Climb Island Peak after traversing through Everest Base Camp and experience rich Sherpa culture

8 December, 2020 | Reccy Guide

The Island Peak climb in Nepal, a 16 day+ excursion, is a perfect balance of trekking, mountaineering, and cultural engagement. Summiting Island Peak provides a challenge to advanced beginner and intermediate climbers who wish to climb in the Himalayas. On the way, you can expect to engage with the Sherpa people who live in the Khumbu region, while passing through villages such as Dingboche and Namche Bazaar. 

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The Himalayan mountain range defines the northeastern border of Nepal; Tibet lies on the opposite side. This range is home to Mount Everest and a host of other peaks that are among the tallest in the world. Adventurers flock here every year to test their strength and stamina, while others wish to experience the rich culture or witness the beautiful, sprawling landscapes of the region. The Island Peak climb and trek is a premier option for anyone wanting to fully immerse themselves in a Nepalese exploration.

All trips begin in Kathmandu, the capital city, which boasts a population of 2.5 million. All tours must be accompanied by a certified Sherpa mountaineering guide and travel company. With their help, you will board a short charter flight from Kathmandu to Lukla. Lukla marks the beginning of the trek to Everest Base Camp, which you will complete in full on your way to Island Peak.

Climbing Island PeakClimbing Island Peak

Depending on the company and guide, most Island Peak climbing and trekking excursions last between 16 and 22 days, which always include multiple full rest days for altitude acclimatization. After departing from Lukla, you will trek first to the town of Namche Bazaar. This town is home to roughly 2,000 Sherpa people, and the colorful buildings are built into a sloping hillside. It serves as the trading hub for the Khumbu region. Many travelers enjoy visiting their market before moving on.

Lodging while trekking occurs at local teahouses. These simple buildings are run by local families in each village, where you will be provided clean beds in small rooms and cooked homemade meals, such as Dhal Bhat. There is no need to bring sleeping or camping supplies; although there will be several nights of camping ahead, these occur at long-standing base camps, and your sleeping accommodations will be taken care of by your touring company. 

Campsite during the Island Peak ExpeditionA campsite in the Island Peak climbing expedition

On your way to Tengboche, you’ll wind through colorful forests of blue pine, rhododendrons, birch, and juniper. You’ll follow and cross the coursing, icy blue Imja River. Many trekking groups stop to climb Kala Patar to practice and train. This peak rises to 5,500 meters and offers climbers a chance for further acclimatization to the high altitudes.

Shortly thereafter, you’ll reach Everest Base Camp. This campground is a standing feature of the rugged terrain and stands in a flat field at the base of Kala Patar. Most groups spend a further day or two here to explore the base camp, rest, and socialize with fellow travelers. Once you depart EBC, the trip’s main feature awaits. 

The Island Peak base camp is located below the grassy hills that rise to the Imja Glacier. It offers breathtaking views of one of the largest ice walls in the world: the south face of Lhotse. The Lhotse is itself a glacier, and its sheer face offers spectacular views during the Island Peak climb. Summiting the peak begins by crossing the Imja Glacier via crampons before roping up and using ice picks and plenty of willpower to reach the top of the 6,100-meter-high mountain. 

crossing a crevasse during Island Peak climbIsland peak climb: crossing a crevasse

While standing on Island Peak, you’ll be rewarded with an even better view of Lhotse and a view of Everest, which rises a nearly unbelievable 2,700 meters above you. The entire panorama is one of gorgeous, expansive, and dramatic mountain views. Once you’ve drank in as much beauty as possible, it’s time to descend. In the morning, you’ll continue onto Pangboche and trek the return loop through Namche Bazaar, and back to Lukla. A final charter flight will carry you back to Kathmandu. Upon returning to this bustling city, it will likely feel like you’ve entered a different world. After so long among the mountains,Kathmandu seems a world away from the rest of Nepal.

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