Turtle, Ecuador

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Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

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  • Reviewed April 2019
    Karen Reed


    I had an excellent trip and was aware issues could affect the summit attempt and so made sure I enjoyed the journey. There was an unusual amount of snow and we were the first to go over the first pass, but the challenging walk to the start of the peak meant I was well acclimatised and practiced at walking in snow. Compared to other companies we had extra rest days and easy days which I feel helped me.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking up the highest mountain I've ever been up with even bigger mountains looming up even higher behind me!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jangbu was excellent. He's extremely experienced having summited Everest several times, but he's also easy going and approachable. Another group commented that they were getting more information from his daily briefing to us than from their own leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Respect altitude. Do as advised, take it slowly, eat plenty, drink plenty and rest when possible. Also kitbag weight matters. The bags are carried by porters and another group had such heavy bags they had to wait up to 2 hours in cold, damp, clammy clothes while their porters struggled to carry their bags over a difficult pass.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It's a tough trek. You don't need to be super fit but day after day of walking takes it toll. Experience of long days of walking in snow can be gained from winter walking in Scotland, and I attended a mountaineering week at Glenmore Lodge, Cairngorms to get the mountaineering skills required.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Laurence Brown

    Mera Peak. Tough, but a great itinerary

    Exodus take a circuitous, rollercoaster variant to the south before joining the main route to Mera Peak at Khote. This avoids the murderously steep Thakwa la on the second day out of Lukla. Our guide, Ngima Sherpa was excellent on what was to be his 20th summit success. He introduced us to local off menu food (Sherpa pancakes are mouthwatering) and hot millet beer. The scenery and high campsites were stunning. Be prepared to be delayed getting in or out of Lukla - the site is very weather dependent. I thoroughly enjoyed this trip. The acclimatisation program is carefully planned and the tea houses are mostly very comfortable. Only the base and high camp tents prevent this from being an excellent trek. Make sure you take plenty of down and the best sleeping bag you can get! I wasn’t cold - my bag is rated to -25.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    “Don’t stop. You’ll get frostbite.” (Ngima around 5 am on summit day.)

    What did you think of your group leader?

    One of the best I’ve met.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you’re fit enough. The summit day is hard....as is the walk in.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Steripen works!
  • Reviewed January 2017

    Fantastic but you've go tto work for it

    From the autumn 2016 season the Exodus Mera Peak trek/climb changed from a camping based itinerary of previous years to lodge or tea house based accommodation. I/we departed in October 2016. Before commencing the trek I’d convinced myself that the trek in to Mera would be broadly similar to the Everest Base Camp trek, I was very wrong. There is no gentle start and long days requiring sustained effort are the theme pretty much throughout. The route taken for the first few days is very quiet and had a feel of "going around the houses" for me. That quieter route also makes for much more basic lodges than those found on EBC for example but they were all adequate. The longer approach route does however allow for excellent acclimatisation, a major key to success. All the approach routes converge in Kote and it is then a straight shot up the now rocky Hinku valley. I didn’t find the approach trek in to be very scenic and that wasn’t helped by day after day of cloud cover. I wonder if a November departure would be worthwhile for clearer skies. Khare, which I thought of as base camp village, was a surprsingly busy place with climbers from all over the world either preparing for or returning from Mera. Stories of six groups having been beaten back by high winds the previous day brought about a realisation that nature could quite easily scupper our plans. Having left Khare and reached the snow line, those of us that brought our own mountain boots and crampons were reunited with them by virtue of some porters that had gone ahead of us. I was now using mountain boots and crampons on snow for the first time, I found I tired far quicker than I cared to admit at the time. After a short but steep climb things level out and then it was a relatively short walk to Mera La camp for the night. The sunset and night time stars were very nice. We were now in tents for the first time. I wish I hadn't binned off my Thermarest mattress as a weight saving effort for the Lukla flight. Foam mattresses were provided but I could still feel the cold coming up from the ground. The next day was a short one from Mera La to High Camp. It however is one of those sections where the destination never seems to get any closer despite feeling you're working like a steam train at full speed. The amusement of high camp's precarious position soon passes as you try to concentrate on getting some sleep for the upcoming 0030 wake up call. I got no real sleep. We then started our torch lit climb through the night in deeply sub zero temperatures. It was hard going, really hard going, there was little talking amongst us. It was just heads down and endure it. The group were imposing more rest stops on the guides than they wanted but I don't think there were any negative consequences when all said and done. My fingers were numb with cold. The sun slowly rose and Mera central summit could now be seen ahead. We left our rucksacks at the foot of the summit and using our Jumars went up the surprisingly short roped section fixed by our guides, it was easy and I was on the summit in a minute. It had taken around 7 hours from leaving High Camp with no sleep (for me) since Mera La the previous day. It was bitterly cold on the summit and very windy, there wasn't any open celebration. There now followed an extremely long walk all the way back down to Khare village with only a short pitstop at High Camp along the way. It was exhausting. Availability of water was a problem too since much if not all of our water was still frozen despite the now blazing morning sun. I was gasping for a drink. Ngima our leader had some warm water in a flask and I will definitely take a small flask when I find myself back on a high mountain again. What now remained was the trek "home" to Lukla. The third day of decent involved far more steep climbing than we were in the mood for but we gt where we were going. Conditions on the Zatrwa pass weren’t as bad as they could be. During our trek trail crampons or shoe grips weren't necessary. There were only a couple sections of ice a few paces long. The decent from the pass is long and steep, thankfully the national park authority have been building a stone staircase which makes things a little easier but you still have to watch your step. There is the potential for an overnight stay a few hours short of Lukla but depending on progress it can be skipped and we pressed on for Lukla and some comfort... relatively speaking

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The team work, the mutual support, we gave each other to help achieve the objective, summit Mera Peak. Reaching the summit of Mera Peak and looking across to five or the six highest mountains on earth. It was a major personal achievement and psycholgically opened so many doors in my mind.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ngima was outstanding and a credit to the company. Clearly very experienced and knowledgable. I believe he said this was his 16th or 17th summit of Mera Peak since he began working as a mountain guide so we knew we were in very good and capable hands. The same goes for our assistant guides too, Mingma and Ngima. They were such good people to guide you all the way to the summit of Mera Peak and back. Very pleasant at all times.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Nearly all of our group got a stomach upset along the way which sapped our energy for a couple days at a time. Ngima has a very well stocked medical kit and was able to give us all some ciprofloxacin and imodium but he began to run low on it as the days went on and the next person got ill. It might be handy to have your own for convenience. Take a small flask to put warm water in when you leave high camp for the summit. The water in our bottles froze solid during the 7 hour climb through the night to the summit. Hydration bladders are a non starter even with insulated tubes. Summit day is a very long and exhausting day. You will need lots of fluids. Nepalese "coconut crunchie" biscuits are a cheaper sugery snack alternative to Mars bars and Snickers etc when you are are at the tea house and much more likely not to be out of date. When hiring climbing equipment in Khare, remember that it is a four day hire period. The cost soon multiplies. The boots available for rental were old school plastic Scarpa boots, don't know the model but those that used them didn't have any major complaints that I heard.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Those of us that took our own mountain boots and crampons were able to pack them seperately with Ngima our leader while we were still at the hotel in Kathmandu and our boots would be give back to us at the crampon point on Mera. They therefore did not count towards our personal luggage limit for the Lukla flight. That immediately saved me getting on for 4kg and solved my weight woes in an instant. If I'd known we could have done that before departure I would not have left one or two items at home.