I understand not all of us would like a guided tour, not just the money factors but time alone and enjoy the freedom being yourself is what more important for this generation. However, what about trekking in the Himalayas? Can it be done alone? Without a guide? Hi, my name is Raj, and I’m the team leader at NEST (Kathmandu based local company). What I’m just about to share is my experience as a mountain guide for over ten years in the Himalayas. Here you will get exact information on how to plan Makalu Base Camp trek solo without a guide or without being trapped in a big group.
If you are planning to explore Makalu Base Camp Trek solo in 2020 or for the next year this page might be is just the right place for you.
Some part of the trekking route in Nepal, independent hikers are not allowed. However, Makalu Base Camp Trek in the midwestern region independent hikers can hike without a guide or joining a company. Having said that, please make sure your itinerary for Makalu Base camp doesn’t cover Kimathangka, Chepuwa, Hatiya, and Pawakhola. As this part of the area is under the restricted area and requires a special permit and a guide. In this article, I will share some of the facts and ideas on how you can hike Makalu Base Camp trek solo.
If you are solo, planning to experience Makalu Base Camp the 5th highest mountain in the world, keep on mind you may need to self arrange some of the basic things in advance, and here is the list.
Arrange your flight ticket between Kathmandu and Tumlingtar in advance. If you are planning to do this trek during a busy season, you might not get an earlier flight. Check online availability on Tara Air, Sita Air, and Summit Air. Sometimes you don’t find tickets online because the local company stocks them. You may need to check with a local company as well.
You need two types of permit one from the Makalu Rural Municipality is USD (2,000 NPR / USD 20), which you can buy in the entry point. and Makalu Barun National Park entry fee (3,000 NPR / USD 30) at a national park entry point. (No trouble you can pick up the permit as you start the hike)
Bring enough local currency NPR (Nepalese rupee ) at least 3,000 – 3,500 per day. Food and accommodation is expensive here, compear to other trekking regions in Nepal. International money is almost invalid in the mountain.
Choose the right itinerary that is suitable for your fitness. Have some extra days for acclimatization in case you need it. Altitude sickness threat here is less compear to EBC. Although you take a flight to Tumlingtar, which is only 500m, which is lower than Kathmandu itself. Meaning you have more days before reaching a higher altitude. That gives you enough time to get acclimated.
The right gear is the ultimate reason for your success. Have proper hiking boots and shocks, warm layer windproof down jacket, warm hat, windproof inner layer gloves, sunglass, scarf are necessary. If you are not yet completly prepared, there is also options to rent or buy a trekking gear in Kathmandu. We can send you a complete list. Please leave us a comment below.
This should definitely be on a higher priority. The higher you trek, the heaver your backpacks become. You should be able to enjoy nature take some selfies, not to worry about the load on your shoulder. So do not overpack but bring just what you need. You should consider having it self laundry instead of carrying an extra pair. Do not overpack means just one complete warm layer top to bottoms and a few pairs of additional changes plus your personal things.
Be aware of the challenges
Difficulty wise Makalu Base Camp Trek is one of the challenging but most rewarding trekking routes in Nepal. Three of the high passes Kauma La (3637m), Tutu La (4125m) and Keke La (4170m) might be tough during the snowbound season. You might literally stock If you cross one pass and sudden weather change happen and blocked the pass to enter either side.
When you are at the base camp, remember you are breathing only half of the oxygen when you are at sea level. Frequently changing weather and an unpredictable snowstorm is probably the most challenging part of three passes and Base camp of Mount Makalu. Here are some tips you may want to keep in your mind before embarking on this journey.
- There is no lunch camp in any of the high passes, pack some dry food/water for the day. It takes well over 8/9 hours to complete the pass.
- Chances of snowfall at the high pass is always high, especially during monsoon and winter month. Do not proceed to the high pass alone if there is heavy snowfall. Some of the passes are prone to an avalanche, or you may not be able to track the trail.
- Since Makalu base camp trek is off the beaten path even during the busy season, there are not many hikers. You may want to consider hiking during the best season of October to December and March until May.
- Heavy show might be a danger. The trail on this area likely wiped out by overnight snowfall, meaning very few signs of a path. If possible, stick with another group or someone with a local guide.
- After mid-day weather above 4,000m becomes unsteady—possible snow blizzard, strong wind, fuggy, and poor visibility. Make sure you will start your journey as early as possible. Before the sun gets warmer, the chances, mountains remain calm. You may want to reach the high pass before that happens and descend as soon as possible without lingering.
- Do not forget to bring a Map for the Makalu Base Camp Trek. Or a GPS If you prefer that way.
Do I need a guide or a porter
Like, in the beginning, I said this article was aimed to provide tips for a solo hiker. In fact, you might see independent hikers number more along the to Classical trails, such as EBC, ABC, etc. but not many solo or independent hikers in Makalu Base Camp mainly because;
- Local arrangements such as transportation, lodging might be easy If you have someone who understands locals.
- There are very few people on the trail so that the local guide might be a trail finder.
- Due to very uncertain weather conditions in the high pass and some part requires walking in snow (Depending on season), and it is easy to get lost. A local guide may help you navigates the trail in the right direction.
- Due to the weather window, most hikers embark on this trail around the same time means limited local tea houses might quickly be occupied. So a local guide will help you book in advance.
- As they know the history and culture of the people it’s a bonus you can have it from them. And trust me, this area has so many tales.
- Hiring a local guide or a porter for this region is relatively expensive. As the trail is not fully commercialized, the cost of the food is almost the same for local guides and tourists. Nearly the same amount you spend in the mountain for yourself, the guide expense is similer to that. You should be expecting roughly USD 35-40 per day to hire a guide in Makalu Base Camp. Hiring a guide and a porter means also helping an economy by creating job opportunities for mountain people.
I hope you enjoy reading my writings. If you are indeed one of those, who would like to explore Nepal differently, compear to a regular tourist. This solo Makalu Base Camp tip is for you. I want you to learn everything before you embark on this trail. So you can enjoy the hike up to the limit. This part of the information is just one fragment from what you should know. There are still so many other things you should be aware such as the difficulty, Best time weather and season, etc. I’ve so many different readings in my blogs about Makalu Base Camp Trek. Please don’t forget to read my blogs here.
At the end of this article, if you are one of those looking for some guidance to arrange the basic needs, we are here for you. We are happy to organize this trek with one of our most trusted guides who has explored this route over 20 times. NEST Adventure has a well-established record when it comes to client satisfaction. Our team has earned 5/5 star ratings on TripAdvisor from our recent clients. So the chances are incredibly high; you will receive the same experience with us. They said NEST is the BEST. If you believe NEST could be a travel arranging partner to plan your trip to Nepal, please do not hesitate to email one of our office representatives.