Makalu Basecamp Trek
Nepal, Trek & Walk, 18 days - from £1,795 (land only) - from €2,515 (land only) - from $2,900 (land only)
Day 1: Arrive in Kathmandu. We are met by our guide or a KE representative and transfer to the group hotel. KE Land Only package services begin with the evening meal and overnight at the hotel.
Day 2: We take a morning flight to Tumlingtar, where we meet our trek crew. We then drive in 4WD vehicles on a rough road to the spectacularly positioned village of Num (1500m). En route, we have distant views of Makalu and its satellite peaks. Overnight in a lodge.
Day 3: Setting off on our first day of trekking, we have a long and steep descent through terraced farmland to a bridge across the torrential Arun River. From here, we climb via a lunch stop at Runruma, to our lodge in the village of Sedua (1493m). 6 hours of walking.
Day 4: A short day, dictated by the availabilty of lodges on our route. After an initially steep ascent from Sedua, across open terraced fields, the angle of the trail eases off and we contour around to the village of Tashigaon (2057m). This is the last village on the walk-in to Makalu Basecamp. 4 hours walking.
Day 5: Starting out through cloud forest for the first couple of hours, this is a day of ascent. We reach more open country after lunch and continue our long climb to the ridge and grazing area at Kauma Kharka (3500m) where there is a basic lodge. Ten minutes above the lodge, there is a viewpoint for Makalu. 5 hours of walking.
Day 6: Today, we ascend through rhododendron forest, with occasional views of Kangchenjunga, Chamlang and Makalu. Beyond the tarn at Kali Pokhari, we reach the Shipton La (4229m). From here, we descend to our lodge accommodation in a clearing amongst rhododendrons at Dobato (3700m). 6 hours walking.
Day 7: After a steep 400 metre descent to the Barun River, we follow the river, gaining height more gradually and passing through a gorge, with occasional views of Makalu aheasd. We reach a more open valley and our lodge on the high grazing area known as Yangri Kharka (3620m) after around 6 hours walking.
Day 8: This is a relatively short day of trekking, as we following the river upstream, crossing a number of tributaries and with views of Peak 7, Chamlang and Hongku Chuli. We reach our overnight halt at a lodge on the summer grazing area of Lengmale Kharka (4400m). 5 hours of walking.
Day 9: A short and lovely final morning of walking on our approach to Sherson (4500m) the basecamp area for Makalu. Trekking through a high alpine environment, we round a corner and come within sight of the Lower Barun Glacier. Overnight at one of the basic lodges at Sherson. Afternoon free for exploration. 3 hours walking.
Day 10: A day for exploring above Sherson. There is the option to climb to approximately 5100 metres on a ridge to the north for views of the imposing Makalu and of Everest and Lhotse. An alternative walk to a viewpoint on the south-west side of the valley is also possible. We spend a second night at Sherson.
Day 11: We begin the walk out, first returning to Yangri Kharka. Although we are returning on the same trail, the views in front of us are quite different and it is amazing how much we didn't see on our walk in just because we didn't turn around! 6 hours walking.
Day 12: Today, is a long one, as we descend beside the Barun Khola, before making the steep hour and a half ascent on stone steps to the clearing at Dobato. We then head up to cross the Shipton La, which will seem easier than on our walk-in, as we are now fitter and well acclimatised. We finish today's undulating walk at the lodge in Kauma Kharka. 8 hours walking.
Day 13: Our trek today starts out with a descent of around 3 hours through the cloud forest to Tashigaon and then a further 3 hours to Sedua, where perhaps we might celebrate with some Tungba, a Nepalese alcoholic beverage brewed from millet. 6 to 7 hours walking.
Day 14: We start the day with a descent to the hot and steamy Arun River Valley. Crossing the khola we then begin a climb of just under 1000 metres up the ridge on the other side to Num - a real 'sting in the tail' of this trek to Makalu Basecamp. 5 hours walking.
Day 15: An early start for the long drive along the ridge via Chichila to Tumlingtar. If the weather has been dry this will be a straightforward and highly scenic journey. After heavy rain the track can become very muddy and we may even opt to walk sections, in which case we will have a fairly late arrival back into Tumlingtar. We will say goodbye to our trek crew in Tumlingtar.
Day 16: We fly from Tumlingtar, to Kathmandu. This is normally in the morning to take advantage of the clear weather, but there is no fixed schedule for these flights and it is not possible to say exactly when we might fly. Once in Kathmandu we check in to our hotel and the rest of the day is free. Dinner at one of Kathmandu's excellent eateries and overnight at the group hotel.
Day 17: A contingency day in case of flight delays. There is an optional guided city tour of some of Kathmandu's best known sights, such as the Buddhist temple at Bodhnath and the principally Hindu temple complex at Pashupatinath. This evening we have a celebratory end of trip dinner in Thamel. Final night at our Kathmandu hotel.
Day 18: KE Land Only package services end after breakfast. Complimentary airport transfers are provided.
This holiday involves going to very high altitude. During the course of your trip you will be spending at least one night above 4000 metres and/or trekking to 5000 metres or above. This is not something that you should worry about; the human body is quite capable of adapting to a very wide range of altitudes, but it is important that we follow some simple rules in order to acclimatise successfully. Before coming on this holiday you should read the advice on trekking at high altitude.