Mera Peak Climb, Nepal. World’s highest trekking peak
Extremely excited when arrived in Kathmandu for Mera peak summit in the late Oct with a hope of clear weather. Finished few shopping that was left for the summit and then I was free for the day, during the evening we had a nice party at a pub in Thamel which continued till late night. We woke up early in the morning and got freshen up. Our mini bus arrived in time and we hopped in to the vehicle for Kathmandu domestic terminal. After arriving at the airport we get to know our flight is delayed due to the bad weather in Lukla. We waited for almost 3 hours for our turn and then they finally announced the bad news, the flight is cancelled for the day. We tried to find a helicopter ride till Lukla and got a shock after knowing the high price, it is 500 USD per person for a ride. All members of our group were not ready for this hefty amount and we went with the option 3! A jeep ride till Salleri then a 200USD per person helicopter ride till Lukla.
We started by 1 PM from Kathmandu and started towards Salleri. Kathmandu to Salleri journey is really beautiful and the road goes through beautiful high mountains. Initial journey was good and we enjoyed a lot but once it was dark the ride was hectic. It took us 12 hours to reach Salleri and we arrived by 1 AM. Immediately we slept as all of us were completely tired.
Next morning, we got ready by 8AM and started for Phaplu airport which is 1KM from our hotel. We had our breakfast in a restaurant near the airport. We wait and wait for the helicopter and our first helicopter arrived by 3PM. It was a 5 seater helicopter and we ware 14 people so the helicopter took 5 people at a time. It was 8pm in the evening by the time we all reached Lukla.
All of our guides and porters were ready at Lukla then we started towards Chutanga(3, 200 meters) by 8:30 PM. It was completely dark with light drizzle and we trekked till Chutanga. The hike is completely up-hill till Chutanga and it took 4 hours to reach our Tea House, we all were extremely tired as we didn’t have any sleep for two nights. We had Dal Bhat as dinner and went to sleep. It was a nice sleep in that night and we woke up by 8:30 AM, got fresh, had our breakfast and got ready by 9:30 AM.
We start our trek towards Kharki Tenga which is our lunch place before arriving at our final destination of the day Chhatra Khola / Thuli Kharka (4, 300 meters). Once we start from Chutanga the hike seems endless. It takes 3 hours to reach Kharki Tenga where we have lunch and then start another steep hike till Zatrwa-La pass(4,600 meters) it took us 2.5 hours to reach at the top of the pass. We spent 20 minutes at the top then we start for Chhatra Khola / Thuli Kharka. The trek is moderate after the pass and we hike through lots of up and down, finally we arrive at a place with stupas and prayer flags and after this place the trail is fully downhill till Chhatra Khola / Thuli Kharka. We arrive by 8:30 PM as we spend a lot of time at the lunch place and it took us almost 11 hours to reach our destination.
During the dinner we planned we will start tomorrow by 7:30 AM as we have enough time to take rest today. Next day morning we all were ready by 7:30 after the breakfast and started our trek towards Kothe (3600 meters). Initial part of the trek is moderate then it’s completely downhill till Taktho(our lunch place for the day). The view is beautiful from the trail and the tree line starts once you get down to Taktho. The downhill trail goes through rhododendron forest. After the lunch place the trail goes through typical high Himalayan forest with lot of ups and downs. Few times you can get down to river bed also. The most beautiful part of today’s trek is the forest trail after Taktho to Kothe. The trees are really big and full of mosses. I had never seen such an old forest in my life, the experience is completely different. I trek in many Himalayan forests in India and Nepal but never had such untouched forest experience. Kothe is a small settlement full of Tea houses and this place resembles like a small mountain village but it’s just a settlement for trekkers. Kothe also have National park check point where you need to show all your permits and need to issue the Makalu Baron National park permit. We reached Kothe by 3:30 PM and we have lot of time today to take rest. We slept early by 8AM and next day morning we got ready and started our trek by 7:30 AM.
Kothe to Thangnak trail is moderate to easy and take 6 hours to complete. Most of the trail goes along side of the river. And few parts are really rocky. The view from the trail is really awesome as you can see many gigantic mountains from the trail including Mera on the right. We had our lunch in a tiny tea house on the way and then started towards Thangnak. Before Thangnak you can see a beautiful tiny Monastery on the right. We went to the Monastery and took blessing from the Monk. This Monastery is actually in the land of nowhere. There is no village nearby, only few tea houses available and they have named this place. Kothe, Thangnak, Khare even all the places after Lukla are Tea houses for trekkers and they named it as villages. During off season they close the place and go to their villages which are 2 days trek from few places. We arrived at Thangnak by 2:30 PM and we had a lot of time for cards and other games. Had dinner by 7:30 PM and get a good night sleep.
We started by 8 AM as the distance is not so much, its 5 hours trek from Kothe to Khare. We crossed the river stream and went for a small hike. The view from the ascent is really magnificent as you can see a huge hanging glacier on the left. After the ascent the trail becomes flat till a small Tea House, where you can have coffee and snacks. After the Tea House again it’s a steep ascent for a while and then the trail gradually inclined till Khare. After arriving at Khare we had our lunch as we didn’t eat on the way. We didn’t do anything on that day except resting at the Tea House.
We woke up by 8 AM as this is the rest day, after breakfast we went for a small hike to a nearby mountain and reached 5500 meters in altitude. After spending 30 minutes on the top, we came down to our Tea House. The hike was really spectacular as the view of Mera and other mountains are clearly visible. We had lunch after our hike and took rest for 1 hour and again got ready for training. The training place is near the hotel, where ropes are fitted by our guides. We had a nice basic training of how to use rope, ice axe, crampons etc. It’s just a basic training to make you ready for the Mera Peak. Once we finished the training, heavy snowfall started and we went back to our Tea house. The snow fall continued till 7:30 PM evening and finally got clear. Next day we woke up early and had breakfast, packed our climbing shoes and gears that we rented from Khare.
By the time we started for Mera high camp the time was 9:30 AM and we all knew it was late. The trail was full of snow as the area received heavy snowfall yesterday. It takes 3 hours to reach below Mera base camp, after this place we changed our trekking shoes and put on climbing shoes and crampon. We all were roped and started towards Mera High camp. Initial hike is very steep on icy track, then it becomes gradually up till Mera High camp. The trail is full of snow like a huge ski ground. Wherever your eyes go you will find white snow covered meadows. Mera is also considered as an ultra pro level ski place where few pro skiers come for skiing. The trail become endless as you walk and keep thinking that after this hike the high camp arrive but after crossing this you will find another hike. The trek to high camp was the toughest for us in our trip. It was extremely cold and mildly windy and we almost lost all our energy and dragged ourselves towards the high camp. Finally we saw few people are coming from the top with thermos flask and cups, they are our high camp support team and bringing tea for us. They gave tea to us and it was like the best hot tea I ever had. After that we reached the high camp which is situated on the side of a huge rock. After reaching the high camp we immediately put ourselves in our sleeping bag as the outside temperature was extremely cold and windy. When we arrived it was almost evening. Our support team was really nice; they provided food, tea, hot water everything inside the tent. We decided to start our summit by 2:30 AM. We squeezed ourselves inside the sleeping bag and tired to sleep. The sound of the wind inside the tent is really scary sometime you feel your tent will fly out. And the other scary part is most of our tents are almost at the edge of that ridge that gave us almost a sleepless night.
By 1:45 AM our main guide Rinji Sherpa woke us up and we got ready by 2:30 AM. We have 4 climbing guides as we are a big group. Few of our trekkers got sick and we are 8 people to start our final ascent. We were all roped and started our hike on the snow towards Mera Central. This part of the hike is also equally tough as yesterday. We didn’t feel any difficulty till it was dark but once the day light came, we saw similar up and downs then it felt much difficult. View from the Mera climb is really awesome, Everest, Makalu are really magnificent. Finally, we arrived at the footstep of the final summit. Our guides fixed the rope and we ascent to the top! The ascent was easy not technical. Ohhhhhh my god! This was the first word come out of my mouth once I reached at the top. The weather was crystal clear and all the top mountains look spectacular from the top! Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu and other mountains look magnificent from the top. We took group and individual photos then began the descent to high camp.
While return from the top of Mera Peak you can see the same magnificent view of Everest, Makalu throughout the trail. Descent is much easier and we reached High camp in 2 hours. Our hot noodle soup was ready once we arrived. After breakfast we got our packed lunch and immediately started descending to Khare. High camp to base is really easy descent, which we completed in 2 hours. Once we finished the icy and snowy part we changed our climbing shoes and put on regular hiking shoes. We arrived at the Khare Tea House by 3:30 PM. We were too tired, hence immediately we slept as we didn’t have any sleep last night due to high altitude.
Next day morning we started from Khare to Kothe. Entire trail was downhill till Khare. We had our lunch at the same place where we had our lunch while going up. After the lunch we followed the same trail along side of the river and reached Kothe by 3PM.
Next day we started by early around 7:30 AM as we needed to reach Chhatra Khola / Thuli Kharka by evening. While return we had a tough hike till Chhatra Khola / Thuli Kharka as most of the hike is up hill. We took the same trail that we took while going up. We arrived at our Tea House by 4 PM. We planned that we must start early tomorrow as we need to go till Lukla in one day.
We woke up and started our trek by 8AM, we knew we were little late but most of us were happy as after crossing Zatrwa-La pass the entire trail is downhill till Lukla. Chhatra Khola / Thuli Kharka to till Zatrwa-La pass is up hill trek and takes more than 3 hours to reach. But our real nightmare starts just after Zatrwa-La pass as the entire part of this side of the mountain is full of snow. We didn’t have crampon with us as we took it as rent in Khare and returned it after the summit. From the pass till Chutanga was full of snow and it’s completely downhill. All of us fell down more than 10 times in between the mountain pass and Chutanga. I will say this was the toughest part as it was a steep descent without a crampon on ice. We had our Lunch after a slippery journey. After Lunch it was really easy downhill descent till Lukla. Lukla is visible from Chutanga. We arrived at Lukla just before the sunset. And we had a really nice party at our Lukla hotel with all the Guides and Porters. I believe that was one of the best parties in my life. We had some drinks and celebrated with guides and porters till midnight.
Our return flight was by 9:30 AM and we reached the airport by 9:20 AM everyone had hangover from the last night party. All our guides came to the airport to drop us, all of them are nice and extremely helpful, we said good bye and proceeded for security check. We get to know our flight is 1 hour late due to air traffic in Kathmandu airport. Finally our flight arrived and we were flown back to Kathmandu.
Mera peak summit is a different experience for all. If you want to summit it then don’t take Mera peak casually. You need to make yourself really fit for Mera, otherwise Mera will make you cry. The trek till Mera peak is also a tough trek. So make yourself mentally and physically fit to conquer the Mera. Also carry good quality climbing shoe, good quality jacket, gloves etc for Mera.