View Treks and Heli Tours in the Everest Region

Mount Mera: The Easiest Mountain to Climb in Nepal

Mount Mera, also popularly known as Mera Peak, is one of the highest trekking peaks in Nepal. Standing at 6,476 meters / 21,246 ft, Mount Mera is higher than five of the seven summits. However, here is a little secret. The route to its summit is pretty straightforward, and practically zero technical skills are required to stand on its summit!

Summit View from Mount Mera

By Michael Toepfer – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17333168

Located to the southeast of the Everest Region, Mount Mera has three main summits: Mera North (6476 m), Mera Central (6461 m), and Mera South (6065 m). And the view from the summit of either of the peaks is truly breathtaking. In the beautiful 360-degree panoramic view are 5 eight-thousanders: Mount Everest (8848 m), Kanchenjunga (8586 m), Lhotse (8516 m), Makalu (8485 m), and Cho Oyu (8201 m). In addition to those big boys, numerous other peaks will dot the view when you are up there. 

Click here for a full view of the image above.

Why climb Mount Mera?

Image Source: Refuge Mera Lodge
  • Mount Mera provides an opportunity for trekkers and climbers who dream of standing on a Himalayan summit but don’t have the time required for extensive training.
  • Mera Peak is one of the best viewpoints in Nepal. As we showed earlier, it offers one of the best views money can’t buy.
  • The trek to Khare, the last spot with hotels, offers one of the best trekking experiences we have had. It’s like each day has its own theme. Starting with a cultural experience on the first day, we experience rhododendron trail, high altitude lakes, beautiful coniferous forests, alpine pastures, glacier walk, climbing training, mountain summit, high pass to Lukla, and finally flight from Lukla on each successive day.
  • It is possible to do this with family members too. The non-climbers can stay back at Khare, and you can then rejoin them after 2 days.

Best Season for Climbing Mount Mera

Image Source: Refuge Mera Lodge

The triumphant ascent of any peak is determined by preparation, planning, climbing skills, health condition, and weather conditions. Of these, the weather is probably the most critical factor at Mera. And in a nutshell, the best time to attempt Mount Mera is during the Spring (March, April, May) or Autumn (September, October, November) season. Also, make sure to have at least 3 buffer days in case of weather-induced delays.

Here are the details:

 

Perks of doing Mount Mera Climb

Drawbacks of doing Mount Mera Climb

High Seasons

Autumn
(September, October, and November)

Spring
(March, April, and May)

Stable and clear weather
The ideal temperature for climbing
Rare chances of rainfall and weather turnaround
The peak time for doing adventure in Nepal
The festive season in Nepal
Season of greenery and blossoming flowers.

Crowded trails because of being the peak season
Hassles while getting packages, tickets, and accommodations

Low Seasons

Summer/ Monsoon (June, July, August)

Winter
(December, January, February)

Empty and peaceful trekking trails
Easy packages, flight tickets, and accommodations
Chances of getting discounts
Addition of adventure because of rainfall in the monsoon
Cool and dry weather in winter with undisturbed mountain views

Unstable weather condition and high chances of rainfall and snowfall
Summer is going to be too hot, and winter is to going be too cold
Slippery and muddy trails
High chances of flight delays and cancellations
Shorter days in winter

How hard is Mount Mera?

Image Source: Refuge Mera Lodge

Mount Mera used to be graded as Alpine Grade F (easy/straightforward) before, but now due to the glacier change in the mountains and steep climb at the final section, it is graded Alpine Grade PD (slightly tricky). As such climbing, Mount Mera is an excellent option for anyone looking forward to high-altitude adventures with moderate or no mountaineering experience. 

Despite the grading, you have to be careful while planning to climb a mountain that is 6,476 meters high. Here are some things you should consider:

The Trek to Khare

Typically, we will not encounter snow and ice up to Khare. If the trail is dry up to this point, it is straightforward, and only trekking poles and approach shoes are required. However, the wet conditions can turn slippery and difficult on steep sections. Prepare with good shoes, physical stamina on inclines, and the usual gear required for trekking.

Altitude Illness

Other than the weather, altitude illness is the most common reason why plans to climb Mount Mera can go wrong. Although Mera requires little or no technical climbing on its regular route, it is still a very high mountain.

As such, understand and learn to prevent AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness), HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema), and (HACE) High altitude Cerebral Edema. Read more about AMS.

Supplemental oxygen, while not required for most people, will always be available in our climbs. If you do not feel right, consider using bottled oxygen. Do not worry about the fact that others are not using it. Everybody reacts differently to the altitude.

Image Source: Refuge Mera Lodge

Technical Skills

The climb to Mera peak is straightforward. The central part of the climb involves walking in a glacier at a fair degree of steepness with the help of crampons and ice axes. The final section of the climb involves an ascent of snow dome at a 50-degree angle using ascender/jumar on a fixed rope if the weather demands it.

We will teach you all the technical skills you will need for Mera during the acclimatization day at Khare.

Physical Fitness and Training

Stamina is also a massive factor for a successful ascent. A physically fit person can easily do this trek with minimum chances of danger if appropriately planned with full acclimatization days. Consider doing a lot of cardio, hikes, and rock faces. If available, training in a hypobaric environment will also be of a lot of help.

How long do we need to climb Mount Mera?

Image Source: Refuge Mera Lodge

There are quite a few itineraries for climbing Mount Mera. If one starts counting days after leaving Kathmandu, the shortest itinerary will take 12 days, while the longest will take 19 days. Needless to say, the 12-day itinerary will cause Acute Mountain Sickness in many people. This means that summit chances are pretty low in that itinerary unless, of course, everyone is well acclimatized through some other trek. We will tell you what we think is ideal for Mera, but before that, let us equip you with some nuance. 

Given that Altitude Related Illnesses are the main factor why summit bids to Mera end in failure, a sensible approach is necessary. Some key points to consider are:

Limit daily ascent to 500 meters.

This ascent schedule is only for altitude above 2,500 meters. While this is not a hard and fast rule, sticking as close as possible to this ascent schedule will keep most people safe. Also, please note that the difference applies to the difference in sleep altitudes and not the highest point reached during the day.

Extra night every 1,000 meter

In most established routes, after an ascent of 1,000 meters, climbers stay an extra night. For example, along the Everest Base Camp Trek, there are two nights at Namche (3,440 meters) and two nights at Dingboche (4,340 m). Again this rule comes in handy when you are traveling over 2,500 meters.

It is also essential to undertake acclimatization hikes to a high altitude spot during the rest days.

Climb high, sleep low.

Whenever possible, the route that goes through high altitude and then comes down to settle for the night at a safer altitude is the best one for acclimatization. This way, your body starts to adjust to the demands of high altitude, but by the time AMS can develop, you are already in a safe zone.

This mantra of ‘Climb High, Sleep Low’ is also the theory behind the acclimatization hikes during rest days.

In this regard let us look at three of the more popular approaches to Mount Mera.

 

  Panggom Route Zatrwa La Route Bung Route
Day 1 Kathmandu (1,400m)
Lukla (2,850 m)
Paiya (2,750 m)
Kathmandu (1,400m)
Lukla (2,850 m)
Kathmandu (1,400m)
Phaplu (2,350 m) – Drive
Sotang (1,700m)
Day 2 Paiya (2,750 m)
Panggom (2,900 m)
Lukla (2,850 m)
Chutanga (3,350 m)
Sotang (1,500m)
Khiraule Gompa (2,600 m)
Day 3 Panggom (2,900 m)
Ningso (2,830 m)
Chutanga (3,350 m)
Zartwala Pass (4,720 m)
Taktho (3,650)
Khiraule Gompa (2,600 m)
Cholem Kharka (3,600 m)
Day 4 Ningso (2,830 m)
Chetra Khola (3,100 m)
Taktho (3,650)
Kothe (3,590 m)
Cholem Kharka (3,600 m)
Panch Pokhari (4,200m)
Day 5 Chetra Khola (3,100 m)
Kothe (3,590 m)
Kothe (3,590 m)
Thagnak (4,275 m)
Panch Pokhari (4,200m)
Kothe (3,590 m)
Day 6 Kothe (3,590 m)
Thagnak (4,275 m)
Thagnak (4,275 m)
Khare (5,045 m)
Kothe (3,590 m)
Thagnak (4,275 m)
Day 7 Thagnak (4,275 m)
Khare (5,045 m)
Khare (5,045 m)
Rest Day
Thagnak (4,275 m)
Khare (5,045 m)
Day 8 Khare (5,045 m)
Rest Day
Khare (5,045 m)
Mera Base Camp (5,300 m)
Khare (5,045 m)
Rest Day
Day 9 Khare (5,045 m)
Mera Base Camp (5,300 m)
Mera Base Camp (5,300 m)
Mera High Camp (5,780 m)
Khare (5,045 m)
Mera Base Camp (5,300 m)
Day 10 Mera Base Camp (5,300 m)
Mera High Camp (5,780 m)
Mera High Camp (5,780 m)
Mera Summit (6,476 m)
Khare (5,045 m)
Mera Base Camp (5,300 m)
Mera High Camp (5,780 m)
Day 11 Mera High Camp (5,780 m)
Mera Summit (6,476 m)
Khare (5,045 m)
Khare (5,045 m)
Kothe (3,590 m)
Mera High Camp (5,780 m)
Mera Summit (6,476 m)
Khare (5,045 m)
Day 12 Khare (5,045 m)
Kothe (3,590 m)
Kothe (3,590 m)
Thuli Kharka (4,200 m)
Khare (5,045 m)
Kothe (3,590 m)
Day 13 Kothe (3,590 m)
Thuli Kharka (4,200 m)
Thuli Kharka (4,200 m)
Zartwala Pass (4,720 m)
Chutanga (3,350 m)
Kothe (3,590 m)
Thuli Kharka (4,200 m)
Day 14 Thuli Kharka (4,200 m)
Zartwala Pass (4,720 m)
Chutanga (3,350 m)
Chutanga (3,350 m)
Lukla (2,850 m)
Thuli Kharka (4,200 m)
Zartwala Pass (4,720 m)
Chutanga (3,350 m)
Day 15 Chutanga (3,350 m)
Lukla (2,850 m)
Lukla (2,850 m)
Kathmandu (1,400m)
Chutanga (3,350 m)
Lukla (2,850 m)
Day 16 Lukla (2,850 m)
Kathmandu (1,400m)
  Lukla (2,850 m)
Kathmandu (1,400m)

And now, let us look at how these routes stack up against the medical advice for high-altitude travel.

 

Panggom Route

Zartwa La Pass Route

Bung Route

Ascent < 500 m

While the ascent doesn’t keep to the 500 m mark, it isn’t too off. Coupled with rest days, these ascents are reasonable.

Day 3 is problematic. While the sleep altitude doesn’t go up by much, climbing straight to 4,720 m after only a night at 3,350 m could lead to problems.

Days 2, 3, and 4 have issues. Especially, days 3 and 4, without a break in between, could cause problems.

Extra night at +1,000m

Day 6 is problematic as there is no extra night at Kothe (3,590 m).

Day 7 is problematic as there is no extra night at Thagnak (4,275 m).

Day 3 isn’t the best. It is better to have a rest day with hikes on this day.

Day 6 is not ideal and it is better to have an extra night at Thagnak.

Rest Days at Cholem Kharka (3,600 m) and Thagnak (4,275 m) are highly recommended.

Climb High

Sleep Low

Day 1-4 doesn’t really help in acclimatization.

If there is an extra night at Chutanga (3,350 m) and Thagnak (4,275 m), the pass will help in acclimatization. 

That walk up to Panch Pokhari (4,200m) will definitely help.

Now the question is, why do so many companies do this? The answer is simple. People just don’t have the time for a 19-day trek. The magic number to increase demand is 15 days, and operators try to bring the number of days close to that.

However, we recommend you think through this and understand that a few extra days is nothing in the grand scheme of things. And if they can help you get the most out of your trek, we think it is worth it. Regardless of who you go with, make sure the itinerary has:

  • Acclimatization stops at Kothe (3,590m), Thagnak (4,275 m), and Khare (5,045 m).
  • A night at Mera Base Camp (5,300 m)

In addition to these, talk to your operators to accommodate an extra night at Khare for weather issues. And then, of course, there is the issue with Lukla flights which you will have to factor in while planning.

We apologize for taking so long to answer such a straightforward question. And we think it is clear to you by now that you should plan for at least 20 days with Mount Mera.

Alternately, what you can do is:

  • Take a jeep to Phaplu (2,350 m) hence knocking off unpredictability associated with Lukla flights.
  • Walk via Chiwang Gompa to Taksindu (3,000 m)
  • Take a heli to Kothe (3,590 m) and stay there two nights. Remember, helicopters are more predictable than flights.
  • Follow the usual route from there on with an extra night at Thagnak (4,275 m) and Khare (5,045 m).

This could be one way you can shave off a few days without compromising on safety. Even if you stay 3 nights at Khare, which we recommend, you can still climb in 17 days if you decide to go this way.

It is also worth noting that all operators use the services of the climbing team at Khare for the summit bid. No one carries their own equipment. Hence, it is possible to trek to Khare privately and then join one of the groups there.

Other Attractions around Mount Mera

Image Source: Refuge Mera Lodge

Skiing down Mera

Increasingly, Mount Mera has started attracting travelers who are interested in skiing there. And a lot of lodges at Khare provide skiing services and equipment for it now.

Makalu Barun National Park

The trail you will be walking on sees very few people a year and is protected through the Makalu Barun National Park. As such, you will enjoy the untouched wilderness with a variety of mammals, birds, flowers, and butterflies.

Khiraule Gompa

Khiraule Gompa, also known as Ngonga Thekchhok Chholing Monastery, was established in Khiraule village of Solukhumbu in 1738. It is one of the prehistoric monasteries in Solukhumbu. It is highly appreciated by visitors because of its mesmerizing and unique external design. The monastery, surrounded by the tall pine trees, which are rarely found in Nepal, is believed to be brought from Darjeeling more than 200 years ago by its patrons. You will see this monastery if you take the Bung route via the eastern ridges of the Hinku River.

Thangnak Gompa

When we reach Thangnak during the Mount Mera trek, we will get a chance to explore Dukffuk Monastery. Dukffuk Monastery means “Dragon Cave Monastery” in Tibetan. Here we can see the dragon head symbol inside the monastery and the tail outside. According to Buddhist legend years back, that monastery deity statue was transferred from Kongmading. They stay in the cave overnight, then the next day, they can not carry that deity statue again. After that, nomads started to pray for the deity statue. Then local people built a monastery at that place. Here we can see the map of Mount Mera in natural stone.

Image Source: Refuge Mera Lodge

Tama Pokhari

Tama Pokhari is a glacial Lake located on the way to Khare while doing the Mount Mera trek. In the local Sherpa Language, Tama Pokhari is known as “Sabai Taho,” which means “Copper Hidden Lake.” According to the locals, people used to hide their property like copper, brass, etc., in that Lake. So the name of the pond is given as Tama Pokhari in the Nepali language.

Zatrwa La Pass

Zatrwa La Pass is at an elevation of 4600 meters. From here, we will get to see lovely views of Numbur Himal, Kusum Kanguru, Mt. Cho Oyu, Kongde Peak, and the three peaks of Mount Mera. The trail goes through the rhododendron/pine forest and alpine pastures.

Tips for Mount Mera Climbing

Image Source: Refuge Mera Lodge

Gather experience

The first important tip for climbing Mount Mera is to gather experience of high-altitude trips. You will need to spend numerous nights above 5000m, making it harder for trekkers without a high-altitude trek experience. While the peak doesn’t need technical climbing experience, having previous high altitude trek experience (5000m) is exceptionally beneficial for Mount Mera.

Physical Training

Mount Mera is not just about the 2-3 days climbing to the summit but also involves weeks-long trekking. However, every day you need to walk for 6 hrs. on average. Train yourself by going on a walk, hike, gym, etc.

Be mentally prepared

If you are not mentally prepared, all your hard work and training will go to waste. Be prepared to tackle severe weather, strenuous walks, cold and sleepless nights. When trekking in a remote area, always hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

PC: Refuge Mera Lodge

Do not plan too tight.

Make sure you have extra days to accommodate flight delays, weather issues, and of course, a second summit bit if needed.

Find a trusted guide and company.

Climbing over 6000m peak is an arduous task, and it requires more effort, arrangements, planning, and trusted guides. Despite having previous experience and training, many trekkers have not reached Mount Mera due to unqualified guides and improper arrangements. Go with a trusted and reputed company that has qualified guides and experience in leading these climbing adventures.

Get the proper clothing and equipment.

Proper clothing and equipment are essential to any high-altitude trip. Your whole trip could end miserably if you don’t have suitable clothing and gear. That is why every trekker needs complete climbing gear for Mount Mera, and it’s always advisable to get every gear checked and packed. Or you can rent it from Khare, which is the last teahouse spot before Mount Mera ascent.

Do a climbing course before the summit.

Before going for the summit push, do an introductory climbing course at Khare. Schedule one day to learn the techniques and skills required for the climb and acclimatization.

Maintain personal health and hygiene

Mount Mera is a trek into the beautiful and remote Hinku valley; with little or no health post on the way, maintaining personal health and hygiene is very important. While we will have a first aid kit, make sure to carry some stuff for chaffing, blisters, and pre-existing medical conditions.

Mera Peak Permit Cost

Seasons

Permit Cost

Spring (March, April, and May)

USD.250 per person

Autumn (September, October, and November)

USD.125 per person

Winter (December to February)

USD.70 per person

Summer (June – August)

USD.70 per person

For more detailed information about permit costs of different peaks, you can go through the Nepal Mountaineering Association link.

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HoneyGuide Staff

This post was created by an internal staff writer.

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