Stray dog sets Himalayan climbing record

Don Wargowsky shares his food with Mera
Don Wargowsky shares his food with Mera
Image: Supplied

A stray dog befriended a mountaineering expedition and followed them to the top of a 7,200m Himalayan peak in what may be a canine first.

The dog, named Mera, reached the top of Baruntse in Nepal without any assistance and was still able to run once she had reached the summit.

Sherpas accompanying the expedition said they had never seen such a feat and an organisation that documents expeditions said the climb may be the highest recorded for a dog, according to the outdoors magazine Outside.

“I am not aware of a dog actually summitting 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.”

Dogs have been known to hang out at Everest Base Camp and follow climbers up to Camp II (6,500m) , but Mera’s climb in November may be the highest recorded, Bierling told the magazine.

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

She bounded up to climbers from the Kathmandu-based Summit Club and latched on to Don Wargowsky of Seattle.

He said the expedition Sherpas at first only tolerated the dog, but then began to appreciate her climbing ability.

“They’d never seen anything like this happen,” Wargowsky said.

She ran ahead of him on the final ridge approaching the summit and waited for him panting with her tongue out, he said.

Mera now lives with the expedition's base camp manager, Kaji Sherpa, he said.