With over 3o years of experience in mountaineering in the Himalayas, these are our top 10 tips for Island peak climbing.
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.
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 Aconcagua, Denali and Manaslu. Read below for our 10 tips for Island peak climbing.
Top 10 tips for Island peak climbing:
1.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. Pre-monsoon (Apr-May) and Post-monsoon (Oct to Nov) are the best time to climb any peak in Nepal. The weather during these times is favourable with less wind, clear views and fewer chances of snowfall.
2. Allow proper acclimatization on your itinerary
Let your body adapt with the altitude. We strongly recommend you to combine the Everest Base Camp & Kalapathar with the Island Peak Climb as this will allow proper acclimatization to your itinerary. Your trip duration will be extended by 3-4 days but all this will be worth. Doing Everest base camp and Kalapathar (5545m) prior to heading Island peak will maximize the summit chances. A lot of people cut the total duration of the climb by heading straight to Island peak. While some may succeed, others with little experience tend to withdraw from achieving their goal of summitting the peak due to the rapid increase in altitude.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Learn basic mountaineering skills
Island peak is not a usual trekking peak and it requires the usage of climbing equipment (Crampons, Harness, Fixed rope, Abseil devices etc.) on a steep slope. It will definitely test your mountaineering skills and take them to a newer height. You can learn the basic skills required to summit the peak at the base camp or Chukung with your climbing guide.
6. Get the right clothing and climbing boot
Having a proper gear for the climb is without questions the most important tip for island peak climbing. Pack all the essential gears required for the climb and be sure to break into your mountaineering boots earlier if you plan to buy it. Do not compromise on the quality of the gear. If you plan on using it only once then you can also rent the gears in Kathmandu or Chukung. We strongly advise you to get all gears in Kathmandu or your home town leaving for the climb. Make sure you also double-check all the gears. Here are the recommended boots for peak climbing in Nepal.
7. 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. Prepare yourself for the cold temperature, long and arduous walk, shortness of breath.
8. 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.
9. Reserve your energy for the climb
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. The long 10-12 hrs summit push at freezing temperature while ascending the steep slopes is when all your strength is required.
10. The summit is an only halfway of your journey
Although summiting the peak is your main goal, the summit is an only halfway of your journey. 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.
See yourself fit for the climb? Visit our Island Peak Climb