Our unique trek-climb is Mera Peak in a loop, on a newly constructed trail down the Hongu Valley and, while we are there, some exploration of the panoramas and mountain lakes that litter the Upper Hongu Valley. Unlike most Mera expeditions that stay in lodges, we need to camp on the way out. So, if this is a small team, we will teahouse trek in and camp relatively lightweight, if a bigger team then we camp all the way in our normal style.
Mera Peak is a true "trekking peak" in that it is a walk up (except for a short five meter steep section to the very summit) and so the best non-technical trekking peak for people who want to test themselves at altitude. The climb from high camp is crevassed though and so we do rope up, and practice prior. Fit novices welcome!
The panorama from Mera's summit is incredible, including five 8000m peaks: Everest #1, Kanchenjunga #3, Lhotse #4, Makalu #5 and Cho Oyu #6, and a sea of others, plus endless layers of hills to the south. During our walk out, the mountain panoramas are no less stunning amid sheer, soaring 7000m mountains.
Planned with altitude acclimatization in mind (and is significantly better than starting in Lukla), our up-to-date itinerary now starts with an overland journey to Salleri-Phaplu, so no risk of the sometimes delayed Lukla flight upsetting the climbing plans. This is an balanced by a few extra hills, a strenuous workout prior, but with sound recovery time before the climb. Similarly at the end of the trek, we drive back so no chance of delayed flights either.
All in all, this is the best expedition for somebody wanting a personal best altitude, who loves the Nepal peak experience and the jaw-dropping scenery, and wants a small group camping trek-climb with a little extra exploratory spice.
+ awesome summit panorama including 5x 8000m peaks
international flights, equipment rental, alcohol, bottled water and soft drinks, laundry,
tipping and other items of a personal nature
Tips & extra cash
allow approx $40 per day for Kathmandu meals
allow more if you are a shopaholic
we suggest 5% of the trip cost per trekker for the crew tips pool
Day 0 - early arrival
Arrive early to recover from long flights, and to go sightseeing. We still arrange the airport transfer and book the hotel for you.
Day 1 - Sunday 3 November 2019 - arrive Kathmandu 1350m
2 - drive Phaplu 2475m, drive/trek Chiwang 2490m
We drive 8-10 hours with our crew to Phaplu, then drive or trek a short distance to get beyond the road head to a set of peaceful lodges.
3 - drive/trek Taksindu, trek Nunthala 2250m
Depending on the state of the road, we either drive to Taksindu or Nunthala, or trek there. How far we get today will determine all our overnight points until Kothe. It is possible we take another road for a slight variation on the start point. Let's see closer to the time.
4 - trek Kharikhola 2050m via Dudh Kosi 1600m
This is one itinerary version but let's see how we go. The descent is followed by ... a hill, welcome to Nepal!
5 - trek Shibuche 2820m via Pangum La 3173m
Continuing up, we cross the pass and drop down on this trail that leads to Tumlingtar and the Arun River.
6 - trek Ramailo Danda 3275m
We leave main trails behind, taking this small and sometimes steep trail.
7 - trek Chetra Khola 3220m
There are some dodgy sections of trail today. We may reach Kothe a day early; then perhaps have an acclimatization day?
8 - trek Kothe 3590m
9 - trek Thangnak 4350m
An easy, short trekking day now that we are at real altitude.
10 - rest Thangnak 4350m
Acclimatization with several day trip possibilities including Dig Tsho, the lake that burst in 1998.
11 - trek Khare 4900m
Another moderate day although we will feel the altitude.
12 - rest-prepare Khare 4900m
Acclimatization and preparation at this lodge-village base camp.
13 - trek-climb Mera La 5400m
Staying on the Mera La is optional, let's see how we are feeling; and this is a possible day in hand too.
14 - climb Mera High Camp 5800m
15 - climb summit, descend to Mera La lodge ~5150m
16 - trek Hongu Khola camp ~4900m
17 - Hongu Khola camp exploration
Let's check out several large lakes (partly for GLOF risks).
18 - Hongu Khola camp exploration
(Essentially this is an extra day, if needed.)
19 - trek Junction camp 3700m
We are flexible; we will explore around here and may spend more time in this higher part of the valley, perhaps even climbing to the top of the Amphu Labtsa?) or we might have a couple of days in the higher areas and head further down for exploration, as below.
20 - Junction camp exploration
There is a possible trail up to a remote valley in the Makalu region that we might see if it exists.
21 - trek Khola camp
22 - trek Cheskam
The first real village since leaving Shibuche.
23 - trek Bung/Gudel
For our trek out, we have easier days to wander around villages and explore the culture, and a few route options too.
24 - trek Nurkum
25 - trek Kurima
Let's check out the Dharma Peak viewpoint. Most of the climbing sherpas who work for us are from Kurima, so this will be interesting.
26 - trek Deurali-Aiselukharka roadhead
27 - drive Kathmandu
28 - Saturday 30 November - depart
(US Thanksgiving is 28 Nov.)
Summit day on Mera Peak, climbing up the ramp; the summit is unseen however the short difficult section is similar to the top right hand corner - Jamie
To see the detailed itinerary and more photos use a laptop/desktop browser or tablet in landscape (and hit refresh).
We love exploring, truly exploring and have many firsts to our credit and major achievements that we haven't previously
publicised, but as importantly, they have been amazingly successful, fun treks too. From 1998-2006 we explored the greater Kanchenjunga region with 7x 42 days treks (!!) then since 2008 have been opening routes of the the Nepal Great Himalaya Trail (GHT) and assisting with the GHT maps and guidebooks.
Most trek pages below have links to photo galleries, or see our Nepal Photos Inspiration. We are also exploring in Ladakh, India...
2017 'Kanchen Gola' - As well as returning to the the remote Ghari/Kang La, we discovered two passes near there unmarked on maps, and Jamie and Esther also solved cairn riddles to the top of the other Khang La, an alternative GHT start on the border with Sikkim.
2016 Upper Dolpo & Mu La - getting to Bhijer wasn't as hard as we expected, and we finished our Mu La exploration from 2014, crossing this last somewhat enigmatic pass in front the Dhaulagiris.
2012 GHT Wild West exploration - we broke trail to be the first trekkers ever to trek Darchula
to Simikot between Api and Saipal, staying completely in Nepal ... !
2011 GHT Dolpo Wild exploration - we were the first commercial trek team across the Lakyap/Kekyap passes (thanks, Paulo Grobel), rerouted the GHT near Bhijer saving a 5368m pass crossing and crossed the tough high route between Dolpo and Mugu without
2010 GHT Mustang & Saribung Wild - we traversed from Upper Mustang to Nar-Phu and climbed Saribung 6328m with 100% team success, then traversed around Manaslu
2009 GHT Makalu Wild - we were the first trekkers to cross Chyangtang to
Makalu Base Camp the direct way.
2008 Limi-Saipal - Jamie discovered the crucial pass near Saipal for the
2012 trek after guiding James Vlahos writing for Nat Geo; thanks Nepal Trust.
2007 Manaslu Wild - we explored the Tsum Valley to the Tibet border, and also explored the peaks and passes above Samdo.
2005 Kanchen Gola Wild - first trekkers to cross the Lumba Samba,
ie Kanchenjunga to the Makalu region, crucial for the GHT.
2004 Nangpa La exploratory - trekking to the Tibet border in the Everest region for the guide book Trekking in the Everest Region.
2003 Kanchen Gola Wild - first trekkers to the top of Olangchung Gola's Tipta La after Joseph Hooker in 1848, and in 2017, we found out no other trekkers ever went there; now there is a road across it.
2002 Kanchen Gola Wild - first trekkers to Yangma's 5746m Ghari La
2001 Kanchenjunga Wild - first trekkers to the Chabuk La, virgin peak ascent, a climb of Tengkoma peak and saw snow leopards, see Wanda's diary.
2000 Manaslu High - we explored Manaslu's Tsum valley prior to Tsum being opened (!) and climbed Chulu Far East.
1999 Kanchenjunga-Makalu - 42/75 day trek (!) and when we couldn't cross Sherpani-West Col, we returned to Tumlingtar in plastic boots.
1998 Wild Kanchenjunga - the trek that started the Kanchenjunga exploration series; we didn't meet any other trekkers.
1998 Churen Surprise - a trek to Churen Himal base camp above Gurjagoan, a trek that still few people have ever heard of.
The tightly clustered lodges of Kote - Jamie
Welcome! - Jamie
Mera Peak high camp at 5800m on a snowy morning, the rocky part of this camp is behind me - Jamie
Trekking out in the middle hills en route to Kurima - Jamie