Location & Elevation: Makalu is the fifth highest mountain in the world at 8,481 metres (27,825 ft) and is located 22 km (14 mi) southeast of Mount Everest, on the border between Nepal and China. One of the eight-thousanders, Makalu is an isolated peak whose shape is a four-sided pyramid.
Climbing and View: Makalu is an isolated peak whose shape is a four-sided pyramid. One of the most challenging 8,000-meter peaks, with steep climbing, exposed ridges, and rock climbing on the summit pyramid. Makalu has two notable subsidiary peaks. Kangchungtse, or Makalu II (7,678 m) lies about 3 km (2 mi) north-northwest of the main summit. Rising about 5 km (3.1 mi) north-northeast of the main summit across a broad plateau, and connected to Kangchungtse.
Makalu was first climbed on May 15, 1955 by Lionel Terray and Jean Couzy of a French expedition led by Jean Franco. Franco, G. Magnone and Sardar Gyaltsen Norbu summitted the next day, followed by Bouvier, S. Coupe, Leroux and A. Vialatte on the 17th. This was an amazing achievement at the time to have the vast majority of expedition member summit, especially on such a difficult peak. Prior to this time, summits were reached by 1-2 people at most with the rest of teams providing logistical support before turning around and heading home. The French team climbed Makalu by the north face and northeast ridge, via the saddle between Makalu and Kangchungtse (the Makalu-La), establishing the standard route.