, the trail makes a straight descent and you cross waterfalls, streams and woods to reach Mumbuk.

Our trek today is steep and dangerous in the start from Mumbuk. Trek should be done under guidance and precautions provided by experienced crew. The trail slowly goes flat on reaching Yangri Kharka, a temporary settlement and reach Nehe Kharka.

Today you will have explore Nehe Kharka and rest for the next day trek.

Beyond the Nhe Kharka, you follow the north bank of the Barun Khola for a while. You then cross a small wooden bridge before the river turns northward. The Barun Valley makes a huge S-shaped curve and the walls rise almost vertically 1500 to 2000 meters above the river, but the trail climbs gently as you approach Ripok Kharka. Still on the north side of the Barun, the trail turns westward and leaves the rhododendron forests for alpine tundra. Above Ripok Kharka, the route crosses a rocky crest with a few cattle sheds, and then ascends alongside a moraine formed by the Barun Glacier. There are excellent views of Pyramid Peak, Peak 4, Chamlang, Peak 3 and Peak 5, but Makalu is not yet visible. As you pass a ridge the glacier turns slightly north. You enter an alluvial valley and Makalu pops into view just before Sherson (4615 m). Sherson is somewhat sheltered, but still is a very cold spot.

From Sherson, you stay to the right in a gully on the east side of the valley. It is gradual descent to a minor pass about 100 meters above Makalu Base Camp. You then descend to a stream, cross on boulders to the base camp on the west bank of the river. From here you get terrific views of the south face of Makalu. The large buttress of the south face rises across from base camp. An ascent of this buttress yields views of Peak 6, 7 and Baruntse, Everest and Lhotse.

After Breakfast, you will use your day to explore the area around Makalu Base Camp and Barun Glacier. It offers 360-degree Himalayan panorama – Everest, Lhotse and other peaks.

Today you will walk from Makalu west column that takes you to Barun Glacier over high mountain. You can have the great views of the west face of Makalu, Lhotse and Everest towering above the stretch of Barun glacier.

Today you proceed through the loose glacial rocks. The traverse can be tricky as you have to make a steep descent and again steep ascent to reach the Base Camp. Your camping spot will be right at the Sherpani glacier with overhanging ice walls and spectacular views of Makalu.

Today you will have a hard and challenging day. You will cross East Col Base Camp and slowly climb the Sherpani Galicer to reach West Col. The Sherpani Col, the first of the passes, is at the top of the rock wall at the head of the glacier, which is a circular rock wall culminating in a peak. The rocky terrain to the Sherpani Col is inclined about 45 to 50 degrees.

After passing the narrow pass that lies at the ridge dropping steeply on both sides, you start a steep descent towards Baruntse Base Camp lying across an extended ice field.

Today’s you cross the second pass West Col. Following the fixed ropes set by Sherpas on the rocky terrain covered with ice, you traverse through the ice field and make your ascent towards West Col. Though the trek is strenuous, the majestic views of Makalu, Baruntse and Amadablam compensate your efforts. From, the West Col Pass at 6200m, you can see the sweeping view of dominating Ama Dablam and all the peaks of the Khumbu and Tibetan peaks. You can also see Sherpani Col to the east. After the climb, you again make a grueling descent with the help of fixed rope through the Hongu Glacier to reach our camp at Panch Pokhari, literally meaning five ponds.

Today is a more relaxed walk compared to the previous two days’ strain. You have a beautiful glacial walk enjoying the majestic views of Makalu, Baruntse and some glacial lakes. You reach your camp after about 5 hours. At your camp, you relax completely as tomorrow is your rest day.

Today you will rest and explore the surrounding area and spend rest of the day in your tent to recuperate from previous days’ walk.

Another big day, an early start from the camp for 2-3 hours treks leads you to the top of Amphu Labtsa pass and overlooking stunning views of the impressive south face of Lhotse and Lhotse Shar and the summit of Island or Imja Tse Peaks almost parallel to you. As soon the kitchen staffs and porters arrive at the pass, they will cross through relatively less steep ground below the pass (about 150m below). Similarly, loads have to be carefully lowered. You slowly and carefully descend with the help of ropes and ice axe if required, then reaching the safe side from the pass by early afternoon everybody should be off the snow. Once in the safe ground away from the snow and ice area, an hour or more walks will take you to the ablation valley by the side of the Imja Glacier. Now being within the Imja-tse valley walking will be more or less easy. Finally, the trail will lead you to Chhukung ,a temporary settlement with some teahouse and lodges.

Today, you will join the Everest Base Camp main trail at Dingboche. From Dingboche, you follow an easy downhill route to Pangboche. On the way, you will pass several through beautiful but more distant views of mountains.

After a visit to the newly built monastery after the old one was burned to the ground in the late 80's, your trek begins with a descent for an hour to Phungi Tenka. Here you cross the long suspension bridge over the Imjatse River. By now the trail is busier with trekkers, porters and pack animals than the previous days. From the bridge an hour and half climb bring you to a small place of Shana-sa offering grand view of Ama Dablam and Thamserku. Perhaps you might stop for lunch in this village. After a break here, if people are interested to visit the upper sleepy village of Khumjung and Khunde they may do so, as the walk to Namche from here is just 2 hours away on the easy winding trail with constant view of the snowcapped peaks of Kwangde, Thamserku, Ama Dablam, Nuptse, Lhotse and Everest. Splitting the trail from here to Namche and Khumjung, the later village will take about an hour uphill walk and then about 2-3 hours to reach Namche for the overnight halt. On reaching Namche Bazaar it will be more or less back to civilization with excellent restaurant, shops, lodges and even cyber cafe.

Today is the last day trek of 3 Cols trek. Being on the main trail to Everest, the walk from Namche onwards will be easier all the way to Lukla, the path leads downhill to the confluence of Bhote Koshi and Imjatse which makes the Dudh Koshi. From here you cross the long suspension bridge with a short climb into the pine woods, reaching again back to the riverbed. The gentle trail follows the river downstream passing through many farm fields and villages then coming at the entrance of Sagarmatha National Park in Monjo village. After Monjo, another 2 hours of good walk leads to Phakding near the river Dudh Koshi. Final leg of this great 3 Col trek will be another good walk to Lukla. You can walk at your own leisurely pace, enjoying the lush green scenery around. Apart from few short uphill, the only long climb will be just before Lukla which will take approximately 45 minutes from a place called Cheplung or from the old big oak tree. On reaching Lukla, prepare for the last day great dinner and celebration with the fellow Sherpa crew, porters and trekking members.

You pack up early and head for the airstrip to hop a flight back to Kathmandu. On touchdown, the rest of your day is free to do your own things. You can do some last-minute shopping and packing, or even go down for a stroll to Thamel, an internationally known hub for tourists in Asia.

This is a contingency day in case of Lukla flight delays. If you have free time, you can let go the strains of your trip. You can explore around the Heritage sites in the city, stroll down the streets of Thamel for local cultural experience, visit nearby monasteries, relax at a nearby spa centers or do some souvenir haunting in the local bazaar.

Our Nepali support team will take you to the airport for your flight home. (Or stay longer for short tours such as game drive at National parks, do some wild-water rafting, a Tibet tour or even mountain biking, etc.- please ask us.

General Information

TRIP GRADE – Strenuous Trek

This is a longMakalu trek that goes far beyond the normal haunts of trekkers and tourists, to remote areas of the country where the landscapes are wild and untamed and where the local inhabitants have seen little change in their way of life for centuries- untouched corners of an increasingly crowded planet. It is physically challenging, likely to include unfavorable weather conditions and strenuous activities, such as, climbing/ scrambling across high passes.

 

TREKKING TYPES

Camping trek (no lodge available) Includes: Guide, Porters, Cook, All meals and tents

 

ACCOMMODATION

Camping trek means sleeping in tents. On a camping trek, the tents provided are ‘Two men dome’ or ‘A’ shaped. Foam mattress with insulation underneath is provided for sleeping. Clients need to have their own sleeping bag. Bags or cloth packs are used as pillows. If you wish, you can bring your own ‘Air pillow’. We have a pool of hotels in Kathmandu under 3 Star categories which we provide to clients in connection to this itinerary, unless it is mentioned otherwise, or clients have a special choice. You can check on the description of such hotels through our website.

 

MEALS & DRINKING WATER

We provide three tasty, plentiful and nutritious meals daily with a variety of local and Western dishes. To start the day, breakfast consists of a choice of porridge, muesli and cereal followed by omelet, fried or scrambled eggs with chapattis or bread. Lunch is generally a selection of salad, cooked vegetable dishes, pasta and traditional breads.

After a long day on the trail, dinner is a hearty 3 course meal – soup, followed by a variety of vegetable, meat, rice and pasta dishes and completed with a simple dessert. Tea, coffee and hot chocolate are also provided at all meals. We use as much fresh produce as possible and special diets are regularly catered for. The leaders are able to maintain very tight controls on health and hygiene in the kitchen with respect to general cleanliness and food preparation and also within the group with respect to personal hygiene. This has allowed us to maintain remarkably high standards of health over many years of trek organization – and good health is vital to an enjoyable and successful trek and climb. All foods are well cooked, and vegetables are treated by potassium permanganate or iodine. Boiled water is served for drinking. Antiseptic soaps and potassium or iodine treated water are provided for washing. Special dietary requirements can always be catered for.

 

PERSONAL EXPENSES– MONEY TO TAKE ON TREK

Money requirement depends largely on type of trek style, duration and trekking region. For a two-week 3 Col trek, you can take about $200-$300, more if you intend to get more table drinks (alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages), snacks while walking (a few smaller shops are available along the trail in some areas), souvenirs, battery charge, internet, hot shower (available in some places) etc.

 

CHANGING MONEY

You can change money at a bank or the money exchange counter in city like Kathmandu. Many Tourist class Hotels have money exchange facilities. These days, there is availability of ATMs in Kathmandu.

 

TIPS

Tips are appreciated by your support team after the completion of your trekking in Nepal. The amount depends on your budget and appreciation of their work. As a suggestion, we advise that you can allocate 5- 10 % of the total tour cost as tips.It is recommended that you talk to the members and hand it over individually as per the hierarchy on the last day of the trek.

 

GROUP SIZE ON FIXED DEPARTURE

If you opt to join our ‘fixed departure trip’, you are likely to be joining people from different countries of any age group except minors. The size of group varies, minimum no of persons required to operate a trip is 2 people and the maximum is 15 people.

For a Private Booking, any number size from 1 pax to 20 pax is acceptable and can be comfortably organized. We go for special planning for handling group size bigger than 20 pax.

 

GROUP LEADER AND CREW

We provide different options concerning leadership in order to match your requirements:

1) Western leader

2) Trained Nepali Trek leader (experienced and knowledgeable)

3) Sherpa Guide (handles the logistics and guides you and your team on the trek)

The Sherpa guide (commonly called Sirdar) will be accompanied by a crew of porters. We provide 1 porter for 2 members.

 

COMMUNICATION

For using internet during Makalu trek, Wifi service is available in lower altitudes. You can also use Ncell and NTC network (both for internet and mobile network) but they don’t work properly in some places as you go higher. If it is crucial for you to keep in contact with your family or others, we can provide you a mobile satellite phone (rental charge on request).

 

FLIGHT AND LAND TRANSFERS

The starting point of the 3 Col trek is Tumlingtar, which is connected by a little less than an hour’s flight from Kathmandu. On your return, you shall take a flight from Lukla to Kathmandu. We will arrange the transportation from your hotel to the airport (Kathmandu).

Note: There is a high probability of cancellation of domestic flights in remote sectors due to bad weather conditions. Hence, we advise you to keep at least one or more day extra in Kathmandu before your flight home.

 

LUGGAGE WHILE TREKKING

During 3 Col Trekking, your main luggage will be carried by porter. Please keep your luggage as light as possible around 12 to 15 kgsfor flight safety and porter welfare as per IPPG standard. You simply carry a day pack with water bottle, camera, sun-screen, spare jacket etc. You can leave your valuable items at your hotel in Kathmandu while trekking. Many hotels have a locker system and provide a deposit slip for the valuables kept under the hotel’s safekeeping.

 

TYPICAL DAY ON TREK

Lodge/ Tea House Trek, GAP Trek

A typical day while trekking in Nepal consists of about 7-8 hours of activity. Each morning after packing our bags and having a good breakfast, we set off on the day’s walk. After walking for 3-4 hours, we stop for lunch at around midday. The afternoon’s walk is generally shorter and we usually arrive at our destination in time for afternoon tea. The remainder of the afternoon can be spent exploring the village, doing a bit of washing or simply relaxing with a good book. On some days, we will arrive at our destination by lunchtime and the entire afternoon will be free. After dinner, the evening will often be spent playing cards and reliving the day’s adventures, before heading off to bed for a well-earned sleep.

 

TREKKING GEARS & EQUIPMENT

You will need walking boots, sleeping bag (4 seasons/ -20C rated), waterproof jacket and trousers, fleece jacket, warm hat and gloves, sunglasses, water bottle, sun-screen and day pack. Comprehensive list of equipment will be provided once you book your trip. It’s not necessary to spend a lot of money buying extra equipment and clothing before your trip. Majority of these gears can be bought or hired at reasonable rates in Kathmandu.

 

GEARS AVAILABLE IN KATHMANDU

There are numerous suppliers of trekking gears in Kathmandu supplying genuine branded items or imitations depending on your choice and price. You can get anything from down jackets and sleeping bags to socks or thermal wears that you need for your trek. They might not be the best but good enough for the trek considering the price.

 

TREK SECURITY

Security of our clients is our foremost priority. All our guides are licensed by Nepal Government. Our guides and support crew are carefully chosen for your trips. They will ensure your safety and security throughout your trip.

During your trek, you will be sleeping in local teahouses. You have to take precautions yourself at all times. Never leave your baggage unattended and keep your lodge room locked when you go out.

 

MEETING AND GREETING AT AIRPORT

 You need to pass on your International flight details to us for a “meeting and greeting” service at airport. You just pass the customs desk and come out of the terminal building where you will see someone standing with a placard with either ‘Explore Himalaya’ or your name written on it. Our airport representative or tour officer will greet you and welcome you with a garland.

 

TREK DURATION

We ensure liability as indicated in itinerary and list of services. If the holiday is cut short or completed earlier than the projected period upon client’s wish, we shall not be responsible or make refund against unutilized days or services. Clients need to pay for hotels/services incurred in Kathmandu or elsewhere in such cases.

 

CLIMATE AND BEST TIME TO GO

The best seasons for trekking in Nepal are Autumn (from mid-September till November end), and Spring (from the beginning of March until mid-May). Temperatures will drop considerably as you trek higher every day. The nights are cold (between -10 C to 5C) but the days are sunny and hot (between 10C to 20C). The mornings are usually clear, with clouds building up during the afternoon, disappearing at night. Trekking during the monsoon and winter is not recommended, as the visibility during monsoon is limited, upper parts and high passes could be covered with snow in winter.

March, April, October and November are the most favored months. Please choose the date that is convenient for you. 

 

ITINERARY CHANGES

The itinerary for this 3 Col trek is a standard itinerary. Depending on the prevailing situation while on trek, you can modify it to some extent after consulting with your guide. However, the date of trek completion should always coincide with the original itinerary. You should keep in mind that this is an adventure trip into the remotest region, where many unforeseen events may contribute to the need for a change in itinerary. In such cases, we or your guide will suggest the best alternative similar to your original.

 

HEALTH ISSUES AND VACCINATIONS

As vaccination requirements change frequently, we suggest you consult your doctor at least 2 months prior to the beginning of your trip. We recommend protection against malaria, tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis and polio.

The main health consideration in this 3 Col trekking is Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). You may experience some mild symptoms initially, such as headache, lethargy, nausea and difficulty sleeping, but these should lessen within a few days. To avoid Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), people take pills called ‘Diamox’. You can also use these pills after consulting with your doctor and purchase them in Kathmandu. Our itinerary will allow your body to acclimatize properly and handle the low oxygen rate.

If you have ever suffered from altitude sickness, or have a heart or breathing complaint, we highly recommend you to consult your doctor about your suitability for trekking in high altitude areas before booking. We suggest that you take some pain-killing pills with you and enough medicine for cold, diarrhea, nausea and fever. Some nasal ointment and throat-moistening pills will greatly help for those who are sensitive to chilly or freezing weather conditions.

 

FIRST AID KIT

We supply a medical bag with standard medicines prescribed by trekking doctors and a user’s manual. Since our staffs/guides are not qualified for suggesting medications to western clients, we would request you to use the medicines upon your own risk. It is safer and more reliable if you have your own medicine kit and not depend on what we have.

 

VISA

All visitors except the Indian nationals must hold passport and valid visa. Visa can be obtained at the Nepalese diplomatic missions and consulates abroad. You can also get “On Arrival Visa” at entry points. For doing Everest Base Camp Trek, you can come with a 30 day visa which costs US $ 50. You should have a passport size photo to get it at airport upon arrival. Some countries’ nationals need to get visa prior their arrival. Please check http://www.nepalimmigration.gov.np/page/tourist-visa for detailed information.

 

JOIN A GROUP OR PRIVATE TRIP

Our trips are available on both fixed departure and private basis. If you are looking for a group to join this Makalu trek, please check our ‘Fixed Departures’ link for availability, dates and price. If you would like to travel independently, or with your friends, families & colleagues, you are invited to choose any of the trips at your convenient timeframe for any number of people (minimum 1 & maximum 20 at a time).

If you want to do something that is not included in our trip list, we are ready to tailor your trip to suit your exact requirements. In short, we will make every effort to meet your needs.

 

RESCUE / EVACUATIONS

We take your safety and security very seriously, and make sure that nothing untoward happen to you. However, if anything serious like sickness or a casualty occurs, we will do everything to transfer you to the nearest hospital. As you are responsible for all the expenses incurred in evacuation, please make sure that it is covered by your insurance before assigning for it.

 

INSURANCE

Before joining this 3 Col trekking, we recommend you take a travel insurance which should cover cancellation, medical expenses, helicopter evacuation and emergency repatriation. Our staff will collect your insurance details before you leave for the trek.

 

RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL

We are among the few companies in Nepal to receive Travelife Certificate Award https://www.travelife.info for our long-term efforts in sustainable practices.

 

1.Care for porters and staffs

We ensure that all the porters and other staffs going into high altitude conditions during the 3 Col trek are provided with adequate clothing and equipment. All our porters carry less than 30 kg and underage porters are strictly prohibited in our operations. We run the trek according to the guidelines of the International Porter Protection group (IPPG – www.ippg.net).


2.Environmental Responsibility

Wonderful environment of the Himalayas is also an extremely fragile one. Increasing population density and numbers of trekkers threaten the very beauty of Nepal. At Explore Himalaya, we are extremely conscious about the environment and aim to minimize our impact as much as possible.

As deforestation is one of the greatest environmental threats, we do not have campfires and use LPG gas or kerosene for cooking as an alternative fuel to wood. We don’t use plastic bottles. We also discourage trekkers from using wood-fuelled hot showers in lodges along the way. Many lodges, however, now provide solar hot showers, a far more eco-friendly alternative
.
Garbage disposal is another major problem and some of the busier trails can, at times, appear strewn with litter. Our staff members are well motivated towards eco-friendly practices. Our staff carry garbage bag with them all the time and collect our garbage and other litters they find on trail, and dispose them on the designated area. We also volunteer to bring garbage down to Lukla while returning back. Our aim is to help protect and preserve this beautiful environment for future generations of trekkers to enjoy.


3.Social Responsibility

Explore Himalaya works with the motto ‘Development through Tourism’. Keeping in line with this motto, Explore Himalaya Community Service Project (EHCSP) has been conceived to empower underprivileged, marginalized, poor and minority segments of Nepal.

Since its inception, EHCSP has been incessantly facilitating and advocating for school education, health, community development, forest conservation, agro practices and culture preservation. A certain amount of your trip money goes to these projects. For more details on our CSR initiatives, please visit https://www.explorehimalaya.com/csr/

    The Trip Cost Includes
    • Fully Catered Tented Camping trek (FOT)
    • English Speaking local Trekking Guide and assistants as per group size
    • Porters for carrying luggage during the trek (2 members=1 porter,1 porter carries 25kg total)
    • Domestic Airfares: Kathmandu/Tumlingtar
    • Domestic Airfares: Lukla/Kathmandu
    • Makalu Barun National Park fee
    • Sagarmatha National Park fee and Khumbu VDC permit fee
    • Trekkers’ Information Management System fees (TIMS)
    • 4 nights hotel accommodation in Kathmandu on twin sharing with breakfast
    • Sightseeing tour with English speaking local guide
    • Entrance Fees to the monuments.
    • Airport and tour transfers with an escort in private vehicle.
    • Equipment’s and clothing for all porters and staff.
    • Insurance for all staff and porters.
    • First Aid Kit (carried by guide)

    The Trip Cost Excludes
    • Nepal Visa fees
    • International flight and airport taxes
    • Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu 
    • Personal expenses (like, communication, laundry, bar bills, internet, camera/mobile battery recharge, hot water/shower on trek, extra meals, snacks while walking etc.)
    • Personal gears & clothing
    • Tips for guide, porters, drivers, local staff etc.
    • Personal insurance and medical expenses
    • Any expenses incurred in emergency evacuation/rescue due to any unforeseen reasons
    • Any other services other than mentioned under “Price Includes”

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TERMS AND CONDITIONS

BOOKING PROCEDURE

Your booking of this Makalu 3 Cols Trekking will be confirmed by email once we receive your deposit of $500 and the signed copy of booking form and contract. The balance is due no later than two months prior to departure. If you book a tour less than 2 months prior to departure, you must send the full payment within 7 days of confirmation by us.

CANCELLATION POLICY

If you cancel your booking, the following scale of charges will apply: • 2 months before departure – Loss of deposit (US$ 500) • 29 days to 2 months before departure – 30% of total trip cost • 10 to 28 days before departure – 60% of total trip cost • Less than 10 days before departure – 100% of total trip cost

TRIP EXTENSIONS

In addition to your Makalu 3 Col trek, we can organize extensions both within Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan etc. You may want to try water rafting or a jungle safari in Nepal or Nepal Cultural Tour. You may as well take a trip to Tibet or Bhutan, whichever seems more appealing to you.

DISCLAIMER

It is fundamental to acknowledge that Makalu Trekking is an adventure tour. This requires some flexibility. The day to day itinerary is taken only as a guideline. We cannot be held responsible for any delays caused by International or domestic flights, strikes, Government regulations, weather or natural casualties etc. In such cases, Explore Himalaya shall provide suitable alternatives which will be decided upon mutual agreement. If you have any questions regarding this trip, please feel free to contact us at enquiry@explorehimalaya.com or directly by phone: +977-1-44518100. We answer all enquiries within 24 hours.

TRAVEL GUIDE

MAKALU

Makalu is a beautiful region in the eastern Himalayan region of Nepal which offers a combination of rich cultural heritage, unsurpassed beauty and biological diversity. The place lies at the base of Mt Makalu in Sankhuwasabha district of Nepal. The region has world’s 5th highest mountain and world’s only protected area with an elevation gain of more than 8000m. The region has high waterfalls cascading 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 the region’s diverse climates and habitats, relatively undisturbed by humankind.

 

EVEREST REGION – Solu Khumbu

The Everest or Solu Khumbu region lies in the eastern part of Nepal. Inhabited by the mountain people who have lived in harmony with their surroundings for hundreds of years, the Solu Khumbu region has still retained its age old practices. The region has some of the world’s tallest peaks including Everest (8848m).This region, along with Annapurna region, is ranked as one of the most popular trekking destinations in Nepal. The villages and places lying in this region are situated above 2000m. Solu at the south includes villages like Junbesi, Phaplu and Chiwong. Pharak is situated between Solu and Khumbu. Khumbu includes villages named Namche, Thame, Khumjung, Lobuche, Pangboche, Tengboche etc. The major mountains are Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, Nuptse, Pumori, Ama Dablam, Thamserku, Kantega, Mera Peak, Island Peak etc.

 

MAKALU BARUN NATIONAL PARK

Makalu Barun National Park was established in 1922 as an eastern extension of Sagarmatha National Park. It is the world’s only protected area with an elevation gain of more than 8000m starting from Arun river valley located at altitudes of 344–377 m to 8,025 m the peak of Makalu, covering an area of 1500 sq km in the Solukhumbu and Sankhuwasabha districts. The National Park is encircled by a buffer zone to the south and southeast and shares the international border with Qomolangma National Nature Preserve of Tibet Autonomous Region in the north. It is home to different species of flora and fauna from tropical to alpine and to different snow covered peaks and glaciers.

 

SAGARMATHA NATIONAL PARK

Sagarmatha National Park is the highest national park in the world. It was formally opened to public in July 19, 1976. The park covers an area of 1,148 sq km. It rises from its lowest point of 2845 m (9335 ft) at Jorsale to 8848m (29,029 ft) up to the summit of Everest. The park’s area is very rugged and steep, with its terrain cut by deep rivers and glaciers. It includes three peaks higher than 8000 m – Mt Everest, Lhotse and Cho Oyu. In 1979 the park was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park’s visitor centre is located at a hill in Namche Bazaar, the fabled town of the whole region. The park’s southern entrance is a few hundred metres north of Monjo at 2835m. Sagarmatha Pollution Control, funded by the World Wildlife Fund and the Himalayan Trust, was established in 1991 to help preserve Everest’s environment. About a hundred species of birds and more than twenty species of butterflies have made this park their home. Musk deer, wild yak, red panda, snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, Himalayan thars, deer, langur monkeys, hares, mountain foxes, martens, and Himalayan wolves are found in the park.

 

PLACES

Ripuk
Ripuk is a local name for the highland pastures in Barun Valley. It’s the place where locals set up their temporary seasonal settlements. In this place, river Barun used to be a glacier ages ago flowing to north which made up this lush green valley today.

Barun Valley
Barun valley is one of the most beautiful valleys of Nepal located at the base of Makalu Mountain. The valley is also called the Amazon Forest of Himalayas valley because of its thick forest with lots of rain. The valley offers magnificent view of high mountain range, rare species of flora and fauna, stunning high waterfalls flowing down the deep gorges.

Tadasho
Tadasho is in Barun valley. It is a large stone cliff with a hole in its face, and through which a waterfall cascades. Local legend has it that a dark lake lay atop the cliff, which mysteriously caused the deaths of many Tibetan refugees after nightfall. A Buddhist monk by the name of Rinpoche broke the cliff with his Tadasho, in order to destroy the lake and save the lives of the Tibetan refugees. So the name of the place remained Tadasho.

Lukla
Lukla, a popular town in Khumbu, boasts of the region’s sole commercial airport. Lying at a height of 2800m, the town is known as the gateway of Everest treks as most trekkers usually begin and end their Everest adventure in Lukla. The airport was built in 1964 by Sir Edmund Hillary as part of his project in Khumbu region during the early 60s to transport the supplies for the Himalayan Trust projects in the Khumbu region. Today, somewhere between 90-95% of the foreign nationals who reach Lukla, arrive by a half hour flight from Kathmandu.

Namche Bazaar
Namche Bazaar is known as the Sherpa capital. It is a famous center for everyone doing Everest trekking. Namche is actually a town lying at the junction of the Dudh Koshi and a valley that leads to the frontier pass of Nangpa La. It is tucked away in a niche at a height of 3450m. W. H. Tilman and C. Houston were the first westerners to enter it in 1950 and many more have come since then. Facilities like a bank, a post office, hotels and shops where one can purchase climbing equipment as well as canned food have sprung up over the years. Namche Bazaar is the major regional trading center. Its Saturday market or haat is the place where most of the trading takes place. The headquarters of the Sagarmatha National Park is located in Namche.

Tengboche
Tengboche (3860m) is famous for Tengboche monastery. It is one of the most important centers of Buddhism in the region. The gompa is the largest one you see during your Everest Base Camp trek. It was first built in 1923. Destroyed by a fire in 1989, it was rebuilt later on partly with foreign aid. From Tengboche, one gets a panoramic view of Kwangde, Tawache, Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Amadablam, Kangtenga, and Thamserku.

Pangboche
Buddhism is believed to have been introduced in the Khumbu region towards the end of the 17th century by Lama Sange Dorjee. According to the legend, he flew over the Himalayas and landed on a rock at Pangboche and Tengboche, leaving his footprints embedded on the stone. He is believed to have been responsible for the founding of the first gompas in the Khumbu region, at Pangboche and Thame. Pangboche (3985m) is the highest year-round settlement in the valley. The Imja Khola, coming from the right, joins the Dudh Koshi River a little above the village. The gompa (monastery) in Pangboche is thought to be one of the oldest in the Khumbu region.

Khumjung
Khumjung (3790 m), a village lying west of Tengboche, is famous for the gompa where the skull of a supposed Yeti, the Abominable Snowman, is preserved under the supervision of the head Lama. The skull seems more like the outer skin of Himalayan Brown Bear, and this is proved by the report of a scientific exploratory expedition conducted by Sir Edmund Hillary, a copy of which is kept in the gompa.

 

PEAKS

Mt. Makalu
Mt. Makalu is the fifth highest mountain in the world and fourth highest mountain in Nepal. It lies in the Mahalangur Himalayas southeast of Mount Everest. It stands at the elevation of 8485m. Makalu is an isolated peak whose shape is a four-sided pyramid. Makalu was first summited on May 15, 1955, by Lionel Terray and Jean Couzy of a French expedition led by Jean Franco.

Chamlang Himal
Chamlang is a mountain in the Nepali Himalayas, near Makalu. It lies in the southern section of the Mahalangur sub range of the Himalayas. Chamlang has an elevation of 7,319 m. Recently in 2021 the north face was climbed by two mountain guides, Charles Dubouloz and Benjamin Vedrines. It took them 4days to complete the climbing on that route which they named as ‘In the Shadow of Lies’.

Mera Peak
Mera Peak is highest trekking peak standing at 6,476 m. It contains three main summits: Mera North, 6,476 m; Mera Central, 6,461 m; and Mera South, 6,065 m. It is located in the Mahalangur section, Barun sub-section of the Himalaya, dominating the Hinku valley.

Mt. Everest
Rising to the height of 8848m, the world’s highest mountain was named in 1865 after Sir George Everest. The mountain got its Nepali name Sagarmatha during 1960s, when the Government of Nepal gave the mountain the official Nepali name. In Sanskrit Sagarmatha means “Head of the Sky”. The Tibetan name for Mount Everest is Chomolungma or Qomolangma, which means “Goddess Mother of the Snows”. Climbers wishing to scale the peak have to obtain an expensive permit from the Nepal Government. More information on royalty can be found at https://www.tourismdepartment.gov.np/mountaineering-royalty. Everest Base Camp, which serves as a resting area and base of operations for climbers organizing their attempts for the summit, is located at the Khumbu glacier at an elevation of 5364 m (17,600 ft). It receives an average of 450 mm (18 in) of precipitation a year. The climate of Mount Everest is extreme. In July, the warmest month, the average summit temperature is -19° C (-2° F).

George Mallory, a famous British adventurer, was one of the first climbers to attempt Everest. When he was asked why he wanted to climb Everest, he replied ‘Because it is there’- the line has become immortal in the history of Everest expedition. After two unsuccessful attempts, in 1924 he again tried to climb the peak with Andrew Irvine. They started on June 8, 1924, to scale the summit via the North Col route and never returned. The Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition later discovered their bodies near the old Chinese Camp in 1999. Edmund Hillary, a New Zealander and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay from Nepal were the first two climbers to set foot on the summit of Mt. Everest. They reached the summit at 11:30 a.m. on May 29, 1953, by climbing through the South Col Route. More than 5000 climbers have scaled the highest mountain since then. Also there have been more than 300 deaths on the mountain where conditions are so difficult that most corpses have been left where they fell. Some of them are visible from the standard climbing routes.


Mt. Lhotse (8516m)
Lhotse is the fourth highest mountain in the world. It lies south of Mt. Everest. Two Swiss climbers F. Luchsinger and E. Reiss first climbed it in 1956 from the West face. Czech expedition led by Ivan Galfy scaled it via the South face in 1984. An impressive ring of three peaks makes up the Lhotse massif: Lhotse East or Middle, Lhotse and Lhotse Shar. The South Face of Lhotse is one of the largest mountain faces in the world.

Cho Oyu (8201m)
Cho Oyu, the sixth highest mountain in the world, has gained popularity among climbers just recently. The mountain sits on both sides of the border of Nepal and Tibet, about 30 km. west of Mount Everest. Cho Oyu in Tibetan means “the turquoise goddess.” The south face of Cho Oyu, facing Nepal, is quite steep and difficult, and is rarely climbed. The north side, accessed from Tibet, is more moderate, and there is a relatively safer route to the summit. In the autumn of 1954, an Austrian team made the first ascent via this route.

Ama Dablam (6856m)
Ama Dablam which means ‘mother’s jewelry box’, in Sherpa language is considered to be one of the most beautiful mountains in the world. It looks like a woman with outstretched arms or a woman wearing a long necklace. The mountain dominates the whole Everest Base Camp trek. Ama Dablam lies alongside Everest in the heart of the Khumbu Valley. Mt Lhotse, Mt. Makalu, Mt. Cho Oyu and Mt. Everest can be seen at close quarters from Ama Dablam.

Nuptse (7855m)
Nuptse lies southwest of Mt Everest. It is situated in the Khumbu Himal. From the Tengboche Monastery, one of the iconic monasteries in Everest trek Nuptse appears as a massive wall guarding the approach to Everest. The name Nup-tse in Tibetan means west peak. The main ridge, which is separated from Lhotse by a 7556m high saddle, is crowned by seven peaks and goes west-northwest until its steep west-face drops down more than 2300m to the Khumbu-glacier. Nuptse I was first summited by a British expedition on May 16, 1961.

Pumori Peak (7145m)
Pumori is just 8 km away from the world’s highest peak Mt. Everest. The magnificent view of the peak dominates the trail as you near Everest Base Camp. The ascent to this peak is described as a classic climb in the 7000m peak category. In Tibetan, ‘Pumo’ means girl and ‘Ri’, mountain. George Mallory, the famous English climber who lost his life trying to ascend Everest in 1924, named the peak. The German climber Gerhard Lenser was the first to reach the summit of Pumori in 1962. Pumori is a popular climbing peak. The best season to climb this peak is during autumn and spring.

 

CLIMATE, FLORA AND FAUNA

Makalu area falls in the eastern Himalayan climate zone where the first monsoon clouds can be seen in April. Pre monsoon rain is common in April and the heavy rainfall may start in early June and stays until late September. The temperature varies in this region due difference in altitude, slope and aspects within the area. The best seasons to trek in the Makalu region are autumn (from mid-September till November end) and spring (from the beginning of March until mid-May). The vegetation can vary from tropical to alpine. The plants found in the region are sal, schima, castanopsis; rhododendron, orchids and other rare plants. The area is home to many animals, birds and insects that include snow leopard, red panda, wild boar, rose-ringed parakeet, Blyth’s kingfisher, deep-blue kingfisher, spiny babbler etc.

 

PEOPLE AND CULTURE

Makalu region is blessed with an incredible diversity of natural beauty and culture. Some 32,000 people of ethnically diverse people live in this region. The Sherpas, originally from Tibet, live at higher elevations. They follow Buddhist traditions similar to Tibetans. Prior to mountaineering and trekking, the main occupation Sherpa were engaged in was trading and porter, carrying butter, meat, rice, sugar, and dye from India; and wool, jewelry, salt, Chinese silk and porcelain from Tibet and beyond. Now the Sherpa are the known as unsung heroes of mountain because of their amazing climbing prowess. Being the local in the mountain, climbers and trekkers can rarely imagine doing a Himalayan adventure without their support. In lower elevations live Rais and a handful of other hill tribes including Tamangs, Magars, Gurungs, Newars, Brahmins, Chhetris, Bhotias and other occupational castes. Both Hinduism and Buddhism are in practice in this region.

This region is culturally rich but isolated. People heavily depend upon forest resources for food, fuel, housing materials, animal fodder, fertilizers, medicines and other creative uses. People of this region are also involved in making home made products by utilizing local resources. Some of the products are clothing spun from allo (nettles), paper made from Lokta (danphe bark), and countless items made from bamboo including furniture, containers, baskets, musical instruments, raincoats, and aqueducts. Many seasonally migrate to other areas to supplement their income through trade or wage-earning jobs.

 

FESTIVAL

Lhosar is celebrated in the month of February by the Sherpas. ‘Lhosar’ means New Year in Sherpa language. Apart from the Sherpas and Tibetans, the Gurungs and Tamangs also celebrate Lhosar. Buddhist monks offer prayers for good health and prosperity at monasteries. People exchange various goods and gifts among them. Families organize feasts and perform dances.

Dumje is celebrated to mark the birthday of Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava). The celebration takes place in June and lasts for six days. It is celebrated in a grand way in the villages of Namche, Thame and Khumjung, all important stopovers of your trek.

Mani Rimdu is a festival that celebrates the victory of Buddhism over the ancient animistic religion of Bon. This festival is celebrated in the monasteries of Tengboche, Chiwang and Thame. At Tengboche, the most iconic monastery of the Everest region, the celebration takes place during the November- December full moon. At Thame, Mani Rimdu is celebrated during full moon in May. Chiwang Gompa generally celebrates this festival during autumn. The Lamas wear elaborate brocade gowns and masks while performing. Through the dances, symbolic demons are conquered, dispelled, or converted to Dharma Protectors as positive forces clash with those of chaos. The dances convey Buddhist teaching on many levels from the simplest to the most profound, for those who do not have the opportunity to study and meditate extensively. It gives an opportunity to the Sherpas to gather and celebrate together with the monks.

Sakela (Chandi Dance) is a harvest festival celebrated by the Rai community. The harvest ceremony involves the worship of mother earth, called ‘Bhumi-Puja’. The festival is celebrated twice a year, once in spring before planting begins and once during autumn before harvesting. Ubhauli is celebrated during the spring season on Baishakh Purnima. In the autumn season on Mangsir Purnima, Udhauli is celebrated. The spring worship is done to propitiate mother earth for a good harvest and the rain god to bless the earth with enough rain. The festival is celebrated with more fervor in the remote hills. The Rai villagers celebrate it with priests (Dhami) who perform rituals to worship their ancestors. The elders of the community begin the dance with a puja. Later on everybody participates in the dance forming a circle by holding each other’s hands. With drumbeats, they begin dancing at a slow pace but moves faster later with the drumbeats. The dance steps and hand gestures imitate the sowing and harvesting of crops. The festival also provides an opportunity for the Rai people to socialize.

 

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Anuj Pandey

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