how difficult is mera peak

How difficult is Mera Peak Climb?

Mera peak is the highest permitted trekking peak in Nepal standing tall at 6,461m/21,193ft above sea level. The label “trekking peak” may mislead and may provide misconception of being the climb relatively easier but the climb should not be underestimated, Mera peak climb is hard and it poses a real challenge. Find out how difficult is Mera peak climb, alpine grade, climbing route and other factors involved in climbing Mera peak. 

Mountain Overview:
Mountain: Mera Peak
Altitude: 6,461m/21,193ft at the summit
Route: Mera Glacier
Climbing days: 3 days from base camp to base camp
Co-ordinates: Nepal (27 42 00 N 86 52 00 E)

Mera peak difficulty

Climbing Mera peak itself is not very technical and doesn’t consist of a steep technical climb but the high altitude reaching 6461m at the summit makes this a challenging climb. Unlike other trekking peaks in Nepal, the climb to Mera peak is straightforward. The majority of the climb involves walking in a glacier at a relatively fair degree of steepness with the use of crampons and ice axe. The final section of the climb involves an ascent of snow dome at a 5o degree angle with the use of ascender/jumar on a fixed rope. 

Mera peak climb

Mera peak climb difficulty alpine grade

Mera peak is graded as Alpine Grade PD in the alpine grading system, meaning some technical climbing and complicated glaciers are involved making it a challenging climb. Mera peak used to be graded as Alpine Grade F (easy/straightforward) but now due to the glacier change and the final section of the steep technical climb involved it is graded Alpine Grade PD (slightly difficult). 

Altitude

High altitude is the main factor while climbing Mera peak and most climbers turn back from the summit due to altitude-related illness. At 6461m, the oxygen is around 47% and climbers attempt without the use of supplementary oxygen which makes Mera peak climb a real challenge. Climbing any 6000m peak possesses difficulties and hazards and one should be prepared and trained properly. The risk involved in the climb can be mitigated if allowed a well-devised itinerary, proper acclimatization, contingency day and training.

We recommend you not to restrict your itinerary as this can lead to rapid gain in altitude. Follow a long and careful approach to the mountain allowing more time to adapt your body with the increasing altitude. 

Approach

From Lukla, there are several routes to reach Mera peak. The shortest and widely used route follows through Zatrwa La pass 4600m. This approach involves crossing a pass at 4600m on the 2nd day of the trek, exposing climbers to high altitudes without proper acclimatization. Many climbers feel sick and exhausted by the time they reach Khare. 

Another approach follows a longer route through the less trodden villages such as Pangoma, Chungbu Kharka, Chalem Kharka. This helps a lot in the acclimatization process. We have seen a huge increase in the success ratio following this longer route. With this longer itinerary, the total duration will be increased by 2-3 days but this will greatly benefit and also increase the chances of summiting Mera peak. 

Mera peak climbing route

route to Mera Peak summit

Mera peak climbing route follows through the Mera glacier. The route consists of snow and ice slopes up to 40 degrees and this can add to longer duration tread at high altitudes. Over the years, the glaciers have become more complex and dangerous in the Himalayas due to climate change and this has affected the Mera glacier too. At certain sections, scrambling is harder and climbers are required to belay and descent may involve rappelling. 

From Khare (5045m), do not head up straight to Mera high camp (5800m). Spend a night in between at Mera La (5415m). At 5000m level, restricting huge altitude gain is crucial. From Khare to Mera high camp, the total elevation gain is 800m which is hard for most climbers. Spending a night at Mera La helps prevent altitude sickness, tiredness and increases the summit chances greatly. 

From our own experience, many climbers who head up straight to Mera high camp from Khare are turned back due to tiredness and altitude sickness. Whereas, those climbers who stayed overnight at Mera La has a greater success ratio.  

Mera Peak Central and North Summit

Mera peak has two summits as classified by the Nepal Mountaineering Association, Mera Central and Mera North. Both central and north are recognised as the summit of Mera Peak. 

Mera peak central summit 6,461m is attempted by most groups and is accessed by taking a higher line to the eastern summit, with its steep last 20m or so. Mera peak climb offered by every outfitter is the climb of Mera Peak Central. 

Mera north summit 6,476m can be reached by a drop and traverse, beyond many people by this stage, or by initially taking a more westerly lower line out of the high camp for a steep haul to the summit. 

Summit day on Mera peak

The most important and the highlight of the entire trip is the summit day. The day when you finally get to stand on top of the highest trekking peak in Nepal, enjoying the panoramic view of five 8000m mountains and several other peaks spread throughout. 

Your summit push will begin at 0200-0400 hrs depending on your performance. From Mera high camp to the Mera summit, it’s a total of 661m climb. The time to reach the summit will depend on your performance but on average it should take around 4-5 hrs with rest stops. As the sun rises and dawn breaks, the summit becomes visible.

The early start for summit push is to reach the summit in the early morning and be back at Khare by afternoon. The weather remains clear and warm in the morning relatively. The afternoon brings poor weather and high wind making it harder to navigate in the glacier while descending. 

The summit push is a relatively straightforward walk with the use of crampons, ice-axe and man rope. The route to the summit of Mera rarely exceeds the angle of 30-40 degrees but the final pitch involves a 30-metre ascent of a 50° snow dome, demanding climbers the use of jumar/ascender in a fixed rope depending on the snow condition. Summit day can be as long as 10-12 hrs.

Experience required to climb Mera peak

Previous experience of trekking at high altitudes is beneficial and recommend before signing up for the Mera peak climb. Anyone who has done Everest base camp trek or Kilimanjaro trek can find themselves fit for the climb. Technical climbing is not involved very much on Mera peak climb thus having done a high altitude trek previously will be good.

A few days introductory course on mountaineering skills will be highly beneficial. However, most guides offer a climbing course at Khare before the actual climb so you can learn the basic mountaineering skills required for the climb during the trip itself. 

Anyone who wants to bag their first Himalayan climb or want to have a mountaineering experience with little to moderate climbing experience can attempt Mera. You also need to have a good physical level as the journey will take you to some of the remote parts of the world under extreme conditions. 

Read our top 10 tips for Mera Peak which will give you an idea of what to expect and how to prepare.

Ascent Profile

Day 01 – Arrival in Kathmandu [1,350m/4,430ft]

Day 02 – In Kathmandu for trek/climb preparation [1,350m/4,430ft]

Day 03 – Fly to Lukla and trek to Poiyan [2,800m/9,184ft]

Day 04 – Trek to Pangoma [2,850m/9,348ft]

Day 05 – Trek to Nashing Dingma [2,600m/8,502ft]

Day 06 – Cross Surke La [3,030m/9,940ft] and trek to Chalem Kharka [3,550m/11,645ft]

Day 07 – Trek to Chungbu Kharka [4,200m/13,776ft]

Day 08 – Rest and acclimatization day

Day 09 – Trek to Khote [3,600m/11,808ft]

Day 10 – Trek to Thaknag [4,356m/14,292ft]

Day 11 – Rest and Acclimatization day [4,356m/14,292ft]

Day 12 – Trek to Khare [5,045m/16,552ft]

Day 13 – Pre Climb training [5,045m/16,552ft]

Day 14 – Trek to Mera La [5,415m/17,765ft]

Day 15 – Trek to High Camp [5,800m/19,029ft]

Day 16 – Summit Mera Peak [6,476m/21,247ft] and trek to Khare [5,045m/16,552ft]

Day 17 – Contingency day

Day 18 – Trek to Khothe [3,600m/11,812ft]

Day 19 – Trek to Thulikharka [4,320m/14,174ft]

Day 20 – Trek to Lukla [2,800m/9187ft]

Day 21 – Fly back to Kathmandu [1,350m/4,430ft]

Day 22 – Free day in Kathmandu [1,350m/4,430ft]

Day 23 – International departure

Weather on Mera

The temperature on Mera can drop as low as -20 degrees celsius during the summit days.   

The best season to climb Mera are Spring (Apr-May) and Autumn (Oct-Nov) 

Mera Peak Altitude Chart

altitude chart of Mera Peak climbing

If you see yourself fit for the climb, get in touch with us. We offer guided climb to Mera peak every season using the best itinerary, guides and safety measures.  

About Author

Passang is a managing director and national mountain leader at Highland Expeditions. With over 8 years of experience as an Operation Manager prior to founding Highland Expeditions, he has acquired sound knowledge about the local tourism in Nepal and the Himalayas. To add credit, he has also operated many treks and climbs successfully ensuring the safety priority and service paramount.

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