If you are in search of more than just a scenic trek and daunting escapade among the stunning Himalayas, then climbing Island Peak is exactly what you are looking for. Island Peak, also known as Imja Tse, is situated in Nepal’s Everest region and stands at an elevation of 6189 meters above sea level. It stands somewhere between Mount Ama Dablam (6812 m) and Mount Lhotse (8516 m) and is considered one of the challenging yet achievable trekking peaks, possible even to novice climbers with proper acclimatization and trainings. From afar, this snow-capped mountain seems like an island rising tall in the center of the Chhukung Valley, surrounded by a sea of ice. Hence, the peak is known as Island Peak. Most people combine an expedition to Island Peak with the famous Everest Base Camp trek because of its ideal location and acclimatization purpose. If someone wants to stretch the adventure a bit, then they also choose to trek via Kongma La (5,535 m), one of the three popular passes of Everest Region. Opting the Kongma La route provides an opportunity to experience glacier walking prior to Island Peak climbing.
Why climb Island Peak? Simple answer is it is a Himalayan peak but an achievable one. However, climbing Island Peak is not limited to this only. Trip to Island Peak offers an awesome views of Himalayan ranges, forests, valleys, beautiful landscapes and amazing glaciers. Island Peak not only provides you a tremendous chance to experience all the aspects of Himalayan encounter that takes you through remote villages and rugged trails but also offers you the pleasure of climbing a Himalayan peak at the close quarter of the mighty Everest with an acclimatization trek to Everest Base Camp, which is a reward in itself. Another important thing is the peak is 6000 m +, an achievement you can really be proud of. Finally, the ultimate joy you get after the successful climb is beyond imagination. So, no doubt it’s worth it!
Is it difficult to climb Island Peak? Climbing a Himalayan mountain is a challenging sport due to altitude and extreme geographical condition. So, Island peak is also a technical climb. It has everything of a Himalayan mountaineering – altitude (at the height of 6819m, there is just about 47% oxygen of the sea level), steep ascent, rock shambles, glacier fields, and what’s more crevasses as well. So, the bottom line is it requires basic mountaineering skills and it definitely should not be your first Himalayan adventure. But the good news is anyone with little mountaineering experience or no experience can do it. The only thing required is proper acclimatization and training from experienced Sherpas. However, prior mountaineering experience is always an advantage.
Let’s have a look at the general overview of the climb. The beginning part of the ascent is strenuous as the terrain is rough and it’s over 5000m. As you climb higher, you reach the glacier field from where you need to use climbing equipment like rope and crampons. As there are also some crevasses en route, there is also the need to use ladders. The final 150 m stretch is a straight wall and is very strenuous. However, summit push won’t be very difficult as after you cross the wall, the summit ridge is short and comparatively easier.
What are the trainings required for Island Peak climbing? Now you know that Island Peak is bit demanding. For this adventure, you need to be in good shape with proper physical trainings of at least 3/4 months with prior trekking experience. Focus on strength and endurance training like hiking, running, cycling etc. Hitting gym is a good idea. Keeping positive frame of mind during your training is a must. The summit day is very strenuous as one has to walk approx. 12-14 hours for summit and back to base camp. You will also be carrying a backpack of 5-7 kg during the trip. So, while practicing simulation hiking in wilderness, do it with at least 10 kg pack. It is also necessary to train yourself with the hiking and mountaineering boots you are going to use in the trip. Remember, they should be well-worn! Regarding the mountaineering skills, you will get required trainings by your Guides once you reach the Base Camp. However, it is always an advantage if you are familiar with the skills prior to your trip.
What to eat and where to stay during the trip ? Good food and comfortable accommodation is very important in every trip. During the journey, you can remain in one of the many tea houses along the way. The majority of teahouse lodgings have shared rooms and good toilet facilities. You can get any of your calorie replenishment food choices such as potato dishes, noodle dishes, rice dishes, dal bhat, egg dishes etc. during your stay in teahouses. While you are in Base Camp or High Camp, you will stay in tented camps and your kitchen team will prepare your healthy and nutritious food for you.
Clothing and Gears Every trail and elevation needs different types of gear. Right clothing and gears are always the gateway to your success. So, it is mandatory to have good clothing and gear for your trip to Island Peak. Comfortable hiking and climbing boots, good gloves to keep your hands warm, a good fleece and down jacket, light weighted trekking pants and climbing gears such as Harness, axe, crampons etc are some of the important gears you need during the climb. And yes, make sure that you have a sleeping bag that can keep you warm in a -30-degree centigrade weather. All clothing gears and equipment are easily available in Kathmandu and surprising at Chhukung as well. It is not necessary to buy all the gears, you can hire them. At Chhukung, the approx. cost could be USD 100 for all set of gears for a period of 2 days. We recommend you to have your own jacket and boots because of the size problem (and boots are to be pre-worn). Your travel company will help with the full list of required clothing and gears.
What is the best season to climb Island Peak? The best season to climb Island peak can be considered in Spring (March-May) or Autumn (Mid-September-October). The weather in the Himalayan region and most places of Nepal stays stable throughout these seasons, which is ideal for adventure activities. The majority of the 8000+m expeditions in the Everest region takes place in the Spring, so expect crowds on the trails. However, once you arrive at your Island Peak camping spot, you can notice that the number of people on the trails has significantly decreased.
Winter climbing is still feasible, but we just recommend it to those who have a lot of mountaineering experience, nearly to the standard of pro athletes. The temperature is very cold, and the atmosphere is extremely harsh during winter.
What permits do you need to climb Island Peak? Climbing Island Peak requires a climbing permit. Permits are also required to access Sagarmatha National Park. Standard security checkpoints are located along the road. To get through them, you must display your permits.
Sagarmatha National Park Area Entry Permit: Nrs. 3,000 NPR + 13% VAT, totaling 3,390 NPR (Approx. US $34)
Island Peak climbing permit cost according to the seasons:
March, April, and May: US $250
September, October, and November: US $125
How to avoid altitude sickness? When you are trekking in high altitudes, you are likely to get altitude sickness. Headaches and a lack of appetite are common among trekkers, but severe AMS symptoms can be fatal. To avoid having to turn around, many trekkers may try to conceal their worsening condition from their Sherpas and guides. This, however, can be life threatening, and you must be aware of when your body is asking you to avoid climbing further. The best practice to avoid altitude sickness is having a good itinerary that allows proper acclimatization. Here are some of the tips to consider while you climb Island Peak.
Climb slowly: Always remember, climb slowly while you ascend Island Peak. Doing this can help you adjust the level of oxygen in your body and there is a less chance that you could gain altitude sickness.
Drink enough water: If you stay hydrated, it may prevent you from altitude sickness. But drinking too much water is also not good as it dilutes your body’s sodium level that may lead to weakness or nausea which is similar to AMS.
Be psychologically prepared: If you fear that you might get altitude sickness while trekking in high altitude then sometimes the psychological factor may guide you to get altitude sickness. Always stay positive and enjoy the great picturesque during the trip.
Acclimatization: You should consider rest for 1 or 2 days if you are trekking in high altitude areas. Acclimatization helps you to adapt to the high altitude environment and assist you to avoid altitude sickness.
Island Peak Trek Distance, Time and Elevation
Day 1: Fly to Lukla & Trek to Phakding [2652m]
Distance Flight Hours walking hours Elevation Gain
145 km 30 min 4 hours 1400m-2610m
Day 2: Phakding to Namche [3450m]
Distance walking hours Elevation Gain
7.4 km 3 hours 2610m-3440m
Day 3: Rest day in Namche
Distance walking hours Elevation Gain
3.8 km 2 hours 3440m – 3840m
Day 4: Namche to Tengboche [3867m]
Distance walking hours Elevation Gain
6 km 3 hours 3840m-3867m
Day 5: Tengboche to Dingboche [4350m]
Distance walking hours Elevation Gain
11 km 5 hours 3867m-4350m
Day 6: Rest day in Dingboche (Hike to Nangkartshang Peak)
If you are thinking of some great Himalayan adventure, Mera Peak climbing can be a wonderful start. Situated in the Makalu Barun Valley next to Khumbu Valley, Mera Peak (6476m) is the highest trekking peak of Nepal. You can see the awe-inspiring views of majestic mountains like Cho Oyu (8201m), Lhotse (8516m), Makalu (8463m), Kanchenjunga (8586m), and Mount Everest (8848m) from the top of Mera Peak. The adventure can be done in relatively shorter period of time and is less strenuous compared to serious mountain climbing as Mera Peak is not a technical mountain. Nevertheless, its 6000m+ Himalayan peak and it comes with some challenges. So, here is some information that will help you if you want to embark on this amazing adventure.
Why climb Mera Peak ?
Climbing Mera Peak doesn’t just come with a sense of achievement but also with the amazing experience of stunning mountain views, picturesque villages, wonderful forests, diverse culture, beautiful landscapes and many more. It’s a full package that offers all aspects of a Himalayan encounter. Although this trip is physically demanding, it requires relatively little climbing technique and can be climbed by beginner who is physically fit.
Is it difficult to climb Mera Peak?
Mera Peak (6476m) is the highest trekking peak of Nepal. But it doesn’t consist of steep technical climb like other expedition peaks. So, even if you are a beginner then climbing this peak isn’t that strenuous for you. But, due to altitude, snowy condition and geographical extremities, it’s not a piece of cake. You still need some basic alpine skills and be able to use gears such as climbing boots, crampons, climbing helmet, ice axe etc. You don’t need to worry about this as you will have enough time at the Base Camp to learn these skills. Just make sure that you hike gradually, hydrate well, and eat healthy food to reach the summit in best physical condition.
What are the trainings required for Mera Peak?
It all depends on how often do you hike and trek in the Himalaya or high altitude conditions. If you are a regular trekker, then climbing Mera Peak isn’t that strenuous for you. However, it doesn’t mean that it is all easy to reach the summit. In order to ascend Mera Peak, you need to build good core and length strength along with endurance power. You have to put in the right training schedule and follow it every day before the trip. Lunges, squats, step aerobics, cardio vascular trainings are some of the physical activity that you can include in your daily practice. It is also equally important to have prior experience of altitudes. And yes! Always remember mental preparation is a must which keeps you focused and confident to achieve whatever your goal is.
On the way to Mera Peak
What to eat and where to stay during the trip?
You need comfortable accommodation and healthy food to stay fit and energized during the trip. For that, you can find lodges or teahouses strewn along the trail. Camping can also be a good option for overnight stay if you want to unplug and enjoy the simplicity of nature. But, it is not preferred much nowadays due to the availability of teahouses. You can find many options of foods like potato dishes, noodle dishes, rice dishes, dal bhat, egg dishes that are perfect for the hungry trekkers who need calorie replenishment.
Clothing and Gears
It is mandatory that you have the required gear and equipment for the trip. You have to seek advice for climbing equipment, boots, harness etc. from the company that’s helping you for the trip. You can either buy or rent them. Not just climbing gears, you also need to have proper clothes for trekking and climbing. You need to have clothes and sleeping bag that can keep you warm in a -30-degree centigrade weather. A comfortable footwear is a must both for climbing and trekking. Make sure that you have worn them both prior to your trip.
Which is the best season to climb Mera Peak?
Well, each trekking season has its own excitement and atmosphere, but if you want to have some assurance about the weather conditions during the trek, be sure to stick to high seasons. Among the four seasons, Spring ( March – May ) and Autumn (Sep – Nov) can be considered as the best seasons to ascend Mera Peak as the skies are clear and temperature is favorable during these months. It is very difficult to climb in summer as the temperature is high and there is a high risk of falling of stones and melting glacier. And you can’t also be able to see the expansive views due to fog and rainfall in this season. In winter, temperature goes below -15 degree celsius which leads to the heavy snowfall and risk of avalanche in the trip.
What permits do you need to climb Mera Peak ?
If you want to trek in Nepal, permit is compulsory for you. Following permits are needed in order to climb Mera peak.
TIMS ( Trekking Information Management System ): Every trekker trekking in Nepal requires TIMS card. Tims card is for the safety and security of the trekkers.
Makalu Barun National Park entry fee: Since Mera peak lies in Makalu Barun National Park, you need to pay park entry fee before trekking in the area.
Mera Peak climbing permit: You need to pay certain amount in order to climb Mera Peak. Mera Peak permit is different in each season. Since Spring and Autumn are considered as high trekking seasons, the charge for climbing the peak during is about USD 250 and USD 125 respectively. Whereas in low Season i.e. Summer and Winter, the permit for climbing the peak is around USD 70. Nepal Mountaineering Association issues the permit to ascend Mera Peak.
How to avoid altitude sickness?
It doesn’t matter where you go in the Himalayas of Nepal, you are likely to encounter serious altitude. During Mera Peak climbing also, altitude sickness is a concerning matter due to thin air and less oxygen. So, in this condition if you don’t take the right precautions. it can ruin your trekking experience. Better be prepared than feel sorry! Here are some of the tips to avoid altitude sickness while you climb Mera Peak.
Climb slowly: Always remember, climb slowly while you ascend Mera Peak. Climbing slowly can help you adjust the level of oxygen in your body and there is a less chance that you gain altitude sickness.
Acclimatize properly: You should consider rest for 1 or 2 days if you are trekking in high altitude areas. Acclimatization helps you to adapt to the high altitude environment and assist you to avoid altitude sickness.
Drink enough water: If you stay hydrated, it may prevent you from altitude sickness. But don’t drink too much water as it dilutes your body’s sodium level that may lead to weakness or nausea which is similar to AMS.
Be psychologically prepared: If you are too worried that you might get altitude sickness while trekking in high altitude then sometimes the psychological factor may lead you to get altitude sickness. Always stay positive and enjoy the great views during the trip.
Pisang Peak (6091m), a popular trekking peak in Annapurna region, Nepal
Nepal is a land of mountains with majestic Himalayas ranges. It is known all around the globe for eight to fourteen mountaineering 8000m+ peaks. However, there are other peaks under 7000m that equally inspire the visitors for adventure activities in Nepal. Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) has classified this type of peaks (from 5800m to 6476m) as trekking peaks. Currently there are 28 trekking peaks in Nepal (previously 33 peaks) open for climbing.
Trekking peaks are less technical and climbed by the mountaineers with little experience as hobby or as a part of preparation for climbing expedition peaks. If we see from this side, climbing trekking peak doesn’t sound like a very serious adventure but they are also challenging and attempting them requires sincere effort. One needs to consider that Himalayan mountains have advantage of altitude and the lowest trekking peak is as high as some highest peaks in other parts of the world. So, like any mountain climbing proper acclimatization, right equipment and sound physical fitness is required while climbing trekking peaks in Nepal. If you consider to attempt this wonderful adventure, here is the list of some popular trekking peaks in Nepal.
Island Peak (6160m)
Island Peak, locally called as Imja Tse, is located in Sagarmatha National Park, Everest region. It is named for its appearance which resembles the image of a floating island in sea of ice. This is usually combined with other Everest treks for adaptation to the environment in higher altitudes. This peak climb would be a lifetime experience for adventure lovers. Panaromic view of mountains like Nuptse, Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Baruntse and Ama Dablam can be captured from the peak.
Mera Peak (6654m)
Mera Peak is the tallest and second famous trekking peak in Nepal. Due to less technical difficulties while climbing this peak, it has high success rate. However, it is still a challenging peak because of its altitude. Trekking while climbing this peak leads you to the remotest and alluring areas in Hinku valley in Makalu region. This peak covers the wide ranging views of 5 8000m peaks including Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Kanchanjugha and Cho-Oyu.
Cholaste Peak is one of the most arduous trekking peaks due to narrow and inclined ridges. This peak is situated between Gokyo and Khumbu valleys in Everest region. Due the technical difficulties while climbing the peak, only climbers experienced in ice and rock climbing are recommended to climb Cholatse Peak. Starting from Gokyo, the climbers have to pass through Thagnak to Zungla via Cho La Pass to reach its Base Camp.
Yala Peak (5520m)
Yala Peak, located in Langtang region, is the easiest trekking peak. It is excellent for first timer climbers and adventurers due to the easy routes while ascending the peak. Climbing the peak gives you one of the most rewarding mountain views of central Himalayas. The trekking covers the portion of Langtang region including the sacred lake of Gosaikunda and a mixture of Tamang, Sherpa, and Bhote cultures in Helambu region.
Pisang Peak (6091m)
Situated in the laps of Annapurna Region and Manaslu Region, Pisang Peak is one of the most popular non expedition peaks in Annapurna region. This peak is integrated with Annapurna Base Camp Trek via Thorang La Pass that includes the holy Muktinath Temple. Pisang Peak delivers climbers with diverse ecosystem, different landscapes and provides opportunity to interact with local community of different cultures and traditions.
Lobuche East Peak (6119m)
Situated in Everest Region near the Khumbu Glacier and the settlement, Lobuche East is the straight inclined peak with slightly more technical hurdles than Island Peak and Mera Peak. This peak provides eye catching wide range views of Mt. Everest, Khumbu valley and monasteries. Climbing this peak encourages mountaineers for attempting higher altitude Himalayan ranges. Normally, the peak is climbed as an acclimatization climb by those who are attempting Everest.
Pharchamo Peak (6187m)
This peak lies in remotest areas in Rolwaling region and Everest Region connected by Tashi Lapcha Pass. This peak is relatively quieter than other trekking peaks in Nepal. After entering the Rolwaling valley, the first access to the peak, your ascent to Pharchamo Peak starts from the ice fall of Tashi Lapcha. From the peak, you will experience the breathtaking view of Gaurishankar, Melungtse and several other peaks. While climbing this peak, you will have the opportunity to explore various cultures and the diverse flora and fauna of the valley.
We had an excellent and unusually good weather during our Kailash kora, Rongbuk and Lhasa visit.