How hard is Mera Peak?
Mera Peak is a trekking peak that stands at 6476m in the Khumbu region of Nepal. From the summit you can see 5 of the tallest mountains in the world, as well as hundreds of others. With such an alluring summit panorama, great accessibility and Himalayan stature, Mera Peak is quite rightly a sought after peak for many. In this short blog we provide some insight into what it takes to reach the summit of Mera Peak.
Digging deep on the way to the summit
So what is a trekking peak?
The term trekking peak can actually be quite a broad one. A trekking peak tends to be reachable from a base camp via a high camp, and even the easiest routes are challenging enough to warrant a mountaineering grade from the International French Adjectival system. Some mountaineering skills are likely to be required, such as the ability to walk in crampons, use a single ice axe, operating on fixed lines or abseiling. These peaks do not tend to have vast technical difficulties or require much climbing skill.
The biggest personal challenge faced on an expedition up a trekking peak is likely to be the altitude.
What technical skills are required for Mera Peak?
The bulk of the expedition is spent getting to Base Camp from Lukla, and then heading back again. For this section you're enjoying a nice forest / glacier trek taken at the right pace to allow for sufficient acclimatisation opportunity.
The summit attempt is broken into two sections. From Base Camp (5,200m) you head to High Camp at 5,800m), and in the early hours from there you will make an attempt on the summit before heading back to Base Camp. From Base Camp to High Camp you may be required to walk in crampons depending on the snow condition.
From High Camp you'll be roped up to 2-3 other people (for safety when walking across the crevassed glacier) and you'll need to walk in crampons all the way to the summit and back. In order to reach the summit of Mera Peak you must scale a small ice wall. In order to do this a fixed line is placed and you use an ascender to safely pull yourself up the line. After enjoying the summit you need to descend this same line with a short abseil. This, and the first part of our descent down the Zatwra La are as exposed as it gets on this trip.
The ice wall is as technical as Mera Peak gets, but the ability to confidently and efficiently walk in crampons will certainly make your life easier.
You can now ski from high camp back to base camp, so if you're a competent skier this is something we can explore for you.
The short ice wall
How fit do you need to be for Mera Peak?
The bulk of the expedition just requires a moderate level of fitness, it is the demand of being at altitude and acclimatising which cranks up the difficulty. Our short blog about how fit you need to reach EBC will give you an indication of required fitness levels to get you to base camp in the Mera Peak Trek.
It is beyond base camp where the need for a higher level of fitness comes in. The walk from base camp to high camp will be on snow, you'll be wearing your double boots (insulated boots for altitude) and quite possibly crampons. All this extra weight and softer terrain underfoot will of course be quite demanding.
Summit day will take it up a level again. The above applies, plus you'll be operating between 5800-6476m where the amount of oxygen you're getting per breath is at an all time low for this trip. Summit day will also tend to start at 2am, with the walk to the top taking between 5-6 hours, and at times it can feel a bit of a slog as the glacier seems never ending. From the summit we'll descend back to Basecamp which will take a further 5 hours. With time on the summit plus lunch included, this will easily be a 13-14 hour day. Being physically and mentally prepared for this day is key to the success of your trip. It will be hard, that's a given, but the reward is well worth it.
The walk from Base Camp back to Lukla will feel a breeze as you're descending almost all the way, apart from our hop over the Zatwra La Pass.
First Light on Summit Day