It’s countdown time again…22 days until we (Marian, Tyler, Christine and I) board the plane at the Kathmandu domestic airport and fly to Lukla to begin our next expedition. It’s a spectacular and terrifying flight to land at what is considered one of the most dangerous airstrips in the world at the Hilary-Tenzing Airport in Lukla.
Our first objective will be to reach Mera Peak. Because of the need to acclimatize slowly, it will take nearly two weeks to be ready to climb Mera. Mera Peak is at the head of the Hinku Valley. At 6,476 metres (21,247 ft), it is classified as a trekking peak, but is higher than any peak in North America. The view from Mera is said to be superb with five of the world’s tallest mountains visible! Talk about a spot for dreaming big dreams.
Then, after descending to the Mera La, we’ll head eastwards trekking up the Hongu valley with Lhotse and Everest clearly visible ahead (I’m looking forward to seeing Everest from a new angle and that’s part of the appeal of this trip for me).
From here, we make the tough crossing of the technical Amphu Labsta Pass (5700m) and drop down into the Imja Valley, where we will set up our basecamp below Island Peak (6189m).
We have 2 days to climb Imja Tse (Island Peak) which lies close to the imposing south face of Lhotse. We’ll descend back to Lukla via the well-known Khumbu Valley having had the thrill of ascending two new valleys, a number of high mountain passes and two new peaks.
Here is a video from a team that completed the same route last year in 2012. They appear to be getting ready for an Everest attempt in 2015.
And here is another that shows crossing the Amphu Labsta Pass: