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Trip Overview

High in the Khumbu, close to Everest and closer still to the precipitous south face of Lhotse, the aptly named Island Peak (6189m) rises above a tangled knot of glaciated valleys. With its outrageous location and elegant summit ridge, this peak has been a favourite with KE leaders and clients for 2 decades. Trekking via Namche Bazaar and Thyangboche, we follow the Everest Basecamp trail to Lobuche beside the Khumbu Glacier.
Then, as part of our acclimatisation programme we visit Everest Basecamp and make an ascent of the classic viewpoint of Kala Pattar, where we enjoy some of the finest views of the world’s highest peak. Then crossing the Khumbu Glacier, we climb up to the Kongma La which gives access to the valley of the Imja Khola and the summer grazing settlement of Chukung. From here we move up to the basecamp for our main objective, Island Peak. The ascent of this 6000 metre peak in the shadow of the huge Lhotse face is an ‘alpine experience’ in every sense, involving fine climbing in exposed situations amongst breathtaking scenery. This is one of the best of all Nepalese adventures.

Trip Itinerary

Day 01 :Kathmandu Arrival

On your arrival at Kathmandu, Tribhuvan Airport, you will be met by a representative of Sacred Himalaya and taken to your hotel in the Thamel district of Kathmandu.

Day 02: Swayambhunath Temple – Kathmandu Durbar Square

This will be the first of your sightseeing days in Kathmandu. In the morning we will head for Swayambhunath (Monkey) Temple. Swayambhunath is a UNESCO, World Heritage and one of the must see sights of the Valley. We will walk the 365 steps up to the Stupa. There is much to see, not least the three large Buddha statues of Shakyamuni Buddha, Chenrezig and Guru Rinpoche. in the park to the rear. In the afternoon we visit the Durbar square in Kathmandu

Day 03:Fly Kathmandu to Lukla. Trek mainly downhill following the river to Phakding.

After breakfast, we take a bus to the domestic terminal of Kathmandu Airport for the 40 minute flight to Lukla. Landing on the narrow, sloping runway in the heart of the mountains is a very spectacular way to arrive. To assist with acclimatization, we allow 2 days for the walk up to Namche Bazaar and we start our trek with a downhill leg, from Lukla to Phakding beside the river. The altitude at this first stop is actually lower than Lukla at 2610 metres.

Day 04:Trek from Phakding to the Sherpa capital of Namche Bazaar (3400m).

A very pleasant walk by the river through pine forest leads to a short climb to escape a narrow gorge section. We pass the entrance to the Khumbu National Park where details of our permits are recorded and then drop down again to the river that we cross on a suspension bridge. We continue up the wooded valley on a good trail and cross the river again before reaching a confluence of rivers one coming down from Thame and the other from the Khumbu. We make a final crossing here on a spectacular high suspension bridge and then begin an hour and half long ascent to Namche (3400m) on a wide switch back trail. This is the sting in the tail of today’s otherwise gentle ascent, and one of the steepest of the trek. About an hour below Namche, we gain our first views of Everest.

Day 05:Rest/acclimatisation day in Namche. Optional hike to viewpoint of Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam.

Namche Bazaar is tucked away between two ridges amongst the giant peaks of the Khumbu. An ancient market place where goods from as far away as Tibet were and still are traded, Namche today boasts an abundance of lodges, cafes, bars and souvenir shops. It is an ideal place to spend a rest day, acclimatizing to the new altitude before heading off towards Thyangboche. Options for acclimatization walks include the one-hour walk up to the Everest Hotel above the village for the spectacular view of Ama Dablam, Nuptse, Lhotse and Everest.Namche Bazaar is tucked away between 2 ridges amongst the giant peaks of the Khumbu. An ancient market place where goods from as far away as Tibet were and still are traded, Namche today boasts an abundance of lodges, cafes, bars and souvenir shops. It is an ideal place to spend a rest day, acclimatizing to the new altitude before heading off towards Thyangboche. Options for acclimatization walks include the one-hour walk up to the Everest Hotel above the village for the spectacular view of Ama Dablam, Nuptse, Lhotse and Everest.

Day 06:Trek to Thyangboche (3860m) or Deboche (3734m)

A relatively easy day of trekking, although at this altitude it will still feel tough on the uphill section to Tyangboche at the end of the day. The trail today is spectacular in terms of scenery. The main trail out of Namche heads in a northwesterly direction climbing steeply out of the town to a ridge crest where a wonderful view of Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam is revealed. Our trail now follows a contour high above the river with occasional short climbs as we cross a series of ridges. At the end of this contour trail is the tiny settlement of Kangjuma where various items of local art and craft, jewelry and even yak bells are laid out to entice passing trekkers to buy a souvenir of their visit. From Kangjuma the trail descends to a bridge across the Imja River at Phunki. Beyond the river, we climb a long ridge to Thyangboche (3860m) one of Nepal’s finest monasteries. We have the chance to look around the monastery and the visitor centre there. This is a popular place to overnight as it not only affords a good view of the Everest/Lhotse massif but is also the classic viewpoint for Ama Dablam. However, water is scarce here and the lodges are often crowded so we may opt to continue for a further 20 minutes, descending to a lodge beside the river at Deboche.

Day 07: Trek to Dingboche (4410m) at the entrance to the Khumbu Valley.

Three hours trekking takes us to the village of Pangboche, where there is the oldest monastery in the Khumbu. An hour beyond Pangboche, there is a good lunch stop the small Sherpa hamlet of Shomare and then it is a further 3 hours walking, gaining height very gradually, to Dingboche (4410m) at the entrance to the Khumbu Valley.

Day 08: Acclimatisation ascent of Nangkartshang Peak (5083m)

In accordance with our careful program of acclimatisation we will spend two nights at this altitude before moving further up the Khumbu valley. We make a day hike up to the fantastic viewpoint of Nangkartshang Peak (5083m). This will be a tough climb at this stage of our acclimatisation but well worth it for the sensational views of Kangtega, Ama Dablam, Nuptse, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Lobuche Peak and Taboche. For the most part this is just a walk up peak with some minor scrambling to reach the final rocky summit.

Day 09: Trek via Dugla and then beside the Khumbu Glacier to reach Lobuche (4910m).

The trek today follows the Khumbu Valley and climbs to the tiny settlement at Dugla where we may decide to take a break for a leisurely lunch. Shortly thereafter, we reach the memorial to those Sherpas who have died on Mount Everest. Here, the trail starts to level out, following the lateral moraine on the west side of the Khumbu Glacier to Lobuche (4910m) opposite the towering pyramids of Nuptse and Lhotse.

Day 10: Trek to Everest Base Camp and return to Gorak Shep. (5140m)

Making an early start, we begin by following a trail through the ablation valley at the side of the Khumbu Glacier gaining height steadily. At this point the glacier is still hidden from us by the moraine, but as we climb to cross the rubble of a tributary glacier, we can see the great Khumbu Glacier stretching away down valley and also up towards the area of base camp. Beyond this tributary we reach an island of sparse grasses below the famous hill known as Kala Pattar. This place is Gorak Shep, once a summer yak herding meadow in the middle of nowhere, this remote spot now boasts several of the highest lodges in Nepal. As to be expected at this altitude and in this remote spot, the lodges here are quite basic but they do have heated dining rooms and offer a degree of comfort. After taking some rest here we continue along the moraine crest for a further hour or two before descending to the churned rubble of the glacier itself and our final approach to the site of the climbers’ base camp is on the ice itself. Outside of the main Spring climbing season, it is unlikely that we will see any tents here but the place itself is quite inspirational, situated close beneath the stupendous Khumbu Icefall. Afterwards we return as far as Gorak Shep. It is possible to return all the way to Lobuche in one long day, but spending a night here at these high lodges will greatly assist our acclimatisation for Island Peak.

Day 11: Morning ascent of Kala Pattar (5500m) for classic view of Everest. Descend to Lobuche(4910m).

This morning we have the opportunity to make the approximately 2-hour ascent of Kala Pattar. At around 5500 metres, this is one of the finest viewpoints for Everest and the Khumbu Valley. Depending on the weather and the condition of the group at this point, it is also possible to swap these two excursions (Kala Pattar and Everest) around so that we visit the Base Camp today Returning to Gorak Shep for some refreshment we then retrace our steps to Lobuche.

Day 12: Trek across the Kongma La (5400m) to Chukung (4730m)

From Lobuche, we make a crossing of the Khumbu Glacier. The glacier at this point is very slow moving, covered with rubble and moraine debris and usually has a good trail across. We then make the ascent to the Kongma La (5535m). The climb to the pass is steep, at first following a trail on a grassy hillside and then on a good path which zig-zags its way to the top of a scree slope. From the top of the scree the summit comes into view but we have another 45 minutes more level now, over boulders and scree to reach the prayer flags which stretch across from cairn to cairn. It will take a total of 3 hours or so from the glacier to the summit of the pass, but the views more than compensate for the expended effort. As well as the tip of Everest and the fantastic 8 mile-long Lhotse-Nuptse wall, the panorama includes Gauri Shankar, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Pumori and the distant peaks of Tibet. This relatively accessible Khumbu pass is not often crossed and is something of a hidden gem. A short distance below the summit we pass a usually frozen lake and drop steeply down into the valley where we pick up a steadily improving trail across yak pastures which takes us down to Chukung in the Imja Valley. This high Yal herders settlement which now boasts several lodges offers a sensational view onto the towering south face of Lhotse. From here we can also see our objective of Island Peak.

Day 13: Trek to Island Peak Base Camp (5040m)

A relatively easy day’s walking to Island Peak Basecamp. The trail crosses the river by the last tea shop and follows a beautiful ablation valley for 2 hours. Basecamp is at 5040 metres by the side of the Imja Glacier, below steep grassy slopes which mark the start of the climb on
Island Peak. We may decide to tackle the peak from here or depending on the general conditions and availability of water higher up, we may elect to start from a higher camp. The afternoon is spent sorting gear for the climb or preparing for the move to high camp the following day. If there are any group members who do not intend to attempt Island Peak,
there is the alternative of a trek to the head of the Imja Valley.

Day 14: Acclimatisation or move to High Camp (5760m)

This is a day for further acclimatisation prior to our ascent of Island Peak. The group have a couple of options. We may decide to use an intermediary camp and if this option is taken, today will be relatively easy with a 2 – 3 hour climb to a high camp at 5760 metres. This camp is situated on some levelled ledges half way up the rock buttress which leads onto the Island Peak Glacier. It is quite a small campsite, and often short of water, but it suffices for one night and offers spectacular views across to Baruntse and the Amphu Labtsa pass. If the option is taken to climb Island Peak from the base camp there will be the opportunity for some skills practice before a good rest and general preparation for tomorrow’s climb. Your trip leaders will decide how best to use this day.

Day 15:  Ascent of Island Peak (6189m) and return to Base Camp or Chukung

From the base camp a midnight start is required. If we have elected to make the climb from a high camp we will set off around 3 am. From the area of the high camp we climb over scree and boulders for 45 minutes to an hour to reach a narrow, rocky ridge leading on to the glacier. This is the place to rope up and put on crampons as the most interesting part of the climb begins with the glacier crossing. The setting couldn’t be more impressive with the mountains of Ama Dablam, Chamlang, and Baruntse painted by the dawn’s light. We weave a route across the fairly level glacier to the bottom of a snow gully leading to the summit ridge. Here the guides fix a rope, and jumars are used to safeguard this section. The climbing is more interesting than technical, but steepens up to nearly 50 degrees in places. After approximately 200 metres, the summit ridge is gained and Lhotse’s vast South Face looms before us. Again the guides
will place fixed lines on some sections of this undulating and sometimes corniced ridge. A final steep pitch brings us to the actual summit (6189m) which has space enough for everyone to sit down and take in the vastness of the surroundings. Island Peak is truly an island in a sea of ice, flanked as it is by the Lhotse and Imja glaciers and a plethora of giant peaks. Descent is by the same route and we aim to arrive back at the basecamp by early afternoon. Depending on the fitness of the group and time available, we may wish to continue our descent to the tea houses of Chukung, a further hour and a half down valley.

Day 16: Trek via Dingboche and Pangboche to Deboche (3734m)

We leave our basecamp (or Chukung) and descend the Imja Valley on our way back to Namche Bazaar and Lukla. Beyond the villages of Dingboche, we rejoin our outbound trail and
follow this down through Pangboche to camp at Deboche below the Tyangboche ridge.

Day 17: Trek via Tyangboche and Namche Bazaar to Monjo (2835m)

After an early breakfast we set off and make a short climb through the woods to Tyangboche Gompa where we have a great retrospective of the Everest/Lhotse massif and Island Peak. This is a second opportunity to visit the impressive gompa if we were not able to do so on the outbound trek. Leaving Tyangboche we descend the steep path to Phunki, where we cross the Dudh Kosi and begin the steep climb to the lodges of Kangjuma. Following the contouring trail around the hillside we suddenly arrive at the top of the bowl in which Namche Bazaar nestles. A final steep descent on stone steps leads to the main bazaar. After taking some refreshment here (or lunch if we have made good time) we continue the trek, dropping steeply down to a high suspension bridge. We follow the Dudh Kosi down with the wooded valley sides rising steeply above us. We cross the river again and climb stone steps to the entrance of the Sagamartha National Park. Here we must show our permits before continuing just a short way to our overnight halt at Monjo.

Day 18: We trek mostly downhill following the Dudh Kosi river, before the final short climb to Lukla.

From Monjo the trail descends the valley, which becomes more enclosed as we pass the villages of Phakding and Chopling, to reach Chaumrikharka. Here we begin the final climb of the trip, the sting in the tail, with a 45 minute steady ascent up to the airstrip at Lukla. Arriving at the bustling town we check into a lodge and tonight we will no doubt celebrate the end of a great trek.

Day 19: Fly to Kathmandu and check into our comfortable hotel. Rest of day free for sightseeing or shopping.

We take the flight to Kathmandu, where we check in to our hotel. The rest of the day is free for sightseeing or shopping in the bazaar. This evening we will have a celebration dinner in one of Kathmandu’s popular restaurants.

Day 20: Free day in Kathmandu for sightseeing, shopping or relaxing.

This is an important contingency day in case of delays to the flights from Lukla. If we have experienced no delays this is another opportunity for independent exploration amongst the colourful streets and temples of Kathmandu. This evening we will have a celebratory dinner to mark the end of a most excellent trip.

Day 21: Depart Kathmandu

Depending on the time of your flight departure, you may have time for a lttle more sightseeing or shopping in Kathmandu. We will then take you to Tibhuvan airport 3 hours before the departure time of your flight home and see you to your departure terminal where we will say goodbye and hope very much, that you will have enjoyed your time with Sacred Himalaya.

 

 

 

 

 

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What's Included

Trip Overview

Trip Itinerary

Dates & prices

What's included