Mera & Island Peak 31st March 2023
Leader: Mark Riley
The team have now arrived back in Kathmandu, so enjoying the luxury of hotel life and the hussle and bussle of Thamel.
Yesterday around 09:30am the team reached the summit of Island peak. Last night after a long decsent and walk out we stayed in Chukkhung. The weather is on the change, with heavy snowfall while we walked down the valley today. The team are now in Pangboche and will be in Lukla in a couple of days time.
We are now at Chuckhung, will stay here 2 nights before heading for Island. Amphu Labsta was a long day and we walked to the junction camp in driving snow. One kit bag containing all out trekking boots took its own route down from the ridge spilling all the contents across the mountain. Lucky, most where found except one boot, John is now walking round in Circles 😆. Thankfully Richard's trainer's are the same size so he's using them.
Mark gave us a call to say that they are over the Amphulapcha pass, it's been a long day but the team were all cozy in their tents before the snow came this afternoon. Tomorrow they will have a well deserved rest day, before they muster their energy supplies once again to move towards the next objective, Island Peak.
Quick call from Mark to say that the team are at Panch Pokhari and getting ready to cross the Amphulapcha Pass tomorrow.
We have had a message from Mark to say that the team have reached the summit of Mera Peak and are now back down in the Honggu Valley. The tracker looks like it may have had a bit of a cold night but it's back on track now.
Mark called to say that the team are all well. Tomorrow they will head up to Base Camp on the Mera La, The following day they will move up to high camp and at this point are aiming to go for the summit on the 13th.
A frosty start today as we left Kote heading up the valley towards Tagnang. We had some amazing views of the dramatic South West Face of Mera Peak. Not long after leaving the trees vanished and the valley opened out as the sun finally rounded the mountain to warm up up. The further we went up the valley the larger the vista became with ever larger views of the mountains, like Kyashar seen in the pics, towering above us. As we broke through the symbolic 4000m Mark the thin air took a tole on the conversation, well apart from the Jock of course... We're all looking forward to going higher!!😉 We stay here at Tangnang for 2 nights as tomorrow we'll go for an acclimatisation hike up a nearby ridge. Forecast is good so all is looking well for the next few days.
Looking at the pictures sent through by Mark, the team appear to be in good spirits. The team have now arrived at Kote and are now a day ahead of schedule, due to the snow conditions stopping them trekking to Chalem Kharka Chunbu Kharka. They now plan to spend two nights at Tagnang to aid with their acclimatisation. The snow line is currently at Kote, but is starting to receed, which will help make things a bit easier underfoot, for the route to Khare.
A walk to cloud base today! Due to the recent rains down low, the higher passes along our intended route have been blocked with heavy snowfall. Last night, we decided to change the route to the west side of the valley on a different lower path and continue to Kothe over the next few days, allowing some snow to melt. A very pleasant hike today, and we are now on a ridge at Sibuje, looking forward to a clear sky and views in the morning.
2nd day of trek, Poyan to Pangkonngma. A different day all together today, after breakfast of porridge or egg on toast we set off under clear sky's and in good spirits. For the first Hour or more we shared the trail with the now familiar mules and clarts, but before lone the trait broke off the main drag to wind its way through pleasent dry woodland of roadadendrums and bush with excellent views of the higher peak. We arrived at our destination around 4pm to be greater with tea and biscuits. Dinner is is order and we have some time to ourselves before it arrives.
After the early morning ride to Ramachappe we had to wait a further 2.5 hours for take off, due to bad weather. Eventually, the weather cleared, and we boarded our small plane. The flight was short, but it was also one of the most thrilling experiences I have ever had. As we flew over the mountains, we could see the peaks towering over us, and the lush green valleys stretching below us.
After landing in Lukla, we had some lunch and then began our trek. The trail was hard going, with the rain and muddy ground making it difficult to walk. By the end of the day, we arrived in Poyan, tired but exhilarated to be on our way to Mera Peak.
Mark and the team will arrive into Kathmandu today. They will make their final preparations this afternoon/evening and then head to Ramachappe in the early hours of tomorrow morning for the flight to Lukla.
Mark is a highly qualified Summer and Winter Mountain leader. With huge amounts of experience of mountaineering in the Caucasus, the Alps, Scotland and the lake district, as well as extensive fell walking in the Northumbrian hills.