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Mera peak expedition mountain madness

Lions en route to Nepal

Post­ed by Mark Gunlogson/​Pres­i­dent

Some 30+ hours of trav­el from Seat­tle I arrive in Kath­man­du, tired, but hap­py to be on my way back to the Himalaya after a fif­teen year absence. From my first trip some twen­ty years ago I expect to see many changes, from a Nepal with­out a king, the emer­gence of a Maoist move­ment, an upsurge of tourists to this mys­ti­cal place, and Kathm­nadu burst­ing at the seams.

In 1990 my friends and I trav­eled to Nepal intent on mak­ing some light­weight alpine style ascents on some less­er known peaks — all in good old-fash­ioned dirt­bag style. On the long flight this time around I rem­i­nisce on those days fond­ly when free drinks and tak­ing mag­a­zines and a pil­low from the plane, both of which made it to base camps in the Himalayas, seemed like we pulled off some great caper; and then there was the chal­lenge to see how many days we could live on just ramen noo­dles. Ahh, youth.

Mera Peak

Now, near­ly 50, with a car­ry-on bag filled with all sorts of elec­tron­ic gad­getry for blog­ging, tweet­ing, face­book­ing.…., I sit patient­ly in the Bangkok air­port board­ing area watch­ing Ani­mal King­dom on the big screen, mus­ing how dif­fer­ent this trip will be. I almost laugh out loud when they say, a con­ti­nent away, that the wilde­beeste sleeps while stand­ing up for about four min­utes at a time and that lions cop­u­late up to forty times in twen­ty-four hours — and I’m tired from sit­ting on a plane for a day and a half. But, how­ev­er jad­ed I some­times feel after some 30+ years of chas­ing adven­ture and climb­ing, I know that the spark will once again be ignited.

View from Island Peak

Last guid­ed by Moun­tain Mad­ness in the ear­ly 90’s, this trip will take us to Mera and Island Peaks and offer a remote climb in the Himalayas. From the vil­lage of Luk­la, the stan­dard start­ing point for Ever­est climbers and trekkers, we’ll trav­el east into the wilder­ness of the Hinku and Hongu val­leys. From the sum­mit of Mera we will see five of the six high­est peaks in the world before we descend into the cirque that sur­rounds Island Peak, the last objec­tive. From there it’s back to civ­i­liza­tion and the trek to Luk­la. Stay tuned.

- Mark Gunlogson