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Mera Peak Nepal part 2

Mera Peak Nepal part 2

Postby chrisandbex » Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:33 pm

Date walked: 25/10/2013

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We had a quick lunch break at the Himalayn lodge in Khare which was under several feet of snow and sadly swimming with so much poo we renamed the place Khaze! :shock: Then it was all the way back down to Tangnag rather depressingly as we knew we had to ascend all the way back up to Khare again the next day! The weather was better again the next day as we re-ascended to Khare which we did it good time thanks to our previous days acclimatization and in the afternoon we climbed up the slope above Khare to a point at 5000m with stunning views of the far peaks and up to the Mera La.

Khare 5,100m.jpg


We returned to spend the night at the Himlayan lodge with its cozy upstairs “lounge” and log fire. The rooms downstairs were perishing though and I think better accommodation would probably be found in a Russain gulag. The bog was indescribably horrific so we made our porters erect our toilet tent. Squatting over a hole in the snow was infinitely more preferable to that! We spend the next day up above Khare on the snowy slopes practicing our ice axe arrests, crampon techniques and roping up in preparation for the trek up the glacier the next day. Unfortunately that evening I got really sick and was up all night with the runs, I tried to go up the next day but had to retreat after nearly passing out on the snow slope above the village. I thought it was game over as I got back to the Himalayan lodge and curled up in a borrowed sleeping bag feeling very sorry for myself. I had said an emotional farewell to the group and my hubby as I really thought I wouldn’t be seeing them again until they had returned from the summit attempt. Our lovely Sherpa – Geljin was a darling and kept force feeding me all day despite the raging nausea and I got started on the trusty Cipro.

I had a good nights sleep surprisingly in the Russion prison and the cipro must have kicked in quick as by the next morning I was feeling a whole lot better. :thumbup: I forced down some hot porridge and Geljin and I set off alone up the glacier to try and catch the others before they left camp at the Mera La. It was a stonking morning and with just the 2 of us we made great progress. We stopped briefly at a midway camp set up by a Finnish group who were having brekkie and kindly gave us tea and then it was off up the glacier to the Mera La which we reached in 2 hours. I later learned it had taken the group over 4 hours to get there the previous day so I was feeling pretty chuffed and well enough to carry on to the high camp.

Mera La Glacier
Mera La 5,300m.jpg

The group had had an awful night at the Mera La and it was a tired, dejected looking bunch who met me having had a late start following a freezing night in high winds. They had spent the whole preceding afternoon in their tents as it was too cold and windy to do anything else other than huddle in their sleeping bags. We roped up for the ascent to high camp which looked deceptively close.

Roped up
Mera from Mera La

Chris and I were roped with another lad Tom and Sherpa Shama who was rather fond of the local brew. The boys soon were struggling with fatigue and breathlessness after their disturbed night but I felt great after my early morning stomp up the glacier. The views back down the glacier were stunning and included Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Baruntse and Cho Oyu to name but a few major players.

Everest (2).jpg
Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse

Tom was seriously struggling by the time we reached high camp and it came as no surprise that when it came to make the summit attempt he didn’t even get out of his tent, he had reached his limit.

High camp was in a dramatic position perched under some rocks on a precarious slope, roll the wrong way out of your tent and it would be a long fall!

High camp 5,800m.jpg

It was really cold and windy and soon we clambered into our tents and settled down to rest after preparing all our gear for the pre-dawn alpine start. The wind was so strong we feared for our tents and learned that the night before an Exodus trek tent had blown away. :lol: Thankfully they stayed up but it was a fitful couple of hours kip that we had before the call came at 2am. The guide and lead Sherpa had decided the weather was ok to make a go for the summit as we were a fit group and all feeling ok. We got ready in our tents, putting on every layer we could and finally out double boots in the porch of the tent then it was outside and on with the crampons as quick as possible, No easy task with thick gloves but taking them off would have been fateful, with a temp of below -30C frostbite was a serious concern. We roped up in our teams, this time just Chris and I on a rope with Geljin as Tom had stayed in his tent. We were the last team to get going and we started off with a snow plod up the snow in the dark following the head torches up ahead. The groups soon got more spread out as the fitter lads up front put the pace on. Chris and I soon began to struggle and I was resorting to counting steps, 20 paces then a rest. Even the promise of dawn didn’t lift our spirits much as the temperature didn’t rise and instead the wind got up.

dawn on Mera

The snow slope was easy angled but every waymark up ahead that looked tantalisingly closed seemed to take an age to get to. I dropped a snickers bar which quickly slid down the slope out of view, a reminder of what could happen if you took a slip and couldn’t arrest yourself. I needed a pee and quickly learned the difficulties of trying to pee at 6000m wearing 6 layers of clothing and salopettes! :lol: We plodded on and every time was asked the Sherpa if we were going to make it he just smiled, shrugged and said “sure, why not?” Anything was possible for Geljin, the man was a legend but then, he did think that “Everest very hard, Mera very easy!” Looking back we could see we were the last team ascending, other groups had come up behind us but had retreated, many others had turned back and passed us en route, some while it was still dark, finally succumbing to the high altitude and exhaustion. Still we plodded but every step was hard work, even when the gradient lessened the high wind speed made forward motion hard. Eventually, almost spent we reached the final summit dome where we found some brief respite from the wind which threatened to lift me off my feet. The sherpas helped us with using our jumars and Chris climbed quickly up the steep final few metres and disappeared over the top. I hauled my arse up after him, mind totally over matter by this time and together we made the summit. :D It was incredible but the fatigue, cold and wind meant that we only had a few minutes for a quick cuddle and a couple of photos before heading back down. We summited around 9 in the morning – 7 hours to ascend about 700m, not the best record ever but considering the numbers who hadn’t made it, something to be proud of.

final ascent with jumars

Mera Summit

Everest Lhotse.jpg

The descent was miserable for me. :( I should have been enjoying the stunning views and the sense of elation of having stood on a high Himalayan peak but the effects of the sickness bug kicked back in and I was suffering from severe right sided abdominal pain. Being a medic myself I was self diagnosing all the worst possible scenarios – appendicitis, ectopic pregnancy, hernia – all of which would inevitably end in helicopter extraction. I was getting slower and slower as the pain got worse and eventually one of the sherpas ran on ahead to catch up with our guide who came back to us and put me on a short rope and we continued on. The route got more treacherous as the glacier was melting and as we descended past the Mera la there were frequent rock and snow falls and the sherpas ended up fixing a rope to get done one section. Eventually Khare appeared in sight below us and we tumbled back in the Himalayan lodge utterly exhausted at around 4pm. Despite my illness the others had only arrived half an hour or so ahead of us and were spent as well. It was a fairly low key celebration that evening as we were all so tired but we were delighted with an amazing cake produced by our cook.

There was little chance for respite as the next day we had to descend all the way down to Khote passing Tangnag en route. It was tough going back along the river and we were pleased to find out that we were staying in a lodge in Khote with, heaven be praised, intermittent electricity and a porcelain toilet – luxury! Day 18 saw us departing Khote for the last time and heading up the right hand side of the river this time through the forest where we had a nice lunch in the trees on a terrace with awesome views back to Mera.

P1000861 (2).jpg

I was still feeling pretty rough and in a lot of pain and it was a really tough steep climb up to camp at Thuli Kharka. The climbing was relentless – almost as tough as Mera itself as we ascended directly from the valley floor at 3580m to 4400m. This camp site was busy with folk who had climbed up the Zatwra La from Lukla to do the shortened route to Mera, there were a few folk looking pretty green as this route allows little chance for acclimatiziation. We wished them well...

The next day after a short climb up from camp we arrived at the Zatwra La. There was a lot of snow and again the sherpas decided to fix rope for our group. Others had clearly just plowed down but after seeing a Sherpa take a slip which nearly turned nasty we were glad for the ropes and our plastic boots and crampons that we had opted to wear for crossing the pass. The icy path was narrow and treacherous and the descent steep but thrilling with lots of evidence of recent avalanches.

Zatrwa La pass.jpg

All too soon we were below the snowline and back down into the tree line where we had lunch under a massive erratic in the sun.
We camped in a Yak field in stunning surroundings and enjoyed a great log fire prepared by our sherpas so we could sit out and look at the awesome alpine glow as the sun set on the Zatwra La and the stars appeared. Several of the group had complained at this last camp as they had wanted to press on to Lukla, only 2 hours further on down the valley, in the hope of getting an early flight out. But I am so glad our guide resisted as that last evening was so beautiful, I couldn’t understand why people were so keen to get back to the rat race? :?

P1000885 (2).jpg

The next day we had a lovely stroll back to Lukla and spent the afternoon sunbathing on the terrace at the Tara Lodge before getting a next day flight out, actually a day early to Kathmandu. We had a great final night in Lukla partying hard with the porters, sherpas and another jagged globe group followed by a couple of great days sightseeing in Kathmandu.


All in all a fabulous trip but not one to be underestimated, this is a big step up from Base Camp or even Kilimanjaro and definitely requires fitness, good acclimatization and a great sense of humour! :lol:
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Re: Mera Peak Nepal part 2

Postby trekker53 » Mon Jan 27, 2014 1:31 pm

Well done to both of you in reaching the summit. :clap: :clap: :clap: That sure is hardwork. I only succeded in getting to Gilmans Point on Kilimanjaro when I completely ran out of energy. I totally understand the mental challenge it would have taken.
Nice to see a different report from Nepal, been there a couple of times, Kala Pattar above ABC and Annapurna Circuit. No plans to go higher.
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Re: Mera Peak Nepal part 2

Postby ChrisW » Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:09 am

Absolutely fantastic, congratulations on a wonderful achievement :clap: :clap: :clap: Great photos to accompany an incredibly memorable hike.

Reading these two together has made me realize there is a limit to how much I like hiking :crazy: I just couldn't bring myself to do all of that unless my life depended on it, and even then I'm not sure I'd do it :shock:
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Re: Mera Peak Nepal part 2

Postby mikuro » Tue Jan 28, 2014 10:22 am

Wow fabulous photos, well done - still extremely envious of you both, even though it looks like very hard work!! :clap:
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Re: Mera Peak Nepal part 2

Postby monarchming » Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:38 pm

Great effort and a big well done! :clap: A guy I used to work with done Mera Peak about the same time as you. He was in the other group with Jagged Globe that had to evacuate two people. :thumbdown: Fortunately he managed to summit as well :thumbup:
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