Island Peak Overview
Island Peak is a mountain that lies in the eastern part of Nepal, on the border of Nepal and Tibet. It lies at the head of Imja Khola valley and therefore it has the name Imja Tse. The area is highly protected by Sagarmatha National Park which includes diverse flora and fauna. In 1953, the British Mount Everest expedition named this peak an Island peak. This was due to the fact that the peak actually appears as an Island in a sea of ice when viewed from Dingboche.
The Island peak is the continuation of the South Ridge of Lhotse Shar separated by a col. The southwest of this peak was first climbed by Tenzing Norgay, Charles Evans, Alfred Gregory, Charles Wylie, and 7 other sherpa in 1953. It was done before just as a part of a training exercise by a British expedition that went on to Summit Mount Everest. Hans-Rudolf Von Gunten with two other Sherpas as members of the Swiss team however remains first to climb the summit that went on to make the second ascent to Mount Everest and first ascent of Lhotse.
The climb to the Island peak is technically challenging and risky, especially from the base camp. The low base camp of Island peak lies at an altitude of 5087m, and the high camp at 5600m. It is more likely to suffer mountain sickness from the base camp. The trail to the summit is heavily covered with steep snow, frozen glaciers, and ice slopes. It is very important to have strong physical and mental fitness along with the skills to use mountaineering gear.
This route takes around 20-22 days with proper rest and days off. It cost you around 900-1100$ including all your flight tickets, travel insurance, permits, food, accommodations, etc.
Highlights of Island Peak
- Glacial walk and climbing to Island peak.
- Experience the tented night camps.
- Diverse flora and fauna of Sagarmatha National Park.
- Spectacular view of Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu.
- Day 1- Kathmandu- Lukla, trek to Phakding (35 minutes flight, 3 hours walk)
- Day 2- Phakding-Namche Bazar (7-8 hours walk)
- Day 3- Namche Bazar-Syangboche (2-3 hours walk)
- Day 4- Syangboche-Tengboche (4 hours walk)
- Day 5- Tengboche- Dingboche (6 hours walk)
- Day 6- Dingboche- Lobuche (5-6 hours walk)
- Day 7- Lobuche-Gorakshep (3-4 hours walk)
- Day 8- Gorakshep- Kalapatthar (3-4 hours walk)
- Day 9- Kalapatthar-Chukkung (2 hours walk)
- Day 10- Chukkung- island peak base camp (3-4 hours walk)
- Day 11- Island peak base camp- high camp (4-5 hours walk)
- Day 12- High camp- Island peak, return to Chukkung
- Day 13- Chukkung- Tengboche (4-5 hours walk)
- Day 14- Tengboche- Namche Bazar (4 hours walk)
- Day 15- Namche Bazar- Lukla (8 hours walk)
- Day 16- Lukla- Kathmandu (35 minutes flight)
Safety and fitness
The first important thing to understand is that Island peak is not categorized as a trekking peak. Not anyone with basic ideas can just go and start climbing. It is mandatory to have high mountaineering skills, experience, focus, and patience. Second Important thing is to choose a perfect itinerary that gives proper acclimatization to the low level of oxygen. Or else, you are going to have a huge problem of altitude sickness. And finally, great fitness, mental stability, and strength are very important. The average walking hour is 6-7 per day and the use of crampons, ice harness, ice ropes, etc are required during the climb. The way to the summit is very difficult and the summit ridge is quite airy with steep drops off to the sides. The highest altitude here is 6189m, hence, there is always a risk of mountain sickness.
Symptoms of Mountain sickness
- Loss of appetite
- Shortness of breath
- Fast heartbeats
Preventing mountain sickness
- Walk slow
- Stay hydrated
- Have nutritional food
- Have enough rest
- Avoid smoking and alcohol
Medicines for mountain sickness
- Ibuprofen, paracetamol (for headache)
- Promethazine (for nausea)
Clothing and equipment
|Travel wallet||Climbing shocks|
|Duffel bag||Synthetic underwear|
|Trekking boots||Synthetic climbing/trekking pants|
|Trekking shocks||Insulated pants|
|Light weight sneakers||Shell pants(water proof)|
|Medium weight Gaiters(water proof)||Medium weight long john tops|
|Foot powder||Synthetic pile jacket|
|Down booties||Down jacket|
|Double insulated climbing boots||Shell jacket (light weight waterproof)|
|Heavy gaiters||Down parka|
|Buff neck gaiters||Face mask|
|Fleece gloves||Winter/summer hat|
|Climbing gloves||Glacier glasses|
|Chemical hand warmers and foot warmers||Dark goggles|
|Climbing pack||Double lenth and single length sling|
|Lightweight harness||Climbing ascender|
|Locking/non-locking carabiners||Prusik cord|
|Helmet||Alpine ice axe|
|Point crampons||Figure 8 and Rappel device|
|Trekking poles||Backpack cover|
|Down sleeping bag||Sleeping pads|
|Water purification tablets||Power banks|
|Travel towel||Safety kit|
|Hand sanitizer||Suns cream and lip balm|
|Altitude sickness medicine||Wash kit|
|Cup, bowl, spoon||Trash bags and tissue papers|
Travel insurance– Trekking to high altitudes can always be risky. Travel Insurance is something you might want to do before trekking anywhere. Sometimes in emergency cases, people need to be evacuated through a helicopter and get medical service. So, in such cases, your travel insurance will be bearing the cost for you. Seeing all these benefits, the government of Nepal has made travel insurance mandatory thing before trekking. However, it is very important to mention the heights and all the places you will be reaching during your trek. Your insurance entirely depends on the details you have provided earlier. Travel insurance costs you around 150$ which is good for 1 month.
Visas/passports– if you are not a Nepalese or Indian citizen, then a visa and a passport are mandatory. You can get your Nepalese Visa at Tribhuvan airport in Kathmandu. The passport must hold a visa of a minimum of 6 months.