My very first trip to Nepal in training for Everest was an expedition to climb Mera Peak (6,476m) and Baruntse (7,129m) in the Makalu Barun region of the Himalaya with UK-based operator Adventure Peaks.
In October 2013 we flew from Kathmandu into Lukla to begin the four-week trip. A recent Typhoon had caused problems with heavy snowfall on the higher routes, whilst various other logistical issues stole valuable time from the itinerary.
I was badly ill with suspected HACE (High altitude cerebral edema) on Mera Peak summit night, turning round at approximately 6,000 metres and returning to our high camp. After recovering, myself, leader Francis and two Sherpas made our summit attempt on Baruntse from Camp 2, reaching approx. 6,600m before I decided to turn around again with exhaustion.
We returned to Lukla via the Amphu Labtsa pass at 5,850m. A harsh introduction to the world of high altitude mountaineering and many lessons learnt!