This package is a perfect combination of two marvelous adventures found in the Khumbu region of Nepal: trekking and climbing. You have the chance to take on both activities in a world-class environment. Everest Base Camp Trek with Island Peak Climbing includes all the highlights of the EBC Trek with a special added bonus. Island Peak (6189m), locally known as Imja Tse, is the most popular climbing peak in Nepal. The climb is challenging, but accessible enough that a beginner could participate. In fact, it is often referred to as a ‘climbing peak,’ as it requires very little technical climbing. Beginners and experienced climbers alike will enjoy this thrilling adventure.
After a short, scenic flight from Lukla, we begin our journey through the Khumbu Valley, exploring its natural and cultural diversities. We enjoy our time in the Sherpa villages. The Sherpa ethnic group is known for their mountaineering skills as well as their neighborliness towards guests. The trail to Everest Base Camp (5364m) is the standard trail found in the Everest Base Camp Trek.
We stay in Namche Bazaar, the trading and tourism center of the area, and Tengboche, home to the largest monastery in the region. It is suggested to take our time in these places, not only to acclimate to the altitude but also to enjoy their attractions and build excitement for the trek ahead. From Tengboche, we follow our path through the pristine, striking alpine landscape. The beautiful Sherpa villages along the way add much charm to our hike. Who knows, maybe we’ll run into one of the many exotic species that inhabit Sagarmatha National Park.
We eventually arrive at Everest Base Camp and feel a pure, natural Himalayan high. It is necessary to spend some time taking in the incredible views of the surrounding peaks and the notorious Khumbu Icefall. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to stand at the base of the world’s tallest mountain, so make sure you snap some photos. Next, mentally prepare to climb Kala Patthar (5540m). The views from the top take our breath away. We can see several of the world’s tallest peaks, as well as a clearer view of the Khumbu Glacial Valley. Then, we reach Island Peak Base Camp (5200m) and stay there for the night.
We wake up the next morning full of anticipation to climb to the summit. A hot drink and the sunrise over the mountains warm our spirits. If the weather is bad, we may have to descend and try again the next day. Following the icy trail of Island Peak, we reach the summit and are rewarded with mind-blowing views of the top of the world, Mt. Everest (8848m), as well as Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Makalu, Ama Dablam, and the surrounding peaks. The sights from the peak are unforgettable and well worth the challenge. Following the same trail, we climb down to Island Peak Base Camp to sleep. The following days, we trek at a leisurely pace all the way to Lukla.
Best Time to Climb Island Peak
Island Peak can be climbed anytime throughout the year, except during the monsoon period (June, July, and August. There are two equally favorable seasons for climbing Island Peak: autumn (the second week of September, through October, until about mid-November) and spring (March, April, and May). Landscapes in autumn are vibrant and the skies are clear. The view of the Himalayas from the top will take your breath away! Autumn is generally the warmest season, though in November the temperatures can get really chilly. Another perk of this season is that there are fewer people climbing the peak. Spring is known as the ‘peak’ time for peak climbing. After winter, the glaciers are still solid, making it easier to climb. Also, the weather is perfect, the skies are clear, and the alpine wildflowers are blooming.
If you can handle the severe cold, it is possible to climb in the winter. Temperatures may reach to about -60 during this time. Climbing during monsoon season is too risky, as the melting glaciers create cavasses that climbers can easily fall into. It is best not to take the risk during the monsoon.
The most difficult part of Island Peak Climbing
Of course, climbing at a high altitude is not easy. Island Peak is a challenge, but it provides a once-in-a-lifetime experience of climbing in the legendary Everest region. It also gives an entirely different perspective than the peak of Mount Everest can’t provide. It is difficult because it is a real climbing peak, which crosses over crevasses and requires specific climbing equipment (i.e. spikes, ropes, jumar, etc). The most difficult part of the expedition was definitely dealing with the altitude. To minimize this, we’ve implemented several acclimatization days along the way.
To reach the summit, you have to start early in the morning, walking in the dark up to High Camp on a rocky trail. Next, you must cross a couple of crevasses via ladders. Right before the summit, there is a steep section where you must properly climb, using the jumar to pull your body up. Once you reach the summit, the challenge is not over yet. The steep trail back down to camp is a killer, putting a lot of stress on your knees. Please do as much training and preparation before the trek as possible. With strong determination, and feeling the natural high of climbing a Himalayan peak, you will likely forget about the difficulty.
Island Peak Location
Island Peak is situated in the Everest region of Nepal, just south of Mount Lhotse and Mount Everest. The peak is in the middle of a choppy sea of peaks, hence the name Island Peak. The majestic peak even looks like an island when you see it from Dingboche village.
The way to Island Peak follows the same trail to Everest Base Camp from Lukla to Dingboche. At Dingboche, the trail diverts from the EBC trail. Walking for about 5 hours from the village the following day, you reach Island Peak Base Camp.
Weather and Temperature during the Island Peak Climb
Depending on the time of the year and your altitude, temperatures can range from 32 degrees Celsius to -20 degrees Celsius. September has moderate temperatures, varying from 10 to 0 degrees, with partly cloudy skies. During October and November, temperatures range from 5 to -10 degrees, and in December, they range from 5 to -20. For March, April, and May, expect temperatures to be around 10 degrees during the day and -5 to -10 at night. Each of these months provides clear skies and stellar Himalayan views, particularly on the way to Island Peak Base Camp and from the peak itself.
Regardless of the season, the coldest weather happens from sunset to sunrise. Climbing up to Island Peak in the early morning is freezing cold, but after walking for about 15-20 minutes, your body warms up, especially after the sun rises.
Is there an age limit for climbing Island Peak?
More important than one’s age is their determination and desire to climb the majestic Island Peak. We have had people of all ages successfully make it to the peak and back. In addition to determination, one needs to have a solid level of physical fitness. Island Peak is a proper climbing excursion in the Everest region and requires a high level of fitness, though there is no strict age requirement. Adventure enthusiasts from 8 to 85 years old have summited Island Peak, so you if are confident, do not let your age stop you! Most importantly, have determination and train properly, and you will be at the top of Island Peak in no time!
Island Peak Climbing Cost and Permit Fee
The cost of the Island Peak Climb depends on the route you choose. There are several different trails to get to Island Peak Base Camp (IPBC) – the decision is up to you. One route follows the Everest Base Camp trail to Dingboche and then to Island Peak Base Camp. Another way to do it is by reaching IPBC via Gokyo Lakes and the Cho La Pass, which allows for extra acclimatization time. Whichever route you choose, the cost includes your accommodation, food, guides and porters, camping supplies, and equipment.
Some permits and fees are required for climbing Island Peak. The price of the climbing permit varies depending on the season. In the high season, the price increases, while in the low season, the price decreases.
Island Peak Climbing Duration
The entire duration of the Island Peak Climb is 17 days, including a trip to Everest Base Camp. The time varies depending on which route you choose. On the quickest and most direct route, you can make it to Island Peak within 7 days, and then trek back down and fly to Kathmandu in the other 3 days. It is not recommended, but it is possible to do in 10 10-day roundtrip from Kathmandu. Island Peak Climbing DurationIsland Peak Climbing Duration
The actual summit of Island Peak takes about 7-10 hours from base camp and then 3-5 hours back down, for a total of 10-15 hours. It is a long walk to the summit from base camp, so we start very early in the morning.
Island Peak Climbing Route
The Island Peak summiting route is different every season due to climate change and general weather patterns of the given year. It is officially set by local Sherpas with the help of the Nepal Tourism Board after the monsoon and again after winter. During monsoon, glaciers melt and during winter, heavy snow and avalanches can change the route. Some seasons require you to cross several crevasses using ladders and/or jumars, while in some seasons, there won’t be any crevasses at all. Feel free to ask us about the conditions of the route before you come.
Physical Fitness & Preparation for Island Peak Climbing
To summit Island Peak, one needs to have a combination of good fitness and preparation. It is a technical climbing peak, but you do not need previous climbing experience. However, you should have experience hiking in high-altitude areas. Fitness and preparation are the keys to any adventure in the Himalayas. If you live in nearby mountains, it is recommended to spend some time hiking there. Otherwise, try to go to the gym at least three months before your climb to build stamina. Stairclimbing and other aerobic exercises also help if you don’t want to join a gym. Please consult your doctor to see if you are fit for the Island Peak Climb.
Crevasses on the Route
Crossing crevasses on the way to Island Peak is the most adventurous part. There are several along the way, which are crossed by crawling, climbing, and walking across ladders. After the monsoon season, there are more crevasses. Sherpas securely set the ladders at the beginning of each season (early September after the monsoon and early March after winter). The ladders are safely placed and our guides carefully lead you over each crevasse.
Proper Climbing Section
Among peaks of the same altitude in the Everest region (i.e. Mera Peak and Lobuche Peak), Island Peak is the most technical. After crossing the crevasses, there is a steep section for about 200 meters just before reaching the summit. Fixed ropes are set up, so you will have to use the jumars to properly climb to the top – yet another exhilarating but rewarding part of the journey. At some points, you may also need to use the ice axe. On the way down, you might have to use the jumar. On the way down, don’t forget to pause, take a deep breath, and look out at the breathtaking panorama that surrounds you.
What do I do if I can’t summit Island Peak?
Do not panic! Our assistant guide will take care of you in an emergency. If you are facing any problems whatsoever, speak up. It is best to take action as soon as problems occur, so they do not get worse. Depending on the severity of the situation, our guide will act accordingly. If it is a minor problem, the guide will take you to the nearest hospital in Pheriche.
It is my first peak climb. How can I prepare?
Although Island Peak is considered a technical climb, you only need a moderate level of skill to do it. It is not super tough for those who are in good shape. Most important are one’s stamina and determination. Try to find a climbing gym near your house, or climb in the mountains. If those are not readily available, the best thing to do is practice cardio by jogging, running, swimming, stair climbing, etc. Plan to start preparing at least 3 months prior to your climb.
Note: If you have done Everest Base Camp already or have only two weeks in Nepal and still looking for Island Peak climbing, please contact us. We can organize 12 days of safe Island Peak Climbing from Kathmandu to Kathmandu.