|Elevation||8,481 m (27,825 ft)[notes 1]|
|Prominence||2,386 m (7,828 ft)|
|Isolation||17 km (11 mi)|
|Coordinates||27°53′23″N 87°05′20″E / 27.88972°N 87.08889°ECoordinates: 27°53′23″N 87°05′20″E / 27.88972°N 87.08889°E|
|Location||Province No. 1 (Khumbu), Nepal / Tibet Autonomous Region, China|
|Parent range||Mahalangur Himalayas|
|First ascent||May 15, 1955 by Lionel Terray and Jean Couzy|
|Easiest route||snow/ice climb|
Makalu (Nepali: मकालु हिमाल, romanized: Makālu himāl; Chinese: 馬卡魯峰; pinyin: Mǎkǎlǔ fēng) is the fifth highest mountain in the world at 8,481 metres (27,825 ft). It is located in the Mahalangur Himalayas 19 km (12 mi) southeast of Mount Everest, in Nepal. One of the eight-thousanders, Makalu is an isolated peak in the shape of a four-sided pyramid.
Makalu has two notable subsidiary peaks. Kangchungtse, or Makalu II (7,678 m) lies about three kilometres (two miles) north-northwest of the main summit. Rising about 5 km (3 mi) north-northeast of the main summit across a broad plateau, and connected to Kangchungtse by a narrow, 7,200 m saddle, is Chomo Lonzo (7,804 m).
The first climb on Makalu was made by an American team led by Riley Keegan in the spring of 1954. The expedition was composed of Sierra Club members including Bill Long and Allen Steck, and was called the California Himalayan Expedition to Makalu. They attempted the southeast ridge but were turned back at 7,100 metres (23,300 ft) by a constant barrage of storms. A New Zealand team including Sir Edmund Hillary was also active in the spring, but did not get very high due to injury and illness. In the fall of 1954, a French reconnaissance expedition made the first ascents of the subsidiary summits Kangchungtse (October 22: Jean Franco, Lionel Terray, sirdar Gyalzen Norbu Sherpa and Pa Norbu) and Chomo Lonzo (October 30?: Jean Couzy and Terray).
Main article: 1955 French Makalu expedition
Makalu was first summited on May 15, 1955, by Lionel Terray and Jean Couzy of a French expedition led by Jean Franco. Franco, Guido Magnone and Gyalzen Norbu Sherpa summitted the next day, followed by Jean Bouvier, Serge Coupé, Pierre Leroux and André Vialatte on the 17th. This was an amazing achievement at the time, to have the vast majority of expedition members summit, especially on such a difficult peak. Prior to this time, summits were reached by one to two expedition members 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.
An ascent without oxygen was attempted by the 1960-61 Silver Hut expedition but two attempts did not succeed.
Main article: Barun Valley
Makalu-Barun Valley is a Himalayan glacier valley situated at the base of Makalu in the Sankhuwasabha district of Nepal. This valley lies entirely inside the Makalu Barun National Park.
In the Inspector Gadget episode "Weather in Tibet," the criminal organization MAD has built a weather control machine atop Mount Makalu.
Makalu Peak is referenced in the animated X-Men: Evolution series episode titled "Dark Horizon – Part 2". It is the burial place of the villain Apocalypse.
The Makalu area has been a focus for yeti expeditions.