The goal of this 19 day beginner mountaineering holiday in Nepal is to climb Island Peak (6,189m/20,305ft). This expedition includes guides, gear and camping.
Island Peak was originally named by Eric Shipton in 1952 (some sources say 1951) and was so named because it sits in the middle of the upper Chhukhung valley, like an island in the middle of a sea of ice. It was officially renamed Imja Tse in the early 1980s. Imja Tse simply means Island Peak in Nepali.
Much of the upper Khumbu Valley is within Sagarmatha National Park. The park was created in 1976 and was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1979. It was first climbed in 1953 as part of a training exercise by a British expedition that went on to summit Mt Everest and it makes a good Beginner mountaineering holiday in Nepal.
Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, who was one of the first two humans credited with climbing Mount Everest, was also one of the first to summit Island Peak. It’s considered to be a moderately easy peak by alpine standards and can be attempted by people with little or no alpine experience. Normally, trekking/climbing organizations offer to teach the novice Alpinist what they need to know to attempt the peak.
Island Peak can be climbed during two seasons on either side of the monsoon, spring (mid-March to May) and autumn (mid-September to November). It’s possible to climb Island Peak during the winter but cold temperatures will present additional difficulties.The summit of Island Peak is at 6,189m so the rate of elevation gain and the consequent risk of Altitude sickness or specifically Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is a very real concern.
Your general fitness and your acclimatization process will both be very important on this beginner mountaineering holiday in Nepal. The trek to Island Peak initially follows the main Everest Base Camp Trek route, but separates near Dingboche. Most teams attempting the mountain will initially fly to Lukla and hike from there. Although itineraries include an attempt to climb Island Peak, many people visit the area as trekkers. If you are trekking and not climbing, there are additional options for exploring the Khumbu region.
Day by day itinerary for beginner mountaineering holiday in Nepal
Day 01: Arrival day in Kathmandu (1,300m/4,264 ft)
Day 02: Rock climbing course at Kathmandu or Half day guided city tours of Kathmandu.
Day 03: Kathmandu to Lukla (2,800m/9,186ft) & trek to Phakding (2,652m/8,700ft), 3to4 hrs
Day 04: Phakding to Namche Bazaar (3,440m/11,283ft), 5to6 hrs
Day 05: Acclimatize day & Excursion
Day 06: Namche Bazaar to Tengboche (3870m) 5to6 hours
Day 07: Tengboche to Dingboche
Day 08: Dingboche to Lobuche (4,928m/16164 ft), 5to6 hrs
Day 09: Lobuche to Gorekshep (5,160m/16,929ft) to Everest Base Camp Excursion (5,320m/17,450ft), 5to7 hrs
Day 10: Gorak Shep to Kala Pattar to Pheriche: 7to8 hours
Day 11: Pheriche to Chhukung
Day 12: Island Peak Base Camp (5,200m/17,060ft), 3to4 hrs
Day 13: Island High Camp (5,600m/18,372ft), 2to3 hrs
Day 14: Climb Island Peak summit (6,189m/20,305ft) & return back to Chhukung, 8to10 hours
Day 15: Chhukung to Tyangboche (3,867m/12684ft), 4to5 hrs
Day 16: Tyangboche to Namche (3,440m/11,283ft), 4to5 hrs
Day 17: Namche to Lukla (2,800m/9,186ft), 6to7 hrs
Day 18: Lukla to Kathmandu
Day 19: Depart from Kathmandu