We stayed one more night at Tagnag to allow us to acclimatise – which meant a walk to up a nearby hill top adjacent to the Kusum Kanguru and its glaciers. It was a tough slog up as it was quite steep and at this altitude it felt so much harder. Only two of us managed to get to the top of the hill at 4900m and while I felt ok I was certainly out of breath and as has happened before I had a migraine aura at 4500m (though thankfully no headache).
The view was worth the effort as at 11.30am when we reached the top we had amazing view across the neighbouring mountains and up the valley to our base camp at Khare and the Mera La Glacier. Amazing sunshine but at minus 10 degrees it was really cold and that doesn’t account for the wind chill.
After another cold night at Tagnag, the following day we headed up the valley to Khare, our basecamp for the Mera Peak. Despite the altitude and cold its was a nice walk up the valley, climbing 700m as we followed the frozen river up to Khare at 5045m.
I’ve been quite pleased that I’ve not only still got an appetite but I can’t stop eating, which is great as my last trek this high I lost my appetite really early on. Its also great that we’re at Khare, as its Christmas in a few days and this is an amazing place to spend it – amazing view of Mera Peak and the glaciers and amazing food – considering we’re about a week from civilisation!
We had an extra day at Khare for further acclimatization and final kit checks. And crucially practising putting on crampons with our big gloves on – as on the glacier it will be too high and far cold for us to take them off without risking frostbite.
We also had to ration our kit down to half a bag’s worth so we’re taking the least amount of kit up on the glacier and thus preventing the porters taking unnecessary weight. After I’ve packed my sleeping bag, roll mat and extra layers, there’s not much room for anything else.
As we’re away over Christmas our trip leader Natalie gave us Christmas presents tonight which is really lovely of her – prayer flags, a scarf and crucially chocolate – that is coming with me! For the first time since I’ve been in Nepal I wish I could wish my family Merry Christmas.