Mera Peak Vs Island Peak – Which One Is Better?

22 Jan 2024 Prakash Devkota

Mera Peak Vs Island Peak – Which One Is Better?

Nepal is a paradise when it comes to natural beauty and mountain expeditions. This beautiful nation nestled in the Himalayas boasts 8 of the 14 highest peaks in the world and 326 climbing peaks. The incredible pristine Himalayas offer an exhilarating expedition experience to mountaineering enthusiasts from beginner level to veterans.

In this Mera Peak Vs Island Peak discussion, we will overview two such popular Himalayan peaks in the country that have garnished the attention of mountaineering enthusiasts all over the world. Both of these peaks lie in the Barun sub-section of the Himalayas and are known for the exciting adventure they offer.

Dubbed the trekking peaks in the Himalayas, both Mera Peak and Island Peak are the absolute favorites of every Himalayan mountaineer and renowned lucky practice grounds for the expeditions of the 8,000-meter class giants.

So, if you have decided to take your adventure to the Himalayas and are in a dilemma on which of these incredible peaks should mark your first quest, you have come to the right place. In this article, we will discuss every aspect of these two gems of the Mahalangur range so you can decide which one will be the most ideal climbing experience for you.

Mera Peak

Mera Peak Climbing in Nepal

Mera Peak is the tallest trekking peak in the Nepali Himalayas. This peak is at the top of the list when it comes to gaining some snow skills for mountaineering beginners. Mera Peak is especially famous for its stunning panoramic views of five of the highest 8,000-meter class peaks in the world from its summit.

From the top of the 360° panoramic views of Lhotse (8,516 meters), Cho Oyu (8,188 meters), Makalu (8,485 meters), Kanchenjunga (8,586 meters), and the highest peak in the world, Mt. Everest (8,848 meters) is simply electrifying.

Mera Peak consists of three peaks: Mera Peak North (6,476 meters), Mera Peak South (6,065 meters), and Mera Peak Central (6,461 meters). But this highest trekking peak expedition leads you to the central part of the range, Mera Peak Central (6,461 meters).

This exciting peak of the Himalayas was first conquered by the mountaineering duo Sen Tenzing and Co. Jimmy Roberts on 20th May 1953. The region was extensively explored by the British expedition team in the early 50s before the attempt to scale Mt. Everest.

Roberts was one of the most notable people who is credited for the establishment of the trekking industry in Nepal during the early 1960s. He was even honored with the Sagarmatha National Award by the Nepali government in 2005.

After the first successful conquest of the Mera Peak, it became widely popular, especially as the practice peak for the 8,000-meter class mountains.

    Island Peak

    How is Mera Peak versus Island Peak?

    Island Peak, which is also known as ‘Imja Tse’ is another popular trekking peak in Nepal. This majestic trekking peak in the Himalayas was first successfully scaled by the British expedition team that comprised Tenzing Norgay, Charles Evans, Charles Wylie, and Alf Gregory in 1953.

    The British expedition team submitted the Island Peak as a part of exercises to scale the highest peak in the world. Since then, most mountaineers have done practice climbs on this peak before heading toward the summit of Everest.

    This incredible Himalayan peak extends the southern ridge of Lhotse Shar and is separated by a small col. Thus, Island Peak, standing at an elevation of 6,189 meters, looks like an island surrounded by a sea of ice when viewed from Dignboche. That’s how it came to earn its name, Island Peak, which was recommended by the English mountaineer Eric Shipton in 1953.

    The slopes of this popular trekking peak are slightly demanding but not at as strenuous level, making it a perfect introductory peak to test mountaineering skills and gain some experience before heading out on the exploration of the 8,000-meter class giants.

    Mera Peak Vs Island Peak: Similarities

    Mera Peak versus Island Peak Route Map

    Both of these incredible Himalayan gems are located in the Barun sub-section of the Mahalangur range in Nepal. Listed as trekking peaks, both Mera and Island Peaks have similar altitudes: Mera Peak is situated at an altitude of 6,461 meters (21,190 feet), and Island Peak at an elevation of 6,189 meters (20,305 feet) from sea level.

    You will not require any technical or mountaineering skills to scale any of these mountains in the 6,000-meter class. Geographically speaking, both Mera and Island Peak are adjacent to each other and intersected by a mountain chain. Thanks to the easy scaling route, the summit of both of these incredible Himalayan peaks is not that challenging.

    However, despite having so many similarities, the adventures offered by both of these peaks are different. Mountaineers get the opportunity to experience different prospects of the Himalayas in each of the expedition.

    Route and Duration of Mera Peak Vs Island Peak

    Mera Peak versus Island Peak Route Map

    In this Mera Peak Vs Island Peak comparison, let’s move on to the trekking route that eventually leads to the summit of these magnificent peaks in the Himalayas. Mera Peak Climbing is a 17 Day expedition that starts with a thrilling flight to Lukla (2,800 meters) from Kathmandu.

    Moving farther from the mainstream Everest Base Camp Trekking route, you will follow the trails toward Chhuthang (3,020 meters) and then to Tuli Kharka (4,300 meters) via the Zatrawal Pass (4,600 meters). Then, moving along with the ascending trekking route, you will trek to Kothe (4,182 meters), Thangnak (4,326 meters), Khare (5,000 meters), and finally to Mera High Camp (5,300 meters).

    After summiting the mountain, you will then retrace your steps back on the same trekking route for the flight back to Lukla from Kathmandu.

    On the other hand, Island Peak Climbing is a shorter expedition that lasts about 15 Days. Unlike the Mera Peak climbing route, which heads in a different direction from the mainstream EBC Trek route, the Island Peak expedition sticks with the route.

    After landing at Lukla, you will move along with the mainstream Everest Base Camp Trekking route and head toward Phakding (2,610 meters). Then, you will gradually trek uphill to Namche Bazaar (3,445 meters), Tengboche (3,975 meters), Dingboche (4,360 meters), and finally toward the Island Peak Base Camp (5,087 meters).

    However, unlike the Mera Peak expedition, you don’t have to spend a night on the slopes of the mountain, and you will be able to complete the expedition in a single day. After conquering the mountain, you will then retrace your steps back on the same trekking route to Lukla for a flight back to Kathmandu.

    Best Time for Expedition

    Mera Peak Vs Island Peak

    The mountain expeditions in Nepal are year-round adventures. The climatic conditions of the off-seasons do pose some challenges; however, both Mera Peak and Island Peak expeditions can be done throughout the year.

    In this category, the best time for the expedition is in Mera Peak Vs Island Peak comparison; thanks to the geographical location of both of these peaks, the best expedition period is also pretty similar.

    Generally, autumn and spring seasons are considered the ultimate period for mountain expeditions and high-altitude trekking adventures in Nepal. So, if you are planning an expedition to any of these incredible peaks, for the best and most memorable experience, we would recommend these peak seasons.

    The spring season welcomes the natural wonders, and the trekking trails are covered with the marvelous beauty of nature’s peak season. Spring is also a wonderful time to explore the wildlife and birdlife of the Himalayan region.

    Autumn, unlike spring, is known for its stable weather conditions and mild temperatures that are perfect for outdoor adventures. This season also boasts some of the grand festivals in Nepal, like Dashain, Tihar, Chhath, Teej, Gai Jatra, Indra Jatra, etc. So, if you want some cultural experience for your mountain expedition, this would be the best season to do it.

    The temperature of the Mera Peak region is around 15°C to 23°C during the spring season, and the temperature can drop to 10°C to 18°C during the autumn season. As for the Island Peak region, the temperature is similar to Mera Peak as both of these peaks are adjacent peaks in the Mahalangur range.

    Mera Peak Vs Island Peak: Expedition Difficulty

    Highlights of Mera Peak

    If you wondering about the difficulty level of these peaks in this Mera Peak Vs Island Peak comparison, rest assured both of these peaks in the 6,000-meter class are a moderate level of expedition.

    Mera Peak Climbing Difficulty

    Mera Peak is a completely non-technical trekking peak and has received a moderate difficulty level grading. In the Alpine Grading System, this peak has been labeled as an Alpine Grade PD Peak. This means that there might be some challenging sections along the slopes of the mountain, but, they are not that technically demanding.

    This magnificent Himalayan peak was previously graded as an ‘Alpine Grade F’ trekking peak which indicates a mountain is a straightforward climbing expedition without any technically demanding section.

    However, due to changes in the glacial segments and some technical parts along the route, the difficulty level was upgraded to Alpine Grade PD. There is a snow dome 40-50 meters ahead of the summit that the climbers have to overcome using jumars and fixed ropes.

    Island Peak Climbing Difficulty

    Island Peak Climbing also has a similar expedition difficulty as the Mera Peak and has been graded as a moderate expedition in the Himalayan grading system. This peak, however, has been graded as a 2B Difficulty Level in the Alpine Grading System.

    This means that there are some technical sections along the route that mountaineers have to overcome using the mountaineering tools. Some of the most common mountaineering gear required for the Island Peak expedition are harness gear, helmet, ascender, descender, ice peaks, crampons, stairs, etc.

    The vertical wall near the summit is considered one of the most challenging parts of the Island Peak Climbing. Mountaineers have to use a harness of a fixed rope to move from one anchor point to another during the summit push. Still, the expedition is not as challenging or as strenuous as an 8,000-meter class mountain.

    Permits for the Expedition

    In this exciting comparison list of Mera Peak Vs Island Peak, let’s move on to the topic of permits for these expeditions. What kind of permits will you require to scale these two beautiful peaks in the Himalayas?

    Mera Peak Climbing Permits

    Mera Peak Climbing Permits

    For scaling the highest trekking peak in Nepal, you will need three major permits. All of these permits are mandatory as this is a high-altitude expedition, and you will need to traverse across the protected area in the region.

    Permits for Mera Peak Climbing

    • Makalu Barun National Park Permit
    • Mera Peak Climbing Permit
    • Trekker’s Information Management System (TIMS) Card

    Your Mera Peak expedition will take you across the scenic landscapes of the Barun National Park, so you will be required to get this permit, which costs approximately US$ 30.

    Similarly, the Trekker’s Information Management System (TIMS) Card has been made mandatory by the authorities to enhance the safety and security features. You will need to pay around US$ 17 to get this permit.

    As for the cost of the Mera Peak Climbing Permit, it can vary depending on the season of your adventure. You will have to pay the following amount depending on the season of your expedition.

    Cost of Mera Peak Climbing Permit

    • In Spring (March to May)– US$ 250 per climber
    • In Autumn (Septemeber to November)– US$ 125 per climber
    • In Winter (December to February)– US$ 70 per climber
    • In Summer (June to August)– US$ 70 per climber

    Island Peak Climbing Permits

    Island Peak Climbing Permits

    Compared to the Mera Peak Climbing, you will need to get one additional permit for the summit of Island Peak. These permits are absolutely necessary for this expedition, and your trekking route takes you across two major protected areas in the Khumbu region.

    Permits for Island Peak Climbing

    • Khumbu Rural Municipality Entrance Permit
    • Sagarmatha National Park Entry Permit
    • Trekker’s Information Management System (TIMS) Card
    • Island Peak Climbing Permit

    As you trek on the mainstream trekking route of EBC Trek, you need to acquire both the Sagarmatha National Park Entry Permit and the Khumbu Rural Municipality Entrance Permit.

    The Khumbu Rural Municipality Entrance Permit costs around US$ 20 per person, and the cost of the Sagarmatha National Park Entry Permit is around US$ 30 per person. Similarly, the cost of Trekker’s Information Management System (TIMS) Card is also the same and is around US$ 17.

    Like Mera Peak Climbing, the Island Peak Climbing Permit’s cost can differ depending on the season of the expedition. You will have to pay the following amounts depending on the season of your visit.

    Cost of Island Peak Climbing Permit

    • In Spring (March to May)– US$ 250 per climber
    • In Autumn (Septemeber to November)– US$ 125 per climber
    • In Winter (December to February)– US$ 70 per climber
    • In Summer (June to August)– US$ 70 per climber

    Mera Peak Vs Island Peak: Package Cost

    Mera Peak Vs Island Peak Package Cost

    Moving on to the cost of the package in this interesting comparison, let’s start with the Mera Peak. The cost of Mera Peak Climbing can range somewhere between US$ 2,500 to US$ 3,000. The overall cost of the expedition will depend on the itinerary plans, highlight explorations included in the package, and the quality of services and amenities.

    As for the cost of Island Peak Climbing, it ranges from US$ 2,000 to US$ 2,500. The Island Peak Climbing has a shorter itinerary, so it costs slightly less than the Mera Peak climbing, which takes you on the exploration of a different route away from the mainstream EBC Trek route.

    We here at Peak Climbing Nepal offer the best value 17 Day Mera Peak Climbing Package at just US$ 2,555 and 15 Day Island Peak Climbing Package at just US$ 2,055. Your packages will include all expenses heads, like permits, land transportation, two-way domestic flight cost (Kathmandu to Lukla), all food and accommodations, porters, mountain climbing guide, certificate of a successful summit, including government tax, and our service cost.

    As for the expenses like personal climbing gear, international airfare, food, snacks, and drinks beyond the standard coverage, travel insurance and other personal natured expenses are not covered by your package.

    For any kind of queries or booking you can contact us through our Contact Page. Our representatives are available 24/7 for your assistance.

    How Should I Prepare for Climb?

    How Should I Prepare for Climb

    Both Mera Peak and Island Peak are two of the most popular and beloved trekking peaks or practice peaks in the Nepali Himalayas. So, despite both of these expeditions in the 6,000-meter class having different prospects when it comes to experiencing and challenges, have a common ground in the training part.

    In this incredible Mera Peak Vs Island Peak comparison, the recommended training period for the climbing of both of these peaks is 2 to 4 months. It depends on your overall physical aspects in order to determine the overall duration of your training period.

    For that, you can either consult with your climbing guide or seek the help of a professional trainer. Regardless, this is the minimum amount of period you have set for the preparation of these incredible expeditions.

    As this is a mixed adventure comprised of both trekking and mountain scaling, your strength and stamina level should be pretty much optimum. Although you don’t need any mountaineering skills for these expeditions, if you are serious about mountaineering, you could also take the classes that last about 35 days.

    Recommended Strength Training Exercises: Push Up, Pull Up, Plank, Deadlift, Weightlift, Step Up, Calf Raise, Leg Press, Bench Press, Squat, Bicep Curl, Leg Raise, Upright Row, Overhead Press, etc

    Recommended Stamina Training Exercises: Running, Cycling, Jumping Jack, Dancing, Aerobics, Rowing, Stair Climbing, Power Walking, Aerobics, etc

    Mental Preparation

    Although physical preparation is the major component of the training for these expeditions, you should also include the mental preparation part in your training. You need to be mentally prepared for the obstacles and challenges you have to take on these iconic trekking peak expeditions.

    So, here are some insider tips on mental preparation to make your journey even more enjoyable and serene.

    • Practice meditation
    • Learn to stay calm in every kind of situation
    • Leave your comfort zone
    • Set a positive mindset
    • Surround yourself with positive people
    • Have low expectation
    • Stay focused and determined
    • Positive self-talk

    Mera Peak Vs Island Peak: Success Rate of Expedition?

    Mera Peak Vs Island peak Success Rate of Expedition

    Thanks to the moderate difficulty level of both of these incredible peaks in the Himalayas, the success rate of both peak expeditions is above 90%. It indicates that there is a low probability of failure for a well-prepared climber.

    Even though the Mera Peak is slightly easier compared to more technical sections of the Island Peak, both of these peaks have similar grading. Mera Peak is pretty much a straightforward expedition, and Island Peak does have some technical parts on its slopes, but they are not that physically strenuous or challenging.

    If you are determined and make enough preparation, neither of the two peaks is going to be much of a big challenge for you.

      Final Say, Which One is Right for Me?

      Having said that, both of these peaks have high success rates and are two of the most sought-after peaks in the Himalayas. Which one will be the most ideal expedition for you?

      Well, it depends on what kind of expedition you are looking for. If you are a complete beginner and looking for some mountaineering experience before taking on the technical sections, we suggest Mera Peak Climbing.

      However, if you have some high-altitude trekking experience or previous mountaineering experience on trekking peaks and now you are looking for a bit of technical experience. Or, if you are preparing for the high altitude expedition in 7,000-meter and 8,000-meter class, we recommend Island Peak climbing.

      Regardless, both of these expeditions are remarkable and iconic and suited for a mountaineering enthusiast who is looking forward to extending the Himalayan prospects.


      Prakash Devkota

      Managing Director and Team Leader

      Mr. Prakash Chandra Devkota is an established name in the Tourism Sector in Nepal. He is a focused individual gifted with a brilliant mind. He is also hugely dedicated to social work. Born in the Gorkha district, a beautiful hilly region of Nepal, he first entered the tourism industry as a guide in 1997. He has gained extensive experience in almost all the trekking and climbing routes like Mera, Island, Lobuche and, Ama Dablam, etc.

      He registered Nepal Guides Treks & Expedition in 2009 AD. Due to his passion for adventure and efforts to provide quality personalized service to his clients, he has established himself as a successful tourism entrepreneur. He has dedicated most of his time working diligently to elevate the tourism industry and collected more than 15 years of experience in organizing trekking and expeditions in Nepal, Bhutan, and India. He believes in the power of the tourism industry and the employment opportunities that can be created through it. He constantly looks for innovative ways to run the company.

      Mr. Devkota has always been an avid practitioner of eco-friendly tourism and has always promoted environmental conservation throughout his career. He motivates his staff to embrace eco-friendly tourism through responsible tourism practices. He believes promoting eco-tourism will preserve natural resources and positively impact the environment.