Makalu is a true Himalayan giant, the fifth highest mountain in the world. Indeed, these top five (Everest, K2, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, and Makalu) are in a class by themselves in a range from 8485 to 8850 meters. There is a relatively large drop-off of 284 m (or /937') to peak number 6, Cho Oyu at 8201 meters. At these altitudes, nearly a thousand vertical feet is a big deal. And, since Lhotse is often considered a sub-peak of Everest, the massive pyramid of Makalu merits serious consideration for being in a proposed "Big 4" mountains on Earth.
Makalu lies on the China-Nepal border between Everest (#1) and Kanchenjunga (#3), but it is certainly no sub-peak. It can hold its own when it comes to scenic spendor, awesome terrain, and high-altitude difficulty.