Makalu, the fifth highest peak of the world rises to 27,765 feet (8,463 meters) locating in the eastern Himalayan range, Nepal. This beautiful and impressive massive is situated just 14 miles east of Mount Everest. Its size alone is impressive and its perfect pyramid structure with four sharp ridges which makes this mountain most spectacular. Makalu is actually a double peak. The subsidiary peak rising just north of the main summit connected by a saddle is called Chomolonzo (25,650 ft.) It is interesting to note that the summit ridge is the demarcation point indicating the border between Nepal on the Southern side and Tibet to the North. The name of the mountain was probably taken from the Sanskrit word Maha-Kala, which means Big Black and is a by-name of Shiva – one of the most important gods of Hinduism. Shiva is sometimes an evil, cruel destroyer but at other times he tends to be gentle and kind-hearted. The mountain has another name in the local dialect – Kumba karna, which means The Giant. Makalu has proved to be a challenging climb, as only five of its first sixteen attempts were successful. To date, there have been a total of 206 successful ascents of Makalu and a total of 22 fatalities. Prior to its first ascent in 1955, it was admired and studied by several Everest expeditions, but like a lot of other giants in the Khumbu region, it was not attempted until the summit of Everest was first ascended in 1954.
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