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Mera Peak

  • Where?

    Nepal

  • Altitude

    6,476m

  • Duration

    22 days

  • Weather

  • Physical

    P4

  • Technical

    T3

  • P4 - Sustained physical effort calls for a state of high conditioning. You should already have experience of tough challenges (P3) and be regularly training as part of your normal routine. Expect days of up to 8 hours and longer while carrying a pack up to 8-14kg in weight. Summit night could be easily in excess of 12 hours.

    Visit our Grading Information page for a full overview.

  • T3 - May involve harder scrambling or some trekking and climbing with ropes. If snow is encountered then glacier travel with ropes, ice axes and crampons will be necessary. Basic climbing skills is ideal, but will also be taught and certainly practiced during the expedition and  pre-summit phase.

    Visit our Grading Information page for a full overview.

  • Overview

  • Date & Prices

  • Pics & Vids

  • Itinerary

  • Kit List

  • FAQ's

Overview

Mera Peak, at 6,476 m, is one of the most achievable trekking peaks in the Himalayas. With 360 Expeditions, you follow the little-visited jungle route offering incredible views of 5 of the world’s highest mountains, steady acclimatisation and unique cultural insights. 

Avoiding the crowds, we trek through the stunningly beautiful Hinku Valley, meeting along the way local hill people in their environment and experiencing the rich Sherpa culture. There’s no rush to acclimatise as you pass through hidden yak pastures, rhododendron forests and stupa-crowned mountain passes. For the summit bid, we enter a land of ice and snow, following the majestic Mera glacier for two days all the way to the top. Our efforts are rewarded with one of the greatest views on Earth, including five mountains, all 8000m+ which span the crown of the Himalayas. Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Cho Oyu close by, and to the east on the Indian border, Kangchenjunga. It’s a moment to cherish for life.

This itinerary has been carefully designed by our highly experienced 360 Expedition leaders and Khumbu Sherpas to optimise acclimatisation and maximise enjoyment. You’ll get full training on the equipment needed for your summit bid, so Mera Peak is ideal if you have some trekking under your belt and you are generally fit.

Find out more
Mera Peak Mera Peak

Date & Prices

Departure & Return

Duration

Price (excl. flight)

Price (incl. flight)

Start: 14 April 2019
End: 05 May 2019

Price without flights:  £2,745
Price with flights: £3,395

Leader: TBC

14 April 2019

05 May 2019

22 days

£2,745

£3,395

Leader: TBC

Start: 16 November 2019
End: 07 December 2019

Price without flights:  £2,745
Price with flights: £3,395

Leader:Rolfe Oostra

16 November 2019

07 December 2019

22 days

£2,745

£3,395

Leader:Rolfe Oostra

Included

  • International and domestic flights plus taxes
  • Local guides and a 360 guide (depending on group size)
  • Porters
  • Equipment and clothing for porters and local crew
  • Tea house accommodation during the trek
  • 3 nights camping during the summit phase
  • Accommodation in Kathmandu in doubles / twins with breakfast
  • Airport transfers and escort
  • All accommodation based on two people sharing
  • All food whilst on trek and breakfast when city-based
  • Dwarika’s 9 course degustacion celebration meal

Not Included

  • Personal equipment
  • Staff/guide gratuities
  • Trip insurance
  • Items of a personal nature: phone calls, laundry, room service, alcoholic beverages etc.
  • Unscheduled hotels and restaurant meals e.g. if bad weather grounds flights or contingency days are not used
  • Visas
  • Lunch and dinner as indicated in the itinerary
  • Any additional costs associated with leaving the expedition early including any airline surcharges as a result of changing return airline tickets

Pics & Vids

Itinerary

DAY 1 : Depart UK

We fly from London Heathrow airport to Tribhuvan airport in Kathmandu. The flight departs from Heathrow in the evening, usually your 360 guide will accompany you on this flight.

DAY 2 : Arrive Kathmandu

We arrive in Kathmandu mid-afternoon where we are transferred to our hotel in the middle of the Thamel district. This quiet haven offers peace and tranquillity whilst the streets outside are heaving with life. Thamel is a fascinating area of good restaurants and shops offering a profusion of handicrafts, Tibetan carpets, and exquisite jewelry. During the rest of the day you will have an opportunity to settle after the flight. Before  heading out to dinner, your 360 leader will do a kit check and give you a comprehensive brief to ensure everyone is prepared for the exciting journey ahead.

DAY 3 : Fly to Lukla (2,840m)

We take the morning flight to the dramatic airfield at Lukla (2,840m), the gateway to the spectacular Nepali Himalayas.

At Lukla we meet the sherpas who will be looking after us for the duration of our expedition and begin our trek south keeping high above the spectacular Dudh Khosi. We have lunch at Surkhe and then stop for the day at the Sherpa village of Phuiyan (2,796m).

DAY 4 : Phuiyan (2,796m) - Pangkongma (2,946m)

We set off early and soon climb up to the pass of Khari La (2,990m). The view to the north and west is fantastic all the way to Cho Oyu. We stop for lunch at a small lodge, seemingly suspended over the wide Kharikhola valley below.

The trail continues through gorgeous forests with many high waterfalls visible before reaching the village of Pangkongma (2,946m). Here we rest near a Sherpa family house, where we catch a glimpse into traditional Sherpa family life.

DAY 5 : Pangkongma (2,946m) - Narjing Dingma (2,650m)

Another early morning start soon brings us up to the Pangkongma La pass (3,180m), which is marked by some very ancient chortens. From here we enter the Hinku valley and immediately there is a feeling of unspoilt remoteness. After a short hike, our objective Mera Peak comes into view standing at the head of the valley. From this angle, it looks hugely impressive as its immense walls reach straight out of the valley. We also get our first glimpse of the Hinku River crashing through inaccessible gorges down from the north. The afternoon takes us down a steep path to cross the river, then into deep forests before emerging to rest in the pastures of Narjing Dingma (2,650m).

DAY 6 : Narjing Dingma (2,650m) - Chalem Kharka (3,450m)

Another spectacular day awaits. We now enter the rhododendron forest and climb Surkie La (3,085m) from where the whole of Eastern Nepal opens out in front of us. Kangchenjunga is visible from here and below us stretches the remote Hongu valley. We follow the north ridge for the day and spend the night in the grassy pastures at 3,450m.

DAY 7 : Chalem Kharka (3,450m) - Khula Kharka (4,120m)

Today we continue along the ridge which in some places narrows dramatically and gullies drop away steeply on either side. One final pass at 4,330m brings us to the five sacred lakes of Panch Pokhari, a pilgrimage site for both Buddhists and Hindus. A short descent from here brings us to our rest point at Khula Kharka (4,120m).

DAY 8 : Khula Kharka (4,120m) - Khote (3,480m)

Today we progress deeper into the Hinku valley to our night’s camp at the established summer village of Khote (3,480m).

We pass through the majestic forest and have lunch near a roaring Hinku river. Evidence of the devastation caused by a huge flood when the Sabai Tcho glacial lake broke its moraine dam is clearly visible around us. Mera Peak offers us glimpses of its summit at the end of the valley head.

DAY 9 : Khote (3,480m) - Tagnak (4,140m)

The forest gives way to an open valley and by mid-morning the summits of more 6,000m peaks are revealed. By early afternoon we’ll reach the summer settlement of Tagnak (4,140m) where we will spend the night. Towering over our heads the sheer flank of the Mera ridge dramatically dominates the skyline.

DAY 10 : Tagnak glacier acclimatisation day

We will spend two nights in the village acclimatising to the altitude we have reached so far. This spectacular place is surrounded by dramatic peaks including Kussum Kangu (6,200m) and the unclimbed spire of Peak 35 (6,100m). Today will be spent taking it easy and doing short explorative walks up to the glacier beyond the village.

DAY 11 : Tagnak (4,140m) - Khare (4,940m)

This morning’s walk up alongside the Dig Glacier is easy and relaxed. We cross the braided river and head into the valley, as dramatic views of the surrounding peaks continue to open up before us. We stop near the village of Khare, our home for two nights.

DAY 12 : Glacier Training

We head up to the start of the Mera Glacier by climbing a steep ridge that we will later follow to the Mera La Pass. Here we will practice crampon use, ice axe technique and self-arrest as we get the feel of jumaring on a fixed rope. Later in the day we return to Khare for a good night’s sleep.

DAY 13 : Khare (4,940m) - Mera La (5,410m)

Today our freshly learned crampon and ice axe techniques will come in useful as we first climb back up the ridge and then onto the back of the Mera Glacier. After a roped-up glacier crossing we make a short descent to the Mera La (5,410m). This exposed pass serves as a camp before climbing up to Mera’s high camp the next day.

Striking views stretching as far as Kangchenjunga lie before us, as the sun descends and we settle in for a good night’s sleep.

DAY 14 : Mera La (5,410m) - Mera High Camp (5,800m)

An unforgettable day. The views that open out beyond are really fantastic: Kanchanjunga, Chamlang, Makalu and Baruntse sweeping around from the east and Ama-Dablam, Cho Oyu and Kangtega to the west slowly but surely come into view.

The giant faces of Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse rise up in the north. The slopes are gently angled and the snow is usually in firm condition, but as the altitude increases it will be breathless work to reach the high camp. High camp is on a rock outcrop (5,800m) which separates the Mera from the Naulekh Glacier sweeping down from the peaks along the continuous ridge to the south. This has to be one of the most amazing camp viewpoints in the entire Himalaya and as an additional finale to a spectacular day, we are likely to get an amazing sunset.

DAY 15 : Mera High Camp (5,800m) - Mera summit (6,476m) - Khare (4,940m)

We are woken early by smiling Sherpas offering hot cups of tea and head out into the cold on our way to the summit of Mera Peak. Temperatures are likely to be ten degrees below zero but soon we warm up as we continue up the glacier and onto the snow hump-back ridge. The first rays of the sun hit the big peaks in an amazing red glow. The route is still non-technical as we climb slowly but surely higher into the ever-thinning air. The slope steepens for a section behind the ridge and the summit comes back into view. At the foot of the final steep summit cone, we may attach to a fixed rope depending on conditions. The summit is only a few metres away. Shortly ahead is that moment we have all been working so hard to achieve: the summit itself. It’s a moment that is unforgettable. Before us lies the 360 panorama that is simply the best from all the Himalayan peaks. Only this summit can boast such a spectacle. We spend some time taking it all in before we finally descend back down to Khare where tired or not we have a well-deserved round of celebratory drinks.

DAY 16 : Contingency Day

A built-in contingency day should our attempt be delayed due to bad weather or the need to rest for another day prior to the ascent. The 360 team have in the past descended via a long day from Tagnak directly to Lukla and have built this as a contingency plan should the need arise. If this day is not utilised as a contingency day, then it will be used as a free day in Kathmandu.

DAY 17 : Khare (4,940m) - Khote (3,840m)

We retrace our steps back down the valley and alongside the Dig Glacier before passing back through Tagnak where we have our last good view of Mera before reaching Khote where we will spend the night.

DAY 18 : Khote (3,840m) - Chetera (4,100m)

A new route has now been completed which stays high on the open hillsides west of the Hinku River making for a quicker return with some fantastic views back on Mera itself from a completely different angle. We spend the night at Chetera (4,100m), a small pastoral settlement by an enormous free-standing rock.

DAY 19 : Chetera (4,100m) - Lukla (2,840m)

The trail climbs to the Zatrawa La (4,580m) from where we get the last views of the mighty peak we have just climbed. From here we traverse to the rocky outcrop of the Zatr Og before descending steeply down into the Sherpa populated Dudh Kosi valley. We reach the tourist bustle of Lukla (2,840m) by late afternoon and spend the night. A wild party is inevitable.

DAY 20 : Fly to Kathmandu

The scenic morning flight back to Kathmandu gives us one last chance to say farewell to the mountains.  We will have a tour of the city in the afternoon before celebrating our huge achievement with a special dinner.

DAY 21 : Day in Kathmandu

Today will either be spent in Kathmandu or be the start of your departure to the UK.

DAY 22 : Arrive in UK

You will arrive back at London Heathrow Airport.

These are subject to minor changes depending on flight arrival and departure times, weather, group dynamics and fitness and so on, but the itinerary outlined provides an excellent indication of the trek and what you will experience.

Kit List

Bags & Packs

Kit bag

A 120-140L duffel bag to transport kit. A duffel bag is a strong, soft, weather resistant bag without wheels but with functional straps for carrying. Suitcases and wheeled bags are not suitable

Daysack

Approx. 40L capacity. Your day to day pack that you carry with your daily essentials, fitted with shoulder straps and importantly a waist belt

Dry stuffsacks

Nylon rolltop bags (or even just large plastic bags) that keep fresh clothing and other important items like passports and iPods dry in the event of a total downpour that seeps into your kitbag. Good for quarantining old socks

Waterproof rucksack cover

To protect rucksack from rain

Small kit bag or light bag

This is for any kit you intend to leave at the hotel and could even simply be a heavy duty plastic bag

Padlocks

For use on your kit bag for travel and on the expedition plus your hotel bag

Quantity: 2

Sleeping Gear

5 Season sleeping bag

You should get a sleeping bag rated to -25C and choose a sleeping bag that functions within the comfort rating of this temperature. A silk sleeping bag liner will enhance this rating on the coldest nights

Sleeping bag liner

Silk is best for keeping the bag clean and you a little warmer

Sleeping mat

A full length self-inflating rather than ¾ length Thermarest

Headwear

Warm headgear

This can be a warm hat, beanie, balaclava, anything to reduce the heat loss from your head

Quantity: 2

Wide brimmed hat

Keeps the sun off exposed areas like ears and the nape of the neck

Buff/Scarf

Essential for protection from the sun and dust

Sunglasses

Worth spending money on good UV filters. For glacier work category 4 with side and nose protectors.  Julbo is our preferred supplier

Ski goggles

Category 3 for days when it may be snowing and very windy. Very useful on summit day

Sunblock

Buy the highest SPF you can find as UV intensifies with altitude

Lip salve

Sun cream will not work on your lips and they are very susceptible to burn without proper protection

Upper Body

Base layer

This is the layer closest to the skin and its principal function is to draw (wick) moisture and sweat away from the skin. You can also get thermal base layers for use at higher altitudes that provide an additional insulative layer while still drawing sweat during times of high exertion

Quantity: 3

Mid layer

These are typically lightweight microfleeces or similar technology that provide varying degrees of warmth and insulation without being overly bulky or heavy to pack

Quantity: 2

Gilet (optional)

Optional – A great low volume additional layer to keep your core warm, whether down, primaloft or fleece

Light insulated jacket

A lighter jacket such as a Primaloft or lightweight down which can be worn at lower to mid altitudes is a great addition to your kit offering greater flexibility with layering

Soft Shell (optional)

Optional – These should be windproof (not all are) and insulative. They are mostly made of soft polyester and sometimes resemble a neoprene finish which makes them very mobile and comfortable to wear. While offering a degree of weather repellence, they are not waterproof

Hard Shell

These jackets are thin, highly waterproof and windproof and worn over all other items of clothing. You’ll find these made of Gore-Tex or other proprietary waterproof yet breathable technology. Inexpensive hard shells that aren’t breathable will prevent evaporation, making you sweat intensely and are not recommended

Down jacket

These provide the best insulation and are worth every penny. Ask advice in the shop (or from us) when buying the jacket and mention you want it rated to -25C and the assistant will recommend the correct fill for you

Warm gloves

Consider liners or a light polartec pair for lower altitudes and evenings, and a thicker waterproof pair like ski gloves for higher altitudes

Down mitts & waterproof mitts

Essential for higher altitudes to be worn with a liner glove underneath, and waterpoor (and windproof) layer over

Lower Body

Trekking trousers

These tend to be polyester so they dry quickly after a shower and weigh little in your pack. Consider perhaps a pair with detachable lower legs as an alternative to shorts

Quantity: 2

Softshell trousers

Windproof or thermal lined trekking trousers for higher altitudes and the summit phase. Thermal leggings can still be worn underneath if necessary

Long Johns

Thermal insulation for the lower body

Quantity: 2

Waterproof overtrousers

Like the jacket an essential piece of kit to stay dry and should also be Goretex

Underwear

Merino or wicking material, not cotton. How many pairs you take is entirely up to you

Feet

3-4 season walking boots

Well worn in 3-4 season waterproof boots with mid to high ankle support

High altitude boots

These boots are double or triple layered to offer the best insulation and the warmest feet up high. Either Scarpa Vega, La Sportiva Spantiks or 8,000m boots are suitable. Make sure you can fit 2 pairs of socks for added warmth with room to wiggle your toes

High altitude socks

These are especially thick to provide maximum insulation. Bring two pairs, keep one pair clean for summit day, and wear with a thinner inner

Quantity: 2

Trekking socks

Start with lighter socks lower down, working up to thicker pairs for higher up as it gets colder. Some people like a clean pair every day, others are happy to change every other day – that’s a personal choice

Quantity: 4

Spare laces

Just in case

Trainers

For camp, saves stomping around in heavy boots for the entire day

Technical Equipment

Climbing harness

We recommend Petzl harnesses. Try a variety on in a shop before you buy to ensure a good fit. Legs clips are a good option and avoids having to step into the harness to put it on

Climbing helmet

A plastic helmet is more suitable rather than the expanded foam helmets available. Make sure you try it on in a shop with a woolly/fleece hat underneath

Jumar

Left or right handed, your choice

HMS Locking karabiners

Climbing equipment, for attaching a rope to your harness

Quantity: 2

Sling (60cm)

60cm slings

Ice axe

A walking ice axe between 55cm and 65cm. Go to an outdoor shop and try different ones for weight and size so that you get one that feels good to you

Crampons

12 point mountaineering crampons with anti-balling plates that fit your specific plastic boots (not ice climbing crampons)

Hydration

Water bottles/bladder

3L equivalent – Camelbaks are useful at lower altitudes but have a tendency to freeze up at higher altitudes without insulation tubes, Nalgene bottles are better at altitude. We suggest a combination of a 2L bladder and 1L bottle or 2 x ½L bottles to put in your jacket for summit night

Pee bottle (+ optional Shewee for the girls!)

A good idea if you are storm bound at higher camps. A 1ltr Nalgene bottle is a good option but do make sure you label it as your pee bottle!!

Water purification

Purification tablets are better than any other system.  Highly unlikely to be needed.  Always good to have in your bag

Toiletries

Wash kit

Keep it simple on the mountain. Essentials are toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant. Moisturiser is advisable, everything else is a luxury!

Travel towel

Travel towels from the likes of Lifesystems are perfect

Wet wipes

These are great for washing when shower facilities become a thing of the past

Alcohol gel

A must have for good camp hygiene

Insect repellent

For early stages and once back down

Toilet paper

Provided on the mountain but a spare in your daysack may be useful if you need to hide behind a rock between camps

Nappy sacks or dog poo bags

Only needed to bag your toilet paper if you are caught short in between camps and for keeping your rubbish tidy in your tent

Medications

Personal first aid kit

The 360 med kits are designed to be used in emergencies and akin to an A&E rather than a pharmacy on Expeditions so please come prepared with useful meds for yourself such as painkillers (Ibuprofen if you can take it and a Paracetamol) plus blister plasters, plasters, antiseptic, rehydration sachets and any muscle rubs you wish to use.

Personal medication

Keep this in your daysack

Misceallaneous

Head torch

Bring spare batteries

Trekking poles

These tend to be a personal preference but help with your stability and can dampen the pressure on the knees coming down hill

Camera

Bring plenty of spare batteries and memory cards

Penknife (optional)

Sewing kit (optional)

Snacks

You will be fed very well and given snacks each day however we advise bringing a small selection as a little bit of comfort. Extra snacks can be bought en-route if needed. Energy gels and protein bars are not suitable for this expedition

Hand warmers

Documentation

Passport

Don’t forget this! Your passport should have at least 6 months validity.  With your passport expiry date at least six months after the final day of travel.

Copy of passport

Just in case

Passport photos x 4

We need these to obtain your climbing and trekking permits

Visa

A visa can either be obtained from the Nepalese Embassy in London or on arrival at Kathmandu airport. Costs are: 30 days – $40 and 90 days – $100. Non UK residents should check with the Nepalese Embassy

Dental check up

We recommend you have a dental check-up before your trip. New fillings can be an issue at altitude if there is an air pocket left in the gap

Money

We recommend you take around $150 onto the mountain in small denominations to tip the Sherpa team. Plus about $250 for any extras along the way, satellite phone calls etc

Travel insurance

Copy of own travel insurance details.  And relevant contact numbers.

We have a partnership with True Traveller and would recommend that you contact them when looking for travel insurance for your trip with 360. However, it is vital that you ensure that the insurance cover they offer is suitable for you, taking your personal circumstances (items to be insured, cancellation cover, medical history) into account. Many other insurance providers are available and we do recommend that you shop around to get the best cover for you on the expedition you are undertaking.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the appropriate insurance for your intended trip.  To include medical evacuation and coverage up to the maximum altitude of this trip.

FAQ's

Food and Water

What is the food like on the mountain?

All meals on the mountain are fresh, nutritious and varied. We try to ensure that dietary preferences are met and that local ingredients are used. You’ll be amazed what can be produced on a kerosene stove!

The underlying aim is to provide balanced, nutritional meals packed with carbohydrates to refuel hungry bodies and to replenish stores for the next day of activity. On top of well balanced meals clients are provided with coffee, tea and snacks on arrival into camp. The morning wake-up call is usually accompanied by a cup of tea or coffee in your tent.

You are invited to bring along any of your favourite snacks and goodie bags from home if you want. Concentrate on high energy food-stuffs to give you that little boost on an arduous day.

I have food allergies, can these be catered for?

Absolutely, please inform the office of any allergies or intolerances and we will ensure that these are taken into account on the trek.

Where does the drinking water come from?

For the first day bottled drinking water will be used. At the higher camps we will use locally sourced drinking water from streams or springs. These are usually fresh being topped up from melt-water above or by rainfall but we also increase their purity by treating the water with purification chemicals and by boiling it. We always ensure that our drinking water is 100% bug free.

How often is fresh water available for replenishing during the day?

Before leaving the tea houses/camp in the morning you will fill your water bottles or camel bladder. If this runs low you will have ample more water to replace it with. For most walking days water can be replenished at the lunchtime site. In Nepal water and soft drinks can be bought at some of the lodges encountered on the route.

Accommodation

How does tent sharing work? And how big are the tents?

Most altitude related symptoms manifest themselves at night. We therefore recommend tent sharing from the onset of all our Mera expeditions. Tent share is always organised according to similar sex and where possible age groups. Obviously if climbing this mountain with a friend or partner then you will be able to share tents and if you’re a group we’ll ask you to make your own arrangements.

If you have joined the team by yourself then it is highly likely that you will be sharing a tent with your pre-assigned room buddy unless prior arrangements have been made. We use high quality 3 man tents to be shared between 2 people to provide extra space for your comfort.

Will the camp be freshly set up or will we be staying at existing camps at a set site on the way up?

Our local camp crew will set up the tents for you each night. We send them ahead of the group to secure the best site and to get the site prepared before you arrive. Bear in mind that these guys are also porters and when our walking days are shorter we might get to camp before them. If this occurs then have a cup of tea in the dining tent and wait for your tents to be ready

Health and Safety

What happens if there is a problem on the mountain?

All our guides are in communication with each other by phone and radio. In the vast majority of cases of emergency rescue the problems can be attributed to slow acclimatisation or altitude and if so the solution is immediate descent to lower altitudes. Our local crew is very experienced in dealing with any problem that may arise. Our guides are either doctors or possess the highest standard of wilderness first aid qualifications and can handle emergencies to the highest level of competency without assistance if necessary.

Am I likely to suffer from altitude sickness on this expedition?

There are different types of altitude sickness. Although our acclimatisation regime ensures that everybody enjoys the best possible chance of getting high on the mountain, altitude related problems can happen. The most common of this is high altitude sickness. (AMS – acute mountain sickness).

Symptoms for this generally include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

In all this sounds quite dramatic but generally this is just the process your body naturally goes through to adjust to the higher altitudes and the reduced partial pressure of the atmosphere. For some people the acclimatisation process is a little longer and harder than others.

For our guides this is all part and parcel of ascending a near 6,500m peak and although we asses each client’s personal situation carefully we also further consider the compounding effects of dehydration brought on by excessive vomiting and continuing headaches.

AMS might sound frightening but our guides are fully trained (and experienced) in helping to relieve your personal symptoms and provide advice on how to best proceed.

What can I do to help prevent AMS?

In most cases AMS can be avoided by following these guidelines:

  • Drink lots of water
  • Walk slowly
  • Stay warm
  • Eat well

We recommend that you familiarise yourself with the various affects that altitude can cause. During your pre-climb briefing, we describe altitude sickness to you in detail, and advise you how to cope with it.

The most important thing is not to fear it, but to respect it and to know how to deal with it and more importantly tell your guides how you feel. Our guides have seen every condition that the mountain produces, and they will always know how to deal with problems.

Is there a risk of getting HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema) and HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema) on the mountain?

HACE and HAPE can occur on Mera and our guides are fully trained in the recognition of the onset of these problems and will deal with them at the first sign of their development.

You advocate taking a small first aid kit, what should it have in it?

We advocate a little bit of self-help on the mountain. If you have a blister developing for example then please stop take of your boot and treat it before it becomes a problem.

Your own first aid kit should contain: A basic blister kit, plasters, sunprotection, your own personal medication (sometimes your porter might get to camp after you and if he is carrying your medication you may not be able to take it according to the regime you are used to), basic pain relief (aspirin and Ibuprofen), a personal course of antibiotics if prone to illness. Foot powder in your socks every morning is great for preventing blisters.

Generally the best approach to take when packing your first aid kit is to include such basic medications as if you would on a family or personal holiday.

Your 360 expedition leader and / or a local porter (we call the ambulance man!) carries a very comprehensive first aid kit which contains a wide range of supplies and medications. They are fully trained to use whatever is needed for any emergency that may arise. We advocate keeping this in mind when packing your own first aid supplies and keeping your own FA kit as compact and light as possible.

What vaccinations do I need?

The following vaccinations are recommended:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Typhoid
  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Polio

This list is not absolute and it is important you should see your GP Surgery or travel clinic for latest recommendations and to ensure you are up to date on necessary vaccinations.

What happens if I need to leave the expedition early?

If a climber needs to leave early arrangements can be made with the assistance of your 360 Guide. Additional costs (transport, hotels, flights etc.) will be incurred by the climber but our guides will be able to assist in every detail of your departure.

Kit

What clothing should I wear on the mountain?

We advocate the beg, steal and borrow principle for first timers: instead of buying brand new stuff that may never get used again. The cost of equipment is usually a major deterrent for people coming onto trips in the first place.

Our guides usually start the trek wearing long, lightweight trekking trousers and wicker (non-cotton) shirts. Long trousers are recommended as a deterrent to insects, stinging plants and to act as sun protection. Shorts can also be worn on the initial few days of the trek as the temperature is usually warm. Ensure that you apply sun protection frequently. Sunglasses are worn for most of the trek in as well as suitable sun-hats.

The prevailing conditions on the trek will dictate what you will wear: if it is cold when you leave the camp in the morning then wear your fleece. As things warm up take advantage of the zipper system which most trekking clothing have and open and /or close the zips to adjust to your own preferred temperature. If you get too warm then take a layer off.

Waterproofs are needed on hand at all times. Mera is a huge mountain that creates its own weather system. It is not unusual to be caught out in an afternoon rainstorm low down on the trek.

Waterproofs should be Gortex material or similar. Over the top of your clothing you will wear a climbing harness and you will be attached to a rope when on high passes/summit day.

What do your guides wear on summit day?

On summit day it gets cold and temps of -20 C are not unusual.

Typically our guides wear 2 sets of base layers (long Johns), a thick fleece layer (top and bottom) and then on the legs waterproofs whilst on the upper torso a down jacket is worn. As the wind picks up near the summit ridge our guides will put on their wind proof layer to ward off the wind-chill. On their hands they’ll wear a thin layer of fleece working gloves over the top of which a thicker set of ski gloves or mittens is worn. Their heads are covered by a thermal “beanie” hat or a thick balaclava and the hood of their down jackets. On their feet the guides wear one thin sock and one thick sock.

On summit day our guides wear snow goggles. They also use waterproofs as an invaluable wind shield to protect themselves against the effect of wind-chill when a strong wind blows.

What is the best type of footwear to use?

Plastic boots are essential to climb 6,000m peaks. However you will only be using your plastic boots for the mountain phase of this trek. You will not be wearing them on the trek to the base camp. These should be a double boot with a soft inner and hard plastic shell, the basic model would be Scarpa Vega’s or La Sportiva Spantiks. Temperatures high on the mountain are usually well below -20 and only plastic boots can withstand such conditions.

Ensure that you have tried the boots on before you leave home and that you can wear a thin and a thick pair of socks in them and still be able to wriggle your toes.

Because of the huge variety of terrain encountered on the trekking phase it is very important to wear the right footwear. Trekking boots should be sturdy, waterproof, insulated against cold temperatures and offer adequate ankle support.

In addition it is highly recommended that your boots are well worn in to prevent the formation of blisters. A range of suitable boots are on the market and further advice as to which brand names are available can be found online or at your local gear store.

Crampons are worn for the majority of the time you are on the glacier and for the actual summit day itself. Your crampons should preferably be of the easy “heel clip” variety (rather than the strap systems which are fiddly). It is not necessary to use specialist technical climbing crampons as standard 12 point all round crampons such as those from Grivel will do the job very well.

What should I carry inside my daysack?

A daysack is worn by the climber at all times during the trek. The content of this is mandatory and should include: a fleece (for when taking breaks or weather changes) a full set (top and bottom) of waterproofs, sufficient water for the day, snacks, camera, personal medication and a head torch. Your day-to-day rucksack should weigh no more than 3 – 4kg and a rucksack of around 30 – 40 L capacity will more than suffice.

This rucksack can be filled to the brim with extra stuff when you check in at the airport. Our guides put their down jackets or a thick fleece and a pair of mountain socks in this bag to free up space in their hold luggage. It is important that your day sack has an adjustable waist belt to transfer the weight of your daily load onto your hips and from here onto your legs so that strongest muscles do most of the carrying. Another handy feature would be a compartment in which to fit a platypus or water bladder. Our main luggage will be carried from camp to camp by porters. Our initial check in luggage should be around 22kg but limited to 15kg for the flight to Lukla.

What will happen to my mountain hardware during the climb?

All the mountain hardware (plastics, crampons, ice axes, ropes and snow stakes etc.) are brought directly to the camp by porters and placed in separate bags when we reach Lukla. We will not see this equipment again until we reach the base camp.

What do the porters carry? What is the correct porter weight?

Your porter bags should be off a soft material “duffel bag” or rucksack variety and should not be a suitcase or hard bodied metal case. Furthermore they should weigh around 15 kg when packed for the trekking phase of the expedition. On all our Mera peak treks we have found this weight to be ample and usually everybody can plan to take only enough clothes and equipment needed for the mountain.

Please bear in mind that on top of your load, porters will also have to carry a share of the food, kitchen equipment, camping equipment and their own survival gear. Inside the porter bag should be a change of clothing, your clothing for higher up the mountain, a sleeping mat (thermarest), sleeping bag, personal toiletries etc. (see equipment/clothing list). Also take a pair of light shoes to wear at camp at night (crocs/trainers) and consider bringing a book or playing cards.

Are down jackets necessary?

They are highly recommended and are worth their weight in gold on summit day. Our guides wear them every evening from the first camp up. A layer system comprising of several base layers, fleeces, jumpers and a thick jacket will suffice on most summit nights but nothing beats the efficiency of a good down jacket (especially when topped with a waterproof layer).

How warm does my sleeping bag need to be?

Sleeping bags should be rated within the -20 C comfort zone. From the first camp upwards it is not unusual to experience frosty nights and a good night’s sleep is important to giving you the best chance to climb this mountain. Ensure you get a sleeping bag that has this temperature rating at this comfort zone rather than as its extreme zone.

Our guides take sleeping bags rated to well below -20C to ensure that they are warm at night. A 3 – 4 season sleeping bag can be enhanced by using an inner silk or fleece bag (or similar). The idea is to be as comfortable and warm as possible for the night and henceforth to ensure plenty of sleep for the arduous days ahead. Some clients have found the use of a “Bivouac bag” to increase the warmth of their bag.

It is important to remember that down sleeping bags work by your own body heating the down that’s inside the bag. Once you have warmed up the bag the down will retain the heat and ensure that you sleep at a temperature that’s your own body temperature. For best results it is best to wear as little as possible when inside your sleeping bag. Our guides will often only wear a set of thermals in their bag. It is important for the bag to trap the heat. By wearing multiple layers of clothing your clothing will trap this heat and your bag will not function properly.

What gear will I need?

Please review the equipment list. While all items are required there may be times when some of the items on the gear list may not be used (such as warm weather or changing conditions). The gear lists are created by the guides to ensure climbers be prepared to summit in any conditions.

Is it possible to rent equipment before I go?

It is possible from our local ground crew but we advocate the use of personal equipment whenever possible. This is particular important for the use of boots and high altitude clothing. It is also possible to hire clothing and equipment from our partners Outdoor Hire (www.outdoorhire. co.uk) where 360 Expeditions has a Mera Peak kit list set up and you can pick and choose hire items from this. Kit can also be hired in Kathmandu with sufficient advance notice.

What clothing is suitable for when we come back from the mountain?

Casual dress is recommended for Kathmandu. Daytime temperatures are usually warm and shorts and t-shirts are fine. Evenings are generally cooler and a light fleece is recommended. A bag containing fresh clothes can be left in hotel storage ready for your return.

Do we need a travel adaptor for the plug sockets in the hotel or are they the same as UK?

220 Volts / 50 Hertz Nepal uses both round 2 pin and round 3 pin plugs, an adaptor can be purchased at the airport if you’ve forgotten it.

The Climb

What is the skill level of this climb?

While technical skills are not necessary, it is strongly recommended that climbers have a basic grounding in the use of crampons and ice axes. Although billed as Nepal’s highest trekking peak the nature of this expedition is more akin to a mountaineering expedition than a trekking holiday. The mountain is covered in snow and quite a lot of time is spent climbing a glacier.

How fit do I need to be for this expedition?

Climbers are expected to be in good physical condition. The better your physical shape the more you will be able to handle the demands of trekking to the base camp and then climbing the peak. Having a good level of fitness will allow you to enjoy the expedition all the better and increase your chances of reaching the summit. Summit day can be up to 12 hours long.

Any tips on how a climber can maximise their chances of success?

The 360 training programs have been devised to be expedition specific. Use these as a guide but also feel free to contact us for individual advice on how to best incorporate the best suitable fitness program with your own lifestyle.

The idea is to increase the intensity of the exercise over 4 to 6 months before you leave for the expedition. Concentrate on cardiovascular work-outs during the initial weeks by taking short runs when time allows and try to spend at least 2 weekends a month going on long duration walks (longer than 6 hrs) carrying a rucksack of around 10kg. As you get stronger increase this rate of exercise and the duration by walking every weekend and running 5km every second day.

A focused regime will not only prepare your body for carrying minor loads but will harden your body against the big days on the mountain itself. In addition the weekend walks will help break in your boots and get you used to your equipment. In combination this will pay dividends when you reach Mera Peak because even though you can’t train for altitude your body will be ready for arduous days and you will be familiar with how to best use your equipment.

What is the guiding team composed of? How many guides? Climber to guide ratio?

Our 360 guides are some of the most experienced in the business. They spend many months a year climbing and trekking in Nepal and have established a close rapport with our ground crew.

Most trips have a 3:1 ratio. Our 6 person teams depart with one 360 expedition guide. This ratio includes local crew (climbing Sherpas). Generally, your 360 leader will be in charge of the expedition and he/she will be assisted by the local guides. For the actual mountain phase (as opposed to the trekking phase) we adhere to the 3:1 ratio to allow us to look after you properly.

How out of my comfort zone will I be?

On a day to day level remember that you will be camping at altitude. You are likely to be cold, washing and toilet facilities will be limited, your appetite may be affected by the altitude and as you get higher on the trek you are likely to suffer shortness of breath and many people experience difficulty sleeping. Remember that everyone on the trek is likely to be experiencing exactly the same symptoms, physical and mental.

Where do I meet my Leader?

Your guide will generally meet you at the airport. At the check-in desk look for someone wearing a 360 logo.

How many climbers are on this expedition?

Rarely more than 12. Typically a group has between 6 to 8 climbers.

Can I contact the others on the climb? How about the guide?

You can always call our offices and one of our guides will contact you to discuss any aspects of the expedition. Generally about 1 month before your trip departure we mail a list of other team members to you.

The Weather

What is the best time of year to climb in Nepal?

The best time to climb the Nepali 6,000m Peak is March to May and September to November. The later time frame is generally clear but colder with snow conditions more stable. The usual weather patterns which came with great predictability are changing however and it is not unusual to experience short spells of warm weather which is unprecedented.

How cold can it get?

The temperature at the top of the mountain can vary widely. Sometimes it is only a degree or two below freezing, but climbers should be prepared for possible temperatures as low as minus 25 degrees Celsius, especially in conjunction with wind chill.

On the trek expect cold mornings (sometimes frosty). An afternoon rainstorm is not unusual at the lower altitudes.

Travel

Do I need to book my own flights to Nepal?

360 Expeditions will be booking flights on your behalf. We provide confirmation of flight times and departure terminal approximately eight weeks before your departure date. Please be aware that flight schedules are subject to change. Please ensure that you have checked flight details before setting out for your flight.

What if I arrive early or depart late? Can you arrange extra night lodging? Is there a single room option for this expedition?

We are happy to make any arrangements scheduled outside of the trek dates: these may include personalised tours, extra hotels rooms, private airport pick-ups or arranging private rooms. Please indicate that your requirements on your booking form and we will contact you with the relevant arrangements.

Insurance

Do I need special travel insurance for the trek?

You must carry individual travel insurance to take part in the trek. We cannot take you on the mountain without proof of insurance.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the appropriate insurance for your intended trip.  To include medical evacuation and coverage up to the maximum altitude of this trip.

Your insurance details are requested on the booking form, however this can be arranged at a later date. 360 Expeditions will be requesting your insurance details 8 weeks before your departure.

Entry into Country

My passport runs out 3 months after the trek, is this OK?

Your passport should be valid for 6 months after the date the trek starts. If it runs out before you may be refused entry. It is also advisable to have a couple of photocopies of your passport in case of loss

Do I need a visa for Nepal?

All foreign nationals need visas. They are easily obtained at the airport and cost $40. We recommend that you contact your nearest Nepali embassy to avoid queuing, unnecessary delays and potential clearance problems:

Embassy of Nepal

12A Kensington Gardens

London W8 4QU

Tel: 0207 229 1594/0207 229 6231

http://www.nepembassy.org.uk/visa.php

Finance

When is the money due for this expedition? What kind of payment do you accept?

Generally speaking deposits are due upon booking to secure your place as we need to book the international flights well in advance. The full amount should be paid 4 months prior to departure. However having said this our aim is to get you to the top of this mountain and we understand that everyone’s personal financial situations can vary.

Please contact our friendly office crew to discuss a suitable payment plan should you find raising the funds to be difficult. We have been in your shoes and go by the motto of where there’s a will there’s a way.

What is your cancellation and refund policy?

Please read our terms and conditions careful before you depart. 360 Expeditions highly recommends trip cancellation insurance for all expeditions. Due to the nature and heavy costs of government and operator permits we must adhere to a stringent refund policy.

How much do we tip our local crew?

Our local crew work extremely hard to ensure that your expedition runs well. Although tipping is not compulsory once someone sees how hard the crew works and realises the minimal amount of money they get paid relative to us, tipping will seem the least they can do to say thank you. As a general rule we suggest around $160 per client for the entire local crew to be shared amongst them. For the leader this is your call.

Money: am I correct in thinking we only need to take US Dollars with us?

US dollars are readily recognised and are easily converted to the local currency. Upon arrival there will always be a bureau de change at the airport. These provide a better rate of exchange than your hotel. Buying gifts or small goods such as drinks or snacks with small denomination US dollars is not a problem. Getting change for a $20 bill when buying a $1 coke will be a problem. Larger bills are good for tipping your porters at the end of the expedition and a sufficient amount should be carried with you. Your 360 leader will remind you in the pre-expedition brief of the correct amount to take on the trip with you.

What additional spending money will we need?

The amount of money you will need depends on how many presents you wish to buy or how much you have to drink when you come off the hill. As a basic rule of thumb $250 should be more than adequate for any post expedition spending.

Nepal is a relatively cheap place and when indulging in the local custom of haggling goods can be bought for very good value for money. Your 360 leader will be happy to point out the relative bargains and the suitable prices and where to get the best value for money. The only cash you’ll need to consider taking with you on the mountain is the local crew tips which are presented to them before we leave Lukla (see above) and for any additional snacks and soft drinks you wish to purchase from the Lodges encountered en route. Additional supplies can be quite expensive though as all this is brought in by porters.

Electronics

Will I be able to charge a camera or phone on the trek?

Opportunities to charge your batteries may be limited. If you can get hold of a solar battery charger this is probably the best option. Also make sure that you keep your spare batteries warm i.e. by keeping them near your body day and night.

Is there mobile phone reception on the trek?

In Nepal, telephones and internet access are readily available in town. Our guides carry satellite phones in the mountains. The quality of the reception varies from location to location but is generally poor on the trek.

I will definitely use 360 again in the future and recommend you to my similarly intrepid friends.

Denise Irving, Mera Peak, 2011
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