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The Island Peak trek and climb is the ideal first Himalayan climb. Additionally, it is also a wonderful experience to climb to an altitude of over 20,000 feet. Eric Shipton, a British mountaineer and explorer, named Island Peak describing it as an Island in a sea of ice. The Sherpas of the region call it Imja Tse.

Mighty Himalayan peaks Everest, Amadablam, Lhotse and Thamserku are the feature of this journey. Thus, on this climbing trip to Island Peak, you will be surrounded by some of the highest mountains in the world. Also, do consider our Everest Three Passes Trek if you are looking for a challenging trek but lack the basic climbing skills.


The ISLAND PEAK CLIMB is a lodge trek. Therefore you will sleep and eat meals in local lodges along the trail. But for the climbing portion of the trip, at Island Peak Base Camp, you will be sleeping in tents and eating meals prepared by camping crew for 2 or 3 nights. The quality of the lodges on this trek are the best among all trekking trails in Nepal. And quite a few of them have en suite rooms with hot showers. Meals are also quite varied with many options including rice with veggies, noodles, local breads etc. Read our article about food options on Everest treks.


Like most treks in Nepal, the best seasons for the Island Peak climb are Spring (March-May) and Autumn (October-November).


The ISLAND PEAK is rated “CHALLENGING”. It is rated 5 on a rating scale from 1 (easy) to 5 (challenging). While the highest altitude reached is at the summit of Island Peak (6,160 meters), the highest overnight elevation is at Gorakshep (5,212 m/17,100 feet). Average daily hiking times is 5 to 6 hours with two long days of around 9 -12 hours on the summit day.

In addition, basic mountaineering skills are also REQUIRED for the Island Peak trek. Participants must have experience in glacier travel, ice-axe arrest and the use of ascender and descenders. Further, it is important to prepare for any trek/climb in Nepal. Read our advice on training for treks.


All our Island Peak Treks are private treks for a minimum of two participants. We do NOT nickel-and-dime on services – all inclusions and exclusions are clearly listed in cost details. Some companies will advertise trips for very low prices but they have a lot of exclusions that is usually not clear. Most of our trekkers are either repeat clients or referrals. We have been in business for over 30 years and we employ only the most professional and friendly staff. Do read this article “Is Crystal Mountain Treks expensive?” to learn more about this.

Do contact us (info@crystalmountaintreks.com) if you have more questions. We are happy to help!


The Island Peak Trek begins with a 25-minute flight to Lukla. Trek through Sherpa villages of Namche and Pangboche to the Everest Base Camp. The first challenge is the climb of Kala Pathar (literally, black rock) at 18,195 ft. Then traverse to the Imja Valley and attempt to summit Imja Tse. Return to Lukla via Khumjung, one of the largest Sherpa villages. And also the site of the famous Khunde Hospital and the Khumjung school, both legacies of Sir Edmund Hillary.

Our 23 day, 22 night program allows you optimal time to acclimatize before your summit bid. You will first be trekking to Gorakshep and Everest Base Camp which are about 1,000 feet (300 meters) higher than Island Peak Base Camp. So by the time you get to Island Peak, chances of altitude sickness will have been minimized.


Besides your regular trekking gear, you will also be responsible for some technical mountaineering gear such as ice-axe, ascender, descender, carabiners, climbing helmet, mountaineering boots etc. Much of this can be rented in Kathmandu but we advise that you bring your own boots that have been broken in. Plastic boots are good but NOT required. Good water proof leather boots are a better option (La Sportiva’s Evo, Cube etc.). We will provide group gear such as fixed lines and anchors.

Trip at a glance

Brief Itinerary - ISLAND PEAK TREK

Day Description Overnight Altitude
Day 1 Arrival in Kathmandu Kathmandu 1340m/4,300ft
Day 2 Exploring Kathmandu Kathmandu 1340m/4,300ft
Day 3 Kathmandu to Phakding Phakding 2,651m/8,700ft.
Day 4 Phakding to Namche Namche 3,435m/11,270ft
Day 5 Namche acclimatization day Namche 3,435m/11,270ft
Day 6 Namche to Tengboche Tengboche 3,931m/12,900ft
Day 7 Tengboche to Feriche Feriche 4,280m/14,100ft
Day 8 Feriche acclimatization day Feriche 4,280m/14,100ft
Day 9 Feriche to Dughla Dughla 4,640m/15,300ft
Day 10 Dughla to Lobuche Lobuche 4,940m/16,200ft
Day 11 Lobuche to Gorakshep Gorakshep 5,212m/17,100ft
Day 12 Gorakshep to Lobuche Lobuche 4,940m/16,200ft
Day 13 Lobuche to Chukkung Chukkung 4,730m/15,500ft
Day 14 Chukkung Chukkung 4,730m/15,500ft
Day 15 Chukkung to Island Peak Base Camp Island Peak Base Camp 5,100m/16,600ft
Day 16 Summit and descend to Base Camp. Island Peak Base Camp 5,100m/16,600ft
Day 17 Contingency day. Island Peak Base Camp 5,100m/16,600ft
Day 18 – 20 Descend to Lukla. Lukla 2,860m/9,390ft
Day 21 Lukla to Kathmandu Kathmandu 1340m/4,300ft
Day 22 Kathmandu Kathmandu 1340m/4,300ft
Day 23 Final departure    
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Detailed Itinerary (ISLAND PEAK TREK)

Day 1Kathmandu

Arrive Kathmandu. You will be met on arrival at the Tribhuwan International Airport. Look out for a sign “Crystal Mountain Treks”. Don’t let anyone besides the person holding the sign or wearing a “Crystal Mountain Trek” t-shirt/jacket touch your baggage.

Transfer to Hotel. Day Free. Enjoy welcome dinner. Briefing during dinner. Overnight Hotel Tibet or similar. (Dinner)

Day 2Kathmandu

Full day sightseeing in Kathmandu: At around 9:00 am begin tour with a visit to Bodhanath to watch Buddhist monks and devotees circum-ambulate the largest stupa in Nepal. Then visit Pashupatinath, Nepal’s most sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva, with its two-tiered golden roof and silver door. On the banks of the Bagmati river, you will witness a Hindu cremation.

Drive to Patan for lunch in the garden of the Patan Museum Café. After lunch, visit the well-maintained Patan Museum. Drive back to your hotel. You will be back at the hotel by 4/5 pm which should give you ample time to pack and make final preparations for your trek.

Overnight Hotel Tibet or similar. (Breakfast and Lunch)

Day 3Kathmandu to Phakding

Early morning flight to Lukla. The short flight is around 25 minutes long. At Lukla, you will meet your porters and other trek staff. After a quick breakfast at a lodge, begin trekking. Today’s trek to Phakding is on fairly level trail though with a lot of short ascents and descents. The hike should take between 4 to 5 hours.

Phakding is located along the Dudh Koshi river. It is quite fertile and there are several clean and well-kept lodges here. Overnight lodge. (All meals)

Day 4Phakding to Namche

Begin the day by crossing a suspension bridge. Continue a slow ascent following the Dudh Koshi river to the village of Monjo. A little past Monju at Jorsalle,  you will enter the Sagarmatha National Park. After completing formalities at the Park check point, you will cross the dramatic suspension bridge over the Dudh Koshi river and begin the steep climb to the largest Sherpa village of Namche. You will share the switch-back trail with many other trekkers, porters and pack animals. Remember, pack animals always have right-of-way. Overnight lodge. (All meals)

Day 5Namche acclimatization day

This is a rest and acclimatization day. You are expected to rest and allow your body to acclimatize. A slow stroll through town or to the park headquarters is recommended – any strenuous activity should be avoided. You are now above 11,000 feet and it is important for your body to acclimatize and this it can achieve only if it is allowed to relax. Overnight lodge. (All meals)

Day 6Namche to Tengboche

Begin for about 15 to 20 minutes by ascending steeply past the lodges of Namche. Once at the top, the trail widens and so does the vista – Everest, Lhotse, Ama Dablam can all be seen in the distance. Descend to Phunki Tenga. After lunch, it is all uphill to Tengboche monastery. The monastery was recently rebuild and is quite spectacular. Overnight lodge. (All meals)

Day 7Tengboche to Feriche

Begin today’s trek by making a descent through a rhododendron forest to Debuche where there is a nunnery. Cross a bridge and continue on a gradual trail to the village of Pangboche from where there are spectacular vistas of Mt. Amadablam. From today, you will start to notice the change in the landscape. Forests give way to arid, alpine landscape. Overnight lodge. (All meals)

Day 8Feriche acclimatization day

Today is another day for acclimatization. You may climb a nearby hill or make a day trip to Dingboche on the other side near Imja glacier. In the evening, it is highly recommended to attend the talk organized by the Himalayan Rescue Association. Overnight lodge. (All meals)

Day 9Feriche to Dughla

Today is a short trek day. Ascend gently along the Feriche valley with Tarboche and Cholatse looming behind. The trail becomes steeper as you get closer to Dughla. Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 10Dughla to Lobuche

Another short day. Climb directly up the terminal moraine of the Khumbu Glacier into an area dedicated to climbers who have perished on Khumbu’s mountains. Past this point, it is a very gradual incline to Lobuche. After you have settled in at your lodge, you are welcome to visit the various memorials to those who have perished on Everest, or hike up one of the ridges above the village for excellent views of Nuptse and Lhotse. (All meals)

Day 11 Lobuche to Gorakshep

A short hike to Gorakshep. Begin the climb today by ascending gently through high altitude meadows. Then cross several steep moraines while also walking on an active glacier. Gorakshep is situated on a sandy flat that served as base camp for the 1952 Swiss Everest expedition. Optional hike to the Everest Base camp. Return to lodge at Gorakshep. Overnight lodge. (All meals)

Day 12Gorakshep to Lobuche

Hike to Kalapathar (18,195 ft.). The steep ascent to the top of Kalapathar can take up to 3 hours or more but the view of the South face of Everest and other mountains is one you are unlikely to forget. Descend to Lobuche. Overnight lodge. (All meals)

Day 13Lobuche to Chukkung

Descend to Dughla and and take the high route over Feriche to Chukkung. Overnight lodge. (All meals)

Day 14Chukkung

Another rest day. Optionally you may climb Chukkung Ri . Overnight lodge. (All meals)

Day 15Chukkung to Island Peak Base Camp (4,730m/16,200 ft.)

Short three to four hour hike to Island Peak Base Camp. From today, we will be sleeping in tents for the ascent of Imja Tse. For small groups of 5 or fewer, we will use camping facilities provided by the local Sherpas. For larger groups of 6 or more, if required, we will set up our own tents and even set up a high camp if necessary (2 hours hike above base camp). Overnight tents. (All meals)

Day 16Summit Island Peak (6,189m/20,305ft.)

Start out early to reach the summit of Island Peak (20,300 ft.). As all summit days go, today is a long, hard slog to the top; and back. After hiking for around two hours, you arrive at High camp. Past high camp, navigate past scree for around 1,000 ft. before a scramble to a steep rock section. Continue to climb to a narrow ridge to arrive at a glacier from where you rope up to arrive at the head wall where the climbing Sherpa will have placed a fixed rope. Clip onto the rope for the final trudge to the summit.

Begin the long descent back to base camp. Continue back to Chukhung. A contingency day is planned for possible weather and health delays. Overnight tents. (All meals)


Day 17Contingency day

Today is a contingency day for possible weather and health delays. Overnight Tent. (All meals)

Day 18, Day 19 and 20Descend to Lukla

Descend to Lukla via Tengboche and Monjo. Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 22Lukla to Kathmandu

Fly Lukla to Kathmandu. Day free. Overnight Hotel Tibet or similar. (Breakfast)

Day 22Kathmandu

Full day sightseeing in Kathmandu. Visit Bhaktapur Durbar Sqare which is around 13 kilometers/8 miles east of Kathmandu. The Bhaktapur Durbar Square was the palace of the kingdom of Bhaktapur and the complex consists of at least four distinct squares (Durbar Square, Taumadhi Square, Dattatreya Square and Pottery Square).

After lunch, continue to Swayambhunath stupa which is a complex of a stupa, shrines and temples on a hillock inside the Kathmandu valley. This shrine is the most important Buddhist shrine for the Newars of Kathmandu.

Overnight Hotel Tibet or similar. Farewell dinner celebrations. (All meals)

Day 23Final departure

Transfer to airport for final departure. (Breakfast)

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Cost Information - ISLAND PEAK TREK

(valid until 31 Dec, 2024)

2 – 3 participants: US$ 4,400 per person

4 – 6 participants: US$ 4,100 per person

7 or more participants: US$ 3,800 per person

Single Supplement: USD 300

  • US$ 200 per person discount on all Spring Treks (March to June).
  • Please inquire for quote in GB£ or Euros.
  • All our treks are private treks for two or more participants and can be arranged for a date of your choosing.
  • From October 2022, all fixed-wing flights to/from Lukla are required to operate from Ramechhap airport. You must either drive to Ramechhap (5-6 hours) a day prior to your flight and spend the night at Ramechhap. Or leave Kathmandu around mid-night to board the morning flight. Alternatively, if you may choose to fly directly to Lukla and back to Kathmandu on a helicopter (foregoing the drive to Ramechhap). For this, a US$ 600 surcharge will apply. You may also opt to fly one way only (Kathmandu to Lukla) on a helicopter for a surcharge of US$300 per person. Click Lukla flights for a detailed explanation.

Payment policy:

  • A 20% non-refundable deposit is required at the time of booking.
  • Balance is payable a week prior to departure or on arrival in Kathmandu.

Cancellation policy:

  • Deposit is non-refundable. But if you cancel a month prior to trek start date, your deposit will be applied to any trek you undertake with us anytime in the future.
  • No refunds for unused services once trek begins.


Price Includes

  • Expert pre-trip advice and detailed information 
  • Motivated, well-cared-for staff 
  • All airport transfers 
  • Two full days sightseeing in Kathmandu as indicated in the itinerary and entrance fees to monuments
  • 4 nights twin sharing hotel accommodation at Hotel Tibet (3 star) in Kathmandu 
  • Airfare: Kathmandu to Lukla to Kathmandu 
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary 
  • Lodge trekking as indicated in the itinerary 
  • Three meals a day (NO fixed meals – you choose as much from a menu without being wasteful) 
  • Boiled water for your bottles two times a day
  • Hot beverages (tea and coffee) 
  • Use of SteriPEN to sterilize water for drinking 
  • Guide and staff wages, equipment and meals 
  • Guide and staff insurance 
  • Tents and camping equipment for the climb portion of trek 
  • Group climbing gear: Main ropes, snow pickets etc. 
  • Sagarmatha National Park Fee 
  • Gamow Bag (High altitude pressure chamber) and supplemental oxygen
  • Sleeping bags, down jackets, duffel bags on rent for use on the trek (No charge)

Price Excludes

  • Your international airfare 
  • Nepal Visa 
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary 
  • Tips and gratuities 
  • Personal equipment (a suggested list will be mailed to you) 
  • Travel insurance (Required)
  • Other expenses of a personal nature
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Trip Gallery


If you don’t have 23 days for a trek, we can organize a faster paced program to Island Peak. While this shorter trip does not compromise on acclimatization taking almost the same number of days for the ascent to Everest Base Camp (minus one night at Dughla), it is imperative that you be in excellent shape for the shorter trip as you would have to hike up to 15 miles on a couple of days on the descent back to Lukla. The faster paced program will also not have a contingency day for the climb. Contact us for an itinerary and quote.

We have also organized climbs of Lobuche East and Mera Peak although we have not posted those treks on our website. We’d be happy to organize those climbs if you are interested. Do inquire with us.

YES, we would be happy to custom-design any of our program for you for a minimum of two participants.

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Frequently Asked Questions


When is the best time to do the Island Peak trek?

There are two preferred seasons for the Island Peak trek: Spring (April through May) and Fall (October through November). Day time temperatures range in the 50’s and 60’s (10 to 15 Centigrade) while night-time temperatures are in the 30’s and 40’s (0 to 5 Centigrade). Expect night time temperatures of below Freezing near the Base Camp. Expect some late-afternoon showers in the Spring which is the season for rhododendrons and magnolias. October is historically regarded as the best month to trek with clear skies and better views of the mountains.

What skill level is required for this climb? Can a beginner join this trip?

While there are beginners who’ve summited Island Peak, we do not recommend beginners to sign up for this trek. Participants are expected to know basic mountaineering skills such as the use of crampons on snow, self arrest with ice axe, abseiling skills and roped glacier travel, and have some mountaineering experience prior to joining this adventure. There are quite a few short 3-5 day beginner courses available which is an excellent way to prepare for this trip.

NO, beginners should not join this trip.

How fit do I need to be to join this trek/climb?

The better shape you are in, the more you will enjoy the trek/climb. For this trip, you need to be in good physical shape with the ability to hike up to 20 miles in a day.

We rate the Island Peak Trek a 5 on a scale of 1 (easy) to 5 (challenging).

Check out our article on training for treks.

What kind of food should I expect on the trek?

Meals on the Everest Base Camp trek start out being quite varied especially at the beginning of the trek in Lukla. But it becomes sparser as you ascend to the Everest Base Camp. In general, expect porridge (Oatmeal), toast, eggs (any style), muesli, hash browns, sausages etc for breakfast. And sandwich, pizzas, momos, noodles (dry and with soup), rolls, fried rice, Indian bread with vegetables etc for lunch and dinner. And expect Nepali dal-bhat (rice-lentils with vegetables and/or meat) at all the lodges.

Ours is an OPEN menu. Meaning we allow our clients to order anything from the lodge menu besides bottled beverages, specialty coffee and packaged snacks. We also don’t limit the number of items per meal as long as you aren’t wasteful. When choosing your trekking company, ask if meals are fixed or if you are only allowed to order one item from the menu. If this isn’t the case, costs can add up over 15/16 days.

Check out our article on food options for vegetarians.

Can I drink tap water on the trek? How/Where can I get water that is safe to drink?

Nepali tap water is NOT safe to drink. Even if you see the locals drinking water straight from the tap, never drink water before boiling or sterilizing. Bring water purifying tablets or other water purifiers. At higher elevations during the coldest times of year the water will freeze, so you’ll need to buy boiled water from teahouses. If you plan to use a STERIPEN, bring wide mouth water bottles. You would need at least 2 one-liter water bottles for the trek. Even if you plan to bring a hydration pack, bring 1 one-liter water to sterilize the water before pouring into your hydration pack.

Crystal Mountain Treks will provide you with a Steripen to use on the trek for no charge.

Do read our blog on safe drinking water options: Hydration on treks in Nepal.

What gear do I need for the trek? And for the climb? Can I rent some in Kathmandu?

Layering is key. And it’s always recommended to trek with good branded gear. A good pair of hiking boots that’s been broken in is very important. For the climb, you would need a good pair of mountaineering boots (avoid plastic boots if possible) such as La Sportiva Nepal Evo/Nepal Extreme or the Cube GTX boots. You would also need good top and bottom base layers, a mid layer (fleece or capilene), and an outer layer (Gore-tex or other material). If you tend to get cold quickly, bring a down parka especially for the evening at the lodge. On most days, you’d be hiking in a convertible hiking pant that can be converted into shorts and one or two top layers. You are responsible for all your personal climbing gear such as carabiners, ascender, descender, harness, helmet, crampons, ice-axe etc. All of this can be rented in Kathmandu and/or Namche.

if you’re trekking with Crystal Mountain Treks, we provide a sleeping bag (rated to 0 degree F or -17 degree C), duffel bags, down jacket and Steripen for water purification to our clients for no charge.

It is possible to buy cheap and relatively functional gear in Kathmandu – convertible pants, down jackets, fleece, Gore-tex jackets. But remember, you get what you pay for. Wool gloves, hats, socks are available too.

There are quite a few branded stores too. North Face, Moutain Hardwear, Marmot and Sherpa. If you’re coming from Australia or Europe, items in these shops are probably cheaper than back home. But if you’re coming from the US, it’s better to buy branded gear at home.

What are the toilet facilities like on the trek? Is it possible for me to shower?

Most tea houses have a common toilet. Some tea houses, especially those at the beginning of the trek, have en suite rooms. While squat toilets are more prevalent, newer lodges have Western style toilets.

It is possible to shower in almost all the lodges. And hot shower usually means a bucket of boiled water. Be prepared to pay anywhere from $2-$5 for this service.

Are there ATM's in the Everest region?

There are ATM’s in Lukla and Namche. But they may not always be working. So don’t rely on them. Bring cash for expenses en route.

Is it possible for me to store extra gear in Kathmandu?

Yes. Most hotels do have a storage room where you can store your bags. Remember to ask for a token identifying your bags. For valuables, ask for a locker. But not all hotels will have this facility.

1 Review
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Sid H

Group Traveller

Our trek/climb in Bhutan and Nepal was an adventure of a lifetime. We are grateful to Al and Joan who took the lead on planning as you well know. All of us recognized the trip as a major commitment of resources—both money and time but we all agreed it was an opportunity of a lifetime and that sooner was better than later.

It was indeed a trip of a lifetime and we were very satisfied and fulfilled by the experience and the service. For me, as a geologist and mountaineer, to trek and climb in the “company of the giants” in the Himalalya was both a personal and professional opportunity of a lifetime and the experience exceeded my expectations. First and foremost, the guides and their staff took very good care of us and they were eager to help in any way and under any circumstance. Their support staff—porters and sherpas in Nepal and cooks, horsemen and helpers in Bhutan—were competent in their responsibilities and courteous in their interactions.

December 1, 2011