Island peak which is also known as Imja Tse, stands at 6,189 meters/ 20,305 feet above sea level and is situated in the scenic Imja Valley ahead of Dingboche on the Everest region. This is just a few miles from Mt. Everest and Lhotse. Island peak is one of the most popular peaks in the world, attracting an international audience due to its location. The Nepal Mountaineering Association classes Island peak as a trekking peak but it should not be underestimated. Island Peak is a lofty challenge and often most people fail to reach the summit. You do need mountaineering experience to be safe and successful on an Island Peak climb.
Island peak is not an easy expedition. The strenuous climb to its summit above 20,000 feet needs to be treated with respect and requires a proper preparation. This challenge will provide you with an incredible feeling of accomplishment. The summit offers spectacular views of Lhotse, Nuptse and Amadablam, allowing you to set your sights on the next adventure. But with some probability of failures, you need to train and prepare extremely well for the climb. Island Peak is an excellent introduction to the technical aspects of Himalayan high altitude mountaineering, especially with respect to lower oxygen conditions. Island peak can definitely be used as a stepping stone to high altitude peaks.
The approach to the Imja Valley branches off from the traditional Everest trail at Dingboche, where the trail then continues off towards Chhukung. At Chhukung, we spend a night at a Tibetan Tea House before crossing into the Imja moraine. Though multiple itineraries are available for climbing Island peak we recommend the option which includes Everest Base Camp. This combined trek leads you through breathtaking views of Everest, allowing for acclimatization up to 5600mtrs on Kalapathar before we descend to spend two nights at Island peak base camp 5,100m/ 16,733 ft. This ensures that our teams are properly acclimatized and gives them the best chance of climbing Island peak.
We also have two nights in Namche Bazaar(3400 meters), and 2 nights in Dingboche(4400 meters) giving you the best acclimatization plan for your Island peak climb.
“It was a very thrilling adventure that I had with the Adventure-Pulse team on this trek. To personally walk alongside Everest summiteers - hearing their opinions, getting awestruck at their fitness level and commitment towards perfection on a trek have led me to believe that this is a company I should stick with. The entire trek was very well.
Read more on Tripadvisor Reviewed by Rahul Oak, Island Peak 2017
Best Time : March-May & Oct-Dec
Duration : 21 Days
Max. Altitude : 6173m
Commences At : Kathmandu
Ends At : Kathmandu
The first day of your adventure to climb Island Peak. As you land in Nepal, an Adventure-pulse representative will be at the airport to pick up you to the Hotel. Short briefing at the hotel. You will have a welcome dinner in the evening.
In the morning we begin tour around Kathmandu with a guide. Kathmandu has many historic, religious and architectural places to visit. Swoyambunath (Buddhist shrine, also called the monkey temple), Boudhanath (Tibetan Buddhism beliefs), Pashupati Nath ( A Hindu pilgrimage site) and the Patan Durbar Square (Historic place for ancient art & architecture of Kathmandu) are the highlights of the tour. In the evening our guide will check the trekking equipment that you have. You can also buy your equipment in Kathmandu as per your convenience. Island Peak requires some specialized gear that can also be purchased in Kathmandu.
The 30-minute flight to Lukla will definitely occupy a prominent place on your list of top ten experiences during the course of this trek. Tenzing-Hillary Airport is one of the most challenging airstrips in the world. Built on a cliff-top 9334 ft in the air, this little runway is just 30 meters wide and 527 meters long (less than a tenth of the usual dimensions for a regular runway) with an 11.7 Degree gradient which is significant enough to make it one of the steepest approach landings in the world! There is no prospect of a successful go-around on-short final due to the terrain which is high (a jagged, unforgiving mountain face) immediately beyond the northern end of the runway and a steeply angled drop at the southern end of the runway into the valley below! Are you scared yet? Well, don't be! Only the most skilled and experienced pilots operate the flights that go to and from this area and they've practised it to perfection. The planes that land here aren't the regular Airbus and Boeings that we're used to either. The airport's paved asphalt runway is accessible only to helicopters and small, fixed-wing, short-take-off-and-landing aircraft such as the DHC-6 Twin Otter, Dornier 228 and Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter. The views of the Solo Khumbu's forested valleys and its panoramic snow-capped mountain ranges are absolutely surreal. What's more, for a plane that seats only 20 people, there's still an incredibly charming air-hostess and everyone gets a window seat! Once you land, we stop for breakfast during which time you will be introduced to the real muscle behind this climb – our team of intrepid Sherpas and their Yaks who will be entrusted with your luggage for the duration of the trek, following which, we will begin our short walk down to our very first destination, the riverside village of Phakding. Your first night in the valley en route to Island Peak.
Arguably the longest day of the climb during the course of the trek, our ascent to Namche Bazaar will see us intimately acquainted with the beautiful Dudh Kosi River. As she meanders through the Everest Valley, we enjoy her clever little game of hide-and-seek, at times appearing as a raging torrent under the many suspension bridges that we cross in our attempt to catch up with her, and, at others, a delightfully effervescent companion as we hop over rocks and through pretty tree-lined mountain trails inching closer and closer to the true heart of the Khumbu Valley - Namche Bazaar. Huge, beautifully carved Mani stones adorn the trail that cuts through the Sagarmatha National Park, accentuated by the colourful Buddhist prayer flags that flutter in the breeze seeking blessings from the clear-skied heavens above. As for the village itself, Namche Bazaar is teeming with life! The terraced approach with its quaint potato-kale-and-spinach farms, antiquated little shops (that sell everything you could possibly need), purposeful yak caravans, playfully curious local children, and its warm, welcoming people will leave your delighted heart, spoilt for choice.
At 3340m above mean sea level, after our first official night at high altitude, our fourth day sees us waking up to a well-deserved and much-needed rest day a.k.a ‘Acclimatization day’. The lofty snow-capped peaks of Thamserku and Kongde Ri stand guard right outside your window. With dreamy scenery now merging into everyday reality, even the most persistent dreamers find it impossible to delay their excitement at seeing these amazing peaks in favour for a few extra winks of sleep. Grumbling stomachs (and calf muscles alike) are in for a treat today too. A relatively relaxed start with a hot, wholesome breakfast - simple pleasures truly are the order of acclimatization days, which come along every time we gain roughly one vertical kilometre in height during this particular trail. The purpose of the Acclimatization day is to allow your body to get used to the lower levels of oxygen in the air. The universally accepted way of doing this is to "Climb high and sleep low". Once everyone has had their fill of the various manifestations of gourmet menus that Namche's tea houses are known to produce, we visit the Sherpa Cultural Museum which has many artefacts of historical significance and some detailed information on the local flora, fauna, topography and prevailing conditions of the region. The plateau that the museum sits on offers some great panoramic views of the Himalayas with views of Everest, Island Peak and Lhotse. It also marks the beginning of the trail for our hike to the Syangboche airstrip (you have to see this one to believe it) and the Everest View Hotel. It's a day full of exciting firsts for the Adventure Pulse teams including, but not limited to, your very first view of Mount Everest (weather permitting)!
The sheer beauty of this part of the trek to Everest Base Camp and then Island Peak cannot be overstated, and is personally, our favourite day on the trail. The wildly fun descent to our lunch stop at the riverside village of Phukithanga takes you through expansive rhododendron forests which are a verdant delight after the monsoon season and are rivalled only by their pre-monsoon avatar which captivates all your senses with Its pink, white, and scarlet flowers that dance merrily above you and line the path all the way to the little village of Tengboche. Calories are never an issue in this part of the world, with lunch invariably being followed by immediate uphill stretches. Mount Everest stays visible and resolute all through the day's trek with her tell-tale plume of snowy clouds softly beckoning you closer. The route after our lunch stop is a steady, shaded climb whose forested slopes will have you shaking your head in utter-and-complete disbelief, at the fact that the Himalayas were, (in the not-so-distant past), entirely underwater, even as you walk through irrefutable proof of it! A beautifully carved gateway marks the end of the climb and welcomes you to Tengboche, home to the largest Gompa in the Khumbu region, the ancient and sacred Tengboche Monastery. Teams from Adventure Pulse bound for Island Peak enjoy the rare privilege of attending the prayer ceremonies at this monastery where the monks and Lama bless our expedition and request the Gods to grant us safe passage to and from the mountain.
There are certain treks, or sometimes, just specific trails that have the ability to turn your entire world upside down. The walk from Tengboche to Dingboche occupies a prime position amongst these. We start by descending to the settlement of Deboche which sits placidly sheltered in the shadow of Tengboche alongside the Imja Khola River. If the trail itself doesn't immediately summon images of the scenery that one can usually only witness in epic fantasy movies like the Lord of the Rings, one look at the almost-elven-looking Rivendell Lodge here definitely will! The hike from Debouche to Dingbouche is filled with stream and river crossings along wooden bridges, climbing up large steps, going through impressive colourful Tibetan gates, and the ever-present, never-tiring views of the Himalayas. Disguised as one of the infamous "Nepali flats", a term that you will doubtless hear from the locals at some stage during the course of your trek, there's only one way to find out what this trail is truly about! Cliché as it sounds, you will find that you discover more about yourself and who you really want to be with every passing step, as you gradually follow the river, crossing above the tree line into this improbably-beautiful, almost-lunar segment of our expedition. It's amazing to see just how much life there is up here despite the fact that you are at an altitude of more than 4000m and over 50 kilometres (not to mention a whole aeroplane ride) away from the nearest roads! The huge metal bridges that span the riverine valley will soon take you to the village of Dingboche where our groups invariably experience that magical, mesmerizing phenomenon we've all come to recognize as the first snowfall on the trail!
The acclimatization day at Dingboche is quite like the one at Namche Bazaar and involves a short day-hike uphill to a point called Nangakarshang which is ringed by some of the most technical and difficult peaks to climb. The viewpoint showcases the peaks of Lhotse (4th highest mountain in the world), Manaslu (the 5th highest mountain in the world), a new face of Ama Dablam (our constant travelling companion, initially deemed unclimbable by Everest's famous summiteer, Sir Edmund Hilary), Island Peak, Baruntse, Lobuche East and the ever steadfast Thamserku amongst others. We get back to our tea house in time for a scrumptious lunch and spend the rest of the day enjoying Dingboche, exploring the area (basically following our noses as we chase the delicious smells that waft toward us from its little bakery) and playing various board/card games; or just reading a novel in a cosy corner in front of the Bukhara( fire stove) in the wooden dining hall.
The trek from Dingboche to Lobuche is where things suddenly start to get very real! There's a good chance you'll be walking through snow as you cross into the glacial moraine by this time which adds to the excitement. The fact that you are now only one short day away from our destination, Everest Base Camp adds to the excitement. Our route takes us to Lobuche over the Thukla-Dukla pass — a tough climb given the high altitude and steep terrain, both of which make for slow progress. However, perseverance is generously rewarded here and as you reach the top of the pass, you find yourself amidst memorials of some of the most famous climbers in the world who attempted Everest and died in the process!
We start early in the morning from Lobuche and set off for Gorakshep in order to make our ascent to Everest Base Camp! The walk to Gorakshep takes us above 5000 mtrs, where even the most resilient climbers start slowing down due to the altitude. We stop at Gorakshep to catch our breath where we wait for our Sherpas to arrive with our bags so we can settle them into our rooms and in the meantime, fortify ourselves with brunch. Once everyone is well-rested, we set off on the glacier for Everest Base Camp.
Early in the morning, we set forth from Gorakshep to attempt reaching the summit of Kala Pathar 5,642m/ 18,510ft, if we have not already climbed it the previous evening. The ascent is extremely steep and takes between 3 to 4 hours. The climb is very cold, hard, and often exhausting; but the effort is rewarded by the classic views of the south face of Everest and the Khumbu Icefall, as well as Lhotse, Nuptse, and Pumori immediately above. You, however, cannot see Island Peak (Imja Tse) from this vantage point. For the trekking teams, this is as far or as high as they go up the Everest Base Camp trail. We return to the lodge at Gorak Shep for breakfast by 8 or 9 am. After breakfast, we descend down the valley to Lebouche or even Dingbouche at 4,410m/ 14,465ft depending on the strength of the team, so that we can position the expedition in preparation for Island Peak (Imja Tse).
Though the previous day was long and exhausting, having acclimatized to the height of Kala Pattar 5,642m/ 18,510ft, we find our body a lot more comfortable at lower altitudes. After an early breakfast, we depart from Lebouche or Dingboche, and make the hike to Chhukung at 4,700m/ 15,420ft. The objective is to reach Chhukung by lunch so that you have enough time rest in preparation for the Island Peak Expedition. After arriving we will have lunch and can even look at hiring climbing equipment. This time is critical to sort out personal climbing equipment required on Island Peak (Imja Tse) and possibly rent anything additionally required. Having a good night’s rest is critical at Chhukung, especially as the accommodation is indoors in a tea house.
This morning, will be a late start, primarily to allow enough time to pack and transfer the camping and expedition equipment to the Island Peak Base Camp with the help of Yaks. Packing up all the gear and loading them on to the yaks often takes time. The aim is to have a heavy breakfast before we depart from Chhukung towards Island peak base camp. The hike up to Island Peak base will take 3 to 4 hours. There is an amazing Imja glacier and lake, with stunning views of the moraine formation in the Imja valley. Depending on the weather, we will do our first training session at the island Peak Base Camp. We will practice abseiling, Jumaring and get used to your climbing equipment. The accommodation at Island Peak Base Camp is tented.
In the early hours of the morning we will set off for the summit of Island Peak. Today is the day, we will make our first summit attempt on Island Peak 6,189m/ 20,305ft, however, there may be delays due to weather conditions. This is a long hard climb through the night. As we set off, there is a steep 400m/1,312ft zig-zag rocky scree path with some scrambling. It is possible to wear trekking shoes and carry the climbing boots for this part of the terrain. This is a straight forward trek, but very strenuous as we cross this section during the night. Once we hit 5,900m/ 19,357ft the altitude slows our pace dramatically and the final rock section never seems to end. The crampon point is identified by a narrow ridge which takes us to the start of the glacier of Island Peak (Imja Tse). We take a break to hydrate and to get all our gear on, rope up and cross the glacier before the 100m/ 328ft headwall which is fixed by our climbing Sherpa’s. This marks the most difficult section of the climb to the summit. Though endless, once we cross this obstacle, we enjoy the success of reaching the summit of Island Peak with incredible views of Lhotse, Nuptse, Amadablam, Baruntse and even Makalu. After this, we begin the long decent back to Island Peak Base camp. It is critical to be aware of every step because most accidents happen on the way down when the adrenaline of the summit has passed and the exhaustion starts setting in. After reaching Island Peak Base Camp, we will rest for an hour or so before making the journey all the way back to Chuckung.
On account of the weather, this day is kept as a buffer day for the Island Peak summit push. The mountains are always unpredictable and so it is a good practice to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
From Chhukung, our aim is to trek to Debouche at 3,650m/ 12,045ft. This hike will take about 4 to 5 hours, and is extremely pleasant as we find ourselves back in the tree line and in an oxygen-rich atmosphere. The aim is to arrive for Lunch or maybe a little later. This will be a good opportunity to rest from the hectic physical schedule of the past few days after our Island Peak experience. The aim is to hike back to Namche Bazaar.
The objective of today is to trek back to Namche Bazaar. After breakfast, we will start walking at 8 or 9 am and trek back to Namche Bazaar. This hike will take 4 hours at a comfortable pace especially since this is a familiar route. We will be back below 3,500m/ 11,483ft and you will feel much better. The evening at Namche Bazaar can be spent at the Irish Pub or any of the several bakeries to celebrate a successful Island Peak (Imja Tse) Expedition.
After a night of celebration in Namche Bazaar, it’s important to make an early start for Lukla. We make a long descent to Jorsalle followed by Monjo where we exit the Sagarmatha National Park. We again cross the several high suspension bridges along the 7/8-hour journey back to Lukla. We stop for a break in Phakding for lunch and then make the 3-hour journey back to Lukla, where the team once again can celebrate the successful Island Peak expedition. As this is the last night spent with the porters and Nepali staff, it is customary to appreciate their hard work during the Island Peak (Imja Tse) expedition with monetary TIPS to show gratitude.
We must be up early to finish breakfast and catch the flight from Lukla back to Kathmandu. For those who didn’t get the chance to see as much of Kathmandu on arrival, now is your opportunity to do so. You can visit the temples of Pashupatinath, Swayambhunath and districts of Bhaktapur and Patan Durbar Square should also be on your essential to see list while in Kathmandu. There is also plenty of shopping to be done in the Thamel.
It is our rest day in Kathmandu. You can walk around Thamel in the early evening. It is the main tourist attraction where you can have various options to buy. We will have a farewell dinner at Typical Nepali restaurant to commemorate your successful ascent of Island Peak.
Final Departure to your country. Our staff will be at the hotel to help you to the airport and give you Khada, for good luck.
The Island peak climb follows the same route as the Everest Base camp trek till Dingboche. So the entry and exit points are the same as the Everest Base camp trek. One needs to start from Kathmandu and fly into Lukla and make a 6-7 day trek till Dingboche. From Dingboche instead of going towards Labuche and onwards to the Everest Base camp, one head to the village of Chukung and then to the base camp of Island Peak
Adventure Pulse usually plans all it treks during the most favourable season on the mountain, but having said that weather is always an unpredictable factor. We usually look at weather reports before leaving for the Summit push. In case the weather is unfavourable for the Summit push, we delay it to the next day. A buffer day/s are always built-in the itinerary as a contingency if we get hit by unfavourable weather conditions.
Yes, do you some technical equipment for this climb, The three important things are – climbing shoes/crampons and a harness. But these can be easily rented from Dingboche or Chukung at a reasonable price and you don’t need to spend extra on buying these.
The stay arrangements remain the same as on the Everest base camp trek, except for one day at the Island Peak base camp. From Lukla to Chukung, adventure Pulse organizes your stay in comfortable Tea houses. When we reach Island peak base camp, the stay is in comfortable alpine-style tents on double sharing basis. We have a separate dinning tent for your meals and a separate loo area. All Adventure Pulse treks and expeditions are on full board basis which includes your stay and food throughout the duration of the expedition
Since the Island peak base camp follows the same route as the Everest Base camp trek, the communication system is quite good enroute. You can find a combination of Phone network and wifi all the way till Chukung. You also have an option of buying the Everest link wifi card for better wifi connectivity. However, ahead of Chukung, there is no network for about 2 days.
Island peak climb in an excellent starting peak for a big Himalayan expedition. If you have good physical conditioning and stamina then you can definitely think of being part of an Island peak expedition as your first climb. We at Adventure Pulse have special training days built in where we train you on basic technical skills required to climb the mountain. There is a one is to one ratio for climbers and guides and island peak climb can be the perfect start to your mountaineering carrier.
Island Peak located at 6189 meters ( 20,300 feet ) is one of the most popular climbing peaks in the Khumbu Valley. One needs to be in very good physical condition to climb this peak. The climb through the night can be very strenuous and needs good stamina. Please refer to our “Physical fitness preparation section” for more details on this.
As Island Peak is a full-fledged mountaineering and climbing experience. You would need a combination of trekking as well as technical climbing equipment. Extreme temperature variations, high altitude, snow glare & proximity to the sun are certain factors which necessitate the need for proper mountaineering equipment. In order to enjoy your experience in the mountains, we have recommended that you carry the following with you.
QUALIFICATIONIsland peak requires some technical knowledge as well as a good fitness level. The physical fitness required for the Island Peak climb can be obtained by training around 2-3 months in advance depending on your current fitness level. A high amount of cardiovascular endurance would be required and sports like swimming and running can help build that endurance. Walking up flights of stairs with a loaded backpack helps to get your muscles used to the rucksack you will be carrying. For complete beginners, basic technical knowledge is required for this climb, and so, we have allotted one entire day at Island Peak Base camp where your guide will teach you the basics of using equipment such as ice axes, jumars, ascenders, descenders, crampons, and the basics of ice climbing. However, if you have access to a rock-climbing wall where you can learn how to use technical equipment, you can add that to your training plan.
Please remember, consistency is the key here. Do not do anything to exert yourself or something that will increase chances of injury. Running / brisk walking 4-5 kms for 5 days in a week is far better than running a 20 km on one day of the week and injuring your knee/ligaments in the process. If you can be consistent with above mentioned schedule, the island peak climb though physically challenging, will become a pleasant and enjoyable experience for you. Feel free to call us or mail us in case you want more details on how to prepare for this climb!