Makalu to Everest via 3 Cols
The Makalu to Everest Traverse includes some of the highest and most challenging trails in the Great Himalaya Trails network. In this section you cross three high passes, two of them over 6000 m while traversing the mountain range between Makalu and Everest.
Makalu is a rarely visited gem. Sandwiched between the more famous Everest and Kanchenjunga massifs, Makalu (8463 m) is considered one of the toughest 8000 m peaks to climb – even the great Edmund Hillary failed twice. But the wilderness around it is just waiting to be explored by the intrepid trekker prepared to forgo the comforts of the traditional teahouse treks.
For the more experienced trekker the pristine river valleys of the Arun and Barun with views up to Everest and Lhotse, offer hard-won rewards. The path to Makalu Base Camp from the south is considered one of the tougher routes in Nepal, and you’re more likely to have the company of birds than fellow hikers.
This is even more the case on the traverse from Everest to Makaly. Be prepared for a combination of cross-country trekking and mountaineering to scale the high passes of the grueling ‘Three Cols’ – Sherpani Col, West Col and Amphu Labsta – which take you to almost 6200 m.
The rewards are generous. The lush Makalu Barun region is one of the largest protected areas in Nepal. It shelters 3000 species of flowering plants including countless varieties of Himalayan Orchids, 440 species of birds and 75 species of mammals. Rare species such as the musk deer, the clouded leopard and the Asian golden cat testify to the incredible biodiversity visitors will encounter in the verdant valleys. The towering granite cliffs capped with immense glaciers in the upper reaches of the Barun Valley have been compared to those of Yosemite – on a bigger scale!
As you walk up the river valleys, immense mountain vistas will unfold before you, including the massifs of Makalu, Everest and Lhotse. You may well wonder why you have the views all to yourself – something to ask the indigenous groups of Rai, Limbu, Sherpa and Lhomi people you will encounter in the lower altitudes.
April, May, September, October
Level of Difficulty
TIMS and Restricted Area Trekking Permit to be obtained at the Department of Immigration in Kathmandu. Entrance fees for Sagarmatha National Park and Makalu-Barun National Park to be paid at park entrance.
- Day 1 Flight Kathmandu - Tumlingtar, drive to Chiuribas (east of Num) 8 hrs
- Day 2 Chiuribas (1800 m) - Seduwa (1500 m) 5 hrs
- Day 3 Seduwa (1500 m) - Tashigoan (2100 m) 7 hrs
- Day 4 Tashigoan (2100 m) - Kongma Danda (3500 m) 7 hrs
- Day 5 Rest and acclimatization day Kongma Danda (3500 m)
- Day 6 Kongma Danda (3500 m) - Debotay (3650m) via Tutu La/Shipton's Pass (4125 m) 8 hrs
- Day 7 Debotay (3650 m) - Yangle Kharka (3557 m) 5/6 hrs
- Day 8 Yangla Kharka (3557 m) - Langmale Kharka (4410 m) 4 hrs
- Day 9 Langmale Kharka (4410 m) - Makalu Base Camp (4870 m) 4 hrs
- Day 10 Makalu Base Camp (4870 m). Rest day.
- Day 11 Makalu Base Camp (4870 m) to Swiss Base Camp (5150 m) 4 hrs
- Day 12 Swiss Base Camp (5150 m). Rest day.
- Day 13 Swiss Base Camp (5150 m) - Sherpani Col Base Camp (5688 m) 5 hrs
- Day 14 Sherpani Col Base Camp (5688 m) - Baruntse Camp (6050 m) crossing the Sherpani Col (6146 m) 7 hrs
- Day 15 Baruntse Camp (6050 m) - Honku Basin (5500 m) crossing the West Col (6143 m) 4 hrs
- Day 16 Honku Basin (5500 m) - Amphu Labsta Base Camp (5527 m) 5 hrs
- Day 17 Amphu Labsta Base Camp (5527 m). Rest day.
- Day 18 Amphu Labsta Base Camp (5527 m) - Chhukung (4730 m) crossing the Amphu Labsta La (5848 m) 9 hrs
- Day 19 Chhukung (4730 m) - Dingboche (4410 m) 3 hrs
- Day 20 Dingboche (4410 m) - Lobuche (4910 m) 4 hrs
- Day 21 Lobuche (4910 m) - Gorak Shep (5140 m) with side trip to Kala Pattar (Everest Viewpoint) (5550 m) 6 hrs
- Day 22 Gorak Shep (5140 m) - Everest Base Camp (5364 m) and back to Lobuche (4910 m) 6 hrs
- Day 23 Lobuche (4910 m) - Pangboche (4150m) 5 hrs
- Day 24 Pangboche (4150m) - Namche Bazar (3440 m) 8 hrs
- Day 25 Namche Bazar (3440 m) - Lukla (2840 m) 8 hrs
- Day 26 Flight Lukla - Kathmandu