Island Peak Climbing With EBC Trek
Island Peak is one of the most popular of the Himalayan “climbing peaks”. It is onward in the route to Everest Base Camp (EBC) of the Khumbu region of central Nepal. Rising like an island in a sea of ice, the peak rises to 6,189 meters (20,305ft). The summit climb is an ideal introduction to mountaineering.
Either as a goal in itself or as a first step in conquering even more challenging peaks. The climb is combined with a trek up to Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar peak. Because acclimatization routine is compulsory in high altitudes. Thus, we combine this trek to gain acclimatization while also enjoying the amazing vistas of other Himalayan peaks. Peaks, as well as the Khumbu glacier.
Arrival in Kathmandu
Upon arrival at Kathmandu International Airport, transfer to your hotel in Kathmandu or Bhaktapur. A short briefing will follow concerning the necessary formalities and your trekking itinerary. Depending upon your arrival time, you may spend your free time visiting nearby sanctuaries or resting.
Trek Preparations and Sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley
Half-day sightseeing tour of UNESCO Bhaktapur and Kathmandu, including Buddhist and Hindu temples and shrines reflecting ancient local traditions. There is time to explore the city’s many places of interest on your own or take a rest while trekking permits are finalized. In the evening, sample a delicious traditional Nepali dinner. Overnight in Kathmandu
Kathmandu to Phakding (2610m)
Early in the morning, you will be picked up by your guide to go to the Kathmandu airport, from where we will take the airplane to Lukla, which will take us about 35 minutes of flight time. At Lukla, we will meet our porters and head north from the airstrip to Chablung (2,700 m). Here we will cross the Tharo Koshi river on a local-style suspension bridge. Just past the bridge, we can see the peak of Kusum Kangru (6,367 m), which is the most difficult of the so-called “trekking peaks." Beyond the Tharo Koshi, the trail climbs a bit towards Ghat (2,590 m), where we will cross a ridge marked with painted Mani stones and climb to Phakding, where we will stay overnight (3 hrs).
Phakding to Namche Bazaar (3420m)
From Phakding, we follow the valley of the Dudh Koshi river, staying on the west bank of the river. We climb steeply over a rocky ridge towards Benkar (2,710 m). From here, the trail continues alongside the river. All along this part of the trail, villages are interspersed with magnificent forests of rhododendron, magnolia, and giant firs. In both the early autumn and late spring, the flowers on this portion of the trek make it a beautiful walk. We cross the Kyashar Khola river and climb out of the valley to Monjo (2,840 m). Just beyond Monjo, the trek enters the Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park, which was established in 1976 to protect a 1148 sq. km. area surrounding Mt. Everest. Beyond the national park entrance station, the trail makes a steep, rocky descent and crosses the Dhudh Koshi river on a 120m-long suspension bridge towards Jorsale (2830m). After crossing this river a few times while climbing our way up the valley we will reach Namche Bazaar (3420m). Namche Bazaar is the main trading center in this region and features numerous shops, hotels, and restaurants (six hours).
Acclimatisation in Namche Bazaar
Acclimatization is important before proceeding higher. Today we will take a day hike through the villages of Khunde and Khumjung. We start with a steep one-hour climb to the Shyangboche airstrip (3,790 m), from where we will slowly ascend towards Khunde, passing numerous chorten (stone Buddhist monuments). We take the trail east from Khunde to Khumjung, the largest village in Khumbu, at the foot of the sacred peak Khumbila. After enjoying lunch here, we will follow a steep switchbacking trail descending to Chhorkung (3,540 m). It's a quick descent back to Namche Bazaar (5 hours) from here.
Namche Bazaar to Tengboche (3860m)
Our route today to Tengboche weaves in and out of side valleys, making small ups and downs, to the teashops of Kenjoma, and joins the trail from Khumjung just before a collection of Mani stones. The views of Everest and Ama Dablam are excellent from this part of the trek. We pass the small settlement of Sanasa, from where the trail drops towards Phunki Thanga (3,250 m). From here, the trail climbs steeply through forests and around Mani stones as it follows the side of a hill to the saddle on which the monastery of Tengboche sits at 3,870 m. The view from here is rightly deemed to be one of the worlds most magnificent. Kwangde (6,187 m), Tawachee (6,542 m), Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse (8,501 m), Ama Dablam, Kantega, and Thamserku provide an inspiring panorama of Himalayan giants. We will spend the night in Tengboche village (5 hrs).
Tengboche to Pheriche or Dingboche (4240m)
From Tengboche, we start our day by descending through forests of birches, conifers, and rhododendrons to the village of Devoche. From here, the level trail passes many Mani walls in a deep rhododendron forest. After crossing the Imja Khola river, the route climbs past some magnificently carved Mani stones to Pangboche (3,860 m). This is the highest year-round settlement in the valley, and the Pangboche gompa is the oldest in Khumbu and once contained relics that were said to be the skull and hand of a yeti. Beyond Pangboche, the route enters alpine meadows above the tree line, mostly consisting of scrub juniper and tundra. We will cross the Khumbu Khola river and arrive in Pheriche, which is a labyrinth of walls and pastures (4:30 hrs). We will also have the option of spending the night in Dingboche.
Acclimatisation day in Dingboche/Chukkung
The most important thing for acclimatization at high altitudes is a slow ascent. Therefore, it is imperative that we spend an additional night at this altitude to aid the acclimatization process. A good way to spend the day and aid acclimatization is to hike up to Chukkung-Ri peak, which will also allow us to get close views of Island Peak, where we will be climbing a few days later. From here, we also have fantastic views of the south face of Lhotse and the southeastern face of Ama Dablam. We return to Dingboche (4 hours) after enjoying the views.
Dingboche to Lobuche (4930m)
From Dingboche, the trail goes along a ridge above the terminal moraine of the Khumbu Glacier via Doghla village, where we can have tea or coffee after crossing the river. After a steep climb to the memorial area known as Chukpilhara, the trail levels out and follows the western side of the valley to Lobuche, a summer settlement at 4,930 meters that has become a major trekking stop. The sunset on Nuptse, seen from here, is a memorable sight. (5 hrs)
Lobuche- Everest Base Camp (5364 m/17,594 ft) – Gorak Shep (5170 m/16,961ft)
Take the trail to Everest Base Camp through the once-vast Gorak Shep Lake. Continuing straight ahead, come through the Indian Army Mountaineers’ Memorials. The path from here can be misleading, so follow the lead of the sherpa. The trail changes every year due to glacier movements. The walk is strenuous due to the thin air at high altitude, passing through rocky dunes, moraines, and streams until we reach the base camp. As we reach Everest Base Camp, we will find that we cannot stop ourselves from appreciating the Everest climbers who take the hazardous route through the Khumbu Icefall. Everest Base Camp is lively with commotion during the high expedition season. Mountaineers' tents stand out in bright colors against all the dull gray surroundings (especially in spring). Nuptse, Khumbutse, and Pumori are the mountains we can see from base camp, but Everest itself is not visible from here. We get back to Gorakshep for a good night’s rest. However, the sunset view from Kala Patthar is more admirable than the sunrise view. As the setting sun’s rays strike the snow-capped mountains, the resulting scenery is indescribable. For those trekkers who wish to continue to Kala Patthar, our guides and sherpas will coordinate a hike to Kala Patthar for an amazing sunset view today rather than waiting until the next day. Overnight in Gorakshep. (B,L,D)
Gorak Shep – Kala Patthar (5545 m/18,192 ft) – Lobuche (4940 m/16,207 ft)
We start early in the morning to catch the dramatic views from Kala Patthar, witnessing the first light of day shining on Mount Everest. However, we need to get prepared for an early morning, dark, and cold (-10 to -14 C) departure beforehand. Plus, there is always the likelihood of chilly winds. Familiar peaks such as Lingtren, Khumbutse, and Changtse tower to the east even as Everest begins to reveal itself, emerging between the west shoulder crest and Nuptse. During the ascent to Kala Patthar, we can pause to catch our breath at several outstanding view points to snap pictures. After several hours of ascent, we reach Kala Patthar. From here scramble to climb the rocky outcrop near to the summit marked by cairns and prayer flags and take in views to last a lifetime. After returning to Gorakshep, we will have breakfast and then make a gradual descent down to Lobuche. Overnight in Lobuche (B,L,D)
Lobuche – Kongma La (5,535m/18,159ft)- Chhukung (4,730m/15,518ft)
After breakfast, we trek via the Khumbu Glacier to Kongma La Base Camp (5,000 m/16,404 ft.) and continue ascending to Kongma Pass. We can see a cairn wrapped in prayer flags after reaching Kongma La, and then we descend a gradual hike along the Imja Khola valley to Chhukung. Overnight in Chhukung, where we meet the rest of our climbing crew and begin preparations for Island Peak climbing. (B,L,D) Note: If we do not want to undertake the Kongma La Pass, we can instead follow another route from Lobuche via Dingboche to Chhukung.
Chhukung -Island Peak Base camp (5,200m/17,060ft)
The path from Chhukung leads in a fairly steep way, climbing south then turning east to the main line of the valley. It then winds along or below the southern flank of the moraine from the Lhotse Glacier. We'll continue walking down a streamside past the Amphu Lapcha path to the southeast. A crisscross route through the Imja and Lhotse glacier moraines leads to a wide valley flanking the southwest side of Island Peak. Overnight at Island Peak Base Camp (B,L,D) Pre-Climb Training: After lunch at base camp, our guides will provide training on peak climbing techniques and using climbing gear such as an ice axe, climbing boot and crampons, harness, ascender, etc., as well as on how to go up and down using ropes. Although it is not mandatory to have prior training experience for Island Peak Climbing, we believe that some training experience will boost your confidence and climbing skills, increasing your chances of scaling the summit as well as allowing you to fully enjoy the experience.
Island Peak Base Camp to High Camp (5,600m/18,372ft)
We move to Island Peak High Camp. The path leads up beyond base camp for several hundred meters before striking left up the steep hillside. Initially sandy, the path soon turns to grass before becoming boulder-strewn. As we climb the hill, we will see that the slope narrows and the path enters a steep rock channel. Overnight at Island Peak High Camp. (B,L,D) Note: Climbers often find it easier to attempt the island summit in one push directly from the base camp. If we decide to attempt the summit push from the base camp, we will spend two nights at the base camp for acclimatization and training. We will make an acclimatization climb to the High Camp after taking breakfast on the second day, spend some time there, and come back to the Base Camp. Generally, we take lunch after completing the hike.
High camp-summit Island Peak-Base camp -Chhukung
Island Peak Ascent (6,189 m/20,305 ft.): We begin our climb early in the morning, generally around 1 AM. In the beginning, 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 path then traverses a ridgeline, leading to a thrilling and exposed trek. We need to rope up 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 Chhukung for an overnight stay and to celebrate our successful climb. (B,L,D)
Reserve Day for Contingency
There is no guarantee that we will have favorable weather on our planned summit day, so this day is used as a backup in case we are unable to summit the Island Peak on day 14 due to bad weather or other factors. If the weather becomes extremely unfavorable, we will postpone the summit attempt until day 14 for today. (B,L,D)
Chhukung to Namche Bazar
This is a long trekking day but not difficult because of the easy downhill terrain. The Imja Khola joins the Dudh Koshi River a little above the Pangboche village. There is a famous gompa at Pangboche, believed to be the oldest in the Khumbu region. Descend out of the alpine desert and back into pine forest landscapes. Visit the Tengboche Monastery. Making a steep descent leads back to the Dudh Koshi River. The final, steep climb traverses the hillside into Namche Bazaar. In case our contingency day remains unused and you want to take today’s long trek in a relaxed manner, we can divide the long trek of today into two days. (B,L,D)
Namche Bazaar to Lukla
The trail descends steeply, so we need to walk slowly and under control 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. Although we are traveling the same route, we have completely different views. Walk through the Sherpa villages, noticing their impressive faith in Buddhism and the culture of prayer stones and prayer flags as we walk through the villages. On arrival at Lukla, we stretch those sore legs and recall the experiences of the last couple of weeks. We celebrate the end of a fantastic trek on a happy note, with everyone safely returned and smiling! Overnight in Lukla (B,L,D)
We will escort you to the international airport and assist you to ensure that all your documents and luggage are ready for your departure flight from Kathmandu. The trek itinerary is subject to change due to weather or unforeseen circumstances.
- Airport pick-up and drop-off
- Three nights hotel accommodation and breakfast in Kathmandu
- Licensed and trained trekking guides
- Porters for carrying goods and supplies
- All accommodation during trek
- All meals and hot beverages whilst trekking
- Transportation to and from trailhead
- All necessary documents and permits for trekking (where applicable)
- National Park/Conservation Area entry permit
- Equipment such as sleeping bag, tents, mattresses
- Cooking equipment
- Camp-site charges
- Insurance, medication, and equipment for staff
- Coordination of Quick Rescue service (costs covered by your insurance plan)
- International airfares
- Travel/trekking insurance
- Visa fees
- Airport departure tax
- Rescue charge
- Drinks (cold and alcoholic)
- Expenses of personal nature
- Permit and liaison officer fee (where applicable)
- Lunches and dinners whilst not trekking