Embark on a wonderful adventure with Island Peak trekking and climbing that takes you into the heartland of the Khumbu Valley and Everest Base Camp (5,357m/17,575ft). Island Peak (6,189m/20,305ft) is one of the main climbing peaks in the Everest Region with an impressive and highly glaciated West Face that rises from the Lhotse Glacier. The Island peak climbing itinerary has been designed very professionally by taking care of proper and gradual acclimatization at suitable intervals. Before scaling the peak, we also take you to possibly the most popular trekking destination in the world – Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar – for the close up views of Mt. Everest and other high mountains. The journey begins from and comes to a conclusion at one of the most famous airstrips in the world, the Lukla Airport in the Everest Region.
The Climbing Group
For this trip, there will be one separate climbing leader for climbing and one trekking leader (during the trek), assistant leader (4 trekkers: 1 assistant guide), Sherpa porters for luggage carrying (2 trekkers: 1 porter) and other helpers as per requirement in the climbing section. This arrangement ensures that should anybody in the group get sick; the trip can still go ahead as planned. We can run the Island Peak Climbing trip for a minimum of two people to maximum of twelve as this is the optimum size for a successful trip. However, if you’d like to make a group booking for more than twelve people together, we can arrange this too.
We will be staying in Hotel Moonlight, in Kathmandu (3 nights), standard teahouses during trekking (12 nights) and tents when climbing (3 nights). Most teahouse accommodations will only have shared toilet facilities. For tent accommodation, a 4 season sleeping bag and foam mattress will be provided. In climbing section, toilet facilities will be provided with necessary natural preservation. All accommodations are on twin-shared basis. However, a single room will be provided on request and by paying a single supplement of USD 350. Also, understand that there are several places that do not allow single room accommodation. On paying single supplement, you will get a single room in Kathmandu but sometimes it is feasible only up to Namche Bazaar. Above Namche Bazaar single accommodation is not always feasible.
Day to Day Itinerary
Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu (1,350m/4,428ft)
Upon our arrival at the Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu, we will be greeted by a representative from Himalayan Glacier who will take us to Hotel Shanker or another hotel of a similar category. After checking in, we may take a rest or visit Himalayan Glacier’s office. In the evening there will be a welcome dinner in a traditional Nepali Restaurant where we will be able to enjoy authentic Nepali cuisine with a brief cultural program. Overnight in Kathmandu. Included meal: (D)
* (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Day 02: Kathmandu (1300m/4264ft): Sightseeing and Preparation
Today after breakfast we start a guided tour to several of the most historical and spiritual attractions in Kathmandu which are also listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. We visit the historic Durbar Square, the sacred Hindu temple of Pashupatinath, the famous ‘Monkey Temple’ (Swayambhunath) and Buddhist shrine (Bouddhanath), which is also one of the largest stupas in the world. After the tour, we get our equipment checked by our climbing leader, get introduced to fellow participants, and discuss our trip at Himalayan Glacier’s office. Overnight in Kathmandu. (B)
Day 03: Fly to Lukla (2,800m/9,184ft) then trek to Phakding (2,652m/8,700ft): 40 min flight, 3-4 hours trek
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. (B,L,D)
Day 04: Phakding to Namche Bazaar (3,440m/11,283ft): 5-6 hours
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 main trading centre 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. (B,L,D)
Day 05: Namche Bazaar (3,440 m/11,283 ft): Acclimatization Day
This is the day set aside for acclimatization. Health experts recommend that we stay active and move around even during the rest day instead of being idle. There are a few options set aside for this day. We can either stroll around Namche’s quaint villages or come in contact with the Sherpa people and their rich culture, or we can hike up to the Everest View Hotel and enjoy an up-close view of the mighty Everest. While in the Namche village or upon returning from the hike to the Everest View Hotel, trekkers may also visit the local museum containing exhibits displaying the area’s native flora and fauna as well as the history of the Mount Everest region.
For trekkers who want to hike for a little longer, a hike to Khumjung village (5-6 hours) may also be an option. While in the village we can visit the Edmund Hillary School and Khumjung Monastery (a monastery famous for housing the head of the Yeti!). Overnight in Namche Bazaar. (B,L,D)
Day 06: Namche Bazaar to Tengboche (3,870m/12,694ft): 5- 6 hours
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:pm so we reach there by three. And, if we are lucky we might just be able to witness a religious ceremony. Overnight in Tengboche. (B,L,D)
Day 07: Tengboche to Pheriche (4,200m/13,776ft): 4-5 hours
With the Himalayas as its backdrop, the monastery in Tengboche is in an excellent location. We visit the monastery in the morning and enjoy taking pictures of the monastery and the amazing landscape. We descend for about half an hour through a forest before crossing a river. Next, we trek uphill and notice that as we climb higher, the landscape becomes drier. We walk past a traditional Sherpa village of Pangboche before reaching Pheriche, a beautiful village located on a riverside. Here, we will also see a small helipad that is used for helicopter rescues during emergencies. We may even take a class with a mountain specialist in the Medical Clinic at Pheriche. Overnight in Pheriche. (B,L,D)
Day 08: Pheriche to Lobuche (4,930m/16,170ft): 5-6 hours
After breakfast, we start with an easy walk towards Dugla. Next, we trek up the steep terminal moraine of the Khumbu Glacier, and then pass through the boulder-strewn slopes as we ascend Chupki Lhara where we find an array of stones with prayer flags used as memorials to Scott Fischer (American mountaineer) and 10-time Everest summitter Babu Chiri Sherpa (Nepalese mountain guide) who perished on a mission to climb Everest. The trail then continues to the Khumbu Glacier moraine and we find ourselves facing several great peaks – Khumbutse, Lingtren, Pumori and Mahalangur Himal. Overnight in Lobuche. (B,L,D)
Day 09: Lobuche to Everest Base Camp (5364m/17,594ft) and back to Gorak Shep (5170 m/16,961ft): 6-7 hours
We take the trail to Everest Base Camp through the once vast Gorak Shep Lake. Continuing straight ahead, we come across the Indian army mountaineers’ memorials. The path from here can be misleading; hence it is important that we follow our lead Sherpa diligently. The walk is strenuous due to thin air in the high altitude. We pass through rocky dunes, moraine and streams before reaching the Everest Base Camp. Upon reaching the Everest Base Camp, we see tents of mountaineers that stand out in bright colors against the monotony of gray surroundings (especially in the spring). Nuptse, Khumbuste and Pumori are the mountains we can view from the base camp. We get back to Gorak Shep for a good night’s rest. Overnight in Gorak Shep. (B,L,D)
Day 10: Gorak Shep to Kala Patthar (5545m/18,192ft] and back to Lobuche (4940m/16,207ft): 7-8 hours
We prepare for an early morning departure, amid pre-dawn darkness and cold temperatures (-10 to -14 C). Plus, there is always the potential for chilly winds which are quite common. Familiar peaks such as Lingtren, Khumbutse, and Changtse tower to the east even as Everest begins to reveal itself. But, it is upon reaching Kala Patthar that we get to see360 degree up-close and formidable views of Mt. Everest. We take pictures, enjoy the magnificent mountain panorama, and then return back to Lobuche for a good night’s rest. Overnight in Lobuche. (B,L,D)
Day 11: Lobuche to Kongma La (5,535m/18,159ft) to Chhukung (4,730m/15,518ft): 6-7 hours
After breakfast, we trek via Khumbu Glacier to Kongma La Base Camp (5,000m/16,404ft). The ascent to Kongma La pass is the most difficult part of our trek today. In the Kongma La, we see cairn wrapped in prayer flags to mark the pass. Then we descend gradually to Imja Khola valley, followed by another descent to Chhukung, a small summer settlement. After reaching Chhukung we will also check our equipment in order to get ready for our ultimate climb. Overnight in Chhukung. (B,L,D)
Note: If we do not want to undertake the Kongma La pass, we can follow another route via Dingboche to Chhukung instead.
Day 12: Chhukung to Island Peak Base camp (5,200m/17,060ft): 3-4 hours
The trek to Island Peak Base Camp is on a fairly steep trail. First, we climb south then turn east to the main line of the valley. We then walk on a winding path below the southern flank of the moraine from the Lhotse Glacier. Next, we continue walking on a pleasant trail along a streamside. The route to the Amphu Labtsa lies to the southeast. A crisscross route through the Imja and Lhotse glacier moraines leads to a wide valley flanking the SW side of Island Peak. Overnight at Island Peak Base Camp. (B,L,D)
Day 13: Pre-Climb Training on Island Peak Base Camp
We begin our pre-climb training today after breakfast. Our guides will provide training on peak climbing techniques and the proper ways of using climbing gears such as the ice axe, climbing boots and crampons, harness, ascender, etc. The training will also include using ropes to go up and down. Although it is not mandatory to have prior training for Island Peak Climbing, we strongly believe that some training experience will boost your confidence and climbing skills to increase the chances of scaling the summit as well as to fully enjoy the experience. We can spend the rest of the day hiking to high camp and back or resting for the next day’s climb. Overnight at the base camp. (B,L,D)
Day 14: Island Peak Base Camp to Summit and back to Base Camp (5,600m/18,372ft) 10-12 hours
We wake up early today at around 1 to 2 am and have our breakfast before beginning our climb. It is important we reach the summit before noon because in the afternoon the strong winds in the high lands might become a barrier for a successful summit. The trail moves up beyond the base camp for several hundred meters before striking off the steep hillside. Initially sandy, the path soon turns to grass before becoming boulder strewn. As we climb up the hill, we will see that the slope narrows and the trail enters a steep rock channel. We climb the rock gully. This is not difficult but there are several short rock steps to climb before we emerge on the right side of the gully. The route then follows a ridgeline, which leads to an exhilarating and exposed traverse onto the snout of the summit glacier. We need to rope up for the glacier as it contains several crevasses. The guides will fix a rope wherever necessary. A steep snow slope leads us onto the summit ridge. After enjoying the summit views, and taking pictures, we descend all the way to Island Peak Base Camp where some of our crew are waiting for us. We celebrate on our successful Island Peak climb. (B,L,D)
Day 15: Island Peak Base Camp to Pangboche (3,985m/13,074ft) 5-6 hours
Today’s walk will be a much easier as we descend to the lower altitudes. Following the same route back through the wide valley of Khumbu Khola, we pass through the beautiful Sherpa villages Orsho and Shomare. We can also take a different trail to visit the Gompa in Upper Pangboche, which is believed to be the oldest in the Khumbu region or take the regular trail to reach Pangboche. Pangboche is a scenic village surrounded by Everest to its north, Ama Dablam, Thamserku, and Kangtaiga to the east, the Kongde range to the south and the Imja Tse river flowing through the wide fertile valley. (B,L,D)
Day 16: Pangboche to Namche Bazaar: 4-5 hours
From Pangboche we retrace our steps down to the Imja Khola and up through the forest to Tengboche. If interested, we can also visit nuns at the Tengboche monastery. After lunch at Tengboche, we continue through the hillside blanketed by rhododendron and juniper trees. After crossing the bridge over the Dudh Koshi River, our trail follows the Dudh Koshi gorge descending rapidly through the pine forests before reaching Sansa. We keep a lookout for wildlife such as mountain goats, snow leopards, colorful pheasants, etc., while passing through the forest. After passing a chorten, we reach the army camp at Namche Bazaar. Overnight in Namche Bazaar. (B,L,D)
Day 17: Namche Bazaar to Lukla: 6-7 hours
The trail descends steeply downward so we need to walk cautiously as our shaky legs continuously battle the rocky terrain. After crossing the suspension bridges over the fast flowing Dudh Koshi and its tributaries, the trail becomes more level and natural. After our arrival in Lukla, we stretch those sore legs and recall the experiences of the last couple of weeks. Overnight in Lukla. (B,L,D)
Day 18: Fly to Kathmandu
We catch an early morning flight to Kathmandu after our long mountain journey. After reaching Kathmandu, we can take a rest or do some souvenir shopping. If we want to explore any other areas of Kathmandu, we may do that today. Our guides can help you with both souvenirs shopping or sightseeing. There will be a farewell dinner in the evening to celebrate the climbers’ successful summit of the Island peak. Overnight in Kathmandu. (B, D)
Day 19: Final Departure
Your adventure in Nepal comes to an end today! There is nothing to do but trade emails with your travel companions and organize your photos. A representative from Himalayan Glacier will take you to the airport, approximately 3 hours before your scheduled flight. On your way home you’ll have plenty of time to plan your next adventure in the wonderful country of Nepal. (B)
Health and Experience Requirements
Island Peak is not a technical peak but you will still require good stamina to summit it. No prior climbing experience is required; however having some knowledge on using climbing equipment will still be an asset. There will also be a pre-ice climbing training for participants in the Island Peak base camp. The training will mostly be about using climbing gear such as ropes, ice pick, harness, crampons.