Mera Peak: Climbing Your First Six-Thousander

By Jan Bakker

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Mera Peak: Climbing Your First Six-Thousander
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Do you dream of standing on top of a summit higher than 6000 meters? This high-altitude ambition is more feasible than you may think! If you’re after the full experience, Mera Peak is your mountain. Standing tall at 6476 meters, this non-technical trekking peak is one of the easiest six-thousanders in Nepal. The big bonus is the views from the summit across the highest peaks in the Himalayas, including Mount Everest. Ready to go high?

I’m Jan, trekking expert at Bookatrekking.com for Nepal. My mountain endeavors have taken me to high places such as the 7105 meter high Peak Korzhenevskaya in Tajikistan. I know what it takes to scale a mountain like Mera Peak and I’m happy to answer all your questions about the expedition to this beautiful mountain!

Mera Peak Climb: Scaling Nepal's Highest Trekking Peak

Mera Peak is a remote mountain in Makalu Barun National Park. Unlike other trekking peaks such as Island Peak, it is truly off the beaten track. The first ascent was made by Sen Tenzing and Col. Jimmy Roberts on May 20th 1953, only days before Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Everest. Over the years the mountain has become a popular objective for climbers and trekkers, due to its straightforward approach to the summit.

From the airstrip in Lukla you veer off the Everest Base Camp route and enter a little visited area, only of interest with trekkers and mountaineers. It’s a wonderful trek through pine and rhododendron forests, following the course of the Hinku Drangka river. This wild, unspoilt valley harbors wildlife you would never encounter on the more popular trekking routes, such as the red panda, different species of leopard including the elusive snow leopard, deer and the black bear. You still have to be lucky to spot one of these.

From the highest permanent accommodation at Khare you start the actual climb to the summit of Mera Peak. Shortly after leaving Khare you rope up and start ascending on the Mera Glacier. A short night of camping is spent on a fantastic vantage point halfway the mountain, with stunning views across the biggest cluster of the tallest peaks in the Himalaya’s. The summit push starts in the middle of the night. The gradual climb, with a short punchy final push, takes about 5 hours under the stars with the aim to be on the summit by sunrise. After enjoying 360 degrees views across the sea of mountains around you, you’ll start the long way down to Lukla.

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How Do I Prepare For The Mera Peak Climb?

While Mera Peak is classified as a non-technical climb, basic mountaineering skills are definitely an advantage. Climbing this mountain involves navigating a whole set of challenges, both physical and mental. At an elevation of 6,476 meters, the trek demands a high level of physical fitness. Intense cardiovascular training should include activities like hiking, running, and cycling and is essential to build the stamina necessary for the strenuous journey. Practicing with mountaineering tools such as crampons, ice axes, and ropes help you get ready for the Mera Peak climb. At Bookatrekking.com, we believe that prior long-distance trekking experience, like the Annapurna Circuit or Everest Base Camp trek, is essential to have an idea what it takes to do an expedition like this. A mountaineering course can further refine your skills on the mountain. All this prep makes you more comfortable during the climb and you’ll enjoy the experience much more.

Before you make your way to Nepal, it’s a good idea to do a medical sports test, measuring things like heart health, blood saturation and VO2 max. This could be part of your overall cardio training. You should also pay a visit to your dentist. The pressure difference at altitude could trigger underlying dental issues. It’s obviously better to get it fixed before you go to avoid backstreet dentistry high up the mountain. The mental preparation should not be underestimated. It can be tough, and it’s good to visualize and pre-live certain scenarios, such as bad weather circumstances and physical hardship. There will be some Type 2 fun moments while climbing Mera Peak. If you have doubts, get in touch with me to go through all these variables.

There are some elements that you can’t control, such as the ability of your body to acclimatize to the extreme Mera Peak elevation. The trekking schedule is designed in a way that you ascend gradually to greater heights to get used to the lower oxygen levels in the air. Still this is not a guarantee you can cope, but it certainly helps. More about altitude, acclimatization and the recognition and prevention of altitude sickness further below.

How Do I Prepare For The Mera Peak Climb?

What Is The Best Season To Climb Mera Peak?

The best season to climb Mera Peak in Nepal is generally during the pre-monsoon (spring) and post-monsoon (fall) periods. The two main climbing seasons are:

1. Spring (Pre-Monsoon)

- March to May is considered the best time to climb Mera Peak

- The weather is relatively stable, and temperatures are milder.

- The skies are clear, offering excellent visibility and stunning views of the surrounding peaks.

- The climbing conditions are generally more favorable during this season.

2. Fall (Post-Monsoon)

- September to November is another popular season for climbing Mera Peak.

- The weather is stable, and the skies are clear after the monsoon season.

- The temperatures are cool, making it a comfortable time for trekking and climbing.

- The views are excellent, and the autumn colors add to the beauty of the landscape.

During these seasons, the weather is typically more predictable, and the chances of encountering snow and ice conditions are minimized. Climbing during the monsoon season (June to August) is not recommended due to heavy rainfall, difficult trekking conditions, and increased avalanche risk. It's important to note that the Mera Peak weather conditions can still vary, and climbers should be well-prepared for changing circumstances.

Is Mera Peak Trekking or Mountaineering?

Mera Peak is considered a trekking peak, a term that can be confusing. In Nepal it’s related to the altitude. Every mountain below 6600 meters is considered a trekking peak, regardless of the difficulty. Mera Peak is also called a “non-technical” mountain. Let’s have a look at both definitions and establish how we can classify the ascent of Mera Peak.

Trekking and mountaineering are both outdoor activities that involve traveling through mountainous terrain, but generally they differ in terms of difficulty, technical skills required, and the overall nature of the experience.

Here are the key differences between trekking and mountaineering:

Trekking
  • Difficulty and Skill Level: Generally less technical, no specialized climbing skills required.
  • Altitude: Usually at lower altitudes, altitude sickness is less of a concern.
  • Equipment: Requires sturdy hiking boots, appropriate clothing, backpack, and trekking poles.
  • Objectives: Focus on exploring and enjoying the natural beauty, not necessarily reaching a specific peak.
Mountaineering
  • Difficulty and Skill Level: More advanced and technical, requires climbing skills and specialized equipment.
  • Altitude: Involves ascending to higher altitudes, altitude sickness can be a concern.
  • Equipment: Requires specialized gear like crampons, ice axes, ropes, harnesses, and helmets.
  • Objectives: Often involves reaching the summit of a mountain, conquering peaks, and facing technical challenges.

Mera Peak falls into a grey zone when it comes to a classification in either trekking or mountaineering. The approach to the foot of the mountain at the settlement of Khare is no doubt trekking. The terrain is hikeable throughout the trek. After Khare you enter high alpine terrain, including the Mera Glacier which you essentially follow all the way to the summit. Once you’re on the glacier you rope up with your group. You’ll be wearing mountaineering equipment such as a helmet, crampons, ice axe, harness and carabiners. However, there is no real climbing involved. It’s a walk on the glacier with a maximum gradient of 40 degrees, so you’re not climbing steep ice/snow where you need two axes and use the front points of your crampons. Only on the final summit push there is a short 50 degree section, which is climbed on a fixed rope.

Does this make the Mera Peak climb a trekking or mountaineering expedition? In my opinion, the ascent of Mera Peak is a strenuous trek with basic mountaineering elements.

Mera Peak Trek 6333

Our Itinerary For The Mera Peak Trek

You can do the climb up Mera Peak in just over two weeks, allowing you to do this great adventure in a relatively short period of time. Climb Mera Peak with us!
Day
1

Fly to Lukla and Trek to Paiya

We’ll board a flight to Lukla (2810m), from TIA. You will be able to rejoice the sight of splendid hills, rivers and mountains during a 30 minute flight. On reaching Lukla airport, you’ll be introduced to your porter, and served a wholesome breakfast. After that, we will head north to Paiya (2730m) through an easy 3-4 hour hike.

Paiya

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Paiya
Day
2

Trek to Panguam

We will trek to Panguam for 6 hours, through the main trail and reach the beautiful village inhabited by hill people of different ethnicity. The night will be spent in a local lodge.

Panguam

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Panguam
Day
3

Trek to Nagindingma

After breakfast, we will trek gently downhill for 4/5 hours to reach a village inhabited by hill Mongol people. On reaching Nagindingma, you will have the possibility to rest for a while and then explore the vicinity.

Nagindingma

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Nagindingma
Day
4

Trek to Cholem Kharka

We will trek from there uphill over the rocky trail. The trail will be physically demanding and exhausting as it will take us about 7-8 hours. We will spend the night in a local guest house.

Cholem Kharka

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Cholem Kharka
Day
5

Trek to Khola Kharka

We will trek uphill through the uneven trail for 7 hours. We will walk along the bank of dwindling rivers, through green meadows and enchanting forests. Night will be spent in a local guest house.

Khola Kharka

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Khola Kharka
Day
6

Trek to Kothe

We will trek to Kothe after breakfast, for about 6-7 hours long. It is a small beautiful village of mountain people which will reward us with beautiful view on the Himalayas.

Kothe

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Kothe
Day
7

Trek to Thaknak

We will trek slowly uphill for 3/4 hours and reach Thaknak. It is a beautiful village, from which we will enjoy a beautiful view of the guarding snowy peaks. The night will be spent in a cozy little lodge.

Thaknak

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Thaknak
Day
8

Trek to Khare

We will trek to Khare after breakfast early in the morning. It will take us 3 hours to trek through the main trail. We will spend the night in a small lodge in Khare.

Khare

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Khare
Day
9

Rest and acclimatization in Khare

We have allocated an entire day for acclimatization to the harsh environment in Khare. We will explore the environment, go for an acclimatization walk and hang out with the locals to experience the life in Himalayas.

Khare

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Khare
Day
10

Khare to Mera Peak High Camp

From Khare the real climb of Mera Peak starts. Quickly after leaving Khare you will enter the ridge that leads to the summit. But before you climb to the top you will stop and have a short night at Mera Peak High Camp at 5770 metres. Here you'll be camping.

Mera High Camp

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Mera High Camp
Day
11

Mera High Camp to summit (6,476m) and back to Khare

Main highlight of the trek : the climb to the summit. The feeling of reaching the top will be very rewarding and satisfying. After spending some time on the peak we will descend downhill to High Camp and then Khare.

Khare

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Khare
Day
12

Trek from Khare to Kothe

We will return downhill, leaving the mountains backdrop. It will take us around 5 hours to trek back to Kothe. We will spend the night in a local guest house.

Kothe

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Kothe
Day
13

Kothe to Chetwarwa

We will trek to Chetarwa for 6/7 hours. On reaching our destination, you will have the opportunity to go for exploration of the local vicinity and enjoy the life of rural people.

Chetwarwa

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Chetwarwa
Day
14

Chetarwa to Lukla

From Chetarwa, we will trek down for 6/7 hours to the economic hub of the region, Lukla. We will spend the night in local tea house. It will be the last dinner with guide and porter so enjoy it!

Lukla

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Lukla
Day
15

Fly back Kathmandu

Early morning air trip from Lukla to Kathmandu. Don’t forget to pick a seat on the right side, to see the spectacular mountain views again. On reaching Kathmandu, it will be time to say goodbye! May you enjoy the rest of your journey here in Nepal.
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Mera Peak Route Map

This is the route to Mera Peak and back.

What Permits Are Needed For The Mera Peak Climbing Expedition?

Makalu Barun National Park Entry Permit

For entering the Makalu Barun National Park, the park that is home to the Mera Peak and other ultra high peaks like Makalu, you need to obtain an entry permit. This permit costs 30 USD + government tax.

Mera Peak Permit

In addition to the national park permit, you will need a Mera Peak climbing permit. Without a valid permit you are not allowed to climb Mera Peak.

Your trekking provider will take care of all your permits.

What Accommodation Can I Expect On The Mera Peak Trek?

Unlike a few decades ago, the approach to Mera Peak is now a tea house trek. If you have done the trek to Everest Base Camp or the Annapurna Circuit, note that there is a difference in the facilities that are on offer in the tea houses on the Mera peak route. Don’t expect hot water, showers, flushing toilets or WiFi. What you can expect is a warm welcome, delicious hot meals and a cozy woodfire. The accommodation is basic, but it’s comfortable and fitting for a climbing trip.

The highest tea house is in Khare at an altitude of 4,890 meters. On our expedition, we stay here a couple of nights in relative comfort to acclimatize and prepare for the summit push. One (short) night is spent in a tent at Mera Peak high camp at 5,770 meters before heading to the summit.

What Accommodation Can I Expect On The Mera Peak Trek?

How To Identify and Prevent AMS On The Mera Peak Trek?

It's essential to understand that altitude sickness can affect anyone, regardless of age, fitness level, or previous high-altitude experience. These days there are several tools to monitor your health at altitude. A widely-used (analog) method is the Lake Louise score card. It ticks the altitude symptoms while keeping the severity in mind. It’s a common tool used by guides. Nowadays, most trekking and mountain guides bring a blood oxygen saturation meter, which also measures the heart rate. These are key indicators whether a person adapts to altitude well or not. AMS can occur when trekking the Mera Peak Trek. Below you can find everything you need to know about altitude sickness.

  • Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)

    Altitude sickness, also known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is a health condition that occurs when someone is exposed to low levels of oxygen at higher altitudes. AMS is a serious condition and as the name suggests acute. It needs to be dealt with immediately, as it is potentially life-threatening. Most people will experience some mild symptoms of altitude sickness. It’s important to be aware of these symptoms and act before symptoms become more severe. Below we break down the different forms of AMS and how you can reduce the risk of getting it.

    AMS symptoms

    It is key to know how to identify altitude illness. You may experience the following symptoms due to the jump in altitude: headache, lack of appetite, breathing difficulties, insomnia, nausea and vomiting. The intensity and severity of these symptoms may increase with altitude and an overall feeling of fatigue will take all your joy away. This may further deteriorate to one of these life-threatening conditions.

    High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE): HAPE is a condition in which fluid accumulates in the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. Symptoms may include shortness of breath, a persistent cough, chest tightness, and an increased heart rate. It can be a life-threatening condition and requires immediate descent to lower altitudes and, in severe cases, medical treatment.

    High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE): HACE is a more serious condition in which fluid accumulates in the brain. Symptoms may include severe headaches, confusion, loss of coordination, and altered mental status. HACE is also a medical emergency and requires immediate descent and medical attention. Below 7 ways of minimizing the risk of AMS:

    • 1. Gradual Ascent

      One of the most effective ways to prevent AMS is to ascend gradually. When traveling to high altitudes, try to take several days to acclimatize before going higher. This allows your body to adapt to the reduced oxygen levels. All our treks in Nepal keep sufficient acclimatization into account.

    • 2. Stay Hydrated

      Dehydration can increase the risk of AMS, so drink plenty of fluids. Avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption, as they can contribute to dehydration.

    • 3. Diet

      Consume a balanced diet with adequate carbohydrates and avoid heavy, fatty meals. Carbohydrates can help your body utilize oxygen more efficiently at high altitudes.

    • 4. Medication

      Some individuals may consider taking medication, such as acetazolamide (Diamox), to help prevent AMS. Consult with a healthcare professional before using any medication, and be aware of potential side effects.

    • 5. Rest

      Ensure you get enough sleep and rest during your ascent. Fatigue can increase the risk of AMS.

    • 6. Avoid Overexertion

      Pace yourself and avoid overexertion. Listen to your body, and if you experience symptoms of AMS, rest or descend to a lower altitude.

    • 7. Descend if Symptoms Persist

      If you experience symptoms of AMS, such as headache, nausea, dizziness, or difficulty breathing, it's crucial to descend to a lower altitude. Symptoms should not be ignored or dismissed.

Not sure yet or want to discuss your plans for the Mera Peak Trek with one of our trekking experts? Get in touch today and turn your dreams into memories!

Packing List for the Mera Peak Trek

Trekking in Nepal requires good quality and appropriate equipment. Especially the essentials like a good pair of hiking boots and breathable hardshell rain jacket. We highly recommend that you read our suggested packing list to hike the Mera Peak Trek.

  • Technical Clothing

  • Headwear

  • Handwear

  • Footwear

  • Accessories

  • Equipment

  • Other

In addition to the trekking equipment, you need mountaineering equipment for the Island Peak ascent. These items are not included in the price, but you can rent them at a reasonable price. Below you can find the list with extra items:

- Helmet

- Climbing Harness

- Karabiners

- Jumar device

- Ice axe

- C2 Crampons

- Double-layered mountaineering boots

Where Can I Book the Mera Peak Trek?

At Bookatrekking.com you can book this trek and many others. Our guided options come with experts on the ground, and offer you a convenient, stress-free, safe, and educational way to explore the outdoors. Find our offers here. Our easy-to-use platform allows you to browse and compare different trekking options and find the perfect fit for your interests, abilities, and budget.

If you have any questions about a specific trek or need help choosing the right one for you, our team of trekking experts is here to assist you. Simply reach out to us and we will be happy to provide you with personalized recommendations and advice to help you plan the trekking adventure of a lifetime.

Is this not your cup of tea and are you looking for other epic adventures? Check out one of our blog posts:

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