Nepal’s most popular climb. Our Island Peak trip is a special trek which combines an ascent of Island Peak with a visit to the famous lakes of the Gokyo area. We start from Lukla and trek slowly up the Dudh Kosi valley. After a few days we branch off to Gokyo, and after climbing Gokyo Ri for fantastic views of Cho Oyu and Everest we cross the Cho La and descend to Dingboche to prepare for the ascent of Island Peak.
Island Peak was the name given to the mountain in 1952 by Eric Shipton’s party who thought it to be reminiscent of an island in a sea of ice. It is also known by its Nepali name of Imja Tse. The mountain is an extension of Lhotse Shar, and is located between the Lhotse and Imja glaciers, standing at 6189m/20305ft.
We ascend by the standard route and are able to reach the summit in one day from base camp. The final ridge is a classic of its kind and from the summit fabulous views can be enjoyed of many Himalayan giants including the immense south face of Lhotse and the huge peak of Ama Dablam. This trek is a tea-house trek, with tents used at base camp. Transport to and from the Everest region is by air.
Fixed Trip Dates
Spring 2021 4 – 25 Apr, 25 Apr – 16 May
Autumn 2021 3 – 24 Oct, 24 Oct – 14 Nov
Day 01 : Arrive Kathmandu, transfer from airport to hotel
Day 02 : At leisure in Kathmandu, preparation for trek
Day 03 : Fly to Lukla, trek to Phakding
After a very early start, and an early take-off from Kathmandu Domestic Airport, a 45 minute flight is all it takes to propel us into the Everest region of Nepal. The landing at Lukla (2800m) is spectacular and on arrival we are greeted by our sirdar and trekking crew who organise the luggage. We start the trek with a gentle walk to Phakding (2800m), a further 3 hours to the north. The trail leads through Lukla, past hotels, shops and airline offices to the edge of the Lukla plateau where the trail drops to meet the intersection of the Jiri trail at Chablung. From here the trail follows the Dudh Kosi north through the village of Ghat and then finally to Phakding where we spend the night.
Day 04 : Phakding to Namche Bazaar
From Phakding the trail continues north up the Dudh Kosi valley, staying 100m above the river on its west bank. The trail leads us to Jorsale (2810m) where we enter the Sagarmatha National Park. From here we continue on an ever-steepening trail to Namche Bazaar (3440m), known simply as Namche. En route we cross the spectacular suspension bridge high above the confluence of the Bhote Kosi and the Dudh Kosi, and shortly after glimpse our first view of Everest, way off to the north-east. The trail to Namche is steep and seems long, but eventually we reach the remarkable Sherpa capital perched high on the hillside and dominated to the east by the immense bulk of Kwangde (6187m).
Day 05 : Acclimatisation day in Namche
Acclimatisation is important before trekking higher, and this is the first of two scheduled stops which allow us to gradually become used to the effects of altitude - the lower pressure and the thinner air. We can spend the day by taking a side trip to Thami or Khumjung, by visiting the National Park Visitor Centre on the hill above Namche or by simply resting and browsing in the shops in the town. Namche is a fascinating place simply to “hang out” and take in the culture of the mountains, from the trading of visiting Tibetans to the stories of departing mountaineers.
Day 06 : Namche Bazaar to Phortse Tanga
From Namche we trek north-east on a direct line to Everest, starting up the hill to the Visitor Centre and continuing on a reasonably flat easy trail high above the Dudh Kosi. Ahead of us we can see one of the most beautiful mountains in the Khumbu - Ama Dablam (6856m), as well as Everest still far off in the distance. At Sanasa we branch off the Everest trail and head up the hill to the small settlement of Mong where we stop for lunch. From here it is a steady descent to the Dudh Kosi at Phortse Thanga (3500m). This is a beautiful riverside settlement and is our spot for the night.
Day 07 : Phortse Thanga to Dole
From the river the trail initially climbs steeply out of the valley through rhododendron forest and then continues high above the Dudh Kosi, steadily gaining height. We pass through the settlements of Tongba (3950m) and Gyele (3960m) and eventually reach our site for the evening at Dole (4200m). All through the day we have fantastic views of the surrounding mountains.
Day 08 : Dole to Machhermo
From Dole the gain in altitude to our next evening’s camp site is small, only 200m. The trail continues high above the west bank of the Dudh Kosi and we obtain tremendous views of the mountains at the northern end of the valley, including Cho Oyu, as well as back down the valley to Ama Dablam, and across the valley to Tawache and Cholatse. Machhermo at 4410m is a pleasant village with several tea-houses.
Day 09 : Machhermo to Gokyo
Beyond Machhermo the valley widens and the trail passes through the settlement of Pangka before descending to the river. From here it is a steep ascent up the terminal moraine of the Ngozumpa glacier to the first of the Gokyo lakes at 4650m. The trail then levels off and passes the second lake at 4690m, eventually making its way to Gokyo at 4750m. Gokyo is a sizeable settlement with many tea-houses, located in a delightful area on the edge of the
lake, and is the main objective for many of the trekking groups that we will encounter. The views from Gokyo are magnificent and tomorrow we will climb the hill above Gokyo village, known as Gokyo Ri, to obtain fantastic views of Everest and Cho Oyu.
Day 10 : Climb Gokyo Ri, trek to Tagnag
We start the day by slowly ascending to the top of Gokyo Ri at 5350m, and are rewarded by magnificent views of Everest to the east and Cho Oyu to the north. After descending to Gokyo and resting we retrace our steps to the area between the first and second lakes and take a trail eastwards across the Ngozumpa glacier. This takes us to the small settlement of Tagnag (4700m) where there are several tea-houses.
Day 11 : Cross Cho La to Dzongla
We make an early start, and continue upwards towards the pass that links the Gokyo and Everest valleys - the Cho La. From Tagnag it is about 3-4 hours of slow walking to the pass at 5420m. Whilst this is a hard morning’s walk, we are rewarded by fabulous views on both sides of the pass. From the pass we descend slowly on a rough trail to the small settlement of Dzongla where there are a few tea-houses. We make our overnight stay here, and have a superb view of the immense peak of Cholatse.
Day 12 : Dzongla to Chhukung
From Dzongla we descend steadily to the main Everest trail at Duglha, and from here continue to descend to the ridge above Dingboche where we obtain a great view of Island Peak as it dominates the end of the Imja valley to the east. We take lunch at Dingboche, the large sprawling Sherpa settlement at 4410m, before continuing up the Imja valley to Chhukung at 4730m. The immense south face of Lhotse towers above the village to the north.
Day 13 : Chhukung to Island Peak Base Camp
From Chhukung we continue in a general easterly direction to the site of our base camp. The trail follows the moraine of the Lhotse glacier to the snout of the Imja glacier where it branches to the east and skirts around the base of Island Peak. We make our main camp at a spot known as Pareshaya Gyab at 5087m. After taking lunch we rest and prepare for tomorrow's ascent.
Day 14 : Ascent of Island Peak and return to Chhukung
We set off early for the summit at about 2.00 am, and scramble up in the dark to the snow-covered glacier above. From here we take care as we make our way up the glacier until we reach a broad snow basin which leads up to the final section of the climb. Ahead of us now is the main summit ridge and we climb a steep snow and ice slope, using fixed ropes, for approx. 100m to access the ridge. The ridge is a classic and leads quickly to the east up to the main summit at 6189m. From the summit there are fantastic views across to Lhotse to the north, the Amphu Labsta and Mera Peak to the south, and Ama Dablam to the west. After taking in the views we descend by the same route, abseiling from the ridge, and making our way back carefully to Base Camp. In the afternoon we return to Chhukung for a well-deserved rest.
Day 15 : Contingency day
We allow a spare “buffer” day in case of bad weather
Day 16 : Chhukung to Pangboche
We retrace our steps back down the Imja valley, through Dingboche and then on to Pangboche where we spend the night. This is a short day and allows us time to recover after the ascent and the chance to celebrate our success with a cool beer, and reflect upon the climb of the previous day.
Day 17 : Pangboche to Namche Bazaar
From Pangboche we head down the main Everest trail, reaching the famous Tengpoche monastery where we can stop for tea and a leisurely visit to the monastery before continuing on to Namche Bazaar. From Tengpoche the trail drops steeply to the river at Phunki Thanga, and then rises again to traverse high above the river on a winding trail into Namche Bazaar.
Day 18 : Namche Bazaar to Lukla
The final day of our trek, and a sense of relief for some and sadness for others as we retrace our steps along the trail above the Dudh Kosi. We start by descending steeply out of Namche and shortly before we cross the suspension bridge below Namche we get a last chance to see Everest before it is out of sight until the next time. We lunch at Phakding and then continue down the trail, rising up to Lukla to arrive by mid-afternoon.
Day 19 : Fly to Kathmandu
We return to the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu with a 45 minute flight back to the domestic airport. Here you will be greeted and transferred back to your hotel in Kathmandu. Arrival times back into Kathmandu vary, however it is usual to arrive back at your hotel by mid-afternoon at the latest.
Day 20 : Transfer from hotel to airport, fly home
We recommend that you book a flight out of Nepal in the late afternoon or early evening to ensure that you have enough time should there be any delay when flying back from Lukla.
What is included in the price?
When you arrive at Kathmandu International Airport you'll be greeted by our representatives and transferred to your hotel. Likewise when you return home you'll be transferred to the airport and looked after by our staff.
For your flights to and from Lukla you will also be similarly looked after by our ground staff and trek staff for transfers to and from the Domestic Airport Terminal.
Hotel accommodation in Kathmandu
3 nights in a 3 star hotel, bed & breakfast, sharing in a twin room is included or a single supplement can be added to your package.
The return flight from Kathmandu to Lukla.
On the trek/climb
Our trips are all operated on the GAP system - Guides, Accommodation, Porterage. Over our many years of experience we have realised that clients prefer to choose and pay for their own food and drink on the trail. Not only does this result in a more cost effective regime but it takes into account the many factors that can influence our clients choice. Some clients prefer a hearty breakfast with relatively light lunches and dinners, whilst others prefer the opposite and so we allow our clients to make their choices and the sirdar helps to settle bills as we progress along the trail. We recommend that you allow US$25 per day for food and drink.
Permits and Entrance Fees
All trekking and climbing permits and entrance fees are included.
Our climbing trips necessitate a small number of nights in camp where there is no access to tea-houses. Here we use a full camp service - tents, mats, food and drink. This is provided as part of your trip price.
Equipment on climbs
We provide the necessary equipment for safety and progress on the mountain e.g. ropes, snow stakes, but require our clients to provide their own personal climbing equipment. This can be hired locally or brought with you.