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The Island Peak trek/climb is the ideal first Himalayan climb and a wonderful experience to climb over 20,000 ft. Island Peak was named by Eric Shipton, British mountaineer and explorer, who described it as an Island in a sea of ice. Island Peak 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 in the Island Peak trek. 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 this 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, 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 24 day, 23 night program will allow 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 such as the La Sportiva’s are a better option (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)
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 can be considered level though with a lot of short ascents and descents. The hike should take between 4 to 5 hours. Overnight lodge. (All meals)
Today you will enter the Sagarmatha National Park a little past Monju at Jorsalle. 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. This means 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 Tenboche monastery. Overnight lodge. (All meals)
From today, you will start to notice the change in the landscape. Forests give way to arid landscape with shrubs. Overnight lodge. (All meals)
Additional day at Feriche for acclimatization. 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)
Trek to Kalapathar (18,195 ft.). The steep ascent to the top of Kalapathar can take up to 3 hours or more but the view from here is one you are unlikely to forget. 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 two to three hour hike to Island Peak Base Camp. From today, we will be sleeping in tents for the ascent of Imja Tse. Overnight tents. (All meals)
Start out early to reach the summit of Island Peak (20,300 ft.). Return to Base Camp. 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 Swayambhunath and Bhaktapur Durbar Sqare. Overnight Hotel Tibet or similar. Farewell dinner celebrations. (All meals)
Transfer to airport for final departure. (Breakfast)
Per person price (valid until 31 Dec, 2019)
2 – 5 participants: US$ 3,500 per person
6 or more participants: US$ 2,975 per person
Single Supplement: USD 300
US$ 150 per person discount on May, June and September departures
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) | Sleeping bags, down jackets, duffel bags on rent for use on the trek (No charge)
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
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.
If you’re short on time but don’t wish to do a fast paced trek to high altitude, check out our Everest – Tengboche Monastery trek. This trek goes up to Tengboche Monastery with excellent views of Everest.
If you’re looking for a more luxurious trek with en suite rooms, Western toilets and daily showers, our Luxury Everest Trek is a good option for you. We use Everest Summit Lodges and Yeti Mountain Homes which are at a far superior standard than other lodges on the trail with a garden area, comfortable lounge and a professional staff.
If you have more time and wish to be more adventurous, check out our Ultimate Everest Trek that crosses the Cho La pass taking you from the Everest Base Camp to Gokyo lake and the Renjo La pass taking you from Gokyo lake to Thame. Both passes do not require any climbing skills though they can be icy at times.
If you only have around 19 days but don’t wish to do a fast-paced trek, check out our Everest Base Camp Trek.
And, 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 and, self arrest with ice axe 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.