My journey to climb Mera Peak in Nepal started with a trip to climb Kilimanjaro. I found Ian Taylor Trekking on a google search for Kilimanjaro. These video’s inspired me to climb Kilimanjaro and what a journey it would be. The information Ian provided helped me understand how to go about my preparation and how to be successful.
Climbing Kilimanjaro First
A friend of mine from Colorado tried to climb Kilimanjaro in 6 days and she was much fitter than I was. She was not successful and got altitude sickness and she lives at higher altitude. I listened to Ian’s advice and went with the 8 day itinerary. The best decision I made, was picking the 8 day Lemosho route. My Kilimanjaro climb was life changing and a successful one. Our team of 12 all made it to the summit. A wonderful experience with a great team of people in support of our success.
When I decided to go higher and visit Nepal. Mera peak became my new goal. I was excited to see more acclimatization in the schedule and Ian really had some excellent advice and training information. Mera peak was certainly harder than Kilimanjaro and required more endurance training and strength training. The trek in to Mera peak is hard.
I appreciated the acclimatization program and I would really encourage everyone to follow Ian’s training advice. We had a lot of up and down on the trail which makes for excellent acclimatization. Make sure you come prepared as there are a lot of stairs in the early part of the trek into Khote.
I really loved getting off the beaten path and seeing very few people on the trail. The small villages, sometimes just small groups of houses were amazing to stay at. We had fantastic weather for the first seven days and then hit with 2 days of snow, which made it slow going.
Once the snow cleared the mountain scenery was out of this world. We now had an easier run into Khare 4,950m/ 16,240 feet. It was time to take a break from trekking as we prepared for the mountain portion of our trip. Three nights in Khare was a welcome break. Our first day in Khare was spent getting climbing gear sorted. Our goal was to becoming more comfortable with the safety equipment. The following day we took an acclimatization hike up to 5,350m/ 17,552 feet and returned to Khare. Everyone was feeling good and excited to move higher.
Heading on to the Mountain
After 3 nights in Khare we moved up onto Mera peak and positioned ourselves at base camp 5,350m/ 17,500 feet just off the eastern side of the glacier. We all slept well and everyone was really confident in moving higher.
After the tents dried out we all rigged up and started the ascent to high camp at 5,800m/ 19,000 feet. This slow transition from khare to base camp and onto high camp was perfect. I remember is was cold in Mera Peak Base Camp but very warm on the glacier as we moved up to high camp.
We arrived into high camp at 12:30 pm as tents were being set up. It was time to rest and organize ourselves for the summit attempt that was coming in 12 hours. Some people had slight headaches but everyone did as instructed and prepared for the day we had all been waiting for. Resting, hydrating was the name of the game at this point.
At midnight, we got up and started drinking a liter of water and then got Nalgene’s filled for the summit climb. We eat and prepared for the top. At 2 am we got out of the tent, we roped up and starting walking higher. I was really nervous, excited and ready for the job at hand. We moved slowly upward. We had to take our time as we moved slowly up the upper slopes of Mera peak. The gradient was a little steeper than the day before.
Reaching the Summit
Once we were moving for a couple of hours I was really excited about how I was performing. I focused on each foot placement, deep breathing through my nose and tried to stay present at all times. I found myself performing great and really didn’t struggle as much as I thought I would. It was easier than the Kilimanjaro summit night.
As light came on the horizon the mountain scenery was like nothing I have ever seen before. I was truly amazing. As we crested a turn in the route we moved in a more easterly direction and I could see Mt. Everest off in the distance to the right and had my eyes fixed on the amazing view. The view was hypnotic still can’t get it out of my head. Not that I want to. I could hear people saying wow and keep glancing up at the view. It was incredible.
Views Around Us
As more and more light came, we could see the summit of the mountain and it was so close. We just had to make a few moves up a steep slope and then the short Jumar onto the summit.
I was there 21,246 feet, high in the Himalaya’s a dream come true. The greatest view and experience of my life to date. I cried as I knew I would. I was over come with emotion as I reached the top.
Heading Back Down
It took us two hours thirty minutes to reach the high camp. It was time to rest and have a snack. I packed up my duffel bag as it was time to make our way back to Khare where we would sleep for the night. The adrenaline had worn off at this stage but it was important to keep moving back down.
It is hard to explain the views as you walk down the glacier from Mera Peak high camp. I was tired but importantly, the drop in elevation made a big difference. That night we had a great celebration and danced and partied for a few hours before falling into deep sleep.
The Journey Back to Lukla
We still had more to do. I really enjoyed the long walk back to Khote 3,600m/ 11,811 feet. The mountain viewing on this part of the trek was special. It was a long time since we left Khote, but good to be back. It was nice to be at low altitude. We still had a few days of trekking before we could reach Lukla. We had to cross the high Zatrwa La pass at 4,620m/ 15,157 feet on the three days before making it back into Lukla for a welcome shower.
Finally, the trek was challenging but so rewarding to complete this circuit. Ian’s itinerary certainly made for a great experience. Check out Ian’s itinerary. If I had not picked Ian’s itineraries, I would not have been able to achieve both summits. I just have to pick my next adventure without a doubt, it will be an Ian Taylor Trekking trip. Thank you all for your support, experience and expertise.
Jessie Mc Hugh, Mera peak 2016