Mera Peak is one of the most alluring trekking peaks in Nepal as it involves a culturally stimulating journey through remote picturesque villages and forests—followed by a moderate climb to the summit. It is perhaps best known because it is Nepal’s highest trekking peak.
The Himalayas are getting attention. The media frenzy around Mount Everest seems to build in intensity every year, and the trek to Everest Base Camp is now available on Google Earth. But even as the spotlight shines ever-brighter on Everest, many trekkers and climbers remain unaware of other accessible climbing options in the Himalaya.
Mera Peak is less than 20 miles due east of Everest, but because it is nestled in the Makalu-Barun National Park, it receives only a fraction of the attention. At 6,476 meters, it’s classified as a trekking peak, and the climb is so straightforward that for guided clients, no previous experience is necessary.
For most climbers the trip begins in Kathmandu, where teams can make final preparations, organize gear, and explore the ancient city. When the weather allows, they catch a tiny plane into the town of Lukla, which is nestled at the base of the Khumbu Valley—the entrance to the Himalaya.
From Lukla, climbers were historically faced with three options to gain access into the Hinku Valley: cross the high-altitude Zwatra La Pass (which can be challenging early in the trip, before climbers have acclimatized fully), approach by helicopter (which until very recently have been hard to find and very expensive), or take a circuitous route that wanders far to the south (which makes the trip quite long). Today most climbers opt to take a helicopter across the pass, which saves time and lets teams focus on a gradual acclimatization trek up the beautiful upper Hinku Valley.
As climbing teams make their way up the valley, they trek through the two tiny towns of Khote and Thagnak. Lush rhododendron forests, shy herds of mountain goats, and glacial rivers dot the trail. After a week, give or take, teams reach Khare, a tiny mountain village at the very base of Mera Peak.
In Khare, most climbers refresh their skills with crampons, ice axes, and ropes, which can be necessary to move up the mountain. High camp is nestled in a sheltered spot on the breathtaking Mera La Pass (5,415 meters), and climbers typically spend one night enjoying the view before making an early morning alpine start to the climb.
The climb itself is a straightforward glacier walk, and most teams hope to be approaching the summit pyramid sometime in the mid-morning. The final push can be steep and icy, so most teams opt to fix ropes for added safety.
The view from the summit is breathtaking. The snow-capped Himalayan skyline extends in every direction, and on clear days climbers can see five 8,000-meter peaks: Mount Everest (8,848 meters), Lhotse (8,516 meters), Cho Oyu (8,201 meters), Makalu (8,463 meters), and Kangchenjunga (8,586 meters). The descent to Khare, where most climbers spend the night, takes between 2 and 5 hours.
The Trek Out
From Khare, most climbers choose to descend quickly to Lukla to catch flights back to Kathmandu, where they can enjoy a hot shower, a real meal, and soak in the sights.
For more information about trekking adventures in Nepal, check out the Clymb Adventures page here.