Mt Makalu golden jubilee celebration to begin today

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, May 14:

The golden jubilee celebration of the first ascent of Mt Makalu, the fifth highest peak in the world, will begin here tomorrow. The celebration will see participation of Nepali and foreign climbers who are scheduled to be felicitated tomorrow.

Late Jean Couzy and Lionel Terray of French expedition team led by Jean Franco were the first to scale the peak on May 15, 1955. However, Franco and other climbers conquered the peak the next day. Nepal’s Gyalzen Norbu Sherpa was with the French expedition team to scale the peak. The government and Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) are organising the event in coordination with the private sector.

Of 35 foreign invitees, some are already here to join the celebration while others are expected to arrive anytime soon, said Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of NMA. He was speaking at a press meet organised here today.

Robert Paragot, who led the expedition from the West ridge of Makalu in 1972 will be the most prominent climber to join the celebration. So far, 227 climbers have scaled the peak, known for its climbing challenge.

A procession celebrating the golden jubilee will begin from Tundikhel and will proceed to Basantapur, Chhetrapati and conclude in Thamel tomorrow. The Kathmandu Metropolitan City authorities will also felicitate Makalu summiteers. Michael Jolivet, French ambassador to Nepal said he was delighted that the fifttieth anniversary of the fifth highest peak in the world was going to be celebrated.

Makalu summiteer Viki Grosel, from Slovenia pointed out the need for peace in the country to draw in tourists and climbers. However, Nepal, according to him is safe and that the country is his second home. “I feel great to be part of the celebration,” he added.

Following the success of the golden jubilee celebration of Mt Everest, the government declared the celebration of the golden jubilees of the first ascents of Nepal’s six 8000 metre peaks.

The golden jubilee of Mt Kanchanjungha is being celebrated on May 25.