Is Island Peak for you or should you look for another trekking peak in Nepal?

island-peak-mera-peakSo I have just got back from three incredible weeks trekking in Nepal. We spent two weeks winding our way up the Goyko Valley and crossing Cho La Pass into the Khumbu region. The experience was quite simply amazing!

Highlights were:

  • The flight from Kathmandu to Hillary-Tenzing airport – which is nothing short of exhilarating!
  • Trekking up Goyko Ri, a 5357m hill just above the village of Goyko. The views of the glacial lakes in this area are extraordinary as are the views of Cho Oyu, the 6th highest mountain in the world!
  • The Ngozumpa Glacier, the largest glacier in the Himalaya’s was amazing, crossing it was scary but lots of fun
  • Climbijng over the Cho La Pass (5420m) was a big day and pretty tough, but the views from the top are awesome
  • Visiting Everest Base Camp during the height of the climbing season was simply awesome, but spending a night in the camp with an expedition team was extra special!!!
  • Finally climbing to the top of Kala Patthar (5643m) – views of Mount Everest Pumori from the top of Kala Patthar are breathtaking

But these highlights don’t even scratch the surface of the main attraction, which was climbing Island Peak.

I did a lot of research for the Island Peak before we departed but nothing could prepare me for what awaited when we reached the crampon point. The mountain has changed enormously since I last saw it. The glacier has opened up in two places, revealing bottomless crevasses that require ladders to cross – never a fun thing to do with crampons on!!!

Also the headwall has broken up significantly, with sharp, hard pieces of broken ice forming the entire face from the glacier to the summit. It’s a really tough climb. Without the help of our awesome team from Kandoo Adventures, I don’t think any of us would have made it to the summit!

The experience, although amazing, left me concerned that many people try take on Island Peak thinking it is a trek. It definitely isn’t. If you don’t have basic climbing skills – i.e. you have never worn crampons or used a fixed rope to ascend an ice wall – then I would recommend you start with a trek like Mera Peak (6,476m), which is much more a trek (a bloody challenging one), and a great way to introduce yourself to high altitude Himalaya climbing.

As I mentioned we use Kandoo Adventures who employ the most wonderful and highly experienced team (Everest summiteers). They offer both Island Peak climbs and Mera Peak treks.

You can also find very useful information on each of these Himalaya peaks here and here!

Climb on!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *