Makalu Summit Push About to Begin

On Makalu, climbers have acclimatized and are ready to go. The weather is cooperating, too. Today, a beautiful, clear day dawned, and forecasts show good weather for tomorrow as well. Monday, May 9 is a likely summit day.

The push did not get the go-ahead until today, due to a political matter: who should fix the ropes between the highest camp and the summit. After some negotiation, Seven Summit Treks agreed to provide three Sherpas, while Alpenglow will assign their strongest Sherpa, Palden Namgye, and the team’s IFMGA guide, Topo Mena of Ecuador. This advance team may reach the top as early as tomorrow, Alpenglow leader Adrian Ballinger told ExplorersWeb.

Climbers at a higher camp on Makalu. Photo: Carla Perez


The rest of climbers will follow and should summit between May 8-10.

“I think virtually everyone will join this upcoming push, so there’s a lot of excitement in Advanced Base Camp right now,” Ballinger said.

The U.S. climber and skier already has his skis in the high camp. He will pick them up on the way. At the same time, he will decide the best day to summit and ski down.

“Hopefully, it will happen on May 9,” Ballinger told ExplorersWeb.

He also hopes to be able to use no-O2 throughout the climb and descent, “as long as I can do that safely and without adding risks to others.”

Ecuadorians Carla Perez, Nico Miranda, and Karl Egloff will definitely not use bottled oxygen. Only Topo Mena, who will help fix ropes above 8,000m, then climb again supporting a client, will use supplementary O2.

The summit group should be a large one. In addition to those who arrived at Base Camp in recent weeks, some new arrivals from other peaks will join. This includes, for example, Grace Tseng of Taiwan. She landed in Base Camp today after a successful no-O2 summit on Annapurna.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.