Everest Base Camp & Island Peak –Mt. Imja Tse (6189 meters) Climb

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.


Detailed Itinerary

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).

Dinner and 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.

Dinner and Overnight: Lodge
Trek Duration: 5 – 5 ½ hours.

Day 05: Acclimatization (Namche Bazaar)

Take a day to acclimatize. In the meantime, explore Namche Bazaar – a bustling and thriving town in Khumbu region. Could visit a small museum atop a hill or visit Shyangboche Airport.

Dinner and Overnight: Lodge
Trek: N/A

Day 06:  Thyangboche (3863m)

Breakfast, sign in at the check post, short climb up to a small prayer stone. Path levels with an occasional climb here and there, enjoy grandeur views of Ama Dablam (6696m), Kang Taiga (6779) flanked by the towering views of Everest, Lhotse, and Nuptse. Descend to Imja Khola (river) at Phunki (3200m) next to several large water driven prayer wheels. Lunch.

Uphill to Thyangboche Monastery – a heavenly place. Lying at the base of Kang Taiga, Thyangboche offers stunning views of the valley leading to Ama Dablam, Everest (southwest face), Thamserku, and Kang Taiga. Traditionally, all Everest climbers receive their blessings here before heading onward.

Dinner and overnight: Lodge
Trek Duration: 5 – 5 ½ hours.

 

 Day 07: Dingboche (4350m)

Set on a trail through a forest of birch, conifer and rhododendron to the meadows of Devouche. Cross a suspension bridge above the fast-flowing Dudh Kosi and climb to Pangboche (3985m). Short rest, continue to Shomare for lunch.

Be introduced to a wide and interesting vista as we take a trail that has been cut along the cliffs. The mighty Dudh Kosi flows far below, cross a wooden bridge, uphill for an hour to reach Dingboche.

Dinner and overnight: Lodge
Trek Duration: 6 hours
.

 Day 08: Rest/Acclimatize

A study suggests that most people suffer or show signs of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) from the altitude of 4000m onwards, thus advised to acclimatize.

Day excursion to Imja Khola Valley in the morning. Return for lunch and rest for the day.

Dinner and Overnight: Lodge

Day 09: Lobuche

Approach an ill-defined track to arrive at a ridge and continue journey. Enjoy scenic views of Cholatese (6442m) on the west and Ama Dablam to the rear. Arrive at Thugla for an early lunch. (Note: Due to unavailability of water ahead, this is the only lunch stop available)

Post lunch, steep ascent; reach a Sherpa memorial in remembrance to the brave souls who left the world during their Everest expeditions. Further ahead, the trail leads to the terminal moraine of the Khumbu Glacier with views of Pumori (Mountain’s Daughter) Peak. The stark and rugged beauty is almost a moonscape. After an hour of steady trekking we reach the campsite at Lobuche and is situated in a windswept valley with enchanting views of Tawatse (6501m) and Nuptse (7855m).

Dinner and overnight at Lobuche
Trek Duration: 3 ½ – 4 ½ hours.

Day 10: Gorakshep (5160m) – Everest Base Camp (5360m) – Gorakshep

Reach another valley after a short climb, travel along the Khumbu Glacier through jumbled moraines and scattered rocks. On a clear day Mt. Everest can be seen looming behind Nuptse. Arrive at the ridge above Gorakshep and descend to reach Gorakshep – a small settlement with 2 tea houses. This place was base camp for the 1952 Swiss Everest Expedition. Gorakshep (graveyard of the crows) has a small lake, usually frozen, and several monuments to climbers who have died during their Everest expeditions.

EBC while fascinating, does not provide views of Everest – it is eclipsed by looming Lhotse and Nuptse. The highlight of Gorakshep is the lake and Khumbu glacier which is a short distance away. Gorakshep and adjoining areas are used as a base camp by Everest, Lhotse, and Nuptse summiteers.

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 at Lobuche
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 at Dingboche
Trek Duration: 3 ½ – 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 at Chhukung
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.

Trek Duration: 3 hours.

 

Day 15: Summit Island Peak (6189m) & back to Base Camp

We start our day early – 01:00 a.m. 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.

Note: The climbing can be done in two phases instead too. Day 1: Base Camp to High Camp; Day 2: High Camp to Summit and back to Base Camp.

Overnight at Base Camp.

Day 16: 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.

Dinner and Overnight: Lodge
Trek Duration: 4 ½ – 5 ½ hours
.

Day 17: 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.

Dinner and Overnight: Lodge
Trek Duration: 7 – 7 ½ hours.

Day 18: 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.

Dinner and Overnight: Lodge
Trek Duration: 5 ½ – 6 ½ hours.

Day 19: 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 at hotel.

Day 20: 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.

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