Trekking in Nepal

Makalu Sherpani West Col Trek and Traverse

Makalu Sherpani West Col Trek and Traverse
  • Total Duration

    26 days
  • Trek Grade

    Moderate to Challenging
  • Trek Duration

    22 days
  • Max Elevation

    5845m at Amphulabtsa Pass
  • Mode of Trek

    Camping
  • Trek Starts

    Tumlingtar
  • Trek Ends

    Lukla
“An adventurous journey to the hidden pockets in between the high Himalayan peaks”

Overview

This demanding, adventurous trek is a mountaineering traverse from Makalu to Everest region. Starting from Tumlingtar in the Arun valley, from here the days are spent in a varied ways, trekking in to the base camp of Makalu at Sherson; on the high yak pasture beneath the towering Mt. Makalu the 5th highest mountain in the world. This walk-in follows a picturesque and rarely trekked route, which passes through a number of interesting settlements and offers tantalizing views of the highest peak on this planet. On this trek we have allowed a couple of days for acclimatization at Sherson and beyond in the laps of these giant peaks.

This wonderful journey starts from Arun Valley following the traditional and rural areas, and through fascinating medieval age old markets and farm villages, this walk-in follows picturesque and rarely trekked route, offering grand views and panorama of Mt. Makalu and Kanchenjunga all the way, more stunning views of the Mt. Khumbakarna Range as the journey enters the Barun valley of Makalu basin. From here, the trek passes over the yak pastures beneath the Makalu's towering south face along with the great views of the rare east (Kanshung) face of Mt. Everest.

From here adventure continues moving to a higher camp at the foot of the Barun Glacier, here making a final preparation for the traverse of the three cols.

Our expert guides will fix ropes on the steepest and most exposed sections of the passes, for the safety of the group, staffs and porters. From this high route a spectacular view of most of the high peaks of the central eastern Himalaya, including Mt. Everest, Lhotse from the south east. As a relaxing final to this outstanding trek, passing the last pass of Amphulabtsa then descending towards the popular Everest trail, the final leg of this memorable journey concludes at Lukla for the flight back to Kathmandu.


Departures

SPRING - AUTUMN

22 April to 17 May
23 September to 18 October

Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive at Kathmandu (1300m) and Transfer to Hotel
On arrival at Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport, you will be greeted by our staff, who will escort you to the hotel, where our Sherpa guide or the office staff will give you a brief orientation about the hotel, Kathmandu itself, trekking, and the do's and don’ts of the area. They will also review any additional information that you might require while in Nepal, including an overview of the next day's sightseeing tour. In the evening, you will enjoy a complimentary welcome dinner at one of the finest traditional Nepalese restaurants in Kathmandu, with the necessary transfer to and from the hotel by taxi, bus. Overnight in Hotel
Day 02: Guided sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley
After your breakfast, you will precede to Kathmandu Durbar Square, where you will tour the ancient palace, the temple of the Kumari, the living goddess of Nepal, Hanuman Dhoka, and Kasthamandav Temple with a guide knowledgeable about Nepalese history, architecture, and religion. From there, you will proceed by taxi, bus to the Buddhist site, Swoyambhunath Stupa, also known as the "Monkey Temple" because of its lively troops of resident monkeys. You will then visit Pashupatinath Temple, the holiest shrine for Hindus, situated on the banks of the holy Bagmati River, a popular cremation site. Before returning to the hotel, you will visit Boudhnath Stupa, a Buddhist pilgrimage center and home to many colorful gompas, or monasteries. Once back at the hotel, you will receive a briefing about the trek and have a chance to meet your guides and ask any last minute questions before tomorrow morning's departure. Overnight in Hotel
Day 03: Fly to Tumlingtar (950m) 50 min and trek to Khadbari (1330m) 03 Hrs
After breakfast, a bus ride to the domestic terminal of Kathmandu Airport for the 50 minute sweeping scenic flight to Tumlingtar overlooking range of snow capped peaks from Langtang all the way to Mt. Everest, Makalu & Mt. Kanchenjunga, Tumlingtar airport and its village town located on a shelf above the Arun River, we walk across to meet our trek crew beside the airstrip, we can clearly see, far off to the north, the white peak of Makalu. From here, our first day of the trek, starts from Tumlingtar the walk is pleasant for an hour through the farm fields and villages. After leaving the suburb of Tumlingtar, the trail climbs up gradually towards Khadbari in the midst of the sub-tropical forest of Sal (Sorea robusta)and more farm fields along the way, as we come to a town of Khadbari a major village and a headquarter of the Sankhuwasabha and Makalu region. The special market day is (A busy bazaar) on Saturday. Overnight at tented camp
Day 04: Sightseeing in Chinchila (1800m) 06 Hrs
From Khadbari the trail is gradual with few ups and down till the village of Manibhanjang, after an hour and half of gradual walking with a break here, ascend the ridge on a wide and well-used trail, reaching at the lunch stop at Bhotebas after three and a half hours of steady ascent. After lunch walk for another couple of hours to the small ridge-top village of Chinchilla. On route, passing through fertile farmed land, and verdant rain forest, with thick undergrowth and many types of ferns. Chinchilla a small farm village with 6-8 houses with a superb view of Mt. Makalu 8,463m and the Khumbakarna mountain range. Overnight at tented camp
Day 05: Trek to Num (1500m) 06 Hrs
In the clear dawn we have good views of Makalu and its satellite peaks, from this magical spot of Chinchilla, perched high above the surrounding countryside. The walk to Num leads us through the cool and serene forest of rhododendron, oaks and hemlocks as we climb to the ridge top, from the ridge top it is almost downhill for two hours to the overnight camp at Num. Num a small village with about fifteen houses and a primary school on the large flat ground, from where we have good view of our route for the next couple of days. Opposite, across the Arun River, is the village of Seduwa, our camping place for the next day. Overnight at tented camp
Day 06: Trek to Sedua (1493m) 05 Hrs
From Num, we set off down the incredibly steep and terraced slopes towards the Arun River, nearly 800 meters below. The lower slopes of this narrow valley are densely forested and the paths are quite slippery, after reaching the bottom, cross the suspension bridge across the torrential Arun River, at the height of 670 meters, we start our climb back out of the rain forest, reaching our lunch place at Runruma. After lunch, a steep climb takes us up to Seduwa, a village with a small health post and a primary school. Overnight at tented camp
Day 07: Trek to Tashi Gaon (2200m) 04 Hrs
The trek to Tashigaon is a short walk of three to four hours probably with lunch and camp on the same spot. The walk takes you to more rural farm villages, on the gradual trail through the farm fields and terraces, as we come near to Tashigaon; it’s an uphill climb for an hour through the millet and rice fields. Tashigaon is a Sherpa village, unlike the Sherpa of Everest, they are bit different in the way they live in, the dress and the house they live in, being settled in the low warm areas they are engaged more in agriculture and cattle raising. In the afternoon, you'll have time to wander around. The trek to Tashigaon is a short walk of three to four hours probably with lunch and camp on the same spot. The walk takes you to more rural farm villages, on the gradual trail through the farm fields and terraces, as we come near to Tashigaon, it’s an uphill climb for an hour through the millet and rice fields. Tashigaon is a Sherpa village, unlike the Sherpa of Everest, they are bit different in the way they live in, the dress and the house they live in, being settled in the low warm areas they are engaged more in agriculture and cattle raising. In the afternoon, you'll have time to wander around. Overnight at tented camp
Day 08: Trek to Kohma Danda (3500m) 06 Hrs
Tashigaon, the last village en-route to Makalu basin, after this village the walk is refreshing for an hour and a half in the beautiful shade of the rhododendron and oaks forest, after leaving the dense forest coming to a summer pastures with traces of temporary made shepherd huts. From here onwards to Kohma ridge is a strenuous uphill climb, as the tree lines declines for the bushes of rhododendron and juniper. Then we come to an open area of Kohma danda for the overnight camp. From this spot a grand view of the far landscapes with the 3rd highest mountain Kanchenjunga in view towards the north east and Mt. Makalu towards North West. From here onward you can feel the cold chill of the Himalayas. Overnight at tented camp
Day 09: Trek to Mumbuk (3400m) 06 Hrs
With the wonderful morning and the superb views of the surrounding landscapes and snow capped peaks, our trek follows a gradual trail with few ups and down as we pass through the Thulo Pokhari (big pond) and Sano Pokhari (small pond). In the heavy snow, the path from here can be quite misleading and it will be arduous to find the trail sometime. After we cross the bigger pond, we reach the pass of Tutu-la at 4,075m. From here onwards it is all downhill back to vegetation, as we reach to our camp at Mumbuk, a small clearing place for camping in the middle of the woods of pines, hemlock, birch and rhododendrons. Overnight at tented camp
Day 10: Trek to Nehe Kharka (3750m) 06 Hrs
The camp being in the shade of the tree, the view of the Khumbakarna mountain can be seen through the vegetation of the tree lines, the walk from here is downhill to the enclosed and concealed Barun Valley, one of the least explored area in the eastern Himalayan region of Nepal. This unique landscapes within the Makalu-Barun National Park are some 3,000 species of flowering plants, 440 bird species and 75 species of mammals, including the endangers clouded leopard, red panda and musk deer. The remarkable bio-diversity is considered to be a global significance and provides a living laboratory for international scientific research. As we reach the lush alpine area of Barun Valley the walk is very pleasant with gradual uphill slopes, following the Barun River upstream on the valley gorge towards our camp at Nehe-Kharka one of the summer pastures for the local folks of Tashi and Navagoan. Overnight at tented camp
Day 11: Trek to Sherson (4600m) 06 Hrs
A little beyond our camp we cross the Barun river by way of couple of wooden bridges, which make use of conveniently situated boulders. There is a large prayer wall at Ramara, after 2-3 hours walk, from here the vegetation gets sparse, although the rhododendron, berberis, cotoneaster and juniper bushes persist for some time. The walk through the high alpine is a fantastic journey, as we come nearer to Sherson in sight of the lower Barun glacier and the towering majestic Mt. Makalu. Sherson is also the lower base camp of Mt. Makalu. There are number of stone enclosures at this high grazing ground with outstanding view of host of peaks, including the upper part of Makalu south face, and Mt. Baruntse 7,220m peeking above peak 4. Overnight at tented camp
Day 12: Free day for a day hike
It is a leisure day for a day hike, free from the hassle of packing. Around Sherson there are many interesting hike and view points to explore, the most scenic walk would be taking a hike on the right side of the camp above for the closer view of Mt. Makalu, Barun Pokhari and the view of the rare face of Everest the Kanshung face with Lhotse nearby. A one hour steep up brings you to the large meadow you can walk farther up to have a magnificent views of the Mt. Makalu and more other peaks of this area and beyond. Overnight at tented camp
Day 13: Trek to High Makalu Base Camp (4800m) 03 Hrs
From Sherson, we continue to more isolated area towards the higher base camp, which is less than three hour trek above Sherson, at the snout of the Barun glacier, near its glacial pond. On arrival at the camp afternoon free for short hike above the camp, a climb on the moraine ridge, for more spectacular views of Mt. Makalu, and of the usual hidden east sides of Lhotse and Everest, this looms above the Barun glacier to the North West. We will spend rest of the afternoon at leisure and preparing for the next big adventure. Some of the porters will set off back with equipment which we do not need to take with us making the load as light as possible to overcome the traverse over Sherpani Col and beyond. Overnight at tented camp
Day 14: Trek to Higher Camp (5200m) 05 Hrs
Our journey from here heads westwards to camp just below Makalu west pillar, as the altitude gains slowly, we take our time with enough breaks in this high terrain our walk follows a path which climbs an ablation valley on the west side of the Barun glacier. Following this valley onto the glacier we make our way over the boulder-strewn caves and ice to a camp known as Puja Camp below the towering Mt. Makalu’s West Pillar. Our strenuous trek on the glacier is rewarded with unique views of Lhotse and the rare Kanshung face of Everest. Overnight at tented camp
Day 15: Trek to the Base of Sherpani Col (5700m) 05 Hrs
Leaving our camp the path follows to a steep climb up the rocky slopes of the Barun's west bank, until a line of cairns leads us into the valley where two small glaciers are fed by the slopes of the Sherpani Col. We will make our camp beneath the ice cliffs at the terminus of these two glaciers after 4-5 hours of vigorous climb. Overnight at tented camp
Day 16: Rest day
An important rest day for acclimatization before the hard high climb and steep descend. At this altitude offers superb views of the giant West Face and West Pillar of Makalu. Here our expert guides will check the route and make the pass accessible by fixing ropes on route. Overnight at tented camp
Day 17: Trek to the Moraine (5640m) after crossing Sherpani Col
The big day! Leaving the camp before dawn, we climb on the icy snout of the Sherpani Glacier, three separate Col's give access to the cirque, we will choose the most appropriate of these routes, according to the prevailing conditions, our climb follows on steep snow covered slopes, with the back-up of the fixed ropes which we had set up on the previous day. From the Col a rope will be fixed up to cross the glacier to the rocky crest of the West Col. This stunning cirque is framed by the sweep of Baruntse icy ridges to the north, the vast cliffs of Makalu, the wall of Chamlang to the south and the shapely spire of Ama Dablam ahead of us to the west. We will be having our packed lunch on the world's highest picnic spots, in the meantime our guides will scout the safe route down the West Col. After a break a descent from the Col on fixed lines leads us to the Hongu Glacier, and end our long hard day with a gradual walk over snow slopes down to our camp on the moraine. Overnight at tented camp
Day 18: Trek to Panch Pokhari (5480m) 05 Hrs
Our journey leads to our next adventure over the Amphu Laptsa before we head towards the main busy trail of Lukla, Namche Bazaar and Thyangboche. Walk follows across the wide reaches of the upper Hongu Basin towards Kang Leyamura a 6,430 m peak to the west. Following the rocky glacier in the beginning, then towards old and more recent moraine deposits, we reach the beautiful Panch Pokhari meaning 'five ponds' and make our camp near to the largest pond at the foot of our final pass Amphu Labtsa 5,780m. Overnight at tented camp
Day 19: Rest day
Another well earned rest day, which gives us a break to pull back our strength back for the final assault over the last big pass. Either relaxing or for the energetic people there is an opportunity to climb smaller hills behind the camp for the excellent views of the Hinku Glacier and the Mingbo-la. Here our guides will go up to the Amphu Labtsa and will fix ropes on some difficult section for the safe descent towards Imjatse Valley. Overnight at tented camp
Day 20: Trek to Chukung (4730m) via Amphu Labtsa Pass (5845m) 06 Hrs
Another big day, an early start from the camp for 2-3 hrs treks leads to the top of the pass. From the pass, overlooking stunning views of the impressive south face of Lhotse and Lhotse Shar and the summit of Island or Imajatse Peaks. As soon as the kitchen staffs and porters arrive at the pass, they will be lowered 150 meters to the relatively less steep ground below the pass. Similarly, loads have to be carefully lowered, after checking every member in the group we 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 walk will take us to the ablation valley by the side of the Imja Glacier, now being within the Imjatse valley walking will be more or less easier most of the way to the trekkers civilization at Chukung a temporary settlement with 5-6 teahouse and lodges. We camp overnight at Chukung after 8-9 hrs of hard adventurous trek. Overnight at tented camp
Day 21: Trek to Tengboche (3860m) 06 Hrs
After the hard couple of days over the two high hidden pass in between the massif peaks, our route from here leads to a pleasant walk on the downhill slope to Dingboche and Pangboche village before Thyangboche. After two hours of easy walk brings us at Dingboche village. Dingboche is a beautiful patchwork of field enclosed by stone walls, protecting the crops of barley, buckwheat and potatoes from the cold winds and grazing animals. From Dingboche a gentle walk leads towards the Imjatse River with excellent views of Ama Dablam, Kangtenga and Tawoche peaks the trail leads to a small wooden bridge, from the bridge an easy walk to Pangboche village. From here the route diverts two ways, the upper one going to the upper Pangboche village, where the old Monastery is located, the gradual low route is the straight forward main trail onwards to Thyangboche and beyond. It will be better to go the upper trail, for more view and to visit the upper Pangboche village 3,900m and its Monastery, which had a Yeti scalp, and a skeleton believed to be Yeti's hand, it was stolen in the early '90's, and has never been recovered back, like the monastery in Khumjung this Monastery is believed to be older, after the visit to the Monastery a gradual walk downhill brings you back to the main trail, with a short climb after the bridge over the gorge of Imjatse River, the walk follows mani wall through the beautiful forest of silver fur, birch and rhododendron all the way to Thyangboche Monastery a magnificent place surround by the impressive view of the snow capped mountains. Overnight at tented camp
Day 22: Trek to Namche Bazar 05 Hrs
After a visit to the newly built monastery after the old one was burned to the ground in the late 80's, our trek begins with a descend for an hour to Phungi Tenka, here we cross the long suspension bridge over the Imjatse River by now the trail is more busier with trekkers, porters and pack animals than the previous days. From the bridge an hour and half climb brings to Shana-sa village, with excellent views of Mt. Ama Dablam and Thamserku. Perhaps the trek might break here for lunch in this village. After a good stop, 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 two hours away on the easy winding trail with constant view of the snow capped peaks of Kwangde, Thamserku, Ama Dablam, Nuptse, Lhotse and Everest. As the path splits from here to Namche and Khumjung the later village will take about an hour uphill walk and then about 2-3 hrs to reach Namche for the overnight halt. On reaching Namche Bazaar it will be more or less back to civilization with excellent restaurants, shops, lodges and even Cyber cafe. Again we retrace our steps to Chichila. The final return leg of the trek will see us overnight at Tumlingtar, ready for an early departure to Kathmandu the following day. Transfer to Tumlingtar. Overnight at tented camp
Day 23: Trek to Lukla (2840m) 06 Hrs
Being on the main trail to Everest, the walk from Namche onwards will be much easier all the way to Lukla, the path leads downhill all the way to the confluence of Bhote-Koshi and Imjatse which makes the Dudh Koshi. From here cross the long suspension bridge with a short climb into the pine woods, which reaches back to the river bed, 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 two hours of good walk leads to Phakding near the river Dudh Koshi. Final leg of this great trek will be a 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 Choplung or from the old big oak tree. On reaching Lukla, prepare for the last day dinner and celebration with the fellow Sherpa crew, porters and trekking members. Overnight at tented camp
Day 24: Fly back to Kathmandu
The flight time to Kathmandu, are schedule for morning normally, because of the wind in the afternoon, sometime the flight time can be delayed due to bad weather and other reason beyond our control. After getting the boarding pass depending upon the flight time, make way to the terminal for security check, this scenic flight from Lukla takes about 30 to 40 minutes to Kathmandu, a panoramic view of the snow capped peaks can be seen during the flight. Arriving at Kathmandu domestic terminal, our staff will be there to receive and escort you back to the Hotel. Overnight in Hotel
Day 25: Free day at leisure
This is a free day in Kathmandu. But do not hesitate to let our staff or tour officers know if you would like to go on another short tour in and around Kathmandu Valley or for scenic mountain flight, or even hot air ballooning. Overnight at Hotel
Day 26: Final departure
Keep the departure time of international flight in mind, and make sure to keep your confirmed air ticket and passport handy! Our staff will take you to the airport for your final departure from beautiful Nepal.

Useful Information

Tea House Trekking

On the more popular treks in Nepal, particularly in the Everest, Langtang and the entire Annapurna regions, enterprising villagers have built teahouse lodges, similar to European style alpine lodges offering simple but comfortable accommodation and food. We offer a selection of single/twin sharing rooms in the best available lodges run to a high level of service. We also supply a four season sleeping bag and cotton liner free of charge on our teahouse treks. Hire of other key items if needed can be arranged in advance. During the trek you’ll have 3 meals a day, with a mixture of European and Asian style dishes and large portions. Soft drinks, sweets, mineral water and alcohol are not included.

Fully Provisioned Camping Style Trekking

This type of trek is staffed by a full Sherpa crew including a Sirdar (head man), cook and assistants. Porters, yaks, horses or mules carry your main baggage. It is the Sherpa crew’s job to perform all the camp work, from setting up to providing freshly made meals,to leaving the site clean on departure. We provide twin share dome or a frame sleeping tents, a kitchen tent, mess tent and toilet tent. We also provide tables, chairs or stools,lanterns/candles, thin sleeping mattresses and all crockery and cutlery as well as a fully equipped kitchen set up. The Sherpa crew will cook, wash up, and provide hot water for washing and tea and coffee at night and for your wake up call. Food is a mixture of Asian and Western dishes, with lots of choice, freshly prepared. As with teahouse trekking you can expect 3 main meals each day. Soft drinks, sweets, mineral water and alcohol are not included. A few of our teahouse treks involve crossing high passes and necessitate camping for a couple of nights. We provide full camping services for these nights including providing four season sleeping bags.

Small Group Travel

Most of our trips, treks and tours are organized on a small group basis, usually with a maximum of 16 persons in a group. On family holidays the maximum number is 20 to allow a number of families to join a group. By keeping numbers small we are able to offer a friendly, personal and high quality service.

Tailor Made Private Charter Adventures

We offer a very competitive complete tailor made service and are happy to design private charter programs for individuals and for groups as well as to tailor any of our packages to more closely meet your requirements. We have a wealth of experience in helping many clients in designing and planning individual adventures, ranging from romantic breaks to personal challenges, fundraising programs,student programs to extreme adventure expeditions, from low budget to no expense spared. We don’t charge a fortune to tailor make a trip for you and we have plenty of ideas, suggestions and experience we’re happy to share. We’ll work closely with you to design your adventure. Our advertised brochure prices will give you an idea of what you can expect to pay but we’ll provide individual quotes based upon your itinerary, requirements,budget and number of people traveling. Let us take care of the research and arrangements for your flights, accommodation,guides,transport,permits,peak fees,equipment requirements,food and all ground handling service for treks, expeditions or tours, using our local knowledge, expertise and contacts. And you can get on with enjoying yourself.

Group and Club Organizers

If you are organizing a trip for a group or a club we will offer one free* additional place for every 10 bookings made. You can use this for your own travel, use it to reduce the overall cost of the trip for everyone or perhaps offer it as a fantastic prize for your group members or for a charity. Contact us for more details and for conditions (*permit fees, national park entry fees, airfares and departure taxes not included).

Grading System

In Nepal, the trails often zigzag with plenty of ascents and descents and it is better to think in terms of hours spent walking rather than miles covered. A typical day’s walking is from five to seven hours with a number of ascents and descents. This includes a one hour lunch stop, a comfortable pace of walking and time to enjoy your surroundings. We use four grades for our treks, intended to give you a general sense of what to expect and to help you choose which adventure will suit you best. Factors such as weather conditions, altitude, fitness level, experience, interests and how you feel on a particular day all contribute to how easy or strenuous you find a trip. If you’re unsure of whether a trek is suitable for you just contact us before making your booking.

Equipment Checklist

A pair of light hiking boots
A pair of sandals
2 pairs of woolen socks and 2 pair of hiking socks
1 medium poly pro shirt
1 pile jacket
1 down jacket
1 woolen hat
A pair of sunglasses
A pair of glove shells with liner or ski gloves (opt.)
A pair of woolen gloves
One Trekking pack 3000 cubic inches capacity
One Sunscreen lotion SPF 10 to 30 and One Sunscreen stick SPF 10 to 30
Two Reading books (Optional)
One Walkman (Opt) and Music tapes (Opt) iPods Digi Camera and its Charger
A one liter water bottle
A pair of trekking poles
One flash light with 4 sets of batteries one -5 to -20 sleeping bag
Two T-shirts and one long sleeve T/city shirt
Two Trekking baggy pants

Toiletry Items

Towel, pre-moistened novelettes, wash cloth, lip balm, and any additional personal items such as toothbrush, comb, etc.

Miscellaneous Items

Photo equipment with plenty of films and spare batteries, reading/writing materials, postcards of hometown and/or photos of home and family to share with Nepalese people, safety pins, sewing kit, zip lock bags for small items.

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