An excellent trekking and climbing holiday to Mera Peak in Nepal
Tour type: Trek
* Mera's summit is a stunning viewpoint for 5 of the world's 8000 metre peaks
* Walk-in from Phaplu and out to Lukla for the ultimate Mera Peak trek
* Crossing the Thaksindo and Pangkongma passes provides great acclimatisation
* IFMGA qualified guide, all meals, 5-star Kathmandu hotels and airport transfers
Mera Peak at 6476 metres, is one of the highest trekking peaks in Nepal and its summit panorama takes in five of the world's 8000 metre peaks - Kangchenjunga, Makalu, Lhotse, Everest and Cho Oyu. This ultimate Himalayan trekking and climbing holiday begins with a short and exciting flight to Phaplu in the Solu Khumbu. From here, we begin trekking through the terraced farmland and forest of Nepal's 'Middle Hills', passing small villages and settlements inhabited by the hardy Sherpas.
Our route takes us across two 3000 metre passes to reach the largely uninhabited Hinku Valley. We then continue northwards into the upper reaches of the Hinku and set up our basecamp at Khare with a couple of acclimatisation and skills training days built in. Although physically very demanding on account of the altitude, the climbing on Mera Peak is not technically difficult, ascending snow slopes that rarely exceed 30 degrees, with normally one short steeper section where passage is safeguarded by fixed lines. Viewed from the mountain's upper slopes, the sunrise on Everest and Kangchenjunga is truly unforgettable. During the trek to basecamp we stay in simple 'tea houses' built by the Sherpas and then, above Khare, we have two nights in tents, supported by our local IFMGA qualified guide and a crew of high altitude Sherpas. The return trek is by a different route, crossing the high pass of the Zatwra La (4600m) to reach the airstrip at Lukla and from there flying back to Kathmandu. Mera Peak is the perfect choice for fit and keen hillwalkers looking to take part in a real Himalayan climbing expedition.
For some fantastic ideas to extend your holiday in Nepal, from a visit to Chitwan National Park, to tours in Bhutan or Tibet - check out extensions
Is this holiday for you?
This trekking and climbing holiday in Nepal presents a great variety of trekking conditions. During the first few days of the trek we trek on village trails through steep-sided valleys, crossing several passes of around 3000 metres to reach a higher and wilder alpine environment. Here, there are a number of small summer grazing camps where trekkers lodges or tea houses have only recently been built. The paths are good for most of the route up to our basecamp at Khare, and offer relatively easy underfoot conditions although with some steep ascents and descents. The climbing on Mera Peak is not technical and for the most part we will be walking on snow slopes of less than 30 degrees. For much of the ascent we will be using crampons and moving as a roped party since we will be traversing a glacier. On some short steeper sections your guides may put in fixed lines to safeguard the route and you will be provided with an ascender to use on these fixed ropes. No previous mountaineering experience is required as instruction in the simple techniques of walking roped together and using fixed lines will be given by your IFMGA qualified guide. However, previous use of crampons is highly recommended. On summit day we will have a guide to client ratio of 1:3. The main difficulties of the climb of Mera Peak are those associated with trekking at high altitude and this climbing holiday will be suitable for fit and motivated trekkers as well as mountaineers wishing to reach new heights.
➕ Day 1 Meet at the group hotel in Kathmandu. Transfers from Kathmandu Airport are provided.
Rendezvous at the group hotel in Kathmandu. Complimentary airport transfers are provided. After check in and depending on your flight schedule, there may be an opportunity to explore the immediate vicinity of the hotel and get acclimatised to this bustling city, or you may prefer to recover from your journey by relaxing beside the hotel pool. KE Land Only package services begin with the evening meal.
➕ Day 2 Fly to Phaplu and trek across the Thaksindo La (3070m) to Thaksindo (2960m).
After an early breakfast in the hotel we take a bus to the domestic terminal of Kathmandu Airport for the 45 minute flight to Phaplu in the Solu Khumbu region. After meeting with our crew and organising the porters loads we set off heading north through the foothills of the Himalaya. Our trail is undulating as we cross several side valleys and we pass through the villages of Chewang and Beni before reaching Ringmo. Here we join the Everest trail coming from Jiri and we now follow this over the Thaksindo La (3070m) which gives access to the Dudh Kosi Valley, the main drainage of the Everest region. We stay tonight in the village of Thaksindo (2960m) located just below the pass.
Time 6 - 7 hrs trekking
➕ Day 3 Descend to the Dudh Kosi (river) and trek via Nuntalla to Kharikhola (2040m).
The day starts with a long downhill leg as we descend 1300 metres to the Dudh Kosi. We pass through the large village of Nuntalla (2194m) before reaching the foaming river. In Nepali, Dudh means milk and Kosi is a river, so this is the 'Milk River', which brings the melt from the snows of Everest down to the plains of India. We cross on a magnificent 109 metre long suspension bridge and on the other side, we reach the small settlement of Jubhing (1680m). Now heading north we follow the river gradually climbing above it and entering the side valley of the Khari Khola (Khola = stream), where we stay overnight in the village of the same name.
Time 7 hrs trekking
➕ Day 4 Turning away from the Everest trail, we trek to Pangkongma (2850m).
Today, we turn away from the Everest Trail (which heads uphill to Bupsa and the Khari La). Instead, we head in a south-easterly direction, following a straightforward and at times zig-zagging trail which gains height steadily and takes us close to Lenjikharka. We reach our overnight halt at the village of Pangkongma (2850m) in time for a late lunch.
Time 4 hrs trekking
➕ Day 5 Cross the Pangkongma La (3174m) and trek via Sibuje to Ning So (2850m).
A great day of trekking which begins with a climb up to the Pangkongma La (3174m) on the main watershed seperating the valleys of the Dudh Kosi and Hinku Khola. We have our first sight of Mera Peak before making a steep descent to the village of Sibuje (2770 m). From here the trail is undulating as we make our way through the forested river valley to Ning So (2850m).
Time 4 - 5 hrs trekking
➕ Day 6 An undulating trek via several ridges to the lodge at Jungle Camp (3160m).
We have a steep climb up to a tea house at 3280 metres, which affords tremendous views. We then continue to climb to our high point of the day at 3350 metres, before a steep descent back to the river and a welcome lunch stop. After lunch we have a roller coaster afternoon through the forest with some steep sections of trail. At the end of the day we cross the river on a remarkable bridge made from a huge tree trunk to reach our accommodation at 'Jungle Camp' (3160m).
Time 6 - 7 hrs trekking
➕ Day 7 Trekking northwards into the Hinku Valley we reach Gotay (3600m).
Heading north we follow the Hinku Khola through the moss covered trees with many ups and downs as we negotiate side valleys and rock ridges. Our overall elevation gradually increases and finally, after crossing a broad ridge of mixed forest, we reach a sandy boulder-choked area known as Gotay at an altitude of 3600 metres. There are several seasonal lodges and shops here in this otherwise uninhabited part of the Hinku Valley.
Time 5 - 6 hrs trekking
➕ Day 8 Trek beside the Hinku River to the Yak herders' settlement of Tagnag (4350m).
Following the west bank of the Hinku Drangka northwards, the forest eventually disappears and the valley widens and becomes much more open. There are no villages in the Upper Hinku, only small kharkas used for grazing goats, sheep and yaks. The twin summits of Kusum Kanguru appear on the left while the valley is bounded on the right by the steep rock face of Mera's satellite peak. Ahead framed in the sharp V of the valley is the imaginatively named Peak 43. We will take lunch at Gondishung, a summer herders' settlement consisting of a few roofless huts and stone-walled enclosures, as well as a long ancient 'mani' wall of intricately carved prayer stones. Beyond Gondishung we pass nearby a fascinating 200 year-old gompa built beneath a massive boulder, and a number of crude mani walls. It is well worth visiting this gompa to burn some juniper at the shrine, an offering that just might ensure a successful ascent of Mera Peak. From the gompa it is an hour's walk over moraines to the yak herders' settlement of Tagnag. Once similar in appearance to Gondishung, nowadays there are several teahouses here. The group will spend at least two nights at Tagnag (4350m) before moving up to Mera Basecamp.
Time 6 - 7 hours walking
➕ Day 9 A well-earned rest and acclimatisation day at Tagnag.
A day for acclimatisation. One option for an acclimatisation walk is to trek up the nearby ridge coming down from Kusum Kanguru, where we can reach an altitude of just over 5000 metres on the hill known as Shartemba Go. Here, we have spectacular views of Kusum Kanguru and of our route up onto the Mera La. At the leader's discretion, part of today may also be used to run through various techniques and safety procedures to be used during the climbs.
Time 4 -5 hours
➕ Day 10 Trek beside the Dig Glacier to Kare (5000m), basecamp for Mera Peak.
Heading up from Tagnag towards the Mera Basecamp at Khare, a good trail leads up and across the moraine which dams Charpatti Tal, and reaches a high point lined with cairns overlooking this glacial lake in about 30 minutes. From here the trail descends slightly to cross a sandy bowl and then climbs alongside a khola or stream to the large pasture of Dig Kharka. Here we cross the khola on stepping stones and then climb for a further hour and a half to Khare, the basecamp for Mera Peak at an altitude of approximately 5000 metres.
Time 4 - 5 hours walking
➕ Day 11 Another acclimatisation and skills training day above Khare.
Another day for acclimatisation. At the leader's discretion, part of today may also be used to practice techniques and safety procedures to be used on our climbs. There are some interesting day hikes from Khare. Above camp it is possible to climb to a high moraine ridge, from where there are good views of the Mera La and the route up the mountain. This will also be a time for final preparation of our equipment and packing of our mountain bags.
➕ Day 12 Climb to the Mera La (5415m), the watershed between the Hinku and Hongu valleys.
Leaving basecamp we first climb to the crest of the moraine above Khare and then up a steep slope of scree or snow to reach a boulder strewn bowl below the lower tongue of the Mera Glacier. We should reach this point in one and a half hours from Khare. The route crosses the bowl and climbs the ground to the right of the tongue to a large rock platform beside the glacier. Here we will put on our crampons and climb 30 to 35 degree snow or ice for 10 or 15 minutes to reach the plateau leading to the Mera La. Unless there has been recent snowfall, there will be a good trail which weaves its way around and between the crevasses toward the Mera La. It is about an hour's walk across the plateau to reach the pass itself. It is possible to camp in many places on the wide expanse of the Mera La or the trek leader may opt to drop down a short way on the Hongu side to a good, sheltered site that enjoys the early morning sun. Altitude at the Mera La is 5415 metres. Once the camp is established, our porters will descend back to Khare with instructions to return the following day to help carry to high camp. The climbing group will spend the afternoon drinking as much tea and soup as possible to help with acclimatisation.
Time 4 - 5 hours walking
➕ Day 13 Climb easy snow slopes on Mera Peak to a high camp (5800m).
There are several options for a high camp on the mountain but the best by far is behind the pinnacles at approximately 5800 metres. Here there is shelter from the wind, usually no snow, and well constructed platforms for several tents. It takes 3 to 4 hours to reach this site from the Mera La. After the first half an hour's climb, the view north into the main Himalaya opens out. First of the 8000 metre giants in view is the red pyramid of Makalu, then Everest with its cloud plume peeking over the impressive black wall of Lhotse. Later you can see to the north-west the large white girth of Cho Oyu. Arriving at high camp, if the weather has been kind, the beautiful massif of Kangchenjunga comes into view, far to the east. Five of the world's six highest mountains.
Time 5 - 6 hours walking
➕ Day 14 Easy-angled snow slopes and a short steeper section lead to the summit (6476m). Descend to Khare.
A 2.00 am wake up and after bed tea and a breakfast, the group will put on crampons and rope up before setting out for the summit. One of the great advantages of using our high camp, as well as making for a shorter summit day, is that we will have only around an hour of walking with head torches before dawn breaks. Climbing mostly easy angled snow slopes to the foot of the dome of the central summit, we will place a fixed rope for the last 30 to 40 metres. which steepens to an angle of 45 - 50 degrees. Note that in certain snow conditions an ascent of the Central summit may be beyond the technical grade for this trek and in this case the group will make an ascent of the easier and slightly lower south summit. The trip leader will make this decision. From either top, the panorama of the Himalaya including five of the world's highest peaks is unforgettable. From our high camp a well acclimatised party will take 3 to 4 hours to the summit. From the summit we will descend first to our high camp for some tea or soup and from here down to the Mera La and all the way back down to our advance basecamp at Khare. A long but inspirational day!
Time 12 - 14 hours walking
➕ Day 15 Return trek following the Hinku River downstream as far as Gotay (3600m).
We retrace our route, descending the beautiful Hinku Valley and stopping en route to pay our respects at the shrine in Gondishung. We set up our camp in a clearing in the forest at Gotay.
Time 5 - 6 hours walking
➕ Day 16 Trek out of the Hinku Valley to Tuli Kharka (4320m) below the Zatwra La.
Today we climb up through the lush forest on the west side of the Hinku Valley to Tuli Kharka below the Zatwra La. On occasion, we can look back to the impressive south face of Mera.
Time 7 - 9 hours walking
➕ Day 17 Trek across the Zatrwa La (4600m) and descend to Lukla (2840m).
The last 300 to 400 metres of the ascent to the Zatrwa La will be our last climb of the trip, with superb views southwards across the ridge and valley landscape of Nepal's Middle Hills. From the crest of the pass we trek downhill, steeply in places, for almost 2000 metres to the welcoming lodges of Lukla.
Time 7 - 9 hours
➕ Day 18 Fly to Kathmandu. Rest of the day free for sightseeing or relaxing.
We take the early morning flight to Kathmandu, check in to our hotel, and have the afternoon free for sightseeing. On this first night after our trek we will certainly have a party at one of Kathmandu's excellent restaurants.
➕ Day 19 Free day in Kathmandu for sightseeing, shopping or relaxing.
This is an important contingency day in case of delays to the flights from Lukla. If we have experienced no delays this is another opportunity for independent exploration amongst the colourful streets and temples of Kathmandu. This evening we will have a celebratory dinner to mark the end of a most excellent trip.
➕ Day 20 Departure day. Kathmandu Airport transfers provided.
KE Land Only package services end after breakfast. Complimentary airport transfers are provided for all flights.