Tag: makalu

Makalu Press Release – Summit Conquered 17th of May 2014



The Summit of Makalu
The Summit of Makalu

17.05.2014 – Nepal. On the 17th of May 2014, South African Explorer Mike Horn and Swiss mountain guide/alpinist Fred Roux reach the summit of Makalu without the use of additional oxygen or high altitude porters.

Mike Horn and Fred Roux left Makalu Advanced Base Camp at 5’700m at midday on the 16th of May and climbed that afternoon to their first camp at 6’800m. The following day they climbed up to 7’500m, stopping for some hours rest before doing the summit push to 8’463m in the early hours of the 17th of May.

The two men took on their own rhythm during the ascent, eventually separating and continuing on their own. Fred Roux reached the summit first at 10:30 local Nepalese time, some hours before Mike, who arrived at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Yet another full day was ahead of them as they started the descent and eventually the exhausted but happy team greeted each other once again in Makalu’s advanced base camp.

Mike Horn and Fred Roux are the first men to successfully climb a Himalayan summit over 8’000m in the Nepal 2014 climbing season and are just a small handful of men who have summited this mountain without the use of additional oxygen.

“The climb was particularly grueling for both of us. We were both very fit and well acclimatised after 3 weeks of waiting for a good weather window, but the mountain is extremely exposed and challenged us with its strong winds and very cold temperatures. We are thrilled to have both reached the summit. It’s a great achievement of physical and mental endurance and we are thrilled to be rewarded with this magnificent victory” says Mike.

The Makalu Expedition proceeds the Expedition Pole2Pole 360° which will kick off in September 2014. Mike Horn embarks on another massive expedition of one year duration, the circumvolution of the world on the longitude, traversing the South Pole, North Pole and Greenland on foot and kayak and joining the continents with his sailboat, Pangaea.



  • Mike Horn, climbed his first 8,000m peaks in 2007, Gasherbrum I (8,068m) and Gasherbrum II (8,035m) with team members Jean Troillet, Fred Roux and Olivier Roduit. Later in 2010 he summited Broad Peak with Köbi Reichen, alpinist from Lauenen, Bern, Switzerland. Last year in 2013 he attempted to summit K2 with both Fred Roux and Köbi Reichen but due to bad weather conditions the attempt was unsuccessful. Today Mike adds Makalu to his list of success stories bringing his total of Himalayan summits reached without additional oxygen or high attitude porters to four.
  • Fred Roux from Vollèges, Valais, Switzerland is an experienced alpinist who has previously summited five 8,000 meter Himalayan summits without oxygen or additional porters; Mount Everest (8,848m), Gasherbrum I (8,080m) and Gasherbrum II (8,035m), Shisha Pagma (8,013m) and Cho Oyu (8,201m). Fred attempted to summit Makalu 15 years ago but unfortunately due to strong winds was forced to abandon the climb. Today with Makalu (8’463m) finally conquered, Fred Roux has six Himalayan summits to his name.
  • Makalu is the fifth highest mountain in the world at 8,463 meters (27,766 ft). It is located in the Mahalangur Himalayas 19 km (12 mi) southeast of Mount Everest, on the border between Nepal and China. It is one of the harder eight thousanders and is considered one of the most difficult mountains in the world to climb. The mountain is notorious for its steep pitches and knife-edged ridges that are completely open to the elements. The final ascent of the summit pyramid involves technical rock/ice climbing. To date, there have been a total of 206 successful ascents of Makalu and a total of 22 fatalities. (Wikipedia)








Makalu News – Mike reaches the summit!

Mike calls at 6 am local time to say he reached the summit around 5pm last night!

It took him a great deal longer than expected and needed to stop for a rest on the descent at 7’800m once the night settled in.

When he rang this morning he was beginning his ascent down from 7’800m to base camp. We expect t0 hear a more about his gruelling venture once he has arrived at base camp, eaten and rested a little.

No news from Fred since yesterday afternoon after his ascent of the summit. He was already coming down in altitude yesterday afternoon so we imagine he rested in Camp 2 last night and will be back at base camp early this morning.

Well done guys!! What a feat!!


Makalu Summit Push – News!

Fred Roux with Makalu in the background
Fred Roux in front of the summit of Makalu

At 10 am local time Fred Roux arrives at the summit of Makalu at 8’463m!

Unable to call from the summit because of extreme cold temperatures Fred calls on the way back down the mountain, at around 8’000m.

Mike and Fred left for the summit push early this morning, the 17th of May. The winds had calmed and visibility good.

Mike and Fred separated during the climb. At this stage we are awaiting news from Mike and are assuming that he too is also on his way back down the mountain.

We will update you as soon as possible!

Waiting in style Waiting in style

Soon the summit!

Looking up at Makalu peak
Blue ice and steep slopes

And a good weather window is finally on its way!! Mike and Fred are planning to summit around the 16th – 18th of May.

We are expecting more information before Mike and Fred leave but in the meantime can feel the excitement of anticipation in Mike’s messages.

Camp 2 on Makalu Camp 2 on Makalu

Climb to Camp 2

Sending news home
Mike sends news from base camp

We have had very strong winds on Makalu the past 3 days. Yesterday myself and Fred climbed to Camp 2 to check our tent. We found our tent still standing which was great news because all other equipment we need for the summit push is in the tent.

The climb went very well and we feel well rested and acclimatised. the only thing we need now is good weather.

Makalu by night Makalu by night

Back to camp 2

Makalu by night
Makalu at night

The waiting continues…

Unfortunately the weather has only got worse. There has been extremely strong winds in altitude with gusts of up to 160km/hr on the summit.

Fred and Mike have been told there may be a good weather window opening up in one weeks time. They are more ready than ever to attempt the summit but for now must be patient. Because of the very strong winds they are worried that their equipment that they initially placed at camp 2 may have blown away.  Tomorrow they will climb to camp 2 and check if their equipment is still there.

If all goes as planned the weather window will open up around the 16th of May.

Makalu rest and relaxation Makalu rest and relaxation


Dinner time
Time to eat

After our acclimatisation climb to above 7’500m, Fred and myself decided to walk down to 4’800m to recuperate. Eat, drink and rest has been on our agenda for the last 3 days.

Unfortunately we received very bad news while down in lower base camp. One of our friends Yannick, lost his life on Makalu. My sincere condolences go to the family, friends and loved ones. His company in base camp and on the mountain will be sincerely missed.

The weather has turned as well and snow has been a daily event. Any attempt to the summit has been put into the back pocket for the time being. As we are we are still in the recuperation stage, it does not matter a great deal to us but deep down we would like better weather and to know we would be able to climb very soon.

Down in lower base camp we had the luxury of eating rice, potatoes, lentils, chicken, yak and pork. Fresh products are very difficult to get your hands on here and to compensate for the fresh products we had popcorn. What a treat!

Makalu is a huge mountain. It is not as steep as K2 but very exposed to wind and that makes it a very cold climb. A steep climb in-between camp 2 and 3 can be challenging in bad weather, but from camp 3 to camp 4 above 7’500m it flattens out before the last famous French corridor and then the ridge to the summit.

On our acclimatisation climb we had very strong winds at 7’600m and without supplement oxygen it becomes very difficult to breath and very cold. The wind chill factor plays an important role on our survival where we breathe only 7% oxygen. At these heights we move only 60-100m per hour and the longer we stay up there the less chance we have of getting back down.

We must never forget that the summit is only half way there.




Mike Horn and Fred Roux's mess tent at Makalu Advanced base camp Mike Horn and Fred Roux's mess tent at Makalu Advanced base camp


Mike Horn and Fred Roux's mess tent at Makalu Advanced base camp
Mike Horn’s mess tent at Makalu advanced base camp with Iland solar panels

Bad weather hinders any attempt for Mike and Fred to ascend Makalu’s summit at 8’643m. A potential weather window of the 8th and 9th of May has now been pushed to around the 12th and 13th of May.

With the closure of Mount Everest this year many climbers have decided to regroup at the neighbouring mountain of Makalu.

We sure have company this year! There must be another 80 people here at advanced base camp waiting to climb. Most other climbers attempt to ascend with oxygen, group together and stop and rest at camp sites. Our technique is rather different as we climb in alpine style, that is without oxygen, light and fast.

We are as ready as can be – now we just need to have the weather on our side!

Advanced base camp Advanced base camp

Return to Makalu base camp

Advanced base camp
Advanced base camp

Mike and Fred returned to Makalu base camp today at 4’800m.

Now its the waiting game. Waiting to make the attempt of the final summit push.

The mountain is gradually becoming busier with more tents popping up by the day. Wonderful acquaintances are being made with other climbers and the excitement is shared as the climbers all wait for the next good weather window.

Steep slopes on makalu Steep slopes on makalu

Makalu – our last acclimatisation climb

Steep slopes on Makalu
Steeper and Steeper!

We had the summit just above our heads but strong winds and snow made us turn back.

Mike and Fred climbed to 7’700m and spent a very cold evening in the tent with freezing temperatures and extremely strong winds.

On the descent they passed sherpas who were coming up, fixing lines for other climbers – they assume the overload from climbers who have been forced away from this years climbing season on Everest.

Mike and Fred are now back at Advanced Base Camp at 5’700m where they will have a much deserved rest. Tomorrow they will head down to base camp at 4’800m where they will wait for the bad weather to pass.

We feel great, strong and well acclimatised.  As soon as we get the next good weather window  we’ll go for the summit!



Mike is in a constant state of travel and adventure , so keep up to date on all his expeditions !