You are cordially invited to join John Stone on an expedition to the Himalaya to climb Nepal’s highest ‘trekking peak’, known as ‘Mera Peak’. The trip will be organised by Holy Himalaya (Eco Trek) – one of the largest and most respected tour operators in the Himalaya with 29 years’ climbing and trekking experience.
The group will travel to Kathmandu, and then fly to Lukla in the foothills of the Himalaya, the gateway to the Everest region, from where the 16-day trek will begin. Although physically demanding because of the altitude, the climb on Mera Peak is not technically difficult – the snow slopes rarely exceeding 30 degrees. As on Kilimanjaro, climbers follow a non-technical route to the summit, so the difficulties lie not in the steepness of the terrain, but in the high altitude to be attained.
The itinerary, however, has been carefully designed to allow for gradual acclimatization in preparation for the ascent. The 7-day approach, initially through the lush virgin forests of the Hinku Valley, is incredibly beautiful, and provides excellent opportunities for acclimati-sation. Indeed, Eco Trek has perfected an itinerary that gets you off the beaten track and immersed in local culture along the way. Some people say that walk in to Mera Peak is as beautiful as the climb itself.
The trip is for those who love climbing, who aspire to go one step further and reach a summit higher than Kilimanjaro, and who would like to fulfil their dream of standing on the summit of a Himalayan peak. The only qualifications you will need are good physical fitness, a determined attitude, and a spirit of adventure. The height of Kilimanjaro is 5895m, while that of Mera Peak is 6461m.
The view from the summit of Mera Peak is one of the finest in the Himalayas (see picture to follow) with five of the world’s six highest mountains near at hand – an unforgettable sight; and Eco Trek’s unrivalled service, quality of food, trekking staff with experienced guides, cooks and helpers will ensure that your trip will be an unforgettable experience.
Day 01: Arrive Kathmandu [1,300m/4,264ft]:
Pick up and transfer to the Holy Himalaya Hotel. The “Holy Himalaya” is one of the best hotels in Thamel, the hub of tourism in the Kathmandu Valley. Dinner on arrival (special arrangement for Summit Venture’s clients), and if time permits, we will arrange an easy walk in Thamel.
Day 02: Easy day in Kathmandu.
Breakfast – the Holy Himalaya Hotel serves a top level breakfast, catering for most nationalities and most tastes. We can provide transport and a guide for a half-day tour of the city as per interests, to learn about the history and the day to day on going activities of the country you are visiting. (UNESCO World Heritage sites such as Durbar square, Swoyambhunath, Pashupatinath and Bouddhanath, or the top sightseeing places in the Kathmandu valley can be visited.)
Day 03: Fly to Lukla and 4 hrs trek to Chutok (2,730m/8,954ft)
Generally the flights to Lukla take place in the early morning (45 minutes). Depending on flight time, we will have breakfast either in Kathmandu or in Lukla on arrival, before starting the trek. This is a fairly easy day with the full beauty of the Himalaya on view. Peaks (Knodge Ri, Tang Ragi Tu, Khatang), jungle, traditional villages, and the friendly faces of the people in the area will be highlights of the day. By afternoon we will be at our camp site, Chutanga. Light packed-
lunch, and dinner in camp.
Day 04: Chutanga to Pangkoma (2,850m/9,48ft): 6 hrs
A lovely day’s walk through bamboo and rhododendron forests with views of the Dudhkoshi river valley and Dudh Kund Himal. By late afternoon we will be at Pangkongama Village.
Day 05: Pangkoma to Nigmsa (2,745m/9,003ft): 5 hrs
Walk via Mani wall, pine and rhododendron forest with views of the peaks.
Day 06: Nigmsa to Chetra Khola (3,150m/10,332ft): 8 hrs
Walk via rhododendron and bamboo forests all the way to the stream.
Day 07: Chetra Khola to Kothe (3,600m/11,808ft): 7 hrs
Walk in the Hinku Valley with bamboo and pine forests and views of Mera Peak and the Hinku Valley. Trekkers may encounter wild animals such jungle cats and sloth bear. By late afternoon we reach our camp site at Kothe.
Day 08: Kothe to Tangnang (4,350m/14,270ft): 4 hrs
This is an easier walking day. The Hinku Valley, in the shadow of Mera Peak, offers enjoyable moments in the herder's settlement. The camp site at Thangang is close to Lungsumba Gumba where locally-run shops, and a basic lodge can be found.
Day 09: Acclimatization Day with day hike. After breakfast we have a hike to Charpate Glacier for 3 hrs. This is the best place to see the North Face of Mera close up.
Day 10: Tangnang to Khare (5,045m/16,486ft): 3 hrs Today we have a lovely walk on the moraine towards the base camp of Mera. Towards the end the climb steepens as we approach our camp site at Khare. From here we have excellent views of the Mera North Face.
Day 11: Khare to Mera Base Camp (5,300m/17,384ft): 4 hrs
A tough walk on a steep, boulder-strewn moraine. The highlight of the day is ice-climbing practice in preparation for the climb.
Day 12: Mera Base Camp to High Camp (5,780m/18,958ft): 5 hrs
A two hour’s walk on rock-strewn and crevassed terrain takes us to High Camp. This camp is on the summit next to a large cairn. The bonuses here are the sunrise or sunset views of peaks that include Mt. Everest, Makalu, Cho Oyu, and south faces of Lotshe, Nuptse, Chamlang and Baruntse.
Day 13: Mera High Camp to Summit (6,461m/21,1907ft) and back to Khare (5,045m/
16,548ft): 8-10 hrs. The climbing commences at first light. A fit climber can be on the summit by
sunrise (4 hrs) to enjoy the beauty of the skyline:
Mt. Everest (8,848m/29,021ft)
Baruntse (7,129m 23,383ft)
Ama Dablam (6,812m/22,343ft) Kangtega (6,779m/22,235)
On our return to High Camp we have hot drinks and then descend to Khare for our night’s stop.
Day 14: Reserve Day for Contingencies
The extra day can be used anywhere on the trip, or we can return a day earlier, as circumstances prescribe.
Day 15: Khare to Kothe: (3,600m/11,808ft): 4 to 5 hrs
Day 16: Kothe to Thuli Kharka: 6 hrs
Day 17: Thuli Kharka to Lukla: 7 hrs
Day 18: Fly back to Kathmandu / we will have a dinner on the one of the days to celebrate the success of the expedition.
Day 19: Day for shopping.
Day 20: Departure.
climbing permits, full board (2 times Nepali seat meals) accommodation in lodges
and on tented camps (base camp/ high camp) with three meals/day guides-cook,
helpers to carry the loads.
trekking days if wish to order other food/ beside the set Nepali seat meals and
Reviews & Questions answered
Four essential questions answered by Mark Horrell, a highly experienced Himalayan climber, and author of the book Islands in the Snow. “There’s a lot of poor information out there that’s largely the fault of adventure travel companies offering Mera Peak as an easy walk, whose literature can range from vague to deliberately misleading.”
1. Is Mera Peak a trek or a climb?
In fact it’s a climb, but if you don’t consider yourself to be a climber then don’t let this put you off. It’s a good mountain for trekkers who would like a straightforward introduction to mountaineering. The majority of the ascent involves a walk up a glacier requiring basic ice axe and crampon skills. There is plenty of opportunity to gain proficiency in these at the bottom of the Mera Glacier. Although the mountain has a trekking summit of 6431m which needs nothing more than this, Mera Central, the summit most people climb, usually involves a 30 metre ascent of a 60° snow dome using fixed rope and jumar, depending on snow conditions.
2. What’s a good mountain to try before attempting Mera Peak?
Anyone who has climbed Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak at 5895m, can consider themselves in a good position to have a go at Mera Peak. They will have gained experience at high altitude and camping conditions on trek. A one week course involving an introduction to alpine mountaineering skills would also be excellent preparation, but as I’ve mentioned above the necessary technical skills can easily be acquired on Mera Peak itself.
3. What’s the best way to get to the start of the climb?
Many tour operators fly into Lukla and take their clients straight over the 4610m Zatr La pass to Tangnag at the foot of Mera Peak. This however is a tough, tough way to start the trek! Lukla is at only 2800m altitude, and to go straight over the pass from there is a dangerously quick altitude gain for
trekkers who may never have been to high altitude before. To compensate for this and give them opportunity to acclimatize, many of these operators take their clients up the busy Everest trail to Namche Bazaar instead. This is a missed opportunity. South of Lukla there is another route to Tangnag which involves trekking up the remote and beautiful Hinku Valley, passing through rhododendron and bamboo forest, up to grassy moorland and along high mountain trails. This provides a fantastic trek which for many will be as memorable as the climb itself.
4. Will I see Everest from the summit?
Yes, in fact on a clear day you will see five of the six highest mountains on Earth! Cho Oyu (8201m), Lhotse (8516m), Everest (8848m) and Makalu (8463m) are all very close by, and when it’s clear you will also be able to see Kangchenjunga (8586m) – 3 rd highest peak on the planet – which lies on the Indian border far away to the east. Of the six highest peaks on earth, only K2 (8611m) in distant Pakistan is beyond your vision. It’s a truly memorable view that you will never forget.
What others have said about Mera Peak
The view from the summit of Mera Peak is one of the finest in the Himalayas, with five
of the world’s six highest mountains near at hand – an unforgettable sight.
– Summit Post