Everest Base Camp Trek with Island Peak Climbing: Everything you need to know the epic trek

July 1, 2020

Everest Base Camp Trek with Island Peak Climbing: Everything you need to know the epic trek

Everest Base Camp Trek with Island Peak climbing is one of the most sought-after outdoor experiences in Nepal. The trek to Everest Base Camp (EBC) later assimilates into a peak climbing activity on Island Peak (6189m), one of the most popular trekking peaks in the country. The shorter prominence, easy snow-ice trail, and moderate ascents make it an accessible mountain peak for amateur climbers. The entire trek is well-guided by an experienced Sherpa guide with hundreds of successful ascents under his belt. Trekkers can enjoy the finest trek to Everest Base Camp, which prepares them physically and mentally to undertake the challenging climb.

Necessary Permits
Island Peak (Imja Tse) comes under the list of short peaks or trekking-peaks in Nepal. The National Mountaineering Association of Nepal (NMA) oversees the entire mountaineering expedition in Nepal. They listed Island Peak under “Group B” mountains, which don’t require any expedition permit. The climbers must obtain a climbing permit for Island peak issued by NMA and the Office of Immigration. The charges for the climbing permit are as follows:

Spring: USD 250
Autumn: USD 125
Winter: USD 70
Monsoon: USD 70

Along with the climbing permit, climbers must obtain a garbage deposit permit. A fee of USD 500 levied by NMA is mandatory for all twenty-seven peaks. The garbage deposit fee is refundable as per the provisions of NMA. Unlike expeditions, climbers aren’t required to pay a royalty or hire a liaison officer.

Trekking and Climbing Experience (required for this trek and climb)
Any adventure activity conducted over 6,000 meters require prior high-altitude trek or climb experience. Island Peak at 6,189 meters, is a hazardous place. At the summit, the effective oxygen level is only 9.7%, which, according to the altitudinal chart, is the extreme altitude. Climbers are often prone to altitude-related sicknesses such as HAPE (High-altitude Pulmonary Edema) and HACE (High-altitude Cerebral Edema). High Altitude Pulmonary Edema associates with the buildup of fluid in the lungs, while HACE is the severe form of fluid buildup in the brain. Both of these situations are life-threatening. Hence, prior experience of the high-altitude trek is a must. Climbers can prepare for the climb by undertaking the moderate trek, endurance building exercises, and acclimatization.

Where to stay
Island Peak lies inside the Everest Region, which is home to hundreds of teahouses and lodges equipped with the finest amenities. The first leg of the trek offers nicest accommodations in either budget teahouses or luxury hotels. Trekkers can enjoy a comfortable stay with a private bathroom, kitchen, choices of meals, and a hot shower. The room provided by teahouses consists of at least two single beds. The availability of private bathrooms may vary from one teahouse to another.

The second leg of the trek, which accounts for climbing, offers accommodation inside the tent. Each tent offers a room for two climbers. The tent is set up by experienced Sherpa staff. Although the choices of meals are negligible, the Sherpa staff will ensure to provide nutritious and filling meals.

The quality of the lodges in the Everest region depends on the altitude and the trekkers’ budget. While many teahouses at lower altitudes offer a private bathroom, hot shower, charging facilities, electricity, electric blanket, western toilet, Wi-Fi, etc., the lodges located at a higher altitude may offer basic amenities.

Most teahouses charge an additional amount for a hot shower, Wi-Fi, and electrical charging. The cost of these services may cost as follows:

• Hot Shower: $1-$3
• Charging electronic device: $2-$3 per hour
• Using Wi-Fi: $3-$5 per hour

When to go
Island Peak climbing remains accessible two prime seasons of spring and autumn. Over 85% of climbers undertake the climbing of Island Peak during spring and autumn. These two seasons mark great weather conditions, such as over 90% accessibility and clear and bright day. The most common mountain climbing problem is that the jet streams are geostrophic winds that can postpone the entire climb window. Island Peak sees almost zero cases of the jet stream during spring and autumn. Spring season spans from late March until June, while the autumn season begins in mid-September and ends in November.

Another popular time to undertake Island Peak climb is during the winter season. However, most climbers opt-out of winter because of the extremely cold conditions in the mountains. Monsoon is the least popular time to visit the Everest region. It’s prone to frequent flight cancellation and rainfall.

Trekking Route
The trek to Island Peak follows the usual trek route to Everest Base Camp with the exception of a detour from Dingboche. Climbers often take a detour at Dingboche and head eastward to Island Peak Base Camp via Chhukung. The trek begins at Lukla and rises upstream along the Dudh Koshi River and Imja Tse River. The trekking route follows the marked trail of the two major rivers in the Everest Region. From Lukla, trekkers begin to traverse Phakding village, Monjo, Tok Tok, Namche Bazaar, Phungi Thanga, Tengboche, Debuche, Dingboche, Pangboche, Pheriche, Lobuche, Gorakshep, and Everest Base Camp.

From the Everest Base Camp, an exceptional hike takes one to Kala Patthar at 5,643 meters. A climber can eliminate trekking to Everest Base Camp and take a detour from Dingboche towards Chhukung village. A 3-4hr long trek along the Chhukung Glacier and Imja Tse Glacier brings one to Island Peak Base Camp. After rigorous acclimatization, climbers begin climbing the peak via the high-glaciated West Face of Island Peak. The easy route goes past snow moraines towards the steep snow ridge. The final ascent of the snow ridge brings to the summit overlooking some of the highest mountains in the region. Upon completion, one can retrace the usual path back to Chhukung trek through Dingboche and Namche to Lukla.

People, Culture, Wildlife
Everest Region is home to the Sherpa people. Sherpa is an ethnic tribe endemic to Northern Nepal, where over 25,000 Sherpa alone reside in the Khumbu Valley. Used to living in high-altitude, they are the best mountaineering guides and navigators. A Sherpa guide leads almost every climb expedition.

The trek to Everest offers a rare opportunity to explore the ethnic Sherpa culture, cuisines, lifestyles, and traditions. One can witness that the locals are the adherents of Tibetan Buddhism. They celebrate festivals such as Mani Rimdu and Losar in Tibetan style. The culture of the Sherpa people is endemic to Tibet. They often dress, eat, and celebrate like the neighboring Tibetans.

Consider trying local Sherpa cuisines such as Tsampa bread, Thenduk, Thukpa, and Butter Tea during this journey. The entire trek lies inside Sagarmatha National Park, the first Himalayan national park declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Himalayan national park is home to exotic Himalayan wildlife, including Himalayan Pheasant (Danphe), Red Panda, snow leopard, musk deer, Himalayan Thar, and Himalayan Black bear.

Contingency Days
Each climbing journey comprises of a contingency day to prepare for the unforeseen event. Everest Base Camp Trek with Island Peak Climb often enjoys a maximum of two days as a contingency. Climbers can use the contingency days to undertake the summit of Island Peak. The high-altitudinal weather can often invite unfavorable climbing conditions. Hence, contingency days offer an additional timeframe to undertake and complete the climb.

Equipment Check List
Like mountain expeditions, Island Peak climb requires modern gear and equipment. These gear and equipment include:

Body Wear
Waterproof shell jacket
Waterproof shell pants
Down jacket
Midweight insulated jacket
Lightweight fleece top
Wind shirt
Softshell climbing pants
Glacier shirt
Base layer top and leggings x 2 sets
Casual/trekking clothes

Camping Gear
Down sleeping bag (-15C/5F)
Foam sleeping mat
Inflatable sleeping mat
Camping pillow (Optional)
Water bottles x 2
Water bottle covers x 2
Cup, bowl, and spoon
Pee bottle

Climbing Equipment
Ice ax
Climbing helmet
Climbing harness
Belay/rappel device
Locking carabineers x 2
Non-locking carabineers x 1
Mechanical ascender (Supplied)
6 meters of 16mm tape or 8mm cord

Foot Wear
Socks x 3-5 pairs
Lightweight shoes/sandals
Trekking boots
6000m mountaineering boots
Snow gaiters
Bivvy boots (Optional)

Guided trekking and climbing
Everest Base Camp Trek with Island Peak climbing is a fully guided trip led by experienced Sherpa guides and crew. Each of the mountain guides hails from Everest Region and possesses years of experience in leading successful peak summits. They are the licensed navigator and act as the best local liaison.

All of the guides come from the Everest Region. Hence, they have greater knowledge about the locality, local culture, people, and customs. According to the group size, the guide is often accompanied by an assistant guide. It is essential to hire experienced mountain guides because they are your only friend and lifeline during this trip.

Overall, the Everest Base Camp Trek with Island Peak climb is a complete outdoor activity. It amasses both trekking and climbing, which is well suited for amateur climbers. One can witness some of the highest peaks on Earth, such as Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, and Thamserku on this adventurous journey. Observing the local Sherpa culture, customs, and traditions is one of the major highlights of this trek.