Island Peak Climbing Difficulty
Island peak climbing, also known as Imja Tse, is one of the famous destinations among climbers in Nepal. When viewed from Dingboche, this peak looks like an island between the sea of ice, which is why it is also known as Imja Tse. This peak was first climbed by an expedition team in 1956. Because of its ice and snow, this peak is considered one of the hardest ones to climb. The Island peak climbing takes us to a series of amazing aquamarine lakes within the Gokyo valley, Renjo La Cho La and Kongma La pass, and finally to Everest Base Camp. The journey even includes places like Gokyo Ri and Kala Patthar. These places offer close-up beautiful views of the world’s highest Himalayas including Khumbu, Pumo Ri, Lingtren, Khumbutse, Lola, Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Ama Dablam, Lobuche Peak, and many more.
The climbing of Island peak starts from a scenic flight to Lukla and trek to Everest base camp. During the trek, the trekkers will pass through the countryside, where you can submerge in centuries-old Nepalese and Tibetian cultures. Besides, one can visit Khumbu valley inhabited by the Sherpa community. The Island Peak Climb along with the Everest Three Passes Trek assimilate enough and proper acclimatization and is ideal for adventure seekers. However, one should maintain their physical and mental fitness for this climb. Despite being a moderate climb, it is extremely challenging for those who are new to the Himalayas adventure. Before opting for Island peak climbing, one should properly take some sort of strength training.
Highlights of Island Peak Climbing
- The Island’s peak climbing, at an elevation of 6189m.
- Get experience with real mountain climbing.
- Stunning view of the Himalayas such as Nuptse, Lhotse, Makalu, Ama Dablam, etc.
- Close-up view of stunning places including at the high peaks around Everest Everest base camp and Kala Patthar.
- Experience the remote lifestyle of people living over there along with their culture, tradition, and occupations.
- Stunning sunrise and sunset view striking over the peak of Himalayas.
How difficult is Island Peak climbing?
Climbing a peak is not an easy task, whether it be an Island peak or any other peak. However, one can make it easier by spending more days on the trek in and on the mountains. There need to be several factors that need to be taken care of when aiming for peak climbing. First of all, one needs to have proper acclimatization. Changing the attitude all of a sudden can cause some serious problems such as altitude sickness. The higher you go, the lower oxygen gets. As the peak climbing is above an altitude of 6000 m, altitude sickness is prone in this elevation. Anyone of any age and fitness level can suffer from this sickness. As the sudden symptoms of this sickness can be headache, vomiting, nausea, and most probably fainting.
On the other hand, the summit statistics indicate that the majority of people striving to climb are not reaching the summit. People are aiming for the least number of days for the climb, however, it can be dangerous. You need to take the tree slowly and gradually. Likewise, carrying an extra bag pack of 5 kg to 7kg and walking for almost 5-7 hours a day on a rough trail is not an easy task. You may get tired, may feel restless, may feel numb, and more importantly, want to give up. However, always aim for the top once you start it. Besides, as we all know that the weather in the Himalayan region is unpredictable. Sometimes, there may be high rainfall and snowfall which makes you halt the journey. Also, the heavy snowfall may block the road sometimes.
Despite being one of the challenging climbs, the route is safe because of the fixed lines. One can complete the summit with strong determination and some training.
The difficulty of Island peak climbing
The adventure in the Himalayas region is fun yet never easy. Several factors add up to challenges in the journey. When it is about the difficulty level of Island peak climbing, it may be moderate for experienced ones but the beginners will always find it challenging. The altitude, weather and temperature, the trail, and the avalanche and falls make the journey much more of an exhilarating experience. These are the major factors that add up to difficulties in Peak climbing.
Most of the trekkers are from a normal altitude. They belong to the rest of the people who come from lower altitudes. However, the elevation of the Nepalese Himalayan is extremely high. Being home to 8 of the world’s tallest peaks above 8000 m including Everest, the altitude for climbing and expedition may be high for those beginners as well as intermediate. However, the sudden change in altitude may be a problem if taken too lightly. The more the altitude increases, the level of oxygen decreases. Furthermore, the sudden increase in temperature may lead to several problems of altitude sickness. Trekkers may face the early symptoms of Vomiting, fainting, nausea, and headache. It can happen to anyone of any fitness level. So, it’s better to acclimate and take the journey at a slow pace.
Weather and temperature
As we know, the weather in the mountain regions is extreme and unpredictable. There may be sudden changes in the weather and temperature within a minute. So, it can become another hindrance to peak climbing. The temperature can range from 30 degrees to -15 degrees according to the season you will be traveling. The morning and night can be cold. During windy and cloudy weather it will get colder than usual. On the other hand, sometimes the trail may be blocked due to extreme snowfall mainly in the winter seasons. The climbers need to carry extra sleeping bags and warm clothes as the temperature tend to decrease with the increase in altitude.
Along with the physical and mental fitness, climbing Island peak requires technical training to help ensure your safety. Therefore, it will be much easier if the climbers learn the technical support training properly before they venture on this trip. One should know the proper ways to hold and use the equipment. Likewise, the roping section can be confusing for many even after the training. There might be problems with trusting the rope connection you have made. Therefore, the guides are there to help if you have any confusion and will assist you on every point.
Reaching the peak can be much more of an adventure but one should be well careful with the rope and equipment they are using. Take the journey at a slow pace and never hurry to reach the summit. It’s not a competition. It’s an adventure you are doing in nature. Lastly, it is better to recheck your safety line properly because a fault in it can be fatal for your life.
Frostbite is another difficulty that one can face when climbing the peak. It is caused when you expose your skin to colds for a long time causing your skin and underlying tissues to freeze. Frostbite can be a major issue when you are ascending at a temperature of – 20 degrees. It is mainly a coldness that happens in fingers, toes, nose, ears, etc. Even with your skin covered with clothes, frostbite is still possible. The numbness feeling around your body part can be hard to move on with the journey. Some symptoms of frostbite can be:
- Tingling feeling
- The skin turns red, bluish-white or gray-yellow
- Stiffness in muscles and joints
- Many trekkers have to return from their journey as they lose the motion in their hands and toes.
Location of Island Peak Climbing
Island Peak is one of the best opportunities for advanced beginner and intermediate climbers to take on a challenging glacier climb above 20,000 feet in the heart of the Everest Himalayas. Gathered away in the Chukkung valley, this beautiful mountain does indeed look like an island dwarfed on both sides by the stupendous Lhotse/Nuptse South Wall to the north and Baruntse to the south.
Island Peak is situated in the Everest region of Nepal, on the Nepalese – Tibetan border. It is an extension of Lhotse and Everest. The ridgeline drops off Lhotse and right onto the summit of Island Peak.
Weather at Island Peak Climbing
The Island Peak at 6,189m, is a beautiful mountain trip in the Everest region. However, with its altitude, it can be analyzed that the place is somehow cold. Yes, the weather in Island peak climbing differs according to each of the seasons. The climbers in spring may face different weather compared to that of autumn and winter. The climbing happening during one season is not identical to the other.
Typically, once you are climbing in spring and Autumn i.e. April, May, late September, and October, then the daytime temperatures range from 0 degrees Celsius to 15 degrees Celsius. However, the temperature drops down to – 5 degrees Celsius to – 10 degrees celsius on the summit night on Island Peak. Likewise, summer and monsoon may be a little warm but the trails are slippery. Winter is harsh over here.
Can anyone climb Island Peak?
Anyone with good physical fitness and stamina level can climb Island Peak climbing. The journey to the Himalayas is challenging and so is the Island peak climb. However, it doesn’t mean that it is impossible. The climbers should develop their physical stamina before the trek. It is a plus point if one practices rock climbing before the trek. The guides will give you proper training regarding the use of the equipment. So, technically it is possible that anyone with good physical and mental fitness can climb this peak despite any gender. However, we don’t recommend this for small children and old people.
Best time to climb Island Peak
Island Peak climbing can be done throughout the year except during the height of monsoon months. Spring and Autumn are the evergreen months for adventure in the Himalayas however, people have successfully scaled the mountain even during the winter. Although cold weather could be detrimental for some, especially if you are a beginner mountaineer. The mountain is technically not difficult to scale, but it depends on how comfortable you are with the extremes of the winter months.
Despite being suitable almost year-round, the most suitable time to attempt Island Peak is during spring and autumn. Spring starts from March to early June and Autumn from September to November. Spring and Autumn are also the best seasons for climbing Everest. Therefore, you will likely encounter many expedition teams heading for Everest during April and May along the way.
The weather is likely to be more clear during autumn in Nepal, and it is by far the most popular time to scale the peak. Displaying the wonderful sceneries of the Himalayan peaks, Autumn and Spring can bring wonder to your journey. On the other hand, the temperature is suitable for the climb as well, unlike any other season. The temperature ranges from 0 to 15 degrees Celsius in the daytime. However, the temperature is always cold during nighttime but in a bearable way. Therefore, carry warm clothes and sleeping bags to keep you warm during nighttime.
Accommodation during Island peak climbing.
During the Island peak climbing, sophisticated hotels and resorts from the normal tourist standard categories to five-star categories are available in Kathmandu for your accommodation. There is the availability of tea houses/lodges during the entire trekking apart from the climbing period of Island Peak. However, we need to set up a tent camp for our accommodations during the climbing period for a couple of days. There will be tea house accommodation at available places and camping accommodation at the places where tea houses/lodges are not available. Likewise, you can choose the Accommodation from a Single, Double, Triple, or twin sharing basis as per your requirement.
Food and water during the climb
The climbing is inclusive of all meals including Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner for the entire trekking and climbing period. The climbers will have dinner and Breakfast in the same teahouse/Camp where they spent overnight and Lunch will be en-route of trekking towards the next destination. Likewise one can enjoy the taste of varieties of cuisines; Nepali food, Tibetan, Continental, Indian, Italian, etc.
On the other hand, during the camping period, our kitchen team will prepare hygienic foods to serve you. However, the food choices are limited during the camping period.
There might not be several choices of foods during the camp like in the tea houses and restaurants. But the chef will try to make sure that you enjoy everything. They will keep into consideration the needs of nutrition required for the climb and prepare accordingly.
Fees and Permits for the Island Peak Climbing
- Different permits are required for the Island Peak climbing and they are:
- Nepal Mountaineering Association Permit Fee
- The Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) has a separate permit fee for Island Peak climbing. The climbing permit declared by NMA depends upon the season of the climb.
- Spring: March, April, and May: US $250
- Summer/Monson: June, July, and August: US $70
- Autumn: September, October, and November: US $125
- Winter: December, January, and February: US $70
Sagarmatha National Park Entry Permit:
For the Island peak climbing, you will require a Sagarmatha National park entry permit. The permit fee for SAARC nations is Nrs. 1500 which is approximately US$ 15. On the other hand, for foreign nations the fee is Nrs. 3000 which is US$ 30. Besides that, the Garbage Deposit fee for all the 27 NMA Peaks including the Island peak is US$ 500.
Local Area Permit
The climbers need another permit, that is the local area permits for the Island peak climb as you will have to enter the premises of various municipalities. You can get a local area permit at Lukla upon arrival. If you travel with a trekking agency, they will get the permit ready for you. This Local Area Permit cost of Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality around NRs. 2000 which is USD 20.
Preparation for Island Peak Climbing
Island Peak Climbing is the combination of the wonderful journey over high-altitude peaks in the Himalayas, a trek to the summit of Kala Pattar (18,187 ft./5,545 m), and a climb to the summit of Island Peak (20,305 ft./6,189 m). For the gorgeous adventure, one must prepare accordingly. Your journey can be much easier with certain preparation.
Here are some of the preparation tips for the climbing
Climbing conditioning – pack-loaded uphill hiking, walking, and stair climbing
Strength training – for the lower body and core
Cardiovascular training – including both aerobic and anaerobic workouts without pack weight
Your body should be able to cope with the climate and rough trail that comes along the way. For this, people need to train specifically for at least three to four months. During your training, ramp up your hike time, distance, and elevation gain to safely and effectively build your trekking-specific conditioning. Rushing for the climb will increase the risk of experiencing some sort of training injury and not being ready for your trip.
Equipment and gears during Island peak climbing
The climbers need several pieces of equipment during the climb and here is the list of the most essential equipment.
Head wears a Climbing Helmet, Headlamp, Glacier glasses, Neoprene face mask, ski goggles, warm head, and neck covers.
Synthetic gloves, expedition gloves, and hand warmers.
Hiking or trekking shoes, tennis shoes, camp boots, over boots, altitude liner, liner, woolen socks, vapor barrier socks, and trekking socks.
Expedition and trekking backpacks, toiletry bags, gears, and other varieties according to your need.
Climbing gears: Ice ax, crampons, Alpine climbing harness, carabiners, ascender, belay device, and adjustable 3 Section Ski.
Essential Kits for Island Peak climbing
Every mountaineering expedition, technical and non-technical, demands climbing gears that act as a life supporter. Here are some of the essential kits for Island Peak climbing and they are.
An ice ax is a standout amongst the most imperative gears which is essentially utilized both during the climb and drop down with snow or potentially ice conditions. Besides, it can be used as an improvised anchor that includes a steep climb, a self-capturing tool in the event of an unexpected downhill slip, or can be utilized basically as a strolling stick during an uphill climb.
Crampons are mainly used for ice climbing. However, it has other benefits such as crossing snowfields, ice fields, and icy masses and scaling ice-spread rock.
The harness is utilized for anchoring the climber to a rope or an anchor point. The climbers require a well-fitting harness to ensure avoiding discomfort in the upper thigh and groin segment.
Mountaineering boots and helmet
The helmet must be a basic segment of your bundling list that will guard you against any head injuries. Likewise, mountaineering boots are utilized with a crampon which is another fundamental gear. The boots allow moving over the troublesome snowy and frosty landscape and also shields the wearer’s feet from components and maintain a strategic distance from frostbite
Karabiners are widely used as a part of wellbeing and safety frameworks like mountain or rock climbing. It goes hand in hand with anything that involves rope-intensive ascent.
Ascender and Descender
Ascenders are utilized by mountain climbers to raise settled ropes and are suitable to operate with even thick gloves. It is a mechanical ascender utilized during ascending. Similarly, the descender works as a grinding brake and permits unfaltering and controlled drops on a rope.
The rope is a vital piece of equipment in your mountaineering trip. Exclusively, clashing ropes are assigned either static or dynamic. A static rope extends very low and is fundamentally intended for sailing. It can also be used as settled ropes for ascenders. Dynamic ropes are stretchable and are used as belaying ropes to absorb the impact of a falling climber.
Ice Screw is a part of handling steep ice surfaces. It is employed as a running belay or stays in the ice.
Want to know more about this trip? Then here you go!
Tips for climbing Island Peak.
- Island Peak Climbing is a wonderful journey to the Himalayas. You will witness the sheer beauty of the snow-capped peaks in this journey. The journey becomes comfortable for those who are prepared and on the other hand, it may become a hassle to those unprepared. Therefore, here are several tips trekkers can follow during their cob to Island Peak.
- Pack sufficient but don’t include unessential, and don’t miss the basics.
- Be ready to cope up with the unfamiliar weather pattern and climatic conditions
- Choose the easier route: simply the one from South Col.
- Be aware of the altitude sickness and try to minimize it by staying hydrated.
- Trey to pass the Khumbu Icefall and other treacherous areas early in the morning.
- Keep sufficient spare oxygen cylinders
- Use ropes and other needed equipment
- Drink Plenty of water and take nutritional food as far as possible.
- Be familiar with your gears and alpine medicines.
- Work on physical and mental fitness along with the stamina before the trek