23 days

Island Peak, Everest & Gokyo

Island Peak, Everest & Gokyo

Summit Island Peak

The lakes and 8000-metre peaks of Gokyo

Namche Bazaar – the gateway to the High Himalaya

Kathmandu’s hidden old town

Kala Patar (5643m) - the best vantage point to see Mount Everest

Everest Base Camp and the notorious Everest Ice Fall

17th Century Thyangboche Monastery

Bodhnath Stupa of Kathmandu - one of the biggest Buddhist shrines in the world

Trip rating
  • 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.

    Itinerary

    Day 1 - Kathmandu (1360m)

    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.

    Shangri La Hotel or similar

    Day 2 - Kathmandu (1360m)

    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.

    Shangri La Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 3 - Phakding (2652m)

    (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.

    Day 4 - Namche Bazaar (3446m)

    (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.

    Day 5 - Namche Bazaar (3446m)

    (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.

    Day 6 - Mongla (3870m)

    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.

    Day 7 - Dole (4085m)

    (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.

    Day 8 - Machhermo (4465m)

    (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!

    Day 9 - Gokyo (4720m)

    (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.

    Day 10 - Gokyo (4720m)

    (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.

    Day 11 - Below Cho La (4950m)

    (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.

    Day 12 - Lobuje (4930m)

    (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.

    Day 13 - Gorak Shep (5160m) - Everest Base Camp

    (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.

    Day 14 - Kala Patar - Dingboche (4410m)

    (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.

    Day 15 - Chukkung (4780m)

    (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.

    Day 16 - Island Peak Base Camp (5090m)

    (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.

    Lunch | Dinner

    Day 17-18 - Island Peak Climb (6189m)

    (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.

    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 19 - Namche Bazaar (3446m)

    (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.

    Breakfast

    Day 20 - Phakding (2652m)

    (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.

    Day 21 - Lukla (2800m)

    (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.

    Day 22 - Kathmandu (1360m)

    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.

    Shangri La Hotel or similar

    Day 23 - Kathmandu (1360m)

    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.

    Breakfast
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • Experienced local trek leader, local guides, cooks, porters, arrival transfer, 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.

    Not Included

    • 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.
  • Map Itinerary

  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    Island Peak, Everest & Gokyo

    Ralph - Canada, 6 Oct, 2012
    5
    Overall Rating

    This was a highly organized and professionally run tour. It is by far the best tour I have ever been part of. Extremely challenging and hugely rewarding.

    Island Peak, Everest & Gokyo

    Christopher - Australia, 28 Apr, 2012
    5
    Overall Rating

    The trip was very well guided and planned. If there were any changes to the schedule we were informed or made apart of the decision. Considering the type of trip, it was good that health, well-being and safety was always the number priority.

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PHIP
Group size 6 - 12
Start City: Kathmandu
End City: Kathmandu

What to know

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 

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