There are numerous mysteries in the fabled Everest region of Nepal which calmly sits between the colossal Mount Kanchenjunga and the beaming Langtang National Park. The Everest region has forever enchanted travelers with awesome trips like the Everest Base Camp trek and the Mera Peak Climbing. In recent years, a certain trip is gaining notoriety amidst trek enthusiasts and is on its way in becoming the symbolic trek of the Everest region which might overshadow the famous Everest base camp trekking. The trip I’m talking about is the Island Peak Climbing. Standing at 6189 meters tall, the Island Peak climbing trip takes you through the drama of the icy Himalayas and Buddhism influenced villages. Navigate through the uphill terrains and battle snowstorms to fully comprehend the magic that is the Island Peak Climbing.
There are many ways through which the Island Peak climbing trip can be done. The most popular itinerary lasts for 17 days and shall be discussed here. Commence your journey by arriving at the Kathmandu valley, and then explore its major UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Get on a flight and head to Lukla, which is often called the Gateway of the Everest region. The short flight shows you the panoramic display of mountains like Everest, Ama Dablam, and Cho Oyu. This Himalayan trek takes you along the banks of the Bhotekoshi river and high suspension bridges. Rest in the bustling Namche Bazar and explore its antiquities. Learn the myths of Buddhism while visiting the Tengboche and Dingboche monasteries. The trail gets serious when we arrive at Chhukung as we have to fight high elevation and frigid temperatures. The walk to the Island Peak base camp goes through glacial moraines and river valleys. The ascent from the base camp to the summit of the Island Peak tests our limits. As we walk on the trail that was previously used by the Swiss climbing team, we reach the summit of the Island Peak. From here, we can observe the panoramic display of the mountains of the Khumbu region. We slowly make our way down to the base camp, then to Monjo where we shall interact with the locals. A quick flight takes us back to Kathmandu and the trip will end there.
WHEN TO CLIMB
Unlike the Annapurna Base Camp trek which is favorable only in spring, the Island Peak climb can be done throughout the year except during the monsoon months (mid-June to end of August). There are records of people scaling the mountain in the height of winter but they were seasoned experts. Although the peak can be climbed throughout the year, the best time to scale it is during the spring (March to early June) and autumn (September to November). The weather tends to be clearer during these months and although it might get a bit crowded, you will have the best weather and climbing conditions.
PHYSICAL CONDITION AND EXPERIENCE
When doing the Island Peak climbing trip, you are expected to walk for about 5 hours a day on average. Depending upon the weather and road conditions, there might be days when you need to walk more than that. Before taking the climbing trip, we advise you to prepare yourself months in advance. Increase your stamina by practicing running and strengthen your legs and shoulders as they will bear most of the burden. Those with heart problems and breathing problems should refrain from doing this climb. The Island Peak Climbing is simple so even novice travelers with the right guidance can do it. In a nutshell, climbers should be physically and mentally prepared for peak climbing.
GEARS AND CLOTHING
The major difference between a Himalayan trek and a climbing trip is the use of climbing equipment and gears. The Gears and clothing required during this climbing trip is detailed below:
Gears: Harness, Crampons, Ice axe, Ascender, Multi-LED Head camp, Karabiners, Rappel Device, Ski Poles, Slings, Sleeping bags, Tent, Masks, Altimeter, Helmet
Clothing: Jackets, Sunglasses, Boots, Woolen Hats, Woolen Scarf, Fleece trousers, Woolen Gloves, Woolen Socks
The Island Peak Climbing trip sees a maximum elevation of 6189 meters. Even the initial flight to Lukla sees an increase in elevation of 1000 meters. The trail sees an increase in elevation of 600 meters daily. Altitude sickness is a major killer in the High Mountains. Its symptoms include dizziness, short of breath, vomiting, and headache. To prevent it, we need to walk slowly and carefully. Carry necessary medicines and follow safety procedures while climbing.
The Island Peak Climbing trip is a must do trip in the Everest region. It encompasses the natural aspects of the Langtang valley trekking and has the cultural allure of the Annapurna Basecamp trek. While taking this trip, it is advised that you follow all the necessary trekking protocols. Have a realistic expectation of your trip and be sure to enjoy it to the fullest.