In the summer of 2009, Mark Horrell arranged to go on an expedition to Gasherbrum, an 8000m mountain in Pakistan, with one of his mountaineering friends, Mark Dickson. As neither of them had climbed an 8000m peak before, some serious training was required, and they agreed the best way to prepare for the expedition was by going on another slightly easier one.
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They decided to do a circular route in the Khumbu region of Nepal which involved climbing two trekking peaks - Mera Peak and Island Peak - and crossing the difficult Amphu Labtse pass. One of them had climbed Mera in 2004, and the other had climbed Island in 2005, but neither of them had done both or crossed the Amphu Labtse, a pass known for its outstanding beauty. After the climbs, the two friends parted ways and Mark went off to explore the Gokyo region of Nepal near Everest.
The climb had an additional purpose: Mark felt he had unfinished business on Mera. Like everyone else who ever climbs the mountain, he had climbed the central summit Mera Central, although most maps of the region mark the northern summit Mera North as slightly higher. Had he climbed the true summit of Mera Peak? The only way to find out was by going back there.
Islands in the Snow is the author's travel journal from his expedition, and will be a valuable reference to trekkers and climbers who are thinking of climbing Nepal's popular trekking peaks, or anyone interested in mountain travel. The book includes many photographs from the trek and climbs.