Mera Peak Trek – 6476 m
At 6476m (over 21,000 feet) Mera Peak is the highest trekking peak in Nepal, and is ideal as an introduction to the world of high altitude mountaineering. The journey takes us into a more remote part of the Everest region and the view from the top is arguably one of the finest panoramas in the Himalaya – a magnificent spread of 5 of the world’s highest mountains (Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu and Kangchenjunga). Climbing Mera Peak is a 3 week expedition.
Our 2016 set dates:
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What's not included
Who is this for?
Whilst it is a tough and demanding climb, Mera has little in the way of technical climbing. As such it is accessible to most mountain walkers, provided they are fit, acclimatised and armed with determination and strong will-power. A typical day will involve about 5 hours trekking, with summit day taking about 12 hours round trip.
Previous experience with crampons and ice axe is beneficial, but extensive experience is not essential, and we can organise a refresher course on the glacier before making the ascent. Likewise, previous experience at altitude is helpful but not essential.
Accommodation and huts
We spend a total of 3 nights in Kathmandu in a high- end hotel, 16 nights camping and 1 night in a lodge in Lukla. All accommodation is on a twin-share basis, so if travelling alone you may be paired up with another member of the same sex. It may be possible to pay a supplement for a single room in the hotel, and/ or a single tent, please contact us for further details. Whilst on trek, all meals are provided. Our cook team is excellent and will keep you going with tasty and nourishing meals. Breakfast is usually porridge or cereal, followed by eggs and bread or chapattis. Lunch is often a hot meal, depending on how long the trek is that day, and the evening meal will be either a local Nepali or Western style food such as pizzas. We make sure you have a good mix of rice, lentils, vegetables, pasta and meat.
Our itinerary has been designed with great care, enabling a slow and safe acclimatisation, but at the same time fitting perfectly into a 3 week schedule. We have chosen a circular route, not only because this makes the trip more varied, but we firmly believe that the key to success on Mera Peak lies in acclimatisation. Our trek in to the Hinku valley avoids the main trail over the Zatrwa La, used by most trekking companies, and instead takes us through remote villages, across rugged terrain and into the wilderness of the Makalu Barun National Park.
DAY 0: Travel to Kathmandu
DAY 1: Arrive Kathmandu. Airport transfer provided. Meet the group this evening at our hotel. (Hotel)
DAY 2: A free day sightseeing in Kathmandu. Also a kit check and final chance to buy any last minute items. (Hotel)
DAY 3: An early start for the spectacular flight to Lukla, the gateway to the Everest region, where we meet our porters and cook team. Trek to Poyan (2800m). (Camp)
DAY 4: Today we leave the main trade route to Phaplu, and begin a steady trek along the winding path to Pangkongma (2846m). (Camp)
DAY 5: Fantastic views today, including our first view of Mera’s south face, as we head over the Pangkongma La to Nashing Dingma (2600m). (Camp)
DAY 6: From Nashing Dingma we head over the Surke La and make our way to camp at the grazing land of Chalem Kharka (3600m). (Camp)
DAY 7: From Chalem Kharka we continue climbing through grazing country, but on more rugged paths that afford superb views of Kanchenjunga, to our camp at Chunbu Kharka (4200m).(Camp)
DAY 8: Chunbu Kharka to Khote. Today we have a shorter day as we contour around the Hinku valley and descend to join the main trail towards Mera. We camp in an area known as Khote (3550m). (Camp)
DAY 9: From Khote we head up the Hinku valley to the village of Tangnag (4356m). Our day is dominated by stunning views of Kusum Kangguru and Kyashar. (Camp)
DAY 10: Acclimatisation day in Tangnag. One option for today is to walk up the ridge towards Kusum Kangguru base camp, reaching an altitude of nearly 5000m. Here we should be able to have a good view of our route up to Mera La. Camp
DAY 11: Tangnag to Khare. We cross over glacial moraine, with great views over the turquoise glacial lakes, and hike through the pasture of Dig Kharka, underneath the impressive North Face of Mera Peak, to reach Khare (4850m) – the last settlement before we
head onto the Mera Glacier. (Camp)
DAY 12: Acclimatisation day in Khare. There are some excellent walks around Khare, and it is important to spend time acclimatising and recuperating here to maximise our chances of summiting. We may also have a chance to hone our crampon and ice axe skills by climbing up to the tongue of the glacier. (Camp)
DAY 13: Khare to the Mera La. An hour and a half’s walk above Khare, we put on our crampons and head up the 25-30 degree slopes of the Mera Glacier to establish our camp at the Mera La (5300m), where we can enjoy the truly spectacular scenery: including our first glimpse of a 7000m peak, Chamlang. (Camp.)
DAY 14: Mera La to High Camp (5800m). This is a short day 3-4 hours as we are still acclimatising in preparation for our summit bid. Today you really feel you are in the heart of the giant mountains of the Himalaya: first we see the red pyramid of Makalu to the east, followed shortly by the impressive black rock of Everest peeking out above Lhotse, and it is not long before we catch sight of Cho Oyu to the north-west.
DAY 15: Summit day! An early start for a long day. We continue across the glacier at a slow but steady pace, roped up in teams to avoid the crevasses. Most of the climb is at an easy gradient, whilst the last 50 metres are somewhat harder at 45 degrees.It usually takes around 4-6 hours to reach the summit, where you are rewarded with a view of some of the most spectacular
scenery in the world. We then make the long descent via the same route to Khare, where you will have a hot meal and a much deserved sleep! (Camp)
DAY 16: A spare day – in case of bad weather, an additional day for another summit attempt. (Camp)
DAY 17: Descend to Khote. We begin our walk out today, descending the Hinku valley, to camp at Khote (3550m). (Camp)
DAY 18: Khote to Tuli Kharka. Our return to Lukla is more direct, and today we climb up through the forest on the west side of the Hinku valley, to the yak herders’ settlement of Tuli Kharka (4300m). (Camp)
DAY 19: Tuli Kharka to Lukla. We ascend to cross the Zatrwa La (4600m), our last climb of the trip! Now we have a 2000m descent all the way to Lukla, and our base at Paradise Lodge – a favourite haunt of Sir Edmund Hillary. (Lodge)
DAY 20: We take the early morning flight back to Kathmandu, and have the afternoon free for sightseeing or last minute shopping. This evening we will go out for a group meal to celebrate in one of Kathmandu’s finest restaurants. (Hotel)
DAY 21: The trip ends today with a transfer to the airport for your homeward flight. Please note that this itinerary should be taken as a guideline and is not set in stone. This is adventure travel, and bad weather, delayed flights and a whole host of reasons can prevent us from following our intended schedule.
Our leader will be able to make any alternative arrangements that are necessary to ensure our trip runs as smoothly as possible.
Good fitness will make it more fun! The process of training for your goal will help you focus on your goal – and having a goal will help you focus on your training. So all in all training is good!
Mountaineering is all about being able to exercise at a moderate intensity for many hours (typically 5 to 12 hours) and your training should reflect this. Probably the best training is going on long days hill walking as this simulates the real thing as closely as possible and prepares the mind (exercising for long periods in poor weather requires mental strength!).
However not everyone has the opportunity to do this and so alternatives such as jogging, cycling and gym workouts are good.
The focus should be on training Cardiovascular Endurance for long days in the mountains, and upper body strength for climbing.
For cardio cycling/running/rowing machines are much better than weight training. Try and exercise for up to a couple of hours at a time, 4 times a week. For climbing, core stability, flexibility and balance are as important as strong arms and shoulders. Don’t just lift weights!
Try yoga, swimming, pilates etc too. Remember to build up your workouts over time. If you are not used to exercising much, your muscles and joints need time to build up to avoid injury.
Try and choose an activity that you enjoy and keep a note of what you do and your times – this really helps with keeping the motivation up. If you are not used to training then your local gym will be able to advise you on a plan and schedule to help you achieve your goals.
Training does not work overnight! The fittest athletes train as part of their lifestyles and have been doing it for years. Consider training for a good couple of months before coming out to the Alps.
The Effects of Altitude
As one climbs higher the air gets thinner and so there is less oxygen in each breath we take. The higher we go the less oxygen there is. This makes exercising much harder work than at sea level and so we have to slow down to help compensate. Because we have slowed down, we may feel colder.
Because there is less oxygen in the air as we get higher, this can lead to ‘altitude sickness’ or Acute Mountain Sickness which is like the worst hangover you have ever had (headache, nausea, weakness, fatigue, dizziness) and can develop into a very serious and even fatal (in extreme cases) problem.
To avoid these problems, enjoy the climbing and increase our chances of summiting we need to acclimatise by spending several days and nights at progressively higher altitudes, so our bodies can adapt. This is a very important part of our preparation.
1. Lightweight shorts and (made of a quick drying / breathable material)
2. Trekking trousers (made of a quick drying / breathable material)
3. Socks (we recommend Merino wool for warmth and breathability – 3-4 pairs)
4. Underwear (3-4 pairs – wash as you go!)
5. Wicking t shirts and long sleeved tops (2 of each)
6. 2x Lightweight fleece
7. 1x Heavyweight fleece
8. Waterproof Gore-Tex trousers and jacket
9. Trekking boots
10. Flip flops / crocs / sandals for camps
11. 4/5 season down sleeping bag
12. 4 season down jacket
13. Plastic mountaineering boots
14. Ice axe
17. 2 x screw gate karabiners
18. 2 x prussic loops
19. 2 x slings
20. 2 x water bottles (camelbacks are fine for the trek but are
not suitable for summit day as they can freeze)
21. Sleeping mat/thermarest
22. 2x good quality sunglasses (category 4 UV block)
24. Head torch and spare batteries
26. Several pairs of warm gloves
27. Glove liners
28. Warm hat
29. Sun hat
30. Quick dry ‘paclite’ towel
31. Sunscreen factor 30+ Lip salve with sunblock
32. Insect repellent & antihistamines
33. Wet wipes Personal medical kit and wash kit – keep this to an absolute minimum!!! Ipod / personal stereo & camera
You should carry a large daypack with sufficient straps to carry an ice axe (35-45 litres is ideal). You should also bring a
large kitbag for all items that you will not be carrying yourself while trekking.
These will be transported from camp to camp by porters.
Max weight limit 20kg. It is possible to wash clothes as you go / get clothes washed in villages. Bowls of hot water are
normally provided for washing at camps. It is possible to hire crampons, ice axes and plastic boots in Kathmandu, but we
cannot guarantee the quality or availability of these. It is also possible to buy down gear relatively cheaply, but again we
cannot guarantee the quality.
CLIMATE / WEATHER
Our trip is timed to coincide with the end of the monsoon season, therefore optimising the weather and snow conditions on the mountain. For the walk in, the weather is normally mild and the snowline around 5000m. If it is sunny, the days are usually warm so you are likely to be trekking into base camp in shorts or trekking trousers and a light fleece. However, you will
need to carry waterproofs, and the evenings will be cool, down jackets are normal night time attire!
Some people like to arrive early and spend some time in Nepal before their trip, some may do this after the trip: and others may be pushed for time and need to head back to work. In order to retain this flexibility we offer a land only package and you should arrange your own flights. We recommend doing this as soon in advance as possible as flights to Nepal can be very
busy in October.
If flying via Delhi, you will need to organise an Indian visa well in advance, please note you cannot obtain a
transit visa on arrival in Delhi. Our service includes an airport transfer to your hotel in Kathmandu, so you
should let us know your flight details and whether you require a transfer.
PASSPORTS AND VISAS
Everyone visiting Nepal must have a full passport (valid for 6 months after your stay) and entry visa. You
can apply for your visa in advance from the Nepalese embassy in your home country, or you can obtain one
on arrival at Kathmandu airport. For this you will need a passport photo and cash (dollars are preferable, but
euros & sterling are also accepted). The current price of visa on arrival is $40 for 30 days or $100 for 90 days.
MONEY AND TIPPING
The Nepalese currency is the rupee, and at the time of writing £1 is equal to 112 NRs. You can bring your money in cash or travellers cheques – these are widely accepted (but not $20 traveller’s cheques). There are many ATM machines in Kathmandu. Whilst on trek you will not spend much money – all food is provided and there isn’t a huge deal to spend your money on.
You may wish to have the odd coke or beer, especially in Lukla, and it is a good idea to carry some cash
(approx. £100 worth) in the event that you need to stay in lodges or descend in an emergency. Tipping
is standard in Nepal and you should allow around £50-60 to tip the local staff at the end of the trek. Your
leader will assist with organising and collecting this.
Currently the international departure tax is 1695 rupees.
VACCINATIONS AND HEALTH
You should consult your doctor for up to date information about vaccination requirements, but we would recommend the following vaccinations: Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid and Hepatitis A. If you are intending to extend your trip to visit the Terai region (including Chitwan National Park) you might consider malaria prophylaxis. You should discuss with your GP the management of any ailments you may have and bring enough medications to last the trip. We would also recommend visiting your dentist before a long trip to altitude.