You shouldn't climb a six-thousander with just anybody. If you are travelling from far, you will want to have a company on your side to help you with the preparation. You don't want a crash course for the actual ascent, but you want to have the opportunity to use the right climbing equipment, and with the following itinerary for climbing Island Peak by Nepal Eco Adventure you can make the most of it.
Fly to Lukla , trek to Phakding
We’ll board a flight to Lukla (2810m). You will be able to enjoy the beauty of splendid hills, rivers and mountains during the 30 minute flight. On reaching Lukla airport, you’ll be introduced to your porter, and served a wholesome breakfast. After that, we will head north to Phakding (2620m). It is an easy 3 hour hike through the Dudhkoshi valley. We will head north from the airstrip to Chheplung (2700m) and cross the crystal clear Thadokoshi on a locally built suspension bridge. Past the bridge, you can witness KusamKanggru (6367m), which is one of the toughest mountains to conquer. Away from the ThadoKoshi, the trail continues towards the Ghat (2590m) and we will cross a ridge marked with painted Mani stones. We will reach the beautiful tribal village of Phakding where you will stay overnight.
Heading for the Namche Bazar, we cross through the hamlet of Zamphute and Tok Tok to see dazzling Thamserku glistening in the sun that stays all the way with us in most of our trek. Passing through the scenic Sherpa villages of Benkar, Chumoa and Monjo, we reach Utche Choling Gompa on a bluff abutting the Dudhkoshi river and further we make our way between the bluff to the entrance of Sagarmatha National Park, a UNESCO declared world heritage site. Completing halfway to Namche Bazar, we head for the second half of the march that would likely to take more time due to steep climb at the end. Crossing through the last village of Jorsale, a steep stepped path leads us to an amazing high bridge over the Dudhkoshi River gorge and just before this bridge, the Dudhkoshi is met by its tributary, the BhoteKoshi.
Acclimatize at Namche Bazaar
We have an acclimatization day at Namche Bazaar. To help our body better adapt to the high altitude, we can take short walks or climb few hundred feet during the day to have a look in the villages, houses, terraced fields and snowy mountains of Kwangde, Khumbu peak, Thamserku, Kusum Kanguru and the village’s big weekly event, the Saturday market to have fun mingling with the crowds and watching men and women in traditional attire.
Our route for today to Tengboche weaves in and out of side valleys, making small ups and downs, to the picturesque tea shops of Kenjoma, and joins the trail from Khumjung just before a collection of Mani stones. The views of Everest and Ama Dablam are excellent from this part of the trek. We pass the small settlement of Sanasa from where the trail drops towards Phunkithanga (3250m). From here the trail climbs steeply through pine forests and around Mani stones as it follows the side of a hill to the saddle on which the monastery of Tengboche sits at 3870m. The view from here is rightly deemed to be one of the world’s most magnificent sceneries. Kwangde (6187m), Tawachee (6542m), Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse (8501m), Amadablam, Kantega and Thamserku provide an inspiring panorama as the Himalayan giants. We will spend the night in Tengboche.
An easy descent through rhododendron forest and across a bridge over Imja Khola to Pangboche. The route will continue to Pheriche, for a 3-4 hour trek in total. There is a rudimentary hospital run by Himalayan Rescue Association in Pheriche. It only opens in peak seasons (March-May and November-December). We will spend the night in Pheriche.
Day trip to Nagarjun (5000m) and back to Pheriche
A 800m climb will take us to Nagarjun peak at 5000m altitude. You will enjoy some good views of the mountains including Mt. Makalu 5th highest mountain in the world. This hike usually helps with acclimatization. There are chances to see snow leopard on this 3-4 hour hike. Once you arrive there, you will admire the view from the top and descend down to Pherice.
The gradual climb to Lobuche will be pleasant as we will get closer and closer to the snow clad giants. After a 45-60min hike, we will reach Thukla. There, we will make a stop for food and continue up to a flat area where several memorials dedicated to the climbers who died on Everest are erected. Then, we will climb out of the valley and descend to the yak pastures at Lobuche.
Trek to Gorak Shep (5180m) – EBC (5360m) – Ghorak Shep
This challenging trek day will take around 6-8 hours. From this point onwards altitude morning sickness may get bad. We therefore will have have to be extra careful. The trekking distance will be around 15km. After a wholesome breakfast, we will head to Base Camp, trekking through the rocky terrain alongside the Khumbu Glacier. Upon reaching EBC, you will have some time to enjoy the heavenly environment and take photographs. If you are trekking somewhere between March and May, you might get the chance to see all the commercial expeditions trying to reach the summit. After lunch, we will trek downhill to Gorak Shep, and spend the night at a local guest house there.
Climb Kalapathar (5400m) | Trek Down to Dingboche
You will notice when up in the Base Camp that the Everest is not completely visible. From Gorak Shep, we will walk down, up and up again to Kalapathar. We will climb up to Kalapather either sunrise or sunset time. It will take 1.5 to 2 hours. You will have the best view of Mount Everest, Nuptse and Changtse with a little of Lhotse from here. Then we will return to Gorakshep for food and descend to Dingboche.
From Dingboche to Chukhung, the trek will be about 2 hour long and easy. Chukhung is a beautiful valley nestled between mountains like Lhotse, Nuptse, Ama Dablam, Imja Tse etc. You will appreciate a really good and close view of these mountains and their glaciers. The river Imja Khola runs past the Chukhung village where we will be lodging.
Trek to Island Peak Base Camp
After breakfast, we will trek towards south, turn east and enter the main valley. We will walk along the stream and pass Imja and Lhotse glacier moraine before reaching the valley where we will camp in tents. From the camp you will see the southwestern face of the Imja Tse (Island Peak).
Climb Island Peak | Return to Chukung
We will walk toward the summit aroung 01:00 to 02:00am. It will take about 2 hours to reach the High camp, then we will climb the rock gully. We will follow a ridge-line to the summit glacier and climb up a steep snow slope to reach the summit. There, you will get an excellent view of the mountains. After spending some time htere, we will go back to high camp to base camp and all the way back to Chukhung.
Just in case of bad weather or any health problem, we will use this day on the base camp or further down on the trail. Whenever you may needed this buffer day, you will be able to use it.
From Chukhung, we will walk down towards Pangboche and take the same trail we took up to descend and then climb up again to reach Tengbochhe. After this 4-5 hour trek, we will spend the night in Tengboche.
From Tengboche we move towards Phunki Tenga and now descend to Sanasa and Kyangjuma and then finally to Namche Bazaar.
Finally we return to Lukla following the Dudhkoshi River, where the trek ends.
Early morning air trip from Lukla to Kathmandu. Don’t forget to pick a seat on the right side, to see the insatiable mountains again. On reaching Kathmandu, we will be time to say goodbye! May you enjoy the rest of your journey here in Nepal.