Island Peak Climb 2008
Island Peak (Imja Tse) is a 6189m peak in
Nepal, Sagarmata park, close to Mount Everest. It is
one of the peaks called climbing/trekking peaks and
it needs a permit to be climbed.
Advice on how to climb peaks
cheap and independently in Nepal (notice).
5 Vietnameese and four germans
summiting 5 march 2008
The system is
design so that you should go to a trekking
company and buy their services and employ
porters and a guide, preferably already in KTM
and pay for the staffs flight tickets to Lukla.
NMA does not deal with climbing individuals,
they direct all questions to the tourist agency
or to the trekking agencies.
A guide is
obligatory if you want a climbing permit. A
climbing guide has to be registered with NMA, he
will usually cost no less than 300 usd. The
permit costs the agency 350 usd, a garbage
deposit of 250 usd has to be deposited.
1) Trekking permit,
costs 100 rp at an agency (they may say it costs
more but this is what it costs them).
2) A park permit, costs 1000 rp, can be bought at
park entrance or at the counter opposite North face
shop on the main road leading into Thamel, or
3) An agent that deals with the permit and deposit
4) A climbing guide - his name has to be on the permit.
like this when we organized our climb:
We shopped around
(there are maybe hundreds of trekking agnecies in
KTM) and said we ONLY wanted a permit and a guide
that met up at the mountain. We got a permit (with
wrong date, you should get a 30 day window to climb
in ) and a name and a village where we where
supposed to find the guide at a certain date. We
came early and did not find the guide, which suited
us fine. We climbed alone (there were other
climbers on the mountain) and saved the 300 usd for
the guide. We bought some equipment in KTM. In the
last village (Chukkung) we rented: crampons,
mountain boots, one
short rope, an ice axe each, a tent, gas and a
kitchen, food in thermoses, mattresses. (In high
season you might have to wait for equipment).
|We found a
porter in Dingboche that carried 25 kilos up to
high camp 5600 meter. He collected the stuff the
next day and carried it down to Chukkung (we
paid him 1500 totally, and another 400 for good
Two rent days for all equipment cost us some
5000 for 3 persons.
Chukkung – to high camp at 5600. Sleep.
Day two: Start at High Camp at 04.00 – go for
peak – go down to Chukkung in the same day. It was
one of the hardest days of my life. We failed to
climb the wall – we turned at 6000 meter. I will
explain further down what we lacked.
at Namche you must register your “expedition” at
SPCC office and write down what gear you use. It
should be signed by the guide, but our porter rented
in Lukla signed it.
return to Namche we brought a bag with our
garbage from the mountain (oh yes) and told that
our rented gear had been returned to the lodge
where we rented it. We got a paper that we
delivered with the permit back to the agency guy
that collected the 250 usd garbage deposit and
returned it to us. All in all a 350 usd climb.
The actual work for an agency is a couple of
hours paper work and two errands to the NMA. Pay
accordingly. We paid the guy 30 usd for that.
It is the buyers market usually (we did this out of season). Shop around and explain you want to do as much as possible yourselves (if this is your ambition). Say you only need a guide sitting in base camp or just be back-up while you take the lead. You will probably have to pay the 300 usd a registered guide wants (they know you need their name). If you pay, try to find a guide that you can have use of, or is easy to deal with. Ourselves we did not want to be led up the mountain, we wanted to climb it ourselves. Ask if he can carry something (guides usually dont like that). You can ask if the agency can try to hook up your climb with another group and save on the permit.
of Island peak.
Island peak is a
hard mountain to climb, especially if you lack
mountaineering skills. It´s not obvious where to
scramble. Weather can put you in dire trouble on
that mountain if you don’t know your way. The
last wall – is usually steep, a fall will hurt
you badly. We could not pass it due to fatigue
and lack of equipment.
why you pay 1000 usd or more to climb Island peak if
doing the group thing through an agency is because
they will get you to the top and service you all
along. No decisions has to be taken by you - just eat,
sleep, walk when they tell you. Put on the gear they
arranged e t c. They set up fixed rope along the
last wall and the last ridge so you only have to jummar (use an ascender) and pull yourself up. In
high season as many as 25 people summit a day –
Chukkung to base camp
is pretty straightforward, but very tedious. There
are two toilets at basecamp, carry on another 300
meter, the path up the mountain starts to the left.
It is obvious up to 5600 meter, if there is
There are three levels of High camps: far left at
5500 (good), a big buttress and platform at 5600
(ok), you can also raise at tent at 5700 meter
(trickier) (or on the glacier at 5900, but then you
are almost at the top).
route from 5600 is very hard to find especially
in darkness. I will try to describe it (Island
1) Go just to the right of the high camp
platforms at 5600 meter, up the gully.
2) Keep left some 100 elevation meters, do not
pass the white rock. Turn right onto a ridge.
This is very dangerous scrambling, specially in
darkness and snow. The path serpents very steep up
and there are at times several options and not
so obvious cairns.
The 5600m high camp is left of camera.
3) Up, up,
up. The path curves around this outcrop of the
mountain, back and forth, aim as much straight up as
possible. Rocks, boulders, lots of lose stuff. Lots
of steep ravines to fall into.
narrowing in getting steeper the last 50 meters up
to about 5900 where the glacier starts. Put on
5) The glacier depends on snow conditions, there are
crevasses to fall into. In good visibility it should
not be a problem.
6) The wall starts with a slope, at 6000 it gets
steeper, ranging from 40% to 75%. It could be icy,
it could be softer. Don’t expect the surface to be
good. There are crevasses in the wall some
years. Do not underestimate your fatigue at this
Send up one strong,
skilled guy with crampons and two ice axes. He
brings snow anchors and a 100 meter rope.
Theoretically two snowanchors could be enough to put
at the top, but better have many so that you can set
fix points along the way up – I suggest 3-6
snowanchors. Once your hero has set he rope, the
rest of you use ascenders, crampons and an ice axe
each to get up.
themselves up attached to the same rope (was
done from the right side of the wall in 2008, in
a traverse fashion, took hours for them). This
the top of the wall you need ropes to safely
walk up the ridge to the summit.
We will be back 2011 to climb some trekking peaks
(free), one or two climbing peaks (share permit),
and maybe an expedition peak (7000 meter above). And
some unnamed peaks around 5500-5800 that might be
somewhat technical. Low budget, out of season,
Another story: "team mixed nuts" expedition 2005.
Above: Beginning of the glacier.