The Island Peak (6,189m) is located at the heart of Khumbu region and it’s a popular climbing peak in the Everest area. Island Peak was the name given to the mountain in 1952 by Eric Shipton’s who thought it to be reminiscent of an island in a sea of ice. It was renamed “Imja Tse” in the early ’80s, though its original name is still more popular. This adventure with Island Peak trekking and climbing will take me into the heartland of the Khumbu Valley, Everest Base Camp (5,357m) and Kala Patthar (5,545m). The journey begins from and comes to conclusion at one of the most famous airstrip in the world, the Lukla Airport in the Everest Region.
Day to Day Itinerary:
■ Day 01 (Tuesday 08 March 2011) – Flying from Dubai to Kathmandu, Nepal
■ Day 02 (Wednesday 09) – Sightseeing and preparation
■ Day 03 (Thursday 10) – Flight from Kathmandu to Lukla
■ Days 03 to 09 (Thursday 10 to Wednesday 16) – Trek to Everest Base Camp
■ Day 10 (Thursday 17) – Visit Everest Base Camp
■ Days 11 to 12 (Friday 18 to Saturday 19) – Trek to Island Peak Base Camp
■ Day 13 (Sunday 20) – Island Peak High Camp
■ Day 14 (Monday 21) – High Camp to Summit and back to Chhukung
■ Day 15 (Tuesday 22) Reserve day
■ Days 16 to 17 (Wednesday 23 to Thursday 24) – Trek to Lukla
■ Day 18 (Friday 25) – Fly to Kathmandu
■ Day 19 (Saturday 26) – Fly back to Dubai
Detailed Expedition Itinerary:
Day 01: Arrival Kathmandu [1,350 m]
Upon my arrival in the Kathmandu airport, I will meet with the organization I hired to do this Expedition. After completing all custom formalities (Visa, etc) I’ll pick up my luggage before getting a transfer to Hotel Shanker. After check in I’ll hang around in the city, and visit some tourist offices for climbers. In the evening I have been invited to a “Welcome Dinner” at a traditional Nepalese Restaurant.
Day 02: Kathmandu [1,300 m]: Sightseeing and Preparation
After breakfast, I will enjoy a free day doing sightseeing. After some hours visiting popular sites of Kathmandu and doing some shopping, I’ll meet the climbing leader to get my equipment checked, prepare things as per need, introduce with fellow climbers, and getting a briefing about the trip. Overnight at hotel.
Day 03: Kathmandu – Lukla [2,800 m] – Phakding [2,652 m]
Early morning I get transferred to domestic airport and fly to Lukla. After an adventurous 40 minutes flight on crappy aircraft above breathtaking green and white mountains, I reach Tenzing-Hillary Airport at Lukla. This is supposed to be one of the most beautiful air routes in the world culminating in a crazy landing on a hillside surrounded by high mountains peaks. At the airport, we meet our other crew members while the guide divides and manages baggage to be carried by porters. We start our trek through the village of Lukla until we reach Phakding. Overnight in Phakding.
Day 04: Phakding – Namche Bazaar [3,440 m]
Trek starts in the morning after breakfast. The walk today has multiple crossings over Dudh Koshi River and magnificent view of Mt. Thamserku (6,608m) from the Benkar village before reaching the entrance of Sagarmatha National Park at Monjo, where our trekking permits are checked in order to keep record of trekkers and local trekking staffs as well. A descend walk brings us to Jorsale, the last village until Namche Bazaar. As we climb up hill towards Namche Bazzar, we enjoy a close view of Kwangde Peak, Kusum Kangaru, Mt. Everest, Lhotse and Tawache. Finally, we reach the village of Namche Bazzar, the main gateway of Khumbu region. Overnight in Namche Bazzar.
Day 05: Namche Bazaar [3,440 m]: Acclimatization Day
This is first scheduled ‘acclimatization’ day for this trek. Health experts always recommend us to stay active and moving during the rest day too instead of being idle. We either spend the time taking a day hike to Thame or visiting Khunde or carry out relaxed exploration of Namche Bazaar itself. Namche Bazzar is the main centre of the Everest (Khumbu) region. We also take a side trip up to Khumjung and climb up to famous airstrip at Syangboche. Overnight in Namche Bazaar.
Day 06: Namche Bazzar to Tengboche (3,870m)
After breakfast in Namche, we start our trek towards Tengboche enjoying superb view of Mt. Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Ama Dablam and close up view of Thamserku. The trail goes gradually down up to Kayangjuma. The path eventually reaches Sansa which is the major trail junction to Gokyo valley and Everest Base Camp. The track then follows through the pine forests and after we cross a bridge over Dudh Koshi River, to reach Phunki Thenga, a small settlement with a couple of teahouses where we have lunch before we reach Tengboche. Tengboche has the biggest Buddhist Monastery all over in Khumbu region. Overnight stay at lodge in Tengboche.
Day 07: Tengboche to Pheriche [4,200m]
We will cross a traditional and cultural Sherpa village Pangboche where we can see a close up daily activities of Sherpa people. After this, we make a gradual up towards a small hill while trail goes to wide mountain valley called Pheriche. Over night stay at Pheriche.
Day 08: Pheriche to Lobuche [4,930m]
After breakfast, we make a gradual walk-up to reach Dugla. Beyond Duglha we trek up the steep terminal moraine of the Khumbu Glacier. We ascend Chupki Lhara. By this stage the effects of the altitude will be kicking in and we can feel colder nights. Overnight in Lobuche.
Day 09: Lobuche – Everest Base Camp [5,364 m/] – Gorak Shep [5,170 m]
Take the trail to Everest Base Camp through the Gorak Shep Lake. Every year the trail changes due to the movements of the glacier. The walk is quite strenuous due to thin air in high altitude, until we reach the Everest Base Camp, where we spend part of the day. We get back to Gorak Shep for a good night’s rest. Overnight in Gorak Shep.
Day 10: Gorak Shep – Kala Patthar [5,545 m] – Lobuche [4,940 m]
We start early in the morning and, we need to get prepared for dark and cold temperature (-10 to -14 C). Plus there is always the likelihood of chilly winds. Familiar peaks such as Lingtren, Khumbutse, Changtse can be contemplated during several hours of an ascent to reach Kala Pattha summit (5,545m). On being back to Gorak Shep, we have breakfast followed by a gradual descending down to Lobuche for a good night’s rest. Overnight in Lobuche.
Day 11: Lobuche – Kongma La (5,535m) – Chhukung [4,730m]
After breakfast, trekking via Khumbu Glacier to Kongma La Base Camp (5,000m) continues ascending to Kongma pass. After gaining the Kongma La, we descend a gradual walks up the Imja Khola valley to Chhukung, a small summer settlement. Overnight in Chhukung where we make final preparation for Island Peak Climbing.
Day 12: Chhukung – Island Peak Base camp [5,200m]
The path from Chhukung leads fairly way climbing to the southern flank of the moraine from the Lhotse Glacier. The route to the Amphu Lapcha 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.
Day 13: Island Peak Base Camp to High Camp [5,600m]
We move to Island Peak High Camp. Overnight in Island Peak High Camp.
We might attempt for Island summit in one push directly from the Base Camp where we spend two nights for acclimatization and training. It’s also easier for the porters to stay at the Base Camp instead of staying at a higher altitude at High Camp for a long time which might cause altitude problems.
Day 14: High camp – summit Island Peak – Base camp – Chhukung
Island Peak Ascent (6,189m): We begin our climb early in the morning, generally around 1 AM. In the beginning, we climb the rock gully. 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. We need to rope up for the glacier as it contains several crevasses. A steep snow slope leads us onto the summit ridge. After enjoying the summit views, and taking pictures, we descend all the way to Chhukung for overnight and to celebrate on our success Island peak climb.
Day 15: Reserve Day for Contingency
There is no such guarantee that we can get quite a favorable weather on our planned day for the summit (day 14), so this day is used as a contingency in case if we are unable to summit the Island Peak on day 14 due to bad weather condition or some other reasons
Day 16: Chhukung to Namche Bazar
This is a long trekking day. The Imja Khola joins the Dudh Koshi River a little above the Pangoche village. There is a famous gompa at Pangboche believed to have been the oldest in the Khumbu region. Descend out of the alpine dessert and back into landscapes of pine forests. The path leads to a steep uphill climb into Tengboche. Visit the Tenboche Monastery. Making a steep descent leads back to the Dudh Kosi river. The final steep climb traverses the hill side into Namche Bazaar. In case our contingency day remains unused and you want take today’s trekking in a relaxed manner, we can divide today’s long trekking into two days.
Day 17: Namche Bazaar to Lukla
The trail descends steeply downward so we need to walk slowly and under control 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. Walk through the Sherpa villages’ noticing impressive faith in Buddhism and culture of prayer stones and prayers flag while we walk through the villages. On arrival at Lukla, we experience the culmination of a fantastic trek on a happy note with everyone back safe with smile on our faces. Overnight in Lukla.
Day 18: Fly back- Lukla to Kathmandu
We fly back to Kathmandu after our long mountain journey. The early morning flight drops us at Kathmandu. Time for shopping and exploring other areas of Kathmandu. We will be having a fantastic celebration dinner together for successfully completing the adventure. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 19: Farewell Friends