Island Peak


Island Peak, otherwise known as Imja Tse, stands at at 6,189 meters (20,305 ft) above sea level and is located in the picturesque Imja Valley on the Everest region only a few miles from Mt. Everest.  It is one of the most highly sought after peaks in the world. Some people class Island peak as a trekking peak. We don’t.

Island peak is a strenuous climb to it’s summit above 20,000 feet and needs to be treated with respect. This challenge will make you felt like you can climb the world and standing on a tiny summit high in the Himalaya’s is a very special feeling.  Island Peak is an excellent introduction to Himalayan high altitude mountaineering, and can be used as a stepping stone to higher peaks. Check out upcoming trips in 2016 or 2017  Check out our top 10 tips for climbing Island peak.       READ IMPORTANT INFORMATION ON ISLAND PEAK

Small on the summit of Island peak The final steps to the summit of Island peak
On the summit of Island peak The long journey back down Island peak

A little bit more about the climb

The approach to the Imja Valley starts on the traditional Everest trail following from Lukla to Dingbouche, where the trail then veers off towards Chuckhung, and where you have your last night stay before entering the Imja wilderness.  This amazing trek leads you through breathtaking views of the peaceful valley. Our climbs are different. We spend two night at Island peak base camp (5,100m/ 16,733 ft)  along with an additional night at high camp (5,500m/ 18,045 ft) giving our teams the best chance of climbing Island peak. We also have three nights in Namche Bazaar, giving you the best itinerary for your Island peak climb.

As you walk towards base camp, you can see the whole of the Nuptse Wall which leads into Lhotse (the fourth highest mountain in the world), which Island Peak extends from, and you will see that it truly is an island peak.  It is surrounded by a sea of glaciers and moraines pouring down from seven and eight thousand meter giants.

Island Peak Head Wall On the summit of Island peak Training in Island peak base camp
Training for Island peak climb Relaxing at Island peak base camp
We recommend this trip to people who want to go to the Everest Region, but also want more of a challenge and have mountaineering experience.  We can add in the climb of Island Peak to your Everest Base Camp trek, offering you the chance to see the amazing Everest Region as well as trying your luck at a stunning 6,189m/ 20,305ft peak.  This trip is for the person looking for a more adventurous wilderness experience in the Himalayas and definitely will be the trip of a lifetime! 

What people said

“Going to the Khumbu Region in the Himalayas is no easy task. It is long…it is hard…and it is truly amazing. From day one I knew I was being looked after. I got a full training program and all questions were answered. It is a feat of endurance and stamina, that requires preparation and commitment. At times, I questioned my own abilities, my endurance levels. However, doing this trip with Ian Taylor Trekking quickly absolved all of these fears, and I was at peace on my summit bid of Island Peak, knowing that I had Ian Taylor Trekking at my back the entire time. I can’t wait to work with them on my next challenging adventure.”an excellent introduction to Himalayan high altitude mountaineering, and can be used as a stepping stone to higher peaks.
Claire Greaves, Island Peak 2010

“While climbing Mont Blanc in 2008 with Ian Taylor, I met some wonderful people who I still know as friends. Ian’s love of mountaineering is infectious and he encourages climbers to not just endure the trek, but enjoy it. He encourages a fun atmosphere. Mountaineering can be scary but it’s much easier to relax and enjoy yourself when you feel safe. This is achieved by Ian’s attention to the preparation and training of his climbers. He always has words of motivation in your tough moments too. And so my decision to go on another expedition to the most vast and breathtaking mountain range in the world, the Himilaya, with Ian in 2010 was an easy one. Unforgettable.”
Leona Gilchrist, Island Peak 2010


View Island Peak in a larger map

Day 1

Leave home for Kathmandu, aiming to be there by Saturday at the latest.

Day 2

In Kathmandu, we will stay in the Thamel district, positioned well in the city center. You can arrive early and do a half day trip around Kathmandu to some cultural sights and get all remaining necessary items for the trip.

Day 3

We will make an early morning start for the Twin Otter flight to Lukla 2,840m/ 9,317ft, the gateway to the Khumbu. This is an exciting flight, which should give a glimpse of Everest in the distance. In Lukla, we will meet our trek staff and porters and set off straightaway for our first night’s stop at Phakding. Situated on the banks of the Dudh Kosi, which drains the whole of the Khumbu Region, this small hamlet is on the main trade route through the area and there are a number of clean, well-built lodges where we will spend the night.

Day 4

We will continue up the banks of the Dudh Kosi, crossing it twice by small suspension bridges before reaching the village of Monjo, where we will enter the Khumbu National Park. We will then cross the confluence of the Dudh Kosi and the Bhote Kosi on a high suspension bridge and then climb steeply for about two hours up ‘Namche Hill’ to reach Namche Bazaar 3,440m/ 11,286ft. This is a prosperous trading town and the capital of the Khumbu Region. Many Tibetans cross the nearby border to trade their wares and the local market is a fascinating spectacle. This is a good place to buy genuine Tibetan artifacts. Just across the valley to the east stand the peaks of Thamserku and Kangtega, both very impressive mountains. We will spend three nights here giving you excellent acclimatization.

Day 5

We will spend three nights in Namche Bazaar. During this critical acclimatization phase, we will spend time resting and trekking to higher altitudes. This will allow our bodies to become acclimatised to the altitude of 3,440m/ 11,286ft. On the first morning, we will trek up to Shangbouche Hill 3,900m/ 12792ft with one of the great panoramic views of the Everest region, returning to Namche for lunch. The afternoon can be spent sampling the delights of the Namche bakery or Cafe Danfe, the famous Everest t-shirt bar.

Day 6

From Namche, the well-worn Everest trail contours around the side of the valley, high above the Dudh Kosi. As we follow the path, we will get our first really good views of the great peaks of the Khumbu: Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Ama Dablam. Passing by several villages and numerous tea shops, we will cross the Dudh Kosi River and make a steep climb to Tengboche, home of an impressive and recently rebuilt monastery. We have plenty of time to look around Tengboche (and have a cake at the bakery!), but at the height of the season it is a busy place, so we may drop down to the river and the village of Deboche (3,700m/12,135ft) a little further along the trail, where we will stay in a relaxing lodge.

Day 7

Shaded by rhododendron trees, the trail crosses an airy suspension bridge just beyond Deboche. An hour’s walking from here will bring us to Pangboche, an excellent viewpoint for Ama Dablam (‘Mother’s Charm Box’) and home for the Sherpa’s who work on this imposing mountain each post-monsoon season. Contouring up the valley side, we will re-cross the river and turn up the Imja Valley to reach the picturesque farming village of Dingboche (4,410m/14,465ft).

Day 8

Dingboche is a good location for acclimatisation, prior to our ascent up the upper section of the Imja Valley. While in Dingboche, we will acclimatise up to 5,000m (16,404ft) and also attend a seminar about high altitude acclimatisation at the hospital in nearby Pheriche, run by the Himalayan Rescue Association. The walk over to Pheriche and back will also serve as good acclimatisation training and so make the walk doubly worthwhile.

Day 9

We will take a stroll to the other side of the Imja Valley and cut across to the Northern side of Ama Dablam to get close up to one of the most impressive Himalayan greats. With amazing lakes and stunning glaciers this is a day not to be missed, then head back to Dingbouche.

Day 10

We take a long walk above the valley where Pheriche is positioned, with stunning views all around, a nice stroll gradually up hill to Dugla and our lunch stop. The trail from Dugla starts steeply to climb up beside the glacier moraine. After a few hours the track eventually leads to a small cluster of tea houses pleasantly situated at Lobuche (4,940m/16,207ft). We will spend the afternoon relaxing and continuing the process of slow acclimatisation.

Day 11

About three hours beyond Lobuche, we reach Gorak Shep (5,220m/17,126ft), the site of the 1953 Everest expedition’s base camp. We visit base camp and climb Kala Pattar using Gorak Shep as our base. The views from Kala Pattar are often clearer in the morning, though the position of the sun means that photos are often better taken in the evening. This decision will be make at Gorak Shep, we can decide when we would like to climb Kala Pattar and on which day we would prefer to trek into base camp. When we go to Everest Base Camp we will go to the edge of the Icefall, meet some teams preparing for Everest, pack up and head back to Gorak Shep to sleep.

Day 12

In the morning we will make an ascent of Kala Pattar (5,545m/18,188ft), if we have not already climbed it the previous evening. The climb takes between 2 and 3 hours and is hard work, but the effort is rewarded by the classic view of Everest and the Khumbu Icefall, as well as Lhotse, Nuptse, and Pumori immediately above. For most trekking teams, this is as far as they go up the Everest trail. After lunch back in the lodge at Gorak Shep, we will descend the valley to Lobuche.

Day 13

Often under-rated, the Kongma La is a challenging pass and more interesting way to approach the Imja Valley than via Dugla and Dingboche. The path is steep at first but eventually reaches the top of the pass, from where we descend past some glacial lakes, and Pokalde. The views from the Kongma La are really spectacular, especially towards Makalu in the east, Ama Dablam’s North Ridge and Nuptse. Chuckung is a small settlement with just a couple of lodges, where we spend the night.

Day 14

From Chuckung we carry all our gear towards Island Peak Base Camp. We head up the 4 hour trail to our base for the climb and do some extra training on the hillsides on base camp. There is an amazing glacier and lake with more stunning views of the Imja valley.

Day 15

We will have a rest day in base camp, where we will do some extra training if needed and do a final gear check.  Re-hydration will be key to prepare us for our 1 am departure for our summit attempt.

Day 16

Today we will make our summit attempt on Island Peak (6,189m/20,340ft), however, this may be delayed due to weather conditions. This is a long hard climb; initially there is a steep 400m (1,132ft) zig-zag path up to where the high camp can be positioned, where we then hit rocky scree for another 150m (492ft) before a scramble and traverse across to a steeper section of rock. This is straight forward trekking, but very strenuous and once you hit 5,700m (18,700ft) the altitude slows the pace dramatically and the final rock section never seems to end, but once you dig deep, we top out onto a narrow ridge which takes us to the start of the glacier. We get all our gear on, rope up and cross the glacier before the 100m (328ft) head wall which is fixed by the climbing sherpa’s, before the tricky final section to the summit.  After we enjoy our summit success, we begin the long decent back to base camp.

Day 17

We will walk back to Chuckung or Dingboche where we will sleep, recover and relax for the evening.

Day 18

Trek to Namche Bazaar and spend the rest of the evening celebrating in one of the many bars, or sitting by the fire at the lodge.

Day 19

Leave Namche at 10 am and trek the final leg for Lukla. We will stay in a guesthouse in Lukla and wake up early for our flight back to Kathmandu the next morning.

Day 20

Today is built in as a spare day for summit attempt on Island peak or delay in flights. Otherwise, we will fly from Lukla back to Kathmandu today.  For those eager to see as much of Kathmandu as possible, an early start is worthwhile to visit the temples of Pashupatinath and Swayambhunath and districts of Bhaktapur and Patan. Durbar Square is also on the essential on the list, as is the shopping area of Thamel.

Ready to go?

Does this information excite you to take the next step towards achieving your goals in the mountains?  If so, get in touch today.  We pride ourselves on making sure that our clients have every opportunity to succeed on the mountains, including professional training advice, gear lists and video links on how to pack your bag, and much more.  We are always available to answer any questions you may have by email, phone or skype, so contact us today!