Island Peak Expedition: The Ultimate Guide to the Summit
Island Peak Expedition

For those seeking an adrenaline-pumping adventure, the Island Peak Expedition is an experience not to be missed. Nestled in the heart of Nepal’s Himalayas, this peak stands at 6,189 meters (20,305 feet) and boasts awe-inspiring views of some of the world’s highest mountains. To help you prepare for your successful climb, we have compiled this comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about conquering Island Peak.

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

Peak climbing in Nepal is the most adventurous and daring sport. Here is a piece of advice to embark on a 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 to Island Peak climbing.


Where is Island Peak?

Island Peak lies in the Everest region and is most possibly Nepal’s best climbing peak. It appears to be an island emerging from the sea of ice in the heart of the Chukhung Valley. Because of this, Eric Shipton named it Island Peak.

Most people connect an expedition to Island Peak with the iconic Everest base camp trek because of its convenient proximity. Then, you have those that conquer the Mera Peak and Island Peak through the more demanding passes route. But the question Mera Peak Vs. Island Peak: what is the difference between these two peaks?

  • Trekking and Climbing Experience in a single excursion.
  • Explore the Tsukung Valley and the culture at the same time.
  • From the summit, we witnessed four 8000-meter 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 simultaneously.

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

Lukla Airport Everest
Lukla Airport, the gateway of the Everest region

DETAILED ITINERARY

1: Fly to Phakding and to Lukla (2652 m)
We will transfer you to the airport on a flight scheduled early in the morning. 40-minute exciting flights to Lukla airport offer a beautiful perspective of the Central and Eastern Himalayas and gorgeous surroundings and hills. Luka is the gateway of the 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, possibly encountering the wildlife in 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. Since Syangboche is a small airport considered the highest in the world. But there is no flight operation. So then, trek up to 3800 meters to see Mount Everest and other famous peaks. It also helps you to acclimatize properly.

4: Tengboche (3860m)
Following breakfast in Namche, you will need a trailhead to Tengboche. The trail is straightforward, taking in the breathtaking picture of the thundering Himalayas until we reach Sanasa. At the same time, we meet up on a popular way 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 climbing up to Tengboche.

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 path appears to be easy to walk; however, due to the altitude, breathing could be tricky. We pass several prayer flags and monuments in memory of the mountaineers who died during the trip since it’s 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 mini slope from Changri Glacier and a zigzag path, we finally get to Gorakshep. After lunch in Gorakshep, we travel to Everest Base Camp. We can observe hanging glaciers as well as 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 descend to Dingboche with similar views of the thunder Himalayas.

9: Lobuche – Chhukung (4730m) via Khongma – Pass (5535 m)
Today is the biggest day to traverse Khongma-La Pass (5535m). The trail continues throughout the moraine of the Khumbu glacier to Khongma-La Base Camp. There may be some difficulties because of the high altitude and daily walk over the glacier; rising to the Khongma-La pass is the most challenging. However, you will forget that hardness while you are at the top by viewing the outstanding views of the mountains. Khongma Pass is one of the highest passes in the Everest region. You will traverse it while you embark on the Everest Three Passes Trek with the other two passes. Then, along the Imja Khola valley, we steadily descend towards Chhukung.


Route to Island Peak and Imja Valley

6: Chhukung (4,730 m.)
From Dingboche to Chhukung, the trail leads to an open rocky hill surrounded by the massive rock valley connecting 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. We set up our tent to spend the night. You will also have a beautiful sight of Lhotse and Nuptse from here. We also prepared 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 that sees excellent 360-degree views of the mountain. Unfortunately, this night is strategically miserable because of the altitude and cold.

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 crucial to pay attention while climbing the icy wall to reach the border that leads to the top. We return to Island Peak Base Camp after reaching the top.

10: Contingency day to the summit.
The day is a contingency day in case of adverse conditions or an altitude problem. The day prevents you from reaching the peak and catching up on the plan.

11: Trek back to Pangboche (3,901 m.)
We return to Pangboche along the same route 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 Rhododendrons, Fir, and Birch. Gradually descend to the Dudh Koshi bridge at Punki Thanka, then slowly climb to Namche Bazaar.

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

14: Trek to Lukla.
This is the last day of walking to Lukla amid picturesque villages and alpine apple farms.

15: Fly back to Kathmandu and spend the night in a hotel.
We board a plane from Lukla to Kathmandu according to the flight schedule. There are breathtaking views of mountains and landscapes while on the airstrip. Then, transfer back to the hotel upon arrival in Kathmandu.

If you’re looking for different routes, here are the top five itinerary ideas for trekking to Everest Base Camp.


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WHAT ELSE IS SAYING ABOUT THE ISLAND PEAK DIFFICULTY

It described the summit push as difficult yet doable, requiring no prior experience, and suitable for novice climbers.

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

But is it true?

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

The Island Peak is relatively challenging but not technically difficult for 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 is also a dramatic, enjoyable, and thrilling experience. No, it doesn’t become more accessible the further you climb, but each loop provides something new and intriguing.

Read Also: Climbing Ama Dablam: An Adrenaline-Pumping Adventure


BEST TIME TO CLIMB ISLAND PEAK

Nepal has six distinct seasons in a year. Spring and autumn are the best seasons for trekking in Nepal. Likewise, the same is applied to the Island Peak Expedition. Climbing Island Peak is one of Nepal’s most popular and rewarding treks. It’s a great way to experience the majestic Himalayan mountains while getting an adrenaline rush from summit success. The best time to climb Island Peak depends mainly on your personal preferences. However, certain times of year offer more favorable conditions than others.

The best time for climbing Island Peak is between March and May or September and December when temperatures are milder. It is because skies tend to be more precise; snowfall is less frequent, wind speeds are lower, and visibility is better than at other times of the year.

However, you’re looking for warm weather with minimal risk of snow or rain. In that case, April to May can be a good option as temperatures generally range from 10 to 20°C, making it comfortable for trekking in high-altitude regions like Everest Base Camp (EBC). In addition, these months have longer days, making it easier to plan out your ascent schedule without having to worry about darkness setting in too soon!

Regarding crowds, however, November – February may not be ideal as this season sees far more visitors due to the higher availability of flights into Lukla airport. So, if you’re looking for solitude, avoid these months if possible!

For those wishing to challenge themselves further by summiting both Mera Peak (6476m) & Lobuche East (6119m) before attempting the island peak – October & November could prove beneficial since they provide just enough heat/cold balance needed to make such climbs enjoyable yet still challenging enough given their elevation heights respectively.

Regardless of what month you choose – always remember that proper preparation is vital to achieving a successful summit of any mountain, no matter how big or small! So remember to pack the right gear, train well before the departure date, and stay safe throughout the journey to enjoy every moment.


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 crucial to your happiness and success. But we recommend using the tea houses with the best food in the cleanest environment.

Camping Experience
Accommodation 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 a chilly night, you’ll also 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 background, preparing yourself could take a year or less. But your physical condition plays a significant role in a 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, do cardio, stress endurance, hiking, and training, and practice regularly by jogging, cycling, swimming, trekking, and so forth. The following are the most crucial keys 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 the summit
  • Using the high camp instead of straight operations from Base Camp
  • Your technical experience, having specialized 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 are compatible 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 service, 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, and climbing gear. However, the agency does not cover personal equipment, flight costs from and to your home country, or other 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 also need a Trek-Card and a Sagarmatha National Park permit, like with all other treks in the national park. Besides that, you will need to take a local government permit.

  • TIMS-Card: $20 per person
  • The entry fee to the Sagarmatha National Park is $30 per person.
  • Local government permit: $20 per person

Some Frequently Asked Questions About Island Peak

How difficult is Climbing Island Peak?

Climbing Island Peak is deemed challenging since it requires an extended trek/climb in a remote place that exceeds 5500 meters. In addition, for several days, you must sleep at an elevation of 5000 meters or above. So, climbers must be in good physical condition. Daily walking hours average 6-7 hours, while summit days can be taken 10-14 hours.
This expedition requires climbing equipment such as Harness, Ice Axe, Crampons, Mountaineering Boots, and Ascender. Therefore, previous climbing experience is needed, 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. So, we do in-depth route planning to ensure safety and success. Our trail 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 (10C to 20C). Mornings are often cleared, 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.

Featured Trips

Island Peak Everest Base Camp Trek
Early Bird!

Island peak EBC Trek

EBC with Island Peak Trek is a famous but frequent
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Island Peak climbing has established itself as a significant climbing
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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 costs include 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. 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 the Island Peak Expedition, because it adds roughly a week to the expedition.


To Sum Up

In conclusion, the Island Peak Expedition is a mountain that has been the goal of mountaineers and trekkers alike. Since its first ascent in 1959, the Island Peak Expedition has been challenging for all.

After a long preparation and meticulous planning, the mountaineers will finally be ready for the final push to the summit. But what do they expect on their way to the top?

To answer that question, we’ve prepared this comprehensive guide to help you through this exciting journey to the Island Peak and learn the tips, tricks, and hacks to take along. So get ready for the Island Peak Climbing!

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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