No one can resist the glimmering snow-capped mountain standing so graciously and majestically. Once an adrenaline junkie said, “Mountains are the cathedral where I practice my religion,” whoever the person is s/he can’t be more right.
Humans are curious creatures, exploring and experiencing new thing is what really drives us — we dire tedious life and what’s better than going on an adventure which literally pays off the thirst. Adventures and sports are on-going things; trying something new and unique can be a game-changing step and scaling one of the monumental peaks is undoubtedly the one.
Nepal, the home of Himalayas has hundreds of mountains to quench the thirst for ultimate adventure. From Everest, the eminent one itself at 8,848 meters to several small peaks below 7,000 meters, there is a wide choice depending on your skill and experience on mountaineering.
Mera Peak is the highest trekking in Nepal, and the credit obviously goes to its accessibility and beauty. The climbing begins with a serene walk to Arun Valley away from the crowd and smog of city bringing you closer to nature. Local villages with the terraced farm, traditional housed built from stone, typical old lifestyle will sustain the charm of this trek.
And how can we forget the spectacular view of mountains en route? Looking at the Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Mera, Baruntse, Cho Oyu, Kanchenjunga and other peaks on your way will make you hold your breath at least for some moment.
So do today let us scale the detail of this popular peak.
About Mera Peak
Mera Peak ranges at an elevation of 6,746 meters/21,247 feet above sea level in Mahalangur section, administratively in Solukhumbu district of Sagarmatha Zone. To be more specific, Mera Peak is located in Hinku Valley of Nepal.
The mountain comprises three peaks: Mera North at 6,476 meters, Mera Central at 6,461 meters and Mera South at 6,065 meters. Also, there are smaller trekking summits which are visible as a distinct summit from the south, but there are no marks on most maps of the region.
The height of Mera peak is often cited as 6,654 meters and claimed to be the highest trekking peak. However, the figure actually points to nearby Peak 41, which was mistakenly named as Mera in the list of Himalayan peaks and the figures were copied to official trekking peak list as they were, including the wrong location coordinates.
Level of Difficulty
Although Mera peak is categorized as a trekking peak, it is a mountain, after all, so without any experience and skill, it won’t be safe to move towards the summit.
The altitude where the summit lies contains less than half oxygen of what is at sea level, which gives enough reason why Mera peak shouldn’t be your first high-altitude trek. If you have done a high altitude trek in the past and coped well, then Mera will serve you well.
Mera Peak is a challenging task which requires getting along with extreme altitude and high fitness level. Good cardiovascular fitness, stamina and endurance level will be plus point in this trek. The climbing requires very basic technical skill which includes the use of ropes, ice axe, and crampons.
As mentioned above Mera is a trekking peak, but a bit of technical knowledge would be beneficial for a small section of the climb which is about 50 meters. It is probably the toughest part of the climb as the slope is around 40 degrees of ice/snow.
Permits for Mera Peak Climb
There are two permits you need for Mera Peak climb, one is climbing permit, and next is national park permit. To know the cost of the climbing permit, you can visit the official website of Nepal Mountain Association.
Talking about the national park permit, you will need Makalu Barun National Park entry permit as you will be trekking within the park periphery. It will cost NRs 3,000 for foreigners, NRs 1,500 for SAARC nationals. NRs 100 for Nepali and children below ten years are free to enter.
Best time for Mera Peak Climb
Conquering a mountain is a challenge for sure, no matter what elevation. Choosing unfavorable time will add even more difficulty in the trek. Spring (March-May) and Autumn (September-November) is the best time for climbing Mera Peak as the weather condition, temperature and visibility will be best than the rest of the other two seasons.
Way up to the Mera Peak
First explored by the British expedition team in the early 50s before and after the ascent of Everest, Mera Peak was, however, first scaled by Jimmy Robert and Sen Tenzing in 1953.
Well, you will be off to this exemplary trek with a flight to Lukla, from Kathmandu and before you embark, make sure you have a lot of will power and confidence to conquer the peak because you are going to need it. Lukla is the starting point of our Mera peak trek, so get a grip and be ready for the challenge.
After the exhilarating flight to Lukla, often considered as the dangerous airport in the world, we move south towards Paiya and Pangom. In the first few days, the route is tranquil, and views of farms and villages with locals engaged in daily chores are just too charming.
Moving along we through lush bamboo and rhododendron forest to Arun Valley and Khote. Arriving at this point of the trek, we can have the view of Mera Peak right over the route. At a place called Khare, we will rest for a day or two for acclimatization and spend some time on training as well.
Now from Khare, we will make our way over the glacier to Mera Peak base camp. The base camp itself is a spectacular perched on a rocky outcrop just beside the glacier. It is also an excellent vantage point from where sunset over the whole range can be seen.
The actual climb to the summit is a tough grind up the glacier, followed by a short, sharp scramble up an ice-wall using crampons and ice axe. However, our expert guides will be there to assist you and take care of technical parts.
After tasting the victory, we will make our way back descending to Khare and further below. Don’t be disappoint if you encounter plenty of uphills while descending too because this is how Nepal is.
Pros and Cons of choosing the usual route
There is always an option for everything we do, and in our Mera Peak climb as well, there is an alternate route. But we choose to highlight the regular route to Mera peak because of its easy accessibility and low death rate, which is the advantage of going through this route. However, the number of days is quite long, so if you are short in time, then the regular route will be a hard option.
An alternate route to Mera peak is the shortest and most difficult with less than 30% of success rate, so we don’t recommend this route. In this route, we head directly to Zatr La Pass (4,610 meters) from Lukla and to Tagnag. After that, we move to high camp and the peak. This route is extremely challenging, and even experienced climbers find it difficult. There is also very less time for acclimatization, so it is better to go slow and steady than rush and face any casualty.
Tips for Climbing Mera Peak
Prepare itinerary as per your comfort
Climbing a mountain can’t be done easily, but an itinerary as per for comfort helps in the journey. There will be certainly a group of climbers, but don’t hesitate to put your point if you aren’t comfortable with it.
And then there is money: you can save some by cutting the days from the schedule, but that won’t be the best decision for your safety or your success on the climb. Also, acclimatize well on the way and the base camp.
Prepare yourself for camping
You get accommodation on lodges in the lower region. However, as you trek higher, the settlement gets thinner with no trace of hotels/tea houses/lodges. You will be sleeping in tented camps for most of the nights, so don’t complain about the uneasiness because glory doesn’t come easy.
Also, be comfortable setting up tents, managing your camp craft and maintain a good level of hygiene in a camping environment.
Pack your bag carefully
While packing your bag for the expedition, carry the right amount of warm and comfortable clothes, gears and equipment. Weather up there is never stable, so you must be prepared for every change. You must have a right mountaineering boot, gear for this cold and hostile environment.
The gears and equipment provided by the trekking company may not be a proper fit for you. So you can choose to have your personal gear for the climb.
Excellent Physical condition is a must
The way up to the Mera peak is very strenuous and challenging. The trails consist of many ups and down which are very demanding. While you are making your way to Mera peak, you are climbing into the lower realm of death zone at 5,500 meters. Once you are above this height, your body starts shutting down and your digestive system shuts down too. This is the reason why you need to adapt enough at a lower level. You will require excellent physical condition and training before at least a month of the climb to complete the expedition successfully.
Not for the beginners
If Mera peak is your first high altitude or mountaineering experience, then we suggest not to embark. You will need prior experience; you need to know how your body reacts in extreme conditions: all this experience in Mera peak might cause a serious incident.
Hiking, trekking or multi-day altitude experience is important. Your experience will help you prepare yourself and understand how your body adapts in a low oxygen environment.
Manage personal hygiene and health
You will stay days outside of your comfort zone in total wilderness. Forget about the challenging peak; if you are not careful about your hygiene, then it will be another mishap.
It will be best to carry personal medical kit and items necessary for the cold region. Sunblock cream, hat, toiletries: you must carry these personal hygiene items. You won’t be able to bathe for days, so you must learn to keep your self clean in extreme condition.
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