Nepal – Island Peak with Everest Base Camp
Named by Eric Shipton with his expedition team in 1952, Island Peak (6189m), also known as Imja Tse, is one of the most popular 6000er peaks in the Everest region in Nepal. It is a stand-alone peak nestled among the majestic peaks of the Chhukung valley, similar to an isolated Island on a sea of ice. Geographically, Island Peak is actually an extension of the ridge coming down off the south end of Lhotse Shar. The first successful ascent of Island Peak was claimed by the Swiss Everest Expedition team in 1956.
The popularity of Island Peak stem from it constantly being promoted as a great introductory 6000er peak for those who want to upgrade their climbing experience from 5000ers. This peak is also used by many mountaineers as an acclimatization peak for higher climbs such as Ama Dablam and Mount Everest. Though, claimed to be a trekking peak by many operators, the last section of the summit is a vertical wall that involved fixed rope climbing.
About The Climb
Our Island Peak climb starts with a domestic flight to Lukla and an acclimtisation trek to Everest Base Camp. The trek to Everest Base Camp is on a scenic route that passes through several well known villages in the Everest region. There will be many suspension bridge crossings before the bustling village of Namche. After Namche, there is a split path to Everest Base Camp. The path merge again at Lobuche (4940m). We will be ascending to Lobuche via Khumjung (3780m / the village where Sir Edmund Hillary and his team built their first school in the Everest region) and Phortse (3800m / where most of the Mt Everest guides are from). Ama Dablam will be a constant feature of this route. It is also possible to spot Mt Everest if the weather conditions are great! The alpine sceneries become more rugged as we trek above the tree line on the Khumbu glacier moraines to Lobuche and then Gorak Shep (5140m). Gorak Shep is the last settlement before Everest Base Camp. We will climb up the Kalapathar (5545m) before descending via Dingboche to head to Island Peak Base Camp (5200m).
The trek to Island Peak Base Camp follows the Imja Khola (Imja River) along the Imja Valley via Dingboche (4200m) and Chhukung (4730m). Chhukung will be the final village on the approach trek to Island Peak Base Camp, which is situated in a flat but rocky area between the South-East ridge of Island Peak and the edge of the Imja Lake. At the base camp, we will have a climbing training session before the summit attempt.
Summit day starts very early in pre-dawn often before 2am. The first section of the summit route is a scramble along a rocky ridge to the glacier. From this point on, we will change to mountaineering boots, put on the crampons and rope up to cross several crevasses and a tiring continuous ascend on steep snow and ice ramp. On the final steep and exposed section of the ice ramp will be a fixed rope section. This fixed rope section is a 200m strenuous and challenging climb up a 60 – 70 degree ice wall at 6000m to the summit ridge. Upon summit, you will be able to admire some of the most famous peaks on Earth - Lhotse, Nuptse, Makalu and Ama Dablam, just to name a few. From the top of Island Peak, you can see a breathtaking panorama of gigantic mountains – Nuptse (7879m), Lhotse (8501m), Lhotse central (8410m) and Lhotse Shar (8383m) which form a semi circle in the north and the stunning views of Makalu (8475m), Baruntse (7129m) in the east and famous expedition peak of Amadablam (6812m) in the south.
The descend is on a different route down to Lukla after Dingboche via Thyanboche Monastery.
There are four main seasons in Nepal. The best seasons to visit Nepal are spring, autumn and winter. Trekkers can trek from March to early June in spring. The next trekking season starts in mid-September and goes up till March. During this period, the visibility is good and it does not rain usually. You can get excellent views of landscapes and mountain ranges in this season. After November the temperature in higher altitudes becomes very low and snowfall starts
Autumn (September to November): Autumn season is considered the best time for trekking in Nepal. It offers excellent weather and tantalizing mountain views. Moderate temperatures, clear sky with outstanding views, making it a great time to do any trek. Occasional short storms may dump snow at high altitudes.
Winter (December - February): Winter is when snowfall at higher elevations in the Himalayas is a common occurrence. Though it gets colder in night, it offers the clear day / blue sky and relatively less trekkers on the trail. However, not all treks are suitable to be done in winter especially those involving climbing and crossing high passes.
Spring (March - May): Different varieties of wild flowers, specially the rhododendrons make the hillside a wild flowers paradise during the spring season. The temperature is warmer as compared to autumn and winter.
Best time for Island Peak : mid March to mid May / mid September to mid December.
Important to have above 5000m peak climbing experiences. Good to have rope up and fixed rope skills but not essential. Island Peak is an ideal first foray into 6000ers peak climbing which require rope skills. The acclimtisation phase will be a more than 10 days trek to Everest Base Camp. You would have trekked for 13 days from 2800m to 5200m in undulating mountain terrain with a personal backpack load of 5-6kg for 8-10 hours a day by the time you reached Island Peak Base Camp. For summit day, be prepared to trek for 12 – 16 hours starting at around 1-2am and in extreme cold temperature of -10°C to -15°C. The trek to the summit is long hours of vertical ascend on rocky ridge to glacier terrain with crevasse crossings and scaling a vertical ice wall. You will need to wear crampons, double or mountaineering boots and rope up to cross the crevasses, as well as, jumar up and abseil down on fixed rope on the 200m vertical ice wall.
Equipment and Gear
You can wear a lightweight base layer or a quick dry t-shirt and long trekking pants for the trek to Namche especially in spring. From Namche onwards and in autumn, a light weight base layer and long trekking pants is better attire for the trek to Island Peak Base Camp. An outer shell is essential to protect from the weather elements. When at the tea house and after sundown, a basic layer of thermal, fleece jacket and down jacket are needed to keep warm. For the summit attempt, you will need the basic 3 layers, a down jacket, water and wind proof pants and gloves. A down sleeping bag is also needed and provided.
The following climbing equipment are required and provided for the summit attempt:
- Mountaineering or double boots
- Climbing harness
- Walking ice axe (optional)
- Sewn slings
- Ascender & abseil devices
- Locking karabiners
A packing list will be provided to all our participants. Please refer to our Resource Centre page to learn about the layering system and choose the right gear/equipment for your trek.
- Dates listed are for open international group
- Group size: 4 - 12 people
- You can also form a private group. For enquiry, send an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
|Day||Description||Meals||Altitude at Rest|
|Day 1||Arrive Kathmandu. Welcome dinner.||-/-/D||1330m|
|Day 2||Half day city tour. Trek briefing & preparation.||B/-/-||1330m|
|Day 3-4||Domestic flight to Lukla – Start of trek to Phakding and Namche.||B/L/D||Phakding - 2600m
Namche - 3440m
|Day 5-12||Approach trek to Everest BC (5350m) & Kala Pathar (5643m) via Khumjung, Porste, Dingboche and Lobuche as part of acclimatisation for Island Peak.||B/L/D||Khumjung - 3780m
Phortse - 3800m
Dingboche - 4340m
Gorak Shep - 5380m
|Day 13||Trek to Island Peak Base Camp||B/L/D||5200m|
|Day 14||Rest and climbing clinic day at Island Peak Base Camp||B/L/D||5200m|
|Day 15||Summit day - Island Peak (6189m).||B/L/D||5200m|
|Day 16||Buffer day||B/L/D||5200m|
|Day 17-19||Trek to Lukla via Pangboche, Thyangboche and Namche||B/L/D||Pangboche - 3985m
Namche - 3440m
Lukla - 2860m
|Day 20-21||Flight to Kathmandu and buffer day in case of flight delay due to bad weather.||B/L/D - in Lukla|
B/-/- - in Kathmandu
|Lukla - 2860m
Kathmandu - 1330m
|Day 22||Depart Kathmandu. (Programme ends here. Next day arrival on flight, if any, not reflected in itinerary )||B/-/-|
- Return airport transfer in Kathmandu
- Round trip airfare, airport departure taxes for domestic (KTM-Lukla-KTM) flight (max 15kg check in baggage)
- All land transfer as indicated in itinerary
- Half day city tour in Kathmandu
- Meals as indicated in itinerary
- Twin/Trip sharing accommodation in Kathmandu & during trek (teahouse/tent )
- Camping equipment at Island Peak Base Camp : sleeping tents, dinning tent, dinning chairs and tables.
- Trek gear: Sleeping mats, sleeping bags, down jacket and duffel bags
- Climbing equipment for Island Peak: ropes, mountaineering boots, harness, ascender, slings, abseil device, karabiners, ice axe and helmet.
- Trek support: Trekking guide, climbing guide, assistant guide and porters (1 porter to 1 trekker)
- Portable oxygen cylinder and comprehensive first aid kit.
- Boiled drinking water, tea and coffee during meals on trek
- Permits & fees: Trekking permit (TIMS) fee; National Park entry fee
- International air tickets, airline taxes and fuel surcharge
- Visa Fee
- Single Supplement
- Meals not indicated in itinerary
- All tipping (Budget around 10-15% of the package fee per trekker for the tip for the trekking crew)
- Personal porters
- Personal travel insurance (mandatory to cover travel agent insolvency and trekking up to 7000m with fixed rope)
- Personal expenses like shopping, laundry etc
- Personal services during trek like hot shower, WIFI usage and charging of electronic appliances etc
- Personal travel & trekking gear – warm clothing, shoes, backpacks etc
- Emergency evacuation and medical expenses
- Compensation for damaged or lost of personal items (eg: climbing/trekking gear and equipment, cameras and any valuable items etc)
- Any expenses including accommodation, meals & transfer outside the stipulated trek/climb itinerary – i.e. any person leaving the group for personal travel, illness/injury or any form of extension of stay
Support from Ace Adventure Expeditions
We provide pre-trip support to prepare you for the climb:
1. Trip briefing and information kit
2. Gear list and gear discount from selected Singapore outdoor outfitters
3. Training guideline kit
4. Rope skill workshop (For climbs that require rope up and/or fixed rope skill)
We carefully select and establish strong working relationship with our local trek operator to ensure safe participation by everyone. Our local partner is the top 10 companies out of around 2000 trekking companies in Nepal, awarded by the Nepal Mountaineering Association.
Our local climbing guides have extensive experience in guiding treks in all regions in Nepal, possess intimate knowledge of the local surroundings, conditions and culture and are trained in wilderness 1st aid and emergency rescue. They carry a portable oxygen cylinder, pulse oximeter and comprehensive first aid kit for emergency purpose.
Fair Treatment to Porters
Our porter to trekker ratio is 1:1. This is to ensure fair treatment to the porters that each porter does not carry an excessive heavy load for the duration of the trek. The 1:1 ration also helps to create more jobs for the locals who work as porters for a living.
Training: Regardless of your level of fitness and physical conditions, it is advisable to train prior to embarking on a trekking or mountain climbing trip.
Pure cardiovascular fitness is NOT enough.
Focus your training effort in the following areas, assuming that you are in good health and injury-free:
- Climbing conditioning – stairs and load training.
- Cardio training - Jogging/running and interval training like CrossFit or HIIT.
- Strength training for the lower body, shoulder, back and core
- Flexibility training - eg: Yoga and stretching exercises
A good five to six months of training would be a good preparation for this trek.
A recommended training guide specific to the trek or climb will be given to you upon signing up.
Refer to our Grading chart for an overview on the technical difficulty and fitness required for this trek.
Refer to our Training Guide for tips on trekking and mountain climbing training.