Overview


Island Peak (6189m), also known as Imja Tse, is a spectacular peak amid the giants of the Himalaya.

If you have dreamed of climbing a 6000 metre Himalayan summit then this famous mountain may answer your wishes.It was a training peak used by Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing in 1953 and the route they discovered is the same one that is used today. In fact Island Peak is still a popular training peak for clients on Mount Everest.

Although no Himalayan peak should be underestimated, Island Peak offers the fit and experienced hill walker and aspirant climber a window into the world of mountaineering in the Greater Ranges. After climbing the ice headwall and ascending the exposed summit ridge, the view from the top brings the thrill of Himalayan mountaineering because of the spectacular 360 degree panorama of many of the highest mountains in the world.

This trip initially treks to the base camp of Mount Everest and then crosses to the Khumjung valley for the climb of Island Peak.

Itinerary

BROAD ITINERARY

Days  Summary
1-2 Arrival and preparation in Kathmandu
3-11 Fly to mountain airstrip at Lukla and trek up to Everest Base Camp
11-15 Trek from Everest BC to Island Peak Base Camp
15-17 Climbing period for Island Peak
18-20 Trek back down to mountain airstrip at Lukla
21-22 Fly back to Kathmandu for international departure*

*Note, there are sometimes weather delays for the flights to and from Lukla. It is therefore advisable to leave an extra day or more spare in Kathmandu at the end to give more flexibility without missing your international flight departure. We can help you to organize these extra days on request. 

DETAILED ITINERARY

DayElevationTravel TimeInfo
1 1400m   Arrive Kathmandu. AA Guesthouse or local hotel.
2 1400m   Rest day and briefing in Kathmandu.
3 2460m 4 hrs Flight to Lukla, walk downhill to Phakding or Jorsale along the edge of the Dudh Kosi River. Easy, busy path, surrounded by forest.
4 3440m 6 hours Uphill to Namche Bazaar which is the Sherpa ‘capital’ in the heart of the Khumbu region. Initially follow the valley to Monjo where you enter the National Park, then cross the river a few times and start a long unrelenting path uphill, with one spectacular bridge spanning a deep gorge. Leave the coniferous forest behind, and arrive at a huge natural amphitheatre with the houses spread around the sides. Nowadays there are also many equipment shops, internet, bank, post office, cafes, bars, lodges and hire shops here.
5 3440m   This is an acclimatisation day which you can rest or enjoy the sights and sounds of Namche. You can also go for radial walks to the Sherpa museum and other local places of interest.
6 3850m 6 hours Walk to Deboche which is near the famous Thyangboche Monastery. The path out of Namche follows the side of a high valley, passing through villages like Pangboche before negotiating a steep hill. After this it is a short walk to the beautiful rhododendron glade where you will find the lodge.
7 4252m 5 hours A gradual gradient up to Dingboche. The path continues along the side of the valley with the river far below on your right and passing beneath the spectacular Ama Dablam. The village sits on the confluence of two valleys and has spectacular views. From here you have views of Island Peak up the Chukkung Valley.
8 4252m   This is another rest and acclimatisation day. You can visit the Himalayan Rescue Association to listen to the daily lecture on high altitude health, and get a check from the medical staff. Option also to visit the ridge above the village for acclimatisation.
9 4920m 5 hrs Trek up the high valley to Lobuche which is alongside the huge Khumbu Glacier. You can now easily feel the effects of the thin air as the hike takes us up to the Thukla Hills where there are many stupas erected in memory of Sherpas who have died on expeditions. Few plants live up here and it will be much colder in the evenings. It is important to walk slowly and listen to your body. Fatigue from lack of oxygen to your muscles is common, but some people may feel nauseous and suffer from headaches. Drink lots of liquid and keep warm, give your body maximum opportunity to recover.
10 5200 4 hours Hike on the glacial moraine to the final settlement of Gorak Shep. The views here are spectacular; Nuptse dominates the other side of the valley, behind which the black triangular peak of Everest is just visible. The giant wall of ice ahead is the border with Tibet. Gorak Shep is the last outpost, a small collection of huts just below a hill called Kala Patthar which is your final destination and traditionally the finest viewing point for Everest itself.
11 5360m 6 hours Trek to Everest Base Camp along the lateral moraine and finally on the glacier itself. Sometimes this route is impassable. Arriving at the small tented city where climbers congregate to climb the mountain is a surreal experience. There is a network of ‘roads’ between the camps, a bakery, and a chance to have a chat with people. Visit the Himalayan Rescue Association, which does an amazing job of looking after climbers.
12 High point 5540m drop to 4920m 2 hrs up to 5540m, 3 hrs back down to 4920m Early morning climb to the summit of Kala Patthar to see sun rise behind the peak of Everest. The climbing route through the Khumbu Icefall, into the Western Cwm and up the Lhotse Face to the South Col is clearly visible, with the SE ridge to the top on the right hand skyline side of the summit block. This is a tough walk in the cold and not to be underestimated. Take warm clothing. Back at the lodge for breakfast and a walk back to Lobuje.
13 4252m 3hrs Return along the trail to Dingboche and overnight
14 4730m   Trek from Dingboche to Chukkung and overnight in lodge. You can hire any extra equipment from hire shops here, such as plastic boots. Training in the use of personal climbing equipment.
15 5087m   Trek to Island Peak Base Camp, a small area in a narrow valley alongside the lateral moraine of the Imja Khola lake. Camping and start training on the use of fixed lines and personal movement on ice.
16 5600m   Climb to Island Peak High Camp and rest and prepare for summit attempt the following day (or Possible summit from basecamp depending on fitness acclimitisation and water availability at High Camp)
17 6189m   Spare summit day in case of poor weather or illness
18 4410m   Trek to Dingboche
19 3440m   Trek to Namche Bazaar
20 2460m   Trek to Lukla
21 1400m   Fly Lukla to Kathmandu
22     International Flight home or onward / additional travel options

Cost

Island Peak expedition cost from £1495.00

INCLUDES

  • Airport transfers
  • Internal flight to Lukla
  • Accommodation in Kathmandu for 3 nights - twin/double rooms
  • Accommodation in lodges/tea houses during walk in(twin rooms with beds and mattresses)
  • Three meals per day during the walk in, and hot drinks (e.g tea, coffee, juices)
  • Sagamartha National Park Fees
  • Sherpa guides (English speaking, trained in first aid)
  • Porters (1 per member, carries about 15kgs)
  • Staff food, insurance and equipment
  • Group climbing gear, eg. ropes, ice screws

EXCLUDES

  • International flight to Kathmandu (~£700)
  • Meals and drinks in Kathmandu (~£40)
  • Personal costs like drinks, laundry, hot showers, bottled water (~£100)
  • Trip Insurance
  • Visa ($30 for two weeks)
  • Airport departure tax for some tickets (£15 paid in Nepalese rupees)
  • Tips (~£30)
  • Sightseeing Tours in Kathmandu
  • Personal climbing equipment and clothing


NOT ALL ABOUT MONEY

Our prices are competitive and good value, and we offer quality, service, security and an ethical stance on tourism in a developing country. We don’t want to be so expensive to run fewer trips and have our staff idle, but on the other hand we believe that running  cheap trips that promote the practise of skimming budgets would result in the porters getting next to nothing, which is something we cannot consider.

We include professional staff and a porter for each member. We do not operate kitties and we use an excellent hotel in Kathmandu with which we have built up a strong relationship over the years.

We have our own licensed company in Kathmandu, Adventure Alternative Nepal and full time staff to operate all our treks, climbs and tours in Nepal


INSURANCE

Travel insurance will need to be purchased by each team member to cover all costs associated with medical, rescue, equipment, cancellations etc. This should be purchased as early as possible to ensure cancellation coverage in case of any issues arising that cause you to cancel your trip.

The policy must be checked for validity in the regions through which we will be travelling and also for trekking/mountaineering to 6189m. Many specialist insurance providers have common peaks named on the policy description so it is worth contacting the company to check which is the appropriate level of cover. You should bring with you a copy of your policy and ensure your tent mate knows where you keep it. It is also worth bringing a photocopy of your passport and to keep it separate to your own documents just in case you lose your passport.

Adventure Alternative is a member of AITO (Association of Independant Tour Operators) and ABTOT, and we provide insurance cover for complete financial protection.

Fitness

GENERAL FITNESS

To climb Island Peak you don't need to be a super-fit athlete nor and experienced mountaineer. The trek and climb is accessible to anyone with good basic fitness and an enthusiasm for the outdoors. It will be an advantage to have good previous hill-walking experience and therefore be familiar with walking for many hours at a time.

You will enjoy the trip all the more if you do have good fitness and experience. Therefore we do advise that on the lead up to the trip you do spend time checking and working on the kind of fitness that you need for the trek. The ideal preparation is spending a good number of hours walking on rolling terrain with a small pack of say 5kg on your back. Other forms of cardio-vascular exercise such as running, cycling and swimming will also of course help with the right kinds of fitness, though especially if they focus mainly on the legs.


TYPE OF TERRAIN

The walk in initially follows the main Everest Base Camp trek and is on a well trodden path all the way though this can be rocky and uneven in parts. It is not precipitous and there is no rock climbing or ‘mountaineering’ which requires equipment. It is a walk all the way to Island Peak Basecamp, although some of the hills can be steep and never-ending!

You will meet many people along the way, and also yaks. There is only one rule of the road when meeting an oncoming yak, and that is to always ensure you step to one side, towards the inside of the trail. Poles are useful but not necessary, depending on whether you have problems with knees and if you have a personal preference for using them. Higher up, the open slopes and moraine may give you added reassurance with a pole, but again the path is quite easy to follow

Once on the mountain its self there will be steep scrambling and trekking then steep snow slopes and a ridge top traverse. The main headwall climbs at around 45 degrees which will feel steep and strenuous. We will fix a line here for you to clip in to for emergency protection. The summit ridge can feel fairly exposed and you will need to compose yourself and walk carefully and deliberately.


EXPERIENCE NEEDED

The trek and climb is not a forced march and the pace is always slow, the days generally being shorter than a day hike at home. Previous winter walking and use of basic mountaineering or climbing protection equipment and crampons would be an advantage although not essential as full instruction will be given.

The headwall and summit ridge can feel quite 'airy' with steep drops off to the sides. Therefore you will need to be able to concentrate and keep your composure in order to keep going. If you have a very strong fear of heights then this may affect your chances of going all the way to the top. However, a healthy fear and respect of heights and drops is actually preferable to a blase or gung-ho attitude!

Kit List


The basic idea of the kit we will take is to keep you warm, dry, protected from the sun, able to move efficiently on the mountains and able to be comfortable in the evenings and night. There is a detailed list which we will supply to clients, but the main points to cover are:-

  • BAGS - Large Rucksack ~80L (for a porter to carry) + Medium Daypack ~40L (carried by you)
  • SHELL - Top and bottoms to keep off wind/rain
  • INSULATION - Warm layered system to keep you warm- body hands & Head
  • BASELAYER - Thin layers to wick away sweat and to strip down to when it gets hot
  • FEET - Crampon compatible boots, trekking shoes and base camp shoes
  • HARDWARE - Crampons, axe, alpine harness, descender, jumar, karabiners, helmet
  • SLEEPING - 4 to 5 season sleeping bag
  • EATING/DRINKING - Water bottles & favorite snacks for during the day
  • WASHING & MEDICAL - To allow you to wash and maybe stave off a headache or blister


RENTAL ITEMS

We have a number of items which you can rent for this trip and we will have them supplied to you in Kathmandu.

  • Mountaineering Harness
  • Descender, jumar, Karabiners, slings
  • Crampons
  • Walking Axe

Plastic boots or double mountaineering can be rented from the village in Khumjung.

ADDITIONAL KIT INFO

Boots for the climb need to be of a type that will allow fitting of crampons. They also need to be warm and fitted well to your feet. There is a huge range of boots available, a lot of which will not be suitable for this climb. For Island Peak you will need boots graded at least B1 for crampon use. If you are planning on doing more mountaineering in the future on higher or colder routes it may be worth investing in B2 hybrid or B3 rigid Plastic boots both of which will also be suitable for Island Peak. Full 8000m triple boots are not needed for this climb but could be used if you already have them.

Please see our 'More Info' page 'Mountain Boot Guide' for more information

If you choose to purchase your own crampons prior to the trip please ensure that you take your boots to the shop and ask a suitably experienced person to check the fit of the crampons with the boot. Some combinations of boot and crampon do not provide a good match and can lead to poorly fitting crampons and consequent problems on the mountain.

Why Us


All our guides are given guide training in Nepal paid for by the company and have all been on many climbs to high altitude with Gavin Bate and been given extensive training in managing foreign clients safely and dealing with the expectations of paying clients.

The teams we employ include excellent cooks and porters who have all worked for the company for a long time and are well versed in providing good food and good support for all our expeditions. They are well provisioned and equipped themselves, as we provide climbing equipment, sleeping bags, sunglasses and good boots.

You can speak directly with Gavin Bate about your proposed climb of Island Peak and have the benefit of somebody who has climbed the mountain many times and who will come to visit a group if necessary and go through the whole expedition from start to finish. In the office you will find friendly and knowledgeable staff who will give you the time to discuss through all your preferences and questions.

Our company is properly insured and financially protected, so that your money is safe and you know you are dealing with a tour operator that is correctly set up to manage and run trips like this.

Our trips contribute to the Moving Mountains charity. In Nepal this includes providing mattresses to the porters huts dotted around the Khumbu, providing training schemes for porters and proper equipment, and of course all the work we do in the villages in solu Khumbu where our staff come from. Over more than twenty years we have been rejuvenating whole communities and economies using the benefits of tourism and the fundraising from Gavin's own climbs of Mount Everest.

Extra Info


Imja Tse, as it is known to Nepalese, not only provides an enjoyable climb but also provides some of the most spectacular scenery of Himalayas in the Khumbu region. Seen from the summit, the giant peaks of Nuptse (7,879m), Lhotse (8,501m), Lhotse Middle Peak (8,410m) and Lhotse Shar (8,383m) make a semi circle to the north. The views of Makalu (8475m) in the east, Baruntse and Ama Dablam in the south add more charm for climbing Island Peak.

From Dingboche the mountain is clearly seen as a pyramid of ice and rock. It was named by Eric Shipton because of its resemblance to an island in a sea of ice. The mountain itself is the extension of the South Ridge of Lhotse Shar separated by a col. The ridge rising to the south from this point leads to the summit of Island Peak.

The route follows the Chukkung Valley to Base Camp, from which the summit is a challenging 6 to 9 hour climb depending on conditions. The route includes rocky paths followed by snow and ice, a 300 metre headwall which is fixed with a rope to clip onto, and an exposed snowy summit ridge about 300 metres long which can be narrow and precipitous.

STAFF

We use our own Sherpa staff who are employed by Adventure Alternative Nepal, and have had many years experience guiding clients on the mountains in the Khumbu region. Our head guides are Pasang Tendi Sherpa and Lopsang Sherpa, and both have climbed Island Peak many times.

Our head cook is Wongdi Sherpa, and we also employ a number of trekking guides and porters from the villages of Bupsa and Bumburi (where Moving Mountains carries out it's projects). This represents a strict employment policy in the company to not employ people on a trip-by-trip basis, and to provide long term training and development to full time staff, as well as investment in the community through the charity.

ADVENTURE ALTERNATIVE SUPPORT

The porters will carry your main bag up to a maximum weight of 15 kgs and cater for all the group needs, including assisting you if you need to go back down the valley. Unless specifically tenting, all accommodation is in lodges or teahouses which are very well equipped, warm and sociable.

Pasang Tendi Sherpa is our operations manager in Kathmandu and Director of Adventure Alternative Nepal. He organises all the staff, equipment, permits and hotel arrangements. You will have his telephone number, or the staff at the hotel desk can call him for you. He is the organiser, translator, problem solver, advisor and the amain link between you and the UK office. He will talk to the Sherpa guides regularly on the mountain and can make arrangements while you are on trek.

You also have continued support from the main office in Northern Ireland. Should a problem arise of significant proportion then you only need to call us. In the Khumbu region there is still an opportunity to communicate since most lodges now have satellite phones.

DATES DESCRIPTION

The start dates refer to the arrival date in Kathmandu and the end date refers to the earliest you can book for your return flight home. When departing from Europe allow for an overnight flight to Kathmandu, but on the return it is possible to depart in the morning and arrive on the same day.

Private trips are welcomed if the scheduled dates do not fit, although we do require a minimum of three people in any team. We have our own office and guesthouse ready and waiting for any dates you may prefer.

HEIGHT GAINED

Kathmandu is at an approximate altitude of 1400m and the flight to Lukla will take you up to a height of 2866m. Island Peak basecamp is at around 5000m and the summit stands at 6189m. Your gain in altitude will be carefully managed to allow proper acclimitisation. This will aid your comfort, safety and chances of summit success on the mountain.

CAMPS USED

Accommodation will be in comfortable lodges and tea houses run by Sherpa families, unless people specify a preference for tents. Each lodge has a central communal area with stove, while the bedrooms are unheated with two beds and mattresses and pillows. You will need to bring a sleeping bag (3 season is normally enough), and the lodge will lend you a blanket if you ask.
The lodges generally have showers which are powered by gas and they use ‘drop’ toilets (in Namche Bazaar they are generally flush systems now).

At Island Peak base camp we use two person mountain tents, and we provide foam mattresses. We will also have a small cook tent and mess tent. We generally use the lower base camp because there is a better water supply nearby.

Photos

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Key Information
  • Price £1495.00
  • Next Trip25/04/2015
  • Availability8
  • Duration 22 days
  • Numbers 2-10
  • Altitude 6189m
  • Comfort Lodges & Camping
  • Challenge Difficult
  • Guide ratio 1:3