AsiaNepalMera

Mera here we come...

Mera Travel Blog

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Looking up to High Camp at 5850m (behind the rocky outcrop centre top).
The plan from Khare was straightforward. Starting at 4900m, we would re-climb the moraine back up onto the glacier, then journey up to the Mera La ("La" is Nepali for "pass") at 5400m, which offered the only bridge between the Hinku and Hongu valleys. Following well marked snow tracks, our afternoon would be spent plodding up to the exposed high camp at 5850m. Looking back, I think I can pinpoint exactly when I knew I was in trouble that day. As you climb past the La, now going due South, the altitude gain opens out the view beyond the snub of rock North of the pass. What this means is, for the first time on the trip a hill called Everest came into view. When the magic moment happened though, I barely had the energy to turn, and certainly not enough to bother getting a camera out.
On the glacier
I don't have any memory of seeing Everest, so things were clearly not right with me.

Although I wasn't hot in any normal sense, the strong sun on the glacier had an energy sapping intensity to it and, with hindsight, heat exhaustion was definitely affecting me, not that I knew it was - the whole experience of being on a Himalyan glacier for the first time in my like made the whole day very surreal, and I defintely wasn't fully aware of how tired I was. By the time we arrived in high camp, I did know I was severely dehydrated, and, having eaten barely anything all day, not best set-up for the following day. I got some fluid down me, and some food, then sat down and willed my body to turn itself around. Even though I felt wretched at high camp, the couple of hours of daylight I had there were utterly unique.
My tent
It was cold, but bright and clear and stunningly beautiful, surrounded by a ring of peaks.

Having sent a sherpa up the day before to put our towels down on the sunloungers, we had the pick of the tent spaces but even so, this was my first "proper" high camp - a rib of rock edged out of the snow for a hundred metres or so - my tent was perched right on the edge of the cliff and life was very simple - turn right out of the tent and I was 20 feet from the mess tent, turn left and I would fall to my death. I'm a tourist, not a climber or adventurer, and this was undoubtedly the most thrilling and simultaneously scary place I'd been to in my life. If you ever get a chance to go - DO IT!!

In theory, we'd all be up at 2-3am for the summit push, so by 6.
Our sherpas
30pm I was settled in my sleeping bag and off to sleep. I awoke something like two hours later, feeling disorientated and very, very uneasy about something. I didn't have any sort of a headache, which is normally the most common symptom of Acute Mountain Sickness, I just felt very, very wrong. For days it had been drummed into us - if you feel bad at high camp - YOU MUST TELL SOMEONE, which is what I did. After having a look at me, our trip leader decided I should return to base camp.

So, an hour or so later, Myself, our Western trip leader, and sherpa Gyalzen, left high camp. Even in my dazed state, I wasn't entirely sure why the trip leader was coming down with me, but within a day all would become clear. Crossing the glacier in the darkness wasn't pleasant.
Long way down...
A smooth hard-packed snow surface extended down on both sides, so a slip could turn very serious very quickly, and Gyalzen was eager for me to keep close, which I did until he stopped without me noticing, and I walked face-first onto the point of his ice axe, opening a small cut on my cheek.

The objective danger ended when we came back onto the rocks above Khare, and it became an unpleasant pitch black rocky obstacle course, with my body now screaming for fluid in a way I'd never experienced before. I think we arrived back at base camp somewhere around 4am. I walked into the mess tent, moved away from the door, sat down on the floor, then slumped to one side and fell instantly asleep. I must have been a strange sight - unshaven and filthy with dried blood congealed on my cheek!!

A few hours later, a tent was found for me, which I got into, then once again fell instantly asleep, before Mingma woke me with noodle soup at around 3pm.
Mera High Camp 5850m
In hindsight, when I awoke the previous night, if I had just kept my mouth shut and gone back to sleep, I think I would have been OK - my dehydration and heat exhaustion would have passed. But, I didn't, so Mera's summit eluded me. Though annoyed at blowing my chance of getting to the top of Mera, I was pleased that I was able to walk myself back down to base camp without help. Considering I started the walk that night in bad shape, I'm actually strangely proud of my nightime glacier excursion, though having sherpa Gyalzen watching my every step was the real reason the unplannned night trek ended without major incident.
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Looking up to High Camp at 5850m (…
Looking up to High Camp at 5850m …
On the glacier
On the glacier
My tent
My tent
Our sherpas
Our sherpas
Long way down...
Long way down...
Mera High Camp 5850m
Mera High Camp 5850m
DONT go left
DON'T go left
Up on the glacier proper - a very …
Up on the glacier proper - a very…
Up to high camp
Up to high camp
Mera
photo by: cja17