One of the best climbing routes in among the giants of Everest and Lhotse.
Why Island Peak? Island Peak is perhaps the best (and only) opportunity for advanced beginner/intermediate mountaineers to take on a challenging glacier climb above 20,000ft in the Everest Himalayas. Participants also get to walk the famous trek to Everest Base Camp – a real once in a lifetime mountain challenge.
It’s no surprise that Himalayan peaks have drawn adventurers for nearly 200 years. The highest mountains, beautiful views, rugged terrain and local Sherpa culture offer powerful experiences that make the Himalayan adventures so rewarding. While many think of the Himalayas as high-altitude trekking or technical (and unachievable) climbing, this Island Peak expedition includes mountaineering that does not require years of climbing experience.
In order to acclimatise prior to climbing Island Peak (20,305 ft./6,189m), you’ll trek through the Himalayan Khumbu. Team members will have the opportunity (weather permitting) to summit Kala Pattar (18,187 ft./5,545m), a wonderful location to view Mount Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse. Then head for a visit to Everest Base Camp - a stunning and truly wild terrain.
You’ll travel through the renowned village of Namche Bazaar, and to get in touch with the spiritual side of Himalayan life you can visit the revered monastic community of Tengboche. This Kala Pattar trek serves as an introduction to the warmth of the Sherpa community and as an acclimatisation period before the ascent of the great pyramid, Island Peak.
The trek to Island Peak passes through countryside where you can immerse yourself in centuries-old Nepalese and Tibetan cultures, to connect in a different way with the landscapes around you. The journey offers some of the most striking scenery in the Khumbu, including the enchanting stone village of Dingboche.
The summit of Island Peak stands adjacent to the South Face of Lhotse, one of the world's largest ice walls. It offers stunning views of beautiful Ama Dablam and Makalu, it also makes an excellent opportunity to test yourself and experience a Himalayan mountain-climbing expedition.
Climbing in comfort with the best equipment
We stay in the full-supported tented camps with EXPED down filled mattresses, for extra comfort. As a safety precaution, we always carry a Portable Altitude Chamber (PAC) and Oxygen along with a comprehensive medical kit and a satellite phone for communication in case of emergency so you can be completely confident that your safety and comfort are our priorities. Mountain Monarch provide all the personal and group climbing gears including LA-SPORTIVA’s Nepal Extreme climbing boots to make your trip to Mera Peak hassle free and cost effective.
Day 1: Arrival / Welcome Dinner
Our friendly staff will be at the airport waiting to greet you and bring you to your accommodation. After you get settled and rest, you’ll meet the rest of your team and enjoy a traditional dance show together. Our welcome dinner is a tasty one and will give you the opportunity to ask any questions about the days ahead.
Day 2: Cultural Tour / Trek Preparation
Today we’ll explore Kathmandu’s many religious and historic sites. In the afternoon, we’ll review our trekking itinerary and make sure you have the gear you need for a comfortable trip. You’ll also receive your trekking permit for Mera Peak. Spend the evening at your leisure; tomorrow’s a big day!
Day 3: Fly to Lukla (2800m). Trek to Ghat (2530m). Approximately two hours walking
You’ll transfer to the airport for the 45-minute flight to the STOL airstrip at Lukla. It was built by Sir Edmund Hillary and his friends to service the Everest Region, when building schools and hospitals for the Sherpa people. A nice way to start and connect with Himalayan history.
It’s a memorable flight, with marvellous views of the Eastern Himalaya. At Lukla you are immediately impressed by the scale of the huge peaks but this is only taste of what’s to come.
The crew assemble and you head downhill towards the Dudh Kosi, a raging river flowing from the highest peaks. The well-marked trail meanders around potato and buck-wheat fields, passing through small villages to the first overnight stop at your private permanent campsite at Ghat.
Day 4: To Monjo (2850m). Approximately four to five hours walking
Cross the thundering glacial Dudh Kosi (Milk River), so called because of its colour. You’ll pass pine forests, small groups of donkeys, yaks (carrying trading goods and trek gear along the trail) and dzopko (a yak-cow crossbreed). This is your first real experience of a Himalayan ‘motorway’.
Spectacular mountain peaks unfold above you and seem to hover above the tree-line as they rise above the deep river valley. Shortly after leaving camp you’ll cross the Kusum Khola, a tributary stream to the Dudh Kosi, and the peak of Kusum Kangru (6369 m) can be seen to the East.
Further along the trail you’ll spot Nupla (5885 m) and Kongde Ri (6093 m) rising above the forested ridges. At a turn on the trail, Thamserku (6808 m) looms majestically, from the river floor. You’ll also see your first Mani walls today. These stone structures are a compilation of many stone tablets, each with the inscription ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’, which translates to ‘Hail to the jewel in the lotus’. It’s a mantra venerated by Buddhists and Brahmans alike.
The allure of the mountains is hard to resist, but you need to be patient, as it’s very important to acclimatise slowly. Today’s walk is not a long one, and you might be eager to press on. Slow down, and just enjoy the journey. You’ll reap the rewards late in the trip.
Day 5: To Namche Bazaar (3440m). Approximately three to four hours walking
Moving on, you’ll re-cross the Dudh Kosi and rejoin the main trail from here. There seems to be a never ending stream of local traders, commuters and trekkers, all making their way up to or down from the busy market village of Namche Bazaar.
The 600-metre climb from the valley floor is wide and winding, and good preparation for your many climbs ahead. To your right you’ll see the beautiful jagged peaks of Thamserku (6808m) with Kang Taiga (6780m) behind. Eventually you’ll round a corner and enter the bowl where the town is situated, completely enveloped by rugged slopes and mountains.
Day 6: Rest day
Sagarmartha National Park Headquarters, just above your Sherpa hotel, offers a very interesting display of photographs, mountaineering items, memorabilia and information on the park. The hill above is a wonderful vantage point for the spectacular view up the Imja Khola Valley towards Everest.
Towering over 4000 metres above the valley floor, spectacular peaks seem to engulf you. Around you are Taweche (6542 m), Thamserku (6808 m), Kantega (6685 m), Ama Dablam (6856 m), Nuptse (7896 m) and Lhotse (8511 m). The greatest of all, Mt Everest (8848 m), rises at the head of the valley.
Those who are fit and acclimatising well may wish to take the optional morning walk to the Everest View Hotel for spectacular views of Everest.
Day 7: To Deboche (3770m). Approximately six to seven hours walking
The walk to Thyangboche is one of the most spectacular trekking days in Nepal. The trail meanders around the ridges before descending through splendid rhododendron forests.
After lunch you’ll cross the Dudh Kosi again and begin the ascent to the top of a long ridge which flows from the summit of Kantega. As this is a devout Buddhist region, the wildlife is unused to people and friendly. So you might see Himalayan Thar, Musked Deer or pheasants in the forest and around the campsite.
As you approach the ridge line, you’ll pass through a traditional gateway onto a wide grassy meadow at the monastery village of Thyangboche. After it was destroyed by fire in 1989, the monastery was re-built with the assistance of Sir Edmund Hillary. Take a rest and visit to the monastery, you’ll then head downhill to Deboche and your private campsite.
Day 8: To Dingboche (4360m)
The early morning mountain views from the monastery are outstanding. Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse are at the head of the valley. Almost directly above you are Kantega and Thamserku. Completing a 360-degree panorama of mountains are Khumblia and Kongde Ri which encircle you from across the valley. It puts into perspective the enormity of what’s ahead.
From Thyangboche, head down to cross the Imja Khola before an easy climb along a wide, open trail to the small village of Pangboche (3901m). Take a slight detour to visit the Pangboche Gompa - the oldest monastery in the Khumbu.
The views of Ama Dablam, one of the Himalaya’s most stunning peaks, are spectacular. Continuing on, cross the river again and trek up to camp at Dingboche, situated just beneath the impressive Ama Dablam.
Day 9: Rest day in Dingboche.
An important acclimatisation day with the option of hiking high up to the ridge overlooking the village, or perhaps up to Chukung Village. There are excellent views of Nuptse, Lhotse, Chukung Peak and Imja Tse (6189 m). Massive glaciers drape beneath cliffs that soar up to 3,500 metres in this dramatic valley. You’ll really get a sense of your own place on the planet when confronted with such natural wonders.
Day 10: To Lobuche (4930m). Approximately six hours walking
You’ll be gaining altitude and it’s important that you move at a slow, steady pace to build stamina for the challenge ahead. Views of different peaks, such as Cholatse and Lobuche, unfold before you in this contrasting and spectacular landscape. Move up the Dhugla Ridge and onto a moraine (rock and sedimentary deposits left at the edge of a glacier) towards Khumbu Glacier.
Rock cairns can be seen, many of which are dedicated to the memory of climbers attempting the high mountains of the area, including Everest. The temperatures drops here as it’s exposed with camp situated amongst this glacial moraine. You’ll enjoy spectacular views all day of Pumori and Nuptse.
Day 11: To Gorak Shep (5288m) and Kala Pattar (5545m). Approximately five hours walking
Trek alongside the Khumbu Glacier as the path winds over the rocky moraine towards the settlement of Gorak Shep. At the junction of two large glaciers, and nestled in an amphitheatre of peaks, this campsite is spectacular.
Pumori (7145m) and Lingtren (6697m) surround the camp. Following your arrival at Gorak Shep there’s an early lunch before ascending Kala Pattar, which translates from Hindi as ‘black rock’.
Many of the famous Everest ascent routes are clear from here. Below you, the Khumbu Glacier snakes towards the ice fall and Western Cwm. You can see the area where expeditions now set their base camp but the original site was at Lake Camp, now known as Gorak Shep. The view south towards your route out of the valley are particularly beautiful.
Day 12: To Base Camp (5360 m). Approximately seven hours walking
By camping at Gorak Shep you can get an early start and an extra day of acclimatisation that will be invaluable on the trek to Everest Base Camp. Comfortably ascend to the historic site and enjoy it to the fullest.
Days 13-14: To Chukkung & rest day
Make your way down valley to Chukkung where you’ll spend a well-earned rest day before continuing to Island Peak base camp. This is a good time to catch up on some washing and preparations for your climb. If you’re still feeling energetic the hill behind Chukkung offers a nice ascent and the views of the glaciers on the opposite side are the perfect reward.
Day 15: To Island Peak Base Camp
Moving up the Imja valley, between Ama Dablam, Lhotse and a panorama of other peaks, you ascend onto a lateral moraine to a camp in a valley above the normal base camp for the climb.
Days 16-17: Summit Island Peak (6189m) & return to Base Camp (5090m): contingency day
An alpine start sees you climbing steeply up the lower flanks of the southeast face. The track is well used and at times there is a bit of rock scrambling, which is a different kind of challenge for tired legs. The peaks of Makalu and Lhotse come into view as you climb higher which makes it all worthwhile.
Upon crossing the neve (upper part of a glacier where snow turns to ice), it’s necessary to fix ropes up a short but steep ice climb. You’ll realise if you haven’t already that this is a serious summit. The ridge is quite exposed so you’ll traverse your way to the summit. Although Island Peak appears dwarfed by the peaks surrounding it, it provides a magnificent vantage point.
After some exhilarating moments on top of this Himalayan giant, descend by the same route to base. There is a contingency day factored in, in case of inclement weather conditions.
Days 18-19: Return to Namche
Fit and acclimatised, you can now enjoy the bustling trail and many sights, with great photographic opportunities along the way. Descend the valley from Base camp, trekking adjacent to a large glacial lake and under the rocky ‘trekking peak’ of Pokhalde.
There are yak pastures and several seasonal huts but little else until you reach the settlement of Chukhung where you can retrace your steps onto Namche.
Day 20: To Monjo and Lukla (2800m). Approximately eight hours walking
After a night in Namche, continue down through the forest to the valley floor to follow the Dudh Kosi river out of the national park to Monjo. Retrace your steps along the valley to Lukla. Savour the final mountain sunsets of this exhilarating journey. The last evening of the trek is a good time to have a small party for all the team, especially the porters who will return to their villages from here. There is usually lots of music, dancing and singing. And, if we are lucky, one of the superb cakes that our Nepali chefs are renowned for.
Day 21: Flight to Kathmandu.
You deserve a day off and Kathmandu is the place for that. Maybe a massage is in order and a wholesome European meal.
Day 22: Depart for your next destination.