|Duration:||22 Days||Trip Code:||HGTNP-051|
|Primary activity:||Climbing and Expedition||Secondary activity:||Trekking and Hiking|
|Group size:||2-12 people||Max-Altitude:||6,189m/20,305ft|
|Country:||Nepal||Transportation:||Private vehicle and aeroplane|
|Arrival on:||Kathmandu, Nepal||Departure from:||Kathmandu, Nepal|
|Meals:||All meals during trekking and climbing, Breakfast in Kathmandu|
|Accomodation:||4-star hotel in Kathmandu, teahouses during trekking and tent during climbing|
Island Peak Climbing with Gokyo and Everest Base Camp trek takes us to a series of beautiful turquoise lakes in the Gokyo valley, the famous Cho La (5,420m) and Kongma La (5,535m) passes and the base camp of Mt. Everest before climbing the Island Peak (6,189m). On our 22-day journey we also ascend Gokyo Ri (5357m) and Kala Patthar (5,545m) which provides magnificent close-up views of the world's highest mountains including Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Makalu and more.
The Island Peak climbing with Gokyo Lakes and Everest Base Camp trek incorporates proper acclimatization to its itinerary and is ideal for adventure seekers in a quest for a challenging trekking and climbing experience.
Upon our arrival at the Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu, a representative from Himalayan Glacier will pick us up from the airport and take us to our hotel. 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. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Today after breakfast we begin our tour to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu. 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.
After breakfast, we will be taken to the domestic terminal of TIA for an early morning flight to Lukla. After 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 remaining members of our climbing team. We begin 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.
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. On this day we cross five suspension bridges, the last one also known as the Hillary Bridge due to it being the highest. It is an uphill walk from Hillary Bridge to Namche Bazaar. Overnight in Namche Bazaar.
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.
We walk to Kyangjuma village on a steep trail. At Kyangjuma we leave the main trail and begin climbing to the Mong La pass, marked by a chorten on the top of a ridge at 3972 m. From the ridge, the trail descends in a series of switchbacks towards the Dudh Koshi River. At Phortse Tenga our path starts to climb steeply out of the valley and enter the rhododendron forests. We pass through many kharkas, summer settlements used by the Sherpas to graze their yaks, before coming to Dole where we have magnificent views of Khumbila and Tawache. Overnight in Dole.
From Dole the trail is steep in places as it passes through Lhabarma (4220m) and Luza (4360 m) along the side of the valley, high above the river through scrub junipers until we cross the sandy spurs to Machhermo. On the way we are greeted with views of Cho Oyu, Kantega and Thamserku mountains. Machhermo is the last major settlement on the way up to Gokyo. The beautiful stream flowing down from the Kyajo Ri and Phari Lapche mountains runs through the middle of the village before draining into the Dudh Koshi River. It was here in 1974 that a yeti was reported to have attacked a Sherpa and killed three yaks! We then visit the Himalayan Rescue Hospital for a lecture regarding altitude sickness, its precaution, and primary treatment. Overnight in Machhermo.
We begin today by climbing a ridge for an excellent view down the valley to Kangtega and also up towards Cho Oyu (8153 m). The valley now widens as the trail passes through Phangkha. Next, we descend to the riverbank before climbing onto the terminal moraine of the Ngazumpa Glacier on a steep trail. Upon crossing an iron bridge over a stream, the trail levels out as it follows the valley past the first lake, known as Longpongo at 4690m. At this juncture, we get a chance to observe lama footprints on a stone. At the sight of the second lake, Taboche Tsho we are mesmerized by the shimmering turquoise blue sheet of water sparkling in the sun. Little ahead of the second lake, we reach the third lake, the two linked by a surging stream. Gokyo village stands by the third lake with Mt. Cho-Oyu as its backdrop. After lunch, we explore the third lake, Dudh Pokhari. Overnight in Gokyo.
If the weather is good, we climb Gokyo Ri today instead of the next day and enjoy amazing mountain vistas from the best viewpoint of the Everest Region. Climbing Gokyo Ri is obviously strenuous as it is steep and takes about 3 to 4 hours to reach the top. But the sight of the Gokyo village ideally located at the edge of the third lake overlooked by Cholatse and the broad Nogzumpa Glacier is spectacular. At Gokyo Ri we are surrounded by more than 10 mighty Himalayas. The sight of sunrays kissing Everest which towers over all the surrounding peaks is astounding. However, if the weather is not fit for climbing, we visit the fourth and fifth Gokyo lakes. We can also climb on a hill, also called Scoundrel's Viewpoint, at the edge of the lakes to get astounding views of Cho-Oyu, Gyachung Kang, Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, and Makulu. Overnight in Gokyo.
If the weather was not good for climbing Gokyo Ri the previous day, we do so today. After breakfast, we climb out of the Gokyo village to a ridge then trek through the Ngazumpa Glacier to the mountain on the other side. Next, traverse along the edge of that mountain and then meander into Thaknak. It will be a short hike today with an afternoon of rest which will prepare us for long hiking days and elevation gain to come. Overnight in Thaknak.
Today is going to be one of the toughest days of the trip. The Cho La pass is not itself difficult, but it is steep and involves a glacier traverse on the eastern side. We need to be careful as the trail is vertical and the rocks glazed by ice may cause trouble by making the trail slippery. The trail from Phedi climbs through a ravine and a rocky trail. While trekking through the side of a frozen lake, we reach at the top of the pass which is decorated with prayer flags. The pyramidal Ama Dablam presides over a range of mountains on the south even as Cholatse soars to the west and Lobuche East and Baruntse rises sharply to our right. We need to pass through some crevasses before we reach Dzongla, another beautiful place with a complete view of Mt. Cholatse, Mt. Ama Dablam, Lobuche Peak and the Pheriche Village far below. We climb down from Dzongla and walk through a grassy trail while enjoying the view of Lobuche Peak. The trail curves through the wide river bed before reaching Lobuche. Overnight in Lobuche.
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 diligently follow our lead Sherpa. 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 then get back to Gorak Shep for a good night's rest. Overnight in Gorak Shep.
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 see 360 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.
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.
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 Lapcha 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.
We wake up early today at around 12 to 1 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 highlands 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. Both fixed rope and man rope will be used during the climb for safety. We use fix rope after successfully climbing on rock. The length of the rope will usually be of 350m. However, the length depends on the time of the season and the crevasses. 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.
Today’s walk will be 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.
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.
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.
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 souvenir 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.
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.
We will be staying in Hotel Shanker, a four-star hotel in Kathmandu (3 nights), standard teahouses during trekking (15 nights) and tents when climbing (3 nights). Most teahouse accommodation 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 accommodation are on twin-shared basis. However, 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.