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Island Peak Climbing

Fact of the Trip:

Peak Name: Island Peak

Best Season: September to December & March to May

Accomodation: Camping

Grade: Easy

Height: 6,189m.

Transport: Car/Bus/Flight

Duration: 18 days

  • Overview
  • Itinerary

Trip Highlight

The name Island Peak was given to the mountain in 1952 by Eric Shipton's party who were on their way to explore the Barun Gorge.
The route to the summit includes a rather steep slope and a narrow ridge

A magnificent circuit of the Everest region with a challenging ascent of Island Peak (6189mt.) is a wonderful trek that takes us first of all into the heart of the Khumbu as we follow in the footsteps of the great Everest climbers through Namche Bazaar towards Everest Base Camp. An ascent of Kala Patar (5545m) is a good acclimatization and that gives us magnificent close-up views of Everest. Leaving the main trail, we cross the little used Kongma La Pass to camp below Pokalde Peak. We then move into the Imja Valley to the base of Island Peak before short walk to the high camp.This challenging trek involves scrambling on rock followed by the ascent of a snow face and then up the final ridge. For those who are well acclimatised and have the determination and energy, the views from the top provide some of the most striking scenery in the Khumbu - the rugged summits of Nuptse rear above us, while Lhotse, Cho Polu, Baruntse, Makalu and Ama Dablam are just some of the magnificent Himalayan giants we will observe from the top.

We leave the Everest Base Camp Trek at Dingboche and walk up to Chhukung. Then a base camp and/or an advanced base camp can be established between 5300 and 5600 m. The route to the summit includes a rather steep slope and a narrow ridge. Hence, Crampons, Ice-axe and ropes are to be carried while on climbing the peak.

The name Island Peak was given to the mountain in 1952 by Eric Shipton's party who were on their way to explore the Barun Gorge. When looked from above Dingboche, the mountain does indeed resemble an island in a sea of ice. In 1983 it was renamed Imja Tse, although for most people the descriptive name of Island Peak seems to have been retained. It was first climbed in 1953 by a very prestigious team in preparation for the ascent of Everest. Indeed, it was Charles Evans, Alf Gregory, Charles Wylie and Tenzing Norgay, with seven Sherpas who recorded their outstanding record of ascending the mountain for the first time. The mountain doesn't look impressive when seen from the moraines between Pheriche and Dingboche. However, on close inspection it reveals itself to be an interesting and attractive summit with a highly glaciated West Face rising from the Lhotse Glacier. The Imja Tse is an extension of the South Ridge of Lhotse Shar and is separated from it by a small col. Apart from providing an enjoyable climb, the peak also provides some of the most striking scenery in the Khumbu. If the peak can be likened to an island in a glacial sea, then the mainland forms a semicircle of cliffs that rise in the north to the rugged summits of Nuptse (7.879m) Lhotse (8.501m), Lhotse Middle Peak (8.410m), as yet still unclimbed and Lhotse Shar (8.383m). To the east, rising above the frozen waves of the Lhotse Shar Glacier, is Cho Polu (6.734mt.), beyond which can be seen the red granite mass of Makalu (8,475m).

Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu
Upon arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), you will be welcomed by our representative and taken to one of the best hotels. During your stay in Kathmandu, you will be visiting Buddhist stupas and Hindu temples and shrines which reflect ancient local traditions and arts and culture. In the evening delicious traditional Nepali well come dinner awaits for you.

Day 02: Kathmandu
Today also we remain in Kathmandu for preparing ourselves for the climbing. If time permits, we would go for a short sightseeing around Kathmandu valley.

Day 03: Fly to Lukla (2800m) and trek to Phakding (2800m)
Today, we take early flight from Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), Kathmandu . Upon landing at Lukla Airport (2800m), we would be going to a hotel and do refreshment and go for lunch. After having lunch, we proceed towards Phakding (2800m). Our trail penetrates the beautiful village Lukla. We meet the intersection of the Jiri trail at Chablung and go through the trail following the Dudh Kosi north through the village of Ghat and then finally reach Phakding where we will spend the very night.

Day 04: Phakding - Namche Bazaar (3440m)
We start our trek from Phakding and reach Namche Bazar in the late after noon. Our trail to Namche Bazar continues north up the Dudh Kosi Valley.The trail leads us to Jorsale (2810m) where we enter the Sagarmatha National Park, and submit our trekking permits for checking. From here, we continue on an ever-steepening trail to Namche Bazaar (3440m). En route we cross the spectacular suspension bridge high above the confluence of the Bhote Kosi and the Dudh Kosi, and shortly after glimpse our first view of Everest, way off to the north-east. The trail to Namche is steep and long, but eventually we reach the remarkable Sherpa capital perched high on the hillside and dominated to the east by the immense bulk of Kwangde (6187m).

Day 05: Acclimatization in Namche
Acclimatization is important before trekking to higher altitude. We spend the day by taking a side trip to Thami or Khumjung visiting the National Park Visitor Centre on the hill above Namche or by simply resting and browsing in the shops in the town. Namche is a fascinating place simply to 'hang out' and take in the culture of the mountains, from the trading of visiting Tibetans to the stories of departing mountaineers.

Day 06: Namche Bazar - Phortse Thanga (3500m)
We start our trek from Namche heading north-east on a direct line to Everest. Ahead of us we can see one of the most beautiful mountains in the Khumbu - Ama Dablam (6856m), as well as Everest still far off in the distance. At Sanasa we branch off the Everest trail and head up the hill to the small settlement of Mong where we stop for lunch. From here it is a steady descent to the Dudh Kosi at Phortse Thanga (3500m). This is a beautiful riverside settlement and is our camping spot for the night.

Day 07: Phortse Thanga – Dole (4200m)
It is our turn to move ahead from Phortse Thanga to Dole. Our trail initially climbs steeply out of the valley through rhododendron forest and then continues high above the Dudh Kosi, steadily gaining height. We pass through the settlements of Tongba (3950m) and Gyele (3960m) and eventually reach our camp site for the evening at Dole (4200m).

Day 08: Dole - Machhermo (4410m)
We have been gaining altitude daily. Hence, we must check our blood concentration in time to time to avoid adverse effect in our health. Our trail keeps on continuing high above the west bank of the Dudh Kosi and we obtain tremendous views of the mountains at the northern end of the valley, including Cho Oyu, as well as back down the valley to Ama Dablam, and across the valley to Tawachee and Cholatse. Machhermo at 4410m is a pleasant camp site where we spend our night.

Day 09: Machhermo – Gokyo (4750m)
The valley widens beyond Machhermo and the trail passes through the settlement of Pangka before descending to the river. It is a steep ascent up the terminal moraine of the Ngozumpa glacier to the first of the Gokyo lakes at 4650m from Panka. The trail then goes to the second lake at 4690m and eventually we reach Gokyo at 4750m.Gokyo is a sizeable settlement with many tea-houses, located in a delightful location on the edge of the lake.The views from Gokyo are magnificent and stunning. The next day, we will climb a small hill above Gokyo village, known as Gokyo Ri, to get fantastic views of Everest and Cho Oyu.

Day 10: Climb Gokyo Ri – Chhugyuma (5000m)
We start our day slowly ascending to the top of Gokyo Ri at 5350m, and will be rewarded by magnificent views of Everest to the east and Cho Oyu to the north. Descending to Gokyo, we would be able to retrace our steps to the area between the first and second lakes and take a trail eastwards across the Ngozumpa glacier. After this, we reach the small settlement of Dragnag where we rest for a while. Finally, we reach our camp at Chhugyuma at an altitude of 5000m

Day 11: Chhugyuma (5000m) - Cho La (5368m) – Dzongla (4860m)
From Chhugyuma, we make an early start, and continue upwards towards the pass that links the Gokyo and Everest valleys - the Cho La. From our camp site it is about 3-4 hours of normal walking to the pass at 5368m. Although the walk is comparatively a hard, but are rewarded by fabulous views on both sides of the pass. From the pass we descend slowly on a rough trail to the small settlement of Dzongla and make our camping. The superb view of the majestic peak- Cholatse can be viewed.

Day 12: Dzongla - Chhukung (4743m)
Leaving Dzongla behind, we slowly and steadily descend to the main Everest trail at Duglha. From this point, we continue to descend to the ridge above Dingboche where we obtain our first view of Island Peak which has been dominating the end of the Imja valley to the east since immemorial past. It is our pleasure to take lunch at Dingboche, the large sprawling Sherpa settlement situated at 4410m, before continuing up the Imja valley to Chhukung at 4743m.

Day 13: Chhukung - Base Camp (5087m) - High camp (6000m)
We continue to the site of our base camp from Chhukung. The trail follows the moraine of the Lhotse glacier to the snout of the Imja glacier where it branches to the east and skirts around the base of Island Peak. We make our main camp at a spot known as Pareshaya Gyab at 5087m. After taking lunch we continue up to our high camp. The trail is well defined until we reach the area of our High Camp at 6000m.

Day 14: Island Peak (6189m)
We get set early for the summit at about 3.00 am, and scramble up in the dark to the snow-covered glacier above. It is wise to take care as we make our way up the glacier until we reach a broad snow basin which leads up to the final section of the climb. Ahead of us now is the main summit ridge and we climb a steep snow and ice slope, using fixed ropes, for approx. 100m to access the ridge. The ridge is a classic and leads quickly to the east up to the main summit at 6189m. The climbers can be rewarded by the fantastic view of Lhotse to the north, the Amphu Labsta and Mera Peak to the south, and Ama Dablam to the west. After having close-up, we slowly descend by the same route making our way back carefully to the Base Camp.

Day 15: Island Peak Base Camp - Dingboche.
In reward of successful climb, we retrace our steps back down the Imja valley having food at Chhukung to Dingboche. We will spend the night in this small Sherpa settlement.

Day 16: Dingboche - Namche Bazaar
Following the same trail we still head down passing through the settlement of Pangboche, Tengpoche monastery, Phunki Thanga, and then rises again to traverse high above the river on a winding trail into Namche Bazaar.

Day 17: Namche Bazar - Lukla
It is the final day of our trek. Having lunch at Namche Bazaar, we descend to Lukla. Overnight spent at Lukla.

Day 18: Lukla - Kathmandu
We take our early flight from Lukla and arrive in the Kathmandu valley with a 45 minute flight. You will be received by our representatives at the airport and then directly transfer to the hotel. Having food at the hotel, we go for shopping in the afternoon. In the evening, a farewell dinner will be served.

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