After being without internet for over 36 hours, we are happy to report a successful climb!
We hiked from Khare to the glacier and over to Mera La (17,600 feet) on crampons. Our camp was in a sheltered depression, so we were spared the wind that was being forecast for the evening.
After an early dinner we were sent to bed and told to be ready for a 1:00 am wake up call. After a quick breakfast, we were on our way in the dark, around 2:30 am.
We proceeded up the moderate snow slope very slowly, and by 5:15 am, the sun began to creep up over the horizon. The forecasted 40 km winds never appeared, and we were soon left overheated in all of our clothing. By the time we had shed our clothing around 8:00 am, our packs weighed upwards of 25lbs!
By this point, the views of 5 of the 6 highest mountains in the world were right in front of us - with not a cloud in the sky. It was overwhelming to see these mountains so close in perfect, cloudless weather. No doubt, this was the highlight of the trip for all of us
We kept climbing until about 9:30 am, when David and Mike decided they couldn’t get further (around 19,800 feet). After some consultation, it was decided that we would all drop our packs and go for the summit less weighted.
This seemed to work, as the whole group (minus Rick, who stayed back at Mera La) made it to 20,700 feet, before Mike and Jimmy decided to turn back. They both had made personal elevation records and should be proud of their achievement.
The remaining four climbers made their way to the base of the summit - a steep slope with a crevasse at the bottom. An hour later, David, Dylan, Ashley and Robert were standing on the steep summit of Mera Peak, 21,500 feet, nine hours after departing Mera La.
A gruelling 4.5 hour walk down the snow slope brought us back to Mera La at 3:00 pm, almost 13 hours after we departed. We could barely walk and went straight to bed for the next 16 hours!
Today we walked all the way down to Thagnak (13,800 feet)- tomorrow we will walk down to Khote (11,500 feet) before catching a helicopter to Lukla and then on to Kathmandu. We will keep you updated with the rest of our flight arrangements.
Thanks for tuning in to our blog - we will continue to post on the end of our trip and thoughts, as well as getting some pictures onto the website as well!
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
- Mark Twain