Island Peak, Nepal
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The Bottom Line
Island Peak, or Imja Tse locally, is one of the most popular climbing mountains in the Himalayas. Rising to 20,340 feet above sea level and located just a few miles from Everest, the tiny summit commands your respect as the haunting white peaks of the tallest mountains in the world surround you.
Island Peak provides you with an awesome introduction to high-altitude mountain climbing, and will test your technical prowess.
Ok, let’s get serious
Difficulty: Very difficult
At 20,305 feet, Island Peak (Imja Tse) takes an enormous amount of training and mental preparation. Though certainly more accessible than Everest, you should be ready for:
• heavy packs,
• technical river and land crossings,
• lower than normal oxygen levels,
• an altered diet,
• limited lodging luxuries,
• and last but not least, the trek requires excellent physical and mental health.
Our guide is an Irish mountaineer who has extensive experience in leading expeditions to and up Island Peak. He is a believer in being well prepared and will train you on the proper equipment to bring and how to use it, as well as training tips before the trek. He has an amazing 96% success rate to date.
Safety is our top priority, and our professional, seasoned guide is committed to making your trek an enjoyable one.
Interested in Island Peak? Let’s talk!
Days one and two will consist of your arrival in Kathmandu (we aim for a Sunday arrival), as well as time to explore the city. We will be staying in the Thamel district in the city center, providing great access to cultural sights and last minute supplies.
On day three, we’ll catch an early morning flight to Lukla, serving as the gateway to the Khumbu/Everest region. Once in Lukla, we’ll meet our porters and begin our trek to tonight’s camp in Phading. Along the way, we’ll hike next to the mighty Dudh Kosi, the main drainage river for this entire region.
Days four and five will be more trekking along the Dudh Kosi, crossing it twice on historic suspension bridges, and a day devoted to acclimatizing. We’ll enter Khumbu National Park in the town of Monjo; from here, it’s a steep, two-hour climb to Namche Bazaar (11,155ft), the ‘capital’ of the region and a major trading and supply post. We will be staying here tonight and tomorrow night.
Tomorrow, day five, will be centered on adjusting our bodies to higher altitudes. We’ll climb up Shangbouche Hill (12,792ft), which will give you amazing panoramic views of the Everest region. We will return to Namche for lunch, where you will have the afternoon to explore.
On day six, we’ll leave Namche and begin climbing high above the river, and be treated to our best views of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, and Ama Dablam yet. We can stop at Tengboche, site of a famous monastery. Feel free to explore it and have one of their delicious cakes! The monastery can be pretty busy during peak season, so we can always drop down to the village of Deboche (12,135ft), where a relaxing lodge awaits.
On day seven, we’ll depart Deboche and hike along impressive rhodendron and across another suspension bridge. An hour later, we’ll be in Pangboche, providing a humbling view of Ama Dablam. After monsoon season, sherpas can be seen everywhere around this commanding peak. Upon leaving Pangboche, we’ll cross the river once more and head up into the Imja Valley to the village of Dingboche (14,465ft).
Day eight focuses on acclimatizing and high-alitude safety tips. While in Dingboche, we will attend a seminar about high-altitude adjustments in a hospital in nearby Pheriche (16,404ft) by the Himalayan Rescue Association. The walk there and back will also assist with acclimatization.
Day nine will be a ‘stroll’ to the other side of Imja Valley to get one of the grandest views in all the Himalayas: Ama Dablam towers above you, front and center. Stunning lakes and glaciers accompany us on this journey.
Day ten will be an adventure further up the valley to our lunch stop in Dugla. Awesome views will be had. A few hours climb through glacier moraine from Dugla will bring us to Lobuche (16,207ft), where you can spend the afternoon relaxing and acclimatizing.
On day eleven you’ll get a special treat. Once we reach Gorak Shep (17,126ft), site of the famous 1953 Everest expedition, we’ll head to the mother of all mountains herself. We can instead choose to climb Kala Pattar for some awesome views, or trek into Everest Base Camp. At camp, we’ll make friends with those about to head up Everest, and visit the famous Khumbu Icefall. We will head back to Gorak Shep to sleep.
For day twelve, we’ll climb Kala Pattar if we chose not to yesterday. The climb takes two to three hours and is pretty strenous. The top makes it all worth it: gorgeous views of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, and Pumori! We will have lunch back at Gorak Shep before retreating to Lobuche for the night.
It’s day thirteen! You’ve trekked along some of the most magnificent land on earth. Today, we’ll head to Imja Valley via the often underrated Kongma-La pass. This trek is steep and tiring at first, but eventually lightens up as you stumble beside glacial lakes with awesome views of the famous peaks surrounding you. At the end is a small settlement named Chuckung, where we’ll spend the night.
Day fourteen is where our journey up Island Peak begins! We will carry our gear to Base Camp, which is around a four-hour hike. We’ll do some extra training on the hillsides while soaking up the awesome views of Imja Valley and surrounding glaciers.
Day fifteen is all about rest and hydration. We can do some extra training, but the important thing here is to replenish your energy and stay hydrated for a 1 a.m. departure for the summit.
Day sixteen and it’s summit day! Note that this is an attempt and can be delayed by poor weather conditions. The climb is difficult: the initial climb, a 1,132 foot, zig-zag trail leads to a camp position before morphing into slippery scree before traversing more steep rock. Once we hit 18,700 feet, the altitude and rock will slow our pace significantly and just when we are at our wit’s end, we’ll reach a narrow ridge and to the start of a glacier, which we’ll gear up to cross. Once we’re past the glacier, we will climb a head wall (328ft) with fixed ropes before the final summit push.
You made it! Weather permitting, we should now be standing on the summit of Island Peak. After some photos, we’ll start our long descent back to Base Camp to sleep.
Day seventeen will be our long hike back down to Chockung or Dingboche, where we can kick back and relax.
Day eighteen will consist of more trekking, back to Namche and perhaps a celebration or two in the local bars…
Days nineteen and twenty will be trekking back to Lukla, staying in a guesthouse there, and leaving for Kathmandu early the next morning.
Day twenty is set aside as an extra day in case of bad weather up Island Peak. If we were able to summit on the assigned day, you can spend this day exploring the historical capital of the Himalayan region, Kathmandu.