I had come to Nepal in 2003 to climb Dhampus Peak as part of Round Dhaulagiri Trip. Not only did I climb the peak successfully I also visited the Child Environment of Nepal (CEN) run by Himalayan Glacier Trekking that provided food, shelter and education for deprived and poor children. It was an inspiring project and I thought to myself how I could contribute.
About half a year ago, I decided to raise funds by climbing a Himalayan peak for which I approached Netherland based advertising company ‘Merk Makers’ for sponsorship. Realizing that this was to be for a social cause, they agreed to provide 1000 Euro for my climb and released a pres release. By the end of April this year, I managed to raise additional charity from my office department and FBTO so that the total amount came around 1800 Euro.
At the same time I approached Himalayan Glacier Trekking for advice on climbing peak and they advised Mera Peak (6,476m). I started to study about the peak, the area and climatic conditions while HGT took care of the rest; I didn’t have to worry about arranging equipment, climbing gears and other essentials. Meanwhile here in Netherlands I started walking with backpack nearly every day and did 10 kilometers of marathon in weekend. I also took up fitness exercise at the nearby sporting school.
The whole trip was organized extremely well from the time I was picked up at the airport to successfully climbing Mera Peak. On the first day I stayed in Kathmandu as part of acclimatization and spent time with my crews. Next morning we flew to Lukla (2860m) and took a walk to Phakding and back. We spent the first couple of days warming and acclimatizing and trekked all the way to Tengboche. For some one like me who have come from Holland, getting used to the local environment was essential if I was to summit the Peak. The weather was cold and wet and clouds hung almost every day till the afternoon. Suresh, my trek guide, was quite skilled and had thorough knowledge about surroundings, flora and fauna. Interestingly he spotted Musk Deer, Pheasant (Nepal’s national bird) for me.
By the time we reached Khare we had reached almost a height of 5,045m. The temperature dropped to a freezing -17 degree Celsius with clouds covering much of the horizon. With the help of Dendi Sherpa, my climbing guide and Sirdar, we climbed up to 200 m beyond Khare and back for acclimatization. The following day we made our way to the Base Camp (5096m) of Mera Peak which almost took three hours. At this height, it was obviously really, really cold as the afternoon was completely covered by fog and ice sleets began to drizzle.
Early in the morning the next day our march continued to the High Camp at 5,600m. This time we had to take up a challenging walk across the glacier glimmering under the penetrating rays of Sunlight. From High Camp we could observe Mera Peak standing in all its glory and greatness. When you see its bulging structure of ice and rock, you will surely become nervous and at that very instant I had my doubts over reaching the summit. I talked this over to Dendi Sherpa, an experienced climbing guide and 3 times Everest summitter, who rest assured me and asked me to trust him. Dendi is really open to any kind of queries and this for me was very reassuring.
The next day, at 2 O’Clock, we woke up in the cloak of dawn, put our crampons, drank tea and had breakfast and launched for the summit. I couldn’t eat breakfast because of fretting nerves. Ultimately we ‘attacked’ braving freezing cold and ice wind. I could feel the snow crunching under my crampons. I and two Koreans were secured in a line with a rope in between Dendi at the front and Chumba at the rear. It was painstakingly cold and dark, and despite a head torch we couldn’t see what lay in front of us. There were deep crevasses we had to avoid and steps that had to be taken carefully. The way the guides organized the summit push and led us in a rhythmic fashion up the mountain instilled confidence in me; we worked as a team. The final stretch of 50m to the summit was steep and physically challenging. Over this portion, I continued to struggle with my mind: ‘I can’t do that but stop you have almost made it, you are so close’. We reached the summit at 9:40 AM. Even after reaching the summit I didn’t realize we had done it, the feeling of which was to overwhelm you later. From the summit you could see all the big guys including Everest remembering of which I still get goose bumps.
Soon after we started descending to High Camp the weather started changing dramatically as clouds came in. There were crews waiting for us in the camp with hot and sumptuous lunch. We retraced our steps back to Lukla and caught a flight back to Kathmandu.
Mera Peak was more difficult to climb then Dhmapus. This was definitely my Everest. It is always a pleasure to trek here in Nepal because of the wilderness and not to mention experienced and well fielded guides. The food and lodging throughout the trip, as usual, was excellent. Thanks I have lost 4-5 kilos of my weight during this expedition. Compared to 2003, the situation in Nepal has changed for good. The political situation is stable and calm now and there is nothing to worry about. I feel glad over the fact that I have extended my boundaries of climbing. I feel even more satisfied to help the orphanage by climbing. I am planning to go around Manaslu next time for which I will form a team of members who have similar passion for adventure as well as social cause.
Thank you HGT for your superb management and experienced guides. Mera peak and the orphanage is really worth of climbing.