Mt. Makalu 8,481 m (27,825ft) Alpine PD+, 5th highest mountain in the world and one of the Eight-Thousander, is located inside Khumbu region of northern Nepal (Sharing other half with Tibet-China). It has two notable subsidiary peaks, Kangchungtse and Makalu II (7,678 m). Makalu-Barun valley, a glacier valley on the foot of Makalu peak, is one of the least populated region in Nepal.
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Makalu base camp trek, spanning almost 3 weeks, offers an opportunity to explore high-altitude terrains, snow-clad landscapes and ethnic Himalayan lifestyles. The craze of measuring Everest base camp among trekkers, on the other side of the trail, takes most of the charm out of this trek. However, due to least traffic, it becomes easier to cover the trail –earning more time and places to explore.
Makalu Barun National Park
Makalu Barun National Park (MBNPCA) 1,500 km2 (580 sq. mi) Est. in 1992, in the Solukhumbu region, is the 8th national park in Nepal. It protects some of the most endangered species of flora and fauna. The park is home to some 315 species of butterflies, 43 species of reptile, 16 species of amphibians. 440 bird species and 88 species of mammals.
Mt. Makalu, Baruntse and Mera Peak are all included in MBNPCA. The area was converted into a Bufferzone in 1999. Today, inhabitants comprising of different ethnicity live and work inside the park (preserving the forests and catering the seasonal tourists).
Some of the popular animals found in the region are; Snow leopard, Clouded leopard, Red panda, Himalayan wolf, Assamese Macaque, Barking Deer and Asian Golden Cat.
During the trek, one can enjoy some of the magnificent vistas of surrounding high peaks; Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse etc.
It is commonly trekked in two different seasons, Pre-monsoon (March to June) and Post-monsoon (September to November). Best weather is guaranteed during Post-monsoon season. Unfavorable weather can be detrimental.
~Gear & Equipment~
- Pair of hiking boots (well broken in) – One could spend over 5 to 6 hours a day on the trail, therefore, long-lasting boots are essential. The boots can range from light to medium, high or low. If one plans to trek during the months when it snows, the high boots become essential for proper hiking.
- Soft and light shoes (sneakers) – Carrying light-weight sneakers for ‘after the day hike’ serves comfort.
- Lightweight knapsack – It is useful for short trips away from one’s lodge, and will save you from carrying large backpack along. It should be large enough to fit a camera, spare clothes and a sleeping bag, if one plans to spend a night away.
- Lightweight sleeping bag – Essential during peak seasons (October-December). Lodges do offer blankets, but are scarce during the peak season, therefore carrying a sleeping bag (-10 C°) can be a great precaution.
- Fabric band-aids – Blisters are common due to rigorous walking. A good alternative to band-aids is duct tape. Works great for blisters and also proves invaluable in many other ways.
~Costs & Permit~
Permit Fee required to enter Makalu Barun National Park Conservation Area.
- SAARC Nationals – Rs. 1,500 p. person (Approx. USD $15)
- Other than SAARC Nationals – Rs. 3,000 p. person (Approx. USD $30)
- Makalu Base Camp trek via Barun Valley