Its Christmas Eve and I’m sleeping in a tent on the Mera La Glacier at 5400m!!
We left Khare this morning early and the walk up to the edge of the glacier took till lunch – its steep and rocky and in our mountaineering boots was really hardwork. There has been rockfalls in the last year so we had to wind through scree and boulders to reach the glacier rather than take a direct route.
I was excited when we finally got to put on our crampons and harnesses and set off walking alpine style – roped together – and using a fixed line to head across the ice. The fixed line was really for the porters who do not clip on but use it as a handrail as they head across the ice with heavy equipment.
It was hard going initially as the ice is polished like glass and hard as concrete – scoured by the strong winter winds, and with us all walking a different speeds it was difficult to maintain a good pace as we approached the headwall of the glacier.
The team had added a haul line to aid the porters ascent of the glacier and move the equipment. We used ascenders to jumar up to the top of the line to reach the top of the Mera La glacier. It was hard work, but great fun though the cloud descended as we all reached the top and the wind picked up.
We quickly crossed the glacier top and descended the other side to a rocky plateau which is our camp for the night. We didn’t reach camp until 4pm and the team had already set up tents and had soup waiting for us. Heroes, they’re all superheroes. I’m sharing the tent with Natalie, our group leader as we’re the only single females on the trek – we have an amazing view across a little lake and up to the summit of Mera. A perfect place to celebrate Christmas.
Its cold and windy so as you can imagine we were in bed before sun had even gone down and Bindra – our trekking porter and our greatest superhero in the team despite not being a climbing sherpa – brought us soup and noodles for tea, along with hot water in our naglene bottles for our sleeping bags. God I’m going to need those tonight as its already minus 15 degrees and the sun has only just gone down. Brrrr.