Island Peak Expedition: All You Need To Know Before Climbing

Island Peak Climbing- travel Guide

Island Peak also called Imjatse Himal stands at 6,160 m / 20,205 feet, one of the most popular trekking peaks. The heights somehow are quite different according to some trekking maps and guide books and itineraries of most companies.

NMA (Nepal Mountaineering Association) is the governing body of most trekking peaks of the Nepal Himalayas. The right and appropriate elevation of Island Peak as listed by NMA is as above. All climbers must get permission for peak climbing from NMA, obtain peak permits, and well of garbage deposits. 

This is refundable after collecting the waste and disposing of it at the proper disposal site, handing it to SPPC (Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee); and getting a receipt to claim the garbage deposit at NMA. Island Peak or Imjatse Himal falls in group B on the list of NMA. 

All trekking peaks including Island Peak or Imjatse Himal, have to be accompanied by an expert Climbing Guide Registered with NMA.

Where is the Island Peak?

Island Peak or Imjatse Himal, is located in the upper high valley of Solu-Khumbu district, near Mt. Everest and Mt. Lhotse. Situated Far North Mid-East Nepal Himalayas amidst the beautiful Imjatse Valley. Hence the name Island due to its location and shape sits like an Island amidst Imjatse Valley. 

Imjatse Valley is south of Mt. Everest, Nuptse, and Lhotse Peak The nearest settlement is Chukung and Dingboche. Which is also located on the high route to the Hongu and Hinku valleys via Amphu-Labtsa Pass. It also leads to Baruntse Himal and Makalu areas to Barun Valley in further east direction.

Island Peak Outline Itinerary

01Arrival in Kathmandu1,350m/4,429ft
02Kathmandu: trip preparation1,350m/4,429ft
03Fly from Kathmandu to Lukla then trek to Phakding2,610m/8,563ft
04Trek from Phakding to Namche Bazaar3,440m/11,286ft
05Namche Bazaar: Acclimatization Day3,440m/11,286ft
06Trek from Namche Bazaar to Tengboche3880m/12,730ft
07Trek from Tengboche to Pheriche4,200m/13,779ft
08Trek from Pheriche to Lobuche4,930m/16,175ft
09Trek from Lobuche to Gorakshep, Hike to Everest Base Camp5,163m/16,939ft
10Hike from Gorak Shep to Kalapatthar (5545m) and Trek to Lobuche4,930m/16,175ft
11Trek from Lobuche to Kongma La (5,535m) to Chhukung4730m/15,518ft
12Trek from Chhukung to Island Peak Base Camp5200m/17316ft
13Pre-climb training on Island Peak Base Camp5200m/17316ft
14Island Peak Base Camp to Island Peak summit (6,189 m), back to Chhukkung4730m/15,518ft
15Trek from chhukung to Pangboche3985m/13283ft
16Trek from Pangboche to Monjo2,780m/9,265ft
17Trek from Monjo to Lukla2,800m/9,333ft
18Fly from Lukla to Kathmandu1,350m/4,429ft
19Final Departure

If you need more information regarding this trek, you can visit Island Peak Climbing

The flight to Lukla is diverted to Manthali Airport at Ramechap district, approx. 150 k.m. about a 4-5 hour drive from Kathmandu and vice-versa.

The Lukla flight from Ramechap started last year 2021 due to heavy air traffic at Kathmandu-Nepal International Airport. As Lukla is the busiest airport around mountainous destinations in the best seasons of the year. 

Combine Route to Everest Base Camp Trek

Interested adventurer climbers, can combine the itinerary days visiting Everest Base Camp and climbing of high Kalapathar rocky hill. 

Which will be the best exercise for proper acclimatization before the Island Peak climb. The route to Everest base camp is not too far from the last settlement of Chukung and Island Peak. The trek to Everest base camp is at 5,364 m standing beneath the towering peaks of Lhotse, Nuptse, and Everest.

Within a mere distance from massif Khumbu Ice-Fall and glaciers, support good exercise; and getting used to the mountainous terrain of ice, moraine, and glaciers. As well as climb the steep hill to Kalapathar top at 5,644 m / 18, 517 feet high. The Kalapathar Hilltop offers a mind-blowing panorama of surrounding giant peaks with Mt. Everest at a close distance.

After getting good walking exercise on high altitude terrain, then ready for the adrenaline climb to Island Peak summit.

Combine Route to Everest Base Camp Trek
Combine Route to Everest Base Camp Trek

Combine Route to Three Passes Trek

Another best way to combine Island Peak Climb is with Three Passes of Everest.

The perfect walking exercise as well for proper acclimatization, depending upon your holiday duration for the Island Peak climb.

For the Island Peak climb combining the three passes trek, it is better to start from Thame village. Located west of Khumbu and Namche Bazaar, Thame is the least visited area with a 500-year-old Gompa/monastery. Worth a visit to the monastery perched high above Thame village facing grand views of the Kwangde range of peaks with Pachermo. Thame is also en route to Tibet / China via a high Nangpa-La pass close to the route towards Renjo-La.

From Thame at 3,880 m high, a steep climb past the smaller settlement of Marlung to reach Lungden at 4,600 m. From Lungden to Gokyo Valley and its beautiful glacial lakes crossing high Renjo-La at 5,360 m. From the top panoramic views of surrounding high peaks facing Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, and Mt. Makalu with Mt. Cho-Oyu. A long descent to Gokyo’s main 3rd lake with all good lodges located, spending time at Gokyo walk to Thagnak. Situated at the end of Gokyo Valley at the base of Cho-La pass at 4,750 m high. A steep climb of 3-4 hours to the top of Cho-la at 5,420 m high. 

The pass is enclosed by towering Cholatse, Lobuche, and Nirekha peaks, and from the top a long downhill to Dzongla. A small isolated settlement at 4,850 m with few tea houses and simple lodges. The adventure then leads to Lobuche on the main route of Everest base camp (option to visit Everest base camp, time permitting). 

From Lobuche cross the last high Kongma-La pass at 5,535 m high then reach the end of Imjatse valley. Where Chukung is a small settlement with few lodges situated at a height of 4,730 m high. After crossing all three high passes of Everest few hours’ walk to Island Peak Base Camp for the adventurous climb.

Route to Island Peak & Imjatse Valley

The route to Island Peak and Imjatse Valley is a straightforward and well-defined trail. On leaving the last permanent village of Pangboche and Somare the route of Pheriche and Dingboche or Imjatse valley splits. From the diversion, a gentle short walk heading east and down to a stream to cross a small bridge.

After the bridge an hour’s steep climb to enter Imjatse Valley at Dingboche a large settlement with many nice lodges. From here views of Island Peak the walk follows east on a nice gentle path with short downs and ups.

Spending overnights at Dingboche few hours of scenic pleasant walk reaches Chukung the last settlement around Imjatse Valley. From Chukung 3-4 hours walk on the rocky moraine and glaciated path brings you to Island Peak base camp.

Combine Lobuche Peak Climbing

Combining Lobuche East Peak with Island Peak is another great experience and the best way to enjoy the adventure. Lobuche Peak stands at 6,119 m / 20, 070 feet high, close to its adjoin Lobuche West peak. Located close to the route of Lobuche and Everest base camp trail, but isolated a little further from the main path.

The climb is tough and technical in some sections to the summit of Lobuche East Peak. The grade is TD (Technical Difficulty) as per French and Swiss Alpine Climbing Classification. A straightforward climb with some technical sections to tackle before reaching the top of Lobuche East summit.

After the climb walk towards Pheriche Valley and then climb a high trail to the ridge where Imjatse Valley is located. Facing close views of Ama Dablam, Lhotse, and Nuptse the trail follows to Dingboche settlement and heads east to Chukung.

From Chukung, a few hours of a good walk to Island Peak Base Camp for the next day’s climb to the summit of Island Peak.  

What Else is Saying About the Island’s Peak Difficulty?

Trekkers and climbers have different views regarding the difficulty of reaching the summit of Island Peak. The best is to expect the unexpected and follow the guidelines for a safe climb and descent. For some beginners, mountaineering can be a tough struggle, but for expert mountaineers, it will be a practice climb. 

Island Peak or Imjatse Himal at 6,160 m / 20,205 feet. The climbing grade is PD + (Per Difficulty with plus), as per the French / Swiss Alpine Climbing Classification System. A straightforward climb over rocks, moraine, ice, and snow slopes with about 100 m of snow and ice. Reaching a small hanging glacier at 5, 280 m, leading to a wide open gully, and then on a snow-covered glacier.  

Avoiding serac and crevasses climbing northwards over snow-covered scree in the margin between glaciers facing a top ridge. 

From the summit jaw-dropping panorama of Mt. Everest 8,848.86 m, Lhotse 8,501 m, Mt. Ama Dablam 6,856 m. Includes views of Mt. Makalu 8, 463 m, Chamlang, and Baruntse Himal. After an enjoyable and challenging climb descends and leads on the same safe route to base camp.

Best Time to Climb Peak

Nearly all year round, except the wet monsoon time of mid-June to August month. The best time is spring beginning from March till May when days are fine and clear with longer sunlight hours. However, late afternoon till night time and morning is cold can expect snowfall sometimes?

The next best season is autumn/fall starts from September to November.

Most days are crystal clear for views, walks, and climbs, but shorter sun-light hours can be much colder morning and night time. Can expect snowfall sometime during the trek and climb.

Eager people can enjoy the Island Peak climb during the pre-winter time of the Christmas and New Year Holidays. There are very cold temperatures morning, late afternoon, and nighttime, but most days are clear for spectacular views and climbs. If you want to know more details Please Visit “Best Time to Visit Nepal”

Meals & Accommodations

From the start of trekking from Lukla to Lukla, all lodges have good and excellent facilities of accommodations where trekkers can have options from basic, budget, and standard to luxury-class lodges and resorts.

Rooms with attached bath/toilets or common sharing, depending upon the choice are available till Dingboche. Foods are served in a nice warm and large dining room. The foods, according to one choice from the long list of comprehensive food menus.

Most large villages and settlement serves Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner from Continental, Chinese, Indian, Tibetan, or Nepali meals. Includes all types of refreshing hot drinks as well as fresh bakery items in some lodges and restaurants. 

On Island Peak climb stay in spacious two-man tents at camping for some days till the climb is complete. The meals are served from the kitchen tents supported by a cook, kitchen staff, and guides. All meals are hygienic, fresh, and best from Nepali Dal Bhat to Chinese and Indian foods.

Prepare for the Island Peak Expedition

Preparation for Island Peak Expedition, first of all, booking the trip for the best seasons. Collecting all useful and important information and details of Island Peak climb and trekking. Knowing the culture, religion of the region, and climbing difficulty. As well as sending the advance trip payment to the concerned local agencies in Kathmandu. Getting the Nepal Visa through the Embassy and Consulate if not can get on arrival at the airport. Collecting details of clothing list as per season-wise, and equipment required for the climb. 

Staying healthy and fit with sound health, checking with your doctor, and taking advice. After and before booking the trip, practice exercise running, jogging, or any other outdoor exercise to keep yourself trim and physically fit. 

Get the Right Gears

Before leaving for the trip request for trekking and climbing clothing list including equipment required for the climb. Apart from your normal casual wear, down jackets, sleeping bags, and thermal mattresses (inflatable) for camping.

The first thing is should buy good trekking boots, the rest of the climbing gear either buy in your own country? Most climbing equipment, including a down jacket and sleeping bags, can be bought or hired in Kathmandu. Around the Thamel area, there are many trekking and mountaineering shops and stores.

Where one can buy or rent the necessary equipment and clothing in Kathmandu at a reasonable price.

If it’s too much to carry from home due airline’s baggage allowance, you can get it in Kathmandu’s big stores. Offers genuine branded items from trekking, and climbing to normal items.  

Island Peak climbing equipment list:

Plastic Boots a pair
Crampons                                         a pair
Ice Axe                                               one
Harness                                             one
Carabineer or Karabiner                two each
Snow Gaiters                                   a pair
Snow / Sun Glass                            one each
Warm Gloves                                   a pair
Wind Proof Jacket and trousers a set each
Down Jacket                                     one each
Down sleeping bags                       one each with an inner liner
Main Ropes                                      200 m (50 m per person) as per the peak chosen
Snow Bar                                          2 / 4 pieces depending upon group size.
Ski Pole (optional)                           one each

Island Peak Climbing Cost

Climbing Fee structures as per the NMA list for Group B Trekking Peaks are as follows.

Royalty Fee: US $ 350 for 1-4 climbing members.
Royalty Fee: US $ 350 for 5-8 climbing members plus US $ 40 per person.
Royalty Fee: US$ 510 for 9-12 climbing members plus US $ 25 per person.
A maximum of 12 climbers in one team is allowed.

The garbage Deposit for all NMA listed 33 peaks is US $ 250 for one group of a maximum of 12 climbers. Refunds on the Garbage Deposit shall be as per NMA provisions.

Apart from royalty for climbing fees, the cost of trek and climbing is backed by trekking staff, and porters with a climbing guide. The full trip cost comes to US $ 1,700 per person in a group of a minimum of 2-3. 

This is as per the itinerary chosen with 4 overnights in Kathmandu Hotel on B/ B basis. Includes all meals B-L-D and room accommodation on treks from Lukla to Lukla. As well as wages and insurance of staff and climbing guide, national park fee, and domestic airfare. 

Getting there Away

Getting there and away around the high Khumbu region of Everest where Island Peak is located. Where all climbers will enjoy good scenic walks from the start and ending point at Lukla. A lovely scenic high-altitude walk with constant views of towering peaks including Mt. Everest. 

The walk follows through nice Sherpa villages adorned with the traditional culture of Buddhism, with time to visit a monastery. Especially at a beautiful spot in Tengboche with the famous majestic monastery of great religious interest. 

On treks to Island Peak base camp with ample time at Namche Bazaar and in Dingboche with extra days. For a scenic excursion to support acclimatization and explore the best viewpoints.  

Entry Permits and Requirements

Entry permits are not required for climbing trekking peaks after paying Peak Royalty Fees for the area of climbing. But the Sagarmatha National Park entrance fee is required which will be paid by the guide. The park fees will be included in the trip cost as well, the only necessary paper. The required entry or peak permit is your valid passport with a legal visa as per the duration in Nepal.

The peak permits will be the entry permits to Khumbu areas, with national park permit fees.

Altitude Sickness & Acclimatization

Altitude Sickness or AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) are two major types and symptoms. HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema) water in the brain and HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema) water in the lungs.    

The best treatment for people with AMS or High Altitude Sickness is to drink enough water or any warm fluid. Which is a good prevention, as well as having rest and someone to take care of the victims.

If the symptoms persist with no sign of improvement, the best and safest thing is to take the patient down, where he/she can feel better. 

Some trekkers and mountaineers carry Diamox pills as safety measures or precautions against high-altitude sickness. Diamox is a brand name for Acetazolamide, which can reduce or prevent the symptoms of AMS or High Altitude Sickness and lowers headache, tiredness nausea, and dizziness.

In severe conditions, the patient needs immediate evacuation by the fastest means of transportation. In Nepal and the Khumbu area, Helicopter 

Services are the best options for the fastest emergency evacuation. Bringing the patient to Kathmandu at the best hospitals for treatment.

Trekkers and Mountaineers need to take a slow easy pace on high-altitude climbs having much rest from getting breathless. As well as taking enough fluid, water, soups, or plain tea/lemonade.  

Internet Connectivity

Every village has hydroelectricity and solar, where trekkers can charge their electronic items paying a fee per hour per item charged to the lodge owner. Nearly all main villages as far as Dingboche and Chukung, have an internet connection, but sometimes it gets fast and slow. 

Depending upon the weather and landscapes around deep valleys and gorges internet services could be obstructed. But do not expect much while staying at Island Peak Base Camp for a few days in the total wilderness where internet services are not available till Chukung and Dingboche are reached.

Guide & Staff Arrangements

On mainstream trekking like around the Everest region, one can trek solo as an individual trekker. But it is best to have a good local guide and a porter for safety and to enjoy the walks. As well as joining reliable local trekking agents in Kathmandu accompanied by a government-licensed guide. Having a guide to accompany will make it much more secure when choosing the right overnight stops in lodges. Where travelers can get much information about the culture as well as flora and fauna.

In case of altitude or other sicknesses, the guide will be a great help to bring you to a safe place and to contact the head office in case of an emergency.

But climbing, trekking peaks, or major mountaineering expeditions need to be accompanied by a proper Government-licensed guide.

Travel/Medical Insurance

All trekkers and climbers need to purchase Medical and Travel Insurance. Which is for your safety in case of illness; in this condition arise needs immediate evacuation by any means of quick transportation. The fastest is, using Helicopter services to reach Kathmandu, for further treatment. Where all extra expenses and medical bills are to be borne by oneself and claimed through your concerned Insurance companies. 

Trip Safety

Trip Safety is the priority of all trekking agencies in Nepal, no other companies want their company; branded with a negative impact. 

Every company offers the best and safest holidays, however, all visitors should know traveling around the Himalayas. Especially in high-altitude countries, all should be prepared for any type of situation. Which can happen without prior notice like unfortunate events or accidents. All trekking company guides are well trained and experienced to cope with the situation within their control. 

All Nepalese and trekking companies want visitors to enjoy safe and secure adventure holidays in Nepal. 

Some FAQs(Frequently Asked Questions) About Island Peak

How hard is Climbing Island Peak?

Island Peak is one of the popular trekking peaks in Nepal; attracting hundreds of climbers in every good season of the year. The grade is PD + means Per Difficult with plus, the grade used from the famous French and Swiss Alpine Climbing Classification Systems. A straightforward climb on ice, snow, and rocky moraine with some technical sections to encounter before the summit. 

Where all trekkers and climbers require a good attitude and the best climbing equipment to make the climb safe and successful.

What are the safety measures?

The first safety measure is having an expert veteran guide who have climbed many major mountains and Island peak. The next step is proper planning with enough rest days for acclimatization and practice climbing. Carrying the best climbing needful gear from fixed ropes, ice-screw, and snow-bar.

As well as understanding the nature of the climb and descent, if some get very sick contact the Kathmandu head office for the fastest emergency evacuation using a helicopter service. Where you’re insurance is one of the safety measures to claim most of the expenses incurred on medical grounds.

Mera Peak Versus Island Peak. Which one is More Difficult?

Certainly, Island Peak is more difficult than Mera Peak, Island Peak’s climbing grade is PD + (Per Difficult plus). Whereas Mera Peak is just F (Facial Easy).

Mera Peak is one of the easiest climbs with the least technical effort, one can climb with an ice axe and crampons only. But requires ropes for safe descent on long descents within a snow slope. Island Peak a straightforward climb with some steep climb that requires fixed ropes to the summit as well on descent. 

How do I Charge my Electronic Devices at Island Peak Climbing?

Most lodges up to Chukung the last settlements do have hydroelectricity or solar power to charge electronic devices and items. Where one needs to pay a fee for charging each gadget per hour basis, the price differs from one place to another.

But on the climb at Island Peak Base Camp, you will be away from human settlements and lodges, where electricity is not available.

The only chance is that carrying a portable solar panel can sling on the backpack, catching enough solar power to charge your electronics at the end of the walk reaching the camp.

In Case of Bad Weather if a Flight is Canceled What will be the Alternatives?

In case of bad or unfavorable weather conditions if the flight gets delayed for a long time or might need to cancel. The only alternative is to wait for a few days, till the weather improves or contact the head office in Kathmandu. Where the agencies will try their best to charter the helicopter, which also needs good weather for landing and take-off. 

The only options are to walk down to the nearest road and head for the drive back to Kathmandu or wait for the helicopter service.   

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