2024’s First Summits on Makalu

Surprisingly, Annapurna was not the first 8,000m peak summited this season. That distinction goes to Makalu. Eight sherpa rope fixers reached the top today at 4:40 pm Nepal time.

Sherpa teams have been working hard this week, hurrying to make the best out of the good weather on Nepal’s highest peaks before snow comes at the end of the week.

On Makalu, the workers reached Base Camp last week and progressed quickly. As far as we know, no clients followed them, unlike Annapurna, where the first summits should happen tomorrow.

Not counting Everest, the Great Black (which is what Makalu means) is the 8,000’er with the most climbing permits issued this year: 45. That figure should increase, as many climbers tout Makalu as their second goal for the season.

Seven Summit Treks is in charge of fixing the ropes. It also has the biggest team on the mountain, with at least 35 sherpas and foreigners.

Makalu Lakpa in the lead

The leader of the rope-fixing team, Lakpa Sherpa, is known as Makalu Lakpa. He has just bagged his seventh Makalu summit and expects to top out again in the next few weeks with a client.

Lakpa first stepped atop Makalu in 2015. Since then, “the mountain has become more than just a challenge; it’s a companion, a mentor, and a part of who I am,” Lakpa wrote recently on Instagram. “Leading and fixing routes on Makalu isn’t just a duty. It’s a calling, a chance to pay homage to the mountain that has shaped my life in ways I could never have imagined.”

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.