Nepal – Island Peak with Everest Base Camp

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  • Duration: 20 Days
  • Grading: 3C+
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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.

Trekking Seasons

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.

Experience Required

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:

  1. Mountaineering or double boots
  2. Crampons
  3. Climbing harness
  4. Walking ice axe (optional)
  5. Sewn slings
  6. Ascender & abseil devices
  7. 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.

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DAY DESCRIPTION MEALS
1

Arrive Kathmandu.

Overnight: Kathmandu hotel (1330m)

– /-/-
2

Half day city tour. Trek briefing & preparation. Welcome dinner.

Overnight: Kathmandu hotel (1330m)

B/-/D
3-4

Flight to Lukla (2840m). Trek to Namche.

Overnight: Teahouse at Phakding (2600m) & Namche (3440m)

B/L/D
5

Acclimatisation hike to 3800m & rest day.

Overnight: Teahouse at Namche (3440m)

B/L/D
6-7

Trek to Dingboche.

Overnight: Teahouse at Phortse (3800m) & Dingboche (4340m)

B/L/D
8

Acclimatisation and rest day in Dingboche.

Overnight: Teahouse at Dingboche (4340m)

B/L/D
9-10

Trek to Gorak Shep (5160m) – the last village before Everest Base Camp. Afternoon trek to Everest Base Camp (5380m); return to Gorak Shep.

Overnight: Teahouse at Lobuche (4940m) & Gorak Shep (5160m)

B/L/D
11

Morning hike to Kalapathar (5643m). Descend to Dingboche.

Overnight: Teahouse at Dingboche (4340m)

B/L/D
12-13

Trek to Island Peak Base Camp. Next day acclimatisation and rest day.

Overnight: Tent at Island Peak Base Camp (4970m)

B/L/D
14-15

Summit climb (Island Peak, 6189m); return to base camp, with a contingency day.

Overnight: Tent at Island Peak Base Camp (4970m)

B/L/D
16-18

Trek to Lukla.

Overnight: Teahouse at Pangboche (3985m), Namche (3440m), Lukla (2840m)

B/L/D
19

Flight to Kathmandu.

Overnight: Kathmandu hotel (1330m)

B/-/-
20 Depart Kathmandu. (Programme ends here. Next day arrival on flight, if any, not reflected in itinerary) B/-/-
DATES PRICE
20 Mar – 8 Apr 2021 $4035 (SGD) / person
27 Mar – 15 Apr 2021 $4035 (SGD) / person
03 – 22 Apr 2021 $4035 (SGD) / person
10 – 29 Apr 2021 $4035 (SGD) / person
17 Apr – 6 May 2021 $4035 (SGD) / person
24 Apr – 13 May 2021 $4035 (SGD) / person
01 – 20 May 2021 $4035 (SGD) / person
08 – 27 May 2021 $4035 (SGD) / person
18 Sep – 7 Oct 2021 $4035 (SGD) / person
25 Sep – 14 Oct 2021 $4035 (SGD) / person
02 – 21 Oct 2021 $4035 (SGD) / person
09 – 28 Oct 2021 $4035 (SGD) / person
16 Oct – 4 Nov 2021 $4035 (SGD) / person
23 Oct – 11 Nov 2021 $4035 (SGD) / person
30 Oct – 18 Nov 2021 $4035 (SGD) / person
06 – 25 Nov 2021 $4035 (SGD) / person
13 Nov – 2 Dec 2021 $4035 (SGD) / person
20 Nov – 9 Dec 2021 $4035 (SGD) / person
04 – 23 Dec 2021 $4035 (SGD) / person
18 Dec 2021 – 6 Jan 2022 $4035 (SGD) / person
  • Dates listed are for open international group
  • You can also form a private group. For enquiry, send an email to us at contact@aceadventure.com.sg

Inclusions

  • 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

Exclusions

  • 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.

Visa

A visa for Nepal can be obtained on arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu and at border entry points in Kakadvitta, Birgunj, Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj, Gaddachowki on the Nepal-India border and Kodari on the Nepal-China border. Outside of Nepal, a visa can also be obtained at the nearest Nepal Embassy or Diplomatic Mission.

Nationals from Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Cameroon, Somalia, Liberia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan will need to obtain visa from Nepal Embassies or Diplomatic Missions in their respective countries, as they do not get visa on arrival at the immigration entry points of Nepal.

For first visit in one visa year (January to December), gratis visa for 30 days is available only for nationals of South Asian countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Indian nationals do not require visa to enter into Nepal.

Visa on Arrival Requirements

Document Required

  • A valid passport (6 months validity)
  • One passport-size photo with a light background
  • Visa application form

Tourist Visa Fee
(Multiple entry)

  • 15 days: US$ 30 or equivalent convertible currency
  • 30 days: US$ 50 or equivalent convertible currency
  • 90 days: US$ 125 or equivalent convertible currency

Visa can be obtained only through payment of cash in the following currencies: Euro, Swiss Franc, Pound Sterling, US Dollar, Australian Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Hong Kong Dollar, Singapore Dollar and Japanese Yen. Credit card, Indian currency and Nepali currency are not accepted as payment of visa fee

For latest updates and details of visa application, please visit http://www.nepalimmigration.gov.np/page/tourist-visa.

Money

There are plenty of moneychangers located in Thamel in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Some moneychangers may ask for a photocopy of your passport to complete the transaction. Rates are very competitive and usually better than outside of Nepal. Currencies widely accepted for exchange include USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, SGD, etc.

ATM machines are available in Kathmandu and Pokhara. It is advisable to take cash with you when travelling to the more remote areas of Nepal and when trekking as the nearest ATM may be only in Kathmandu and Pokhara.

Major credit cards are widely accepted in hotels in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Restaurants that cater mainly to foreigners accept credit cards too. However, many of the smaller and local restaurants and shops prefer or accept only cash payments. It is best to carry and make payment in cash. If paying using a credit card, do check if the credit card service fee is absorbed by the shop or charged back to the credit card holder.

Electricity

Nepal’s electricity is 230V and 50HZ. There are three types of plugs used in Nepal. Two-pronged round pins commonly used in Europe (Type C), three-pronged round pins (Type D) and three-pronged large round pins (Type M).

Nepal does not produce enough electricity and energy distribution is poor throughout the country. In order to equally distribute Nepal’s limited energy throughout the country, the government plans power cuts in advance, especially in winter. Such power cuts, known as “load shedding” can last as long as more than 10 hours. In cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara, the restaurants, cafes, shops and hotels catering to tourists mostly have their own power generators to continue electricity supply to sustain their business operations during the power cuts. The electricity, however, can still be intermittent. Voltage fluctuation and blackouts are common.

Language

It is quite easy to get by with English in Nepal; most of the service staff in hotels, restaurants and shops in Kathmandu and Pokhara speak good English.

Along the main trekking trails, particularly the Annapurna and Everest regions, English are widely understood. However, it is interesting and advantageous to learn at least a little Nepali and it is quite an easy language to pick up. Nepali is closely related to Hindi and, like Hindi, is a member of the Indo-European group of languages.

There is one Nepali word every visitor soon picks up – Namaste. Strictly translated it means I salute the god in you, but it is used as an everyday greeting encompassing everything from ‘Hello’ to ‘How are you?’ and even ‘see you again soon’. Properly used, it should be accompanied with the palms pressed together, the Nepali gesture, which is the equivalent of westerners shaking hands.

Drinking Water

It is strictly not recommended to drink water straight from the tap. It must at least be boiled first or treated with purification tabs. Bottles of mineral water can be easily purchased in hotels, restaurants and supermarkets. Many hotels also provide a small bottle of complimentary mineral water per day to each guest.

Tipping

Giving a tip to tour guides, drivers, and trekking crew such as guides and porters is a common practice in Nepal and an important part of their income. In major hotels and restaurants, service charges may already be included. For service staff in other smaller establishments and taxi drivers in general do not expect a tip from tourists. A tip of Rs20 is sufficient for the bellboy.

 

Travel Safety Advice

With evolving world situations that may occur unexpectedly due to natural disasters, pandemics/epidemics, conflicts and unrests, it is best to read up and keep tabs on news and developments at your destination country and region before the trip. Check on the country’s official website and/or your own foreign ministry website for any travel advisory or safety precautions to be taken while abroad.

As with traveling in anywhere in the world, regardless of the local crime rate, stay vigilant and take care of personal safety. Good to read up on any possible exposure in the country prior to departure.

It is a good practice to register with your respective foreign ministry if there is such a service provided to citizens, to contact you in order to make sure that you are safe and, if need be, assist you should an emergency (e.g. natural disasters, civil unrest, etc.) occur when you are overseas.

For Singaporeans, this is the link to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ eRegister:
https://eregister.mfa.gov.sg/eregisterportal/common/preLoginEregisterView.action.

 

Travel Insurance

It is highly recommended to purchase comprehensive travel insurance(s), upon payment of your trip, to cover adverse situations that may occur while you are overseas or even before departure. Ensure that the coverage is suitable for your destination and the activities that you are participating in. Be familiar with the terms and conditions before purchasing and travelling abroad.

 

Travel Immunization Advice 

There is no compulsory vaccine to be taken to enter Nepal. You should, however, be up to date on routine vaccinations, especially vaccines against water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (examples: hepatitis, typhoid and tuberculosis) while traveling to any destination. You are encouraged to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition.

Recommended routine vaccinations for travellers in general:

Hepatitis A

Spread through consuming contaminated food and water or person to person through the faecal-oral route. Risk is higher where personal hygiene and sanitation are poor.

Hepatitis B

Spread through infected blood and blood products, contaminated needles and medical instruments and sexual intercourse. Risk is higher for those at occupational risk, long stays or frequent travel, children (exposed through cuts and scratches) and individuals who may need, or request, surgical procedures abroad.

Rabies

 

Spread through the saliva of an infected animal, usually through a bite, scratch or lick on broken skin. Particularly dogs and related species, but also bats. Risk is higher for those going to remote areas (who may not be able to promptly access appropriate treatment in the event of a bite), long stays, those at higher risk of contact with animals and bats, and children. Even when pre-exposure vaccine has been received, urgent medical advice should be sought after any animal or bat bite.

Tetanus

 

Spread through contamination of cuts, burns and wounds with tetanus spores. Spores are found in soil worldwide. A primary series of 5 doses of tetanus vaccine is recommended for life. Boosters are usually recommended in a country or situation where the correct treatment of an injury may not be readily available.

Typhoid Fever

Spread mainly through consumption of contaminated food and drink. Risk is higher where access to adequate sanitation and safe water is limited.

Influenza

A vaccine specific for a given year to protect against the highly variable influenza virus.

For more information and professional advice on travel vaccinations, please consult your doctor or travel clinic.

For people residing in Singapore, you may visit The Travellers’ Health and Vaccination Clinic (THVC) at Tan Tock Seng Hospital:

Travellers’ Health & Vaccination Clinic
Address: Level 4, Clinic 4B, Tan Tock Seng Hospital Medical Centre
Contact number: 6357 2222
Website : https://www.ttsh.com.sg/Patients-and-Visitors/Medical-Services/Travellers-Health-and-Vaccination-Clinic/Pages/default.aspx.

 
General Health Advice for Nepal

Respiratory Issues

The Kathmandu Valley often has air pollution. People with chronic respiratory diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, may suffer exacerbations in Kathmandu, particularly after a viral upper respiratory infection. Exacerbation of chronic respiratory disease has not been a problem for tourists outside Kathmandu.

Viral upper respiratory infections are extremely common, and the percentage of these that lead to bacterial sinusitis or bronchitis is high. Trekkers should consider carrying an antibiotic, such as azithromycin, to empirically treat a respiratory infection that lasts more than 7 days.

Khumbu cough – High Altitude Bronchitis

The Khumbu cough, also known as the high altitude cough, is named after the area in the Everest region, although it is not specific to Everest. Most cases of high-altitude cough have no obvious infectious etiology. Nearly all people who spend time at extreme altitude (over 5500m) will develop some degree of the Khumbu cough. The pathophysiology is thought to be due to the low humidity and sub-zero temperatures experienced at altitude combined with overexertion. The increased breathing rate at high altitude exposes the delicate lung lining to excessive cold air, which often results in dried out membranes and partially damaged bronchi. This causes extreme irritation that manifests itself in the form of a dry, persistent cough, which can restrict breathing. Eventually the cough can be so violent and put so much strain on the chest cavity that it causes its victim to tear chest muscles or break ribs.

Prevention Measures:

  • Wear a mask or scarf, which heats and moisturises the air.
  • Breathe through the nose and not the mouth to decrease the volume of cold air passing through your lungs.
  • Drink plenty of water, especially hot water. This gives added moisture from the steam.
  • Pace well to regulate the breathing so as to keep the breathing rate down to decrease the volume of cold air passing through your lungs.
  • Take a few throat-soothing sweets or lozenges each day to keep the throat moist.