Stray Dog Becomes First Dog To Climb Himalayan Summit

March 12, 2019

A stray dog joined a mountaineering expedition and followed the participants to the top of a 23,389ft Himalayan peak.

The dog, named Mera, became the first dog to reach the summit of Baruntse in Nepal's Himalayas, located just south of Mount Everest.

stray dog climbs Himalayan summit
Credit: Don Wargowsky / Facebook

Other than a brief human-aided zip line down a short section of fixed line, Mera made the ascent completely unsupported.

"I am not aware of a dog actually summiting an expedition peak in Nepal," said Billi Bierling of the Himalayan Database. "I just hope that she won't get into trouble for having climbed Baruntse without a permit."

stray dog climbs Himalayan summit
Credit: Don Wargowsky / Facebook

Mera is believed to be a cross between a Tibetan mastiff and a Himalayan sheepdog.

And she possesses an extraordinary level of confidence.

stray dog climbs Himalayan summit
Credit: Don Wargowsky / Facebook

Mera took a special liking to climber Don Wargowsky of Seattle.

 

Ten days into the expedition, she passed dozens of climbers on the way up Mera Peak, all of whom could've been persuaded to give her food or attention, then crossed a glacier and beelined it for Wargowsky.

At that point the two were inseparable.

Mera became Wargowsky's tent partner for the next three weeks.

stray dog climbs Himalayan summit
Credit: Don Wargowsky / Facebook

stray dog climbs Himalayan summit
Credit: Don Wargowsky / Facebook

stray dog climbs Himalayan summit
Credit: Don Wargowsky / Facebook

On the day of the final ascent, Wargowsky said Mera seemed unconcerned by the altitude, the exposed ridgeline and huge drop-offs.

She bounded ahead of the group and then kept running back as if annoyed by their slow pace.

 

"I have no clue if she'd been up there before, but she seemed very confident in what she was doing," Wargowsky told Outside.

stray dog climbs Himalayan summit
Credit: Don Wargowsky / Facebook

"I'd never been on top of something like that with a dog. She was leaning up against me and wanting to be petted. It was pretty surreal."

stray dog climbs Himalayan summit
Credit: Don Wargowsky / Facebook

Kaji Sherpa, the expedition's base-camp manager, ended up adopting Mera after the expedition.

"She's special. She's coming with me," Sherpa told Wargowsky.

stray dog climbs Himalayan summit
Credit: Don Wargowsky / Facebook

Sherpa renamed her Baru, after Baruntse, and says she put back all the weight lost from the climb and "is happy and well-fed."

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