Too many in-experienced people are flocking to climb Island peak like it’s a carnival ride. These people are causing problems, adding to the risk and putting others at risk. There is also the element of climate change that is changing this mountain very quickly. I personally think the current route is not going to be workable in about 6 to 10 years.
We bring up our own anchors and ropes to fix and manage the head wall as safely as possible. No other groups are bringing up ropes, so everyone is going onto the already fixed anchors and pulling hard on them, sometimes with 18+ people on one anchor.
I have been on 18 Island peak expeditions with 16 summits and in recent times I have seen more rock fall, more risk and more people showing up totally under prepared. When did doing the bare minimum become the norm in the Himalaya’s?
Everest sets the standard and the level of climber going there is pretty shocking from what I see here in the region and on the other mountains in the Everest region. Last year I saw a number of serious accidents on Island peak. There is a video showing a dead person on the head wall from 2017 and people are skipping acclimatization and not coming with the right technical and physical preparation. The training given in base camp by some guides is shocking and people do not understand the risks they are exposing themselves too.
We have made the decision to run less trips year on year to Island peak as people are potentially more dangerous than the mountain itself. The shocking lack of technical and physical ability scares me. I think by 2022 we will run one or may no trips to Island peak and move to Tent Peak, Mardi Himal and other peaks on the Annapurna side.
Currently safety and facilities are not adequate to manage this trek and climb so we are going to start climbing mountains with less people, less risk but similar views.
If you are thinking of climbing Island peak. Think very carefully about who you decide to climb with. You also need to consider your preparation carefully and acclimatization needs to be paramount.