Makalu - 5th Highest

The villagers have worked hard to push forward the trail, even after the two earthquakes that shattered much of the infrastructure of Nepal. Progress has been inspiring. They seem to be a bunch of young men eager for the adventure of it all (supervised by a grand old jungle tracker who is designing the bridges and the precise contours of the trail). But Taylor was indeed surprised in the first days of August when he was informed that the trail was "punched through." They had, he knew, been building the trail, and had gotten over half way with what they claimed was quality work form the confluence of the Barun and Arun Rivers. But it seems that this summer they decided push it and broke through to the high tundra at the base of Makalu. They are now going back over to make the trail passable. The message came, "Daniel, come soon. People already want to walk the trail. We promised our old friend would be the first."

Taylor is indeed going, and he is inviting you. The reason is not "to be the first" - but there are important questions to be answered. With a walkable (let's hope it is) trail, what further improvements should we suggest? More importantly, what policies should be suggested to communities and to government? The objective remains to protect the densest jungle in our wold of rising human use of the planet.

Itinerary & Cost

Arrive in Kathmandu at your pleasure
March 26: Leave Kathmandu, fly to Tumlingtar Valley on Arun River
March 27/8: Trek up Arun Valley (this is an old caravan route to Tibet)
March 29: Discussions in Syakshila Village at confluence of Arun and Barun Rivers
March 30/1 - April 1: Trek 25km on the Yeti Trail through Barun jungles to alpine tundra
April 2: Camp at Yangle Kharka at 12,000' (take rest day, or take a roundtrip to Makalu Base Camp and the high glaciers)
April 3/4/5/6: Trek around Makalu's base to Saldima Meadow along China's border at 13,500'
April 7: Helicopter from Saldima to Kathmandu (some may helicopter shuttle via Tumlingtar)
Stay on in Kathmandu at your pleasure.

There will be a camp cook and porters. People are expected to carry light packs (less than ten pounds) with rain jacket, water, and snacks. People will bring sleeping bags and pads (can also be purchased for very reasonable prices in Kathmandu). Your own tent is ideal, but not essential.

As the schedule above notes, once we ascend the Barun Valley from the confluence of the Barun and Arun Rivers, the expedition will then trek to Saldima Meadow. An old trail exists that I have heard of (indeed I've traveled parts of when creating the national parks). That trail historically allowed "unmonitored" commerce (i.e. smuggling) between Nepal and Tibet - it is also part of the sacred Khembalung Pilgrimage (the legendary pilgrimage that after reaching the base of Makalu, the expedition will go to Saldima Meadow, crossing a 12,000' ridge, to reach a fantastic valley of splendid waterfalls. From there we will be helicoptered back to Kathmandu (or, if you want to save money or extend the trek, you can walk out).

The total cost of this trip will be $5,500. This will include all costs while in Nepal, but not transportation to and from the country.

For information about required and recommended vaccinations for travelers visiting Nepal, as well as other health information, please visit the CDC page.