After trekking and climbing for a number of years, I wanted to do something more challenging and opted to climb Mera Peak a 6476m peak in the Himalayas. However it is a non technical climb, it does require determination and endurance as one would be climbing in extreme cold temperatures upto -15C and at high altitude. I had organized a solo trek and climb to Mera Peak starting and ending at Phaplu.
The trek was organized by Himal Tamang from Visit Himalaya Treks and it is my second trip through them. They are highly professional in their approach and I intend to book my next expedition through them when I visit Nepal next.
The drive from Kathmandu took around 10 hours and we arrived Phaplu by 5pm in the evening. From Phalpu upto Khare, accommodation was in basic lodges. Some of them had wifi which was kind of convenient to call back home and let everyone know that things are okay.
Beyond Khare, accommodation was in tents, 2 days at Mera La and one day at high camp at an altitude of around 5850m.
Below is the complete 29 day program we followed staying at various teahouses upto Khare and camping beyond Khare.
Phaplu-Nunthala-Panggom-Gaikharka-Najing-Cholem Kharka-Khola Kharka-Kote-Thangnak-Khare-Mera La-High Camp-Summit-Khare-Kote-Khola Kharka-Najing-Sibuche-Khari Khola-Taksindu-Phaplu
We stayed 2 days at Mera La which is around 5400m in altitude and then one night at High Camp. From Mera La to High Camp was not a very long day, took around 4 hours. We were supposed to climb next day early morning. I set my alarm to wake up at 2:15am. Sleeping here was a challenge however I did not face any major health issues as I was fully acclimatized. My rucksack was prepared the night before so just had to put on my climbing boots and crampons and was ready to go.
There were alot of other climbers attempting the summit. A few had turned back half way. It was quite cold and and had to stop a few times to warm up my hands as my fingers felt like they would be frost bitten. Ascending was no problem other than cold fingers. A couple of hours before reaching the summit, we saw the most amazing sunset ever and wanted to photograph it but knowing how cold it was, I decided to pass on this and just focus on getting to the summit.
Once on the summit, we had a brief celebration and took some photos before descending. The summit was simply a walk up, the last section of the climb was a bit steep but nothing very technical. Descending this steep section was also not a problem but once descending on not so steep ground, I was experiencing a lot of pain in my toes. This was because the double mountain boots were not the correct size as one would need to have a half size or one size bigger than what they normally wear.
In my case, I would have to have invested in either a UK size 7 or 7.5 for the boots to be comfortable not only in ascent but also during descent. Due to the pain, I had to walk down at a very slow speed which took more time reaching High Camp and then from there back to crampon point just before Mera La which is current basecamp of Mera Peak. These boots are very warm, to climb upto 7000m in the Himalayas but they are slightly heavy compared to newer double mountain boots. The only issue was incorrect sizing.
I was just wanting to take off the boots and wear my other trekking shoes but not possible in deep snow. However once at crampon point, I quickly changed shoes and rested for a while before heading back to Khare. But by this time, I did get some comfort but from Crampon point until Khare was a rocky section which we had to cross and not good feeling hitting my toes against the rocks a number of times. We arrived back to Khare at around 4:30pm. It had been a very long and exhaustive day.
Anyhow a few days later, I noticed there was a watery discharge from the big toe since the nail was damaged. This was quite painful even walking on simple ground. On arriving at Sibuche village, there was a health centre where some ointment was provided and this sort of helped reduce the swelling and pain. Anyhow once back home, the big nail was slowly becoming loose and was just held on at it’s base. Here is an image of the nail completely removed with new nail growth.
Update: The Boreal G1 Lite boots were purchased through the Adventure Peaks website and they were kind enough to exchange the boots. I decided to go for the La Sportiva Spantik which is a much warmer double boot and has a better lacing system compared to Boreal G1 Lite. I had to go for the size 8 as the size 7’s were also proving to be too tight on the toes.