Everest B.C & Island Peak

A magnificent circuit of the Everest region with and stunning views from Kala Pattar plus a challenging ascent of Island Peak
This incredible trek takes us into the heart of the Khumbu. We follow the famous expedition route to Everest Base Camp and make an ascent of Kala Pattar (5545m) for close up views of Everest. Crossing the rarely traversed Kongma La Pass (5535m) we have magnificent close-up views of Nuptse. We then move into the Imja Valley to the base of Island Peak (6189m). Climbing this peak is challenging as we scramble on rock, ascend a snow face and then tackle the final ridge. For those who are well acclimatised, determined and have the energy, the views from the top provide some of the most striking scenery in the entire region.

Detailed Itinerary

  • Day 1
    Arrive in Kathmandu and transfer to the hotel. You can spend the evening as you like.


    Day 2
    Today is a free day for sightseeing in Kathmandu. You may wish to visit the monkey temple at Swayambunath; one of the largest Buddhist stupas in the world at Bodnath; the most important Hindu temple in the valley at Pashupatinath. You can also visit Durbar Square in the heart of the old city, where the old Royal Palace, with its intricate woodcarving, is located. Outside is Kumari Chowk, home of the Kumari, the young girl who is revered as a living goddess. The area is a maze of temples and images, and, leading away from the square in all directions, are narrow alleys, full of the most amazing variety of shops and stalls. Sightseeing tours can be booked locally. Today there will also be a full trip briefing in the morning.


    Day 3 - 4
    You will follow the Dudh Kosi north, crossing from one bank to the other all day. Heading out of Phakding, you will first cross to the west bank, climbing high above the river. Today's walk takes us through magnificent forests of rhododendron, enormous fir and magnolia trees, and in both spring and autumn the ground is bright with flowers. After Jorsale (2800m), the trail climbs over a spur and alongside a mossy cliff, until it crosses the west fork of the river, the Bhote Kosi. At this point, you begin the steep climb to Namche Bazaar approximately 300m into this ascent, you should, cloud permitting, gain your first glimpse of Everest’s towering summit, rearing up behind the great ridge of Nuptse-Lhotse. Another 300m of climbing brings you to Namche Bazaar, administrative centre of the Khumbu region, headquarters for the Mount Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park, a prosperous Sherpa village and an important trading centre.



    Day 5
    Today is a vital acclimatisation day, wherein you will leave the main trail and ascend steeply out of Namche Bazaar to the villages of Kunde and Khumjung, receiving wonderful views of Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse and many other magnificent peaks. In Kunde, you will also have the opportunity of visiting the Edmund Hillary hospital. Passing through the village of Khumjung, you will visit the monastery, which houses the only suspected yeti scalp. You will then descend to meet the main trail at Kyanjuma (3,600m), where you will stay overnight.


    Day 6 - 7
    A wonderful walk today takes you up the seldom-used but exciting high trail to Pangboche. The trail climbs out of Phortse and contours round the valley, high above the river on a dizzying trail with dizzying views across the valley to Ama Dablam. As the trail winds upwards, look out for Himalayan Thar (mountain goats) grazing on the steep slopes above, then drop down to meet the main trail at Pangboche (3900m), the highest permanent settlement in this valley. You are above the tree line now, and as you walk through the alpine meadow landscape, you may catch a glimpse of the rare Impeyan pheasant, the national bird of Nepal. Following a ledge above the river, the trail crosses a wooden bridge at the confluence of the Khumbu and Imja Kholas. A brief steep climb brings you to Dingboche, at 4530m. Here, the great peaks of Ama Dablam, the ridge of Nuptse-Lhotse, Tawoche and Chalotse surround you.


    Day 8
    Today will be spent at Dingboche to continue your acclimatisation. Those who are adapting well to the altitude can climb Nangkartshang Peak, which stands at 5090m tall. From this hill behind camp, the views are even more spectacular; Island Peak rises from the valley floor in front of you, Ama Dablam, Chalotse and Tawoche tower above, and, in the distance, Makalu is visible.


    Day 9 - 10
    You will now surrounded by Himalayan giants; Everest, Nuptse, and Pumori, and the sight of their snowy summits glowing at sunrise and sunset, are unforgettable. However, today will be long and hard as you leave very early to follow the Khumbu glacier northwards to Gorak Shep (5180m). After a rest and refreshments, you will continue to follow the glacier towards Everest Base Camp. The trail winds its way up and down over the rocky moraine, before descending onto the rock-covered glacier between huge ice seracs up until the commencement of Base Camp. Ahead, you will spy an enormous mass of rock and ice, and you’ll be astonished by the sheer size of the Khumbu Ice Fall. In spring, the Base Camp thrives, due to the numerous expeditions that attempt to climb Everest, but in autumn it is desolate. You will now return to Gorak Shep for the night.


    Day 11 - 12
    Today is a long day as you turn away from the main valley and head off towards the Kongma La. Taking a packed lunch from the lodge, you will follow the trail as it takes you across the moraine of the Khumbu glacier before a very long steep climb to the pass. As you ascend, the scenery becomes even more marvellous, and, from the top (5535m), you are surrounded by peaks and glaciers in every direction, including Makalu, Cho Oyu, Pumori and some distant peaks of Tibet. Just below the pass is a small lake, which is a good place to stop for lunch before you tackle the long descent into the Imja Valley towards Chhukkung (4730m).


    Day 13 - 15
    Leaving at around 2am, you will scramble onto a narrow rocky ridge leading on to the glacier. You will rope up here, and put on crampons for the glacier crossing. Care should be taken when crossing the glacier, as there are several deep crevasses. The views are amazing, with Baruntse, Chamlang and Ama Dablam rising up on the horizon. Once you have crossed the glacier, you’ll arrive at the bottom of a steep snow and ice headwall which leads to the summit ridge. Your climbing guides will fix a rope here, and you’ll use your jumar to climb this section. The slope is steep (up to 50 degrees in places), but after 150m you will have reached the summit ridge. Suddenly, Lhotse's south face is looming before you, and the most exciting part of the climb begins as you tread carefully along the narrow ridge to the summit. There's another steep section just before the summit, but the fixed ropes will help you ascend. Finally, you will reach the summit (6189m), where you will be able to take in your unbelievable surroundings. Flanked by Lhotse, the Imja glaciers, and a host of other huge peaks, Island Peak really is an island of rock and snow in this gargantuan arena of mountains. Carefully, you will descend back down the ridge, and then abseil off the steep section. You will return to the relative comforts of base camp via high camp. Please note that the climb is technical and also optional. The above notes describe the route in 2010. Because of gradual snow melt, the route is becoming rockier, and may alter depending on conditions. For anyone who does not wish to climb, there is an alternative trek to the head of the Imja Valley).


    Day 16 - 18
    You will now descend down the ridge to Phunki Tenga and walk back to Namche Bazaar along a beautiful undulating trail which is high above the Dudh Kosi. On the decline through Namche Bazaar, you pick up the outward trail again, and follow the Dudh Kosi south, through rhododendron and pine forests, past Jorsale, Monzo and Benkar to Chaunrikhara. Here, you leave the main trail and ascend the short distance to the airstrip at Lukla.


    Day 19
    Today you will fly back to Kathmandu and spend the rest of the day as you like.


    Day 20
    Today is a free day in Kathmandu, during which you may undertake individual sightseeing or shopping.


    Day 21
    After breakfast/ Departure

Date & Price

Includes & Excludes

  • Profile
    16 days walking with full porterage. Altitude maximum 6189m, average 3680m.

    4 nights hotel, 13 nights mountain lodges and 3 nights camping.

    Breakfast included in Kathmandu plus all meals whilst camping.

    What to Expect:
    Island Peak is a undoubtedly a tough trek. It is graded E with 16 days walking. The maximum altitude is 6189m (or 5545m without Island Peak) and the average is 3680m.
    There are some steep ascents and descents and also narrow trails. As this trek also ascends to very high altitudes participants should already be confident of their physical fitness and should have previous experience of trekking at altitude and in snow. The ascent of Island Peak is optional. It requires strong lungs, a great deal of will power, previous experience of crampon and ice axe techniques, use of a jumar and abseil devices and a good level acclimatisation. Though technically harder than Mera Peak, this expedition is within reach of those seeking their first Himalayan summit. The climb is graded alpineand starts with some rocky scrambling to a glacier. Crossing this we then come to a steep 40-45 degree head-wall, which leads to an exposed summit ridge. We will rope up to cross the glacier and you will be walking with an ice axe, crampons and plastic boots.
    The climbing Sherpas will fix ropes up the head-wall and along the summit ridge. Clients will need to use a jumar on the ascent and an abseil device on the descent. Although of course it is not compulsory to participate in the climb, anyone who does must have previous ice axe and crampon experience and know how to use a jumar and abseil device. There will be equipment checks and practice sessions for rope use, ice axe, crampon and harness use, abseiling and crevasse rescue. For safety reasons it is compulsory to participate in these sessions. If you do not take part the leader and climbing Sherpas will not allow you to take part in the climb. Because this trek is at high altitude it is important that you respect and take heed of the leaders advice and decisions. The leaders are trained in first aid and are well aware of AMS symptoms and will keep a close eye on the group.

    Group size and age:
    Min. 3, max. 14, plus leader, Sherpa climbing guides, and appropriate local staff. Minimum age 18.
    Walking & Trekking
    Trips are wholly trekking-focused or simply include a significant number of walking days during the itinerary.

Trip Notes

  • Do I need to take walking poles?
    If you are used to walking with trekking poles then take them with you, as you will probably find them useful especially on the way down. They are not essential though and the walk is manageable without them. It is mostly a personal preference but do remember to pack them as part of your main luggage to be stowed in the hold. If you decide later you'd like to have some, they are available to buy in Kathmandu.



    Any good tips for eating out in Kathmandu?
    Head down to the Everest Steak House in southern Thamel for a mouth watering steak and chips, well earned if you’re just back from trek. Finish it off with a cocktail in the legendary Tom & Jerry bar up the road!
    You can also head to Fire and Ice Pizzeria in Thamel, a great place with casual indoor and outdoor eating which is popular amongst travellers, and locals alike. This restaurant is a great place to meet for a morning cup of Italian espresso, or a hearty meal of delicious pizzas, pastas, ice cream and even a Grappa!



    Is there anywhere to store luggage while on trek?
    You will be packing your kitbag for the trek before you leave Kathmandu, and can leave your main luggage at the hotel in Kathmandu, where it will be stored securely free of charge. However, as with any destination, we recommend you keep valuables with you at all times.



    Any special food I should try in Kathmandu?
    This Nepalese version of dumplings/ wantons is a traditional delicacy and a must try local dish while you are in Nepal. Momo dumplings are either steamed or fried with chicken/or buff (water buffalo) as well as stuffed with vegetables for vegetarians and have become the most famous fast food amongst Nepalese and can be found on the menus of most restaurants serving locals and tourists alike.
    Kwanti soup:
    This mixed bean soup is usually served during festivals and gatherings and now has made its way in many of restaurant menus. Goes well with Naan or roti bread.
    This is a typical Newari dish smoked meat (chicken; lamb or buffalo meat) tossed with spices and mustard oil. Easily available in most Nepalese and local restaurants in Kathmandu.



    I have some free time in Kathmandu?
    If you are looking to do something off the beaten track just for half a day around Kathmandu, head out to Bungmati and Khokana. Just an hour drive on the outskirts of Kathmandu and you will find yourself in this sleepy little twin village where not much has changed in terms of construction, profession of people (most are still farmers, woodcarvers and weavers) or the pace of life. The twin villages are 15 minutes apart and you walk through the dirt trails, with farms and fields on either side. Should you have extra time and still want to do something, the Tibetan Refugee Settlement where you can see carpet weaving to a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery falls half way on the way back from here to the Hotel.



    On a lodge or teahouse trek, how much spending money should I allow ?
    US $ 40 – US $ 50 per day is ample, but it is possible to spend less (and more!). Meals are usually pretty cheap but extras such as sweets or snacks will add a bit more to your budget. There are plenty of ATMs in Kathmandu, so you can withdraw more Nepalese currency if you are running short towards the end of your trip.



    Can I buy any equipment in Kathmandu before the start of the trip?
    Yes. There are dozens of trekking shops in the Thamel area of Kathmandu. Depending on how good your bartering skills are, you can usually pick up items for about one third of the price that you'll pay in the Europe / America and its more fun to bargain! However, please note we cannot guarantee the quaility of anything you may purchase so buyer beware.



    Should I get my Nepalese visa in advance or at the airport?
    Most of our clients choose to get their visas at Kathmadu airport. This may mean some time queuing, but the transfer bus won't leave for the hotel until all arriving passengers are through Immigration and have collected their bags. So if you have your visa in advance, you will avoid the visa queue but you won’t get to the hotel any earlier. If you'd like to get your visa in advance, please contact the Nepalese embassy direct.
    Please note if you are staying in Nepal longer than 15 days, you will need to ask for a 30 day visa


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