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Mera Peak, Amphu Labtsa & Island Peak

Highlights

  • Ascend two of Nepal’s classic peaks, Mera Peak (6674m) and Island Peak (6173m)
  • Climb over the famous Amphu Labtsa pass (5700m) and abseil down into the Imja Valley
  • Enjoy stunning views of the Himalaya from two of the best vantage points
  • All expeditions led by one of our guides who have summitted Everest

3D Google Earth route video

 

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Mera and Island Peak small

Summary

The first part of this expedition is to Mera Peak, beginning with a trek up the beautiful Arun Valley, one of the quieter treks in the area, and culminating in the ascent of the highest trekking peak in Nepal. The views from the summit of Mera Peak are stunning, and having made your ascent during the night, the rising sun will light up the vista before you of Everest, Ama Dablam and Lhotse.

You begin your trek to Mera Peak with the white-knuckle ride that is the flight from Kathmandu to the mountain airstrip at Lukla. There are fantastic views as you fly up into the mountains - try and grab a seat on the left had side for the best views!

The rest of your crew join you in Lukla, and the bags and equipment are weighed prior to you setting off. The first part of the trail heads south from Luka, taking you to traditional Sherpa villages. By taking this route you do not cross the Zatrwa La pass, and can therefore avoid the problems of altitude sickness often associated with trekking over 4000m so early in the itinerary.

This early part of the trail is very quiet, trekking through farmland, and you will need to camp for two nights where there are no teahouses available. After Sibuje, you turn off the main trail and head back north through rhododendron jungle, and approach Mera Peak along the Arun Valley, stopping at Tagnak for an acclimatisation day.

The ascent of Mera Peak begins with a climb onto the Mera Glacier which will eventually take you up to Mera High Camp. Situated on the edge of the glacier, the views from here are spectacular, and you will reach camp to witness the mountains turn a fiery hue as the sun begins to set. In the early hours of the morning you will begin your summit trek.

From Mera you descend and move round to cross the remote and challenging Amphu Labsta Pass (5700m) before finally dropping into the Imja Valley for your final ascent of the more technical Island Peak (6173m). Island Peak stands at the head of the Chukung valley, surrounded by giant peaks: Nuptse and Lhotse to the north, Makalu to the east and Ama Dablam and Baruntse to the south.Officially re-named Imja Tse, it remains known by the original name it was given as it resembles an island in a sea of ice. The amazing views from the summit are why many of trekkers want to climb Island Peak.

Although there is some technical climbing on both peaks, it doesn't matter if you don't have any previous experience, as we will train you in all the necessary skills while you are on the trek. On the exposed sections of both peaks you will be attached to a fixed rope, and our team of experienced guides make this trek achievable for even the novice climber. Just be aware that this is a very strenuous itinerary and you will need to be really fit.

Itinerary

Day1Arrive Kathmandu

Our driver will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. Later you will meet your guide for your pre-trek briefing.

Day2Fly to Lukla, trek to Paiya - 3450m

The flight from Kathmandu is less than an hour but takes you into the heart of rural Nepal, ending with the breath-taking landing at Lukla. From Lukla you head south, beginning with a descent to cross the river at Surke before climbing steeply the other side to Chutok La. A further hour of undulating flat and you will arrive at Paiya.

Day3Paiya to Panggom La - 3478m

You trek along cultivated hillsides as you make another steep descent to cross the Paiya Khola river, followed by a tough climb out of the valley to Kari La. Another afternoon of 'Nepali flat' will lead you to the isolated village of Panggom.

Day4Panggom La to Ningbo - 3525m

A short climb brings you to the Panggom La where you cross over into the Inkhu Valley, passing through the village of Bhusme, where you will see local villagers and farmers going about their day to day life. You carry on further along the trail to Ningbo where you will camp overnight in a forest clearing.   

Day5Ningbo to Bamboo Camp - 3548m

The trail continues to undulate as you continue along the ridge, stopping for a lunch break at Sibuje. You then leave the main trail and head north, trekking into the rhododendron forests. There are no teahouses out here and you will be camping at a small site known as Bamboo Camp.

Day6Bamboo Camp to Khote - 3480m

Leaving Bamboo Camp you continue to trek through the jungle, always heading steeply up or down, before reaching the village of Tashing Ongma. You then drop down one final time to the Inkhu Khola river at Mosom Kharka, and continue to follow the river to Khote. 

Day7Khote to Tagnak - 4252m

The valley opens up as you leave Khote, with views of the peaks that border the valley. The trail turns to the east, opening up a whole new vista of peaks. On the approach to Tagnak you can see the damage caused in 1998 when the moraine dam of the Sabai Tsho lake collapsed. Further to the east, the route up the Dig Glacier comes into view.

Day8Tagnak acclimatisation - 4252m - 500m

Today you will take short hikes out of Tagnak to higher altitudes to help you acclimatise. Climbing the hill behind Tagnak you can view the west face of Mera Peak, before returning to Tagnak for lunch. To the north of Tagnak, you can trek up to the Sabai Tsho lake for a closer look at the damage you saw yesterday. You can still see a distinct line, far above, marking where the water had once reached.

Day9Tagnak to Khare - 4940m

This morning’s walk up alongside the Dig Glacier is easy and relaxed. This is an excellent valley opening out with views to the north of the Hinku Nup Glacier and the line of peaks beyond. Only the last section up to your camp at Khare is steep. If time and energy allows you should take an acclimatisation walk. The grassy ridge immediately behind the village gives great views across the glacier to the ridge which you will ascend tomorrow, while Mera Peak rises up to the south.

Day10Khare to Mera La - 5554m

You return to the glacier today, and follow it round in a wide arc, keeping close under the northern flank where there are no crevasses. A short but hard trek takes you up to the Mera La that crosses to the southern edge of the Mera Glacier as it sweeps down from Mera Peak. Just below the pass on the far side is Mera Base Camp where you will spend the night.

Day11Contingency day

We allow an extra day in case of poor weather, etc.

Day12Mera La to High Camp - 5800m

The climb to the summit starts in earnest and you will need your crampons on as you venture back onto the Mera Glacier. You retrace your steps to the Mera La pass, then you climb up the glacier to reach Mera High Camp. Perched on the edge of the glacier, this camp has the most spectacular views in all directions: Cho Oyu, Lhotse, Makalu, Baruntse, Kangchenjunga, Chamlang, Ama Dabla, Kangtega, and the summit ridge of Everest itself will all be visible and turning a dramatic shade of orange and red as the sun begins to set.

Day13Mera Peak Ascent to Kongma Dingma - 5800m - 6674m - 4850m

It's a very early start for your summit ascent, and you will be awake around 2am for a hot drink and high energy meal before you set off. You continue up the Mera Glacier, sticking to the southern edge as you approach the ridge. This stretch is not technical but it's a difficult ascent on the 30° slopes. A final steeper section takes you onto the flatter summit ridge, and you can see the summit again. For the final 30m ascent your guide will lay a fixed rope for you to attach to, and you will need to use your ice axe and jumar as you tackle the 50° slope onto the summit of Mera Peak. Your reward is a fantastic 360° panorama of Himalayan giants. After taking in the views and congratulating yourself on what you have achieved, it is time to descend once more. Retracing your steps back to Base Camp, you will continue into the Hongu Valley and your campsite at Kongme Dingma.

Day14Kongma Dingma to Set Pokhari - 5000m

You continue to trek through the Hongu Valley, a very high and remote valley with no inhabitants.

Day15Ascend to Amphu Labsta High Camp - 5400m

Passing beneath the giant west face of Chamlang you follow the Hongu Khola and finally the Hongu Glacier to the holy site of Panch Pokhri (five lakes). Today you trek to Amphu Labsta’s High Camp and come face to face with this gigantic and technical obstacle that you must cross tomorrow.

Day16Cross Amphu Labsta to Imja Valley - 5700m - 4850m

Crossing Amphu Labsta and dropping into the Imja Valley is possibly the most technical and challenging part of the expedition. From the top of the pass you will abseil down into the Imja Valley and get your first views of Island Peak.

Day17Trek to Island Peak Base Camp - 5150m

The trail crosses the river and follows the valley for approx 3 hours, passing beneath the magnificent south face of Lhotse. Base camp is by the side of the Imja glacier, below steep grassy slopes which mark the start of the climb on Island Peak.

Day18Trek to Island Peak High Camp - 5345m

You ascend a little further to High Camp where you will relax and make final preparations for your climb tomorrow.

Day19Ascent of Island Peak - 6173m

Crossing the gully above the camp, the trail climbs for another hour to a narrow ridge, leading on to the Imja Glacier. Here it is time to rope-up and put on your crampons as the most interesting part of the climb begins with the glacier crossing. This is followed by the steep snow slope that leads onto the summit ridge. On reaching the summit you have stunning close-up views of the south face of Lhotse looming over you whilst in the other direction, there are more dramatic mountain views. You descend along the same route, back to base camp.

Day20Trek to Pangboche - 3950m

After descending along the trail to Chukhung, you continue on to Dingboche for lunch. It is then another couple of hours to the village of Pangboche where you'll stay for the night.

Day21Trek to Namche - 3450m

From Pangboche you drop down again to follow the river. After crossing it you climb back up through birch and rhododendron forest back to Tengboche. From Tengboche you descend over the Dudh Koshi before making your way back to Namche.

Day22Trek to Lukla - 2800m

The last day of your trek sees you finally return to Lukla. This will be your final evening with the Sherpa guides and porters who have accompanied you for the past 21 days and you can enjoy a farewell celebration Nepali style.

Day23Fly to Kathmandu

After an early breakfast, you will head to the airstrip for your return journey to Kathmandu. Later, you have free time to explore. You stay overnight in a hotel in Kathmandu.

Day24Depart Kathmandu

Our driver will take you to the airport for your flight home.