You will arrive in Kathmandu and transfer to the hotel. You can spend the evening as you like.
Today is a free day for sightseeing in Kathmandu. You may wish to visit the monkey temple at Swayambunath; one of the largest Buddhist stupas in the world at Bodnath; the most important Hindu temple in the valley at Pashupatinath. You can also visit Durbar Square in the heart of the old city, where the old Royal Palace, with its intricate woodcarving, is located. Outside is Kumari Chowk, home of the Kumari, the young girl who is revered as a living goddess. The area is a maze of temples and images, and, leading away from the square in all directions, are narrow alleys, full of the most amazing variety of shops and stalls. Sightseeing tours can be booked locally. Today there will also be a full trip briefing in the morning.
You will take the spectacular flight to the small airstrip at Lukla (2800m), the gateway to the Khumbu region, and the starting point for the popular trail towards Everest. It is a busy little village, with many lodges, equipment and supply shops. Our staff will organise the huge entourage of porters and loads for the days to come, as Lukla is the only proper village we will visit on this itinerary. You will begin by walking south, on an enticing path to Puyan (2800m).
Day 4 - 7
This morning you will leave the treeline behind, and get into wilder country, where the Sherpas only herd their animals in the summer months. Crossing a small pass, you will get a stunning view of Kanchenjunga and its pointed neighbor, Jannu, far away to the east, in India. You will continue climbing to the holy Panch Pokhari Lakes, and then descend to camp at Changbu Kharka (4200m).
Day 8 - 9
You will then follow the rocky riverbed upstream (which is a reminder of the destruction caused by the bursting of a glacial lake) to join the main Mera trail. Walking through meadows dotted with dwarf junipers will bring you to the village of Tangnag, where you will camp (4300m). You will now be in a deep valley, created by the towering walls of Kusum Kanguru, and the western peak of Mera. The views are spectacular.
You will spend today acclimatising to the altitude. There will be a walk in the morning to the top of a ridge south of Tangnak, in which you will trek up to around 5000m, and should get great views of Kusum Kanguru, Chamlang and the Mera La. You will return to camp for lunch, and in the afternoon there will be a gear check and abseil training. Your leader will also do a PAC bag demonstration.
Day 11 - 12
There will be an acclimatisation day at Khare, where there will also be the chance to walk up onto the glacier towards the Mera La. Here, you will be able to practice using your ice axe, crampon, and rope technique, as well as the use of jumar. Please note that equipment checks and all practice sessions with the equipment, both in Tangnag and at Base Camp, are compulsory for everyone before the climb.
You will now take supplies up to the Mera La (5400m), and set up camp just below the pass on the Honku side. The sunset from this campsite is truly spectacular, with the peaks of the Honku Himal glowing red in the setting sun.
You will ascend the Mera glacier up to a rocky outcrop, in order to establish High Camp at 5800m. Even those who are not climbing may well come up to the Mera La, to see how things are progressing. From this point it is possible to see five of the six highest mountains on earth, stretching from Kanchenjunga in the east, through Makalu, Lhotse and Everest to Cho Oyu in the west. This afternoon there will be a final gear check, and,soon after sunset (don't miss the sunset on Makalu from camp!) you will retire to the warmth of your sleeping bag for the summit attempt tomorrow. Please note that camping space is extremely limited at high camp, and occasionally there will have to be three people sharing a tent. There will be no dining tent, and meals will be served in your tent.
Today will be a very long day as you will have a very early (and very cold) start, usually at around 2am. You will set off roped up in teams. You will need to take your ice axe and wear crampons as we ascend the wide, open glacier, avoiding the crevasses. The terrain here is not very steep, but the going is very slow due to the altitude. As dawn approaches, the trail starts to ascend steeply to the east of the left-hand ridge, before swinging right on easier ground to approach the summit. As we approach the summit we will rest at a col whilst the porters fix a rope up the last 50m to the summit. This is the steepest part of the climb, and it is likely that we may need the jumar for parts of this section. There is also a very steep, slightly overhanging, section of approximately 6m, which makes the climb a little more challenging. The porters will fix the rope accordingly, and help you up this section. Please note that, as this is mountain terrain, crevasses here change from year to year.
Once at the top, the views of the sun rising over Kanchenjunga in the east, past Makalu to the plumed Everest Himal in the centre and Cho Oyu further west, make every painful step worthwhile. In order to descend over the steep section, there will be an abseil from the summit, and you will use the fixed rope back to the col. From here, the descent is usually a lot quicker, although you will still be roped as care must be taken due to the crevasses. After a long but rewarding day, you will return to the lower altitude of Base Camp (5000m), meaning that you should sleep soundly.
Day 16 - 19
You will complete this circular trek by returning to Lukla over the Zatrwa La (4600m). You stay below the pass at Chatrabuk (4270m), before crossing the second part of the Zatrwa La the following morning (4500m). From this trail there will be magnificent views of Mera's vertical west face. After the passes, the trail descends all the way down to Lukla for the party!
You will fly to Kathmandu in the morning, transfer to your hotel and head straight for a hot shower or a beer, depending on your priorities!
Day 21 Today will be a free day in Kathmandu for sightseeing or shopping.
After breakfast depart transfer.