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The Island Peak trek/climb is the ideal first Himalayan climb and a wonderful experience to climb to an altitude of over 20,000 feet. Island Peak was named by Eric Shipton, a British mountaineer and explorer, who described it as an Island in a sea of ice. It is known to the Sherpas as Imja Tse. Basic mountaineering experience such as glacier travel, ice-axe arrest, use of ascender and rapelling are REQUIRED for participation on the Island Peak climb trip. Mountaineering skills will be reviewed by our climbing Sherpas prior to your climb.
Himalayan peaks from Everest to Amadablam, from Lhotse to Thamserku are the feature of this journey. On the Island Peak climb trip, you will be surrounded by some of the highest and most dramatic mountains in the world.
After a day of exploring the temples, stupas and palaces of Kathmandu, you will take 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 descend to the Imja Valley, establish base camp (and high camp for larger groups of 6 or more participants), and attempt to summit Imja Tse. Return to Lukla via Khumjung, one of the largest Sherpa villages and site of the famous Khunde Hospital and the Khumjung school, both legacies of Sir Edmund Hillary.
You will be staying in local lodges for the “Trek” portion of this trip but will be sleeping in tents and eating meals prepared by our camping crew for about 2/3 nights (base camp and high camp on Island Peak).
Our 23 day, 22 night program allows you optimal time to acclimatize before your summit bid of Island Peak. 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 it is advised 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.
|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 Lobuche||Lobuche||4,940m/16,200ft|
|Day 10||Lobuche to Gorakshep||Gorakshep||5,212m/17,100ft|
|Day 11||Gorakshep to Lobuche||Lobuche||4,940m/16,200ft|
|Day 12||Lobuche to Chukkung||Chukkung||4,730m/15,500ft|
|Day 14||Chukkung to Island Peak Base Camp||Island Peak Base Camp||5,100m/16,600ft|
|Day 15 – 17||Summit and descend to Base Camp. 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 23||Final departure|
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Today is a long day involving a steep ascent to Dughla and a more gradual ascent to Lobuche. Climb directly up the terminal moraine of the Khumbu Glacier into an area dedicated to climbers who have perished on Khumbu’s mountains. Overnight lodge. (All meals)
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)
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)
Descend to Dughla and and take the high route over Feriche to Chukkung. Overnight lodge. (All meals)
Another rest day. Optionally you may climb Chukkung Ri . Overnight lodge. (All meals)
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, we will set up our own tents and even set up a high camp (2 hours hike above base camp). Overnight tents. (All meals)
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)
Today is a contingency day for possible weather and health delays. Overnight Tent. (All meals)
Descend to Lukla via Tengboche and Monjo. Overnight Lodge. (All meals)
Fly Lukla to Kathmandu. Day free. Overnight Hotel Tibet or similar. (Breakfast)
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)
Transfer to airport for final departure. (Breakfast)
Per person price (valid until 31 Dec, 2022)
2 – 3 participants: US$ 4,000 per person
4 – 6 participants: US$ 3,600 per person
7 or more participants: US$ 3,200 per person
Single Supplement: USD 300
US$ 150 per person discount on May, June and September departures
Helicopter surcharge of US$ 500 per person may apply if in the future all aeroplane flights to/from Lukla are required to operate from Ramechhap airport (5-6 hours drive from Kathmandu).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.