Island Peak (Nepali: Imja Tse) at 6189m is a popular destination for trekkers and climbers alike. Its popularity is owed to the fact that the route traverses along the route to Everest Base Camp – the gateway to the highest peak of the world and with a difficulty rating of Alpine PD+, summiting the peak does not demand you be a veteran climber; however, a certain level of fitness is expected. The name was given by Eric Shipton’s party because it appears as an island in a sea of ice when viewed from Dingboche.
Our journey begins with a short flight to Lukla, the gateway to Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park. Retracing the footsteps of legends Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Edmund Hillary we tread across the land of the ‘Sherpas’ – the respected mountaineers. Stunning backdrops of some of the highest peaks of the world – Everest, Ama Dablam, Lhotse, picturesque sceneries, monasteries that evoke reverence with the wind, gushing rivers, the route to EBC is paradise on earth, and being atop Island Peak, well you will have to experience it to know it.
Day 01: Arrival
Arrive in Kathmandu, be met by a representative, transferred to a hotel, check in. Rest of the day upon your discretion.
Overnight at Hotel.
Day 02: Sightseeing and Briefing
The day is required for us to procure necessary permits and other legal documentations to grant guests permission to climb a peak in Nepal.
In the meantime:
AM: Tour Kathmandu valley and travel through time as you visit UNESCO Heritage sites like the Durbar Squares and Swayambhu Temple.
PM: Briefing about the trek and allow time for last minute purchases of necessary equipments.
Overnight at Hotel
Day 03: Flight: Lukla, Trek: Phakding (2652m)
Take in the Himalayas as you take a spectacular flight to Lukla – the gateway to Everest. Upon arrival, necessary introduction with the porters and a short tea/coffee break.
Begin trek as we leave the small town of Lukla and cross a suspension bridge. Pursue trail, cross villages of Chaunri Kharka (2713m) and Ghat (2550m) and descend down to reach the Dudh Kosi River at Phakding (2652m).
Overnight: Lodge Trek Duration: 3 – 3 ½ hours.
Day 04: Namche Bazaar (3447m)
Follow trail along left bank of Dudh Kosi, pass along agricultural fields, small villages and a monastery, Cross the river at Benkar to be greeted with tantalizing glimpses of Kusum Kunguru (6369m) and Thamserku (6623m). Steep climb of 20 mins to Monjo, lunch stop.
Post lunch, trek up to the check post, register one’s entry and enter Sagarmatha National Park. Follow Dudh Kosi, cross a suspension bridge and begin a 3 hour ascent to Namche Bazar.
Halfway along, our first peek into views of the majestic three – Everest (8848m), Nuptse (7879m) and Lhotse (8383m). Reach Namche.
Overnight: Lodge Trek Duration: 5 – 5 ½ hours.
Day 05: Khumjung (3780 m) via Everest View Hotel
Set out from Namche Bazar and reach a small pass – a steep ascent awaits you. Reach Syangboche which features an inoperative airport with a stone plowed runway. A pleasant hike through meadows and small remnants of coniferous forests with beautifully scattered rhododendrons. Kongde Ri (6186m) is behind you.
We reach Everest View Hotel which features unspoiled views of Mt. Everest, Lhotse, and Nuptse amongst other Himalayan peaks. Head towards towards Khumjung– the largest Sherpa village in Khumbu.
Overnight: Lodge Trek Duration: 3 ½ – 4 ½ hours.
Day 06: Phortse (3800 m)
A steep walk towards Mong La pass as we pursue our journey towards EBC. Be greeted with spectacular views of Ama Dablam and Khumbila mountains. Our destination for the day is a very traditional Sherpa village by the name of Phortse where we are likely to spot Himalayan tahr (mountain goats), musk deers and Daphne – the national bird of Nepal.
Overnight: Lodge Trek Duration: 4 ½ hours.
Day 07: Dingboche (4350 m)
Stunning views of Tengboche and Ama Dablam as we climb up a ridge towards Imja Khola Valley. We reach Pangboche which has an ancient monastery famous for its purported possession of Yeti scalp and hand (the hand is believed to have been stolen). Stop for lunch.
Continue up the glacial valley to Dingboche – en route we pass beautifully carved and inscribed prayer stones – a tribute to the gods as offered by the natives of Khumbu region who revere the Himalayas.
Overnight: Lodge Trek Duration: 5 ½ hours.
Day 08: Rest/Acclimatization: Dingboche (4350 m)
In the mountains, to avoid AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness), it is advised to take rest – let the body acclimatize to the change in altitude. Thus today, we allow a rest day and allow our bodies to adapt before heading higher up.
After breakfast hike to the hill top on the left. Magnificent views of the surrounding Himalayas of Amadablum, Thamsherku, Kangtega etc are visible. One also gets to see the Pheriche village from the top.
Overnight: Lodge Trek Duration: 3 – 3 ½
Day 09: Lobuche (4930 m)
Follow and ill-defined track across the open landscape – a short steep ascent leads to you to a hill top. Travel along the ridge and arrive at Thugla for an early lunch. (Note: Due to the unavailability of water ahead, this is the only lunch stop available, thus an early lunch).
A steep ascent for an hour and we reach a beautiful memorial site – in remembrance to the brave mountaineers who died during their expeditions. The memorial chortens (shrines) dot the skyline facing the mountains and overlook the valley below them.
The trail leads to the terminal moraine of the Khumbu Glacier. A stunning view of the Pumori (Widow’s Peak) is ahead of us. After an hour of steady trek through the moraine, arrive at the windswept valley of Lobuche. Settle down and absorb without interruption, the mesmerizing views of Tawatse (6501m) and Nuptse (7855m).
Overnight: Lodge Trek Duration: 4 – 4 ½ hours.
Day 10: Gorakshep (5160m) – Everest Base Camp (5360m) – Gorakshep
Travel along the Khumbu Glacier through jumbled moraines and scattered rocks – on a clear day Everest can be seen looming behind Nuptse. Approach the ridge above Gorakshep and tread down to reach it.
Gorakshep was used as EBC during the 1950s expeditions and has several monuments dedicated to Everest expeditioners who lost their lives during their attempts to scale Everest. After a short rest, we head up to the EBC – just below the infamous Khumbu Icefall.
The EBC is not a specific location, more of a scattered region, where each expedition team sets camp before heading on towards the summit. Watch the towering mountain ranges surrounding us and be in awe of the treacherous Khumbu Icefall as we trek alongside it. Return to Gorakshep.
Overnight: Lodge Trek Duration: 7 ½ – 8 ½ hours.
Day 11: Kala Patthar (5545) and back to Lobuche
After an early breakfast and an arduous trek up hill, reach Kala Patthar to be rewarded with some of the best views of Mt. Everest and other surrounding high peaks– Pumori (7145m), Changtse (7553m), Nuptse (7855m), Lhotse (8516m) and Ama Dablam amongst many others. Breathtaking, stunning, spectacular, awe-inspiring, one will run out of adjectives whilst describing the Himalayas.
Best viewed after noon as the sun is behind the observer and on the majestic mountains ahead of you.
After a short rest and refreshments, follow the trail back to Lobuche.
Overnight: Lodge Trek Duration: 6 ½ – 7 ½ hours.
Day 12: Dingboche
Post breakfast, cross the stream, and head towards the Sherpa Memorial and proceed to Thugla. The day’s trek will be relatively easy as we will be going downhill. Past Chortens and Mani wall, we approach Chukung Valley and the prosperous village of Dingboche.
Overnight: Lodge Trek Duration: 4 – 4 ½ hours.
Day 13: Chhukung (4750m)
From Dingboche we take the trail through Imja Khola valley – a land raven by glacier moraines amidst towering formidable mountains – Lhotse on your left and Ama Dablam on your right. After an hour’s walk we reach a yak herdmen’s place Bibre – straight ahead, beyond a terminal moraine wall soars the Island Peak (Imja Tse) – its peak your destination.
The trail ahead is intersected by icy streams; about half an hour from Bibre we reach Chukung. An option might be to hike to the rocky knoll of Chhukung Ri which offers stunning views of Lhotse, Island Peak, Ama Dablam, Makalu and several other peaks including Baruntse.
P.M.: Equipment Check.
Overnight: Lodge Trek Duration: 3 ½ hours
Day 14: Paresya Gyab (5150m) Base Camp of Island Peak
Walk past the small village of Chhukung and the path leads a fairly steep way. A crisscross route through the Imja and Lhotse glacier leads to a wide valley exposing the SW side of Island peak.
Pre-Climb Training: After lunch our guides will familiarize you with gears and various techniques to adopt during the climb. Learn how to use an ice axe, climbing boots and crampons, harness, ascender, and how to go up and down using ropes.
Overnight at Base Camp. (Camping / Tented accommodation)
Day 15: Summit Island Peak (6189m) & back to Base Camp
We start our day early. With assistance of our headlight, we follow the path that leads up beyond the base camp, the terrain changes as we gain altitude from sandy, to grassy, to boulder strewn. The slope narrows and we enter a steep rock channel.
Time to rope-up and put on our crampons as we begin the crossing the glacier. We follow a steep snow slope that leads us onto the summit ridge. Voila! You are atop Island Peak. Bask in the glory and let the airy wind blowing above the peak wash you. Look around you and notice how beautiful and majestic nature’s creations are – immerse yourself in the peace and tranquility of the summit.
Take in the view before you descend – the south face of Lhotse and other towering peaks. Descend to Base Camp.
Overnight at Base Camp. (Camping / Tented accommodation)
Day 16: Contingency day in case of Bad weather.
Contingency day to be used incase of bad weather or other unforeseen circumstances
Overnight: Tented Camp OR Lodge
Day 17: Pangboche (3985m)
Our return journey begins – via scattered rocks and jumble moraines we reach Chhukung and then Dingboche and all the way to Pangboche. The altitude change and the warmer climate are embraced and the sense of accomplishments enthralling.
Overnight: Lodge Trek Duration: 4 ½ – 5 ½ hours.
Day 18: Monjo via Thyangboche
Cross forests of fir and rhododendron and the beautiful meadows of Devouche. A short climb to Thyangboche, have lunch. Take in the views as we approach our last days in the laps of the Himalayas. Follow the trail back to Namche, have lunch, continue downhill, leave the premises of Sagarmatha National Park at Jorsale and head to Monjo, where we overnight.
Overnight: Lodge Trek Duration: 7 – 7 ½ hours.
Day 19: Lukla
Retrace our steps along the Dudh Kosi crossing to the western bank at Benkar. Lunch at Phakding and in the afternoon reach Luka.
A farewell dinner in the evening over celebratory drinks and dancing with our Sherpa friends.
Overnight: Lodge Trek Duration: 5 ½ – 6 hours.
Day 20: Flight: Lukla – Kathmandu
Early morning, take a flight to Kathmandu in a twin otter aircraft. Upon arrival, be met and transferred to hotel by representative.
Overnight: Hotel (45 minutes flight)
Day 21: Free day in Kathmandu
Free day in Kathmandu to rest, relax and shop on your own.
Day 22: Departure
Last minute shopping of souvenirs and transfer to TIA, Kathmandu.
Head home, or to your next destination with beautiful memories and a wide glossary of experiences. Watch the Himalayas pass by.
Best Period: Feb, to, May – Oct to Dec
Time Period: 21 Nights / 22 Days.
Trek Period: 15 Nights / 16 Days
Climb Period: 2 Nights / 3 Days
In Kathmandu: 3 Nights
Trek Type: Strenuous
Highest Altitude: 6189 meters
Warning: Altitude Sickness.
Accommodations: Hotels in Kathmandu / Lodges on trek / Camping when climbing
National Park: Sagarmatha National Park (1148 sq. kms)
Mountains: Everest, Lhotse, Tamserku, Ama Dablam, Nuptse, Tawatse, Kantega, Pumo-ri, etc.
Rivers: Bhote Kosi, Dudh Kosi and Imjatse Khola.
Villages: Lukla, Namche, Thyangboche, etc
Tribes: Mostly Sherpas & Tibetans
Forests: Of Rhododendron and Pine.
Landscapes: Varying from temperate valleys to snow clad mountains.
NEPAL TREK INFORMATION
What is Tea House / Lodge trek?
A simple way to under Tea house / Lodge is probably ‘a small hotel’. However this can sometimes be misleading, as they do not have high-end facilities like modern hotels in urban areas. The concept though is same as hotels in providing accommodations (rooms) and meals for guest staying in it.
So if one does a trek going from point A to B to C etc., and spending nights in these kind of lodges or teahouse is called a ‘Lodge Trek’ or ‘Tea House Trek’
Which areas in Nepal have Tea House treks?
The most popular regions for treks in Nepal are Annapurna, Everest Langtnag and Upper Mustang. All these places have good quality lodges, well managed, variety of food to choose from the menus available and boast of Wi-Fi, bakeries etc.
Around the areas that have lesser trekkers like, Makalu Barun, Manaslu, Kanchenjunga etc. the tea house/ lodge are very basic in comparison.
Basically good lodges have developed where foot traffic is the most and Annapurna, Everest and Langtang receive the most trekkers in Nepal.
Rooms in the Lodges?
The rooms are very basic in most places. In some very popular areas like Annapurna and Everest high-end rooms with attach bath and flush toilet and ruining hot/ cold water have come out in the recent years. However these kinds of lodges are very few and not available in all places on the trek route.
Basic room’s sizes are on an average of 8 feet by 8 to 10 feet. They have twin cots with mattress and pillows. Most lodges provide blankets, however for hygienic regions it’s advisable to carry a good sleeping bag of your own. The walls are pretty thin and noises carry. Earplugs are recommended to be carried.
In more remote areas one may only get dormitories for accommodations and dinning and sleeping arrangements may be in the same common area.
Toilets in the Lodges
Most lodges have several common toilets inside the lodge. The number depends on how big the lodge is. On an average a lodge having 15 /18 rooms may have 3 /4 common toilets. The toilets are very basic and no flush or running water is available in the toilets. Please bring you own Toilet paper. Drums with water and a mug are the ways to flush!
In Annapurna and Everest region we try and provide rooms with attach bath
where available. However, do note that there are only a handful of places where this kind of facility is available.
Food in lodges
Menu in most places especially the more popular trekking routes have extensive looking menus ranging from local, Tibetan to western delicacies. Items like Dal Bhat (rice, vegetables and lentils), pizzas, pastas, momos (dumplings), noodles, soup, fried rice etc., are amongst the common ones in all menus.
Our recommendation is to avoid meat, as in most places porter carry the meat to lodges without any hygienic way to keep the meat fresh on the way. It takes at least few days to reach the lodges. Even the canned meat items are not recommended, as one has no way to check the expiry date etc.
Recommended food items are the local ones like Dal Bhat, Momos (Dumplings), noodles etc, as they are freshly made in comparison to other food items. Please remember the cooks in the lodges are ‘not chefs’, very few are trained professionally as most have learned through looking at other cooks cooking in the same lodges or similar ones in the area. Basically sticking to local food is best as they are hygienic and fresh.
For breakfast pancakes, porridge, toast (not available everywhere), eggs etc. are available in all lodges.
There is a common dining area with fireplaces in all lodges. This is not only a place to eat but also a good place to unwind, interact with fellow trekkers, read a book, play board games or cards and relax.
Everyday our guide will help you and provide information on what choices to make in which places / lodges for food.
Drinking water on treks
One can get boiled water or bottled mineral water or filtered water in the Everest region, Annapurna and Langtang region. On an average a liter of water will cost US $ 1.50 to US $ 4.00 per liter. As one gains altitude on trek or goes further from the urban areas the higher the cost of drinking water.
Showers during treks
Hot or Cold showers are available everywhere in the Lodges. In some lodges, especially as we go higher in altitude instead of showers a bucket of hot water may be the option.
A hot shower cost on an average of US $ 3.00 to US $ 5.50 per shower. The higher we go the more expensive the bath.
We recommend not to take too may baths on treks specially if one is going to high altitude treks. The reason being the temperature drops rapidly as the sunsets and getting the body temperature back to normal after shower at high altitude becomes difficult. This increases the chances of catching cold and walking with cold at high altitude with thin cold air is not a pleasant experience. So please try and avoid taking showers as much as possible.
Electricity on treks
Electricity hasn’t reached all places in Nepal. So electricity is limited to certain areas of the trek. On an average one has electricity till about 3500 meters in altitude. As we gain altitude solar system has been set up in all lodges.
Rooms have lights only till places where electricity has reached. So where electricity has not reached there are no room lights. Dining hall, toilets and all common areas have electricity through the night even if it is being supplied through solar system.
Charging camera batteries, mobile phones can be done at the dining hall upon informing the management. They charge on an average of US $ 2.00 to US $ 6.5 for getting the batteries fully charged. The higher we go the more expensive to charge.
We recommended that you put your batteries in your sleeping bags at night to keep it warm as in cold the batteries drains energy very fast.
Wi-Fi and mobile phone on treks
Annapurna and Everest regions have lodges that provide Wi-Fi. A cost of US $ 5.00 to $ 12.00 depending on what data package they have is charged on per hour or per day basis.
Other trek areas have not developed this facility.
Annapurna and Everest region has good mobile connectivity. Other areas don’t have much coverage but the mobile network connection is growing. Please enquire via mail about the mobile phone coverages on trek routes for details.
One can get a mobile phone sim card on arrival at the airport. Passport photocopies with passport size photo (one) is required.