Mera Peak – Amphu Lapsta Pass – Island Peak: Photos & Notes

I wrote up my first(ish) impressions of last November’s four week trek-with-ascents in my Mera Peak – Amphu Lapsta Pass – Island Peak: We’re back blogpost.

This blogpost is my day by day account, with links to each day’s photos, of my trek with Steffi, Nicola, Ernst, Stuart and Paul, led by Val Pitkethly and Ang Chhering. Our trip was 31 days in total, with 26 days “on trek” including the driving from/to KTM.

Before we start, here’s the mark up of our route that Val added to my map – click through to zoom in on the detail in the original, on Flickr:

Mera Peak – Amphu Lapsta Pass – Island Peak: Our route
Mera Peak – Amphu Lapsta Pass – Island Peak: Our route

Scroll down to the end for details of which sections of Günter Seyfferth’s invaluable Die Berge des Himalaya website I’ve used in this write up and when identifying some of the mountain views in my photos.

If you just want to take a look at my photos you’ll find them in my Nepal, November 2019 – Mera Peak, Amphu Lapsta, Island Peak Flickr album. I’ve included some of Nicola’s too.


Wednesday, 30 October 2019: London – Dubai (Photos)

Steffi and I flew overnight from London Stansted to Dubai on Emirates EK068, landing in Dubai just after 7am on Thursday morning.

Thursday, 31 October 2019: Dubai (Photos)

We were even less enthusiastic about our unwanted extra day in Dubai after a fairly tortuous transfer to the hotel and check in experience – might as well not have bothered booking a room for the night before. But, ever keen to make the most of a bad lot, we had a couple of hours power napping then we took the hotel shuttle bus to The Dubai Mall to spend the afternoon in air con comfort. Coffee; a late lunch at the excellent, tucked out of sight, food court; dancing fountains and people watching all featured. As did lots of strolling, always slightly lost, around this multi-storeyed citadel of consumerism.

A dip in the rooftop pool preceded the You Booked Direct free aperitif accompanied by al fresco Waitrose nibbles – our attempts to track down a supermarket in The Dubai Mall having proved futile.

Overnight: Premier Inn, Dubai International Airport.

Friday, 01 November 2019: Dubai – Kathmandu (Photos)

Much more efficient hotel transfer to Dubai terminal 2 where we rendezvoused with Nicola for our 4 hour FlyDubai flight (EK2155 / FZ0575) to Kathmandu.

Endured an hour or so queue at immigration – hot and stuffy, and exacerbated by the arrival of 3 jumbo-worth of tourists – followed by the inevitable, domino effect, queue to get through the security scanners. At least, after all that, we didn’t have to wait for our luggage. Just find it…

A relief to spot Mingmi waiting for us, and a relatively quick jeep ride to the Marshyangdi.

Great to see Val waiting for us in reception. Rooms sorted – newly refurbished ones, LOVELY – speedy unpack and a cuppa, and down the road for dinner at the good old Thakali Bhanchha Ghar.

Overnight: Hotel Marshyangdi, Thamel.

Saturday, 02 November 2019: Kathmandu (Photos)

A rare extra day in KTM ahead of the trek, which gave us a bit more time to get over jet lag (just don’t mention the cooing PIGEONS!), a leisurely Marshyangdi buffet breakfast, and to hang out with Ernst!

Spent the morning in Val’s tender mercies – kit check, crampon fitting and shopping, settling up and changing trek spends into NPR. Plus packing… always a challenge. Thankfully big boots, crampons and ice axes were allowed into separate kit bags, but cramming the remaining 6000m gear into our usual kit bags was tricky. Extra layers, puffier down jackets etc.

Paul and Stuart arrived – first impressions: They’re GIANTS! Lovely men, both of them.

The afternoon was spent mainly faffing. Steffi, Nicola, Ernst and I headed out for coffee and cake in the Hotel Mandap’s garden bakery/cafe.

Early dinner back at Thakali Bhanchha Ghar. Early night. Early start tomorrow.

Overnight: Hotel Marshyangdi, Thamel.

Sunday, 03 November 2019: Kathmandu – Phaplu (Photos)

Trek Day 1

Route: Drive Kathmandu / काठमाडौं to Phaplu / फाप्लु (2500m) (9-10 hours).

Overnight: Numbur Guest House.

So, not really trekking. But getting closer to the start, and avoiding an internal flight and the attendant uncertainties / risks. Lunch in Okhaldhunga / ओखलढुङ्गा (1561m).

Monday, 04 November 2019: Phaplu (2500m) – Takshindo (2930m) – Kharikhola (2040m) (Photos)

Trek Day 2

Route: Drive from Phaplu / फाप्लु (2500m) to Takshindo / टाक्सिन्धु (2930m) via Ringmo / Rungmu / रिङमो and the Trakshingdo La / Takshingdo La / Takshindo La / Trakshindo La (3071m).

Trek to Kharikhola / Kharikola / खरीखोला (2040m) via Nuntala / Nunthala / नुनथला (2440m), Pipli Papli (lunch), Chhirdi (1500m) / Dudh Kosi river / दुध कोसी and Juving / Jubing / जुबिङ (1670m).

Overnight: Namaste Lodge / Snowland Cabins.

Tuesday, 05 November 2019: Kharikhola (2040m) – Panggom (2850m) (Photos)

Trek Day 3

Route: Trek to Pangkongma / Pangom / Panggom / पन्गोम (2850m). Visit Gompa – Tashi Sangag Chholing monastery.

Camp: Hotel Panggom Inn.

Wednesday, 06 November 2019: Panggom (2850m) – Najingdingma (2730m) (Photos)

Trek Day 4

Route: Trek to Najing / Najingdingma (2730m) via Pangkongma La / Panggom La (3174m), Sibuje / Chatuk / सिबुजे (2770m), Inkhu Khola / Hinku Khola river (2028m).

Lunch at Mera Peak Lodge & Restaurant, Waku 4, Inkhu River / Mapya Dudhkoshi R.M.-7, Sibuje, down at the Inkhu Khola bridge.

Camp: Mera Hotel & Restaurant camp.

Thursday, 07 November 2019: Najingdingma (2730m) – Chalem Kharka (3250m) (Photos)

Trek Day 5

Route: Trek to Chholem / Chalem Kharka (3250m) via Surke La / Surkie La / Spiki La / Charakot Pass (3085m) and Phokte (lunch).

Camp: Himalayan Lodge camp.

Friday, 08 November 2019: Chalem Kharka (3250m) – Khola Kharka / Chanbu Kharka (4200m) (Photos)

Trek Day 6

Route: Trek to Khola Kharka / Chanbu Kharka (4200m) via Pokta La (c. 4500m), Panch Pokhari La (c. 4600m) and the Panch Pokhari / Five Lakes (4336m).

Camp: New Mera Lodge camp.

Saturday, 09 November 2019: Khola Kharka / Chanbu Kharka (4200m) – Kothe (3600m) (Photos)

Trek Day 7

Route: Trek to Gotay / Khote / Kote / Kothe (3600m)

High trail above the Hinku Khola / Inkhu Khola, dropping down through the Mojang Forest to lunch at the bridge over the Mojang Khola.

Camp: Sherpa Hotel & Lodge camp.

Sunday, 10 November 2019: Kothe (3600m) – Thangnak (4350m) (Photos)

Trek Day 8

Route: Trek up the Hinku Khola valley to Tagnag / Thangnag / Tangnag / Thangnak (4350m). Lunch at Gondishung / Godishung Gompa (4161m).

Camp: Pemba Dickie’s Tagnag Lodge camp.

Monday, 11 November 2019: Thangnak (4350m) (Photos)

Trek Day 9

Route: Acclimatisation day at Tagnag / Thangnag (4350m).

Hike up towards the moraines below Kusum Kanguru to the cairns at 5025m.

Camp: Pemba Dickie’s Tagnag Lodge camp.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019: Thangnak (4350m) – Khare (5000m) (Photos)

Trek Day 10

Route: Trek to Khare / खरे (5000m), via Dig Kharka.

Camp: Pemba Dickie’s Khare Lodge camp.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019: Khare (5000m) (Photos)

Trek Day 11

Route: Acclimatisation day and skills training, Khare / खरे (5000m).

Morning: Acclimatisation hike above the Hinku Shar / Khare Glacier system to c. 5400m.

Afternoon: Training with crampons and ropes (jumar up, karabiner across, abseil down).

Camp: Pemba Dickie’s Khare Lodge camp.

Thursday, 14 November 2019: Khare (5000m) – Mera La (5415m) – Mera La camp (5350m) (Photos)

Trek Day 12

Route: Trek over Mera moraine to crampon point, onto glacier/snow and climb snow slopes to the Mera La (5415m). Drop down off glacier to Mera La camp (5350m).

Crossing from the West to the East side of Mera La takes you from the Hinku Valley and into the Hongu Valley.

Camp: Mera La camp.

Friday, 15 November 2019: Mera La camp (5350m) – Mera Peak High Camp (5800m) (Photos)

Trek Day 13

Route: Climb easy snow slopes to Mera Peak High Camp (5800m).

Camp: Mera Peak High Camp.

Saturday, 16 November 2019: Mera Peak High Camp (5800m) – Mera Peak (Mera Central, 6461m) – Kongma Dingma (4850m) (Photos)

Trek Day 14 – Summit Day

Route: Mera Peak High Camp (5800m) – Mera Peak (Mera Central, 6461m) – Mera La (5415m) – Kongma Dingma (4850m)

Described as “Climb easy-angled snow slopes and short steeper section to summit Mera Peak.” Incredibly hard work at this altitude – each step felt like it was the last one I could take. But, roped up with Chhering and Nicola, I did it.

Mera Peak / मीरा पीक has multiple summits – we did Mera Central (6461m). As always, Günter Seyfferth’s Die Berge des Himalaya (The mountains of Himalaya) is invaluable for its annotated photos and maps. Here’s his page on Mera Peak.

Then a long descent to Mera La (5415m) and off the glacier down by our previous camp for a really, really long descent into the Hongu Valley to camp at Kongma Dingma / Kongme Dingma (4850m).

A long day: Wake up call / bed tea at 2.30am, into KD around 4pm. Bed around 7pm?

A fantastic day.

Camp: Kongma Dingma camp.

Sunday, 17 November 2019: Kongma Dingma (4850m) (Photos)

Trek Day 15

Route: Rest day Kongma Dingma / Kongme Dingma (4850m).

Camp: Kongma Dingma camp.

Monday, 18 November 2019: Kongma Dingma (4850m) – Seto Pokhari (5035m) (Photos)

Trek Day 16

Route: Trek to Seto Pokhari (5035m).

Seto Pokhari means White Lake, appropriate given it is frozen.

Camp: Seto Pokhari camp.

Tuesday, 19 November 2019: Seto Pokhari (5035m) – Amphu Lapsta Base Camp, South (c. 5600m) (Photos)

Trek Day 17

Route: Trek north up the Hongu Valley before turning north west off the main glaciated valley and climbing to lunch at Panch Pokhari. Big Baruntse views. Trek to Amphu Lapsta / Amphu Lapste / Amphu Labtsa / Amphu Lapcha / Amphu Labcha Base Camp (South) (c. 5600m).

Camp: Amphu Lapsta Base Camp (South).

Wednesday, 20 November 2019: Amphu Lapsta Base Camp, South (c. 5600m) – Amphu Lapsta (5780m) – Imja Khola camp (c. 5000m) (Photos)

Trek Day 18

Route: Cross Amphu Lapsta / Amphu Lapste / Amphu Labtsa / Amphu Lapcha / Amphu Labcha (5780m). Descend to Imja Khola camp (c. 5000m).

Crossing the pass entailed crunching over moraine, then rope and crampons to jumar up the glacier snow slopes to the pass.

On the Imja Khola side, a steep, steep descent clipped onto a roped route, with a short abseiling section over large rock outcrop.

Once down in the bowl of the Ambulapcha glacial valley, it was an easy but long trek over sand then turf towards Imja Tsho’s southern moraine wall before heading west to reach camp next to the Imja Khola. Another long day.

Camp: Imja Khola camp.

Thursday, 21 November 2019: Imja Khola camp (c. 5000m) – Island Peak Base Camp (5100m) (Photos)

Trek Day 19

Route: Trek to Island Peak Base Camp (5100m)

Ernst was helicoptered down to the hospital at Khunde, and the rest of us crossed the Imja Khola and the glacier’s moraine debris and did the gentle stroll over up the other side of the Imja Tsho to get to Island Peak Base Camp. Busy! After lunch, Nicola and I settled in to camp and to prep for tomorrow’s ascent, Steffi and Stuart opting to head back down to Chukhung (4730m) for a couple of rest days.

Camp: Island Peak Base Camp.

Friday, 22 November 2019: Island Peak Base Camp (5100m) – Chukhung (4730m) (Photos)

Trek Day 20

Route: Climb Island Peak – if you’re Nicola and Chhering! I started, but turned back after 45 mins or so – I just didn’t have any energy. Trek to Chukhung (4730m). Tea and apple cake with Steffi and Stuart.

Camp: Chukhung Cafe & Snooker House camp.

Saturday, 23 November 2019: Chukhung (4730m) – Phortse (3840m) (Photos)

Trek Day 21

Route: Trek to Phortse / फोर्छे (3840m) via Dingboche / दिङबोचे (4410m), Shomare (4136m) (lunch) and Pangboche / पाङबोचे (4030m) and Pangboche Gompa.

Overnight: Namaste Lodge.

Sunday, 24 November 2019: Phortse (3840m) – Monjo (2840m) (Photos)

Trek Day 22

Route: Monjo / Monzo / Manjo / मान्जो (2840m) via Dudh Koshi river (bridge), Phortse Thanga (3680m), Mong La (3975m), Kyangjungma / Kyangjuma / Kyanjuma (3620m) and Namche Bazaar / नाम्चे बजार (3440m, lunch), Larcha Dovan (2935m) and Sagarmatha National Park Entry, Jorsalle / जोरसल्ले.

Our last night together with the full crew – so it was time to party!

Overnight: Monjo Guest House Eco-Lodge.

Monday, 25 November 2019: Monjo (2840m) – Pakhepani (2710m) (Photos)

Trek Day 23

Route: Trek to Pakhepani (2710m) via Benkar / बेन्कार, Phakding (2639m), Choplung / Chheplung / Cheplung / छेप्लुङ् (2660m, lunch) and Surke / Surkhe / सुर्के (2290m).

We said farewell to Ernst, Chhering and Budi before we left Monjo, and to Stuart and Tenzi after lunch in Chheplung. Ernst had extra time to take its easy for a few more days, and Stuart and Tenzi were braving the Lukla-KTM flight. Steffi and I kept our fingers crossed for good weather for them all.

Overnight: Khumbu View Lodge.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019: Pakhepani (2710m) – Nuntala (2440m) (Photos)

Trek Day 24

Route: Trek to Nuntala / Nunthala / नुनथला (2440m) via Chutok La (2775m), Paiyan / Puiya / Paiya / Puiyan / Poyan / Poyen / पैया (2770m), Khari La / Kare La / Kari La (2840m), Bupsa (2360m), Kharikhola / Kharikola / खरीखोला (2040m, lunch), Jubing / Juving / जुभिङ (1670m) and Chhirdi (1500m) / Dudh Kosi river / दुध कोसी.

We said farewell to Val and Despier before we left Pakhepani. A long day – we were walking in the dark for the last hour.

Overnight: Shangrila Guest House.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019: Nuntala (2440m) – Takshindo (2930m) – Khurkot (Photos)

Trek Day 25

Route: Trek to Takshindo / टाक्सिन्धु (2930m).

Drive to Phaplu / फाप्लु (2500m) via the Trakshingdo La / Takshingdo La / Takshindo La / Trakshindo La (3071m) and Ringmo / Rungmu / रिङमो.

Drive to Khurkot / खुर्कोट via Okhaldhunga / ओखलढुङ्गा जिल्ला

Overnight: “Khurkot Roadside Motel”.

Thursday, 28 November 2019: Khurkot – Kathmandu (Photos)

Trek Day 26

Route: Drive to Kathmandu / काठमाडौं.

CLEAN CLOTHES.

HAIR WASH.

We had the traditional last night feast at The Mandap, hosted by Tenzi. A bit strange to be without Val and Chhering.

Overnight: Hotel Marshyangdi, Thamel.

Friday, 29 November 2019: Kathmandu – London (No photos)

Route: Fly Kathmandu – Doha – London

Qatar Airways QR 0653: KTM 11:25 – DOH 14:35 (5h 55m), then Qatar Airways QR 0015: DOH 15:50 – LHR 20:25 (7h 35m). Steffi and I said our farewells at the airport, then I took the tube home.

Overnight: Home!


Resources

I cannot recommend highly enough Günter Seyfferth’s Die Berge des Himalaya (The mountains of Himalaya) website with its annotated maps and photos. The following are the pages covering key elements of our route.

The Hinku Valley including Kothe, Thangnak and Khare

Mera La and Mera Peak, plus upper sections of the Hinku and Hongu valleys

Hongu Valley and Amphu Lapsta

  • Makalu Region – Kangshug, Barun, Hongu Valley: G. The Hongu Khola Valley (Hunku Khola) (includes Baruntse and Amphu Lapsta)
  • Amphu Labsta pass and in particular photos:
    • (7) View from Amphu Labtsa north to east
    • (11) Looking south from Amphu Labtsa into the western area of ​​the upper Hunku Valley with Chamlang and Peak 41
    • (10) View from Amphu Labtsa to the southeast with Westcol and Chamlang
    • (14) View from Amphu Labtsa to west-southwest with Kangtega and Ama Dablam

Island Peak and the Imja Khola and Dudh Kosi valleys from Chukhung to Namche


Not surprisingly, having just spent a chunk of time revisiting this trek, I am now desperate to get back to the mountains…. I doubt it will be this year, but Kanchenjunga south and north base camps with possible extension to exit via the Wolungchu valley is TOP of my list now.

Where next: Picos de Europa – El Anillo de Picos

August / September 2020 will see Steffi, Hazel and I – plus Rache – return to Northern Spain to walk El Anillo de Picos in the wonderful company (and excellent guiding) of Alfonso Gallego de Lerma.

Destination: The Picos de Europa, Northern Spain.

When: August / September 2020.

What: Steffi, Hazel and I – plus Rache – return to Northern Spain to walk El Anillo de Picos.

How: In the wonderful company of Alfonso Gallego de Lerma who was our excellent guide/leader on Exodus’ Picos de Europa trip we did in July 2019.

Why: Last July’s trip whetted the appetite even though the bad weather restricted our routes and made the Grade 5 trip closer to the standard Grade 3 holiday than any of us would have wished.

This time we’ll get to spend a long week in the Picos de Europa proper, hiking in and around  the three massifs. We will be staying in refugios and carrying “everything” with us.  That shouldn’t be as dramatic as it sounds – we are used to carrying wet weather gear and warm layers plus lunch and water in our day packs and will only need a sheet sleeping bag for the refugios which will also provide all our meals. I for one am not renowned for my vast wardrobe when I’m walking …. Plus we will have clean clothes to enjoy once we’ve competed El Anillo.

Itinerary: Factoring in travel to/from London, our itinerary is:

Day 0: Travel to London
Day 1: Fly to Bilbao. Travel to Arenas de Calabres.
Days 2 to 8: Trekking through the Picos.
Day 9: Relax and swim…. Drive to Bilbao or Santander. Visit the city.
Day 10: Fly to London
Day 11: Travel back from London

Steffi has  booked flights and Alfonso is booking hotels and the refugios (turns out four clients is a good number, as is Alfonso’s price), so we are All Systems Go!

Christmas Week in Walton on the Naze

Home after our seven day sojourn by the sea, the highlight of which was a beautiful “blue skies and sunshine” 25th of December – what The Sunshine Coast does best, although not always at this time of year.

Happy Christmas from Walton on the Naze
Happy Christmas from Walton on the Naze

The week sped by, mainly because it was broken up into a series of “events”.

Settling in and Shopping

We arrived on Friday, early evening, only to find that The Tollgate fish and chip shop was closed for Christmas! So it was Plan B: Yates’s for F&C with mushy peas a la Aldi back at the flat. But first, a quick visit upstairs to wish Margaret and Richard Season’s Greetings and an early Happy Birthday for Richard.

Happy Christmas from Walton on the Naze
Happy Christmas from Walton on the Naze

Saturday started with our Christmas Food Shop at M&S and Aldi – 99% successful (and surprisingly easy – neither were as busy as I’d feared) with only the M&S Festive Vegan Roast unaccounted for. A tactical strike back at M&S on Sunday sorted that out and revealed that Sunday morning was Prime Christmas Food Shop time.

To Frinton for coffees at the Bird & Bean accompanied by a bacon donut for Phil (verdict: try it!) and the usual mooch along the shops of Connaught Avenue. Back to the flat for a late lunch and a leisurely afternoon. Sunday was similarly leisurely, after the Festive Roast foray. We ventured out early evening for a pint at The Victory, with beer spillage.

Gyford Guests

Monday was early Christmas Dinner with Janet, John and Sue – very successful roast ham, mashed potatoes, roast parsnips and carrots plus stuffing and pigs in blankets followed by Christmas Pud. The less successful aspect from our perspective was the lack of leftovers!!!

Sue stayed on to Christmas Eve, which started sunny and saw Sue go for a swim in our southern stretch of the North Sea. Very impressive. We celebrated with a late lunch in Frinton – back at the Bird & Bean, naturally – followed by more mooching then homes (various).

Christmas Day

Christmas Day provided a smashing sunrise, two strolls along the beach, beautiful blue skies and the option of a 10am swim from The Last Fisherman Cafe. We participated, as spectators. Phil had cooked on Monday, so I was doing Wednesday and spent a relaxed couple of hours preparing our Christmas Day dinner, assisted by a glass of white wine and some nibbles.

Christmas Morning by the Beach Huts, Hipkins Beach
Christmas Morning by the Beach Huts, Hipkins Beach

Our plates of M&S Vegan Festive Christmas Roast with gravy, roast potatoes, roast parsnips and carrots, Brussels sprouts, green beans, broccoli, stuffing (and a pair of pigs in blankets for Phil) didn’t last long. No room for any afters, although after a walk along the prom and back via Southcliffe we did manage a cup of tea and some small cakes… Just tidying up!

Kings Reach Christmas Dinner
Kings Reach Christmas Dinner

Afterwards

Boxing Day was wet and windy. A day to stay inside, and to finish Kingmaker: Winter Pilgrims – and to wish I’d checked that I’d not read the other three novels I’d picked up at Barbican Library before bringing them to Walton. Read a few chapters of The Beckoning Silence, but not gripped. That evening we finished watching The Knick. Glad it got less graphically gory as the series wore on.

Today was overcast and mild. No great incentive to head outside, but we did manage a trip to the glass recycling bins, and on to the Yacht Club where we saw how the glass recycling bins get emptied. Thankful for Phil’s backlog of LRBs either side of lunch, during which we almost finished off all the leftovers…. There’s a tub left for tea once we get in. Plus plenty of cheese.

Next…

Five days to pack the ever expanding list of things we are taking with us to Herefordshire. That’s come around fast!

Mera Peak – Amphu Lapsta Pass – Island Peak: We are back!

A great trip.

I made it to the top of Mera Peak (6476m) and Steffi got to 6300m. Magic views, as Charles promised.

Stuart, Chhering, Nicola and me, Mera Peak
Stuart, Chhering, Nicola and me, Mera Peak
Looking north from Mera Peak
Looking north from Mera Peak

The Amphu Lapsta pass was hard – clipping/unclipping on fixed lines, abseiling / lowered over a huge rock outcrop – with lots of the snow/glacier had gone on both sides, making it harder. A sheer drop down from the precipitous pass (5845m) down into the valley, 600m below.

Val, Amphu Lapsta Pass
Val, Amphu Lapsta Pass
Steffi and Bhudi, Amphu Lapsta Pass ascent
Steffi and Bhudi, Amphu Lapsta Pass ascent

Too tired to attempt Island Peak. Also that’s become far more technical with snow / ice loss too.

BIG congrats to Nicola for managing all three.

It was the hardest trip I’ve done – eight days / nights over 5000m, including Mera Peak High Camp 5800m and Amphu Lapsta Base Camp 5600m. Walking out was 4 l-o-n-g days too. One evening we ended up doing the last hour in the dark, with head torches. Uphill, OF COURSE!!!

Very, very pleased I was able to get to the top of Mera, but Amphu Lapsta was a whole heap more complicated than anyone anticipated. I loved working with crampons, ice axes and ropes. Could do with more practice abseiling mind you!

Map with our anticlockwise route from Phaplu and back
Map with our anticlockwise route from Phaplu and back

I shall be making good use of Günter Seyfferth’s excellent website – Die Berge des Himalaya (The mountains of Himalaya) – to identify the mountains we could see on our Mera and Amphu Lapsta days.

Mera Peak – Amphu Lapsta Pass – Imja Tse: Final Update

I have somewhat belatedly realised that I’ve not actually posted up details of Val’s planned route for this year’s trek encompassing Mera PeakAmphu Lapsta PassImja Tse / Island Peak.

(Am I allowed to call it A Climb? An Expedition? It feels more than a simple trek, and definitely represents a step up from previous trips. About 800m up from my previous high point – the Drölma La on the Mt Kailash Kora. And that didn’t require anything more than a daypack for 4 days. But I digress.)

Here’s a summary of the itinerary we got from Val back in January. I’m not sure how it will spread out over the 27 days we have between leaving Kathmandu for Paphlu and returning to Kathmandu. The Trakshindo to Kharikhola section is familiar from 2011 and 2016, as is Chukhung to Namche (2011), and Namche to Lukla (both trips).

  • Drive to to Paphlu (2500m) (9-10 hours). If we arrive early enough, trek to Trakshindo, otherwise stay in Phaplu.
  • Trek to Kharikhola (2069m) or Nuntala (2200m) depending on where we camp previous night, via the Trakshindo La pass (3071m) and we will drop some solar lights at one of the communities on the way.
  • Trek to Pangkongma / Pangom (2850m) little settlement above Kharikhola where we camp near the Gompa.
  • Depending on how everyone is doing I have 2 routes for days 5 & 6:
    Option A
    – Trek to Ning So (2850m) via Pangkongma La (3174m), steep descent to the village of Sibuje (2770 m) then undulating trail through the forested river valley to Ning So (2850m).
    – Trek to ‘Jungle Camp’ (3160m) via a tea house at 3280 m and high point of the day at 3350 m. Steep descent back to the river. After lunch undulations through the forest with some steep sections of trail to ‘Jungle Camp’ (3160m).
    Option B: Trek via Nashing Dingma, Chlum Kharak and Chumbu Kharaka
  • Trek to Gotay (3600m) following the Hinku Khola
  • Trek to Tagnag / Thangnag (4350m) beside the Hinku River to the small gompa at Gondishung. From the gompa it is an hour’s walk over moraines to the Yak herders settlement of Tagnag.
  • Acclimatisation day at Tagnag / Thangnag. Day trip up towards the moraines below Kusum Kanguru (6367 m). Practise with ropes and harnesses and crampons after lunch.
  • Trek beside the Dig Glacier to Khare (5000m).
  • Acclimatisation day and skills training, with more practice techniques and safety procedures to be used on our climbs.
  • Climb to the Mera La (5415m). Overnight at Val’s Mera La camp.
  • Climb easy snow slopes on Mera Peak to a high camp (5800m).
  • Climb easy-angled snow slopes and short steeper section to Mera Peak central summit (6476m) or north summit. Long descent to Mera La (5415m) and on down to Khare (5000m).
  • We have some spare days and depending on weather we may take a day after the climb resting before heading up the Hongu Valley.
  • We spend the next few days trekking up the Hongu Valley via a few camps (1) one very close to Chamlung BC (2) another one close to Baruntse and (3) a further one situated below Amphu Lapsta.
  • Cross Amphu Lapsta and descend into the Imjatse valley opposite Imja Tse / Island Peak. Camp Island Peak BC.
  • Climb Imja Tse / Island Peak (6183m) from BC or move up to HC and climb from there.
  • Trek Island Peak BC to Lukla via Chukung / Chukhung (4730m), Dingboche (4410m), Kyangjungma and Namche (3440m), Monjo / Manjo (2835m) over 3 long days.
  • Walk from Lukla to roadhead.
  • Drive from roadhead to Kathmandu.

Severe gales (up to 95 km /hr) were forecast for Mera Peak last week and this…. Not quite so fierce on Imja Tse (Island Peak).

Mera Peak (6476m) weather forecast
Mera Peak (6476m) weather forecast

In other news, I bought my travel insurance from the BMC (Alpine & Ski cover) last Tuesday and my La Sportiva G2 SM mountaineering boots plus ski goggles, fleece balaclava and hand/foot warmers arrived on Wednesday. Excellent service from Expedition Kit Hire and FedEx.

Packed today. Buying Dirhams tomorrow morning and going out for dinner at the Saravana Bhavan tomorrow evening.

All set!