Home page: www.treks.org

Table of Contents "On the road to Kabul and other short stories of treks"

Early snow, October 1977


Mera Peak 6500 m, steep South side

In 1997 I returned to Nepal to do a mountain trek. From years ago in 1974 I did remember how big and beautiful the mountains in Nepal are. Especially the simple mountain villages with the tea shops were appealing.


This year the plan was to go up Mera Peak with a height of 6500 m. As I never had been higher thcn 4000 m, this would be a real challenge because of high altitude sickness.

We started in Miri in the middle of October on the Classic Everest Trek Trail and the first week in the low country, below 3000 m, the temperature was fine except the nights were cool. We walked up the ridge of the Zatre Dandra and made a camp at 3500 m. At night we had a big campfire and I was surprised by the clear shadows in the nightly sky but this indicates humidity in the air.


The night was cold and in the morning my tent dark and caved in. It took me a few seconds to realize that is was snowing. This lasted all day and we did not move. The next day we discussed what to do. Go on to Mera Peak or use the fall-back option, Island Peak in the Everest Area. 5 wanted to carry on and 7 took the fall-back option. Our Sirdar preferred the other Everest route and warned for avalanches. Nevertheless, the 5 wanted to try it. The ridge was covered in deep snow and the trail barely visible and the going was slow and wet forcing them to use the plastic climbing booths.

After 2 or 3 days they reached Thuli Karkha at 4300 m. The heavy snow forced them back as already 3 porters where killed by avalanches or by sliding off a  steep, snow-covered trail. Going back down to Lukla is a 1500 m steep descend  and this took a full day of careful maneuvering down the snow-covered trail using fixed rope in several places.


I met them a week  later in  Dingboche in the Everest Region. My group stayed in lodges as the nights were already down to  -10 Celsius and with such comfortable lodges there was no point camping. They always camped complaining the nights were cold.