Nepal is famous all over the world for its mountains and trekking. It has 8 of the ten highest mountains in the world. Along with these, Nepal is home to many beautiful smaller peak of 7000, 6000 and 5000 m.
Mera Peak and Island Peak are two of the most popular smaller climbing peaks of Nepal. They are two of the highest climbing peaks in the world.
These peaks are a great introduction to high mountain climbing. These are less demanding and cheaper than climbs to Mt. Everest or some of the other 8000m peaks.
A climb to Mera and Island Peak is an exciting and adrenaline filled climbing experience. You can choose treks that include both these peaks in one awe-inspiring trip.
Mera and Island Peaks are fairly close to each other. The summit of Mera and Island peak provide beautiful panoramas of surrounding mountain peaks in the Everest region.
Interesting facts about Mera and Island Peak
- These peaks lie in the Mahalangur section, Barun sub-section of the Himalaya. Administratively, these lie in Sagarmatha Zone of Nepal.
- The Mera Peak includes three main summit points: Mera North (6476 meters/ 21247 ft), Mera Central (6461 meters/ 21198 ft); and Mira South.
- The British Army officer Jim Roberts and Sen Tenzing Sherpa were the first people to climb Mera Central. The Frenchmen Marcel Jolly, G Baus, and L Honills climbed Mera North in 1975. He is the first person to actually summit Mera.
- A mountain chain separates Mera and Island peak. This mountain chain divides the Hongu and Khumbu valley.
- A trek to these peaks gives you an opportunity to explore the challenging yet beautiful Amphu Labtsa Pass. This pass is at an altitude of 5,680 m.
- In the local language, another name for Island Peak is Imja Tse. The Island peak has an altitude of 6189m.
- Eric Shipton’s team in 1951 named Imja Tse as Island Peak. He thought the peak resembled an island in a sea of ice.
Highlights of the Mera and Island Peak
- Climb to the summit of Mera (6476m) & Island Peak (6189m) on a fully supported expedition led by expert climbing guides
- Fantastic panorama of snow-capped mountain peaks of Mt.Everest, Lhotse, Kanchenjunga, Ama Dablam. and Cho Oyu from Mera Peak.
- You will get your first view of the Island Peak from the summit of Mera Peak.
- Incredible view of Amphu Laptsa Pass from both Mera and Island Peak.
- Amphu Laptsa Pass at 5845m
- Fantastic views of the Himalayas including Mt. Ama Dablam, Makalu, Lhotse from Island Peak.
- Exciting flight to and from Lukla.
- Lush green forests of rhododendron, magnolia, birch, and pine.
- Seto Pokhari- a sacred lake at over 5000m
- Explore the culture and lifestyle of the world famous ‘Sherpa’ people.
Mera Peak and Island Peak climbing routes
Mera Peak route
Arrive in Lukla by flight. After and hearty breakfast, your actual trek on foot begins. You trek to Paiya through the beautiful forests of rhododendron and pine.
From here, you will trek to the beautiful village of Pangum. You will be spending the night at a beautiful, local lodge. Next, you trek to Nandigama. It is a short 5 hour trek from Pangum to here.
Once here, you can choose to explore the beautiful village or just relax and enjoy the landscape and scenery from the comforts of your room.
Today, you cross the beautiful and famous Hinku river. From there you trek onwards to Cholem Kharka.
Our 19 days Mera peak trek takes you from Chalem Kharka to Khola Karka. From Khola Karka, you will trek to Khote. From Khote, you will trek to Taknak. From Thaknak (4350 m) you will trek to Khare (5045 m). We will acclimatize here at Khare for a day.
This extra three days will make your trek a more comfortable one. This longer route is also strongly recommended for individuals who do not have experience in trekking in high altitude regions or mountain climbing.
It is also a great way to explore more villages, lifestyle and culture of this beautiful and remote region of Nepal.
From Khare, we will then head to Mera Base Camp and camp for the night here. From Mera Base Camp you will hike to the High Camp at an altitude of 5780 m. After camping in Mera High Camp for the night, you will be climbing to the summit the next day.
On returning from the peak, you go down a shorter route. You trek down to Khare. From Khare, you trek down to Cheterwa. From there, you will reach Lukla in 6/7 hours.
Route of Island Peak Climbing
After landing in Lukla, you trek to Phakding. From Phakding you trek to Namche Bazaar. This is usually an acclimatization day. It is a great day to explore the highest trading center in the world Namche Bazaar.
From Namche Bazaar, you trek to Tengboche. It gets its name from Tengboche Monastery, the oldest monastery of the region.
From Tengboche you trek to Dingboche. Here you will accalamize for a day and then head to Chuklung and then finally to Island Peak Base Camp. You will camp at the base camp and head towards the peak by dawn, the next day. The climb continues to the Island Peak summit.
After your summit, you will head back to Chhukung and then to Phortse village. We will follow the Khumbu Khola and pass through Orsho and Shomare, beautiful sherpa villages.
From here we will head back to Khumbu and then to Namche Bazaar. After a night at Namche, we will trek back to Lukla. you follow the same route back.
Mera and Island Peak Difficulty
Mera peak is slightly higher than Island peak. Mera peak is a straightforward climb. It is technically less challenging than Island peak.
The technical requirements of this trek is very basic. If you don’t have any mountain climbing experience, we recommend a short and basic mountaineering training.
The trek to the summit of Mera peak is vigorous. However, spectacular views of the Himalayas is absolutely blissful. These peaks are also one step closer to your mountain climbing journey.
The trek to Island Peak is more technical. You will need to make steep ice climbs and will also be using ladder crossings.
The steep climb will lead you to the summit ridge. From here, you will reach the summit.
You will need training or experience in using ropes across the crevassed terrain. You will also need to climb on fixed ropes up the ridge. It does require some mountain climbing training. But you must have basic idea and skill of using ice axe, crampons, and ropes.
All trekkers wishing to trek these peaks are recommended to take part in training before the actual trek. This is a preparatory training on mountain climbing and altitude training as well.
You will need the following permits for the treks.
Local (Everest Region) Area Permit: Nrs. 2000 ( US $20)
Island Peak climbing permit cost according to the four seasons:
March, April, and May:US $250
June, July, and August: US $70
September, October, and November: US $125
December, January, and February: US $70
Mera Peak climbing permit cost according to the four seasons:
March, April, and May: US $250
June, July, and August: US $70
Sept., October, and November: US $125
December, January, and February: US $70
All of these permits are easily obtainable from Kathmandu. Allow us to help you take care of it.
Physical fitness and experience
You need to have extensive outdoor adventure skills, good trekking, and hiking experience. If not, you can participate in the mountain training session in Nepal itself, ( 2-3 weeks) before the actual trek.
It is best to have some climbing experience. However, most trekking agencies will provide the basic training, exercises needed to do this trek at base camps or in Kathmandu.
You do not need specific technical trainings to summit Mera Peak. However, basic trainings are suggested. Because this peak is not as sloppy as Island peak, you don’t need prior experience but is definitely a plus point.
Also, the itinerary is quite longer than that of Island Peak, so you will be walking slowly with time.
Island Peak climbing requires technical experience. Because the route is quite sloped, it makes climbing a lot more challenging. So, you will need to get trained. Also, it is necessary that you have prior experience of mountain climbing.
There are lots of tea houses to choose from at the nearest village from both the Base Camps. Most of the tea houses provide basic facilities of clean rooms, shared bathrooms, blankets, hot water.
You will be staying at these tea houses and camp overnight at the Base Camp. This way you will be able to head towards the peak before dawn.
You will need to carry camping tents and equipment for the trek. The camping tent and equipment comes in handy from Khara. From Khara to Island Peak Base Camp, you will be sleeping in the tents.
You can look for a proper Mera Peak Gear List for further detailed information.
Food and drink
In Kathmandu, you will again have tons of options to choose from food and drinks. You can have your pick of food and drink in this city of temples.
In the lower regions of the trek, the tea houses, and restaurant, cafes provide some options on their menu. Some of the options include dal, bhat, tarkari (steamed rice, lentils, and seasonal vegetables), momo (dumplings), noodles. You can also indulge in baked goods till you reach Namche Bazaar.
For drinks, you have options for hot water, bottled water, hot and cold flavored drinks, tea, coffee.
From Khara to Island Peak Base Camp, one of the field staff will prepare your meals and serve you in camps. You can choose to do the cooking as well.
Climbs to Mera and Island peaks require staffs. These peaks require some support. So, you will be trekking with a group of field staff that includes a guide, porter, and assistant guide.
They will provide assistance required for a successful climb to Mera and Island Peak. They will help you to fix the ropes and ladders. Guide you on the way and carry your equipment and supplies.
They will also provide you with information about the trails, surrounding landscapes, and villages.
But before you hire one, check the credentials of your guide. The success and comfort of your trek depend on them.
If possible, get to know them before your actual trek. Catch up with them on your Kathmandu city tour or grab a bite with them. This way, you will be able to make the right choice.
Best Season to Trek to Mera and Island Peak
Trekking to Nepal is doable and possible throughout the year. The best season to do climb to Mera and Island Peak is the local autumn and spring season.
Autumn is the ideal season to do treks to Nepal. The ideal weather conditions and the high visibility makes this season perfect for climbing Mera and Island Peak.
It is possible to trek to these peaks during summer and winter too. But, during summer/ monsoon it is a gamble because the weather is quite unpredictable. You may not even be able to enjoy the view of the mountains from the peak. This treks can be the great trekking challenge that you have been looking for.
Winters, however, are quite tricky. It is definitely a great time for that picturesque snowy mountains but the question is obvious, how well can you take the teeth rattling cold?
Equipment and supplies
Along with all your regular trekking equipment and supplies, you need to carry some additional things as well.
- Climbing harness
- 5 meters or more of 6mm climber’s accessory cord
- Figure 8 or Abseil belay device
- 1 large mitten sized ascender (large Petzl) and arm length leash
- 2 locking carabiners, 1 large and 1 small
- 4 regular carabiners
- Ice axe with a leash
- Crampons – must fit your boots perfectly. Steel crampons with anti-balling (anti-bot) plates are the most recommended
- Adjustable trekking poles
- Ski goggles
- Glacier sunglasses with side shields
You can either buy or rent these equipments in Kathmandu.
These are some safety measures that you will need to keep in mind for this climb.
Basic physical trainings for regular treks is a must. You are also suggested to get trained on using the trekking equipment.
You will be learning to use the mountaineering equipment. You will learn to fix ropes, ascending and descending on these ropes, crampons, ice axe and so on.
You can choose to do the basic, mountaineering training in Kathmandu or with us as well. There are many short courses available in Kathmandu and Lukla. It is more affordable in Kathmandu.
At altitudes of Mera (6476m) & Island Peak (6189m), altitude sickness is a huge health concern. Get as much knowledge as you can about altitude sickness.
This way, you can identify the symptoms and take the necessary precautions.
Do not ever downplay altitude sickness. It can be a major health risk if left untreated.
Proper equipment list:
Do compare your package list with the equipment and supplies list mentioned above. This way you can confirm that you have everything necessary for a comfortable trek.
Also, do check the conditions of your equipment before setting out on your actual trek.
A crevasse is a deep crack especially in a glacier. You come across these during the Island peak section of the trek. Some of these are hidden as well.
Be sure you follow the instructions of your experienced guide. And, walk slowly.
Some additional tips for Mera and Island Peak Trek
- Have a day or two extra. These are great for flight delays, exploring nearby villages, Namche Bazaar.
- This climb is best for the active, physically fit person. Plus, your endurance and determination are necessary to complete this trek.
- Do partake in the mountain climbing training sessions in Nepal, if you don’t have prior climbing experience.
- Make sure you break into your mountaineering boots before your actual trek. New boots can lead to blisters, aches or a feeling of discomfort.
- Stick to your own pace. Do not rush your trek. The peaks are not going anywhere. So, take your time.
- Update your first-aid kit with medicines that you may need for ailments related to high altitude treks.
- Having enough cash to last you throughout the trek is highly recommended. ATM’s and cards are not reliable.
At a height of above 6000m, both Mera and Island Peak offers a great Himalayan summit adventure. These peaks are a great introduction to high altitude summit climbs.
The climb is an exciting and exhilarating experience. They provide some of the most fascinating views of the Himalayas in the Everest region of Nepal.
These peaks require some technical climbing ability. Contact us to help you in providing the best climbing guides and support team to climb these summits safely and successfully.