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Island Peak, known locally as Imja Tse, is the most popular climbing peak in Nepal. It is perfect for climbers with less experience or those who wish to climb for the first time. When seen from Dingboche, the peak looks like an island between a sea of ice. This is where the peak gets its name from.
It was first climbed in 1956 by an expedition team that was preparing to climb the peak of peaks or Mount Everest. The summit of this peak is a difficult climb across ice and snow. The top compensates climbers for their difficult journey with incomparable mountain views of Ama Dablam (6,856) and Makalu (8,481 m). The descent is comparatively easier and faster than the ascent.
Previous climbing experience will be helpful as our highly experienced Sherpa Climbing Guides will also provide training and practice of relevant skills such as using jumor, abseiling, and mainly crossing the ladders section on Island Peak. Though if you have knowledge and experience of rock and ice climbing, already done high altitude trekking, then it will be beneficial for your Island Peak Climb.
After breakfast, we will be taken to the domestic terminal of TIA for an early morning flight to Lukla. After a flying above the breathtaking green and white mountains, we reach Tenzing-Hillary Airport at Lukla. This is one of the most beautiful air routes in the world culminating in a landing on a hillside surrounded by high mountains. Upon our arrival at Lukla, we meet our other crew members and after some packing and arrangements, we start our trek through the prosperous village of Lukla until we reach Phakding. To assist in acclimatization, we only have a short hike today. However, if interested in additional activities, we can take a side trip to a nearby monastery. Overnight in Phakding.
After breakfast we walk through beautiful pine forests and then along Dudh Koshi River ending our nature-filled journey at Namche Bazaar. After walking for almost over an hour, we come across the glistening Mt. Thamserku (6,608m) on our right and also experience the serenity of pine, fir and juniper forests throughout our journey. If the weather is clear, we may even catch a glimpse of Mt. Everest peering over the Lhotse-Nuptse ridge. We continue walking until we reach the entrance to Sagarmatha National Park, Namche Bazaar, the gateway to Mt. Everest and the main trading center of this region. This day we cross five suspension bridges, the last one also known as the Hillary Bridge being the highest. It is an uphill walk from Hillary Bridge to Namche Bazaar. Overnight in Namche Bazaar.
Namche is tucked away between two ridges amidst the giant peaks of the Khumbu and has an abundance of lodges, tea shops and souvenir shops. It is an ideal place to spend a day, acclimatising to the new altitude before heading off towards Syangboche. To acclimatize, you visit Khunde Hospital set-up by Sir Edmund Hillary, or take a one hour walk up to the Everest View Hotel above Namche for the sunset view of Ama Dablam, Nuptse, Lhotse and Everest. We then go to Khumjung where we visit a school established by Hillary. We begin our hike after enjoying lunch; bypassing the route of Khimde. There are also good views from the National Park Centre and Museum just above the town. After going through our acclimatization drills, we head down to our lodge for some beers & a good sleep.
After breakfast, we trek towards Tengboche. It is an easy walk from Namche to Phunki. Upon reaching Phunki, we ascend towards Tengboche, a village that houses the very famous Tengboche monastery which is the largest monastery of the Everest region. Located amidst the Sagarmatha National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site of “outstanding universal value”), it is draped with the panoramic 360-degree view of the Himalayas, including Mt. Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, and Thamserku. The monastery opens at 3:00 pm so if we are lucky we might just be able to witness a religious ceremony. Overnight in Tengboche.
We descend downhill through a forest, cross the Imja Khola and climb steadily to the village of Pangboche. This village is directly opposite Ama Dablam [6,856 m], and has exceptional views of the mountain, with the gompa, mani walls and scattered pine trees in the foreground. A further two hours walk brings us to Pheriche where we bunk out for the night.
This is a day to rest, acclimatize and give our weary bones a breather. However, we don’t remain idle; we also get to wander up the valley to look at a lake, the Tshola Tsho and the perpendicular walls of Cholatse and Tawache. We can climb up onto the ridge overlooking Dingboche for the view of the Imja Valley and the incredible south face of Mt. Lhotse. The views here steal your breath away. We bunk out in the village of Pheriche for the night.
We continue up the wide valley beneath the impressive peaks of Cholatse and Tawache on the left. We then turn right and take a steep climb towards the foot of the Khumbu Glacier. The tea house at Duglha is a good spot to have lunch. The trail zigzags up through the boulders of the glacier’s terminal moraine. At the top of this climb, there are many stone cairns, built as memorials to the many Sherpas who have died while climbing Mt Everest. The path then climbs gently along the glacier, to eventually reach the cluster of houses at Lobuche.
Today it’s a long and gritty day. After a hot breakfast at our lodge, we climb through meadows and moraine stones steps to reach Gorakshep, by either climbing to Kala Patthar or continue heading to Everest base camp. We suggest that you make a beeline for the Everest base camp. By the way, from Everest base camp we do not see Mount Everest. However, from Kala Patthar, we get to see the entire south face of Mt. Everest and well-known peaks nearby; this also includes great sights of the skyline of the Tibet plateau. Overnight at the height of (5,364) at the lodge.
Today we will wake up in the early morning and hike up to Kalapatthar at around 4 o’clock. Kalapatthar (5545m) is a viewpoint that provides you the breathtaking views of mountain peaks and glaciers. Once we are at Kalapatthar, you can have the nose touching view of Mount Everest and the peaks on the range. Along with the peaks, you can also see the Khumbu Glacier. After we spend some exciting time there, we will march back to Gorekshep for some breakfast. After the breakfast and short rest, we will then descend back to Dingboche. Overnight stay at Dingboche.
After we spend a night at Dingboche, today we will slowly head towards Island Peak base camp following the Imja valley enjoying the views all along the way. The trek won’t be too nasty as you can enjoy the view of Ama Dablam and Lhotse. We will reach to Base Camp in the midafternoon, and then have some rest there. You will be provided some trainings and techniques about how to use the gears like ice axe, harness, ascender and others. Mainly you will be taught how to go up and down using the ropes as the rope will be a very crucial partner for your summit. Stay night at tented camp at Island peak base camp.
Probably today is the main day of our trek. Today we will ascend up to the Island Peak (6189m). We will start our summit in the early morning around 1 am. Initiated with the climb over rock ravine, this will not be difficult but not risk-free. Following the rock steps, we will be at the ridgeline which takes you to an exciting pass onto the nose of the summit glacier. Here we may need to use the rope up for the glacier as it has several crevasses. But no worries, you will have the guides to help you fix the ropes. After we reach the summit, we will enjoy the views, take pictures and then descend back to Chukkung. Overnight at Chukkung
Today we will be marching back to Namche. With the view of mountain peaks being further, we will slowly walk back to Namche. The route will be piercing into the towns of Orsho, Somare and Pangboche, Tengboche then Phungki Thanka, some steeps and then easy trails to Namche. Overnight at Namche.
This is our last day on these lovely mountains that has been home to us all of these days. We continue to backtrack our hike towards Lukla along the Dudh Koshi River which is about 7 hours from Namche and do an overnight at Lukla.