Island Peak Expedition: All You Need To Know Before Climbing
Island Peak Expedition

If you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, you’re now in the right place. Island Peak Expedition has to now be at the top of your wish list. Adventure enthusiasts attempt Island peak for delivered then, in reality, beautiful trips thru the Himalayas to test their bodies.

Peak climbing in Nepal is the most adventurous and daring sport in the country. Here is a piece of advice if you will go to embark on 19-day Island Peak Climbing via Everest base camp trek in Nepal. don’t underestimate the beast that is Island Peak!
So, without further ado, here is a comprehensive guide on Island Peak climbing.

Where is Island Peak?

Island Peak lies in the Everest region and becomes most possibly the best climbing peaks in Nepal. It appears to be an island emerging out of a sea of ice in the heart of the Chukhung Valley. Because of this, Eric Shipton named it the Island Peak.

Most people connect an expedition to Island Peak with the iconic Everest base camp trek because of its convenient proximity. And then you have those that conquer the Mera Peak and Island Peak through the more demanding passes route.

  • Trekking and Climbing Experience in a single excursion.
  • Explore the Tsukung Valley and the Sherpa culture at the same time.
  • From the summit, witnessing four 8000 meters peaks including Mount Everest.
  • Hike to Kalaptthar for a close view of Mount Everest itself.
  • Trek up to the Khumbu Glacier and Everest Base Camp at the same time.

ISLAND PEAK ITINERARY

DaysItineraryAltitude in MetersDistance
1.Fly to Lukla then trek to Phakding26503h00
2.Phakding to Namche Bazaar3440 6h00
3.Acclimatization day – hiking to Syangboche38003h00
4.Namche Bazaar to Tengboche38005h30
5.Trek to Dingboche44105h00
6.Acclimatization day – Excursion surrounding50004h00
7.Dingboche to Chhukung4730 3h30
8.Chhukung to Island Peak Base Camp49704h00
9.Trek to Island Peak High Camp56005h00
10.Summit Island Peak (6189 m) then back to Base Camp6h00
12.Trek back to Pangboche39006h00
14.Pangtboche to Namche Bazaar3440 m6h30
15.Trek to Lukla28007h00
16.Fly back to Kathmandu13500h40

DETAILED ITINERARY

1: Fly to Phakding and to Lukla (2652 m)
We will transfer you to the airport on a flight schedule early in the morning. 40 minutes of exciting flights by plane to Lukla’s airport offer a wonderful perspective of the Central and Eastern Himalayas, as well as gorgeous surroundings and hills. Luka is the gateway of the Everest Region.

Lukla Airport Everest
Lukla Airport, the gate way of Everest region

2: Trek to Namche Bazaar (3440 m).
It’s the second day of the trip. After breakfast, you’re going to Namche. The trek leads you through various beautiful villages with their lively culture. Furthermore, you will wander into the forests, it will possibly encounter the wildlife to the northeast valley of the Dudh Koshi River, crossing various bridges along the way. You are finally to get Namche.

3: Acclimatization Day!
Today is an exploration day in Namche. Hike to Syangboche, a small airport that is considered as the highest in the world. Then, trek up to 3800 meters to see Mount Everest and other famous peaks. It also helps you to acclimatize properly. You may spend the afternoon exploring the village, which has more modern services such as the internet, phone, massage, and more.

4: Tengboche (3860m)
Following breakfast in Namche, you will trailhead to Tengboche. The trail is straightforward take in the breathtaking picture of the thundering Himalayas until we reach Sanasa, whereas we meet up with a popular trail to Gokyo Valley and Everest Base Camp. It then gradually descends to the Dudh Koshi River, passing through villages and pine forests before crossing a bridge, and slightly climb up to Tengboche. A significant monastery in the region whereas the Mani Rimdu festival falls in October in the Tengboche, and many monks meditate throughout the year.

5: Trek to Dingboche (4,343 m).
After breakfast, descend to Debouche via a rhododendron forest, then cross a bridge of the Imja River in the lap of Ama-Dablam on an easy trail to Pangboche. We’ll have lunch here before continuing to Dingboche across an open alpine, mountainous landscape.

Combine route to Everest Base Camp Trek

6: Dingboche – Lobuche (4900m)
The trail to Lobuche offers 360-degree views of the Himalayas, making it an exciting route to Everest base camp from Dingboche. The trail appears to be easy to walk, however, due to the altitude, there could be hard to breathe. We pass several prayer flags and monuments in commemoration of the mountaineers who deceased during the trip on a steep walk from Thukla to Lobuche over the Khumbu glacier moraine.

7: Lobuche – Gorakshep – Everest Base Camp (5364m) (5140m).
Along the Khumbu glacier’s edge, the trail leads to Gorakshep. We can still see the panoramas of snow-capped mountains. After passing a small slope from Changri glacier and a zigzag trail, we finally get to Gorakshep. After lunch in Gorakshep, we travel to Everest Base Camp, whereas we can observe many tents used for expeditions. Your dream came true when you arrived at Everest Base Camp, but there is no glimpse of Everest from here. After that, it’s back to Gorakshep.

8: Gorakshep – Kalapattar (5545m) – Lobuche (4910m).
We achieved the ultimate goal of the trip. Here begins another climax of the trek to reach the top of Kala Patthar where we can see a stunning view of Mt. Everest so far. Then we continue to descend to Dingboche with similar views of thunder Himalayas.

9: Lobuche – Chhukung (4730m) via Khongma – Pass (5535 m)
Today is the greatest day to traverse Khongma-La Pass (5535m). The trail continues via the moraine of the Khumbu glacier to Khongma-La Base Camp. Because of the high altitude and daily walk over the glacier, there may be some difficulties; rising to the Khongma-La pass is the most challenging day of the trek. You will forget those hardness while you are at the top by viewing the outstanding views of th mountains. Then, along the Imja Khola valley, we steadily descend towards Chhukung.

Route to Island Peak & Imja Valley

6: Chhukung (4,730 m.)
From Dingboche to Chhukung, the trail then leads to an open rocky hill area and nestled in the valley of the massive rock that connects Nuptse and Lhotse. It provided breathtaking views of Ama-Dablam since Ama Dablam is the most photographed mountain in Nepal.

7: Chhukung—Imja Tse (Island) Peak Base Camp (4,970 m)
Today, the trail leads us to Island Peak Base Camp, whereas we set up our tent to spend a night at the shore of Imja lake, a beautiful and great sight of Nuptse and Lhotse Ridge. We also prepare here all the climbing gear for the summit.

Island Peak Base Camp
Island Peak Base Camp – Photo by Howard Lee

8: Base Camp – Imja Tse Peak High Camp (Iceland) (5,600 m).
We climb from Base Camp to Island Peak High Camp, a beautiful place where we can see excellent 360-degree views of the mountain. Because of the altitude and cold, this night is strategically miserable.

9: Imja Tse (Island) Peak summit and return to the base camp.
We will begin our ascent to the summit early in the morning. It is important to pay attention while climbing the icy wall to reach the border that leads to the summit. We return to Island Peak Base Camp once reaching the summit of the peak.

10: Contingency day to the summit.
The day is simply a backup plan in case of adverse conditions or an altitude problem that prevents you from reaching the peak.

11: Trek back to Pangboche (3,901 m.)
We return to Pangboche along the same route since we took to Imja Tse (Island) Peak base camp, passing through open alpine hilly terrain with spectacular mountain vistas.

12: Namche Bazaar (3,440 m)
We go close to the river from Pangboche, and once across, the trail continues up to Tengboche through a forest of Rhododendron, Fir, and Birch. Gradually descend to the Dudh Koshi bridge at Punki Thanka, then climb to Namche Bazaar.

13: Phakding.
A steep descent leads to a bridge over the Dudh Koshi, which is crossed on the way to Phakding, passing through a forest of Rhododendron, pines, and finally arrive Phakding, a tiny village.

14: Trek to Lukla.
This is the last day of the trek, and it is a pleasant walk to Lukla amid picturesque villages and alpine apple farms.

15: Fly back to Kathmandu and spend the night in a hotel.
According to the flight schedule, we board a plane from Lukla to Kathmandu. It is visible breathtaking views of mountains and landscapes while on the airstrip. Then, transfer back to the hotel upon arrival in Kathmandu.

WHAT ELSE IS SAYING ABOUT THE ISLAND PEAK DIFFICULTY

It described the summit push as “quite difficult yet doable,” “requires no prior experience,” and “suitable for novice climbers.”

In contrast to the most technical expeditions as Ama Dablam and Lhotse, Island Peak is establishing itself as being a peak climbing in Nepal for novice climbers.

But is it true?

The Island Peak is a training peak for individuals who are trying for Mount Everest Expedition. This relates to the level of ability and effort required for a successful ascent.

The Island Peak is relatively tough but not technically difficult for those skilled trekkers and climbers.
However, after crossing many trekkers returning from their summit climb, you will be less convinced that your Island Peak summit attempt will be successful.

Unlike most hiking routes and peaks in Nepal, Island Peak has some portions that require technical equipment such as crampons, climbing ladders, ascenders, descenders, and rope work.

Island Peak Expedition becomes even more difficult, but it is also a dramatic, enjoyable, and thrilling experience. No, it doesn’t become easier the further you climb, but each loop provides something new and intriguing.

BEST TIME TO CLIMB ISLAND PEAK

Nepal has six distinct seasons in a year. Spring and Autumn are the best seasons for Island Peak Expedition. These seasons encompass the months from March to May, as well as September to November. The weather is likely to be clear during these months, with warm daytime temperatures (at least at lower altitudes).

During these seasons, the average temperature at the summit of Island Peak ranges between 0 and 15 degrees Celsius. At night, the average temperature varies from -5 to -10 degrees Celsius.

The early mornings on the peak will freeze, but the rising sun will offer warmth to compliment the breathtaking vistas from atop the Island Peak.

Trekking in the Everest region is doable all year round, and Expedition to Island Peak is also conceivable. However, because Island Peak is at such a high elevation, there may be safety concerns in inclement weather.

Heavy snowfalls and bitterly cold temperatures of roughly -40 degrees Celsius at the summit are expected in some winters. It’s imaginable that the winter winds will make it feel considerably colder than it is. Therefore, it could be a hard undertaking to climb in the winter.

MEALS AND ACCOMMODATIONS

You will find an extensive selection of accommodation possibilities while trekking to the Everest Base Camp according to the service you need. It’s your choice, although we prefer better lodges and cuisine because it’s important to your happiness and success. But we recommend advised to use the same lodges with the best food in the cleanest environment.

Camping Experience
Accomodation during the Island Peak Summit – Photo by Howard Lee

However, you will stay in tents from the base camp to the summit of Island Peak. To be warm and comfortable on the chilly night, you’ll need all-season comfortable sleeping bags and foam mattresses in the tents.

PREPARE FOR ISLAND PEAK EXPEDITION

This entirely depends on your fitness, trekking, altitude, and climbing experience at the outset. Depending on your experience, it could take a year or less to prepare yourself. But your physical condition plays a significant role in the successful Island Peak Expedition. As a result, you must prepare for island peak climbing by yourself before embarking on the climb. You should enroll in mountaineering training in 4 to 6 months. Additionally, you can join the gym, cardio, stress endurance, hiking, and training, and practice regularly by jogging, cycling, swimming, trekking, and so forth. The following are the most important key to achieving success:

Upper Dolpo Trek Preparation
  • Your ability to adapt to low oxygen levels
  • Handcrafted itinerary with proper acclimatization
  • Having contingency days to attempt for the summit
  • Using the high camp instead of straight operations from Base Camp
  • Your technical experience, having the technical training
  • Take care of your hygiene.
  • Maintain a cheerful attitude while staying in a mountainous environment.

GET THE RIGHT GEARS

Island Peak is the most popular and challenging trekking peak in the Everest region. As a result, you’ll need a wide range of technical gear to complete the climb successfully. Here is a list of essential equipment to include.

  • Helmet: Select a high-quality climbing helmet. Check that your warm cap fits comfortably under your helmet.
  • Climbing Boots: Insulated stiff-soled climbing boots for high altitude.
  • Crampons: C2 crampons that compactible with climbing boots.
  • Harness: A high-quality climbing harness.
  • Ascending device or Jumar
  • Descending or belaying device
  • Tape sling: UIAA-approved 220cm open tape sling or 2×120cm closed tape slings.
  • Screw gate Carabiners: 2 x locking 2 x carabiners (non-locking)
  • Prusik loop: High-quality prusik loop
  • Ice axe: An ice axe with a wrist strap used for climbing.

ISLAND PEAK CLIMBING COST

Depending on the package you choose, the Island Peak Climbing cost will also vary. However, if you choose longer routes and alternative packages, the price could rise to 2,500 to 3,000 USD.

The expedition agency will handle all the details such as permits, lodging, meals, common climbing gear, and so forth. However, the agency does not cover personal equipment, flight costs from and to your home country, or any personal expenses.

Island Peak Expedition Permit cost
Island Peak Climbing permit varies according to the season It will also differ based on your country of origin.

The following is a list of Island Peak Climbing permits and their prices:

Name of PeakNationalityFallSpringWinterSummer
Imja Tse (Island Peak)ForeignUSD 125US$ 250USD 70US$ 70
Island PeakNepaliNPR 2000NRS 4000NPR 1000NRS 1000

The Sagarmatha National Park (where you will trek) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll need also a TIMS and a Sagarmatha National Park permit, like with all other treks in the national park. Besides that, you will need to take the local government permit.

  • TIMS Card: $10 per person
  • Entry fee of the Sagarmatha National Park: $30 per person.
  • Local government permit: $20 per person

GETTING THERE AND AWAY

There is only one way to get to the Everest region and Island Peak via Lukla, after a 40-minute flight into the Himalayas. Generally, these domestic flight cost includes your trip. If you’re lucky, you might see Everest in the distance if the weather is clear during your flight. However, harsh weather often closes the airport and therefore, it is wise to prepare for delays, if you fly to Lukla.

An alternative to flying to Lukla is to trek overland from outside Kathmandu on the “pioneers trail,” which also connects to the trailhead at Jiri or Phaplu and passes underneath Lukla. It does not suggest this as an addition to a long trip, such as Island Peak Expedition, because it adds roughly a week to the expedition.

Some Frequently Asked Questions About Island Peak

How difficult is Island Peak Climb?

Climbing Island Peak is deemed tough since it requires an extended trek/climb in a remote place that exceeds 5500 meters. For several days, you must sleep at a height of 5000 meters or above. Climbers must have the good physical condition and fierce determination. On average, daily walking hours are 6-7 hours, while summit days can be 10-14 hours.
This expedition requires the use of climbing equipment (Harness, Ice Axe, Crampons, Mountaineering Boots, Ascender). Previous climbing experience is required, and we also offer climbing training at base camp before the actual climb.

What are the safety measures?

When traveling with Himalayan Exploration, safety is always paramount. Our Island Peak route has been properly designed to ensure safety and success. Our route combines Everest base camp trekking to maximize our summit possibilities as a part of the acclimatization procedure.
On our Island peak expeditions, whether we are a group of 1 or 12, we also carry a supplemental oxygen system and a medical kit in case of an emergency. On our peak climbing trips, each group will be led by qualified guides, and we provide a high staff-to-client ratio.

When is the best time of year to climb Island Peak?

Fall (October to November) and Spring (March to May) are the best seasons for Island Peak Climbing. Temperatures will drop significantly as you climb higher each day. The nights are frosty (between 5 and -5 degrees Celsius), and the days are sunny (between 10C to 20C). Mornings are often clear, with clouds forming in the afternoon and disappearing at night. Trekking and climbing are not suggested during the monsoon and winter seasons since visibility is poor and limited, plus upper regions and high passes may be covered in snow.

About Author

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Kumar Lama
Kumar Lama is a founder of Himalayan Exploration Treks Pvt. Ltd. He is leading a team of travel professional offering tailor made travel services across Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan.

Comments

04/06/2021
[…]Peak Climbing in Nepal has gained the title of the most adventurous and daring sport in the country. And why not! It is tough, strenuous, spans for an extended period. It takes the mountaineer to brutal altitudes. Himalayan climbing expeditions are not child’s play. One thing that these adventurers need to understand before climbing peaks in Nepal is that the mountains of Nepal are unforgiving. It requires a fit body, great stamina, resilience to altitude sickness, and years of mountaineering experience to conquer the mountains of Nepal.[…]

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