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Island Peak Climbing

Trek and Climb Info:

Island peak was first ascended in 1953 by a British team as preparation for climbing Everest.
Island Peak climbing trip fulfills the dream of every amateur and serious climbers, who have been seeking the thrill of adventure and wish to take adventure climbing trips beyond simply trekking in Everest. Island peak is the most popular trekking peak in Nepal. The summit is interesting and attractive with a highly glaciated west face rising from the Lhotse Glacier. The mountain itself is the extension of the South Ridge of Lhotse Shar separated by a small col. In order to acclimatize prior to climbing Island Peak (6,189m), we trek through the Khumbu Himalayan Valley and Gokyo  lake, Gokyo Ri, Chola Pass. Team members will have the opportunity (weather permitting) to ascent Kala Pattar 5555 meters a wonderful location to view and photograph Mt. Everest, then we head for a visit to Everest Base Camp. The area in and around Island Base Camp is a stunning and truly wild terrain, far from any villages. The Island peak climb is considered physically challenging, but not technically difficult.

Trip Facts
Country: Nepal
Trip Code: BHT-NPC-01
Duration: 22 days
Area: Everest Region
Activities: Nepal Peak Climbing
Max. Altitude: 6,189  M.
Min/max Group Size: 2/12
Seasons: March-May, Sep-Nov
  • Itinerary
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Day 01.

Arrival Kathmandu Airport and transfer to hotel

Arrive Kathmandu Airline arrival times in Kathmandu vary; most are in the afternoon. You will be met and transferred to the Hotel. Tonight we only have a quick introduction to the area, just what you need to know before the main briefing tomorrow.

Day 02.

Kathmandu free day for trekking preparation

Kathmandu Hearty breakfasts are included at the hotel, before our mid-morning briefing. All aspects of gear and conditions are discussed to make sure you're fully prepared for the trip, and any last minute questions answered. After lunch we have the rest of the day to explore this medieval capital. Favourite destinations to get oriented are the Durbar Square, the central cluster of incredible temples to Nepal's myriad deities, and Swayambunath, the hilltop Buddhist monkey temple, both a short rickshaw ride from the hotel. 

Day 03.

Kathmandu fly to Lukla (2600m) then commence trek to Phakding (2600m)

fly Kathmandu - Lukla / trek to Phakding We take the morning flight to the dramatic airfield at Lukla (2,600m) where we are immediately in amongst the peaks. We descend to Chaplung (2,590m) before lunch to let ourselves adapt more gradually to the change in altitude. The afternoon is an easy introduction to the Sherpa homeland up the beautiful Dudh Kosi river valley, passing huge carved mane stones and prayer wheel shrines typical of this wonderful Buddhist country. Our first night stop is in an excellent lodge at Phakding (2,650m). 

Day 04.

Trek to Namche Bazaar (3440m)

Phakding - Namche Bazaar Through blue pine and rhododendron forests we continue gradually up river to reach Monzo at the entrance to the Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park. Just beyond, after crossing the river on one of the excellent new suspension bridges, we have lunch at Jorsale (2,775m). So far our gain in height has been barely perceptible, but the afternoon is more strenuous, exaggerated by the very early stage of our acclimatization. First crossing a bridge high above the Imja Khola, we then ascend the ridge opposite, a typical Himalayan switch-backed trail. We should take our time and enjoy the views including, halfway up on a right hand swing of the path, our first of Everest ahead. Look out for pack-yaks which we will see from now on; generally good natured, we should still keep up-side when passing these huge beasts. We arrive at Namche Bazaar (3,440m), the Khumbu Sherpa capital, built around a natural amphitheatre setting surrounded by peaks, and now a thriving lodge town. We stay in another comfortable lodge here.

Day 05.

Excursion day around Namche Bazaar

Namche acclimatization day. The first of our carefully planned days to allow us to adapt naturally to the gain in altitude. There is plenty to do and explore around Namche, including the Sherpa museum above the village, or to nip up the ridge above for a quick preview of Everest. 

Day 06.

Trek to Dole (4000m)

Namche - Dole Sherpas can go from Namche to Gokyo in one day, no problem. Acclimatized trekkers can do it easily in two. We, however, do it in 3, as we need to establish full adaption to the altitude at this crucial stage. Its also the intelligent approach on any climbing trip in the Himalaya to not burn up too much energy on the early stages. This gives us time to enjoy the many viewpoints we pass such as the gorgeous chorten ridge at Mong La (3,960m), high above the junction of the Imja Khola, where we have lunch. We descend to the river and then climb slowly up into the increasingly alpine valley to our night stop at Dole (4,000m). There is a good chance of sighting a himalayan tahr, a rainbow coloured Nepali pheasant - the Danphe, or even a musk deer, anywhere today.

Day 07.

Trek to Machharma (4465m)

Dole - Machermo Continuing up the valley, this is quite a short day, as we gain height quickly in this terrain and need to keep well within the limits for safe acclimatization. We soon reach the high 'yersa' (pasture land) of Machermo (4,465m), giving us the afternoon to explore up the ridge, even reaching 5,000m., for some excellent views across to the opposite peaks. Height gained during the day actually adds well to our acclimatisation.This is our key pattern for these acclimatization days - climb high, sleep low, conserve energy.

Day 08.

Trek to Gokyo (4750m)

Machermo -Gokyo With our acclimatization now kicking in well at this level, the route up this high glacial valley is really amazing as we come to the first of the Gokyo lakes. Gokyo itself (4,750m) is by the shore of the third lake. Originally just summer pasture huts, it now has a huddle of lodges, popular with trekkers who can spend several days dug in here, their final destination. We have an ascent of the famous Gokyo Ri viewpoint, just across the lake, scheduled for day 10 morning, but if there is even a sniff of a clear evening (rarer than the more reliably clear mornings), we should take full advantage and go up now - our acclimatization should be well up for it, and will even benefit. Good sunsets are really special here, with the sun behind us, illuminating the peaks of Everest and Makalu. Remember to take head torch and warm gear for the descent in the dark.

Day 09.

The Nameless Towers

Its been argued that the view from today’s ascent to the base of the ‘Nameless Towers’ it is even better than Gokyo Ri - as more of the Tibetan north face is visible. Directly to the north, and already visible from Gokyo, stands the massive south face of Cho Oyu. Today we head up valley towards it. The Ngozumpa glacier is wide and flat here and alongside the lateral moraine there are two more large lakes, between which stands a hill topped by crags now known euphemistically as the ‘Nameless Towers’. We don’t actually climb to the summit which would involve serious technical rock work, but cut a diagonal up the base of the towers to considerably over 5,000m and getting us the stunning panorama from Cho Oyu to the north round to the most open view of the Tibetan north side of Everest anywhere in Nepal. We return to Gokyo and review the option of an (even another) evening ascent of the Ri.

Day 10.

Gokyo Ri - Dragnak

Even if we went up the ‘Ri’ last night (or the night before) we should go up again this morning - all time spent at altitude now is a big bonus, and you get a very different experience with the varying lights at different times of the day. The trail up here is well defined rather like a trail on a popular Munro back home, getting more craggy and scrambled towards the top (5,360m). The 360° panorama from here is thought by many to be the best in the world. Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Cho Oyu and thousands more: sheer vertical faces, sculpted pinnacles above the crystalline lakes. We spend as much time up here as we like, coming down for a late breakfast. Then we head a short way back down valley to the second lake, where our route turns east to cross the ‘dry’ snout of the glacier. This is the deposit zone and on a well defined trail it’s a fascinating crossing. The sudden absence of birdsong gives an eerie silence with only the occasional creak of the rock covered ice below. This brings us almost directly to Dragnak (4,600m) in time for lunch, our lodge stop at the foot of the ascent to Cho La.

Day 11.

Cho La acclimatization training - Dzongla

Up to this point everything we have done has been strictly trekking and all about getting our acclimatization fully established, essential stuff, especially as its on the best trekking route in the world. The Cho La (5,420m) is actually a trek able pass as its flattened glacier is very benign with a well established route over. It’s a fabulous setting, high amongst the Khumbu peaks, with the sheer face of Cholatse peak to the south - some very challenging climbing on that one. It is also perfect for our initial training, getting the feel of ‘the white stuff’ with our ice axe and crampons. Our high-altitude Sherpa leader takes us through our paces: the basic principles of good crampon technique and how to use the axe for maximum security. The terrain here is really more suited to ski poles, and we’re likely to see trekkers doing just fine in their walking boots, but the whole point of today is to get familiar with the feel of our climbing gear, get used to the initially cumbersome mountain boots and spikes. We have plenty of time to detour to try out different inclines. Finally we head over to the other side of the pass where we are facing the graceful towers of Ama Dablam, possibly the most beautiful peak in the Himalaya. The descent is steep at first, and then follows an easy ridge line down into a wide cwm dominated by the face of Cholatse. From here it is an easy stroll down to Dzongla (4,835m), the most simple but spectacular lodge site on the route. Generally agreed to be one of the best days spent in the mountains by everyone in the group.

Day 12.

Dzongla - Chukhung

This morning is a nice easy stroll down the grassy slopes as far as Duglha where we cross the Everest base camp trail again, then contouring along the wide Khumbu valley to Dingboche (4,350m). This is the highest real village in the area; everything above this height is yak herders huts and now trekking lodges. Here we get our first main view of Island peak and realize why it got its name, free-standing in the middle of the mountain lined Imja valley ahead. We have lunch and head on for the short afternoon past the great spires of Ama Dablam to Chukhung (4,730m). There are some excellent lodges here, perfect for relaxing before the big climb. We're joined by the full climbing team here.

Day 13.

Chukhung Ri training day

Chukhung Ri is a fantastic viewpoint just to the north with a craggy summit that forms a buttress to the Nuptse-Lhotse ridge. It’s a great climb in its own right but it also gives us the setting for a fixed rope to practice ‘jumar’ technique with our ascenders, and a shallow abseil on the descent, both of which we will put to use on the actual ascent of Island Peak. In the afternoon we relax and get ready for the morning, leaving everything we don’t need on the mountain safely in the lodge.

Day 14.

Chukhung - Island High camp

 Anticipation rising, we should be feeling confident, well acclimatized and well rested. It’s actually a short, easy enough day today, continuing up the Imja valley in direct approach to the pyramid south-west face of Island Peak itself. At first sight it had been fairly dwarfed by the massive south flank of Lhotse, but put in the perspective that that is the largest mountain face in the world, our own Island Peak starts to assume its stature as a serious challenge. Passing through the narrow gap between the Lhotse and Imja glaciers we approach close to the foot of the south-west ridge, drawing alongside the rocky south flank. There are a series of campsites here, generally known as Pareshaya Gyab, where we have lunch (5,095m). Our climb of Island peak involves setting up a camp as high as possible on the east flank of the south ridge, and then going for the summit early on the following day, when the snow conditions (and views) will be at their best. From the lunch we ascend a steep grassy slope that opens onto a gully between the prominent ridges that converge either side. Our high camp (5,240m) is tucked in under the rocks of the south ridge itself. The view is out to the south-east from here, with the glow of the sunset directly up the Imja valley onto the fluted ridge line between Cho Polu and Baruntse. We organise our gear and get our heads down as soon after supper as possible, ready for the early start.

Day 15.

Island summit - Base camp or Chukhung

We get up to steaming cups of tea at about 3.00am, kit-up and have breakfast. Setting off by head-torch we start in the dark and climb the rock gully to reach a ridge line, which leads onto the snout of the glacier. Fixed lines are placed on the headwall, which is climbed to gain the ridge. From here it's 3 rope lengths to the top. Descend to base camp. Overnight camp.

Day 16.

Contingency day

This scheduled contingency day maximizes our chances in the event of a bad weather day. If we don't need it we can carry on or rest up, probably in Dingboche, which is only an hour or so down from Chukhung.

Day 17.

Chukhung or Dingboche - Deboche

Our return route gets to see another side of Khumbu, including the famous Thyangboche monastery. We stroll down into beautiful mossy forests to have lunch at Pangboche (3,900m). Crossing the river by a dramatic bridged gorge, it's an easy afternoon to our garden lodge stop at Deboche (3,760m). Thyangboche monastery is only 20 minutes further, and those with spare energy may like to nip up for a preview visit.

Day 18.

Deboche - Namche Bazaar

A few minutes brings us to Thyangboche, the most important gompa in the Sherpa region. It is an incredible site and there is plenty of time for a leisurely visit to the monastery. Then we descend to cross the river again, having lunch just up at Trashinga. We climb to Sanasa, from where it is wide level path all the way back to the lodge at Namche.

Day 19.

Namche Bazaar - Lukla

Steeply down the ridge again to the suspension bridge. Then we follow the river down as far as Phakding for lunch. In the afternoon we continue down before the final rise to Lukla. This is our last night on trek, inevitably time for a bit of a Sherpa style party.

Day 20.

Fly Lukla - Kathmandu

 We catch the spectacular flight past the mountains back to Kathmandu. We are met and brought back to a warm welcome and the comforts of the Hotel.

Day 21.


Time yet for more sights, shopping and relax.

Day 22.

Depart Kathmandu

 Some airlines depart in the morning, some in the afternoon; your transport will be arranged to suit.

Cost Included.

-  Airport pick up and drop
-  Peak climbing guide
-  Assistant climbing Sherpa
-  Cook, ast cook, other trek crews & porters
-  Insurance, lodging, food & allowance to your trek crews
-  Tent & mattress
-  Three meals a day B.L.D during your camping trek
-  Land transportation as per itinerary
-  Hotel-Bed and breakfast in Katmandu
-  Trek permit, national park fee & peak permit fee
-  Domestic flight ticket Katmandu –Lukla-Katmandu
-  Sightseeing in Katmandu by private van/car with city guide


Cost Excluded:

- International airfares & Personal insurance is compulsory,
- The cost of personal items like laundry & all kind of soft & hard drinks
- Optional excursions
-  Nepal entry visa fee (US$ 40 per person) you obtain a visa easily upon your arrival at Tribhuwan International Airport Katmandu for 60 days from date of issue. You will require 2 passport size photos
-  All others except committed to provide in ‘cost included’ section above

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For more info. please email us.

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