The Mera Peak expedition starts with a beautiful trek up the relatively quiet Arun Valley and ends with you reaching the summit of Nepal’s highest trekking Peak. From here the views are really breath-taking: all the Himalayan giants - Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam - can be seen and having trekked in the dark you can watch the sun rise across the tops of these mountains in a spectacular show.
You start your adventure by flying from Kathmandu to Lukla with great views all the way and the hair-raising landing at Lukla's mountain-side runway. Make sure to grab a seat on the left hand side of the plane for this flight.
You will meet the rest of your crew in Lukla and once all the bags have been checked you start off, heading south initially passing through the villages of Paiya and Pangom. This routes avoids traversing the Zatwa La pass too soon which often causes problems with altitude sickness as it takes you to over 4000m
These first few days of the trek are very quiet: you are trekking through traditional farming villages and we can obtain fresh produce for meals along the way. From Sibuje the route turns north towards Mera itself through pristine bamboo and rhododendron forest and then on up the Arun valley to Khare where you will spend a day to acclimatise.
The push to the summit starts with the climb up and over the glacier to Mera La. From there you climb higher to the spectacular Mera High camp, perched precariously on a rocky outcrop just beside the glacier. You will arrive in time to see the sunset here with the mountains turning orange then red as the light fades.
The summit day is a tough grind up the glacier, followed by a short sharp scramble up an ice-wall to the summit of Mera Peak itself. Your guide will lay a fixed rope here for your safety.
After summiting you descend back to Khare for the night before tracking back down the Arun valley now with the steep face of Mera Peak on your left. Finally you head over the Zatwa La pass, now fully acclimatised, and drop back into Lukla, having climbed Mera Peak the highest trekking peak in Nepal.
Our representative will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. At the hotel, you will be briefed about your activities and your kit checked.
Like the treks to Everest Base Camp, the Mera Peak climb starts with a flight to Lukla that ends with the breath-taking landing. From Lukla though, you turn South rather than following the main Khumbu trail, and descend first to Surke, where you cross a river before climbing steeply to Chutok La. From there it is about another hour of undulating flat to Paiya and your first lodge on this trek.
The second day's hiking starts with a sharp descent through cultivated terraced hillsides until you reach a wooden bridge where you cross the Piya Khola river. You have another tough climb to bring you back up to Kari La, followed by lots of typical 'Nepali flat' before you reach the Sherpa village of Panggom La for your second night.
A very typical up and down day today with lots and lots of short but steep ups and downs as you travel around the foot of the Zatwa massif, finally arriving at your first campsite at Ningbo.
Today starts relatively easily, moving around the mountain again until you reach Sibuje where you will stop for lunch. From there you take a turn North off the main track on a route that takes you into the rhododendron jungle and well away from the main trekking paths. Overnight is at a small campsite that is only used by a small number of groups, known only as Bamboo camp.
From Bamboo camp you continue trekking through the jungle, always going up or down and quite steeply passing through the village of Tashing Ongma before finally dropping down to meet the Inku Khola river at Mosom Kharka. From here you continue to trek along the river before reaching the larger village of Khote and your next lodge. Already you are starting to get impressive views of Mera Peak at the head of the valley.
The forest gives way to open valley again by mid-morning, revealing the peaks which line either side. The valley swings eastward into a new array of peaks and as you approach Tagnak the route up toward the Mera glacier comes into view. Damage caused to the valley by the collapse of the glacial lake Sabai Tsho is all too apparent at you head up the river. You reach Tagnak mid-afternoon where you will stay overnight.
This is a really important day for acclimatisation and you will gain as much height as you can, climbing the slopes behind Tagnak up to the Tibetan Prayer stones where you can rest and take in the views of the backside of Mera. After spending half an hour at the higher altitude you will return to Tagnak for lunch. In the afternoon you can head up the slopes to the north to look at what is left of the glacial lake, Sabai Tsho which broke through its headwall causing a huge flood and the massive damage you will have seen downstream.
Today's walk up to Khare is fairly easy and you can take your time. You cross the river above Tagnak and then walk up the Dig glacier with the end of the Hinku Nup glacier in view above you. As you approach the camp at Khare (4940m) the trail is steeper but after a rest and snack you should try to take an acclimatisation walk up the ridge behind the village. This gives great views of the flattened ridge across the glacier which you will ascend tomorrow and south to Mera itself.
You start today hiking back up to the snout of the Hinku Nup glacier today, before turning and following it North, keeping close to where there are no crevasses. You will then stop and put on crampons before finally climbing up onto the glacier itself. At this point the glacier is relatively flat and Mera La itself is a rounded snow col that bridges south to the main sweep of the Mera glacier coming down from Mera Peak. Our camp for the night is just over the Mera La pass.
A contingency day allocated for weather etc.
Crampons on again for the start of the push to the summit. You climb back up to the pass at Mera La then head up the glacier towards a rocky outcrop where we will set the most spectacular high camp. Clinging onto the edge of the mountain the views from here are incredible. Kangchenjunga is visible to the east above the ridge of Chamlang; the ice spire of Barents is left of Makalu. Between it and the beautiful twin peaks of Ama Dablam, you will see Nuptse, Lhotse's south face and Lhotse Shar. Over the ridge stands the summit of Everest, the final stages of the traditional route up the south-east ridge and over the south summit to the summit ridge.
You will be woken at about 2am with hot tea and a high energy meal to start your summit ascent of Mera Peak. You start up the main glacier, crossing to the south side as you approach the snow hump-back ridge. This part of the route is not technical but 30 degree slopes are still tough. The slope steepens for a section behind the ridge and then you swing diagonally westward. The summit comes back into view and you are on the level summit ridge. At the foot of the final steep ascent you will attach to a fixed rope laid by your guide and use your ice axe and a jumar to climb the final 30 metre 55 degree pitch to reach Mera Peak's summit. A spectacular panorama greets you with clear views over to Everest. Once you've had chance to take this all in and congratulate yourself on an amazing achievement, you will head back down to Khare for a celebration.
Today you will retrace your steps back down the Arun Valley to the village of Khote.
From Khote you will follow a route up to Chetera La that has only recently been completed. This route has the advantage of staying high up on the hillsides west of the Hinku river and makes for a quicker climb up to Chetera La while offering fantastic views back to Mera Peak.
From your lodge at Chetera La, the trail climbs over a series of ridges before you finally reach the craggy Zatrwa La Pass at 4580m. From here you have incredible views back to the Hinku valley and the south face of Mera Peak. After dropping over the rocky outcrop of the Zatr Og, you descend steeply down a rocky slope into the Dudh Koshi valley. The high mountains slowly give way to rhododendron forest, then to farmland as you approach the busy town of Lukla where you will spend your last night before flying back to Kathmandu.
From Lukla, you take an early morning flight to Kathmandu.
Our representative will take you to the airport for your flight home.
In order to climb Mera safely you need stable weather and for it to be dry. Even if it is warm strong winds can make climbing very dangerous and any rainfall at this altitude falls as fresh snow and breaking tracks in this doubles the difficulty of the climb.
To give your self the best chance of avoiding these problems we recommend climbing between September and November or between February and May. Both these periods generally bring long periods of stable weather and although the temperatures at the top are still incredibly cold it is bearable.
It is possible to attempt to this climb in less days than our itinerary suggests and if you are very fit, have experience of trekking at altitude before and want to do a private trip we are happy to arrange this. Generally though shorter trips save days in two ways.
First, from Lukla they head straight over Zatwa La: this saves two days but immediately takes you up to 4500m and there is a very high incident of climbers suffering severe altitude sickness. This is a very bad way to start your preparation for the climb.
The second way to save time is to cut out acclimatisation days. Again while this saves days it also significantly reduces the chances of summiting successfully.
The approach to Mera is not particularly demanding as we avoid going over Zatwa La at the start of the trek and take the longer route around the Zatwa Massif. Once you reach Khare though things do get demanding.
Khare is above 5000m and you are going to have at least 4 full days above this altitude where the effects of the thin air are really obvious. The summit push from the Advanced Base camp is not particularly steep but it is a long drag and it will require a lot of stamina.
For these reasons we would not recommend you take on Mera as your first trekking experience until you have a better idea of how your body will acclimatise and how fit you are in these extreme conditions. If you have already done a high altitude trek and coped well then Mera is the perfect Adventure One Step Beyond!
For more information about the specialist items you can watch our short video opposite.
All of these items can be rented at reasonable cost in Kathmandu although we would recommend bringing your own helmet.
Although Mera is classified as a trekking peak in Nepal, the fact that you will be using crampons and on a rope means that for most insurance policies it is definitely categorised as climbing. Add in the fact that it is over 6500m and you need to be very careful about checking your insurance policy.
Also bear in mind that unlike the treks up the main Khumbu valley, the Mera region is relatively remote and if you have a problem you will need a helicopter evacuation. Insurers customers have used and recommend include Dog Tag and the British Mountaineering Council. Both of these have policies that cover all the necessary risks.
Mera Peak sits in the Mahalangur section of the Himalaya to the East of the main Everest massif. At 6,476 metres it is classified as a trekking peak but the final part of the summit climb requires some climbing with a fixed rope. Mera Peak actually has three summits: Mera North, 6,476 metres; Mera Central, 6,461 metres; and Mera South, 6,065 metres (19,898 ft). We take all our clients to Mera North.
The view from the summit of Mera Peak is one of the finest in the Himalaya with five 8,000m peaks visible: Mount Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, Makalu, and Kangchenjunga, as well as other Himalayan peaks linked below.
For experienced climbers Mera is a technically straightforward ascent, the main hurdle being proper acclimatization to the high altitude. These reasons make Mera Peak a very popular destination for experienced trekkers looking to Adventure One Step Beyond.