31 Aug 2022 Peak Climbing Nepal
Imja Tse, also called the Island peak, is a mountain in the Sagarmatha National Park area. It gets its foreign name for appearing like an island in the sea of ice. The mountain is famous for its location near the tallest mountain in the world. But despite being near Everest, it isn’t very high, so how tall is Island peak? The Island peak is precisely 6160 meters tall.
The mountain is an extension of the south-end ridge at Lhotse Shar. Island peak is a popular expedition destination in the Everest region. It was first climbed in 1953 as a part of a training exercise to summit Mount Everest. However, the summit of Island peak was only completed in 1956 by a Swiss team with two Sherpas.
Although the Island peak expedition started as a practicing peak for the Everest scale, its expedition is a popular tourist activity these days. Anyone can do the island peak expedition with basic level fitness. It does not need massively strenuous preparation like Everest. But the expedition will still allow you to explore the Everest region’s vista and landforms.
The reputation of Island peak for being near the tallest peak in the world makes it very attractive. Climbing Island peak could possibly be the closest experience to climbing Everest. Moreover, it is easier and more accessible.
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6160m Tall Island Peak Climbing Route
The expedition to Island peak starts from a base camp called Pareshaya Gyab. The camp lies at the height of 5087 meters and can be reached via Chukkung. You can also start the climb through ascension to High Camp at 5600 meters. This route will save you the effort and time required for the summit.
Reaching high camp is a very convenient hike that requires a short ascent from base camp to high camp. You will climb through some rocky steps requiring moderate strength and up through a broad open gully. The gully’s top will take you on a glacier trip and then to a steep snow and ice slope. From this point on, you must take a strenuous ascent of 100 meters to the summit ridge. You also must be careful of a significant crevasse at the headwall leading to the summit ridges. Crevasse openings are lethal dangers while mountaineering and need to be cautioned for.
The climb to the summit with caution for the crevasse will be the most difficult part of the overall expedition.
Structure and vistas of the expedition
The expedition route needs you to pass winding roads and scrambles leading to the snow line. The mountain’s summit ridge is narrow and high but not very steep. The top of the summit is small and has a room for four to five people to stand safely. Despite the narrow space, standing at the peak of the mountain with beautiful views makes it worthy.
The summit’s view brings the best thrill of the mountaineering expedition. The Island peak summit gives a spectacular 360-degree panorama vista of the highest peaks of the world. You can see massive peaks from the top, making a semi-circle structure to the north. It includes the peaks of Lhotse Shar (8,383m), Nuptse (7,879m), Lhotse (8,501m), and Lhotse Middle Peak (8,410m). You can also get views of Makalu (8475m) in the east, with Baruntse and Ama Damblam in the south.
How long does it take to climb Island Peak?
The expedition to Island peak from the base is a short one-day climb. But the overall expedition requires a long journey. The expedition needs you to take a hike around the Everest region. You need to take a flight from Kathmandu to reach Lukla first. Then you will have to trek the Everest region from there to Namche Bazaar via Phakding. From Namche you will reach Chukkuung through Tengboche and Dingboche.
From Chukkung, only you can reach the base camp for the Island peak climb. After your one-day ascent to the peak, you will again descend back to Chukkung and return to Lukla, retracing your steps to Namche.
The hike around the Everest region with a substantial amount of rest days and exploration days should be counted in. You might take a day or two for acclimatization and will likely want to explore Buddhist settlement areas and Namche. The Everest experience is incomplete without exploring such places.
So, the total number of days of your expedition, including the hike and small excursions, will likely take 12 to 16 days.
Accommodations for the Island Peak expedition
The most popular accommodation on the trekking trails will be lodges and tea houses run by local families. The lodges give you comfortable rooms with two beds, mattresses, blankets, and pillows. You will still need sleeping bags if you wish to be the most comfortable.
The lodges will have showers and also hot water facilities for extra charges. The toilets are traditional squatting toilets which might differ from one lodge to another.
Food served in the area will likely be local Nepali or Sherpa food. Rice and lentils with vegetables and pickles are commonly served. They also have options for momo or chowmein, which are traditional Nepali snacks. You will also get options for western recipes.
The night stay nearby the peak or before the mountain expedition will likely be camping. You will have to sleep in tents in the base camp. You will obviously need sleeping bags and good sleeping mats for a comfortable sleep.
The difficulty level of the Island Peak expedition
Island peak expedition is among the relatively easier mountain climbing tasks in Nepal. The hike leading to the climb is very simple and enjoyable. But the actual mountain climbing will likely be more strenuous.
The headwall of the summit ridge is among the most difficult part of the climb. But it is still quite manageable. Although Island Peak’s headwall isn’t particularly steep, it appears more intimidating when viewed up close and from a distance. There are many places to rest and stand on ledges once you get there. The ridge doesn’t appear nearly as steep or challenging as other mountain peaks.
Counting these factors in, you can confidently conclude that the expedition to Island peak is not very difficult.
Check more on Island peak climbing difficulty article.