If you dream of conquering the first technical Himalayan summit, Island Peak welcomes you with its challenges and rewards. The Island Peak is usually a training ground for the Everest Summit and was used by Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing during their training in 1953 AD. 

In this blog, we will take you on a virtual journey from the city of Pokhara to the summit of Island Peak. Join us as we untwist the mystique of this iconic peak, sharing insights into the route, the challenges, and the unparalleled beauty that defines the Pokhara to Island Peak Summit Journey. Now get ready for the Himalayan adventure of your lifetime.

Table of Contents

About Island Peak 

Island Peak, locally known as Imja Tse is a majestic mountain standing isolated and surrounded by the towering Lhotse/Nuptse South Wall to the north and the tough Baruntse to the south. This is the enchanting landscape that awaits those who embark on the Pokhara to Island Peak Summit Journey.

The summit of this spectacular peak is surrounded by panoramic views that extend as far as the eye can see. The charm of Island Peak lies in its breathtaking beauty and the exhilarating challenge it presents to those seeking a taste of Himalayan heights.

 

Highlights of the Pokhara to Island Peak Summit Journey

Island Peak Summit Journey promises a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, unveiling a tapestry of natural wonders, cultural richness, and breathtaking mountain views. Here are the highlights of the Pokhara to Island Peak Summit Journey:

  • Summit Island Peak (6189m/20299ft):

The apex of the journey, reaching the summit of Island Peak, stands as a testament to your resilience and determination. From this point, soak in panoramic views of the surrounding Himalayan giants.

  • Stunning Views of the World’s Highest Mountains:

Marvel at the awe-inspiring grandeur of Everest (8848m/29021 ft), the world’s highest peak, alongside the majestic presence of Mt Nuptse, Mt Lhotse, Lhotse Middle Peak, Lhotse Shar, Mt Makalu, Cho Polu, Mt Baruntse, and the iconic Ama Dablam. The Himalayan panorama is a spectacle that defies description.

  • Scenic Mountain Flight Kathmandu-Lukla-Kathmandu:

The journey begins with a thrilling mountain flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, providing a panoramic view of the Himalayan landscape. The scenic flight sets the tone for the adventure that lies ahead.

  • Namche Bazaar: Famous Sherpa Hometown:

Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Namche Bazaar, the famous Sherpa hometown. Explore bustling markets, meet with locals, and witness the unique blend of tradition and modernity that defines this iconic Sherpa settlement.

  • Ancient Tengboche Monastery:

The trek takes you to the ancient Tengboche Monastery, a spiritual sanctuary nestled amidst the Himalayas. Experience the serenity of this sacred site and witness traditional ceremonies that offer insights into the rich cultural heritage of the region.

  • Culture and Lifestyles of the Local Sherpa People:

Engage with the warm hospitality of the local Sherpa people and dive into their unique culture and lifestyles. The journey provides an authentic glimpse into the Sherpa way of life.

 

Ways to get to Island Peak

Getting to Island Peak offers two distinct yet equally captivating ways to reach your destination; by helicopter or through the trekking route from Lukla.

  • Helicopter Ride:

For those seeking a swift and scenic entry into the heart of the Himalayas, the helicopter option provides a convenient and thrilling alternative.  Helicopter flights can be arranged directly from the capital city of the country, Kathmandu.

While there are no stringent requirements for taking a helicopter, it is advisable to check with your tour operator regarding any specific guidelines or preparations needed. Additionally, ensure that weather conditions are suitable for the helicopter journey, as the Himalayan weather can be unpredictable.

  • Trekking from Lukla:

For those who relish the journey as much as the destination, trekking from Lukla offers an immersive experience along the legendary Everest Base Camp route. The trek from Lukla to Island Peak Base Camp typically takes 10-16 days, allowing for a comfortable pace and ample time for acclimatization.

 

Best Time to Visit  Island Peak

Choosing the right time to embark on the Pokhara to Island Peak Summit journey is important, as the weather plays a vital role in shaping the overall experience. Here is our guide to help you decide the best time to undertake the Island Peak Climbing adventure:

Spring (March to April)

  • Weather: Crystal clear skies, no rainfall, and mild temperatures.
  • Highlights: Stunning views of Himalayan ranges and glaciers, vibrant flora and fauna.
  • Temperature: Around 18°C during the day, around -12 °C at night.

Late Spring to Early Summer (May to June)

  • Weather: The perfect time for trekking before the monsoon sets in.
  • Highlights: Enjoyable climbing conditions with a mix of spring and summer.
  • Temperature: Around 25°C during the day, -5 °C at night.

Monsoon (July to August)

  • Weather: Intense monsoon rain with visibility issues.
  • Challenges: Flights to Lukla may get canceled, and trails become wet and slippery.
  • Climbing Conditions: Challenging
  • Temperature: Around 27°C during the day, around 5°C during night.

Post-Monsoon (September to October)

  • Weather: Clear skies and stunning mountain views after the monsoon ends.
  • Highlights: Ideal trek season, temperatures ranging from 20°C to 5°C.
  • Cultural Experience: Opportunity to witness Nepali festivals – Dashain and Tihar.

Late Autumn (November to December)

  • Weather: Winter begins, and snowfall in the trek region.
  • Highlights: Popular for climbs due to sparkling days with amazing views.
  • Temperature: 18°C during the day, around -10°C during night.

Winter (January to February)

  • Weather: Coldest time with heavy snowfall, especially in January.
  • Considerations: Trekking is possible but challenging; February offers easing conditions.
  • Temperature: 15°C during the day, around -15°C during night.

 

Permit Required to  Island Peak

The Pokhara to Island Peak Summit Journey requires meticulous planning, and obtaining the necessary permits is crucial in ensuring a smooth and lawful climb. Ensure that you have the required permits before setting out on the Island Peak Climbing adventure is vital for a hassle-free and responsible trek.

These permits not only facilitate your journey but also contribute to the conservation of the pristine Himalayan environment. Here is a breakdown of the permits you will need for Island Peak climbing and the process to obtain them:

 

Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) Permit/ Climbing Permit

  • Permit Fee: The NMA has a separate permit fee for climbing Island Peak, and the cost varies with the season.
  • Spring (Peak Season): USD 250
  • Autumn: USD 125
  • Summer and Winter (Off-Seasons): USD 70
  • Application Process: Obtain the NMA permit through authorized channels. The stable weather conditions during spring and autumn make these seasons ideal for climbing.

Sagarmatha National Park Entry Permit (Fee)

  • SAARC Nationals: Nrs. 1500 (Approximately US$ 15)
  • Foreign Nationals: Nrs. 3000 (Approximately US$ 30)
  • Garbage Deposit Fee: US$ 500 (Applicable for all 27 NMA Peaks, including Island Peak)

Application Process: Apply for the Sagarmatha National Park entry permit at the Nepal Tourism Board’s office in Pokhara. This permit is essential for entering the park premises and contributes to conservation efforts.

Local Area Permit

  • Permit Fee: The local area permit for Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality is around NRs. 2000 (Approximately USD 20).
  • Application Process: Obtain the local area permit at Lukla upon arrival. If you are traveling with a trekking agency, they take care of the permit-obtaining process for you.

 

Trek Itinerary of Pokhara to Island Peak Journey

Navigate the Dudh Kosi riverbanks, crossing thrilling suspension bridges, and ascend to Namche Bazaar, the "Gateway to Everest."

Explore Namche, visit the Sherpa Museum, and hike to Syangboche Airport and Everest View Hotel for stunning Himalayan panoramas.

Journey to Tengboche, enjoying views of Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, and Island Peak, and witness the grandeur of Tengboche Monastery.

Pass through Pangboche, soaking in views of Island Peak, and trek to Dingboche with sights of Island Peak and Mt. Lhotse.

Head to Chhukung, capturing stunning vistas of Mt. Lhotse and Ama Dablam, and prepare for the climb.

Acclimatization day with training from the Sherpa guide on peak climbing techniques.

Ascend northwards to Island Peak Base Camp, receive training on climbing techniques, and gear up for the climb.

An early start to reach the summit, following experienced Sherpas, and return to Chukung.

A day for unfavorable weather conditions or additional acclimatization.

Retrace steps to Tengboche, passing through Sagarmatha National Park and the Tengboche Monastery.

Trek through wildlife-rich forests, capturing views of Everest, and return to Namche Bazaar.

Descend to Lukla, enjoying different views along the trail and celebrating the trek completion.

Conclude the journey with a 40-minute scenic flight back to Kathmandu, followed by a connecting flight to Pokhara basking in the accomplishment of the Pokhara to Island Peak conquest.

Level of Climbing Skills Required for Island Peak

Climbing Island Peak is a challenging endeavor that demands a certain level of climbing proficiency. While the ascent is attainable for climbers with various skill levels, it is essential to recognize the demanding nature of the Island Peak climb.

Intermediate Climbers

  • Island Peak is well-suited for climbers with intermediate to advanced skills. A solid foundation in basic mountaineering techniques, rope work, and familiarity with using climbing equipment is highly recommended.
  • Previous high-altitude trekking or climbing experience is advantageous, especially given the altitude challenges of Island Peak.

Technical Climbing Skills

  • Proficiency in basic technical climbing skills, including using ice axes and crampons, is crucial. Climbers should be comfortable navigating varying terrains, including snow and ice.
  • Familiarity with rope work, ascending fixed lines, and crossing crevasses using ladders adds to the climber’s preparedness.

Altitude Experience

  • Climbers should have experience with high-altitude conditions, as acclimatization is a key factor in reaching the summit successfully. Prior exposure to altitudes exceeding 5,000 meters is beneficial.

Physical Fitness

  • A high level of physical fitness is crucial for the demands of this climb. Cardiovascular endurance, strength, and stamina are essential for both the trek to Island Peak Base Camp and the challenging ascent.

 

How Risky is Island Peak?  

Pokhara to Island Peak Summit Journey raises valid safety concerns, and aspiring climbers need to consider the risks associated with conquering this iconic Himalayan peak.

While all mountain expeditions come with inherent risks, careful planning, expert guidance, and adherence to safety protocols make Island Peak an accessible and reasonably secure endeavor for climbers seeking an unforgettable experience in the heart of the Himalayas. Here is a comprehensive look at the risks and safety measures associated with Island Peak.

  • Risk Assessment: Island Peak is generally considered a safe climb, boasting a low death rate. The statistics reflect a favorable track record for climbers attempting this peak.
  • Crevassed Areas: The primary dangers lie in the crevassed areas of the route in any mountain. These crevasses can pose risks, especially without proper guidance and precautions. However, with experienced guides, climbers are typically roped up in these areas, enhancing safety.
  • Negligence vs. Inherent Danger: Many incidents over the years have been attributed to negligence rather than the inherent danger of the climb. Following proper safety protocols, guidance, and preparation significantly helps mitigate the risks associated with Island Peak.
  • Safety Measures: Good guiding is paramount for ensuring safety on Island Peak. Roping up in crevassed areas is a standard practice, offering additional security during challenging sections of the climb.
  • Defined Routes: The route through crevassed areas is usually safe and well-defined, reducing the likelihood of accidents. The guidance provided by experienced climbers and support teams further enhances the safety of the ascent.
  • Clipping into Ropes: As climbers navigate exposed areas on the ridge and approach the final wall leading to the summit, being consistently clipped into the rope is crucial. This ensures a secure connection and minimizes the risk of falls or accidents.
  • Less Hazards: Unlike some other peaks, Island Peak is not characterized by imminent risks of avalanche, rockfall, icefall, or major exposure without fixed lines. This absence of significant hazards contributes to the overall safety of the climb.

Finally, Island Peak is a climb that, when approached with caution, preparation, and under the guidance of experienced professionals, offers a relatively safe and thrilling adventure.

 

Risk of Altitude Sickness

The Pokhara to Island Peak Summit Journey involves ascending to high altitudes, and with this ascent comes the potential risk of altitude sickness. Understanding and mitigating this risk is crucial for ensuring a safe and enjoyable trekking and climbing experience.

What is Altitude Sickness?

Altitude sickness is a common concern among trekkers climbing to higher elevations. It occurs when the body is unable to acclimatize quickly enough to the reduced oxygen levels at higher altitudes. 

What are the Ways to Prevent Altitude Sickness?

  • Carefully Designed Itinerary: The trip itinerary for the Pokhara to Island Peak Summit Journey should be thoughtfully designed to facilitate a slow and steady ascent. The slow pacing allows the body to adapt gradually to the changing altitude, reducing the risk of altitude sickness.
  • Enough Acclimatization: Acclimatization is a key strategy in preventing altitude sickness. The itinerary should incorporate acclimatization days, ensuring that trekkers have sufficient time at intermediate altitudes to adjust before progressing to higher elevations. This approach significantly minimizes the risk of altitude-related issues.
  • Hydration: Staying well-hydrated is essential for acclimatization and can help prevent altitude sickness. Trekkers should drink plenty of water throughout the journey to support their body’s adjustment to the reduced oxygen levels at higher altitudes.
  • Recognizing Altitude Early Signs Sickness: Trekkers should be alert for early signs of altitude sickness, which may include headaches, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. Recognizing these symptoms promptly allows for timely intervention and prevents the progression of the condition.

Open communication with experienced guides is crucial. Trekkers are encouraged to share any symptoms or concerns with the trekking team, allowing for prompt assessment and appropriate action.

 

How to Prepare for Pokhara to Island Peak Journey?

  • Acclimatization: Adequate acclimatization is crucial due to the reduced oxygen levels at higher altitudes. Spending additional days on the trek and acclimatizing rotations on the mountain are recommended.
  • Altitude Training: Pre-trip altitude training is beneficial, especially for climbers without prior experience at high elevations. Simulated altitude environments or training hikes at higher altitudes can assist in preparing the body for reduced oxygen levels.
  • Technical Training: Attend a mountaineering or climbing course to acquire or refine technical skills. Training should cover the use of climbing equipment, rope work, and techniques specific to high-altitude climbing.
  • Strength and Endurance Training: Incorporate strength and endurance training into the pre-climbing fitness regimen. Focus on cardiovascular exercises, strength training for the core and lower body, and activities that mimic the demands of high-altitude trekking and climbing.
  • Experience in Similar Conditions: Climbers benefit from prior experience in similar conditions, such as alpine environments or other challenging peaks. This familiarity enhances confidence and adaptability during the climb.
  • Mental Preparedness: Develop mental resilience to cope with the physical and mental challenges of the climb. Island Peak summit statistics highlight the importance of mental preparedness for overcoming obstacles and persevering in adverse conditions.

 

What to Eat During the Trek?

The Pokhara to Island Peak Summit Journey demands not only physical endurance but also careful attention to nutrition. Your food intake plays a pivotal role in sustaining energy levels, aiding acclimatization, and ensuring an overall successful trekking and climbing experience.

  • Meal Provided by Trekking Agency

Your trekking agency takes care of your dietary needs throughout the journey. This includes both the trekking and climbing phases of the expedition. This arrangement helps with concerns about food preparation and allows you to focus on the adventure at hand.

In the lower altitudes and along the trekking route, most of the meals are prepared in the tea houses. These accommodations offer a variety of dishes to cater to different tastes and dietary preferences.

  • Kitchen Tents during Climbing Days

During the more challenging climbing days, the trekking company’s teams set up kitchen tents. These tents are set up to prepare meals that are essential for maintaining energy levels during the journey.

  • Hydration

It is strongly advised to drink 4-6 liters of water every day. Staying well-hydrated is not only essential for general well-being but also aids in acclimatization to the high altitudes. Consider using hydration tablets or filtration bottles to ensure access to safe and clean water throughout the journey.

Ensuring proper nutrition and hydration is vital for maintaining strength, stamina, and overall well-being during the challenging trek from Pokhara to Island Peak Summit.

 

Accommodation Options during the Island Peak Summit  

Island Peak Summit Journey is not just an expedition, it is an immersive experience into the heart of Sherpa culture and mountain living. Accommodations are an integral part of this journey that offers glimpses into the traditional village lifestyle.

  • Tea Houses in Sherpa Villages

The trek and climb passes through Sherpa villages, where you will stay in tea houses. These lodgings offer a unique insight into both traditional and monastic communities. Access to these villages is facilitated through long-standing Sherpa connections, emphasizing the cultural exchange integral to the journey.

Accommodations in the tea houses during the trek are designed for shared experiences. Rooms are furnished with basic amenities, including a bed, mattress, blanket, and pillow.

  • Island Peak Base Camp

As the journey progresses, nights before the climb are spent in a fully stocked camp tent at Island Peak Base Camp. This strategic setup ensures that climbers are well-rested and acclimatized before the challenging ascent.

The Island Peak Base Camp accommodation combines comfort and functionality, creating a temporary home in the rugged mountain region. It is a crucial pause before the final push to the summit.

  • Tent Camps in Remote Areas

In areas where trekking lodges and teahouses are scarce, the journey seamlessly transitions to tent camps. These camps, strategically set up by the trekking team, provide shelter and comfort amid nature’s grandeur.

Camping in remote areas allows for a deeper connection with the pristine landscapes, offering a unique opportunity to appreciate the raw beauty of the Himalayan wilderness.

 

What to Pack for the Pokhara to Island Peak Journey

Climbing Gear

  • Ice axe
  • Crampons
  • Harness
  • Screwgate karabiners
  • Descender/eight-figure
  • Plastic mountaineering boots
  • Ascender/Jhumar
  • Helmet

In Travel Bag

  • Small daypack/backpack(30-40L) with good shoulder padding
  • Large duffel bag (80-100L)
  • Small padlocks for duffel-kit bags
  • Waterproof covers

For Head

  • Bandana or headscarf
  • Balaclava
  • Beanie
  • Wide-brimmed sunhat
  • Neck gaiter or warmer
  • Headlamp with extra batteries and bulbs
  • Snow goggles and sunglasses with UV protection (carry an extra pair)
  • Prescription sunglasses (if required)

For Upper Body

  • Long-sleeve shirt (moisture-absorbing and breathable)
  • T-shirt (moisture-absorbing and breathable)
  • Thermal base layer of merino wool
  • Fleece wind-stopper jacket or pullover
  • Waterproof (preferably breathable fabric) shell jacket
  • Down Vest
  • Expedition weight insulated down jacket with hood (not required for all trekking peaks)
  • Gore-Tex jacket with hood, waterproof, and breathable

For Hands

  • Lightweight poly-liner gloves or lightweight wool or fleece gloves
  • Summit Mittens (warm insulated gloves with safety straps)

For Lower Body

  • Non-cotton underwear briefs
  • Hiking shorts
  • Lightweight thermal leggings of merino wool
  • Trekking trousers (waterproof, breathable fabric)
  • Hardshell trousers
  • Synthetic insulated pants

For Feet

  • Double-insulated climbing boots
  • Good quality hiking boots (sturdy soles, water-resistant, ankle support, “broken-in”)
  • Gaiters
  • Crampons
  • Lightweight inner socks, heavy poly or wool socks, and cotton socks
  • Running shoes and rubber sandals/flip-flops

Sleeping Gear

  • Sleeping Bag (a 5-season sleeping bag, suitable for temperatures as low as -40°C)
  • Therm-a-Rest sleeping pad (NeoAir XTherm) for insulation and warmth
  • Foam pad
  • Fleece sleeping bag liner
  • Pillowcase

Medical Kit

  • Small, personal first-aid kit
  • Aspirin, first-aid tape, and plasters (Band-Aids)
  • Skin-blister repair kit
  • Anti-diarrhea pills
  • Paracetamol
  • Cough and/or cold medicine
  • Anti-altitude sickness pills – Diamox or Acetylzolamide
  • Stomach antibiotic – Ciprofloxacin, etc.
  • Throat lozenges
  • Water purification tablets or water filter
  • Earplugs
  • Lip Guard
  • Eye drops
  • Extra pair of prescription glasses, contact lens supplies
  • Sunscreen

Practical Items

  • Small roll of repair tape, sewing-repair kit
  • Cigarette lighter/small box of matches
  • Compass or GPS (optional)
  • Alarm clock/watch
  • Large Ziploc bags
  • 2 water bottles (1 liter each)
  • Lightweight steel thermal bottle
  • Small folding or Swiss knife
  • Binoculars (optional)
  • 4 large, waterproof, disposable rubbish sacks
  • Socket adapter Type C (with circular pins)
  • Trekking poles (foldable)

Toiletries

  • Medium-sized quick-drying towel
  • Toothbrush/paste (preferably biodegradable)
  • Multipurpose soap (preferably biodegradable)
  • Small sachets of shampoo
  • Deodorants
  • Nail clippers
  • Face and body moisturizer
  • Female hygiene products
  • Small mirror

Personal Hygiene

  • Wet wipes (baby wipes)
  • Tissue/toilet roll
  • Anti-bacterial handwash
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Pee Bottle (1 liter, leak-proof, wide mouth)
  • Pee funnel (for females)

Note: Group Climbing Gears are provided by travel agencies.

 

Final Say

In conclusion, the Pokhara to Island Peak Summit Journey is a testament to the allure of adventure in the heart of the Himalayas of Nepal. We extend our heartfelt gratitude for accompanying us on this virtual expedition, unveiling the mystique of Island Peak. This journey is a tapestry of experiences, challenges, and breathtaking mountain views.

Thank you for immersing yourself in the tales of altitude, endurance, and the unbeatable spirit of exploration. We hope this glimpse into the Pokhara to Island Peak Summit Journey has helped you with the knowledge and inspiration to embark on your Himalayan adventure. May your future journeys be filled with awe-inspiring peaks, scenic trails, and the thrill of conquering new heights.

 

FAQ’s

  •  How long do I need to walk per day during my Pokhara to Island Peak Summit Journey?

The hiking duration is typically 5-7 hours a day, depending on the landscape and destination. The trekking days may vary based on the specific itinerary and pace chosen.

  • How to prevent altitude sickness on the Pokhara to Island Peak Journey?

It is not possible to completely prevent altitude sickness, however, you can minimize the risks of it. Proper acclimatization, hydration, and a gradual ascent are key factors in avoiding altitude sickness. Listen to your guide’s advice, maintain a steady pace, and listen to your body. Guides will provide additional tips to manage altitude-related challenges.

  • Can I rent the gear in Nepal?

Yes, you can rent as well as buy premium quality trekking and climbing gear in Nepal.

  • Is it difficult to climb Island Peak?

Island Peak is considered a difficult climb. Although previous climbing experience is not mandatory, it is advisable to be physically and mentally healthy for this journey. Engaging in outdoor activities like hiking, jogging, cycling, and swimming, before the trek can enhance your preparation for the climb.