How is Mera Peak versus Island Peak?

20 Nov 2019 Peak Climbing Nepal

How is Mera Peak versus Island Peak?

Nepal is a land of Himalayas. The Great Himalayan Trails that extends from the Kanchenjunga Mountain in the east to Saipal Mountain in the west embraces thousands of big and small mountains. The glory of having 8 out of 14 mountains above 8000m is multiplying our pride. There are many peaks here which are suitable for climbers of all categories and strength. In this piece of article, I am presenting you with a comparison between two of the most famous trekking peaks: Mera and Island Two Peaks.

Mera Peak

Mera Peak Climbing in Nepal

Mera is considered to be the highest trekking peak in Nepal. It is 6,476m tall. It is located in the Everest Region of Solukhumbu District in Province No. 1. Mera Peak climbing is an awe-inspiring experience. Mera Peak contains three main summits: Mera North (6,476), Mera Central (6,461m) and Mera South (6,065m).

Most of the climbers tend to climb Mera Central because other parts are comparatively harder. Mera North is a challenging one.  The summit view of this mountain is mind-blowing. You will have to close up view of Lhotse, Cho Oyu, Makalu and Kanchenjunga among others.

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    Island Peak

    Island Peak

    Island Peak is one of the best trekking peaks in Nepal. It is popularly known as Imja Tse. It is 6,189m tall. This is the most beautiful mountain as it looks like an island among the sea of ice when viewed from Dingboche.  This trekking peak to lies in the same region where Mera Peak lies. Island Peak is one of the main climbing peaks in the Everest Region. It is the perfect ice climbing practice for beginners.

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    Both Mera and Island peak are the best trekking peaks of Nepal. They are fairly close to each other. Both of these peaks are located in the remote valley. These two peaks are separated by a mountain chain that divides Hongu and Khumbu Valley. You will have a fascinating mountain view from the summit of these mountain peaks. Amphu Labtsa Pass which stands at an elevation of 5,780m is the highlight of these trekkings. However, there are some significant differences between these two peaks.

    Mera Peak is slightly higher than Island Peak. Though Mera is the highest trekking peak, it is straightforward. Island Peak is more technical as it includes more steep ice climbs. Both of these mountains are suitable for novice climbers. However, Mera is climbable without proper mountaineering skills. Island Peak demands basic mountaineering as well as some technical knowledge.

    Mera Peak is high but it has very few challenges like crevasses whereas Island peak has numerous challenging sections so need proper knowledge about Island Peak Climbing Checklist. The headwall, the narrow ridge to the top and icefalls make it rather difficult. Both of these peaks befit energetically and physically fit trekkers with little or no experience.

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    • Excursion to Everest Base Camp
    • Visit the classic Tengboche Monastery
    • Trekking via Sagarmatha National Park (UNESCO listed world heritage)
    • Exploration around the remote Khumbu Valley
    • Exploration of Highlanders: the Sherpa and their culture
    • Visit Seto Pokhari: a sacred lake at the Himalayas 
    • Cross Zatra La  Pass and trek to Thuli Kharka


    Mera Peak versus Island Peak Route Map

    Mera and Island both make a combo of three-week-long trekking in the Himalayas. Both directions are equally popular. You can either move towards Chuthang from Lukla and cross Zatra La Pass to reach Mera Peak Base Camp first or head towards Namche and continue crossing Tengboche, Pangboche and Dingboche to reach Island Peak first.  

      If you choose to climb Island Peak located in the Chukung valley first, you will have to cross Amphu Lapcha pass first and climb down the Hinku Valley and reach toward the Mera Peak base camp. This is, in fact, the most popular route. It is relatively easier because it has comparatively less number of crevasses.

      Therefore, if you choose to climb Mera Peak first, go anti-clockwise and if you prefer Island Peak first, go clockwise. The map below will define the route clearly and correctly.

      Back to > Mera and Island: Two Peak Climbing

      Mera Peak versus Island Peak Route Map

       When to Visit?

      Spring and autumn are considered the best time to visit Nepal. And the most suitable time to visit the Everest region is between September and   May. During this period, the temperature is pleasant and most days are dry and sunny. Most importantly, during this period the strong wind and monsoon will not hurdle you. The weather will be calm enough for your ideal climbing.

      Most people prefer to visit the Everest region in spring. Monsoon and winter are the offseason for trekking in Nepal. During Monsoon, the trails are slippery, muddy and thick fog obstructs the views.  Winter brings a lot of snowfall. It is usually very cold and precipitation takes place in the form of snow. Trekking in Nepal is a pre or post-monsoon activity.

      What about Permit?

      Mera and Island both are the trekking peaks in eastern Nepal.  Both trekking peaks require a permit for climbing. Basically you need to have Local Area Permit and Mera and Island Peak climbing permit. The cost for these permits differs from season to season. You can easily acquire them in Kathmandu. These permits must be shown to the authorities upon demand at the check-posts there about.

      Success Rate

      Obviously, Island Peak is a little more technical. Island Peak has some short, steep snow climbing sections. Mera is a high altitude glacier walking. Mera is rated PD and Island Peak is rated to be PD+. Both of the mountains are considered the best even for the beginners. The success rate of both mountains goes above 90%. However, the success ratio of Mera is greater than Island Peak. 

      Climbing Preparation

      Mera Peak Vs Island Peak

      The success of peak climbing in Nepal largely depends upon proper preparation, positive attitude and fit body. These mountains demand good physique, mental stamina, and little climbing skills. Health and adequate preparation, after all, is the key to your success.

      General fitness exercises, jogging and stamina building pieces of training are a must for anyone seeking for these mountains. It is best to have mountain training sessions. These training will be much more fruitful for Island Peak than to the Mera Peak. Moreover, you need to have the basic mountaineering gears along with regular trekking equipment.  Some of the vital Peak Climbing Gears and Equipment include:

      • Climbing Harness
      • Karabiners
      • Accessory Cord
      • Crampons
      • Ice Axe
      • Trekking Poles
      • Belay Device
      • Ascender

      Which One is Prone to AMS?

      Mera Peak and Island Peak both have an elevation above 6000m above the sea level.  Such an elevation is obviously a common reason for altitude sickness. Though the summit day lasts for only a day, the long and exhausting journey will definitely put you in a risk.

      The weather changes all of a sudden and there is a fierce blow of wind at the summit of both mountains. And the level of oxygen is very low elsewhere in such heights. But the rocky ridge, glacial walk, tapering summit, and ice walls makes Island Peak more prone to Altitude Sickness. Therefore, you need to be very careful while trekking to these mountain peaks. Don’t climb in haste and put yourself under risk. Do not underestimate Altitude Sickness because it is life-threatening.

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        Final Say

        Mera and Island Peak both gives a typical taste of the Nepalese Himalayas. The climb is amazing with astonishing views and mind-blowing experiences. Either of them is doable. However, Island Peak is technical and sloppy which also demands technical climbing skills. It also requires the advanced experience of mountain climbing because it is a lot more challenging. But Mera Peak is neither sloppy nor technical. You even don’t require special and technical training.  Some basic training is more than enough for it. Hence, Mera is better than Island.