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Makalu: 5th Highest Mountain in the World

Fast Facts About Makalu


Makalu: 5th Highest Mountain in the World

Seen from Mount Everest, Makalu rises above clouds.

Photograph courtesy Stewart Green Collection

Elevation: 27,765 feet (8,462 meters)
Location: Nepal, Asia
First Ascent: Jean Couzy and Lionel Terray (France), May 15, 1955

Fast Facts:

  • The name is derived from the Sanskrit Maha Kala, a name for the Hindu god Shiva that translates “Big Black.”
  • Makula is in Nepal’s Makalu-Barun National Park and Conservation Area.
  • Located 14 miles (22 kilometers) east of Mount Everest.
  • Makula is a double peak with its twin subsidiary peak Chomolonzo (25,650 feet) to the north.
  • The summit ridge is the border between Nepal and Tibet.
  • One of the most challenging 8,000-meter peaks, with steep climbing, exposed ridges, and rock climbing on the summit pyramid.
  • Only five of the first 16 attempts successfully reached Makalu’s summit.
  • The French team that did the first ascent in 1955 climbed the north face and northeast ridge, today’s standard route, and placed nine climbers, including one Sherpa, on the summit.
  • Jean-Christophe Lafaille, one of France’s best climbers, disappeared near the top of the peak on January 26, 2006 while attempting to make the first winter ascent of Makalu solo.
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