Is Mera Peak Harder Than Island Peak?

Is Mera Peak harder than Island Peak

Mera Peak and Island Peak are popular trekking peaks in Nepal of similar stature. Trekking peaks are mountains that consider relatively less mountain climbing experience. Climbing these mountains is more or less like trekking rather than an expedition. Hence, these two peaks are easier to ascend and popular among first-timers.

Due to these peak being of similar height and a popular option for novice climbers, it is often compared. Is Mera Peak harder than Island Peak? Or Is Island the harder one? This question is often debated among novice climbers looking for trekking peaks in Nepal. If you are among those people, fret not. We have everything you’re looking for.

The easy answer to Is Mera Peak harder than Island Peak? It is a simple no. However, there are many layers to this. Here, we will cover the details of climbing these two peaks, both technically and logistically.

Find the detailed answer to “Is Mera Peak harder than Island Peak?” yourself!

What’s in store?

Mera Peak

Can a Beginner Climb Mera Peak
Mera Peak is a relatively short peak lying in the Mahalangur Himalayan range of Hinku Valley. This lies in the northern region of the Solukhumbu region. The Mera peak range has three distinct peaks. Mera Central at 6476 m, Mera South at 6065 m, and Mera North at 6476 m. The peak that lies at a height of 6476 m is considered the tallest trekking peak in Nepal.

To climb this peak, you ought to make treks throughout the trails of the remote valley of Hinku. You can easily conquer this mountain with basic mountaineering skills. The route of the climb is a high-altitude glacier trail with a relatively direct ascent. Hence, due to such straightforward technicality of the climb, novice climbers often choose this peak.

The ascent is not only doable, but it is also quite aesthetically pleasing. Climbers will make hikes throughout various scenic hamlets of Nepali mountains. Then from the peak’s top, they will be able to see many beautiful mountain ranges. During this climb, you may get 360-degree panoramic views of five of the tallest mountains in the world. Peaks, including Mount Everest (8,848 meters), Kangchenjunga (8,586 meters), Lhotse (8,516 meters), Makalu (8,485 meters), and Cho Oyu (8,201 meters), is seen climbing to Mera Peak.

Island Peak

Mera And Island Peak Climbing

Island Peak, also known as Imja Tse, is another trekking peak in Nepal. This is the second-highest trekking peak after Mera Peak in Nepal. The mountain lies at a height of 6189 m and is located in the remote trails of Khumbu. The mountain is quite near the tallest peak in the world, Everest. Natively known as Imja Tse, the mountain was named Island Peak by tourists. The peak appears to be in the midst of a “sea” of snow from Dingboche. Hence, people started calling it Island Peak.

To climb this peak, you ought to hike through remote trails that coincide with the Everest Base Camp trek route. During the ascent, you will trek through Lukla towards Chukking. Then you head towards the mountain’s base camp at 5087 m and make a smooth summit. Your hike also requires you to go through mountain passes like Kongma La and Lhotse Glacier.

The climb above the base camp is a little tricky. You ought to pass through steep rocky steps, glaciers, and icy slopes. Despite such hiccups, you can easily summit the peak. The views from the peak will moreover make you forget about such hiccups. You will be able to enjoy amazing panoramic views of the nearby mountains. Peaks like Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Changtse, Ama Dablam, Makalu, Baruntse, etc, are visible. You will also see three peaks of Lhotse, Lhotse, Lhotse Middle, and Lhotse Shar, along with Nuptse incircling Island Peak from the north.

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Similarities of the peaks

Best Time to Climb Mera Peak

Nature of climb

Island Peak and Mera Peak are often compared and given a similar status by climbers. This is because of the nature of these peaks. They are both considered trekking peaks as per the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA). Trekking peaks like this lie below the height of 7000 m and require very little mountain climbing experience. This applies to both Mera Peak and Island Peak. Both the peaks lie below 7000 m and have very few technical difficulties. Mera Peak lies at a height of 6476 m, whereas Island Peak is at 6189 m.

Along with similarities in the nature of the climb and height, the peaks are also quite close geographically. They lie adjacent to one another, just separated by a range of mountain peaks. Perhaps due to these reasons too, both the peaks were first summited in the same year. Mera Central was summited by Col. Jimmy Roberts and Sen Tenzing in 1953. Similarly, the Island Peak was also first summited through the southwest in 1953. However, the main summit of Island Peak was ascended in 1956.

Best time for ascent

Since both the peaks are similar geographically, the most suitable time to climb these peaks is the same. You can climb Mera and Island Peak primarily during spring and autumn for the best experience. These lie during March, April, and May for spring and September, October, and November for autumn. The spring and autumn months make up for a relatively moderate environment temperature-wise. Similarly, the routes are dry, with no rainfall or heavy snowfall. The vistas become more clear with no heavy clouds lingering over the sky. You will enjoy watching the mountain in the clear blue sky.

Off-season treks and climbs are also done. However, they are not encouraged. Monsoon and Winter ascents are very tough. Businesses shut down, the weather is harsh, and all in all, such factors aid in making easier climbs like Mera and Island Peak harder.

Cost for the ascent

Mera Peak and Island Peak have similar costs for its hike and ascents. The basic day-to-day logistics of the peaks are similar. Transportation for both trips is similar as they comprise a flight to and back from Lukla. Similarly, the cost of permits is considered in both trips. Basic amenities like food and transportation also cost similarly as both the places are in similar economies.

Also, the equipment needed for the ascent is the same, and the costs are somewhat similar. You can also hire guides and porters for your ascent, which will amount to a little more cost. Overall, the climbing can be done within the range of USD 2000 to USD 4000.

Travel route to ascent

Mera Peak

Popular Climbing Destination for Beginners Mera Peak

You ought to travel through the hamlets of Hinku Valley for your ascent. You will do so by traveling to Lukla first. Then, you will hike up to Chhuthang after landing in Lukla. Then you’ll travel through the stunning Zatrawala Pass to Thuli Kharka. Your walk moves in the direction of Kothe from Thuli Kharka.You will depart from Kothe to travel to Thangnak and then to Khare. Glimpses of the soon-to-be-climbed Mera Peak can be seen from the Khare region. From Khare, you will climb up to the Base camp of the peak. Eventually, you will summit the peak from the base camp.

The route to Mera Peak is basically alongside the Dudh Koshi River. The region is an area popularly inhabited by Sherpa and Buddhist hamlets. During your trek and climb, you stroll through different alpine forests. You can see pine, fir, oak, and rhododendron trees. Several glaciers and other Himalayan formations will be encountered along the way.

There will be a slight increase in altitude every passing day. However, the overall route is quite easy to navigate and travel.

Island Peak

Island Peak Climbing

Island Peak also has a similar vantage point to Mera Peak. Starting from Lukla, you will travel to Island Peak. You will start hiking from Lukla and pass through suspension bridges over the Dudh Koshi. Such a road will lead you to Phakding. You will head towards Namche Bazaar as you continue on the journey. There will be other suspension bridges crossing the Dudh Koshi along the way. You will also pass the world’s 123rd-tallest bridge while traveling along the road.

The Sagarmatha National Park is accessible from the road leading to Namche. After a little stroll, you will arrive in Namche, where you may visit the local Sagarmatha National Park area. The Namche region serves as both a center for tourism and is also a Buddhist settlement.

Following Namche, a route will lead you uphill to Tengboche. The route becomes slightly less steep as you reach Phunki Thanka after being exceedingly steep up until Sanasa. After about two hours from here, you will arrive in Tengboche. Your final destination’s entrance will be marked by the Tengboche monastery.

The glaciers of Imja Khola are located in Chukkung, which will be your next step. The river’s source is the intended mountain itself. The base camp for Island Peak, also known as Pareshaya Gyab, will be the next destination from Chukkung. From the base camp, you will make a smooth climb to the peak.

The route for the Island peak climb is very similar to the Everest Base Camp trek. Hence, it is very easy to navigate. Similar to any Himalayan hike, the altitude does increase every day. However, it isn’t something you need to be scared of.

Difficulty level

Mera Peak

Mera Peak Climbing

The difficulty level of climbing Mera Peak can be separated by two factors. The initial hike and then the actual climb itself. The trek is considered moderately challenging. The peak itself is not much of a technical climb. However, walking up to an altitude as high as 6476 m will require tiring your muscles.

Mera Peak’s climb is a comparatively straightforward approach. Most of the ascent includes hiking through glaciers in relatively less steepness. You can easily approach it with the use of axe and crampons. The summit ridge could be accounted as the toughest part with having to ascent a snow dome lying at 50 degrees.

Climbers consider the peak as Alpine Grade PD in the Alpine grading system. Such a grade is given to mountains with just some technical parts and glaciers. Before, the peak used to be Alpine Grade F, which is the category for straightforward climbs. But due to the changes in the glacier, the final part of the ascent is a little more technical, making it an Alpine Grade PD climb.

Island Peak

Island Peak Climbing

The Island Peak summit also needs to account for the hike and the peak’s actual climb. The hike is similar to the Everest Base Camp trek and moderately challenging. The base camp, Pareshaya Gyab, is where the expedition to the peak starts. The Camp is reachable from Chukkung and is situated at a height of 5087 meters.

From base camp, you can reach high Camp with a short trek. You will climb through an exposed gully and up some moderately difficult stone steps. From the top of the gully, you will traverse a glacier and then come to a steep snow and ice slope. There is a 100-meter ascent required to reach the peak ridge, which is a bit distant. There is a significant crevasse along the headwall leading to the summit ridges that you must avoid. Such crevasse openings pose a lethal threat. Hence, it necessitates considerable caution when mountaineering through them.

The climb to the summit while being mindful of the crevasse will be the most difficult portion of the journey. Since it’s a relatively less steep summit, the majority of the climb will be easy. Accounting for all these technicalities, Island Peak is considered F’ Facial Easy’ by the French and Swiss Alpine Climbing Classification System.

Permits Needed

Island Peak Climbing

Mera Peak

Mera Peak comprises the Makalu Barun National Park as well as the Solukhumbu region. This makes up for the need for two particular permits. You can obtain one of them when you arrive in Lukla, which is the Local Area Permit. The second permit is for admission inside the Makalu Barun National Park’s protected area.

Island Peak

The Island Peak lies within a part of the Sagarmatha national park conversation area and is located in the Khumbu protected area. So, your expedition will require two permissions. They consist of the permits for Sagarmatha National Park and the Pasang Lhamu rural region.

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Final Say / Is Mera Peak harder than Island Peak?

The easy answer to “Is Mera Peak harder than Island Peak?” is a simple no. Despite Island Peak being taller than Mera Peak, Mera Peak is easier to ascent. Mera Peak poses fewer technical threats than Island Peak.

The final part of the Island peak ascent takes you through icy slopes, glaciers, and crevasses. Island peak climb also requires the use of a fixed rope in its summit ridge. On the other hand, Mera Peak is a simple ascent technically. It does make use of fixed ropes in its summit ridge too. However, climbing the summit ridge in fixed rope over crevasses and ice slopes of Island Peak is comparatively tougher.

Putting apart the nitpicky differences and challenges in these peaks, they are both great options. Novice climbers can easily venture on summiting both these peaks. Just know how to plan your trip and plan it well. If you need help in such planning, we at Nepal Climbing Info will be of great help. Contact us and let us know.

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