Mera and Island peaks

Mera and Island peaks are two of the great Himalayan climbing adventures.
Mera Peak stands at 6,476m/ 21,246 feet above sea level and Island Peak at 6,189m/ 20,305 feet. This is the adventure of a lifetime in the Himalaya’s offering you a unique chance to climb two awe-inspiring peaks on one expedition. Geographically, Mera and Island peaks are fairly close, however they are separated by the mountain chain dividing the Hongu and Khumbu Valleys. This trip offers you the chance to visit one of the most beautiful and remote valleys in Nepal as well as the opportunity to cross the challenging and beautiful AmphuLabtsa Pass at 5,780m/ 18,963 feet.
Although Mera Peak is slightly higher than Island peak, Mera peak is technically a straight forward climb. It is called a trekking peak but nothing with ropes, glaciers, crampons and ice axes is trekking and not to be underestimated. Mera peak is climbable for people without mountaineering experience but always best to come prepared with winter skills experience. The climb to the summit is a very strenuous, but steady, glacier climb with rewarding views of the Himalayas from the top.

The fantastic vista from the summit of Mera peak, includes views of Kanchenjunga, Makalu, Everest, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, and Cho Oyu. From the summit, we will descend into the beautiful Hongu Valley where we will then cross the Amphu Labtsa pass and into the Imja Valley which is a serious mountaineering day. From the top you will get your first view of Island Peak . The view off the Amphulaptsa pass is incredible and worth the effort. The trips starts from $5,900.

Tips and Advice

1). Fixing our own Ropes

All our trips have three nights in Namche on the way up the trail, along with side trip to Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar. Our itineraries also have two nights in Island Peak Base Camp, we use Island Peak High Camp and fix our own ropes high on the mountain. Our team are available to our clients, giving them all the information they need before this challenging adventure. Read some Reviews from our trips.

2). Our Team

Ian Taylor Trekking have 3 guides for every group of 8 climbers. We have a maximum of 8 climbers per team along with our support team so we can carry ropes and mountaineering equipment high on the mountain. Safety is our priority on Island Peak.  We want to make sure all of our teams have the best chance at safely reaching their goal. With more staff on the trail with your team, they will be able to more efficiently manage your safety on the trail and mountain and also give you a better experience along the way.

We do not outsource any of our trips in Nepal and we have our own office in Kathmandu and our own staff who manage all of our trips. Therefore, this gives us far more consistency in our service on the ground. We have world class climbing Sherpa’s working with us and therefore, this helps us offer you quality trips to Island Peak.

3). Supporting the Community

We continue to support the local community and have helped to establish the Goli Village Trust in Nepal. This was put into place after the earthquake in 2015, when the Village where many of our staff have come from was devastated. We have built two schools in the Goli region and we have placed stoves in over 60 homes. We do need donations and help, therefore if you would like to donate, set up a trek to the village, give funds, clothes or school items, then get in touch. Please let us know and we can help you figure out how you can best help!

4). Quality Run Trips

We run only run quality treks with more staff, better lodges and better food. Read some REVIEWS from our trips. You can also watch our Food and Accommodation video for further information. A lot of times people are only given the same food each day for every meal, and we don’t do this. You are allowed to pick what you eat for each meal to make sure that your dietary needs are met.

We pay our staff correctly and do not over load them with weight. Also, we use Yaks to carry all the loads up to Island Peak High Camp and we do not cut corners on any aspects of our treks or climbs. There will be a maximum of 8 climbers per group on our trips and we have 3 guides and support staff for 8 climbers on Island Peak.

4). Expert Training Advice

We offer personal service with training advice for our clients, 5 days a week. A lot of people underestimate Island Peak.  We do not want to see this happen with our clients. Therefore, we want to make sure that you have the best information on how to complete this trek and climb safely and successfully. Learn more. The summit night and day alone can be 14 hours with some technical challenges. We run courses in Colorado and Scotland in support of our Island Peak climbs.

There are some long 8+ hour days, covering over 20km with over 700m/ 2,296 feet of up and down hill on steps or stairs while on the trail. We have professional training advice available to you 5 days a week. All you have to do is e-mail us and we can schedule calls with you as often as needed once you sign up to our trips.

6). More Acclimatization

We have learned after years of experience that people need more time to acclimatize to the lower levels of oxygen, in order to have a safe and successful trip to 20,305 feet. Therefore, we now include three nights in Namche Bazaar at 3,500m/ 11,500 feet. Trek to Everest and Kala Patthar at 5,645m/ 18,520 feet prior to reaching Island Peak Base Camp. We include two nights at Island Peak Base Camp 5,100m/ 16,732 feet and we use Island Peak High Camp 5,500m/ 18,044 feet.

This will help to give your body the time it needs to acclimatize correctly. Most companies are not doing this and we have seen over the years that it is a main factor in why more people on our trips are making it safely to the summit of Island Peak! We also include two nights in Dingbouche at 4,350m/ 14,271 feet, giving you the best chance of success!

7). Climb with an Everest Summiteer

Why not sign up to one of the trips that Ian personally leads? You can walk through the region with someone who not only has trekked to Everest Base Camp over 35 times, but also has reached the top of Mount Everest! Ian usually leads two Everest Base Camp and Island Peak climbs a year. Ian has personally led 19 Island Peak Expeditions with  17 climbs on the summit. If you book far enough in advance, you could join him on our unique itinerary Sign up and get access today. READ MORE.

8). 25 Years Experience

We have years of experience managing teams on the ground in Nepal. Our head Climbing guide Ang Kami Sherpa has climbed Island Peak over 200 times and climbed Mount Everest numerous times, Aconcagua and many other peaks. He is from Goli village and helped built the first school we built in the region.  His uncle is Dawa Sherpa and Dawa heads up our office in Kathmandu. Both are very  passionate about Sherpa culture, experience and preserving these traditions.  Anyone who has trekked with Dawa or Ang Kami Sherpa will never forget it!

9). Fully Trained Staff

All of our guides hold current Wilderness First Aid Certificates and mountaineering guiding qualifications.  Also, our guides will carry satellite and local phones with them .in case of an emergency. All our guide have led many trips on Island peak, Mera Peak, Lobuche, Tent Peak, Everest North Col, Cho Oyu, Ama Dablam and Mount Everest and so many more.

10). Quality Equipment and Gear

On our Island Peak climbs, we use quality, North Face Tents. We use these tents on all our trekking and mountaineering itineraries in Nepal. There is an option for a single tent for your nights sleeping at Island Peak Base Camp and High Camp. All our mountaineering gear is stored in Lukla and we bring new ropes for every season of climbing on Island peak. Our own cook Dilip or Karma will trek with the team to Island peak. Our Yaks and support staff carry all equipment up to Island Peak High Camp along with our support staff carry mountaineering equipment and ropes to crampon point. If conditions permit, our staff will bring your trekking boots up to crampon point for an easier descent back to Island Peak High Camp.

Island peak is highly underestimated by so many people. Ian Taylor Trekking use the High Camp on the mountain and have two additional nights in Island Peak Base Camp.  Most importantly, we FIX OUR OWN ROPES on the mountain, giving you the best possible safety.

1). Make Sure you Have the Right Training

Island peak is a steep hike and climb from 5,100m/ 16,732 feet up to 6,189m/ 20,305 feet.  The route has mixed scrambling, steep rocky scree, a glacier crossing with ladders and a steep Head-Wall all the way the summit. It is a very strenuous ascent, and that is after you have just walked for 12 days to the base of the mountain, which is also strenuous. We can help you formulate a training program if you join our team!

Multi-day hiking, building from 3 – 6 hours, with weighted backpack, along with training 4 to 5 times a week in the gym is essential.  Using a machine like a stair master with your weighted backpack on and building your endurance is key to success. You also need to be competent in abseiling using a figure of 8 . You need to be able to abseil using a figure of 8 device, moving between fixed lines on a 60 to 70 degree angle. This is really important.

2). Buy your own Mountaineering Boots Early

If you have ever worn mountaineering boots before, then you will understand what I mean here!  Mountaineering boots are extremely rigid and heavier than your normal trekking boots, making them a lot more difficult to walk in. It is essential that you have worn-in your boots before you go, and also that you pick the correct boots. Your feet are so very important to your success on Island Peak, and you need to look after your feet at all times in the Himalaya’s.

Island peak base camp is 80 miles from a road, you are in a wilderness area and need to be fully prepared with the right boots. This is not the place for you to test out your mountaineering boots. Likewise, we strongly advice against renting mountaineering boots. Having the wrong boots or renting boots could ruin your feet and your trip.

3). Complete our Winter Mountaineering Courses

We highly recommend taking a specific technical training course. We run specific training courses for Island Peak in Colorado and Scotland.  It is a very important part of your training before leaving for Island Peak. Being able to abseil/ rappel using a figure of 8, using crampons, a jumar (ascender) and being comfortable in a harness and using ropes can make all the difference in feeling confident in your Island Peak ascent and descent. We also recommend crossing ladders with crampons in your training.

Check out our winter courses in Scotland and get in touch for further information for our courses in Colorado. We can help you fully prepare for your climb on Island Peak. VERY IMPORTANT: You need to come proficient in crossing ladders, using a harness, figure of 8, using a Jumar device and abseiling.

4). Have the Right Clothing and Gear

With temperature ranging from + 20c to – 15c (68F to 5F), you need to come prepared. Once you arrive in Island Peak Base Camp, there are no lodges, therefore you will be sleeping in tents, out in the elements.  Having the right gear can be the difference in a successful and unsuccessful trip.  One of the essential pieces of gear will be a high quality down coat.  You will need to wear this down coat in the mornings and evenings as well as during your summit attempt.

Wearing high quality base layers is another way to ensure you are managing your body temperature.  We like to recommend Merino Wool as a great option for base layers, however they can be quite expensive, so if you are not looking to spend that much on your layers, you could also look at synthetic pieces.  You should stay away from anything cotton against your skin. Cotton will be very difficult to dry and it will also not help with regulating your body temperatures.

The most important items for Island Peak will be your mountaineering boots and gloves. Keeping your hands and feet warm is extremely important. CLICK HERE and watch our Island Peak packing video.  If you sign up to one of our trips we send you a 35 page dossier with itemized kit list.

5). Manage your Safety Throughout the Trip

The trail to Island Peak comes with some hazards. You need to be aware of these prior to making this journey. Our guides will lead you safely through the trail but always be aware of landslide regions, drop offs, people, yaks, and mules. Always stay on the mountain side of the trail when passing or being passed, and constantly be aware of your surroundings. CLICK HERE for our top tips while you are on the Everest trail towards Island Peak. Always wear a helmet above high camp as there is potential rock fall. You need to take personal responsibility for your own safety and be mindful of your surroundings.

6). Have Qualified Climbing Guides

Unfortunately, there are a lot of local guiding companies out there that offer Island Peak climbs who are not qualified to do so. Many companies out there will promise you the world, however they outsource their services to guides in Dingbouche and Chuckung.  These guides have limited climbing experience and will not have the ability to fix ropes or manage clients at high altitude. You need to make sure you have done your research on the company you will be using. You should have a professional climbing Sherpa who can fix ropes, manage training in Chuckung and Island Peak Base Camp,  bringing you safely up and down Island Peak.

We bring our own ropes up the mountain and fix them each trip for your safety.  Therefore, we do not use the ropes that are already fixed to the mountain.  These ropes that are already there are used by too many people.  They are not checked regularly enough to be safe in our opinion. We also use a high camp at 5,500m/ 18,045 feet, which gives you the best possible chance at a safe and successful climb to the summit of Island Peak. READ MORE about safety and what you need to climb Island peak.

7). Have the Right Acclimatization Schedule

When you are going above the danger zone and lower realm of the death zone at 5,500m/ 18,044 feet to 6,189m/ 20,305 feetyou need the right acclimatization schedule. We have 3 nights acclimatizing in Namche Bazaar at 3,440m/ 11,300 feet, 2 nights in Dingbouche at 4,350m/ 14,271 feet, an additional 2 nights at Island Peak Base Camp at 5,080m/ 16,666 feet.  Additionally, we also have one night at Island Peak High Camp at 5,500m/ 18,044 feet.

Altitude sickness is real, and going to altitude needs to be respected and not forced. Take your time and acclimatize well. This will help you to achieve your goal of climbing Island Peak.  Also, you will enjoy a safer and more enjoyable experience.

8). Have Previous Altitude Experience

There is a massive investment that you have made to do Island Peak.  You have spent the money, time, and preparation to go all the way to Nepal and climb. Everyone acclimatizes differently, therefore, knowing how you adapt at altitude helps you in your understanding and preparation for this climb. Having made numerous treks and possible climbs at altitude will help you in your preparation for Island Peak. How do you know what it is going to be like at 5,000m/ 16,404 feet and above, with 50% less oxygen, if you have never been at this elevation before? Be responsible and take the right path to 6,000m/ 20,000 feet peaks.

9). Know Your Knots

When you are climbing Island Peak, you will need to know how to tie different climbing knots. The figure of eight, overhand knot, Alpine butterfly and Italian Hitch knots will be used in the training and preparation for Island Peak. Therefore, it is best if you know these and have practiced these knots prior to joining an Island Peak climb. We will have rope with us on the trek in, and we will help you become more proficient on the route to Island Peak.

10). Be Proficient in Rappelling with a Figure of 8

As you will see in the video above, you have to abseil down the Head-Wall of Island Peak. You will be in control of the rope as you abseil down.  Therefore, being comfortable with abseiling prior to the start of the trip will be essential. We recommend doing an outdoor course before the trip.  This should include learning how to move from one rope to another on steep terrain, using a figure of 8 device. You should also be comfortable with exposure.  Therefore, finding a local climbing wall and practice using a harness and abseiling from high, which will help build confidence and experience for when you need it high on Island Peak.

Preparation and Training

Island Peak is a Mountaineering Peak

The first thing to remember is that Island Peak is constantly changing.  The route, terrain and the glacier changes from one season to the next. Specific technical training is needed for climbing Island Peak and we do require it from all of our clients. There have been a number of deaths in recent years so having the correct itinerary, acclimatization and professionals around you will make all the difference.

Be Ready for Anything

Ian has been on 20+ Island Peak Expeditions,  and each one of those has been totally different than the last.  The route up the Head-Wall changes each season, and sometimes it is more difficult than others. Over the years, the route has become more challenging.  Years ago, the route was a lot more straight forward, however 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, then 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. Because you never know what the conditions will be, you must not show up under prepared!

Be Physically Ready for Island Peak

When it comes to mountaineering, you 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. The conditions could be such that you could have over a twelve hour summit day before getting back to Base Camp or Chuckung. Likewise, we have had teams have 19 hour summit days! When it comes to any mountaineering trip, you need to be in excellent physical shape so that you can be ready for whatever is thrown at you.

Island Peak is not trekking. You need to be fully trained and prepared and always in control. Watch more videos There is specific training needed for a safe and successful Island Peak climb.

Can you Walk Across a Ladder with Crampons

Sometimes climbing seasons you have to cross ladders on Island Peak.  Therefore, you should come with that level of preparationDo some ladder training at home with crampons on and get a feel for what it is like when crossing ladders. The more comfortable you are the better and safer you will be high on Island peak.

Specific Mountaineering Training

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 a 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. Making 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.  You will need to have the leg strength to get you up and down steep terrain. Importantly, you will need to be very comfortable using ropes, Jumar (ascender) and  abseiling using a figure of 8 device on fixed lines. This is extremely important for your safety and the safety of  the team and our guides.

Specific Physical Training

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  of building strength and endurance. We can help you map out a training plan that will suit your needs.

Build up Your Training Over Time

Our recommendation is to be training 6 days a week. One day should be dedicated to long hikes up and down hills with a weighted backpack.  Train on a stair master and/or incline treadmill 4 – 5 days a week, starting with minimal weight in your backpack 5kg/ 11lbs. Then, we recommend slowly building up to carrying 15kg/ 33lbs. You need to train to specific heart rates, therefore doing a fitness test is a very good idea prior to developing a training plan. You should be doing most of your training in the endurance zone. Building from 1 to 1 hour 30 minutes per day for four or five sessions a week.

Also, you need a longer endurance session, once per week. This longer endurance session is best completed up and down hills with weight in your backpack.  However, if you do not have access to hills, it can be done 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 to suit your specific situation.

You should be looking at building from 6 to 12+ hours of training per week. Each month you should be trying 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 interval training, all 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.  Therefore, 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.  Also, remember that you will then still have to walk 50+km back to Lukla. If you are signing up to one of our Island peak climbs, then we will work with you to make sure you are getting the experience needed for this exciting and challenging climb.

Not everyone will have access to hills, but this is the best way to train your body and legs for down hill hiking. Depending on your chosen adventure you do need to assess the level of downhill. We have elevation gains available for all of our key trips. I encourage you to review the daily elevation drops and what type of terrain you will be walking on.

For example, on our Inca trail treks you will be drop 700m/ 2,296 feet to 1,000m/ 3,280 feet on different days all on steep rocky stairs. On Kilimanjaro you will drop 2,800m/ 9,186 feet in one day on scree and rock and this is very challenging on your legs and joints.

You have just walked for days on end you have reached your goal but not you have to retrace your steps, often in a quicker time frame. Hiking downhill will take its toll on your joints.  Fore sure, the downhill hike will take more wear and tear on your joints and muscles than the uphill.

You do need to use effective training techniques to minimize the impact on your body.  Descending using good technique means that you move faster and feel lighter. Remember, 80% of accidents happen on the way down.

Keeping Knees Healthy

We live in Eagle-vail Colorado with amazing access to altitude and a wide range of mountain terrain to train on. In Colorado we can train all year round on hilly terrain preparing for Kilimanjaro, Himalayan trekking and mountaineering trips. I know most of you are joining our trips from sea level and with minimal access to hill training. I encourage you to get out to Colorado doing some multi-day hiking in preparation for your chosen adventure.

If you do not have access to hills and mountains, you must figure out other ways to prepare your knee joints to handle downhill stress. From a knee perspective, downhill hiking means eccentric loading and typically thousands of repetitions of it. Eccentric loading (the lengthening phase of a contraction) is especially challenging to what is called the patellofemoral joint of the knee. This is where the knee cap, meets the femur. Inadequate strength, poor mechanics and lack of exposure to this type of loading can turn downhill forces into injury producing stress. Prior to your trekking trip you need to start implementing sport specific training into our general preparedness programming.

Hiking Uphill and Downhill

Hiking uphill is all concentric muscle action (muscle active while shortening) at the knee joint without any eccentric loading (loading while muscle is lengthening). Concentric only exercises tend to cause less mechanical stress, load and pain to joints and tendons than do exercises that have eccentric phases. What goes up must come down.

You must prepare our body and specifically your knees to handle downhill hiking. Depending on the trip, you really need 6 months of some sport specific training into our general preparedness programming.

The strength movements below are similar but slightly different in specific ways. We purposely only hit each one once per week because too much volume of these exercises could quickly lead to an over training injury, so be careful. I would recommend adding in additional hip flexor and quadriceps mobility work at the end of your training sessions as well to maintain good length tension relationships and to protect your spine.

The Point of These Exercises

Increase vertical loading volume of the knees with a sight posterior to anterior (back to front) force vector. Get exposed and accustomed to decelerating the vertical and forward forces using primarily a knee strategy.  Transition from doing most lunges and squats with a 3 points of contact foot position to a more heel elevated position where we contact and press through the forefoot.

The 3 points of contact foot position is the most stable position for the foot and encourages a balance of hip and thigh musculature – great for general preparedness training. Transitioning to a heels elevated position where the forces are applied through the forefoot places most of the stress on the quadriceps and knees – optimal for downhill hiking training.

Exercises for Downhill Hiking

You should consider adding these movements into your weekly training 2 times per week. Add 3-5 sets of 10-15 repetitions (per leg)

1). Heels Elevated Goblet Squat
2). Forward Alternating Lunge with Farmers Carry Loading
3). Forward Alternating Drop from Box Lunges
4). Banded Posterior to Anterior (PA) Forward Lunges

Carrying Weight

One of the best ways of mitigating the risk of musculoskeletal issues is by carrying a light pack. Then build up the weight you carry over time. An overly heavy backpack is not recommended in the early stages of your training.

Extract its biggest toll on your body during steep and/or long downhill sections, so a hiker should always aim to travel as lightly as the dictates of their skillset and the environment into which they are venturing allow.

If you are carrying weight on longer hike you should slowly build up the weight you carry. You should also consider carry water uphill and dump as much water/ weight as possible for your downhill. Always assess the weight you are carrying for each hike and always build up slowly over time. You do not want to get injured.

Daily Distances

Day 1

Once you arrive in Kathmandu, one of our representatives will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel in Kathmandu. This night is included in the price on a shared basis. We will do a gear check and make sure you have all the right gear for your climbing journey. You can also pick up some last minute items in Kathmandu before heading into the mountains.

Day 2

You will be up early and taken to the airport for one of the great flights of the Himalaya’s. If the sky is clear during the flight, we will get our first views of Everest and the region in which we will be climbing. The twin otter aircraft will take us to the hillside village of Lukla 2,850m/ 9,350 feet. which is the start of our trip to Mera peak. We will start trekking to our first camp at Poyan situated at the same height as Lukla. This is a 5 hour hike south out of the Lukla region. There is a weight limit on the flight to Lukla of 10kg/22lbs in your duffel bag and 5kg/11lbs in your day pack. All team climbing gear will be weighted separately and carried for the team throughout the whole trip. Watch our packing video and refer to the dossier you received.

Day 3

We are heading to PangKongma 2,846m/ 9,337ft. We will be up early each morning usually at 7am and start trekking after breakfast. We will get going off the beaten trail to an older route which climbs steeply to the ridge-line overlooking the Khare Khola. We descending the other side of this ridge, we then contour along the hillside before climbing steadily up to the beautiful farming and trading village of Pangkongma. This village is very welcoming and we have been invited into homes near the Monastery for local tea which is not very tasty. The Monastery is currently being rebuilt. You will be hiking for 6 hours today.

Day 4

Today we head to Nashing Dingma at 2,600m/ 8,530ft. We retrace our steps up past the Monastery and follow a zig zag trail up steps and dense forest which leads to the Pangkongma La 3,167m/ 10,390ft. We pop out in a small cluster of lodges where you can pick up a mars bar and take a break. As you top out you can see great views of Mera Peak and neighboring mountains. We then make a long descent 1,100m/ 3,609ft. with stunning views out across many valley and ridges dropping out of the high Himalaya’s. The steep descent leads us down to our lunch stop next to the river. After lunch we start a steep climb on the opposite side of the valley which leads us to Nashing Dingma 2,600m/ 8,530ft. We will stay here for the night at a campsite perched on the side of the hill with a few houses and people living in this magnificent place. 7 hours of hiking today.

Day 5

We head towards Chalem Kharka today at 3,600m/ 11,811ft. We gain height gradually through pastures and lush greenery, the trail steepens as we climb up to the Surka La. It is possible to take a nice cup of lemon tea and some biscuits in the lodge just over the pass. We will reach a campsite with a few lodges. This is a nice open campsite with a couple of new lodges where dinner will be presented. It is basic but, very few people come through here and the views are worth the effort. 6 hours of hiking today.

Day 6

Up again early we have a long up hill stint to our lunch spot. We will get up to 4,500m/ 14,764ft. today on route to Chunbu Kharka 4,200m/ 13,780ft. so we will need to take our trekking slow and steady and we let our bodies acclimatize correctly. The trail leads up out of camp on a easy trail then leads into steeper rocky terrain and then into a long stairs of rocky steps for hours up over a number of passes. From there we decent past some a lodge which can be open at certain times of the year. If clear we will see some great views of Kangchenjunga off to the east. We follow a well established trail passing some amazing lakes before the final decent into Chunbu Kharka beautifully situated in stunning valley setting, where very few people ever visit. 6 hours of hiking, mostly uphill.

Day 7

Today we set off from Chunbu Kharka up hill for about 30 minutes before a long steep ascent high above the Kinku valley with special views all around. After the long route down we come into a dense forest, we will stop and have our packed lunch, before moving lower. You can hear the fast moving river in the distance as we slowly make our way down to the valley floor. We follow the river mixed with some up and down hill trails through the forest before crossing the river on a small wooden bridge and arrive in Khote 3,600m/ 11,811ft. in a beautiful setting. 5/6 hours of hiking, mostly downhill.

Day 8

After a good nights sleep we have a nice trek to Tangnag 4,360/ 14,304ft. The first hour is a beautiful walk with giant mountains in all directions. We then stay on the left hand side of the river, watching out for rock fall on our left. The trail and terrain is gradual mixed rock and pastures where yaks graze in the summer months. There is a dangerous landslide area on the trail today and you need to be able to move quickly through these dangerous areas. Tangnag is growing all the time and we will camp in this beautiful mountain setting. You can sit in a lodge and warm up with a nice fire in the evening. This is a 4/5 hour hike.

Day 9

If the team are feeling well we will move to Khare 4,950m/ 16,240ft. today. We may take the opportunity to stay in Dig Kharka 4,650m/ 15,256ft. if needed. The route turns to the east as we trek through the valley floor and slowly make our way past stunning high altitude peaks, Black Mera is a spectacular mountain rising right out of the valley, we pass amazing lakes, glaciers, in one of the great Himalayan valleys. We will hopefully arrive in Khare after lunch and relax for the rest of the day. This is a 4 hour hike into Khare.

Day 10

We will spend the day in Khare 4,950m/ 16,240ft. We will spend the morning getting our climbing gear sorted. We will rig up a climbing scenario and practice using crampons, Jumars, abseiling and we will practice until you are comfortable doing all the different techniques. We will rest up and enjoy this amazing mountain setting.

Day 11

Today is another acclimatization and rest day. We will do an acclimatization trek up to 5,350m/ 17,552ft. on a stunning hill just outside of town giving everyone a chance to view into a beautiful glaciated valley to the north and be inspired by the sheer size of Mera peak and the glacier that rolls off the mountain. Khare is developing fast and has some nice lodges to relax and enjoy a warm fire in the evening time. 2/3 hours of hiking.

Day 12

Today we will make the move from Khare to Mera Base Camp 5,350m/ 17,552ft. today we climb up to the Mera La 5,400m/ 17,717ft. We will climb up to the Mera Glacier. At first it is easy but the trek up to the glacier is steep in sections and you will need to pace yourself and make sure you are getting your foot placements correctly. There is a chance of rock fall so wearing helmets, crampons is needed. The walk across the glacier is outstanding, with views and memories you will never forget. The descent from the glacier to the campsite is short. We walk between the moraine and the glacier on the northern side as it descends from the col down to the campsite which you can easily see from the glacier. 3 hours to get to Mera peak base camp.

Day 13

Today we will acclimatize in Mera Base Camp 5,350m/ 17,552 feet. We will also have the option to do some additional mountain training.

Day 14

We will ascend to Mera High Camp 5,800m/ 19,029ft. We head back onto the glacier to where we dropped off yesterday and follow the easy graded snow slopes, and after a short distance arrive at an area of crevasses which we will have to navigate carefully. We then make are way slowly up to High camp. Remember to look behind you where you will see views of Everest, Makalu, Nuptse and Lhotse and this trek up to high camp holds some Himalayan treasures. This camp is hidden behind a rocky section. The camp site is small and has some drop offs on the right as you enter the camp. It is time to rehydrate and recover for summit push. 2/3 hours to reach Mera peak high camp.

Day 15

The climb to the summit of Mera Peak starts gradually, and much depends on weather conditions. Once we leave high camp usually at 2am it should take 4/6 hours to reach the summit. Getting into a rest step and taking our time will be critical to conserving energy for the decent. The central summit appears above the wide glacier, flanked by 2 ridges. We climb the snowfields avoiding the crevasses. This steep section can take 2 hours and is slow going. The route swings to the east of the left hand ridge before turning back towards the main summit ridge of Mera. Mera peak has 3 summits, our objective is the highest. After reaching the summit and enjoying amazing views over the Himalayas, we have a short abseil before the long descent back to High camp. We will rest for 45 minutes before descending back down to our campsite in the Hinku Valley at Kongme Dingma 4,800m/ 15,748 feet. This is a 12 hour day round trip.

Day 16

After breakfast out under a new mountain setting, we continue through the Hinku valley, where we will stop for lunch along the trail under the stunning mountain of Chamlang. We will then continue the gradual ascent along side the Hinku River on our right, until reaching our campsite which could be in a couple of different locations at around 4,900m/ 16,076 feet. 5 hours of hiking today.

Day 17

We will be up early for the long walk towards the Amphulapcha base camp 5,500m/ 18,05 feet. It will take anywhere from 5 to 6 hours. We will get amazing views of the backside of Ama Dablam which is a special sight. We will continue up past frozen or glaciated lakes, ice pinnacles and glaciated moraine. We come up over a rocky ridge and we can see the end of the Hinku Valley. There is a stunning lake on our left enclosed by a spectacular mountain ridge. You can see the Amphulacha glacier on the wall over to the left. We walk around the lake and finally come to camp. This is one of the great wilderness valleys only miles from Mt. Everest. A uniquely stunning and special place to camp for the night. 5/6 hours of hiking today.

Day 18

We rise at 4am, get dressed and backed up. We will have breakfast at 5am before leaving shortly after that. At first we walk steeply up a rocky ridge and make our way through this turning rocky route. We will then see the glacier come into sight. We climb up onto the glacier, put on crampons and try and move efficiently on fixed line with some 40 degree angles to the top of the AmphuLapcha Pass 5,885m/ 19,308ft. This is a serious mountaineering day as we have to climb, abseil and follow a steep route down the other side of the pass. The descent down the opposite side of the pass into the imja valley should not be underestimated. Only mountaineers should try and attempt this route. You come over the pass and follow the fixed line down to the a short abseil on snow, ice, rock and scree (see our video) From the bottom of the abseil we will have 250m of fixed ropes to secure the following steep decent down to a point where you can walk down to the bottom of the slopes. From here we walk a further 3 hours to reach our campsite at the end of the Imja Glacier. You will see amazing views of Island peak, glaciers and the Imja valley. This is a challenging, rewarding and awe-inspiring day. We will aim to arrive in camp by 3/4pm. Another 12 hour day.

Day 19

Today we will relax all morning and recover from the previous day. We will pack up and make the 2 hour trek into Island peak base camp. Where we will set up camp and relax for the rest of the day. This is a beautiful gradual walk with the gigantic Nuptse wall off to your left.

Day 20

Today is a rest day in Island peak base camp at 5,100m/ 16,732ft. we can rig up a rope line and do more training Jumaring and abseiling if needed or just rest, clean up and take some time off in Island peak base camp. This contingency day may be needed at another point in the expedition.

Day 21

Climb up to Island Peak High Camp 5,500m/ 18,000 feet. The path leads beyond the camp, heads up the steep hillside with great views of the Imja glacier behind us. As we move over the steep ground, you will see the slope eases as we can easily walk toward high camp, tucked in on the left hand side of the route on rocky terrain. If it is clear you can see the steep rock gully above where we will be heading at 2am the following morning. We will camp just below the gully on the left. It is time to rest, re hydrate and recover the summit attempt. It takes 2 hours to reach high camp.

Day 22

Island Peak Ascent. We climb the rock gully, (grade 1 scrambling) but there are several short rock steps, before we emerge on the right side of the gully. We then follow the steep ridge line leading to the traverse onto the snout of the glacier. We need to rope up to the glacier as it contains many crevasses, this can be take time depending on the route, there is some climbing and jumaring (depending on the year) before coming out onto the glacier. At first the climb is on easier terrain then becomes steep and leads to a 100m/328ft snow and ice slope (55-60 degrees) on which our guides will fix our own rope. This is very strenuous, steep and will be very draining. Previous mountaineering experience is needed and Island peak is not a trekking peak. After enjoying the summit views we need to be very careful on the abseil descent and it is a long walk back to Chuckung. This is a 14 hour day.

Day 23

Trek to Tengboche 3,860m/ 12,664 feet where we enjoy the famous Monastery. This is a great trek and as we walk to lower altitudes we will become more revitalized and loving more oxgyen in your body. This is a 5/6 hour hike.

Day 24

Trek to Namche Bazaar 3,440m/11,286 feet. the famous Sherpa village, where we can relax and celebrate our achievements. Head to Cafe Danfe or one of the many Namche Bakeries. It takes 4 hours to reach Namche.

Day 25

Trek to Lukla. We cross the Dudh Khose River using the high bridge, and crossing several bridges on the route back to Lukla. We stop for lunch along the trail before continuing on our way to Lukla at 2,850m/ 9,350ft. This is a 7 hour hike.

Day 26

Fly back to Kathmandu. Our Mera and Island peaks has come to an end. You can enjoy free time, or sight seeing, and a complimentary evening meal on the last night of our visit. We hope to present you will your summit certificates and enjoy a final evening together.

Day 27

Free time in Kathmandu. We have to say goodbye, your Mera and Island peaks climbing adventure has come to and end. We will transfer you to the airport for onward journey.

  • More about our Mera and Island peaks trip

    From the Amphulaptsa pass you can see directly to Island peak base camp and high camp and access the route up to the summit of Island Peak 6,189m/ 20,305ft Island peak is a more technical climb and highly underestimated. You need to come really prepared for this climb. You have a grade one scramble up a rock gully and rock ridge, to a stunning glacier and crampon point. While on the glacier, you might encounter ladder crossings, steep ascents and abseils. You then continue across the glacier and encounter the steep snow head wall which leads you to the summit ridge and onto the summit. We do require previous mountaineering skills for this climb.

    From the summit of Island peak you will be rewarded with a fantastic view of the Himalayas with Makalu, Ama Dablam and Lhotse being some of the highlights. After the tough accent of Island Peak we will descend to the main Everest trail where the much welcomed tea houses, beds, showers and will be a stark contrast from our time in the remote wilderness! Island peak is highly underestimated and requires specific training. This is one of our favorite Himalayan challenges, you won’t be disappointed.


Making sure that you have the correct gear and clothing for the trip will be essential to your comfort and ultimately your success on the mountain.  The following video will show you what you should consider packing for your Island Peak trek and climb.

Test all Your Gear

Remember you need to test your gear and get outdoors to make sure you are comfortable in your gear.  You will want to break in your trekking boots and make sure your mountaineering boots are comfortable and working well. If you sign up to one of our Island Peak trips, then we send you our 35 page dossier.  The Dossier includes an itemized kit list and further information on training and preparation for this exciting adventure.

If you are unsure of any piece of gear you can CONTACT US and we can help you pick the right gear for you.  We are always available to talk through gear and clothing options once you sign up to one of our trips.  Also, we rent a range of gear out of our Kathmandu office. We have sleeping bags, sleeping mats, trekking poles and down jackets. Just get in touch and find out everything you need for your Island Peak climb.

Think About Future Trips

This list below is an outline of mountaineering boots needed for the range of trips we manage. Consider future trips when selecting the right boots.  When you finished on this page check out our recommendations for the best  trekking boots that you can use for the approach to your chosen mountain.

La Sportiva G2SM

1). My favorite mountaineering boots at the moment are the La Sportiva G2SM mountaineering boots. Super light and really warm. I always prefer the inner boot system and these boots can be used on 90% of the mountaineering trips I am currently undertaking. I use these boots on Island Peak, Mera Peak, Aconcagua, Mount Elbrus and Cotopaxi They are versatile for climbing in a wide range of conditions and terrain.

La Sportiva Baruntse

2). I really like the La Sportiva Baruntse mountaineering boots. A lot of our clients and guides have chosen to use these boots. They are great boots for Island peak, Mont Blanc and other Alpine climbs. They are a little bulky and heavier than the La Sportiva G2SM. They have the inner boots which I really like and they are warm and great option for your high altitude mountaineering adventures.

Scarpa Phantom 6000

3). We have a lot of clients using the Scarpa Phantom 6000 mountaineering boots these days.  They seem to work very well in a wide range of conditions and are a versatile mountaineering boot that can be used in a wide range of environments. I have however seen some people have issues with the fit of this boot. You really need to make sure you use your boots in your training and break them in. Scarpa can be a narrow fit for a lot of people so make sure you have tried and tested your boots before going on the mountain.

Mammut Norwand

4). We have a lot of people using the Mammut Norwand Mountaineering boots on our Island and Mera peak climbs. These are also a popular boot with clients on our Elbrus and Aconcagua climbs. Although I have not personally used these boots, I have never seen or heard of any have any issues with these mountaineering boots.


Q). How much does a visa cost to enter Nepal?

A). Visa entry for Nepal costs USD $50 for a 30 day visa and USD $100 for 90- day visa.

Q). How much is a meal in Kathmandu?

A). An average meal in Kathmandu is approximately USD $10 – $15 per meal.

Q). How much should you tip your guides?

A). The tip given at the end of a trek and climb should be roughly USD $350.

Q). Can I leave spare luggage in the Kathmandu hotel while I am on the trek?

A). Yes, the hotel we use in Kathmandu has a luggage storage room for any travel clothes or spare items you want to bring with you to Nepal, but not on trek. We use the Encore by Wyndham hotel in the Thamel district of Kathmandu.

Q). Where do I get water from on a trip?

A). You should use water purification tablets in the 4/5 liters of water you will be drinking each day. Avoiding water borne illness on the trek is imperative! You can buy these in Kathmandu or on the trail to Mera and Island Peaks. Bottled water (plastic) has been outlawed in the Everest region as of 2019. Therefore, you will not be able to purchase bottled water anywhere along the trail any longer. You will want to make sure that you have adequate amounts of water purification tablets with you for the entire trek. 30 minute treatment is ideal. Check when you purchase.

Q). Is there water at Island Peak High Camp?

A). Yes there is water close to Island Peak High Camp. We have enough staff and support staff to be able to collect water from the glacier near Island Peak High Camp.

Q). Can I buy items on the trail?

A). The higher up the trail you go, the higher the price tags are for items! Anything you want to purchase in the region has to be carried in on the back of a porter or animal, which is why things are more expensive the further they have to travel. Boiled water in Nalgene, for example, is between USD $2 – $3 and this will vary the higher up you go. There are some chocolate bars for sale and other items up to Khare. There is nothing between Khare and Chuckung after you climb Island peak.

Q). When is the best time to climb these peaks?

A). This depends on your experience and the experience you are looking to have. Some of our favorite times to be in the region are April and October into November. There are usually less people, which we prefer.  Traditionally the climbing season is March,  April and May. The monsoon rolls into Nepal in May and stays until September. We like to return to Island Peak in late September, October and November.

Q). When is the climbing season in the Himalayas?

A). There are two distinct trekking seasons in the Himalayas; pre-monsoon (February, March, April and May) and post monsoon (late September, October, November and December). It is also possible to make the journey in January and early September. Our personal favorites are March, April, late October and November.

Q). When are the peaks a little quieter?

A). The quietest time to visit will be March, early April and late September, November and December.

Q). When is the warmest time to be on these peaks?

A). May and late September are usually the warmest times to climb Mera and Island peaks. However, while we normally see warmer temperatures in May, we have also seen years where it has snowed on the trail and been quite cold along the way! You never know what the weather will be like in the region, but generally May is a warm time to be there.

Q). When is the main climbing season in Mount Everest?

A). The main climbing season on Mount Everest is April and May each year. This means that if you want to see Everest Base Camp with all the tents and action, then one of the trips during the months of March, April or May would be best for you.

Q). What vaccines do I need for Nepal?

A). The recommended vaccines to receive before trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp include tetanus, Hepatitus A, Hepatitus B, Typhoid, Poliomyelitis, Rabies, Meningoccal Meningitis, Japanese Encephalitis, and the Covid-19 Vaccine.

Q). How do I choose the right lodges for this trip?

A). The accommodation is very basic on route to Khote and then we use the same lodges up to Khare and again in the Everest region. The lodge owners know us and we know them. This helps us offer you consistency for your trek. We have been building relationships in the region for years.

Q). Is it difficult to cross the Amphulaptsa pass and Island Peak?

A). Firstly, you must know that the Amphulaptsa pass and Island Peak require specific technical skills.  You need to come with proficient mountaineering skills to take on this trip.  Secondly, you need to make sure that you choose the right itinerary, that gives you adequate acclimatization to the low levels of oxygen.  And finally, you need to come with excellent physical preparation to tackle this mountain.

One of the most common questions we get is people asking is this trip difficult. This is a relative question. For people who are used to hiking long distances, with a weighted back pack over years, they might find the trip very manageable. However, for people who have no access to hills, or that are not used to hiking, climbing or mountaineering or training on a regular basis.  They will need to train hard for this trip and will likely find it very difficult. Likewise, the older you are, the more training is needed. Learn More.

Ready to go?

You ready to sign up and 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 or phone so contact us today!

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