The first thing to remember is Island peak is going to be a different climbing challenge than what you see on you tube the terrain, route and glacier change from season to season. Specific technical training is needed for climbing Island Peak. There have been a number of deaths in recent years so having the correct itinerary, acclimatization and professionals around you will make all the different.
I have been on 19 Island Peak climbs and my last summit night was 19 hours because of deep snow and fixing ropes on the head wall was challenging. Island peak will be more challenging depending on the route. Years ago the route was a lot more straight forward but as the ice is melting on the head wall the route to the summit has become more direct. The climb can be very challenging if there is a lot of snow, if there has been no snow and higher temperatures you will find less ice on the head wall, and undulating ice climb, which can make it an easier or harder climb to the summit. Do not show up under prepared!!
Be Physically Ready for Island Peak
When it comes to mountaineering you do want to be training harder than you think. You could encounter an ice wall with no rest for your calves. You could encounter deep snow and you need to be fully prepared for the hard slog. I have been on summit attempt from high camp to the summit and back to Chuckung in twelve hours. I have also been on summit attempt from High camp and only making it back to Base Camp in 19 hours. When it comes to any mountaineering trip you need to be in excellent physical shape.
Island Peak is not trekking. You need to be fully trained and prepared and always in control. There is specific training needed for a safe Island Peak is needed in preparation for the climb. As you can see in our video’s, the steep challenges of Island peak require respect and specific physical conditioning and mountaineering skills. If you are signed up to one of our climbs we are available to help you get the best and current information on this climb.
Specific Training for Island Peak
Some times you have to cross ladders. So you should come prepared with that level of preparation. Do some ladder training at home with crampons on and get a feel for what it is like crossing ladders. The more comfortable you are the better and safer you will be high on Island peak.
Specific Mountaineering training for Island Peak
When it comes to preparing for Going up the head wall you need to find 60 to 70 degree angle terrain. Have a guide set up ropes with 4 to 5 different anchor points. You will have a jumar on a sling or cows tail attached to your harness. You should also have a sling (safety line) with carabiner on the end of the sling. The Carabiner should be able to go above the Jumar on the fixed line. You do not want the Jumar going higher than your nose when fully tight.
The key mountaineering training should be for going down the head wall. You will want your safety line with carabiner on the fixed line. The safety should be kept above the figure of 8 (descending device) as you abseil down. You need to be comfortable abseiling using a figure of 8 and learning to flip the figure of 8 over once you reach each anchor point. You need to make sure your safety line is tight as you find the next abseil. Once you have found the rope and you are safe with the figure of 8 to abseil, then and only then do you take the safety line from above the anchor point and place on the rope you are abseiling on. This training is important for your safety!!
You will have to abseil or rappel down the head wall using a figure of 8 at 6,150m/ 20,177 feet high and you will have to have the leg strength to get you up and down steep terrain. You need to be really comfortable using ropes, Jumar ascender and more importantly abseiling using a figure of 8 on fixed lines. This is really important for your safety and the safety of our guides and staff.
Specific training for Island Peak
Fitness is important but being lean, lighter, stronger and fast is really important when climbing these big mountains. Do not under estimate this Island peak challenge. Read some REVIEWS from our trips. We recommend physical training 5/6 days a week. Focus on two main elements Strength and endurance. We can help you map out a training plan that will suit your needs.
Build up Your Training Over Time
My recommendation is to training 5 days a week. Train on a stair master and incline treadmill 4 days a week start with minimal weight in your back pack 5kg/ 11lbs. We recommend slowly building up to carrying 15kg/ 33lbs. You need to train to specific heart rates. So doing a fitness test is a really good idea. You should be doing most of your training in your endurance zone. Building from 1 to 2 hours per day for 4 sessions.
You also need a longer endurance session once per week and a day or two days off for recovery. This longer endurance session is best completed up and down hills with weight on a bike doing a long ride or in the gym mixing up the machines you use. We can help you figure this one out.
You should be looking at building from 6 to 12+ hours of training per week. Each month you should be looking to increase the weight you carry and the time spent doing the activity. After 2 months you should start adding in some weight training developing your quads, calves, and core. In the last 2 months you should consider adding in internal training while you are still doing the endurance training building up the weight you are carrying.
Strength and Endurance Training
Your Island peak summit day could be 12 – 16+ hours depending on conditions so you need to have the strength and endurance to be able to manage this long day after walking 13 days to get to this point and you still have to walk 50+km back to Lukla. If you are signing up to one of our Island peak climbs we will work with you to make sure you are getting the experience needed for this exciting and challenging climb. CONTACT US today for further information.