Itinerary

Island Peak Itinerary - Fall

I had an amazing time on my expedition. It was such a great trip and I enjoyed the trek with the trekkers and then our climb. It was successful and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of Guides/Porters. Our guides all went above and beyond. There is a reason I keep climbing only with AAI.

Day 1

Depart country of origin

Day 2

Transit (overnight en route – you may be able to depart this day if you do not require overnight transit)

Day 3

Arrive Kathmandu by 1pm for our mandatory afternoon orientation meeting.  You’ll check into our hotel in central Kathmandu and attend a welcome dinner with other trekkers and climbers.

Day 4

We’ll begin our exploration of Kathmandu this morning. While modern by Nepalese standards, Kathmandu is a sacred city to Hindus and Buddhists. Our tour is an important introduction to understanding the cultures that lay ahead. Kathmandu is prominently featured in Buddhist scriptures and Hindu texts such as the Ramayana. Our tour includes three World Heritage Sights — 3,000-year-old Swayambhu (monkey temple), the Hindu temple and cremation site Pashupati, and the great Stupa of Boudhanath. Following our tour, we will complete a thorough gear check.

Day 5

After final administration requirements, we’ll fly to Lukla. Weather permitting, this flight offers outstanding views of the eastern Himalayas. In Lukla, we meet and join our Sherpa staff, load the yaks or porters and begin the ascent to Base Camp. Our first day is an easy walk to lush environs just above the village of Phakding, located on the Dudh Kosi river. Hiking time: 3-4 hours

Day 6

We’ll follow the Dudh Kosi, ascending 2,300 ft./700 m through Himalayan pine and Deodar cedar forests, to the celebrated village of Namche Bazaar (11,300 ft./3,444 m). The village of Namche is an historic trading post where Nepalese and Tibetan traders exchanged salt, dried meat, gold and textiles. Besides being a superb place to shop for traditional crafts, Namche remains the central trading post in the Khumbu, attracting Himalayan and lowland merchants. Our group will spend two nights in Namche, affording us the opportunity to acclimate, visit a local market and spend time with friends in town. On the hike, if the weather cooperates, we’ll capture our first glimpses of Everest and neighboring peaks. Hiking time: 5-6 hours

Day 7

In the morning, we’ll take an acclimatization hike, gaining 1,000 feet to take in the amazing mountain vista. In the afternoon, we’ll have time to visit sights in Namche Bazaar, including the local marketplace and monastery.

Day 8

On perhaps one of the most fascinating days of the trek, we’ll travel to the village of Thame (12,464 ft./3,800 m), off the main trekking path. A number of famous climbing Sherpa have come from the vicinity of Thame, as do many of Alpine Ascents’ local staff.  We will try to visit one of their traditional homes, giving us an intimate view of Sherpa culture. The Thame experience is one rarely afforded to climbers. After lunch, we climb to the Thame monastery and further explore local Buddhism. We’ll tour this 400 year-old gompa (monastery) and learn about its inner workings and the lives of its monks. As we view the monastery, we’ll discuss the wall paintings and artifacts that are central to Buddhist practice. Hiking time: 5 hours

Day 9

From Thame, we’ll walk to the beautiful twin villages of Khunde and Khumjung (12,400 ft./3,780 m), two of the largest villages in the Khumbu and home of Sir Edmund Hillary’s hospital and school. The day’s walk is moderate and pretty, winding through thick cedar forest. Hiking time: 6 hours

Day 10

We’ll continue on and climb to the village of Tengboche (12,683 ft./3,865 m), the cultural and religious center of the Khumbu.  Here, we can often attend Buddhist ceremonies and rituals performed by local monks. Vistas from Tengboche are spectacular. The jagged peaks of Thamserku and Kangtega stand to our south, as Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Ama Dablam are visible to the north. The Monastery at Tengboche is one of the most well-known in the world.  Views from this locale (one of the finest on earth), include Kwangde (20,293 ft./6,185 m), Tawachee (21,457 ft./6,540 m), Nuptse (25,843 ft./7,876 m), Lhotse (27,883 ft./8498 m), Everest (29,029 ft./8,848 m), Ama Dablam (22,487 ft./6,854 m), Kantega (22,235 ft./6,777 m), Thamserku (21,674 ft./6,606 m). Hiking time: 4-5 hours

Day 11-12

We’ll climb to the village of Pheriche (13,907 ft./4,238 m), which is not far from Dingboche (a village en route to Island Peak). Pheriche has become famous for its high-altitude medical clinic. We’ll visit the clinic and learn more about the effects of high altitude on Himalayan climbers. We’ll also spend an additional day here, further acclimatizing and hiking. Hiking time: 5-6 hours

Day 13

Above Pheriche, the character of the terrain changes, and we’ll begin to understand the starkness of the high alpine landscape. Our path climbs the terminal moraine of the Khumbu glacier and continues to the settlement of Lobuche (16,174 ft./4,929 m), where we’ll spend one night. This trail passes through a famous memorial that honors the many Sherpa who lost their lives in the high mountains. Lobuche is located on the flank of an old lateral moraine of the Khumbu glacier. Hiking time: 5-6 hours

Day 14

The trail winds through the high tundra and glacial moraine to Gorak Shep (16,924 ft./5,158 m), the last inhabited area before Everest Base Camp. Gorak Shep presents a rougher environment and gives us the true flavor of the rigors of mountaineering. This afternoon, depending on weather conditions, we’ll either make an ascent of Kala Pattar (18,300 ft./5,577 m) or walk to Base Camp. Kala Pattar is a small peak with excellent views of Everest, Nuptse and nearby Pumori and will be the highpoint of acclimatization. Many well-known Everest photos are taken from Kala Pattar. Base camp lies beneath the sweeping ridges of Everest and Nuptse. We will sleep at Gorak Shep for the night. Hiking time: 7-8 hours

Day 15

This morning, we’ll make an early ascent of Kala Pattar (if not completed on the previous day) or  walk to Base Camp. Afterwards, we will descend to Lobuche, where we will sleep for the night. The slightly thicker air and more comfortable conditions in Lobuche will be a welcome change after our night up high at Gorak Shep! Hiking time: 6-7 hours

Day 16

Today we’ll descend to lower altitudes and quickly feel the difference in our lungs. We will stop for lunch in Dingboche (14,450 ft./4,404 m), a stunning village of stone huts known as the summer village for local herders.  After lunch, we’ll have a short trek up the Imja valley to the village of Chhukung (15,520 ft./ 4,730m).  Hiking time: 5 hours

Day 17-18

Climbers will head to Island Peak Base Camp (16,690ft/5087m) for two nights. Before making our summit attempt, we will review and practice fixed line and glacier travel skills. The climb begins with a scramble to the Imja Tse glacier.  Here, we will put on crampons and ascend the glacier before reaching the fixed line. Depending upon snow conditions, there may be open crevasses to cross. The fixed line runs approximately 400 feet up the Southeast face at a 65 degree angle.

Day 19

We will make our summit attempt early this morning and return to Chhukung to spend the night.

Day 20

Weather Day

Day 21

(Note – climbers may opt to fly back to Lukla on the morning of this day – or the previous day if the Weather Day is not used –  and reach Kathmandu). Today we’ll descend from Chhukung to the village of Pangboche (13.074 ft./3.985 m), located across the river valley from Ama Dablam base camp.  Hiking time: 5 hours

Day 22

We’ll enjoy our return walk from Pangboche to Namche Bazaar, where we can find shopping,  coffee,  great food and all the thrills of “urban” life. We’ll spend the evening in Namche.  Hiking time: 6-7 hours

Day 23

Early this morning, we’ll descend the hill from Namche and enter the lower valley, returning to lush greenery and the Dudh Kosi river.  Our walk to from Namche to Lukla will take most of the day. In Lukla, we’ll begin the process of readjusting to the lowlands and prepare for the flight back to Kathmandu. It’ll be a memorable night of laughter and merriment. Hiking time: 8-9 hours

Day 24

Early morning flight to KTM (weather permitting). We’ll spend much of the afternoon relaxing and enjoying the amenities of our hotel.

Day 25

Free time to explore the city including the temples and sites of Durbar Square and the neighborhood of Thamel. We’ll assist climbers with their final shopping needs and have a farewell dinner.

Day 26

Early morning departure

Day 27

Arrive in the U.S.

Island Peak Itinerary - Spring

I had an amazing time on my expedition. It was such a great trip and I enjoyed the trek with the trekkers and then our climb. It was successful and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of Guides/Porters. Our guides all went above and beyond. There is a reason I keep climbing only with AAI.

Day 1

Depart country of origin

Day 2

Transit (overnight en route – you may be able to depart this day if you do not require overnight transit)

Day 3

Arrive Kathmandu by 1pm for our mandatory afternoon orientation meeting.  You’ll check into our hotel in central Kathmandu and attend a welcome dinner with other trekkers and climbers.

Day 4

We’ll begin our exploration of Kathmandu this morning. While modern by Nepalese standards, Kathmandu is a sacred city to Hindus and Buddhists. Our tour is an important introduction to understanding the cultures that lay ahead. Kathmandu is prominently featured in Buddhist scriptures and Hindu texts such as the Ramayana. Our tour includes three World Heritage Sights — 3,000-year-old Swayambhu (monkey temple), the Hindu temple and cremation site Pashupati, and the great Stupa of Boudhanath. Following our tour, we will complete a thorough gear check.

 

Day 5

After final administration requirements, we’ll fly to Lukla. Weather permitting, this flight offers outstanding views of the eastern Himalayas. In Lukla, we meet and join our Sherpa staff, load the yaks or porters and begin the ascent to Base Camp. Our first day is an easy walk to lush environs just above the village of Phakding, located on the Dudh Kosi river. Hiking time: 3-4 hours

Day 6

We’ll follow the Dudh Kosi, ascending 2,300 ft./700 m through Himalayan pine and Deodar cedar forests, to the celebrated village of Namche Bazaar (11,300 ft./3,444 m). The village of Namche is an historic trading post where Nepalese and Tibetan traders exchanged salt, dried meat, gold and textiles. Besides being a superb place to shop for traditional crafts, Namche remains the central trading post in the Khumbu, attracting Himalayan and lowland merchants. Our group will spend two nights in Namche, affording us the opportunity to acclimate, visit a local market and spend time with friends in town. On the hike, if the weather cooperates, we’ll capture our first glimpses of Everest and neighboring peaks. Hiking time: 5-6 hours

Day 7

In the morning, we’ll take an acclimatization hike, gaining 1,000 feet to take in the amazing mountain vista. In the afternoon, we’ll have time to visit sights in Namche Bazaar, including the local marketplace and monastery.

Day 8

On perhaps one of the most fascinating days of the trek, we’ll travel to the village of Thame (12,464 ft./3,800 m), off the main trekking path. A number of famous climbing Sherpa have come from the vicinity of Thame, as do many of Alpine Ascents’ local staff.  We will try to visit one of their traditional homes, giving us an intimate view of Sherpa culture. The Thame experience is one rarely afforded to climbers. After lunch, we climb to the Thame monastery and further explore local Buddhism. We’ll tour this 400 year-old gompa (monastery) and learn about its inner workings and the lives of its monks. As we view the monastery, we’ll discuss the wall paintings and artifacts that are central to Buddhist practice. Hiking time: 5 hours

Day 9

From Thame, we’ll walk to the beautiful twin villages of Khunde and Khumjung (12,400 ft./3,780 m), two of the largest villages in the Khumbu and home of Sir Edmund Hillary’s hospital and school. The day’s walk is moderate and pretty, winding through thick cedar forest. Hiking time: 6 hours

Day 10

We’ll continue on and climb to the village of Tengboche (12,683 ft./3,865 m), the cultural and religious center of the Khumbu.  Here, we can often attend Buddhist ceremonies and rituals performed by local monks. Vistas from Tengboche are spectacular. The jagged peaks of Thamserku and Kangtega stand to our south, as Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Ama Dablam are visible to the north. The Monastery at Tengboche is one of the most well-known in the world.  Views from this locale (one of the finest on earth), include Kwangde (20,293 ft./6,185 m), Tawachee (21,457 ft./6,540 m), Nuptse (25,843 ft./7,876 m), Lhotse (27,883 ft./8498 m), Everest (29,029 ft./8,848 m), Ama Dablam (22,487 ft./6,854 m), Kantega (22,235 ft./6,777 m), Thamserku (21,674 ft./6,606 m). Hiking time: 4-5 hours

Day 11-12

We’ll climb to the village of Pheriche (13,907 ft./4,238 m), which is not far from Dingboche (a village en route to Island Peak). Pheriche has become famous for its high-altitude medical clinic. We’ll visit the clinic and learn more about the effects of high altitude on Himalayan climbers. We’ll also spend an additional day here, further acclimatizing and hiking. Hiking time: 5-6 hours

Day 13

Above Pheriche, the character of the terrain changes, and we’ll begin to understand the starkness of the high alpine landscape. Our path climbs the terminal moraine of the Khumbu glacier and continues to the settlement of Lobuche (16,174 ft./4,929 m), where we’ll spend one night. This trail passes through a famous memorial that honors the many Sherpa who lost their lives in the high mountains. Lobuche is located on the flank of an old lateral moraine of the Khumbu glacier. Hiking time: 5-6 hours

Day 14

The trail winds through the high tundra and glacial moraine to Gorak Shep (16,924 ft./5,158 m), the last inhabited area before Everest Base Camp. Gorak Shep presents a rougher environment and gives us the true flavor of the rigors of mountaineering. This afternoon, depending on weather conditions, we’ll make an ascent of Kala Pattar (18,300 ft./5,577 m).  Kala Pattar is a small peak with excellent views of Everest, Nuptse and nearby Pumori and will be the highpoint of acclimatization. Many well-known Everest photos are taken from Kala Pattar. Base camp lies beneath the sweeping ridges of Everest and Nuptse. We will sleep in Gorak Shep for the night. Hiking time: 7-8 hours

Day 15

This morning, we’ll make an early ascent of Kala Pattar (if not completed on the previous day) and then walk to Base Camp, where we will sleep for the night. Hiking time: 4 hours

Day 16

We leave Base Camp and begin our return to lower altitudes today. We’ll quickly feel the difference in our lungs as we return down valley to the village of Lobuche, where we will spend the night.  Hiking time: 5-6 hours

Day 17

Continuing our descent, we will stop for lunch in Dingboche (14,450 ft./4,404 m), a stunning village of stone huts known as the summer village for local herders.  After lunch, we’ll have a short trek up the Imja valley to the village of Chhukung (15,520 ft./ 4,730m), where we will spend the night.  Hiking time: 5 hours

Day 18-19

Climbers will head to Island Peak Base Camp (16,690ft/5087m) for two nights. Before making our summit attempt, we will review and practice fixed line and glacier travel skills. The climb begins with a scramble to the Imja Tse glacier.  Here, we will put on crampons and ascend the glacier before reaching the fixed line. Depending upon snow conditions, there may be open crevasses to cross. The fixed line runs approximately 400 feet up the Southeast face at a 65 degree angle.

Day 20

We will make our summit attempt early this morning and return to Chhukung to spend the night.

Day 21

Weather Day

Day 22

(Note – climbers may opt to fly back to Lukla on the morning of this day – or the previous day if the Weather Day is not used –  and reach Kathmandu). Today we’ll descend from Chhukung to the village of Pangboche (13.074 ft./3.985 m), located across the river valley from Ama Dablam base camp.  Hiking time: 5 hours

Day 23

We’ll enjoy our return walk from Pangboche to Namche Bazaar, where we can find shopping,  coffee,  great food and all the thrills of “urban” life. We’ll spend the evening in Namche.  Hiking time: 6-7 hours

Day 24

Early this morning, we’ll descend the hill from Namche and enter the lower valley, returning to lush greenery and the Dudh Kosi river.  Our walk to from Namche to Lukla will take most of the day. In Lukla, we’ll begin the process of readjusting to the lowlands and prepare for the flight back to Kathmandu. It’ll be a memorable night of laughter and merriment. Hiking time: 8-9 hours

Day 25

Early morning flight to KTM (weather permitting). We’ll spend much of the afternoon relaxing and enjoying the amenities of our hotel.

Day 26

Free time to explore the city including the temples and sites of Durbar Square and the neighborhood of Thamel. We’ll assist climbers with their final shopping needs and have a farewell dinner.

Day 27

Early morning departure

Day 28

Arrive in the U.S.

This trip pushed me technically, provided an awesome travel and cultural experience, and perhaps the most special gift is that I got to learn about the work of the Alpine Ascents Foundation. I’m especially happy to support the latter, and look forward to it being another avenue for me to deepen my relationship with Alpine […]

A similar view on our approach to base camp.
Touring the Swayambunath Temple, also known as the Monkey Temple, in Kathmandu.
Looking down into the holy Hindu temple of Pashupatinath.
Sadhus or holy men of the Pashupatinath temple.
A view down the impressive landing strip in Lukla.
Trekking through villages below the town of Namche.
Approaching the summit.
A view into the Khumbu valleyÁs largest village, Namche Bazaar.
Memorial cairns for Sherpa climbers, who have passed away.
A group inside the childhood home of Lakpa Rita, in the village of Thame.
Standing in the courtyard of the 300+ year old Thame Monastery.
Along the trail one continuously sees these ever-present mani stones or prayer stones.
The entrance to Tengboche monastery.
Evening light in Tengboche.
Young monks during the Mani Rimdu Festival at the Tengboche Monastery.
A thanka painting of the White Tara on a rock wall along the trail.
From the top of Kala Pattar a trekker looks out north towards Tibet with Mt. Everest summit ridge off to the right.
On the way out to Everest base camp with the Khumbu Icefall recognizable in the distance.
A traditional home with slate roof, along the trekking route.
Everest base camp during a spring expedition season.
Views south from the top with Baruntse in the distance on the far left and Ama Dablam on the far right.
The spectacular summit ridge of Island Peak.
View from the summit.
A similar view on our approach to base camp.

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