6654m (22 days)

Amongst the Himalayan trekking peaks, Mera Peak is the highest of all. At the summit of Mera Peak [6476m], one can embrace the most outstanding and breathtaking views of the majestic towering Himalayan range. Mera peak trek offers comfortable trekking trail amid the spectacular natural vistas bypassing any chances of technical difficulty. Any physically fit individual can venture into this trek.

September to December and from March to June are the most favorable months for trekking.

Trip length: 22 Days
Grade: Strenuous - Alpine grade: F 
Starts in: Kathmandu
Ends in: Kathmandu 
Group size: Maximum 12 
Accommodation: Hotel & camping 
Transportation: Flights & private car 
Maximum altitude: 6654m

DAY 01 Arrival in Kathmandu 
DAY 02 Sightseeing of Kathmandu Valley 
DAY 03 fly to Phaplu, trek to Nuntala 2350m 
DAY 04 to Kharikhola
DAY 05 Pangkongma
DAY 06 Rest at Pangkongma 
DAY 07 Narjing Dingma
DAY 08 Chalem Kharka
DAY 09 Khula Kharka
DAY 10 Khote
DAY 11 Tagnak
DAY 12 Tagnak glacier acclimatisation day 
DAY 13 Tagnak - Khare 
DAY 14 Ridge ascent from Hinku Nup
DAY 15 Khare - Mera High Camp 
DAY 16 H igh Camp - Mera summit - Khare 
DAY 17 Contingency day 
DAY 18 Khare or Tagnak - Khote 
DAY 19 Khote - Chetera 
DAY 20 Chetera - Lukla 
DAY 21 fly Lukla - Kathmandu 
DAY 22 Depart Kathmandu

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MERA PEAK CLIMBING via Arun Valley 6654m (22 days)


Day 1 Arrival in Kathmandu 
Flying to Kathmandu along the northern border of Nepal on a clear day is in itself an exciting and memorable experience as exotic panoramic view of snow-capped Annapurna mountain range peaks sprawls before you. The Nepali support team will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel.

Day 2 Sightseeing of Kathmandu Valley 
Kathmandu, being a historical and cultural heart of Nepal, is a popular destination for tourists, trekkers and adventure seekers. The city presents a wonderful mixture of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism and Western influence in the Valley. Patan and Bhaktapur are its two major neighboring cities which bear immense historical, cultural and religious significance. There will be a half day guided tour to the famous & biggest Hindu shrine PASUPATHINATH, the largest Buddhist stupa in town BOUDHANATH, the 15th century palace of 55 windows and SOYAMBHUNATH. In the evening, a trip orientation meeting will be organized.

Day 3 - Fly to Phaplu, trek to Nuntala 2350m 
The flight is less than an hour but an eye-opening introduction to rural Nepal. Landing, we step back in time. we cross the Trakshindo La (3071m), descending past the Trakshindo gompa to Nuntala, which is also called Manidingma.

Day 4 - To Kharikhola
We cross the Dudh Kosi (river) and climb to the pretty village of Jubing, the only non-sherpa village of the whole trek. Passing through the terraced fields of Kharikhola you realise just how much work these people put into farming. Where we stay will depend on where we make it to.

Day 5 - Pangkongma
Leaving the main route up from Kharikhola. We rise to a spur pass, Khari La (2,990m). This used to be the main path up from Jiri before the new one below was made, as witnessed by the ruins of the old bhatti tea house. The view north and west is fantastic all the way to Cho Oyu. Shortly we come to a small lodge where we make lunch, which seems suspended over the wide Kharikhola valley below. We can see the notch of the Pangkongma La ahead only just higher than this little eyrie. The afternoon brings us through gorgeous forests with many high waterfalls, to the handsome village of Pangkongma (2,846m), where we camp in the grounds of a fine Sherpa family house, the last of these robust stone buildings we will see before our return to Lukla. 

Day 6 - Rest at Pangkongma

Day 7 -  Narjing Dingma
In the cool of the morning we head up toward the Pangkongma La pass behind the village, and it is not long before we arrive at its distinct notch (3,180m), marked by some very ancient looking chortens. We have entered the Hinku valley and immediately there is a feel of unspoilt remoteness. Across the valley are thick forests broken only by a few kharka pasture settlements. Snow peaks top the ridge opposite but it is not until we round the corner that Mera comes into view guarding the head of the valley. From this angle it looks very impressive, and anything but easy! We descend through some scattered settlements and have lunch at one of the lower ones. The Hinku river, seen crashing through inaccessible gorges down from the north, is tucked away here, far below, reappearing as it winds its way south into incredible hazy distance. Another fantastic eyrie viewpoint that this trail is all about. We can see our night stop opposite, seeming so close, and can follow our route of the next few days running along the ridge above. The afternoon takes us down an excellent steep path to cross the river. The most dramatic waterfall so far plunges down the opposite bank. The climb up is less steep and takes us into some deep forests before emerging to camp in the pastures of Narjing Dingma (2,650m), a settlement of bamboo huts. 

Day 8 -  Chalem Kharka
The forests continue as we ascend, now mainly rhododendron. From the Surkie La (3,085m) we head north along the ridge, and the whole of eastern Nepal opens out in front of us, over the wildly remote Hongu valley, with the solitary bulk of the Kangchenjunga massive marking the Sikkim border. As we head up this ridge today and tomorrow, we will pass from side to side with immense dramatic views either way. This first section we call ‘Raspberry Ridge’, and these delicious wild berries are ripe to perfection in October. We have lunch and later camp (3,450m) in the grassy pastures, kharkas, that occasionally widen the ridge.  

Day 9 -  Khula Kharka
From here up the ridge is cragged with lichen rocks and heathers, and we wind our way up over several rises. The ridge narrows as dramatic gullies drop away steeply on either side. Over a final crest (4,330m) we reach the unexpected suspended ledge of the lakes of Panch Pokhari - five lakes, the sacred number. This is a place of pilgrimage for both Buddhists, who line the edges of the lakes with chortens, and Hindus, who leave a forest of tridents, the symbol of Shiva the mountain-born god of destruction and re-birth. This is a very potent, evocative site. A short descent beyond brings us into the wide cwm of Khula Kharka (4,120m), our night camp.  

Day 10 - Khote
Another excellent day, first contouring the heathery slopes, now firmly on the Hinku side of the ridge. Dwarf juniper shrub turns gradually to trees again, before we descend steeply to the phenomenal cascading junction of two mountain torrents, crashing down through tall pine forests all around our lunch site. These totally unspoilt forests become even more majestic, as we soon rejoin the main river, crossing it to continue up the west bank and reach Khote (3,480m) where we will camp. This site was particularly devastated by the flood of ‘98 when the Sabai Tcho glacial lake broke its moraine dam. The tea huts have now been rebuilt but the previously grassy campsite is now a beach! The final crest of the Mera ridge including the summit is clearly visible up at the end of the valley ahead.  

Day 11 - Tagnak
The forest gives way to open valley again by mid-morning, revealing the peaks which line either side. A small Buddhist gompa in the rock wall above the path, contains some unexpectedly fine Buddha statues within. The valley swings eastward into a new array of peaks and the route up toward the Mera glacier comes into view. We have reached the surprisingly well-established summer settlement of Tagnak (4,140m) by lunch time, and here we set up camp. Towering over our heads the sheer flank of the Mera ridge dramatically dominates the skyline.  

Day 12 - Tagnak glacier acclimatisation day
This is a useful day for boosting our adaption to the altitude by gaining as much height as we can during the day but returning to Tagnak for the night. Opposite the Mera ridge the Tagnak valley leads up to a long range of peaks connecting Kusum Kanguru north to Kang Teiga. In the morning we climb to the glacier level (about 5,000m), mostly a rocky scramble, with great views of Mera behind. Returning for lunch, in the afternoon we head up the slopes to the north to look at what is left of the glacial lake, Sabai Tsho - not very much. You can still see a distinct line, far above, marking where the water had once reached.  

Day 13 - Tagnak - Khare 
This mornings walk up alongside the Dig glacier is easy and relaxed. This is an excellent valley opening out views to the north of the Hinku Nup glacier and the line of peaks beyond. Behind us is the dramatic spire of the less than romantically named ‘Peak 35’, which has yet to be climbed. Only the last section up to our base camp at Khare (4,940m) is steep and reminds us that we are gaining altitude. Its a short climb and we are there in good time for lunch. This will be our base for the next 3 nights, thoroughly developing our acclimatisation, with successively higher day ascents, descending to sleep low and consolidate our energies for the final ascent to come. We start this process this afternoon, with a gradual ascent of an excellent grassy ridge immediately behind the camp (to 5,260m) which also gives us great all round views - of the flattened ridge across the glacier which we will ascend tomorrow, and south to Mera itself, including the pass, the high camp rock outcrop and the 3 summits arrayed along the ridge.  

Day 14 - Ridge ascent from Hinku Nup 
Today we gain more valuable acclimatisation and pick up some stunning views as well. Following the lateral moraine of the Hinku Nup glacier into an arena of peaks and glacial lakes, we turn to ascend a grassy ridge that rises back to the south. At the top we eat our lunch and are surrounded by an stunning panorama of peaks including Mera itself and the whole of Hinku Himal to the north right round to the south face of Ama Dablam. We take a packed lunch with us, but top up with hot noodle soup back at base. In the afternoon we look at the principles of roping up for glacier travel, essentially different from other roped climbing.   

Day 15 - Khare - Mera High Camp 
We return to the glacier, and this time follow it round in a wide arc, keeping close under the northern flank where there are no crevasses. The last section is almost level and Mera La (5,410m) itself is a rounded snow col that bridges south to the main sweep of the Mera glacier coming down from the peak itself. The views that open out beyond, as we pull clear of the northern flank, are really fantastic; the Hongu valley opens out in front of us dominated by the massive south-west face of Chamlang. Makalu fills the gap to the north. This has got to be one of the most amazing camp view points in all the Himalaya. Kangchenjunga is now visible to the east above the ridge of Chamlang; the ice spire of Baruntse has appeared to the left of Makalu. Between it and the beautiful twin peaks of Ama Dablam, which now rise above the lesser peaks in the foreground, we can see the whole of the great sweeping ridge line from Nuptse up to the forbidding mass of Lhotse’s south face running through to Lhotse Shar. And over the ridge stands the summit of Everest, the final stages of the traditional route up the south-east ridge and over the south summit to the summit ridge, visible only from this angle (or from the summit of Ama Dablam!). Just to the right of Kang Teiga, which dominates the western foreground, we can see all the way up the Ngozumpa glacier past Gokyo to Cho Oyu, bringing our tally of 8,000 metre peaks to an unbelievable five. We are likely to get an amazing sunset.  

Day 16 - High Camp - Mera summit - Khare 
It can seem a bit of a shock to the system to be awakened before dawn (even by smiling Sherpas bearing steaming hot tea), with the prospect of leaving our warm sleeping bags and getting ready for the cold outside - always the toughest moment of any mountaineering trip. But we soon warm up, continuing up the main glacier then crossing back to the south side as we approach the snow hump-back ridge. The first shafts of the sun hit the big peaks behind us and are soon on our own slopes, an amazing horizontal red glow. The route is still non-technical; 30º slopes, one foot in front of the other, count the steps and take a breather. Our acclimatisation will be at its peak just when we need it, and, except due to weather conditions, we have still not had anyone attempt the summit and fail (though our leaders are now fluent in the language of encouragement). The slope steepens for a section behind the ridge and then we swing diagonally westward. The summit comes back into view and we are on the level summit ridge. At the foot of the final steepness we can attach to our only fixed rope on the route which safeguards this 30 metre 55º pitch. You can jumar or not. The snow conditions are normally excellent at this early hour and pulling out on top, such an amazing moment, is just a few whacks of the ice axe away. Some speechless back-slapping and then you start to take in the panorama. The best viewpoints of the Himalaya are the chance combination of accessible height and location. Mera has this to such perfection. It stands at the centre of the highest section of the entire range, a little bit back so the minor peaks do not obscure the major ones - 360° of the greatest peaks on earth! The exhilleration of reaching the summit; this incredible location; is it really impossible to describe to any one before they have done it. You will know what we mean if you have! Take the time to let it all in, the achievement, the experience. We head right down to Khare tonight, it really doesn’t take very long, and we’re ready for a bit of celebration, tired or not!  

Day 17 - Contingency day 
There is no such thing as a guarantee of good climbing conditions in the Himalayas, so an extra day maximises our odds in this normally fair-weather season. If we’ve done the deed already, we’ll decide whether to rest up or move on down. If we need yet another contingency day, Terra Firma have an excellent alternative route not a lot of people know about, which returns from Tagnak to Lukla in a very long single day. We keep that up our sleeves!  

Day 18 -  Khare or Tagnak - Khote 
If we had a rest day yesterday we may want to head on today and spend an extra night in Lukla where the beers are cheap. If we’re fresh off the mountain we’ll just take it easy.   

Day 19 - Khote - Chetera 
A new route has now been completed which stays high on the open hillsides west of the Hinku river, rather than wind through the forests down below. This makes for a quicker return with some fantastic views back of Mera herself from a completely different angle. Chetera (4,150m) is a small pasture by an enormous free-standing rock.   

Day 20 - Chetera - Lukla
The trail goes over a series of rises and high plateaux before we finally reach the craggy Zatrawa La (4,580m), where we look back on the Hinku wilderness for the last time and the south face of the peak we have just climbed. A gradual descent traverses toward the rocky outcrop of the Zatr Og. Switching over to the north behind this we descend now steeply from the Kalo Himal, the ‘black mountains’, into the rocky slopes and cascading streams of the Sherpa populated Dudh Kosi valley. The high crags give way to forest, where we have lunch in a clearing, then to farmland as we approach the tourist bustle of Lukla (2,850m), our night stop, still high above the river. The village of our outward trek now feels like a metropolis, and a wild party is inevitable. 

Day 21 Flight from Lukla to Kathmandu 
From Lukla, we take an early morning flight to Kathmandu.

Day 22 Depart Kathmandu
Our The Nepalese support team will take you to the airport for your flight home. (Or stay longer for short tours such as game drive at National parks, rafting, Tibet tours, mountain biking etc). 

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