Makalu is the fifth highest mountain in the world at 8,463 metres (27,766 ft), although the height is often given as 8,481 or 8,485 metres. It is located in the Himalayas southeast of Mount Everest, on the border between Nepal and Tibet. It is an isolated peak whose shape is a four-sided pyramid.
Makalu was first summited on May 15, 1955 by Lionel Terray and Jean Couzy of a French expedition led by Jean Franco. They reached the peak by climbing the north face and northeast ridge, via the saddle between Makalu and Kangchungtse, establishing the standard route.
Makalu is one of the more difficult 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.
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