This special trip is one of our most challenging expeditions. From the mystical city of Kathmandu, we trek through three different valleys (Hinku, Hunku and Khumbu), negotiate three high passes (Zatra Wala 4580m, Mera La 5400m, and Amphulapcha 5845m), and climb the popular Mera Peak. Accommodation on this trip is all tent camping.
From Kathmandu we take a flight to Lukla, and commence our trekking journey. Our trail is immediately quite steep, towards the Zatra Wala pass which will take us into the Hinku Valley. Since we must briefly rise to 4580m to cross the pass, our first few trekking days are short with plenty of rest stops, to patiently keep our bodies comfortable with the altitude gain.
Over the pass, we descend into the Hinku valley, which is then followed northwards. The 3 distinct peaks of Mera will be visible in the distance as we progress through rhododendron, fir and silver birch forests. Again, the pace is taken slowly, with a rest day at Tagnac to ensure thorough acclimatization.
From Tagnac, we ascend to our base camp at Khare. Here we have a day’s instruction on climbing technique, and move up onto the immense Mera glacier for some practice and further acclimatization. Our attempt on Mera Peak will be launched from a high camp above Mera La at 5800m. A long, broad ridge is followed from the pass towards Mera Central, involving a sustained effort up a moderate snow slope. Slow and steady is the way to go, remembering that the view from the summit is stunning. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Chamlung, Baruntse, Nuptse, and many more Himalayan giants will be on full display, and you will feel a wonderful sense of achievement.
After summitting Mera, we continue over Mera La and drop into the completely unpopulated Hunku Valley. This wide, open valley is a truly wonderful, wild and remote place, rarely visited by trekking groups. For several days we walk northwards, encountering many glacial lakes which are likely to be frozen solid allowing us to walk right over the top of them. Our last camp spot before the pass is at Panch Pokhari (5 lakes), an exposed alpine expanse where you feel awed and humbled by your amazing surrounds.
Amphu Lapcha is a difficult and demanding pass, but guides will be there to help and encourage you the whole way. We start by climbing up rocky scree, approaching some magnificent pristine glacial formations. Ice steps may need to be cut, and ropes fixed, to assist everyone up onto the glacier. Depending on conditions, crampons may be needed to climb the final snow slope to the narrow pass itself.
The view from here simply provides some of the most superbly wild, unspoilt, breathtaking alpine scenery imaginable, and we are unlikely to have seen any other trekkers since leaving Mera La. The descent is steep and, depending on conditions, may involve being belayed part of the way down. Our campsite at the end of a challenging but exhilarating day is a lovely sheltered grassy area, a welcome spot for a rest.
From here, we descend to Chukhung and then into the Khumbu valley. Our itinerary takes in the beautiful Thyangboche Monastery and the colorful town of Namche Bazaar, before we finally arrive back at Lukla.