Island Peak (Imja-Tse) – 20,305′
Mountain Trip offers a wide range of aesthetic alpine objectives throughout the Nepal Himalaya, from the remote to the well-known, including all of the “trekking peaks” of the Khumbu: Lobuche East, Mehra Peak and Island Peak. We love returning year after year to experience this culturally rich country, all while amidst the highest mountains in the world. Don’t be misled by the appellation: The trekking peaks of Nepal offer their share of challenging mountaineering. Island Peak offers a great introduction to high altitude mountaineering, and a venerable ascent in its own right. Combined with a trek in from the lowlands, our Island Peak expedition makes for an immersive and unforgettable experience in the Nepalese high country. Known locally as “Imja-Tse,” Island Peak stands at 20,305’ (6189m) with significant prominence from the surrounding valley, in a dramatic setting of massive peaks.
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Our Island Peak ascent route climbs the narrow Southwest Ridge after navigating a section of glacier (complete with ladder crossings, depending on the conditions) to the breathtaking summit, surrounded by the majesty of Makalu, Lhotse, Ama Dablam and the holy peak of Cho Polu–a very memorable experience in the mountains. One of the world’s great alpine walls, the rarely attempted and extremely difficult South Face of the 8,516 meter giant Lhotse, provides a spectacular backdrop to our climb.
As we gradually ascend from the airport hub in Lukla through the verdant foothills of the Himalaya, we’ll make stops along the way, including a night in the cultural center of Namche Bazaar, and the Tengboche Monestary; you cannot help but feel a sense of the sanctity and spirit of these peaks, as well as the footsteps of many historic ascents before you. We will also take a side trip up to Everest Base Camp, and weather permitting, Kala Patthar. After savoring the rewards of our efforts, we descend the trail back to Lukla, where the expedition will come full circle.
Those interested in climbing Island Peak should have basic mountaineering experience, as we will be traveling on a rope team for a portion of the climb on summit day, as well as ascending a fixed line. While we will only be hiking with day packs (with the assistance of porters to carry our duffels with heavy climbing gear) climbers must also be in good physical condition, as the mountainous terrain that creates such majesty in the Khumbu lends itself to rugged hiking. Moreover, the thin air of the high Himalaya also makes the climbing and trekking much more challenging than at lower elevations.