Island Peak

  • Description
  • Itinerary
  • Day by Day

The Approach Trek


Our Island Peak trip is a special trek which combines an ascent of Island Peak with a visit to the famous Everest Base Camp. We start from Lukla and trek slowly up the Dudh Kosi valley. After a trip to visit Everest Base Camp we branch off to Chukkung and then onto Island Peak Base Camp to prepare for the ascent of Island Peak.

Island Peak was the name given to the mountain in 1952 by Eric Shipton's party who thought it to be reminiscent of an island in a sea of ice. It is also known by its Nepali name of Imja Tse. The mountain is an extension of Lhotse Shar, and is located between the Lhotse and Imja glaciers, standing at 6189m/20305ft.



Summit success!

Summit success!


Island Peak Trek - The Climb

We ascend by the standard route, climbing direct from Base Camp. The final ridge is a classic of its kind and from the summit fabulous views can be enjoyed of many Himalayan giants including the immense south face of Lhotse and the huge peak of Ama Dablam. This trek is a tea-house trek, with tents and fully kitchen service being provided at Base Camp. Transport to and from the Everest region is by air. 



'I have made three trips with Trek Nepal - Mera Peak, Island Peak and a special trip to Tent Peak. Each time, Trek Nepal were very professional and helpful. I intend to return to Nepal again, and would always use Trek Nepal.
Jan, Munich

Outline itinerary

Day Program Altitude
1 Arrive Kathmandu,
transfer from airport to hotel
1300 m
2 At leisure in Kathmandu,
preparation for trek
3 Fly to Lukla, trek to Phakding 2800 m
4 Phakding to Namche Bazaar 3440 m
5 Acclimatisation day in Namche Bazaar 3440 m
6 Namche Bazaar to Tengpoche 3500 m
7 Tengpoche to Dingboche
4410 m
8 Acclimatisation day in Dingboche
4410 m
9 Dingboche to Lobuje
4930 m
10 Lobuje to Gorak Shep, side trip to Base Camp (5360m)
5160 m
11 Ascent of Kala Pattar (5545m), trek to Dingboche
4410 m
12 Dingboche to Chukkung
4750 m
13 Chhukung to Island Peak Base Camp
5150 m
14 Ascent of Island Peak (6189m) and return to Base Camp 5150 m
15 Contingency Day
16 Island Peak Base Camp to Pangboche 3860 m
17 Pangboche to Namche Bazaar 3440 m
18 Namche Bazaar to Lukla 2800 m
19 Fly to Kathmandu
20 In Kathmandu  
21 Transfer from hotel to airport, fly home  

Day by day itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Kathmandu, transfer from airport to hotel

Day 2
At leisure in Kathmandu, preparation for trek

Day 3
Fly to Lukla, trek to Phakding

After a very early start, and an early take off from Kathmandu Domestic Airport, a 45 minute flight is all it takes to propel us into the Everest region of Nepal. The landing at Lukla (2800m) is spectacular and on arrival we are greeted by our sirdar and trekking crew who organise the luggage and hustle us off for tea. After a leisurely lunch we start the trek in earnest, setting off for a gentle walk to Phakding (2800m), a further 3 hours to the north. The trail leads through Lukla, past hotels, shops and airline offices to the edge of the Lukla plateau where the trail drops to meet the intersection of the Jiri trail at Chablung. From here the trail follows the Dudh Kosi north through the village of Ghat and then finally to Phakding where we spend the night.

Day 4
Phakding to Namche Bazaar

From Phakding the trail continues north up the Dudh Kosi valley, staying 100m above the river on its west bank. The trail leads us to Jorsale (2810m) where we enter the Sagarmatha National Park, and submit our trekking permits for checking. From here we continue on an ever-steepening trail to Namche Bazaar (3440m), known simply as Namche. En route we cross the spectacular suspension bridge high above the confluence of the Bhote Kosi and the Dudh Kosi, and shortly after glimpse our first view of Everest, way off to the north-east. The trail to Namche is steep and long, but eventually we reach the remarkable Sherpa capital perched high on the hillside and dominated to the east by the immense bulk of Kwangde (6187m).

Day 5
Acclimatisation day in Namche Bazaar

Acclimatisation is important before trekking higher, and this is the first of two scheduled stops which allows us to gradually become used to the effects of altitude - the lower pressure and the thinner air. We can spend the day by taking a side trip to Thami or Khumjung, by visiting the National Park Visitor Centre on the hill above Namche or by simply resting and browsing in the shops in the town. Namche is a fascinating place simply to “hang out” and take in the culture of the mountains, from the trading of visiting Tibetans to the stories of departing mountaineers.

Day 6
Namche to Tengpoche

From Namche we trek north-east on a direct line to Everest, starting up the hill to the Visitor Centre and continuing on a reasonably flat easy trail high above the Dudh Kosi. Ahead of us we can see one of the most beautiful mountains in the Khumbu - Ama Dablam (6856m), as well as Everest still far off in the distance. We pass through the settlement of Sanasa before making our descent to the Dudh Kosi and the village of Phunki Thanga. Of course, “what goes down must go up”, and from here it is a steep long climb up the side of the hill to the saddle on which Tengpoche monastery is located at 3870m. As we enter the grounds of the monastery we are welcomed by the most magnificent mountain view in the world. The long climb seems well worth it as we gaze upon a panorama of Himalayan giants, including Everest as it peeks above the Lhotse-Nuptse ridge.

Day 7
Tengpoche to Dingboche

The trail initially descends through beautiful rhododendron forests and reaches a bridge across the Imja Khola where the river rushes through a narrow gorge, and from here it is a short walk to the settlement of Pangboche (3860m). After this point the trail and surroundings become distinctly alpine in appearance as we trek above the tree line. The trail is relatively easy, with a gentle climb towards Dingboche at 4410m. Dingboche is a long thin settlement nestled below a ridge that separates it from its neighbour Pheriche, at which there is a Himalayan Rescue Association medical centre. To the east we have fantastic views of Lhotse at 8501m, and the popular climbing peak of Island Peak at 6189m.

Day 8
Acclimatisation day in Dingboche

This is the second of our acclimatisation days and it allows us to become adjusted to the thinning air and lessening pressure. Whilst by no means compulsory, a recommended aid to acclimatisation is a side trip to Chhukung at 4730m. This is a short hike eastwards up the Imja Khola valley and is rewarded with fantastic views of Lhotse, Ama Dablam and Island Peak. Alternatives are to climb the ridge above Dingboche, walk across to Pheriche, or walk ahead to Duglha (4620m), tomorrow’s lunch spot.

Day 9
Dingboche to Lobuje

We start by slowly ascending to the ridge above Dingboche and continue northwards on a gentle sloping trail to the settlement of Duglha. At this point we reach the terminal moraine of the great Khumbu Glacier, and the trail and the surrounding terrain becomes more barren and harsh. After a rest we continue higher on the moraine up a steep slope to a small flat area where we see a collection of memorials to mountaineers who have died in the Khumbu. Moving on, we trek into the Khumbu valley proper, and as we turn to the north-east we are greeted by the incredible sight that is the head of the Khumbu valley. From the entrance to the valley we have a fantastic view of the mountains that form the border with Tibet as well as the giants that form part of the Everest massif. The trail follows the western side of the valley and eventually reaches the settlement of Lobuje at 4930m. As we trek towards Lobuje the huge bulk of Nuptse (7879m) dominates, seeming to be the highest mountain in the area.

Day 10
Lobuje to Gorak Shep, side trip to Everest Base Camp

We start early from Lobuje and trek along the western side of the broad Khumbu Valley, through meadows and over scree slopes, as we continue beside the moraine of the huge creaking glacier. The trail is rough in parts and it is important to progress slowly as we are now above 5000m for the first time. Shortly the pyramid peak of Pumori (7145m) comes into view and underneath this, dwarfed by its more exotic neighbour, we see the small black peak of Kala Pattar (5545m). This is the best vantage point for views of Everest and is our objective for tomorrow. The trail then descends off the moraine and down to the small settlement of Gorak Shep (5160m) where we rest before we continue along the side of the Khumbu Galcier to the site of the Everest Base Camp. The round- trip takes approx. 6 hours.

Day 11
Ascent of Kala Pattar, return to Dingboche

The ascent takes approx. 2 hours of steady walking, stopping occasionally to take in the view of the increasing bulk of Everest. From the summit at 5545m it is possible to see many of the key features of this great mountain - the South Col from which Hillary and Tenzing made their first ascent in 1953 is clearly visible. After spending time taking photographs and experiencing the greatest mountain view in the world we descend back to Gorak Shep and then start our walk back down to Dingboche.

Day 12
Dingboche to Chhukung

From Dingboche to Chhukung is a short walk of about 2 hours which allows us to reach Chukkung mid-morning and rest up.

Day 13
Chhukung to Island Peak Base Camp

From Chhukung we continue in a general easterly direction to the site of our base camp. The trail follows the moraine of the Lhotse glacier to the snout of the Imja glacier where it branches to the east and skirts around the base of Island Peak. This takes about 3-4 hours so we arrive at lunchtime and can rest in the afternoon. We make our base camp at approx. 5150m.

Day 14
Ascent of Island Peak and return to Base Camp

We set off early for the summit at about 2.00 am, and scramble up in the dark to the snow-covered glacier above. From here we take care as we make our way up the glacier until we reach a broad snow basin which leads up to the final section of the climb. Ahead of us now is the main summit ridge and we climb a steep snow and ice slope, using fixed ropes, for approx. 100m to access the ridge. The ridge is a classic and leads quickly to the east up to the main summit at 6189m. From the summit there are fantastic across to Lhotse to the north, the Amphu Labsta and Mera Peak to the south, and Ama Dablam to the west. After taking in the views we descend by the same route, abseiling from the ridge, and making our way back carefully to Base Camp.

Day 15
Contingency Day

We allow a spare “buffer” day in case of bad weather.

Day 16
Island Peak Base Camp to Pangboche

We retrace our steps back down the Imja valley, firstly to Chhukung where we stop for lunch, and on to Pangboche where we spend the night. This is a chance to celebrate our success with a cool beer, and reflect upon the climb of the previous day.

Day 17
Pangboche to Namche Bazaar

From Pangboche we head down the main Everest trail, passing again through the settlement of Devoche, before reaching the famous Tengpoche monastery. We have a chance we visit the monastery before continuing on to Namche Bazaar. From Tengpoche the trail drops steeply to the river at Phunki Thanga, and then rises again to traverse high above the river on a winding trail into Namche Bazaar.

Day 18
Namche Bazaar to Lukla

The final day of our trip, and a sense of relief for some and sadness for others as we retrace our steps of the first few days along the trail above the Dudh Kosi. We start by descending steeply out of Namche and shortly before we cross the suspension bridge below Namche we get a last chance to see Everest before it is out of sight until the next time. We lunch at Phakding and arrive in Lukla by mid-afternoon.

Day 19
Fly to Kathmandu

We return to the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu with a 45 minute flight back to the domestic airport. Here you will be greeted and transferred back to your hotel in Kathmandu. Arrival times back into Kathmandu vary, however it is usual to arrive back at your hotel by mid-afternoon.

Day 20
In Kathmandu

Day 21
Transfer from hotel to airport, fly home