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Mountain Madness Climber

Mera Peak: Hinku Valley’s Shangri-La

Back to civilization

Forests and mountains

On our way to Khote

The vil­lage of Khote

We’re back in Seat­tle and I will get one more post up with sum­mit images from our climb of 21,000-ft. Mera Peak. It was now a bit more than a week ago that we start­ed our walk out of the Hinku Val­ley after the climb. We arrived in the vil­lage of Khote, some­what delu­sion­al after reach­ing the sum­mit and hav­ing spent sev­er­al days in the alpine zone of rock and ice. Almost 10,000 feet low­er than the sum­mit, this vil­lage took on Shangri-La-type qual­i­ties; with its thick­er air, water­falls, grass, and of course cold beers it pro­vid­ed us a much need­ed rest before the gru­el­ing 5,000-foot climb out of the Hinku Valley.

MC serv­ing up a fresh apple pie after the climb

The Hinku Val­ley with Mera Peaks almost two miles above the village

Tea­hous­es in Khote, many are new with­in the last few years

Our brush with Shangri-La was short-lived as the next day we began the hike out of the val­ley that would take us an over 15,000-foot pass before descend­ing more than 6,000 feet to Luk­la. Our exit start­ed out as a pleas­ant sun­ny walk in the crisp fall air, many of the leaves on trees hav­ing changed col­or since we first passed here. But, soon all pleas­antries were lost as we began the steep climb up Inca-like star­i­c­as­es. This trek is beau­ti­ful and a great alter­na­tive to the Khum­bu, but it has its gru­el­ing ele­ments for sure!

Through some bam­boo forests on the ups and downs in the Hinku Valley

Look­ing up to the pass and the por­tal back to civilization

Lak­pa check­ing in with some of the porters

Along the way we encounter a Sher­pa broth­er and sis­ter slow­ly work­ing their way up the trail. I ask the broth­er, a moun­tain guide, who fol­lows patient­ly behind his younger sis­ter, a porter, why she is car­ry­ing the big load while he has only a day­pack, to which he replies, because she is stronger.” A quick trans­la­tion and we’re all gig­gling, which makes the uphill chal­lenge a bit more tolerable.

Sher­pa broth­er and sis­ter tak­ing a break

Yes, those are flip-flops

As much as we will miss the peaks, any trip to Nepal becomes a trip as much about the peo­ple as the incred­i­ble moun­tains. From the laughs pro­vid­ed by Lak­pa, the card games with porters, to the kids along the way eager to learn Eng­lish, our trip is no excep­tion to this and we’ll always remem­ber some of the new friends met along the way.

Its all down­hill from here!

Mark S. read­ing with Sher­pa kid

How can some­one be smil­ing with a load like that? Nima smiled the whole trip, regard­less of the con­di­tions and load.