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Climb Island Peak Summit a real Himalayan mountain Summiting Island Peak with Kandoo

Climb Island Peak

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Island Peak isView from Island Peak 6189m and is the hardest trek we offer in Nepal. For an experienced hiker who has already done a high-altitude trek,it is the perfect introduction to full alpine mountaineering.  We do not recommend that you try this as your first high altitude trek.

The climb is physically very tough because of the altitude and the steep headwall at the end of the climb.  But  you do not need previous technical climbing experience as we can teach you all the skills you need while you are on the expedition.

You cannot actually see the summit of Everest from the top of Island Peak as it is tucked behind Lohtse.  You do though have amazing views of  Ama Dablam, Lohtse and Mera Peak .

Most nights on this trek are in lodges but the last three nights will be fully supported camping where all meals are provided.

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About the route

The Island Peak climb starts out following the classic trek to Everest Base Camp (5,380m).  The highlight of the first part of the trip is climbing  Kala Patthar (5,643m) which has stunning views of the Khumbu ice field, Pumori, Nuptse, Lhotse and Everest’s north face.  This climb provides great acclimatisation for your attempt on Island Peak .  If you are planning to climb Island Peak on a private trip you might consider the option of sleeping with an expedition team at Everest base camp itself.  This is great fun and also will help with acclimatisation.

From Everest base camp you head back down the Dudh Kohsi valley as far as Dingboche. You then turn up the Imja Khola valley towards Chukhung and Island Peak.  Chukhung is the final tea-house stop before heading to base camp for the ascent of Island Peak.  You can hire all the special gear you need for the climb in Chukhung although the quality of kit  is sometimes poor here.  If you want to be sure of the quality of rental kit, you have to hire in Kathmandu but this means a 16 day hire rather than a 4 day hire.

From Chukhung our itinerary provides  for a three day window to attempt the climb.  At the first camp after Chukhung you will receive training in all the special techniques you require and have time to practise these until you are proficient.

Weather permitting, you will move the next day to the High Camp to prepare for your summit attempt.  If the weather is poor you can stay another day at this camp and wait for the weather to clear.  The walk up to high camp is relatively straightforward and you should arrive in camp just after lunch.

FCrevasses on Island Peakrom high camp the ascent becomes steeper and more challenging.  Initially this involves some steep switch backs and  some scrambling over rock before you reach the "crampon point" at the edge of the glacier.  Conditions beyond this point have changed a lot in recent years as a result of a combination of climate change and the earthquake in 2014.

Previously climbers were faced with a straightforward crampon glacier crossing followed by a steep ascent of  a headwall of about 150 metres.  With a fixed rope set and a jumar this was a physically demanding challenge but not too technical.

More recently,  the glacier traverse has become much tougher as a number of deep crevasses have opened up which have to be crossed on ladders.

You will have practised ladder crossings before your ascent and you will be fully protected by ropes but this is still a nervy moment as the crevasses are deep and the ladders wobbly. Try your best not to look down!

Headwall on Island PeakAfter you have crossed the glacier you reach the headwall.  The condition of this is now very variable.  Some years it is just frozen snow but sometimes the snow has blown off leaving hard jagged ice.

In any event, our guides will lay fixed lines over the whole of this section  and with a jumar and ice axe, the climbing is still not overly technical.  However to reflect the overall increased difficulty of the climb in the changing conditions, we now provide 1 guide/climbing sherpa for every two people.

Mountains and glaciers are dynamic places and changes in the landscape are part and parcel of the experience.

After summiting you descend to Island Peak base camp and the rest of the trek follows the classic Everest base camp route back to Lukla via Namche.

There is a detailed day by day itinerary for the trip below.

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When to climb Island Peak?     

For the Everest region as a whole, you can trek anytime between September and the end of May. Given the height of Island Peak and the challenging conditions, we work with much smaller  windows of opportunity.  Bad weather on the base camp trek might be uncomfortable but on Island Peak it could be very dangerous.  For climbing Island Peak safely we only run trips in mid September to November and March to May.

During these periods the temperatures are pleasant and most days are dry and sunny. Most importantly during these periods, the strong winds that accompany the monsoon die down and there are long periods  of relative calm which are ideal for climbing.

You can read all about when is the best time to trek in the Everest region generally here and there is a lot more detail about the weather here.

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How hard is climbing Island Peak

Climbing Island Peak is a very demanding challenge but if you are in great shape physically we can get you to the summit . If you have already trekked to altitude then this is a great next challenge.

The first part of the ascent is physically very hard because you are trekking up rough terrain at over 5000m.  This part though is definitely non-technical.  You then reach the glacier field and you will need to rope-up and wear crampons. Over all this section there is a risk of crevasses covered with snow into which you can fall and you are also now likely to have to cross open crevasses. These will have ladders strapped in place to get across. This can be daunting but you will be on safety lines at all time. You finally then reach the foot of the headwall.

This is the toughest part of the climb as the ascent is very steep and the air at its thinnest. Fixed lines make the climbing route safe but it will take lots of determination to get up to the summit ridge. From the summit ridge to the top is a short relatively easy ascent.

The expedition is ideally suited for trekkers with some experience of high altitude trekking and using fixed ropes and crampons. This is not essential as training will be given.

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What kit do I need to climb Island Peak?

As well as all the standard kit you need for trekking in Nepal which you can find here, you will also need some specialist items of mountaineering equipment. 

The items you require are shown below. If you do not own these items they can be hired in Chukhung. Better quality and more choices are available for hire in Kathmandu but hiring there is more expensive All other climbing equipment (ropes etc) will be provided.

Sleep at Everest Base Camp

Most people are never allowed to go beyond the entry to Everest base camp as this is a restricted access zone. As Kandoo's team of guides includes so many Everest summiteers we have negotiated with a number of the Expedition Teams to host our trekkers at base camp for an overnight stay . This is a very unique experience for trekkers as they get to join the campsite of an Everest expedition team and can walk all the way up to the crampon point on the Khumbu ice fall. For more details, just contact one of our team!

If you are climbing Island Peak it is also a great way to improve your acclimatisation as you will be sleeping high.

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Detailed itinerary

Day 1Arrival

Once your flight lands at Kathmandu airport,  you'll be met by a Kandoo driver & taken to  your hotel. After you've checked in, you'll meet your guide, who will brief you about your upcoming trek, and answer any questions you may have.

Rest up, your adventure really starts tomorrow!

Day 2Flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, trek to Phakding

A short but spectacular flight takes us to Lukla, where we will meet up with most of our porters and crew. We'll follow the Dudh Koshi valley from here, and spend the night at a lodge in the village of Phakding.

  • Elevation: From 1300 metres to 2800 metres to 2652 metres
Day 3From Phakding to Namche Bazaar

Over the course of day three, we'll cross and re-cross the river several times across high wire suspension bridges. If you were afraid of heights, you wouldn't be climbing mountains, would you?

The last leg of the trip to Namche is steeper, but results in our first sight of Mount Everest in the distance.

  • Elevation: From 2652 metres to 3450 metres.
Day 4Acclimatisation Day at Namche Bazaar

Namche Bazaar hosts a wide array of shops, bakeries and tea houses, and is well worth taking some time to explore. We will arrange a short acclimatisation trek to the nearby Everest View Hotel to give you a chance to experience higher altitude exercise (and have a lovely afternoon tea) before hiking back down to Namche for the evening.

  • Elevation: 3450 metres
  • Highest point: 3880 metres (Everest View Hotel)
Day 5From Namche Bazaar to Tengboche

The trail continues out of Namche high along the Dudh Koshi valley, giving us excellent views of the Khumbu peaks most of the way.

Then we'll face a steep descent to the bridge at Phortse Thanga and an equally steep climb to Tengboche itself.

  • Elevation: From 3450 metres to 3867 metres
Day 6From Phortse to Pheriche

Day six begins with a steep descent through forested hillside, then crossing the Imja Khola and a steady, even climb to Pangboche village.

The peak of Ama Dablam rises above the village, and this is one of the best places from which to view it. Two more hours of relatively easy travel takes usto Pheriche.

  • Elevation: From 3867 metres to 4252 metres
Day 7Acclimatisation Day at Pheriche

Day seven is dedicated to getting you acclimatised to the conditions we will face as the trek continues higher.

There are many options for a day's trek here, including a trip to Lake Tshola Tsho or up the ridge over Dingboche for a view of the Imja Valley and Lhotse's south face.

  • Elevation: 4252 metres
Day 8From Pheriche to Lobuche

Today's trek will take us much higher, and we will have to stay alert for the signs of AMS as we near the Khumbu glacier.

We'll cross the terminal moraine at the base of the glacier, and pass between the many memorial cairns set up to honour the many Sherpas who have died on Everest over the years.

  • Elevation: From 4252 metres to 4930 metres.
Day 9From Lobuche to Everest Base Camp, descent to Gorak Shep

We'll continue along the Khumbu glacier today, with Everest and the other Himalayan giants towering above us. There will be a break for lunch at Gorak Shep before the trip to Everest Base Camp.

We will return to Gorak Shep to spend the night, but along a different path which will take us within sight of the Khumbu Icefall.

  • Elevation: 4930 metres to 5164 metres
  • Highest point: 5364 metres (Everest Base Camp)
Day 10Ascent of Kala Pattar, descent to Dingboche

Our guides will wake us very early in order to see the sun rise from the summit of Kala Pattar.

Later, we'll return to Gorak Shep for breakfast, and return to Dingboche village.

  • Elevation: From 5164 metres to 4360 metres
  • Highest point: 5554 metres (Kala Pattar)
Day 11From Dingboche to Chukhung

Day eleven will take us up the Imja Valley to the small village of Chukhung. From here we can see our next challenge, Island Peak itself.

  • Elevation: From 4360 metres to 4750 metres
Day 12From Chukhung to Island Peak Base Camp

This will be a short trek up the Imja Valley to Island Peak Base Camp, which is 5150 metres above sea level.

The last two days have been short and gradual ascents, which should prepare you for the next two days of climbing. Still, make sure to rest up!

  • Elevation: From 4750 metres to 5150 metres
Day 13From Island Peak Base Camp to Island Peak High Camp

High Camp may be less than 200 metres higher than Base Camp, but believe me at this altitude you'll feel every centimetre of it!

Summit day is tomorrow, so make sure you are prepared.

  • Elevation: From 5150 metres to 5345 metres
Day 14Ascent of Island Peak, descent to Base Camp

Two weeks into our trek, and we're finally ready to tackle Island Peak itself.

Our guides will wake us a few hours after midnight and give us as much breakfast as we can hold - we'll need the energy today. After an hour of hiking, we'll be at the glacier itself.

Crampons, harness and ropes will be needed  until we achieve the summit ridge. After taking in the view for a bit we'll return to Base Camp for the night.

  • Elevation: From 5345 metres to 5150 metres
  • Highest point: 6173 metres (Island Peak)
Day 15Contingency day

Day fifteen is officially a contingency day, giving us a second chance at the summit just in case conditions or misadventure prevent us from making the summit on our first attempt.

If we have already made the summit, we can start the trip back to Kathmandu a day early.

  • Elevation: From 5345 metres to 5150 metres
  • Highest point: 6173 metres (Island Peak) 

 

Day 16Descent from Base Camp to Pangboche

We'll retrace our route back down the Imja Khola valley past Chukhung and Dingboche and rejoin the main Everest route before stopping at Pangboche for the night.

  • Elevation: From 5150 metres to 3950 metres
Day 17Descent from Pangboche to Namche Bazaar

This will be a long trek, once again crossing rivers and traversing forest to reach Tengboche.

After lunch we'll trek down to Namche Bazaar, passing Phunki Tenga along the way. Illy coffee and some of the best chocolate brownies in Asia will be waiting for you at Namche.

  • Elevation: From 3950 metres to 3450 metres
Day 18Descent from Namche Bazaar to Lukla

Our last day of trekking will take us to Lukla, following the Dudh Koshi just as we did on the way up.

Once we get to Lukla, expect a farewell party with the trekkers and crew, celebrating another successful expedition!

Day 19Flight from Lukla to Kathmandu

We'll hit the air early and arrive in Kathmandu before lunch.

We'll take you back to your hotel, and plan when we'll take you to the airport tomorrow.

Day 20Kathmandu

Free time to explore the vibrant, bustling city of Kathmandu and immerse yourself in its wonderful culture

Day 21Departure

We'll drive you from your hotel to Kathmandu airport, and see you off on your return flight. 

Congratulations! You've climbed Himalayan mountains and returned safely.

Availability and prices

Last Updated September 21 2018
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Arrival: October 7 2018
Days: 21
Prices from: £2299 $2989 €0
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Arrival: November 4 2018
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Prices from: £2499 $3249 €0
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Arrival: May 3 2019
Days: 21
Prices from: £2499 $3249 €0
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Arrival: October 7 2019
Days: 21
Prices from: £2499 $3249 €0
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Arrival: November 3 2019
Days: 21
Prices from: £2499 $3249 €0
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Frequently asked questions

Q1How many days do I need to climb Island Peak?

Although it is possible to climb Island peak in as few as 10 days by leaving out the trek to base camp we do not offer this as the risks of altitude sickness are too high. The ascent onto the main ridge  is physically very demanding and you need to be well acclimatised in order to able to cope with this comfortably.

Our standard itinerary therefore has 18 days trekking. This ensures you are well acclimatised before you start the climb and also allows you a spare day in case your summit attempt is affected by bad weather.

Q2How high is Island Peak

Island Peak is 6189m above sea level.

Q3How long is the Island Peak climb?

Including the climb, the total trekking distance is roughly 95 miles or 152 kilometres.

Q4SHOULD I BOOK IN ADVANCE?

Yes. We only run small groups  on this climb, with a high guide to climber ratio and places sell out quickly. You will also need time to train for the climb.

Q5DO I NEED A PERMIT

Yes, all climbing peaks in Nepal require a permit. The cost of your permit is included in our trip cost.

Q6How did Island Peak get its name.

Island Peak was named in 1951 when a party led by Eric Shipton decided this would be a good name as it stands as an island in a sea of ice when viewed from Dingboche. The peak is actually an extension of the ridge coming down off the south end of Lhotse Shar.

Its correct local name is Imja Tse.

Q7When was Island Peak first climbed?

Island Peak summit was first climbed in 1956 by a Swiss team as a training exercise in preparation forclimbing Mount Everest. Ir iss still regularly used as an acclimatisation climb by Everest summiteers.

Q8Do I need specialist travel insurance for this climb?

Island Peak is classed as a trekking peak but at over 6100m you will need to check your insurance cover very carefully. It must cover you for climbing to this altitude and include cover for emergency helicopter evacuation. We recommend the insurance provided by Dogtag for extreme activities and also the policy from the British Mountaineering Club

Speak with an expert Start planning your next adventure by contacting one of our team.
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Sarah Orson

Adventure Travel Consultant

Phone: +44 (0) 1283 499980

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Phone: + 44 (0) 1283 499982

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Phone: +44 (0) 1283 499981

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