To The Top... My Journey To Mera Peak


7 years ago, whilst riding home from work I had a fall from my bike, I wasn’t going fast, it wasn’t a hard fall, just a, fall. As I fell from the bike I unclipped from my cleats and put my left foot down to stop myself. That’s when I felt the ankle collapse under me.

Like I said, I wasn’t moving too fast and it wasn’t a hard fall, but the impact was enough to shatter my talus (the bone that sits under the ankle joint) sending shards of bone up into the joint. My foot immediately swelled up. I can’t recall too much pain at the time. But I do remember that by the time my cousin got there to pick up my bike, the paramedics had given me a Green Whistle and I was cracking jokes with everyone around me.

Fast forward a few weeks and after a 4 hour operation to clean out the bone fragments and wire my foot back together I was being told by my doctor that I would no longer be able to run, walking would always prove painful and I was get arthritis and a very young age in that joint.

Another fast forward (this time 2 years) and I’m standing on the Kimbu glassier high in the Himalayan mountains at Mt Everest basecamp. My foot had held up to almost 2 weeks of hard trekking and was in the best shape it had been for the last 2 years. I’m not saying that it didn’t hurt every morning when I got up, but still, I had come much further than any of my doctors would have thought when I had my accident.

Now five years later, after a number of peaks in the Alps, I’m heading back to the Sagramatha Region to summit a peak called Mera. Mera is one of the “easier” peaks in the Himalayan mountains. However, “easy” is a relative term. At 6,500m above sea level Mera is no walk in the park, the approach alone is close to 2 weeks (plenty of time for acclimatisation) then there are a number of days on the mountain its self.

My adventure starts when I leave Australia on the 6th of October, I’ll fly to Kathmandu then on the 9th we fly to Lukla (one of the most dangerous airports in the world) and start trekking.
Leading up to this trek I’ve been taking part in some intensive training with Base Camp adventure fitness, working with owners Chase and Tory to build my strength and endurance which I hope will help me reach the summit.

The main danger I will be facing on this trip will be the altitude, at 6,500m the atmosphere only has 50% of the oxygen that is present at sea level the atmospheric pressure is also far below that of sea level, so all of this combined with very low temperatures will prove to be a real challenge.

I plan to keep this blog as up to date as I can, but that depends on how much access I’ll have to the internet and power. Stay tuned!

James Schmidt
About: James Schmidt

James Schmidt is a Brisbane-based consultant who specialises in project management, business analysis and test management. In his spare time, James is an avid mountain climber.