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Island Peak lies to the south of Mount Everest, and is home to some of the finest mountain view in the world. We follow the Dudh Kosi Valley to Namche Bazaar and on to the magnificent Thyangboche Monastery. Trekking here, in the shadow of the Everest massif and surrounded by Buddhist prayer flags, is absolutely awe-inspiring. Ascending to Pangboche and Dingboche, we follow the historic route taken by all Everest expeditions in Nepal, before setting off to the remote wilds of the Gokyo Lakes – home to some of most dramatic sights in the Everest range. We trek past glacial moraine to Gorak Shep and on to the historic Everest Base Camp. Afterwards, we ascend Kala Patar for fantastic views of Everest. After descending to the Imja Valley and on to Chukkung, we make our attempt on Island Peak. This expedition is challenging, but well within the reach of those seeking their first Himalayan summit.
Accommodation: Shangri La Hotel or similar, Kathmandu
Upon arrival in Kathmandu, you are met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Our airport representative will be waiting outside the airport terminal a few metres from the exit door. Look out for the Peregrine signboard. The drive from the airport to the hotel is around 20 minutes. A briefing given by our group leader is scheduled for the late afternoon. He will discuss our trekking program and co-ordinate any last minute arrangements. The evening is free, but usually our tour leader will organise an evening meal (optional) at one of Kathmandu’s fine Nepali restaurants. Alternatively you can enjoy a dinner at the hotel.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Accommodation: Shangri La Hotel or similar, Kathmandu
In the morning we explore Kathmandu on an organised sightseeing tour. We visit Bodhnath Stupa, one of the biggest Buddhist shrines in the world, where we observe Buddhist monks in prayer in the monasteries surrounding the stupa. We also visit Pashupatinath, the most famous Hindu temple in the country, located on the banks of the holy Bagmati River. Here we see Hindu holy men (sadhus) meditating, pilgrims bathing and occasionally funeral pyres burning on the ghats. The rest of our time in Kathmandu is free for further sightseeing and exploration. In the late afternoon you will be issued with your trek and climbing pack and climbing boots if you have ordered these. Departure information for the next morning will also be given.
(Trekking: approx 3 hours) In the early morning we take the spectacular flight from Kathmandu to Lukla (2827m), flying parallel to giant Himalayan mountains bordering Nepal and China (Tibet). The flight time is about 40 minutes and we land at an airstrip built by Sir Edmund Hillary and the Sherpas in the mid-1960s. After landing we have time to explore the village while our Sherpa crew sort and load our trekking equipment. In the afternoon we begin our trek by descending towards the Dudh Kosi River where we join the main trail to Namche Bazaar, located just above Chaunrikharka (2713m). The walking is easy and after passing through the small village of Ghat (2550m) it is a short walk to Phakding.
(Trekking: approx 7 hours) From Phakding we cross the river and head up the valley, following porters from the south that are ferrying supplies to Namche Bazaar. The trail keeps close to the river valley and is lined with beautiful blue pine and rhododendron forest that is very spectacular in the spring months, when the flowers are in bloom. We cross the Dudh Kosi River at Benkar, where there are tantalising glimpses of the snow-capped peaks of Kusum Kanguru (6369m) and Thamserku (6623m). From here it is only a short walk to Monjo (2835m), where we arrive in time for lunch. In the afternoon the walking is a little tougher and includes the steep ascent to Namche Bazaar. From Monjo it is a short walk to the entrance of the national park, before we cross the Dudh Kosi River to Jorsale (2805m). The trek continues upstream on generally flat terrain, crossing back to the right bank to the confluence of the Bhote Kosi and Dudh Kosi Rivers, where we start the steep climb to Namche Bazaar. After crossing a large and stable suspension bridge high above the river, we slowly ascend at a steady pace. There are some fantastic photographic opportunities as the peaks of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Taweche (6542m) come into view for the first time.
(Acclimatisation Day) We remain at Namche Bazaar for a second night to allow for proper acclimatisation to the altitude. Namche is a prosperous village situated in a large protected hollow. It gained its importance during the period when Tibetan salt was traded for the lowland grains of Nepal. Today a limited amount of trade still exists at Namche and Tibetans are often seen in the village trading rugs and Chinese-made goods, clothing, salt and dried meat. It is recommended that you take the opportunity to see both the sunrise and sunset views from the national park headquarters above the village. The stunning vista includes a superb panorama of the Khumbu peaks and great views of Everest. After breakfast, a variety of options exists. Perhaps a walk towards Thami (3810m) above the beautiful Bhote Khola River Valley or a visit to the national park headquarters to see the interesting displays of Sherpa lifestyle and culture. There is also a mountaineering display and information on the park’s flora and fauna. Your guides are on hand to offer advice and escort you on walks.
From Namche, we ascend to the airstrip at Shyangboche and then to a lunch spot in Khumjung - the largest village in the region. Towering above Khumjung village is the sacred rocky peak of Khumbilya (5761m). It is the home of the guardian goddess of the region, often depicted in religious paintings (thangkas) as a white-faced figure on a white horse. The trail contours around Khumbilya's lower slopes, passing through beautiful birch forest and onto treeless, grassy slopes to a stupa (3992m) on top of a rocky ridge. Once again the views of the mountains are magnificent. Phortse can be seen across the valley - a picturesque village set in a patchwork of stone-walled fields. We overnight at the cluster of lodges on the saddle known as Mongla.
(Trekking: approx 4 hours) We descend on a series of switchback trails to the Dudh Kosi River, 300 metres below, at Phortse Bridge.The trail to Gokyo is deceptive and you can ascend too quickly if you do not plan your trekking days sensibly. So in the interests of acclimatisation, we will take three days to reach Gokyo. Leaving Phortse Bridge we ascend steeply at first and then contour high above the valley, enjoying excellent views of Kantega, Thamserku and Ama Dablam (6856m). Approximately an hour's walk from Phortse Bridge, we should gain our first views of the mammoth Cho Oyo (8153m) at the head of the valley. We have now ascended beyond the tree line and we will pass some impressive waterfalls en-route to the yak-herding settlements of Tongba (4015m) and Gyele (4050m). From here it is a short distance to Dole (4084m), where we will spend the night. After lunch you can explore the upper Dole Valley returning via a high ridge above the lodge to enjoy fantastic views of Cho-Oyo and Gyachung Kang (7922m) to the north, and Taweche (6542m) and Cholatse (6440m) across the valley to the east.
(Trekking: approx 3 hours) We climb steeply out of the small Dole Valley and then ascend gradually up the Dudh Kosi Valley, high above the river. The walking is easy although you will feel the affects of altitude on even the smallest hill. The barren alpine scenery with only small clusters of scrub juniper is in stark contrast to the snowy white peaks and deep blue skies. After two hours we arrive at Luza (4360m) and a further hour's walking leads to our lodge at Machhermo (4465m), where we spend the evening. After lunch there is an option to take an excursion across rocky moraines to the base of Kyajo Ri (6168m) and Machhermo Peak (6073m). However, keep an eye open for the yeti! It was here in 1974 that three yaks were killed and a sherpa girl injured, when trying to fight off a hairy, ape-like intruder!
(Trekking: approx 4 hours) A short, steep climb leads from Machhermo Valley on to the steep grassy slopes of Dudh Kosi Valley. Keep an eye open for the colourful Tibetan snow cocks, often found in this area. The valley widens as you pass through Pangka (4390m) and then descend onto the jumbled, terminal moraines of the Ngozumpa Glacier - the largest in Nepal and the source of the Dudh Kosi. Climbing steeply over a rocky trail we keep to the western side of the glacier to reach a small lake at the head of a wide valley. We soon pass a larger lake at Longponga (4690m) before following the lateral moraines to the third lake at Gokyo (4750m). Gokyo consists of a number of stone dwellings surrounded by stone-walled yak pastures. Our lodge is located close to the lake.
(Rest and Acclimatisation Day) From Gokyo we have the opportunity to ascend Gokyo Peak (5360m). This is a straight-forward, but steep climb and also tiring, due to the altitude. The walk up will take just over two hours and the reward is one of the best panoramas in the Khumbu. From the rocky summit, four 8000-metre peaks can be seen: Everest (8848m), Cho Oyo (8153m), Lhotse (8511m) and Makalu (8481m). Countless other towering snow-peaks and rock spires fill the horizons including Gyachung Kang (7922m) to the east of Cho Oyo, Cholatse (6440m), Taweche (6542m) and Kangchung (6103m). In addition, there’s a bird's-eye view of the Gokyo lakes and the huge creaking Ngozumpa Glacier snaking its way down the valley. Time permitting you may also follow the lateral moraines of Ngozumpa Glacier past Kangchung Peak to a point where the Gyubanare Glacier joins in. Climbing the ridge to the left of the small trail gives excellent views of Everest’s north face.
(Trekking: approx 4 hours) After breakfast we descend down the valley back to the next lake. From here we ascend the lateral moraines and follow the small trail across the Ngozumpa Glacier. The walking is a series of ups and downs on glacial scree and will take around hour to cross. From the far side we reach the yak herders' huts and tea houses at Dragnag (4690m). After a short break we follow the left hand side of Nymagawa Valley to a small pass in view of Cho La (Pass). A short descent leads down to a pleasant camping area by a small stream.
(Trekking: approx 7 hours) In the morning we ascend the small ridge behind the village above Pheriche Valley. From the chorten at the top, Taweche and Cholatse (6440m) make for a striking scene as they seem to lean forwards from across the valley in the west. To the north, Lobuje Peak (6119m) and the snowfields of Cho La (Pass) dominate the skyline. The walking is now generally fairly flat on wide-open fields, but do take your time and ensure you are well hydrated. Late in the morning we cross the Khumbu Khola at Dughla (4620m) and take a light lunch at the foot of the huge terminal moraines of Khumbu Glacier, which flows off Everest. In the afternoon, there is a solid and quite steep climb on a rocky trail to the top of the moraines. On the crest of the ridge, we pass a line of memorial cairns, built in memory of Sherpas and other climbers who have died on the various Everest expeditions over the last 50 years. From here the view is spectacular - Pumori (7145m), Lingtren (6697m), Khumbutse (6623m) and, across the border in Tibet, Changtse (7550m), are seen at the head of the valley whilst Everest remains hidden behind the towering walls of Nuptse and Lhotse. We then follow the valley stream to our lodge at Lobuje, arriving early afternoon. Today is a tiring day but the fantastic scenery makes it all very worthwhile. If you still have some energy and conditions are clear, a walk, taken gradually, up on to the large ridge at the rear of the lodge can reward you with even more spectacular views.
(Trekking: approx 3 hours to Gorak Shep, 5 hours round trip to Everest Base Camp) As the trek to Gorak Shep is relatively short, we have the opportunity for a leisurely breakfast before beginning the day’s walk. From Lobuje we follow the broad valley that runs parallel to Khumbu Glacier. A gradual ascent enables us to build the slow, steady rhythm required when walking at high altitude. When we reach the moraines of Changri Nup Glacier, we make a series of small ascents and descents over a rocky trail lined with cairns that leads eventually to the surprising glacial sands of Gorak Shep (5160m) - reached after about three hours of walking. After a quick bite we gear up accordingly to head off towards the Everest Base Camp. The trek to the base camp can be achieved in around three hours and if trekking in the popular climbing period of March to May, we will almost certainly encounter yaks and porters supplying food and equipment to expeditions here. From Everest Base Camp we do not get views of Mount Everest, but we are able to see the notorious Everest Ice Fall that flows from the Western Cwm, which is regarded as technically the hardest and most dangerous section of the mountain. The return journey from the Base Camp to Gorak Shep takes the same amount of time. We have an early dinner so that we are able to get up early the next day for awe-inspiring views of the Himalayan giants from Kala Patar.
(Trekking: approx 8 hours) We wake up early the next day for the trek to Kala Patar (5545m) to experience sensational sunrise views from this amazing vantage point. From the lodge the ascent is quite steep, so we start very slowly and try to ascend at a steady rhythmic pace. Kala Patar is the rocky hilltop below Pumori. It is a tough walk because of the altitude, but the view from the top surpasses the wildest imagination. It will probably take a good hour and a half to reach the summit from Gorak Shep, although lower viewpoints can provide views that are almost as good. Pumori, Nuptse, Changtse, Ama Dablam, Taweche, Kantega and Everest, the highest mountain in the world, surround us. About three kilometres away and some 200 metres below, the area of the Everest Base Camp can be seen in a bowl at the bottom of the Khumbu Ice Fall. For many trekkers, reaching Kala Patar is a very emotional experience and it is worthwhile spending as long as you wish in order to savour this special moment. The descent back down to Gorak Shep is easy and once back at the lodge we have a quick drink and head off to the rooms to pack our kit bags whilst breakfast is being prepared. After breakfast we set off to Lobuche and on to Thugla, where we stop for lunch. After lunch we cross the Khumbu Khola and head above the valley to Dingboche in the Imja Khola Valley, where we stop for the night. In the evening it is well worth ascending the hill behind the village for excellent sunset views of the world's fifth highest mountain, Makalu.
(Trekking: approx 3 hours) After the last couple of tough days, we take it a lot easier today. We leave after a late breakfast to follow the valley, with great views of Island Peak and the spectacular Ama Dablam dominating the skyline. We reach Chukkung in time for lunch. In the afternoon we can sit back, relax and enjoy the magnificent scenery.
Meals included: 1 lunch, 1 dinner
(Trekking: approx 2 hours) After Chukkung we follow the moraines that flow from Lhotse (8501m) towards the sand flats at Pareshaya Gyab. It is only a short distance from here to Island Peak Base Camp, which we reach in the mid-afternoon.
Meals included: 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
(Trekking: approx 6 hours - Island Peak to Dingboche) We have allowed two days to climb Island Peak. The strategy for the climb will be decided by our trek leader at the time, taking into account the group's acclimatisation, weather, snow conditions and other factors. Generally we rest in the morning and after lunch ascend from Base Camp to High Camp (5700m), a steep, two-hour climb up grassy slopes on a well-defined trail. The site of the camp is just below the permanent snowline. The following morning we leave very early for the final climb to the summit. This may take between four and six hours, depending on snow and weather conditions. We will fix a rope on the summit headwall for safety on both the ascent and descent. Although it is not a difficult climb technically, the snow slopes are crevassed, the headwall is reasonably steep and a head for heights is useful. To reach the summit, willpower and stamina are required, but the incredible feeling of achievement atop this 6000-metre giant will remain a lifetime memory. The view from the summit is utterly fantastic! Ama Dablam, Lhotse, Makalu and Baruntse are the dominant giants rising above a sea of lesser peaks. Given good conditions we should be able to descend on the path from the summit all the way back to Dingboche.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
(Trekking: approx 7 hours) From Dingboche we cross the Khumbu Khola and ascend a short steep trail to the top of a small ridge for great views of the Imja Valley, Ama Dablam and Kantega. We then descend to the small settlements at Orsho and Shomare and later pass through Lower Pangboche to reach the suspension bridge over the Imja Khola River to ascend gradually through Debuche and then to Thyangboche, where we take lunch. In the afternoon we descend steeply through beautiful forest of juniper, rhododendron and fir to Phunkitenga. After a welcome break and perhaps a cup of tea we cross the Dudh Kosi River and ascend to Trashinga. From here the trail contours high above the valley through to Shanasa, where we have the option of visiting Kunde and Khumjung villages before returning to Namche Bazaar - our stop for the night.
(Trekking: approx 4 hours) We enjoy a leisurely departure from Namche Bazaar with a final opportunity to visit the shops in the bazaar before we descend steeply down to the large suspension bridge over the Dudh Kosi River. We follow the trail through Jorsale and back to Monjo, where we take lunch. In the afternoon it is a short walk via Benkar through blue pine and rhododendron forest, with great views of Kusum Kangaru, back to our lodge in Phakding.
(Trekking: approx 3½ hours) This is our last day of trekking, where it is only a short walk on the valley before making the final climb up to the airstrip at Lukla. We then take lunch at our lodge and the afternoon is free to wander around, relax or perhaps enjoy a hot shower! In the evening we enjoy a farewell dinner, followed by a few celebratory drinks and dancing with our Sherpa companions.
Accommodation: Shangri La Hotel or similar, Kathmandu
We rise early in the morning to be ready for the arrival of our aircraft for the flight back to Kathmandu. On arrival in Kathmandu we are met and transferred back to our starting hotel. The rest of the day is free to do souvenir shopping or further sightseeing. Located in the south of the city, Patan is also worth a visit with its own Durbar Square full of historic structures and statues of past kings. Our final night in Kathmandu gives us a chance to go out on the town and enjoy a final dinner (optional) with our travelling companions and new-found friends.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Our trip ends today after breakfast. Your leader will be on hand to advise and assist with your onward travel arrangements. A departure transfer to the airport is not included and Kathmandu has so much to offer and occasionally flights from Lukla can be delayed, so we recommend that you consider booking pre-tour or post-tour accommodation and a departure transfer before you commence your travels.
You will be trekking above the snowline using ice axe, crampons and ropes. The trek will be physically and mentally demanding due to the altitude and inherently demanding nature of mountaineering. You will be trekking on hilly terrain, and attempting to climb the summit of Island Peak. Expect trekking anywhere between 3-8 hours per day (summit day is over 12 hours), on average about 5 hours a day. The summit of Island Peak is 6189 metres.
Full mountaineering insurance is required for this trek
Experienced local trek leader, local guides, cooks, porters, arrivaltransfer, transport, first-aid kit, medical oxygen and Portable Altitude Chamber, all meals on Peak climb, sightseeing and entrance fees, trekking/climbing permits and national park fees.
International flights, airport departure taxes,departure transfer, visas, insurance, meals not listed, any optional tours and activities during free time, camera fees, excess baggage charges, showers on trek (if available), tips or gratuities and items of a personal nature.
Allow approximately US$720 for meals.
We have chosen some great optional activities to enhance your travel experience. You will need to cover any additional costs yourself. For group trips, speak to your leader if you are interested in any of the following:
The Island Peak climb is a Himalayan mountaineering expedition in the true sense. It combines a fairly challenging trek, including two high pass crossings, with the ascent of a Himalayan peak of significant height. It is essential that you are physically and mentally well prepared and that your personal equipment is of the highest standard. Climbing above 6000 metres (20,000ft) demands reliable equipment. You must be prepared for the possibility of bad weather and difficult conditions. You must prepare and train thoroughly to have any chance of success on this mountain. If you are very fit the easier it will be to deal with any difficulties which may arise, and it will enhance your confidence and enjoyment of the trip. Do not take this expedition lightly. All clients seeking to join this trip will be required to complete a special questionnaire dealing with levels of experience, general fitness and medical fitness.
The Island Peak expedition combines a moderate trek with the ascent of a Himalayan peak of significant height. While the climbing on Island Peak is not technically difficult, it certainly requires that participants:
* are physically capable of climbing and descending up to 1000 metres a day on sometimes difficult tracks or on moraine or snow.
* are mentally capable of dealing with the stresses of a high altitude environment, the need to be responsive to changeable conditions and the need to work as a team, carrying small loads, within a group framework.
* are able to acclimatise sufficiently to climb safely at a significantly high attitude.
Participants who have a good background in overnight or longer hiking/backpacking should have no difficulties on this trip. However, do not plan on getting in shape on the walk in! For your own enjoyment (and success!) you should prepare yourself beforehand with some training walks which (preferably) involve several hundred metres of uphill. A few of these in the six weeks before departure will be invaluable. Other activities which contribute to aerobic fitness (walking, running, cycling, swimming, etc.) should also be a regular part of your schedule for at least six weeks before departure.
The Himalaya is a constantly changing environment. So too is the weather and the ability of any group to acclimatise. This means that the suggested itinerary may not be followed exactly, days may be lost because of weather or snow or broken down buses. You need to be able to deal with and manage these changes, frustrations and other unexpected events, in co-operation with the group, so as to maximise the chances of success on the mountain.
The rate and extent to which you acclimatise and are able to cope with the high altitude of this expedition will be a personal thing. If you have been to altitude before, you will have some feeling for how you are likely to go. If not, this will be part of the new experiences of this climb. This trip is designed to maximise your opportunity for effective acclimatisation but individual responses will always differ. Extra time is built into the climbing phase to allow for this, bad weather and other contingencies. The leader in consultation with the group will decide how this time is to be used.
Vaccinations may be required for this trip. Talk to your doctor about the up-to-date information for this region.Visas and Permits
It is your responsibility to ensure you have all required visas for your trip. Rules and regulations governing the issuance of visas are constantly changing, and vary for different nationalities and you should check visa requirements with your travel agent or relevant consular authority well before travel.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay. We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent. All foreign nationals (except Indians) require a visa to enter Nepal. Visas are obtainable from embassies abroad, the International airport, or on arrival at the India / Nepal border. Getting a visa at the airport can sometimes take time due to long queues. There have been instances when passengers were asked to show return flight tickets. You will also need to provide two passport photos and the following approximate fees in US dollars cash only: - Multi entry visa valid for 15 days - US$25 - Multi entry visa valid for 30 days - US$40 - Multi entry visa valid for 90 days - US$100 Please note if you are staying in Nepal for less than 24 hours while in transit a transit visa can be issued on presentation of your international flight ticket, there is a nominal charge of US$5 and one photo is required. Your visa application form may require you to state the dates on which you enter and exit that country. Please note we suggest you list your date of entry a few days before, and date of exit a few days after, your intended dates in case you encounter any delays or problems en route. To help calculate the exact dates of these crossings we have found the website: www.timeanddate.com to be very useful.
You are required to have travel insurance before heading off on a Peregrine trip. Insurance can be organised by your Peregrine representative or your travel agent.Responsible Travel
Our Responsible Travel ethos is at the heart of everything we do, from getting the basics right like respecting local cultures and the environment, to initiating projects that make positive contributions to communities, to our staff’s fundraising efforts and offsetting our carbon emissions.
Please visit our Responsible Travel (http://www.peregrineadventures.com/rt) page for more information.
Our Pre Departure Information or Travel Dossier (provided upon booking a trip) provides tips on how you can show respect for the local customs and culture in the country you are travelling in.
The information listed above is a brief description of some things you may need to consider when booking a trip. Once a tour is booked you will be provided with a link to your Travel Dossier which will contain detailed Pre Departure information.
For good general guides to Nepal, India, Tibet and Bhutan, the Lonely Planet guide-books are very helpful. (They even have phrase-books which are very handy.) There are numerous books written about the Himalaya. Check your local library, new and old book-shops, and also the Internet can provide useful information on books to read. Kathmandu has many excellent bookshops where many of the books below can be found. Travellers Tales and Guides Nepal Lonely Planet Guide: - (Hugh Finlay, Richard Everist, Tony Wheeler) Tiger for Breakfast-Peissel-1966 Schoolhouse in the Sky-Hillary-1968 When Men and Mountains Meet-Keay-1977 Kathmandu-Kelly-1989 Many People Come, Looking, Looking Rowell-1980 Natural History Birds of Nepal-Fleming-1976 Forests of Nepal-Stainton-1972 Stones of Silence-Schaller-1980 Heart of the Jungle-Gurung Himalayan Flowers and Trees-Meirow/Shreshta-1978 Mountaineering Into Thin Air-Krakauer-1997 Everest the Hard Way-Bonnington-1976 White Limbo-Hall-1985 Annapurna-Herzog-1952 Ascent of Everest-Hunt-1953 The Climb-Anatoli Boukreev Left for Dead-Beck Weathers
Local Emergency Contacts In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency Peregrine’s Nepal office please contact +977 14371 927 during business hours or after hours on +977 9851 082 775
INTERNAL FLIGHTS: EU clients please see our safety page for important information regarding internal flights in Nepal.
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please keep this in mind when you read it and check with us if you want to be sure about something. The document was correct at time of printing, but you can check online for the most up to date version. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
20 January 2014