Mera and Island Peaks, Nepal
April 19-May 9th, 2015
The Bottom Line
With a straightforward, nontechnical ascent, and an elevation of 21,246 feet, Mera Peak provides those without much mountaineering experience a chance to climb one of the world’s highest mountains all within the shadow of Everest, towering close by.
While we have a dedicated Island Peak tour, this 20,305 foot peak is included in our Mera Peak adventure. That being said, it is a more technical climb than Mera, with steeper ridges to ascend. This climb also contains significant areas with slippery rocks.
Both combine for an “all-inclusive” introduction (or continuation!) of what the Himalayas offer. Both summits give you stunning views of famous nearby peaks Everest, Ama Dablam, Nuptse, Lhotse, Cho Oyo, and Makalu.
After we traverse both peaks, we’ll head down to the trail leading to Everest for showers, tea, and celebrations!
Ok, let’s get serious
Difficulty: very difficult
Our journey to and up Mera and Island Peaks takes an significant amount of training and mental preparation. You should be ready for:
● long days,
● heavy packs,
● technical land and river crossings,
● lower than normal oxygen levels,
● an altered diet,
● limited lodging luxuries,
● and last but not least, the trek requires excellent physical and mental health.
Our guide is an Irish mountaineer who has extensive experience leading expeditions to and up Island and Mera Peaks, as well as many other Himalayan journeys. He is a believer in being well prepared and will train you on the proper equipment to bring and how to use it, as well as training tips before the trek. He has an amazing 96% success rate to date.
Safety is our top priority, and our professional, seasoned guide is committed to making your trek an enjoyable one.
Interested in climbing two of the most famous and stunning peaks in the world? Let’s talk!
On your first day, you’ll arrive in Kathmandu and be transferred to your hotel by a Ian Taylor representative. You will be staying in the centrallylocated Thamel district, and will have plenty of time to explore this colorful city.
Day two consists of a little treat a halfday sightseeing tour of the Kathmandu valley. We will visit quieter areas of the valley, and you’ll have the chance to explore beautiful temples.
￼Your third day will start early! We will be flying to Lukla today; the airport there serves as the gateway to the Everest region. Here, we’ll meet our porters and even other trekkers heading to Everest.
On day four, we’re headed for PangKongma. After another early morning and breakfast, we’ll trek “off the beaten path” along older routes and finally up the hillside to camp on PangKongma. A new monastery is currently being built in this very welcoming town.
Day five is here and we’re headed to Gnashing Dingma. We’ll head past the monastery and through a packed forest, up to a cluster of small villages for a break. Awesome views of Mera Peak will be had here. We will then descend steeply to lunch by a river. After lunch, we’ll head up the valley on the opposite side to camp in Gnashing Dingma.
It’s day six, and Chalem Kharka is our destination. The land here is lush and green, and at the top of the steep ridge we’ll be climbing, there will be a lodge for some tea and biscuits. This is an open campsite prepare for very, very basic living!
On day seven, an early start greets us with a long and steep climb to our lunch spot, before heading to camp in Chunbu Kharka. We will need to trek slowly today in order for our bodies to acclimatize to the higher altitudes. The trail is wellestablished, and we’ll even climb old stone stairs. Our camp in Chunbu Kharka sits in a gorgeous valley, with awesome views of the surrounding peaks.
Day eight has us leaving Chunbu early up a steep ridge, and then down into a dense and lush forest. We will have lunch here, and if you listen carefully, you can hear the roaring river in the distance. We will follow the river to our camp in Khote.
On day nine, we’ll leave Khote and head for Tangnag. Following the river, amazing views of the mountains will follow us all the way to camp. We will also pass by grazing yaks before arriving in Tangnag, where we can kick our feet up and relax by the fire.
On day ten, if we’re up for it, we can head up to Khare. If not, we can rest in Dig Kharka instead. Heading to Khare, we’ll trek through the valley floor with glaciers and lakes gleaming close by. Once at camp, we can relax for the day.
Days eleven and twelve are critical acclimatization days in Khare. We can climb a nearby hill for some breathtaking views of Mera Peak and the massive glaciers rolling off its ridges. After this awesomeness, we’ll relax in Khare. The next day, we will practice using some of our equipment and go through mountaineering scenarios. Once we all feel comfortable, it’s time to relax.
On day thirteen, we’ll head for Mera Base Camp (17,388ft)! Once there, we’ll trek up to Mera Glacier. Don’t let the easy start fool you things get technical quickly and we’ll need to use our crampons and watch for falling rock. This is great mountaineering practice, and the hard work pays off with amazing views.
￼It’s day fourteen and we hope you’re ready to ascend Mera Peak! Today, we’ll climb to High Camp (19,029ft), crossing the glacier we traversed yesterday. The mild slopes give way to more rocky sections, and a few crevasses. Be sure to look behind you: absolutely stunning views of Everest, Makalu, Nuptse, and Lhotse will leave you speechless. We will sleep at High Camp, which is adjacent to steep dropoffs. It’s time to rehydrate and rest!
Day fifteen is Mera Peak summit day! We will push to leave camp at 2 a.m. for a sixhour climb to the summit. Much of our schedule here depends on weather conditions, but assuming all is well, we’ll cross the glacier once again before splitting two ridges. Mera technically has three summits, and our goal is the highest one. The last bit becomes increasingly difficult, but once we pop out at the summit, it is absolutely worth it, and the memory of standing here will never be forgotten. We’ll take photos before heading back to High Camp for a 45minute break, and then back down to Hinku Valley.
Day sixteen will have us continuing through the Hinku Valley, stopping for lunch under the shadow of Chamlang. We will follow the Hinku River until reaching our campsite, which can be chosen from a few locations in this region.
Day seventeen will be an early one, as head towards the end of the Hinku Valley. Ama Dablam will tower above us, and a commanding peak to begin with. We will pass beautiful glaciated lakes before reaching the end of the valley, which greets us with a remote and peaceful lake. Upon reaching the end of the valley, we’ll set up camp. This entire area is complete wilderness, and Everest looms only a few miles away.
Day eighteen is…you guessed it…another early start! After a 5 a.m. breakfast, we’ll cross some rocky ridges before a glacier greets us. We’ll strap on our crampons here and follow fixed lines up the steep climb to AmphuLapcha Pass. This is one of the more technical days of our trek; after we reach the top it’s a technical descent into Imja Valley. The land here is slippery and unpredictable. Stay on the fixed ropes before we reach the point where we can walk regularly. A threehour walk brings us to camp at the end of Imja Glacier, with Island Peak welcoming us.
Days nineteen and twenty are rest days, arriving at Island Peak Base Camp on day nineteen and spending two nights here. We can elect to set up fixed rope and train, or just kick back and relax.
Day twent-yone is the beginning of our second climb of this trek Island Peak! We will ascend to High Camp (18,000ft) over rocky terrain, steep dropoffs, and amazing views. Rehydrate and get some rest here, as tomorrow we’ll be starting early for our summit push.
Day twenty-two is Island Peak summit day! Weather permitting, we’ll have a 1 a.m. start up a narrow and rocky ridge (scrambling involved) up to the base of a glacier. We’ll rope up and carefully cross the crevasses, and after the glacier, continue up steeply. This is a very tiring push, so pace yourself. The ice slope becomes increasingly steep before we reach the summit. Snap some photos of this amazing piece of earth before we start our long descent back to Chuckung.
Days twenty-three and twenty-four continue our retreat, first through Tengboche (where the monastery is) and then to Namche Bazaar. It’s time to celebrate!
Days twenty-five through twenty-eight consist of arriving in Lukla to fly back to Kathmandu. Feel free to explore before heading home. Safe travels! We’re sure the mighty Himalayas will lure you back soon.