|Group size:||2-12 people||Max-Altitude:||6,189m/20,305ft|
|Arrival on:||Kathmandu, Nepal||Departure from:||Kathmandu, Nepal|
|Meals:||All meals during trekking and climbing.Breakfast in Kathmandu|
|Accomodation:||3-star hotel in Kathmandu, teahouses during trekking and tent during climbing|
Island Peak climbing with Everest Base Camp Trek is a fantastic experience in the Himalayas of Nepal. It is designed for energetic and physically fit trekkers with little or no experience in mountain expedition. Island Peak (6,189m/20,305ft) is one of the main climbing peaks in the Everest Region of Nepal with an impressive and highly glaciated West Face that rises from the Lhotse Glacier. Being one of the 'trekking peaks' with very little technical aspects, Island Peak is not a difficult undertaking for a beginner climber wishing to enter the incredible world of mountain climbing. Hundreds of climbers flock to Nepal every year to get a permit for Island Peak climbing. Our adventure also takes us into the heartland of the Khumbu Valley and Sherpa culture. Before scaling the peak, we also visit, possibly the most popular trekking destination in the world - Everest Base Camp (5,357m/17,575ft) and Kalapatthar - for the up close views of Mt. Everest and other high mountains.
The Island peak climbing itinerary has proper and gradual acclimatization at suitable intervals. The 19-day 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.
Trekking : While trekking, we will provide you a fully trained, English speaking, experienced trekking guide. Every 4 members are entitled to 1 assistant guide, also 1 porter for every two members to carry the luggage.
Climbing : We will provide you a licensed, English speaking, veteran climbing guide. There is also the provision of assistant guides, for a group size of 2-4 people; there will be 1 main guide and 1 assistant guide. In a group size of 5-8 people, there will be 1 main guide and 2 assistant guides. Finally with a group of 9-12 people, we shall be offering you 1 main guide and 3 assistant guides. Other staff members will include one experienced cook and necessary Sherpa staff, mostly assistants who will assist in setting up camps during the climb.This arrangement of staff will ensure the safety of each and every member in the group; also if any member falls ill, the trip will still go ahead as planned. Please also note that the maximum number of people in a group will be 12, as this is the optimum size for a successful trip.
Island Peak is not a technical peak but you will still require a good stamina to summit it. No prior climbing experience is required; however having some knowledge on using climbing equipments 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 gears such as ropes, ice pick, harness, crampons.Island Peak climbing usually requires 5-6 hours of walking every day. In the summiting day however, you will be required to walk for up to for 10-12 hours. Therefore, it is advised that you prepare yourself by jogging or walking 12 km every day for around 3 months before your actual trip. Understand that by choosing Island Peak trip, you are considering walking in high altitude and remote area for many days. In order to make your Island Peak climbing successful you must have lots of willpower, the ability to tolerate harsh weather conditions along with reasonable fitness and stamina. It is vital for participants with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart, lung, and blood diseases to consult their doctor before taking the trip. Also make sure you make your conditions known to Himalayan Glacier at the time of booking.
We complete our custom formalities at the Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu. Afterwards, there is a Himalayan Glacier representative waiting for us at the gate who will take us to our hotel. We can then spend the rest of the day taking rest. In the evening, we get to try Nepalese cuisine at a welcome dinner hosted by Himalayan Glacier. Overnight in Kathmandu.
We visit Himalayan Glacier's office sometime in the afternoon today. At the office, me meet our climbing guide and fellow climbers. Our guide or leader will check our set of equipment in order to make sure that they are in a perfect condition for the coming trip. In the short meeting, the Himalayan Glacier representatives will also help us understand what we can expect throughout the trip so as to make us familiar of our days up in the mountain. We can spend rest of the afternoon resting and/or in leisure. Overnight in Kathmandu.
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.
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.
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.
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 3:00 pm so if we are lucky we might just be able to witness a religious ceremony. Overnight in Tengboche.
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 a medical clinic at Pheriche. Overnight in Pheriche.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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. The guides will fix a rope when required. 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 fixed rope after successfully climbing on rock. The length of the rope will usually be 350 m. However, the length depends on the time of the season and the crevasses.There are two newly formed crevasses which are approximately 3 and 4 meters long. We will be using ladders to cross them. 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 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.
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 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.
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.
Please note that often the Kathmandu-Lukla-Kathmandu flight gets delayed by a few hours or may even be canceled for one, two, or more days due to unfavorable weather conditions. Such conditions may arise even in the best seasons. Hence, in such cases, you must be prepared for long waits both at Kathmandu or Lukla airports, as this can happen either at the start or end of the trek or even both! We do our best to avoid such delays, and secure you the next flight. However, we suggest you to be prepared for possible delays/cancellation, and if possible to come with some extra buffer days (1-2 days) at the end of the trip to accommodate such delays. We also organize heli rescue in such conditions, if it's available and upon request by our clients. The helicopter charges around USD 5000 and it can lift 4-5 people per flight. If everything runs smoothly and if interested, you can also enjoy other activities like sightseeing, rafting, wildlife activities, shopping, etc during your buffer days.
In case, the flight delay/cancellation happens at the start of trip and it goes so long that it disturbs your travel schedule, you are free to choose an alternative trip: such as trekking in the Annapurna, Langtang, or any other regions. If you are not interested in the alternative trip and would rather wait for the trip, you are welcome to wait in Kathmandu for as many days as it takes to get a flight to Lukla. However, please note that there will be no refund, if you lose your time waiting at the airport and do not take an alternative tour or you only do a short trek later due to time limitation. If the cancellation happens before the trip, we will provide you accommodation and lunch in a guesthouse in Kathmandu. In case of the flight delay/cancelation after the trek ends, you will be responsible for all your expenses. Also note that you will not be entitled to any refund for the services (such as hotel, transport, flight, etc) included in the package that you would not use later.
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