This trek starts with the high valleys and glaciers of Khumbu for a classic Everest view from Kalapattar. You then climb to the top of Island Peak, otherwise known as Imja Tse. It was named Island Peak in 1951 by Eric Shipton's party as it appears like an island in a sea of ice when seen from Dingboche. The peak is, in fact, an extension of the ridge coming down off the south end of Lhotse Shar and was first climbed in 1953 as part of a training exercise by the British expedition that went on to summit Mount Everest.
The ascent of Island Peak is within the capabilities of anyone with good fitness. Apart from one steep and exposed 100m ice or snow climb, it is a non- technical, though demanding climb up through the snow.
Trek grade: This is a strenuous Grade 5 trek. You climb to 6189m and trek most of the time above 3000m with one very long day (12 hours) when you summit Island Peak. You need to be fit and well prepared for this trek.
|Arrive in Kathmandu
|Fly to Lukla (2860m), trek to Phakding (2650m, 3-4 hrs)
|Trek to Namche Bazaar (3440m, 7 hrs)
|Acclimatization day – hike to Thame (3800m, 6-7 hrs)
|Trek to Tengboche (3860m, 4 hrs)
|Trek to Dingboche (4350m, 6 hrs)
|Acclimatization Day (4350m, 4 hrs)
|Trek to Lobuche (4910m, 5 hrs)
|Climb Kala Patthar (5545m) and return to Lobuche (4900m, 8 hrs)
|Trek to Dingboche (4400m, 3 hrs)
|Trek to the Chhukung Valley (4750m, 3hrs)
|Trek to Island Peak Base Camp (4970m, 2-3 hrs)
|Climb to High Camp (5600m, 2 hrs)
|Summit Island Peak (Imjatse) (6189m), trek to Chukung (12 hrs)
|Trek to Tengboche (3860m, 4 hrs)
|Trek to Namche Bazaar (3440m, 5 hrs)
|Trek to Phakding (2600m, 3-4 hrs)
|Trek to Lukla (2800m, 4 hrs)
|Fly to Kathmandu (1300m, 30 minutes)
Royal Mountain Travel is a Nepal-based sustainable tourism operator. We specialize in curating once-in-a-lifetime experiences to showcase indigenous and community based tourism projects. We work with travel agents and tourism companies to help plan travel experiences that highlight authentic, local lifestyles throughout some of the most unique landscapes on earth.
Arrive in Kathmandu
Your first impression of arriving at Tribhuvan International Airport is an experience in itself. But don’t be worried by the apparent confusion as your airport representative will be waiting to welcome you with your name written on a placard. Depending on traffic, you will be at your hotel within 20 minutes or so.
The day is spent visiting some of the major World Heritage Sites of Kathmandu. More…
You will have plenty of time in the afternoon to prepare for your trek and check that you have everything you need. You might want to visit Thamel, the tourist hub of Nepal where you can easily find all you need for trekking. Or if you just want to relax, there are many cafes and bakeries serving excellent local tea and coffee. It is best to avoid the street food, however, unless you have a very strong stomach. It is recommended that you have an early night as you will have an early start in the morning.
Fly to Lukla (2860m), trek to Phakding (2650m, 3-4 hrs)
After an early morning wakeup call, you should dress to be ready for trekking. Kathmandu airport’s domestic terminal is only 10-15 minutes’ drive from the hotel and you will have plenty of time to eat your packed breakfast before boarding the plane. Flying to Lukla on the small Dornier/Twin Otter plane, the flight takes about half an hour. It is a once in a lifetime flight during which, weather permitting, there are many opportunities to see the mighty Himalayas before landing in one of the most exciting airports of the world, also known as Tenzing Hillary Airport.
At the airport, you are met by your team of sherpas and you take a short break while the porters sort out your baggage that they will be carrying on the trek. To ensure that no one is overloaded, we do not allow any of our sherpas to carry more than 15kg. While on the trail, you will see many porters carrying three or four times this, sometimes even more.
To break you in gently, the first day of the trek involves just three to four hours walking, mostly downhill to Thado Koshi (about 2 hours), before gently climbing again to Phakding where we have lunch. You have the afternoon free to explore. You can visit Rimijung Monastery that is about an hour up the hillside from Phakding village.
Trek to Namche Bazaar (3440m, 7 hrs)
Today is more challenging as most of the day is uphill. With several opportunities to cross high suspension bridges across the rivers, you pass village settlements and at Benkar, you are welcomed by a view of the gigantic Mt. Thamserku dominating the horizon. You pass mani walls and Buddhist shrines along the way to the Sagarmatha National Park entry gate. The national park was established in 1976 and listed as a World Heritage Site in 1979. Here your permits are checked before you continue your way up to Namche Bazaar, Gateway to Everest Base Camp and ‘capital’ of the famous Sherpas.
Namche Bazaar was originally a trading post but is now a tourist hub where expeditions to the Everest area start. As the first point on the Khumbu trek that is above 3000m, this is a good place to spend some time to acclimatize.
Acclimatization day – hike to Thame (3800m, 6-7 hrs)
An acclimatization day allows for an excursion to Thame (3800m). Intricately carved mani stones mark the path to this village with a picturesque gompa on the hillside overlooking the valley. It is a traditional village that has escaped most of the crowds trekking to Everest. It has one of the oldest monasteries in the region. The village is famous as the home of Apa Sherpa who has made it to the top of Everest 21 times. The walk is peaceful and you have excellent views of the mountains as the trail winds in and out of the forest on the side of the canyon.
Trek to Tengboche (3860m, 4 hrs)
Leaving Namche, the route is unbelievably beautiful with the Dudh Kosi river far below and Thamserku, Kantega, Ama Dablam, Lhotse and Everest rising up in front of you. The view from Tengboche is justifiably considered one of the most magnificent in the world. Tengboche Gompa, the cultural and religious centre of Khumbu was founded in 1912 and has been destroyed and rebuilt twice as the result of earthquake and fire.
Trek to Dingboche (4350m, 6 hrs)
For the first couple of hours, you continue through a rhododendron forest, crossing wooden bridges over the Dudh Koshi river to reach the last permanent settlement of the region, Pangboche (3970m). You stop here for tea to admire the majestic view of Mt Ama Dablam and continue on undulating ‘flat’ until Shomare (4040m) that lies on the banks of the river where you stop for lunch. The scenery is much more barren and open. Crossing the Dudh Koshi, you start the uphill trek up to Dingboche. Passing the small village of Deboche and its nunnery, the trail enters alpine meadows of scrub juniper and in summer, a profusion of wildflowers.
Acclimatization Day (4350m, 4 hrs)
Here you have another day to acclimatize to the altitude. Today you go up to 4700m, climbing Nagarzhang Peak. Walking for about four hours, this is a good way to get your body acclimatized to the thinner air at high altitude. From Nagarzhang Peak, you get a splendid panoramic view of the fourth, fifth and sixth highest peaks in the world: Lhotse, Makalu, and Cho Oyu, as well as Island Peak. You then have the rest of the day to relax.
Trek to Lobuche (4910m, 5 hrs)
From Dingboche, the settlements you see now are only there to support tourists and there are no more permanent settlements. You walk through summer yak pastures which are fairly flat, surrounded by views dominated by Mt. Taboche and Mt. Cholatse. Stopping for lunch at Thugla (4620m), you make the steep ascent to Chakpki Lara Pass at 4820m, passing a number of memorials of Sherpas and mountaineers who lost their lives in the mountains. Walking through the end of the moraine at Changri Glacier, you see the peaks of Nuptse, Khumutse, Lingtren, Pumori, Lobuche East and Lobuche West. From here it is a hike to Lobuche. A short hike beyond Lobuche brings you to a viewpoint of the entire Khumbu Glacier.
Climb Kala Patthar (5545m) and return to Lobuche (4900m, 8 hrs)
Altitude makes the climb onto the Changri Glacier tough and this is a long day. The trail from Lobuche climbs steadily beside the Khumbu Glacier and it takes about three hours to reach Gorak Shep (5180m), a collection of lodges situated at the foot of Kala Pattar. From here, near a small, usually frozen lake, you climb up Kala Pattar. This 5545m peak provides the best close up view of Everest. The descent back to Lobuche is not difficult, but altitude induced lethargy can make the many uphill sections below Gorak Shep seem endless.
Trek to Dingboche (4400m, 3 hrs)
You descend back down the way you came. Dingboche is the only place in the region where barley is grown. The mountain views are outstanding. It was the view of Island Peak from here – an island in a sea of ice – that gave the mountain its name.
Trek to the Chhukung Valley (4750m, 3hrs)
You trek up the Imja Khola to Chhukung, a small summer settlement from where there are impressive views of Island Peak, Lhotse, Ama Dablam and the fluted ice walls flanking the Amphu Lapcha pass.
Trek to Island Peak Base Camp (4970m, 2-3 hrs)
Above Chhukung the trail follows the moraine and glacial streams to Imja Base Camp which sits on a dried out lakebed between the Lhotse and Imja Glaciers.
Climb to High Camp (5600m, 2 hrs)
Climbing steeply, your route today goes southeast between the moraine and the mountain before climbing steep grassy slopes and small rocky steps to High Camp. From Base Camp to High Camp it is basically a hike.
Summit Island Peak (Imjatse) (6189m), trek to Chukung (12 hrs)
Just above High Camp, the climb starts to get more energetic with some rocky steps that require moderate scrambling as you go up through a broad open gully. At the top of this, you go across the glacier and climb a steep snow and ice slope. From here, fixed ropes may need to be set up by the guides for the strenuous ascent of nearly 100 meters to the summit ridge. On top, while Mount Everest is only ten kilometers away to the north, the view is blocked by the massive wall of Lhotse, towering 2300m above you. Enjoy some of the most striking scenery in the Khumbu before descending back to Chhukung.
Trek to Tengboche (3860m, 4 hrs)
Trekking back down the Imja Khola, you re-enter the forests of rhododendron, birch and conifer where, due to the hunting ban, almost tame pheasants are regularly seen.
Trek to Namche Bazaar (3440m, 5 hrs)
You retrace your steps and descending to Namche Bazaar.
Trek to Phakding (2600m, 3-4 hrs)
Descending the steep trail from Namche, it gets easier as you get closer to Phakding where you spend the night.
Trek to Lukla (2800m, 4 hrs)
This is your last day of trekking and you have the afternoon free to do some souvenir shopping, relax and celebrate!
Fly to Kathmandu (1300m, 30 minutes)
An early start, your flight from Lukla to Kathmandu. All flights leave in the morning as by lunchtime the wind gets up and planes do not usually fly. You have the rest of the day free to spend how you like in Kathmandu. In the afternoon you might like to try out one of the many cooking classes or workshops on offer, go for some more sightseeing or do some last minute shopping. Ask your guide for suggestions.
You transfer to Tribhuvan Airport to connect with your onward flight. Please note that you should check in three hours prior to your flight time.