FATMAP difficulty grade
Although the distance and height gain are not huge on this day, the altitude makes today a tough one.
The reward for your efforts will be a clear view of 5 of the World’s 6 highest mountains, and reaching one of the most spectacular campsites you will ever stay at.
The view from the Mera La itself is wonderful but as you ascend on this day the panorama only improves as 8000 metre mountains reveal themselves one after another.
Makalu’s famous west face (which is yet to be climbed) appears first and not long after the truly epic south face of Lhotse creeps into view, with the distinctive summit pyramid of Everest visible beyond it.
As you gain height Cho Oyu eventually becomes visible over to the west, and from high camp it is possible to make out (on a clear day) the Kangchengjunga massif.
Were K2 visible then high camp would enjoy a view of the World’s 6 highest mountains but with K2 being almost at the other end of the Himalayas in Pakistan, you will have to console yourself with “only” being able to see 5 of the 6. The route to high camp is straightforward glacier hiking and, as ever on a glacier, the exact route you take will depend on conditions but if you head south up the Mera Glacier, following the most mellow terrain and avoiding any crevasse bands, you won’t go far wrong. High camp itself is tucked underneath a rocky buttress and has about 10 tent platforms that have been carved out amongst the rocks.
Needless to say these could well be full so if there are other teams on the mountain, get up early and try to get to high camp early enough to claim a spot! If they are full (which is unlikely) you can always camp on the glacier itself, which is colder but still flat.
The views to some nearby hanging seracs and across to distant 8000 metre peaks has to be seen to be believed.
Get some sleep and prepare for an early start!