All going to plan and the weather on our side, we will move up to a rock and glaciated camp just off the Mera La saddle at approx 5400m. Plastic mountaineering boots are usually worn from base through to the summit bid and return. Whilst they feel clumsy they are perfect for the job, providing warmth, protection and stability for the variable terrain including loose rocks, snow and ice. Another camp is set half way up the long north slope of the mountain, at about 5700m near a rock knob. Although it is a shorter distance here, it can be difficult in poor conditions and you are at altitude and is harder and further than it first appears.
The summit bid will commence early in the morning (anywhere from 2 to 5am) from this high camp, and take around 4 to 6 hours to make the summit. Whilst the distance doesn't look far, we can assure you it will be hard work, and all the preparations and a positive, tempered attitude will pay off here. It is usually necessary to rope up for much of the summit approach due to crevasse hazards along the route. The route can vary depending on the conditions of the season but usually skirts around a major shoulder in front of us to the back side of the mountain and then traverse in a fairly straightforward approach to the summit knob. As the light comes, we enjoy incredible views across to Baruntse (7129m), Chamlang (7319m) and Nau Lekh (6360m) with Makalu (8481m) looming behind. Further to our left is Everest, Cho Oyu and in the distance on a clear day, Kangchenjunga. Please note that due to the unstable nature of the northern summit knob, it is highly likely that we will ascend the central summit (6461m) of Mera.
The exact schedule will depend on many factors, including the weather, condition of the route and condition of the members. Our contingency of equipment and experienced staff and a time buffer, gives us a fair amount of flexibility to achieve success for all who have worked hard from the beginning of the expedition. The day will be long, and this is where all the training beforehand, the trek approach, and the right attitude will combine to give you stamina and confidence to be part of a sound team, with optimum chances for the summit.