With trekking experience in the Himalayas, we have guided many climbers to the peaks of the Himalayas. This gives us the perspective to be able to offer some tips for climbing the Island peak safely and successfully. For every climb, we help our clients prepare in the best way possible and guide them in the area to ensure safety and success.
Island peak is a famous trekking peak in the Everest region of Nepal. The peak is graded as Alpine PD+ in terms of grade and doesn’t demand technical skills. It is the first choice for many people when it comes to climbing a 6000m Himalayan peak. Island Peak is a classic 6000m Himalayan peak combining all in one that will take your mountaineering skills to newer heights. Island peak is the second most sought peak in the Everest region after the mighty Everest. Standing tall at 6189m, the peak offers real climbing experience with the use of a ladder and fixed ropes on steep snow sleeves on 45 degrees. We have boiled down the most essential tips for Island peak climbing in this blog.
This peak was attempted for the first time in 1953 as a training base for Everest Expeditions and to this day, this peak is chosen as a training ground for climbing big mountains. You need to be familiar with mountaineering boots, crampons and abseiling & rappelling on fixed ropes. Island peak is an ideal peak for people looking for more than conventional trekking and is yet unprepared to tackle high altitude expedition. Island peak is also used as a preliminary peak for Manaslu. Read below for our 10 tips for Island peak climbing.
Our Top 10 tips for Island peak climbing:
Schedule best time to come
No matter how fit and prepared you come, the chances of summiting the peak will still be slim if you do not schedule the right time for your Island peak climb. Climbing a peak involves different factors and challenges so scheduling the right time for your climb is, without doubt, the foremost important thing. Pre-monsoon/Spring (Apr-May) and Post-monsoon/Fall (Oct to Nov) are the best time to climb any peak in Nepal. The weather during these times is favorable with less wind, clear views and fewer chances of snowfall. Climbing during the monsoon season (June to Mid September) and winter season (Dec to Mid-March) is not recommended due to poor weather and heavy snowfall.
Allow proper customization in your itinerary
Let your body adapt to the altitude. We suggest you combine Everest Base Camp and Kalapathar with Island Peak Climb as it will allow for a suitable environment in your itinerary. Your trip duration will be extended by 3-4 days but it will all be worth it. Everest base camp and Kalapathar (5545m) before reaching the climbing of the Island the prospect of Everest rises. Many people cut the total duration of the climb by going directly to the top of the Island. While some may succeed, others with less experience are deterred from achieving their goal of climbing the peak due to the rapid increase in altitude. You don’t need to do the Everest Base Camp trek but the secret is to get sufficiently and well acclimatized before reaching the Island peak. Even the strongest and most experienced climbers return empty-handed if adaptation is neglected.
Acquire previous high-altitude experience
Having a previous high-altitude experience is definitely beneficial. Although it is not mandatory if you schedule proper acclimatization, having some experience of high altitude is definitely going to make a difference. Do a trek that reaches up to an elevation of 5000m and learn some basic mountaineering skills as Island peak demands more than you have thought. We offer climbing course the base camp before the actual climb where you will learn the required climbing skills. So, doing a high altitude trek prior to the Island peak is highly beneficial.
Train well ahead – Fitter you are, the more enjoyable experience will be.
The fitter you are the more enjoyable the experience will be. The multiple days trekking to the base camp at high altitude and 10-12 hrs long summit push definitely requires you to be in an excellent physical condition. Train yourself well ahead at least 3-4 months before hitting the trail. Build your strength, climbing skills and train your cardiovascular for the climb. Doing regular hiking carrying some weight and cardio will boost your stamina. Begin your training for Island peak with general conditioning and gradually do the specific training as required for the climb. Make sure you train consistently and increased the training load gradually.
Learn basic mountaineering skills
The island peak is not a normal trekking peak and it requires the use of climbing equipment (crampons, harness, fixed rope, abseil equipment etc.) on steep slopes. It will definitely test your climbing skills and take them to new heights. Having basic mountaineering skills is beneficial. In our island peak climbing, we have allocated only one day for the climbing course. You can learn the basic skills needed to climb the summit at Base Camp or Chhukung with your climbing guide.
Get the right clothes and climbing boots
Having the proper climbing gear is without question the most important tip for climbing an Island peak. Pack all the necessary gear needed for the climb and be sure to break in your climbing boots beforehand if you plan to buy them. Don’t compromise on the quality of the gear. You can also rent the gears in Kathmandu or Chhukung if you plan to use it only once. We strongly advise getting all the gear for the climb in Kathmandu or your hometown. Those who choose to rent gear from Chhukung may not have the right fit for your gear given the limited options. Make sure you also double-check all the gears before flying to Lukla.
Here are the recommended boots for peak climbing in Nepal.
Come mentally prepared
So, you have prepared yourself physically and by all aspects but what about your mental strength? It is as important as preparing yourself physically. Climbing Island peak is a demanding task and it requires your mental preparation because at the end it’s always mind over body. Come mentally prepared and do not approach the objective with over-confidence in your abilities. Prepare yourself for the cold temperature, long and arduous walk, shortness of breath. Cut the cord if you can and be fully focused and committed to the climb. Staying in constant contact with family, friends or works during the climb can divert your focus and hence your climb is least likely to be successful.
Keep contingency day
On the mountain, anything can lead to the change in the itinerary and its always a better plan to keep a contingency day in your itinerary. Many unforeseen circumstances (Health, weather, route, etc.) can lead to change in the plan and having a contingency day will prevent your itinerary from being jeopardized. If all goes well and as planned, you can use this day to rest and recall the memories of climb or perhaps indulge yourself in a treat.
Reserve your energy for the big day
Your main goal is to reach the summit of Island peak and the summit day is when it demands all your strength and energy. Do not tire yourself on the trekking days, allow rest and acclimatization, hydrate and feed yourself properly and get good night rest. Keep the intensity and effort level low early in the trip. The long 10-12 hrs summit push at freezing temperature while ascending the steep slopes is when all your strength is required.
The summit is an only halfway of your journey
Although summiting the peak is your main goal, the summit is an only halfway and the descent is often as much of a challenge as the climb. Your journey ends only after you have reached back your home safely. Follow proper safety, know your health condition, look out for each other and you are sure to have an amazing experience that will be cherished forever.
We hope these tips for Island peak climbing will help you in knowing the terrain and preparing yourself for the climb. If you have any questions or need any help with the planning and preparation of the climb, get in touch with us. We will be glad to assist you in making your dream of summiting Island peak turn into a reality.