So in April I was in Nepal for the 4th time. I just love Nepal, the people, the mountains, the culture. It really is a special place.
I was there with some colleagues and clients to meet our local guide team and climb Island Peak – one of Nepal’s most famous trekking peaks. Before we got there though we spent two awesome weeks trekking in the Goyko and Khumbu region, with a special visit and night camping at Everest Base Camp.
We arrived at Island Peak base camp on the 20th April and spent a day training with technical gear. To climb Island Peak you need to be able to use a fixed rope and crampons.
The technical elements of Island Peak include a glacier crossing, which today has two crevasse segments that require the use of ladders to cross (thanks to last years Earthquake) and a climb up a 150m icy headwall.
In past seasons the headwall has been a lot smoother, but today it is heavily broken up and scarred – compliments of climate change and wind shearing. The final segment includes a traverse with a 1000 foot exposure on either side to the table top summit.
We climbed with four highly experienced Sherpa, two of which had topped out on Everest twice and had many other impressive summits under their belts – including Ama Dablam and Cho Oyo.
Long and short is that Island Peak is a tough challenge. The altitude which maxes out at just under 6,200m is a challenge for most people, but the climb segment does indeed involve some climbing experience. I would definitely say that if you are a novice, it is better to start on a peak like Mera, which although higher in altitude, is a truer example of a trekking peak.
Once you have cut your teeth on Mera Peak or even a peak like Aconcagua in Argentina, then you can take on Island Peak.
If you are afraid of heights and big exposure then I would say give Island Peak a miss.