Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Journey to Mera Peak

click here to view part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5
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(press Shift key and) Click here to view 102 photos (Album 1 of 2) by courtesy of AB Tan. Stay tuned for more great photos.
I am pleased to inform that AB Tan, Tan Ay Peng and Goran (an Australian) came back from trekking at Mera Peak (6,500m) from 27 Sept to 17 Oct 2008. Both Pacesetters runners, AB Tan is a marathon runner while Tan Ay Peng is an ultramarathon runner.

According to AB Tan, the journey to the summit was tough, much tougher than Cho La Pass (5,400 m) and Everest Base Camp (5,400 m) treks. All these treks are situated in Nepal.

From Day 8 onwards at Tangnang (4,140m) until Day 14 when approaching the summit (6,500 m), every day was like running a full marathon. Despite the tough journey, the experience gained from this trip and the magnificent view of the ice-caped mountains were most rewarding, satisfying and memorable.

All photos are by courtesy of AB Tan, Goran and Tan Ay Peng. From the photos, the view at the top was simply spectacular, beautiful and serene.
Thanks to them for giving us an insight and open up the horizon of what Mera Peak is like.

Preparing tent on the third evening
. .Meal time (Goran and Ay Peng)... The table, chair, utensil, etc are carried by the support crew
. . Camp site at Kote, 4200m
. . AB Tan
. On the way to high camp, 5400m. L-R: AB Tan, Goran, Tan Ay Peng
. Pitching tent at the ledge at high camp, 5800m. foreground is Mera peak, 6475m
. .

Mera Peak Climbing Trip
21 Days Expeditionary Trip
18 Days Strenuous plus Camping
03 Nights Hotel Accommodation in Kathmandu
Round Trip Mountain Flight to Lukla
Highest Elevation: 6476 meters

The schedule below is extracted from the itinerary of Mountain Monarch Adventures, the trekking agent. For each day of the itinerary, only the first few sentences are reproduced to give you an appreciation of the starting activity of the day.
To stand on a Himalayan summit with a sense of great achievement, Mera peak climbing trip offer best opportunity to trekkers and climbers alike who have been seeking the thrill of adventure beyond hiking in Nepal Himalayas.

Among the peaks of Nepal, Mera (6476 meters) is the highest permitted trekking peak. Mera Peak is situated to the south of Everest dominating the watershed of the thickly wooded and remote Hinku valley. Climbing Mera peak boasts a stunning panorama of five of the worlds 8000 meters peaks- Kanchenjunga, Makalu, Cho-Oyu, Lhotse and of course Mt. Everest.

Mera peak climbing route ascends through the standard northern Mera La after a few days of acclimatization hike of surrounding peaks and climbing clinic sessions briefed and instructed by experienced mountain experts on techniques and use of climbing gears so that you acquire the necessary skills and confidence to summit the Mera peak.

Day 1 Arrive in Kathmandu
Airport transfer; free-and-easy at Thamel; distribution of trekking equipment. The evening will be highlighted by a traditional Nepali cuisine as a perfect end of your very arrival day in the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal.

Day 2 Mountain Flight to Lukla (2860m) Trek to Phuiyan (2796m) walk 4-5 hrs.
Flight to Lukla where the airstrip at Lukla was built by Sir Edmund Hillary and his friend; Our Expedition route to Mera to the south is a welcome escape from the crowded trail to traditional Everest Base Camp. After having lunch at Surkhe you will pass through many traditional villages to reach to the vicinity of Phuiyan for our first night camp.

Day 3 Trek to Pangkogma (2846m) walk approx. 06 hrs
After a short walk from Phuiyan our trail breaks away, leaving the main route to Namche Bazzar and head east into the mountains, following the old trading route linking the Everest region to the Arun valley.

Day 4 Trek to Narjing Dingma (2690m) walk approx. 06 hrs
In the cool of the morning we head up towards the Pangkongma La pass (3140m) behind the village, marked by some very ancient looking Chortens. Once we entered the Hinku valley, immediately there is a feel of unspoilt remoteness.

Day 5 Trek to Chalen Kharka (3440m) walk approx 05 – 06 hrs
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 Honku valley.

Day 6 Trek to Khola Kharka (4120m) walk approx 06 hrs
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.

Day 7 Trek to Kote (3490m) walk approx. 06 hrs
An excellent trekking day, walk through the dwarf juniper; rhododendron and lovely mixed firs will add the beauty in your trip. Enjoy the great view of Mera and Hinku valley before we descend steeply to the phenomenal cascading junction of two mountain torrents, crashing down through tall pine forests all around our lunch site.

Day 8 Trek to Tangnang (4140m) walk approx 5- 6 hrs
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.

Day 9 Climbing Clinic / Acclimatisation Day
This acclimatisation day is very important and useful for boosting yours adaptation to the altitude by gaining as much height as we can during the day but returning to Tangnang for the night.

Day 10 Trek to Khare / Mera Base Camp (4940m), walk approx. 4-5 hrs
This morning’s 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.

Day 11 Acclimatisation day /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. .

Day 12 Climbing Clinic
Ascending the steep edge of the glacier is an ideal to practice crampon use and ice axe technique, and to get the feel of jumaring on a fixed rope. On top we find a suitable area with a safe run-out to learn self-arrest, the single most important skill of alpine mountaineering, even if little needed on the safe slopes of Mera.

Day 13 Trek to High Camp. Walk approx. 5-6 hrs
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.

Day 14 Summit the Mera Peak and back to Khare. Walk approx. 08 hrs
This is the most important and toughest day in any mountaineering trip as you will be awakened before the dawn with the high esteem to summit the peak. After the steaming hot tea and a quick breaky we continue all roped up through the main glacier then crossing back to the south side we approach the snow humpback 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.

Day 15 Spare Day for Summit
The weather condition in the Himalayas is unpredictable so this spare day enables us to be flexible with the program depending upon the weather condition or other problems.

Day 16 Trek to Kote, walk approx 06 hrs
We retrace our trail back to Kote and camp by the river after this life long journey to Mera Peak and enjoy the celebration party.

Day 17 Trek to Cetera (4190m) walk approx 06 hrs
We follow another new route back to Lukla that stays high on the open hillsides west of the Hinku River, rather than winding through the previous one. This makes for a quicker return with some fantastic views back of Mera herself from a completely different angle.

Day 18 Trek to Lukla walk approx 07 hrs
The trail goes over a series of rises and high plateau till the windy craggy Zatrawa La (4,580m), the gateway to the Dudh Kosi valley and the trail to Lukla, from where we look back on the Hinku wilderness for the last time and the south face of the peak we have just climbed.

Day 19 Fly back to Kathmandu
This morning, we have a flight from Lukla to Kathmandu; it is a thrilling exciting flight over forests, fields and villages with the Himalayas at the background. On arrival, we transfer to the hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure.

Day 20 In Kathmandu:
There are lots of interesting thing to see in Kathmandu valley: the Royal Palace, Durbar Squares, Swayambhunath (the monkey temple), Pashupatinath, Buddhist Stupa at Baudhnath, Patan and an ancient city Bhakatpur etc. Or you may explore down town to shop for souvenirs, getting your photos or slides processed and trying out the various restaurants in Thamel.

Day 21 Departure/Trip Concludes:
It is time to fly back to home keeping all the exhilarating experiences of Nepal in mind.

Stay tuned for more great photos ....

Posted by KC

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