We get asked on a weekly basis should I climb Mera Peak or Island Peak. Some people have no altitude or mountaineering experience and others have trekked to Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar, Kilimanjaro, or other treks around 4,000m/ 13,123 feet or 5,000m/ 16,404 feet. Others have some rock climbing experience or general camping and wilderness travel.
Have Previous Altitude Experience
How you perform in low oxygen environments is one of the most important lessons to learn on your way to tackling 6,000m or 20,000 foot peaks. In recent years a number of people have died on Island Peak. This comes down to a range of factors. Firstly, lack of experience at high and extreme altitude is a factor. Secondly, lack of acclimatization and joining a proper planned out itinerary. Finally a lack of physical preparation and over stressing the body at high altitude is a big issue. There are a lot of things that need to go your way, good weather and good mountaineering conditions will also play their part. You have to play your part and understand the risks and come prepared with the correct experience. Learn more.
Physical and Technical Training
You will need to play your part and pick the Island Peak itinerary or Mera Peak itinerary with the best acclimatization. Then you need to have the specific training and technical know how to be safe and intern be successful. I have personally been on 19 Island Peak and 7 Mera Peak expeditions. I am always shocked at the level of preparation some people are putting into these trips. There is very specific training needed to be safe and successful and we are only too happy to help. Learn more.
Island peak has better lodges and access is right off the main Everest trail. The highest camp on Island Peak is 5,500m/ 18,044 feet and I suggest you use it. Island peak is certainly more technical than Mera Peak and requires specific technical training. Being comfortable using an ice axe, crossing ladders with crampons on is essential. Having experience and well versed in using a Jumar and safety line moving between fixed anchor points. You also need be very comfortable abseiling using a figure of 8 device and moving safely between fixed anchor points high on Island Peak. Island Peak is more physically challenging higher on the mountain than Mera Peak.
The trek into Mera Peak is harder than the trek into Island Peak with more elevation gain up and down on the trail. The lodges and facilities are more basic than the Everest region. In my opinion every itinerary should have 3 nights in Khare 4,950m/ 16,240 feet. You should also have 2 nights at Mera Peak Base Camp 5,350m/ 17,552 feet before moving to high camp at 5,800m/ 19,028 feet. The summit attempt on Mera Peak is easier than Island peak, but Mera is more exposed to higher winds and can be colder. Mera Peak is a few hundred meters higher than Island. Mera peak is technically more straight forward than Island Peak.
To sum up, we know what it takes to be successful on these trips. Get in touch and learn from our experience. We can guide you through the training and prepared needed to be safe. We have options for technical training in Colorado, Scotland and Ireland.