Island Peak and Everest Base camp 2013
I've been looking out of the office window at the blustery autumn weather with a big smile on my face. The smile isn't due to the weather though.....it's because I've been having a great time putting the finishing touches to our 2013 Nepal itinerary. I love any excuse to get back to Nepal and this trip is one of the best expeditions I've done.
The information will be going live on the website in the next few days but I was so keen to get it out there that I thought I'd pop it on the blog first. We are also offereing a great early booking offer on this trip. Anyone booking before the end of December will receive a very nice Christmas present of 5% off the price.
It's going to be a cracking trip and we hope, having read the information and watched the video below, you'll join us for the ride....
Island Peak is a beautiful mountain in the Everest region of Nepal. Its Nepalese name is Imja Tse, but it is now better known to westerners by the name coined by the famous explorer Eric Shipton in 1951. Shipton thought it looked ‘like an island in a sea of ice’.
The area Island Peak is in requires little introduction. It is home to the highest mountain in the world, several peaks over 8000 metres and a host of other fantastic mountains. We’ll see many of these peaks on the walk in and the views from the summit are simply breathtaking.
Island Peak is located in one of the friendliest and culturally interesting countries in the world. Delightful people, beautiful temples, wonderful food, stunning scenery and a vibrant travelling scene - Nepal is a destination that should be on everyone’s must do list.
Our route takes a circular loop (we only follow the same path on the last few days) taking in some of the best trekking in the Khumbu region (including Gokyo Lakes and Everest Base Camp) before we arrive at the mountain fully acclimatised and ready to enjoy the ascent. Some companies offer shorter itineraries but this is well worth the extra few days allows thorough acclimatisation.
The Peak Mountaineering Difference
Peak Mountaineering is a specialist provider of mountain training and expeditions. We provide all types of mountain adventures throughout the UK and each year we run a select range of mountaineering expeditions overseas.
We have an unblemished safety record because we make client safety our top priority. As well as using the best guides and in-country support we also run a UK incident management system during all overseas expeditions. This is headed by Caroline Lewis who has been on many previous expeditions and is a qualified climbing instructor. She is the UK port of call while the team are overseas and can always be contacted.
All participants on our Nepal expeditions are invited to a pre-departure training weekend in the Peak District National Park. This is a great opportunity to meet other team members and allows us to give you all the information and skills needed to feel fully prepared for the trip. Not many expedition companies do this but we think it’s essential (please note that the cost of this training course is included in the cost of the expedition).
Our team will carry a comprehensive medical kit. In addition to this we have an expedition doctor, Dr Joe Rowles, who is on call (in the UK) for emergency advice during the trip (we take a satellite phone and emergency beacon to ensure reliable communications). As well as being a doctor Joe is a very experienced expeditioner and ex forces medic and we are delighted to have him on board. Joe also provides a training session on altitude and cold injuries for team members at our training weekend.
Team members are also welcome to attend one of our scheduled Outdoor First Aid courses for only 50% of the full course fee (we’ll send you the dates and further details when you book). As well as making you a qualified first aider you’ll also feel better prepared for the unexpected.
Our expeditions are competitively priced but we also want you to have a good standard of living during your expedition. The mountaineering phase is fully catered, the hotels and guesthouses will be simple yet comfortable and the food will be plentiful local fare. Having said that, this is a mountaineering expedition to a developing country so you’ll need to be willing to go without a few luxuries along the way.
Can you manage it?
This expedition is suitable for anyone with a good head for heights and appropriate fitness to walk in mountainous terrain for many days carrying a light rucksack. The ascent of the fixed ropes on Island Peak requires specialist technical knowledge but this will be provided during our training weekend and refreshed once we arrive in Nepal.
The Other Stuff
We know expeditions of this type are expensive so we try to minimise additional expenditure. Tents are provided, boots can be hired and ice axes, crampons and helmets are included in the price. The clothing you wear can be mostly your normal hillwalking kit and there isn’t much else. The only thing you’ll want to make sure is that your sleeping bag is cosy and it is worth having a toasty warm duvet for the summit day and star gazing with a mug of hot chocolate at base camp. Inevitably there’ll be a few other bits and bobs and we’ll give you plenty of guidance – but don’t feel you’ve got to come prepared for an ascent of Everest!
Island Peak Itinerary
Day 1 - Arrive Kathmandu
After arrival the first day is a great chance to explore Kathmandu and soak up the atmosphere of this fantastic city. Once all the team are assembled we’ll have a team meeting then head out to enjoy a welcome meal.
Day 2 - Kathmandu to Phakding
Flying in to one of the world’s most iconic airports is always a thrill. We’ll try and sit on the left hand side of the plane which will give us (cloud permitting) staggering views of the mountains as we head across. Once at Lukla the path to the Khumbu starts on the far side of the airport and soon we’ll be wandering down a steep path to the valley base. The path to Phakding follows the mighty Dubh Kosi river and it’s a stunning introduction to what lies ahead. Getting to Phakding will only take a few hours and this little village is the perfect first night stop.
Day 3 - Phakding to Namche
A few awesome cable bridges, some stunning scenery and a lung busting 800 metre final climb brings us to the mecca that is Namche. The village is a bustling place with a rich history as the gateway to the Khumbu for decades of ground breaking expeditions. The village has a full range of bars, internet cafes and small shops plus a highly recommended bakery where we can eat pastries while sitting on the terrace enjoying stunning scenery.
Day 4 - Namche
Namche is high (3450 metres) so we’ll take a rest day here to aid acclimatisation although we won’t sit around all day as we’ll acclimatise better if we stay active. We’ll explore the village or hike up to the Everest View Hotel and then we’ll certainly have earned that afternoon chocolate doughnut back at the bakery!
Day 5 - Namche to Dole
From Namche our route takes us up the valley to Dole. This leads us via the Mong La Col which is a great place to relax and drink with the bonus of stunning views across to Ama Dablam. After the long climb up to the Mong La we’ll drop down a long way before climbing back up to the isolated village of Dole.
Day 6 - Dole to Machermo
From Dole a pleasant short walk takes us to Machermo. We won’t go further today as we’re getting higher and need time to acclimatise. It’s a very good place to relax and we may also be able to attend the daily 3pm altitude talk at the medical base.
Day 7 - Machermo to Gokyo
This stunning day follows a beautiful valley leading to the famous Gokyo Lakes. The views get better and better the further we go and, as we approach Goyko Village, we’ll see the cirque of mountains where Cho Oyo sits and left of the village we’ll see the trail of tourists ascending Gokyo Ri (we can take this walk later in the afternoon if the team would like to).
Day 8 - Gokyo
It is well worth us giving Gokyo a day of our lives to continue the acclimatisation process. We’ll stretch our legs with one of the pleasant walks nearby. One popular option will take us up to Noddy’s Point for some excellent Everest views.
Day 9 - Gokyo to Dragnag
After leaving Gokyo we head across the moraine to the small settlement of Dragnag. This is a short walk (about 2 hours) but we need to take care as the exact route changes frequently due to the increasing lake size.
Day 10 - Dragnag to Dzongla (or Loboche)
This is a big day. Our route takes us on a long climb over the Cho La pass and into the next valley – but it’s worth the effort! We’ll make an early start to ensure we have plenty of time in hand. Once over the pass we’ll get amazing views into the next valley and the surrounding peaks will take your breath away. This valley is the one you now follow (there’s some fairly steep but straight forward scrambly sections) down to Dzongla. We can stop at the lodge here or, time permitting, we will most likely decide to plough on to Loboche.
Day 11 - Dzongla to Loboche (or rest day if we got to Loboche yesterday)
Depending on what we did yesterday we can either trek round to Loboche today or take a rest day if we arrived there last night. There are plenty of lodges in Loboche and it’s a famous stopping point.
Day 12 - Loboche to Kala Pattar (and back to Loboche)
From our lodge at Loboche we’ll make an early start to get to Gorak Shep, continue up Kala Pattar then return to Loboche in the same day. This means we get to keep the same room in Loboche, can travel light, and we still get plenty of time of Everest viewing. It’s a round trip of about 8 hours.
Day 13 - Loboche to Dingboche
It’s all downhill from here – physically at least! The walk from Loboche follows a lovely valley before we break round to the village of Dingboche. There are plenty of great lodges here as well as internet access and great views up the valley towards Island Peak and the South Face of Lhotse and, as always, Ama Dablam is visible from here too. As an alternative place to stay we may stay at Pheriche which is nearby.
Day 14 – Dingboche to Chukhung.
The walk to Chukhung follows a stunning valley that takes us under the imposing north face of Ama Dablam. Ahead of us there are stunning views of Island Peak.
Day 15 – Chukhung to Island Peak Base Camp
Once we arrive at Island Peak Base Camp we’ll get settled and have the chance to relax before our ascent.
Day 16/17 – Island Peak ascent
The ascent route of Island Peak begins up steep scree covered slopes then weaves an intricate line amongst rock bands up to the snowline. After donning crampons we’ll head up the steep snow slopes to reach the famous headwall that guard’s access to the summit ridge. Our training weekend will have given us the skills to ascend this ground and, after following the fixed ropes, we’ll be set to finish up the steep summit ridge that leads to one of the most spectacular summits in the Himalayas.
Day 18 – Island Peak base camp to Dingboche
Luckily most of this route is downhill so those tired legs won’t have to work too hard!
Day 19 – Dingboche to Tengboche
Again we are gradually losing some of the height gained and, as we are getting onto the classic Everest Trail, the paths are likely to be busier. That said, this is one of my favourite stretches to walk as the terrain is varied, the views sublime and it always feels like we are right in the teeth of the mountains. We’ll arrive at the village of Tengboche in good time and it’s well worth us checking out the famous monastery which marks the villages place as a religious centre of the Khumbu..
Day 20 - Tengboche to Monjo
From Tengboche we are now completing the loop back to Namche. Today follows a stunning valley with fantastic views so we’ll leave enough time to enjoy it. We’ll be in Namche in about 4-5 hours so it is worth us dropping down the steep hillside we climbed all those days ago and staying for the night in Monjo instead. This is a small village with a good range of lodges and this sets us up nicely for our final day.
Day 21 - Monjo to Lukla
We know this bit but it will certainly feel like a long time since we were last here! After heading along the valley floor we have the final long hill back up to Lukla.
Day 22 - Lukla to Kathmandu
The flight back to Lukla leaves in the morning so we should be back to Kathmandu in plenty of time to relax and enjoy a final celebration meal before people leave for home.
Day 23 - Depart Kathmandu
Training weekend in the Peak District National Park - Jun 23rd and 24th
Island Peak expedition - Oct 26th to Nov 17th
Price £2580 per person (discount of £129 for all bookings received before December 31st 2012)
In country transfers
Return flight from Kathmandu to Lukla
In country accommodation
In country transport
In country meals
Cook for trekking phase
Tents for trekking phase
Transport to/from UK airport
Return flight from UK to Kathmandu
Nepal visa (easy to obtain)
Optional tips for local staff
Evening meal and drink costs for the training week
Drinks with meals
Hire of plastic boots if required (we can arrange this for you)