This is a loaded question, but one we can break apart and analyse the different elements of an Island Peak ascent. Many people classify Island Peak as trekking peak, WE DO NOT. You need to come on the Island Peak trip with previous mountaineering experience and the right physical preparations.
Watch the video below and see the different types of terrain you will encounter. Island Peak is not a straight forward climb and it changes each season. Ian has climbed Mount Everest to the summit and Island peak over 17+ times and is always happy to chat with you about how to come fully prepared for this challenging trip. Read some REVIEWS from our trips.
Firstly, you might read or hear that there is no water at high camp and this is not true. Most groups want to cut corners by saying this. Companies need to make a summit attempt from Island Peak Base Camp. Secondly, different operators just wont have the staff available to go over the ridge to collect it. They also wont have the staff available to carry tents, ropes and equipment up to high camp and crampon point. Finally, very few teams will have enough guides available high on the mountain in case of emergency. There will be no-one to fix ropes on the head wall which undoubtedly, in not maximizing safety on the mountain.
Pick The Right Island Peak Itinerary
So you can see the footage from high on Island peak. However, this is not your first challenge on the Island Peak trip. Remember that you have taken 12 days of trekking and acclimatizing en route to Island Peak Base Camp at 5,100m/ 16,732 feet. Making sure that you have chosen an itinerary that gives you enough time to acclimatize to the lack of oxygen. Our Island Peak climbs include a visit to Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar, to assist in the acclimatization process. We also spend three nights in Namche Bazaar on the way up, giving you the best acclimatization process.
Trekking to Island Peak Base Camp is a challenge in itself. One that requires good physical conditioning. READ MORE about our advice on trekking in to Everest Base Camp which encompasses Island Peak Base Camp. Check out our SPECIFIC TRAINING for climbing Island Peak.
Major Challenges with Climbing Island peak
1). You need to have a good understanding of Himalayan style mountaineering before taking on this climb. Have another look at the video, you will have to be able to climb on the glacier Alpine style (roped to other people), crossing crevasses and sometimes on ladders. You will also be using crampons, harness and ice axe. You will face the Head-Wall, climbing on a fixed rope that we set up the mountain at 6,000m/ 20,000 feet. Then, you will be abseiling down on a fixed line, using a figure of 8 device as you move from one anchor point to another. Do you feel comfortable doing this and using all these pieces of equipment? If the answer is yes then you should have the technical ability. If no, then you have some work to do.
2). Have you been training 5-6 days a week for over 6+ months? Do you have previous altitude and multi-day trekking experience? You are going to be hiking up to the crampon point at 5,800m/ 19,000 feet on Island peak, climbing at 6,000m/ 20,000 feet on 50 to 70 degree angle. Trekking and climbing for 18 days in a row. You need to have excellent physical conditioning, strength, endurance and fitness to be able to manage yourself correctly at this extreme altitude. READ MORE here about the specific training required for climbing Island Peak.
Gain Access to our Island Peak Dossier
This is brief information on climbing Island Peak. By no means is this information designed to be a comprehensive look at the climb. If you decide to join one of our climbs to Island Peak, then we send you a 40 page Dossier on the climb. Read some REVIEWS from our trips. Ian has climbed Island Peakj over 17+ times to date, and he is happy to go through training plans and explain how our Island Peak climbs run.
CLICK HERE for our Island Peak packing video. Ultimately, climbing at altitude is a dangerous sport, and claims many casualties each year.One of the guiding principals of mountaineering is that an individual climber takes responsible for his or her own safety. If you cannot accept this, then this information and probably climbing in general is unlikely to suit you. Read what one of our climbers had to say about their Island peak climb.
Where is Island Peak
Climbing Island peak is not easy, but you can make it easier by spending more days on the trek in and on the mountain. You need to acclimatize to the lower levels of oxygen lower down on the trail. The summit statistics show most people are not summiting Island Peak. If you decide to climb Island Peak on a 10 day trip, then you are making it a more dangerous and challenging endeavor. This really lowers your chances of success. We go for the summit on day 14 of our trip.
You will be carrying a backpack with 5kg to 7kg on the trip, therefore, you need a good level of fitness, and excellent physical conditioning. Ideally, you need to be able to do multi day trekking for 4 – 6 hours on the hills with a weighted backpack building up to carrying 10/15 kg in most of your training sessions. There is a range of training you can do if you are not close to the hills and need to rely on the stair master, treadmill, bikes, jogging and weights. We can help you manage your time to get the best preparation possible with individual training programs. You also need to come competent in abseiling and with basic mountaineering skills. CLICK HERE for our top 10 tips for climbing Island peak.
The best months to climb Island peak are April, May, October & November. CLICK HERE for our upcoming trips. We choose not to climb in the rainy season, or in the extreme cold of the winter months, which limits chances of success.
This all depends on where you are starting from in terms of your fitness, trekking, altitude and climbing experience. It could take as long as a year or as little as 4-6 months to prepare depending on your experience. The key aspects of success will come down to the following:
1). Your ability to adapt to the lack of oxygen
2). Do you have the correct acclimatization on your schedule
3). Do you have multiple days for summit attempts
4). Using the high camp
5). Your technical experience, have you come with the right technical training
6). How you cope with living in a tent and down time
7). Look after your personal hygiene
Train, Train, Train
You have to adapt to the new environment when in the mountains. There are no showers, no TV, no real comforts. You will be dealing with living in close quarters with other people, some who you may not know. Therefore, keeping your mindset in a positive light will be vitally important to success. Hill walking is he most important training you can do, and training on a stair master with weight backpack is also really important to supplement the longer hikes. You also need to be competent in abseiling using a figure if 8 device, moving between fixed lines. CONTACT US and we chat about the specific training you should be doing.
Simulating the conditions you will experience climbing on Island Peak is the most important training. Also by adding extra weight to your backpack, you will be giving excellent conditioning to the legs and body. When you get to the mountain, you carry less weight and your body should know how to cope with the pressure it is put under at altitude. Here is some specific training advice for Island peak climbs.
To start, you need well worn in hiking boots and proper mountaineering boots. We can recommend boots for you if you are unsure. We include all the mountaineering gear needed for the ascent. Thus, you will be provided with crampons, ice axe, harness, slings, jumar, figure of 8, carabinars, and your helmet. You need to bring good gloves to keep your hands warm on summit night. Your gloves need to be comfortable when climbing using ropes, carbines, adjusting figure of 8 and adjust all mountaineering equipment.
Depending on the month you climb, it can be as low as -20c/ -4F. You will need to wear a warm hat with buff to cover your mouth. A buff keeps moisture in your mouth and keeps you from getting a dry throat, it also keeps your neck warm. You will need 4 layers for your summit bid, but could be one layer for the first couple of days on the trek into Island Peak. It can be freezing most mornings in your tent, but once the sun comes out, it will get warmer. Your down jacket is an essential piece of kit. You will wear it at night while relaxing and you will use it for your summit bid. Once you sign up to our trip, we will send you a trip Dossier, which includes a complete kit list, among other things. Watch our Island Peak packing video.
You should be drinking 4 – 5 liters per day (ABSOLUTE MUST) at altitude. Your body dehydrates faster at altitude and you are also exercising. Therefore, you need to keep drinking, your body is creating more red blood cells to carry oxygen faster around your body. Your blood thickens and therefore hydration plays a key part in keeping you healthy and your body working effectively at high altitude. You can use Ibuprofen to reduce inflammation, Disprin or Asprin in your water to thin out your blood, which will help you as you move higher on the mountain.
We include all of your meals when on the trek and climb. The food is carefully chosen on different days, depending on the exertion required. Loads of carbs, protein and necessary food to get your up and down with the fuel needed to sustain you.
You need a permit to climb Island Peak. If you are on an Ian Taylor Trekking trip, we will manage this in Kathmandu. Also, all climbers need to register in Namche and are checked again in Island Peak Base Camp. You can not roll up and climb the mountain. Ian Taylor Trekking manages all the forms, so you don’t have to worry about it.
There is really only one route to climb Island Peak. The key is to have two nights in Island Peak Base Camp at 5,100m/ 16,732 feet, and use the High Camp at 5,500m/ 18,044 feet, before going on your summit attempt. We also have 3 nights in Namche Bazaar around 3,500m/ 11,500 feet on the trek into Everest Base Camp. Any less than this and you run the risk of getting high altitude sickness and not making the summit. Be safe, be smart and give altitude and the mountain the respect it deserves.
We highly recommend you spend 13 – 14 days acclimatizing, before making a summit attempt on Island Peak. All in, this is a 3 week adventure. You can always spend more time in Kathmandu, visit Pokhara, or go white water rafting after the climb. There is plenty of sightseeing and activities to do in Nepal. Check out our Unique itinerary on our Island Peak page.
You will experience a wide range of temperatures from +20c to –20c (-4f – 68f), depending on the month you are climbing Island Peak. Typically, once you are climbing in April, May, late September and October, then the day time temperatures range from 0c to 15c on the trek in, and typically it is – 5c to – 10c on the summit night on Island Peak. Once the sun comes up, it gets warmer and can be warm coming down from the summit. If the weather is cloudy and windy, this will make it feel colder. Be prepared for every type of weather when climbing Island peak.
Altitude is always a risk, to ensure as safe an experience as possible you need to spend as much time as possible acclimatizing. We spend 3 nights in Namche Bazaar at 3,500m/ 11,500 feet, and 2 nights in Dingbouche at 4,350m/ 14,271 feet, before heading to Everest Base Camp and Kala Phattar. Then, we will then head towards Island peak Base Camp at 5,100m/ 16,732 feet.
You will have been up to Everest Base Camp at 5,364m/ 17,500 feet and Kala Phattar 5,645m/ 18,520 feet, before going to Island Peak. You can take Diamox on the mountain, if your doctor prescribes it, 125mg in the morning and 125mg in the afternoon. Also, you need to keep as hydrated as possible, and cover the distances as slowly as possible. You do not want to over exert yourself physically, so moving slowly each day aids in the acclimatization process.
The Golden Rules of Altitude Sickness is that if you do not feel well, you may have altitude sickness until proven otherwise. Therefore, do not ascend further if you have symptoms of altitude sickness. If you are getting worse, then you need to descend immediately. Every year, people die of altitude sickness, and many of these deaths are preventable. If you are travelling above 8,000 feet/ 2,500m, you are at risk of altitude sickness. Read more on this.
Usually people face their own fear on the mountain. Have I done the right training, do I have the right mountain experience? Having a positive frame of mind is so important. If you have done all the preparation and training, then you should feel confident in your own ability and your gear. Other people find it hard to adjust to camping life. It is important to get into a routine, once you get into camp, clean up change clothes, then set up your sleep bag and air mattress and get comfortable. Tackling each day at a time is a great way to focus. Therefore, you should not look too far ahead in the climb, focus on one day at a time. You will get there.
Can I Climb Island Peak
How difficult is the Island peak climb in Nepal? Island peak is achievable for most people if you have the technical training and you come with excellent physical conditioning. What is more important is having an excellent acclimatization schedule. We have helped a number of climbers in their 50’s and even 60’s to the summit. The summit is achievable for most people, if you put in the preparation and spend the right amount of time on the mountain. Give yourself the best shot at reaching the summit and getting down safely.
Go camping, get out and use your gear. Get outside in all sorts of weather and get training. See a personal trainer or gym instructor if you are concerned about how to physically prepare. We can also answer any questions you may have at any stage. We are here to assist you with all questions you may have on the climb.
Depending on where you are flying from in the world, the pricing will be different. You can pay anywhere from $700 – $1,800+ for flights. When it comes to your personal insurance, Helicopter evacuation, clothing, and Visa entry fee, you can spend up to $3,000. You will need proper hiking boots, gloves, thermals, down jacket, gortex, etc., and the total cost will all depend on the amount of gear you already have. In terms of the service, the prices range from $3,800 – $7,000 depending on the service you require. We pay all our staff, support staff, chef and Guides the correct wages, and do not cut corners on our service and trips.
We want you to be successful and we are here to support you in your endeavor of climbing Island Peak. How difficult is the Island peak climb in Nepal? Call us and find out more. We can help you!