Climbing Mera and Island peaks is a great Himalayan adventure. Mera Peak stands at 6,476m/ 21,246 feet above sea level and Island Peak at 6,189m/ 20,305 feet. This is the adventure of a lifetime in the Himalaya’s offering you a unique chance to climb two awe-inspiring peaks on one expedition. Geographically, the two mountains are fairly close, however they are separated by the mountain chain dividing the Hongu and Khumbu Valleys. This trip offers you the chance to visit one of the most beautiful and remote valleys in Nepal as well as the opportunity to cross the challenging and beautiful AmphuLabtsa Pass at 5,780m/ 18,963ft. Our 2018 dates.
Mera Peak 6,476m/ 21,246ft Although Mera Peak is slightly higher than Island peak, it is technically a straight forward climb and is known as the highest “trekking peak” in Nepal. Nothing with ropes, glaciers, crampons and ice axes is trekking and not to be underestimated. Mera is climbable by people without mountaineering experience but always best to come prepared with winter skills experience. The climb to the summit is a very strenuous, but steady, glacier climb with rewarding views of the Himalayas from the top. The fantastic vista from the summit includes views of Kanchenjunga, Makalu, Everest, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, and Cho Oyu. From the summit, we will descend into the beautiful Hongu Valley where we will then cross the Amphu Labtsa pass and into the Imja Valley which is a serious mountaineering day. From the top you will get your first view of Island Peak . The view off the Amphulaptsa pass is incredible.
From the Amphulaptsa pass and camp you will help directly to Island peak base camp and preparing for your climb of Island Peak 6,189m/ 20,305ft Island peak is a more technical climb, involving a grade one scramble up a rock gully and rock ridge, to a stunning glacier. After a steady climb up the glacier, you encounter the steep snow headwall which leads you to the summit ridge and on to the summit. We do require previous mountaineering skills for this climb. From the summit you will be rewarded with a fantastic view of the Himalayas with Makalu, Ama Dablam and Lhotse being some of the highlights. After the tough accent of Island Peak we will descend to the main Everest trail where the much welcomed tea houses, beds, showers and will be a stark contrast from our time in the remote wilderness! This is one of our favorite Himalayan challenges, you won’t be disappointed.
I was part of Ian’s Mera Peak, Amphulaptsa Pass and Island Peak challenge in April 2014. This was an incredible trip where all members of the team summited. This trip required glacier travel, some mountaineering skills and a tolerance for variable weather and 23 nights in a tent. Challenging but also extremely rewarding, with unbeatable scenery and camaraderie. I was a bit apprehensive about the technical elements of the trip but Ian alleviated this fear by ensuring I received excellent training in both Ireland and in Nepal. I arrived a week early to train with a Sherpa, which Ian went to extra efforts to set up for me. Ian was always available to chat about the trip and was generous in lending me some of his own gear. Ian is very interested in understanding the motivations and apprehensions of his clients and when required in tougher moments he is very supportive. It was a great team an unforgettable experience and I will be back. Peter Hendrick, Mera and Island peaks, 2014
Once you arrive in Kathmandu, one of our representatives will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel in Kathmandu. This night is included in the price. We will do a gear check and make sure you have all the right gear for your climbing journey. You can also pick up some last minute items in Kathmandu before heading into the mountains.
After breakfast at the hotel there will be a full briefing, gear check. There is a weight limit on the flight to Lukla of 10kg/22lbs in your duffel bag and 5kg/11lbs in your day pack. All team climbing gear will be weighted separately and carried for the team throughout the whole trip. Watch our packing video and refer to the dossier you received. You will also be able to pick up any last minute items before flying into the mountains the following day.
You will be up early and taken to the airport for one of the great flights of the Himalaya’s. If the sky is clear during the flight, we will get our first views of Everest and the region in which we will be climbing. The twin otter aircraft will take us to the hillside village of Lukla 2850m/ 9,350ft. which is the start of our trek to Mera peak. We will meet our camping staff and porters for the journey and we will start trekking to our first camp at Poyan situated at the same height as Lukla. This is a 5 hour hike south out of the Lukla region.
We are heading to PangKongma 2,846m/ 9,337ft. We will be up early each morning usually at 7am and start trekking after breakfast. We will get going off the beaten trail to an older route which climbs steeply to the ridge-line overlooking the Khare Khola. We descending the other side of this ridge, we then contour along the hillside before climbing steadily up to the beautiful farming and trading village of Pangkongma. This village is very welcoming and we have been invited into homes near the Monastery for local tea which is not very tasty. The Monastery is currently being rebuilt. You will be hiking for 6 hours today.
Today we head to Nashing Dingma at 2,600m/ 8,530ft. We retrace our steps up past the Monastery and follow a zig zag trail up steps and dense forest which leads to the Pangkongma La 3,167m/ 10,390ft. We pop out in a small cluster of lodges where you can pick up a mars bar and take a break. As you top out you can see great views of Mera Peak and neighboring mountains. We then make a long descent 1,100m/ 3,609ft. with stunning views out across many valley and ridges dropping out of the high Himalaya’s. The steep descent leads us down to our lunch stop next to the river. After lunch we start a steep climb on the opposite side of the valley which leads us to Nashing Dingma 2,600m/ 8,530ft. We will stay here for the night at a campsite perched on the side of the hill with a few houses and people living in this magnificent place. 7 hours of hiking today.
We head towards Chalem Kharka today at 3,600m/ 11,811ft. We gain height gradually through pastures and lush greenery, the trail steepens as we climb up to the Surka La. It is possible to take a nice cup of lemon tea and some biscuits in the lodge just over the pass. We will reach a campsite with a few lodges. This is a nice open campsite with a couple of new lodges where dinner will be presented. It is basic but, very few people come through here and the views are worth the effort. 6 hours of hiking today.
Up again early we have a long up hill stint to our lunch spot. We will get up to 4,500m/ 14,764ft. today on route to Chunbu Kharka 4,200m/ 13,780ft. so we will need to take our trekking slow and steady and we let our bodies acclimatize correctly. The trail leads up out of camp on a easy trail then leads into steeper rocky terrain and then into a long stairs of rocky steps for hours up over a number of passes. From there we decent past some a lodge which can be open at certain times of the year. If clear we will see some great views of Kangchenjunga off to the east. We follow a well established trail passing some amazing lakes before the final decent into Chunbu Kharka beautifully situated in stunning valley setting, where very few people ever visit. 6 hours of hiking, mostly uphill.
Today we set off from Chunbu Kharka up hill for about 30 minutes before a long steep ascent high above the Kinku valley with special views all around. After the long route down we come into a dense forest, we will stop and have our packed lunch, before moving lower. You can hear the fast moving river in the distance as we slowly make our way down to the valley floor. We follow the river mixed with some up and down hill trails through the forest before crossing the river on a small wooden bridge and arrive in Khote 3,600m/ 11,811ft. in a beautiful setting. 5/6 hours of hiking, mostly downhill.
After a good nights sleep we have a nice trek to Tangnag 4,360/ 14,304ft. The first hour is a beautiful walk with giant mountains in all directions. We then stay on the left hand side of the river, watching out for rock fall on our left. The trail and terrain is gradual mixed rock and pastures where yaks graze in the summer months. There is a dangerous landslide area on the trail today and you need to be able to move quickly through these dangerous areas. Tangnag is growing all the time and we will camp in this beautiful mountain setting. You can sit in a lodge and warm up with a nice fire in the evening. This is a 4/5 hour hike.
If the team are feeling well we will move to Khare 4,950m/ 16,240ft. today. We may take the opportunity to stay in Dig Kharka 4,650m/ 15,256ft. if needed. The route turns to the east as we trek through the valley floor and slowly make our way past stunning high altitude peaks, Black Mera is a spectacular mountain rising right out of the valley, we pass amazing lakes, glaciers, in one of the great Himalayan valleys. We will hopefully arrive in Khare after lunch and relax for the rest of the day. This is a 4 hour hike into Khare.
We will spend the day in Khare 4,950m/ 16,240ft. We will spend the morning getting our climbing gear sorted. We will rig up a climbing scenario and practice using crampons, Jumars, abseiling and we will practice until you are comfortable doing all the different techniques. We will rest up and enjoy this amazing mountain setting.
Today is another acclimatization and rest day. We will do an acclimatization trek up to 5,350m/ 17,552ft. on a stunning hill just outside of town giving everyone a chance to view into a beautiful glaciated valley to the north and be inspired by the sheer size of Mera peak and the glacier that rolls off the mountain. Khare is developing fast and has some nice lodges to relax and enjoy a warm fire in the evening time. 2/3 hours of hiking
Today we will make the move from Khare to Mera Base Camp 5,350m/ 17,552ft. today we climb up to the Mera La 5,400m/ 17,717ft. We will climb up to the Mera Glacier. At first it is easy but the trek up to the glacier is steep in sections and you will need to pace yourself and make sure you are getting your foot placements correctly. There is a chance of rock fall so wearing helmets, crampons is needed. The walk across the glacier is outstanding, with views and memories you will never forget. The descent from the glacier to the campsite is short. We walk between the moraine and the glacier on the northern side as it descends from the col down to the campsite which you can easily see from the glacier. 3 hours to get to Mera peak base camp.
We will ascend to Mera High Camp 5,800m/ 19,029ft. We head back onto the glacier to where we dropped off yesterday and follow the easy graded snow slopes, and after a short distance arrive at an area of crevasses which we will have to navigate carefully. We then make are way slowly up to High camp. Remember to look behind you where you will see views of Everest, Makalu, Nuptse and Lhotse and this trek up to high camp holds some Himalayan treasures. This camp is hidden behind a rocky section. The camp site is small and has some drop offs on the right as you enter the camp. It is time to rehydrate and recover for summit push. 2/3 hours to reach Mera peak high camp.
The climb to the summit of Mera Peak starts gradually, and much depends on weather conditions. Once we leave high camp usually at 2am it should take 4/6 hours to reach the summit. Getting into a rest step and taking our time will be critical to conserving energy for the decent. The central summit appears above the wide glacier, flanked by 2 ridges. We climb the snowfields avoiding the crevasses. This steep section can take 2 hours and is slow going. The route swings to the east of the left hand ridge before turning back towards the main summit ridge of Mera. Mera peak has 3 summits, our objective is the highest. This short steep snow slope is easily climbed, but the last 20m/ 65ft requires a lot of effort, Jumaring on a short steep ice section and you arrive on the summit. After reaching the summit and enjoying amazing views over the Himalayas, we have a short abseil before the long descent back to High camp. We will rest for 45 minutes before descending back down to our campsite in the Hinku Valley at Kongme Dingma 4,800m/ 15,748ft. This is a 12 hour day round trip. It can be quicker.
After breakfast out under a new mountain setting, we continue through the Hinku valley, where we will stop for lunch along the trail under the stunning mountain of Chamlang. We will then continue the gradual ascent along side the Hinku River on our right, until reaching our campsite which could be in a couple of different locations at around 4,900m/ 16,076ft. 5 hours of hiking today.
We will be up early for the long walk towards the Amphulapcha base camp 5,500m/ 18,05ft It will take anywhere from 5 to 6 hours. We will get amazing views of the backside of Ama Dablam which is a special sight. We will continue up past frozen or glaciated lakes, ice pinnacles and glaciated moraine. We come up over a rocky ridge and we can see the end of the Hinku Valley. There is a stunning lake on our left enclosed by a spectacular mountain ridge. You can see the Amphulacha glacier on the wall over to the left. We walk around the lake and finally come to camp. This is one of the great wilderness valleys only miles from Mt. Everest. A uniquely stunning and special place to camp for the night. 5/6 hours of hiking today.
Free time in Kathmandu or transfer to airport for onward journey.
Ready to go?
Does climbing Mera and Island peaks excite you. Take the next step towards achieving your goals in the mountains? If so, get in touch today. We pride ourselves on making sure that our clients have every opportunity to succeed on the mountains, including professional training advice, gear lists and video links on how to pack your bag, and much more. We are always available to answer any questions you may have by email, phone or skype, so contact us today!