Makalu Base Camp Trek Itinerary
A Guided Trekking Expedition to Makalu Base Camp
For prices and more details about this trip please visit the Makalu Trek trip page
Welcome to Kathmandu! Enchanting and exotic, it is a city immersed with ancient temples and tradition. Fused with colourful markets and the bustle of spice sellers and merchants, Kathmandu is a city you won’t forget! You’ll have the afternoon free to explore the streets and markets and then we’ll have dinner at a local restaurant. You will be met at the airport by your expedition leader.
A 45 minute flight will take us over some spectacular scenery out of the Kathmandu Valley to Tumlingtar. From here, we will switch to private 4×4. The drive will take around 3 hours down an increasingly rough road. We pass through scenic terraced rice fields and forest, until we reach the Gurung village of Chichila. Situated at the top of the ridge, it is a fantastic starting point for the trek!
We will awake to stunning views of Makalu; the perfect accompaniment to breakfast. The trail takes us through lush forests of rhododendron and bamboo through the foothills of the Himalaya. We gain a ridge and follow it to its end at the village of Num. We stay in this beautiful spot overnight, surrounded by fantastic views of Makalu and Chamlang.
A steep descent from our perch on the ridge takes us down into the valley, through terraced rice fields and jungle to cross the raging Arun Khola at 650m. A steep, winding trail takes us up to the entry point of the Makalu-Barun National Park at Seduwa.
Bamboo and rhododendron forested trails take us up out of the other side of the valley to Tashi Goan. We pass through quiet villages and picturesque terraced farmland; the last marks of civilisation along our trail until we return to this point on the descent.
It’s a big day of ascending today. The trail leads uphill through dense, green forest to more open scrubland. We gain a ridge line and follow this along to its end, where we will overnight at Kongma, having gained 1500m of altitude.
Day 7 – Rest and acclimatise at Kongma
We will take today to recover from the ascent of yesterday and acclimatise to the higher altitude.
Day 8 – Trek Kongma to Debotay (3,650m), via the Shipton La (4125)
We climb steeply in the morning, passing a stone chorten adorned with prayer flags to reach the summit of the Shipton La. From here, there are fantastic views of Makalu, Chamlang and Kanchenjunga. We will be able to see across to where we will ascend the steep gully to Keke La (4,152m), before descending to the Debotay meadow amidst the rhododendron forested valley and set up camp.
Day 9 – Trek Debotay to Yangle Kharka (3,600m)
Traversing the Barun Valley, the forested trail today is more difficult. We will ascend and descend steeply, and make our way across debris left by landslides. Above the trail, rock faces tower over us, and Peak 6 and 7 are in view at the end of the valley. We will drop down to the Barun River and follow its raging path to camp in the Yangle Kharka pasture at the end of the valley.
We will move slowly today to account for the increase in altitude, giving us plenty of time to appreciate the bilberry and juniper along the trail. Climbing up the valley, we will pass through kharkas (yak pastures), and the herders’ huts, framed against the impressive pyramid formation of Peak 7. We will stop at Langmale Kharka, a summer grazing area with a basic lodge, framed against the backdrop of Peak 3, 4 and 5, Chamlang and Hongku Chuli.
Day 11 – Rest day to acclimatise
You can choose whether to spend the day pottering around the campsite or exploring the local area whilst your body adapts to its environment.
Gaining more height, we will pass an impressive mani wall and continue until the Lower Barun Glacier comes into view. The valley opens up before us, and the formidable looking south face of Makalu comes into view as we gain height and approach Sherson. The alpine environment is beautiful, showcasing many of the native flora, such as berberis and cotoneaster.
Equipped for a day at high altitude, we will set out across glacial moraine towards Advance Base Camp, situated at the start of Makalu’s South East Ridge. Every step we take gives us a better view of the surrounding mountains, until we reach the grand finale at 5500m. From this viewpoint, we have an incredible postcard view of grand Himalayan peaks, with Makalu’s distinctive form dominating the sky and Lhotse and Everest also in clear view.
We retrace our steps back down to Num. The views are just as spectacular on the way out, and it’s a great chance to spot more of the native flora and fauna as we go.
Day 18 – Drive Num to Tumlingtar (518m)
A bumpy ride will take us back along the Chichila ridge to Tumlingtar, where we will be able to have a celebratory dinner with the whole team before returning to Kathmandu.
Day 19: Fly to Kathmandu
We complete our journey with a short flight back to the capital, where you have the final chance for souvenir shopping and exploration. Go in search of your favourite colourful local handicrafts, traditional artwork or tantalising spices and enjoy friendly bartering with the local shopkeepers. Meet with the team for a farewell dinner.
Day 20 – Rest day/contingency day
We use this day as a buffer, just in case we get delayed, which is not uncommon during off the beaten path, long distance hikes in the Himalaya! Hopefully though, we’ll be spending the day enjoying drinks in the garden or exploring the back alleys of Kathmandu.
Unfortunately, it’s the end of this adventure. Lost Earth Adventures group services end after breakfast. Transfers to the airport are complimentary. See you next time!
Treat yourself to… A Flight Amongst Giants.
As the clouds part and the sun breaks through the early morning sky, ascend towards the Himalaya in an exhilarating mountain flight. Fly east towards the highest mountain in the world – iconic Mount Everest (8,848m) and on the way take in breathtaking views of the Himalaya including Kangchengjunga (8,586m), Shisha Pangma (8,013m), Cho Oyu (8,201m), Nuptse (7,864m) and Lhotse (8,516m). Quite simply – spectacular!
*Scenic Mt. Everest mountain flight is not included in tour price and must be paid for on location.
Or Explore Patan – The City of Beauty Patan is a city standing still in time, immersed in rich cultural history, bustling with the energy of today. A place best explored by foot, we’ll walk the cobbled streets with over 600 stupas whilst discovering ancient pagoda temples. See why local people still call it by its original name, Lalitpur – the City of Beauty.
Trekking Times and Altitudes
These tables show the approximate times it takes to walk to each place we stay at night. These times do not include rest and food breaks.
|Drive Tumlingtar to Chichila (1,850m)||3 hours|
Chicila to Num (1,505m)
|Num to Seduwa (1,493m)||6 hours|
|Seduwa to Tashi Goan (2,057m)||5 hours|
|Tashi Goan to Kongma (3,562m)||6 hours|
|Kongma to Debotay (3,560m) via the Shipton La (4,125m)||7 hours|
|Debotay to Yangle Kharka (3,600m)||5 hours|
|Yangle Kharka to Langmale Kharka (4,200m)||4.5 hours|
|Langmale Kharka to Makalu SE Base Camp at Sherson (4,900m)||4 hours|
|Day hike up to viewpoint (5,500m)||6 hours|
|Makalu SE Base Camp to Langmale Kharka (4,200m)||6 hours|
|Langmale Kharka to Debotay (3,650m)||6 hours|
|Debotay to Tashi Gaon (2,057m)||4 hours|
|Tashi Gaon to Num (1,505m)||6 hours|
|Drive to Tumlingtar (518m)||6 hours|