Day 1: Arrive Kathmandu
Meeting at airport on arrival by our staff and transfer to hotel. Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, lies in a broad valley at the edge of the Himalayan Range. Its art and architecture are an interesting blend of Hindu and Buddhist influences.
Day 2: Fly to Lukla (2840m) & Trek to Phakding (2600 m / 4 hours)
Morning the spectacular mountain flight to the tiny airstrip at Lukla. Herewe will meet with our porters and commence the trek with a short walk to Phakding.
Day 3: Phakding / Namche Bazaar (3440 m / 5 hours)
A flat walk along the Dudh Kosi river and we climb steeply climb to Namche Bazaar(3,440m). The most important Sherpa town and a former trading center with Tibet.
Day 4: Namche Bazaar acclimatization day
Today is an acclimatization day. Namche Bazaar is well worth exploring, with its Buddhist monastery and distant views of Everest. For better acclimatization it is recommended that you walk to the Syangboche or to one of the nearby villages such as Khunde, or Thamo.
Day 5: Namche Bazaar / Tengboche (3860 m / 6 hours)
After rest day we set off trekking again. Within an hour the towering summit of Ama Dablam appears to the east, while glimpses of Everest lure us onwards. The gentle trail crosses the Dudh Kosi river at Phuki Tenga where we start the long climb up to Tengboche.
Day 6: Tengboche / Pheriche (4200 m / 4-5 hours)
With the Himalayas as its backdrop, the monastery in Tengboche is in an excellent location. We visit the monastery in the morning and enjoy taking pictures of the monastery and the amazing landscape. We descend for about half an hour through a forest before crossing a river. Next, we trek uphill and notice that as we climb higher, the landscape becomes drier. We walk past a traditional Sherpa village of Pangboche before reaching Pheriche, a beautiful village located on a riverside. Here, we will also see a small helipad that is used for helicopter rescues during emergencies.
Day 7: Pheriche to Lobuche (4930 m / 5 - 6 hours)
After breakfast, we start with an easy walk towards Dugla. Next, we trek up the steep terminal moraine of the Khumbu Glacier, and then pass through the boulder-strewn slopes as we ascend Chupki Lhara where we find an array of stones with prayer flags used as memorials to Scott Fischer (American mountaineer) and 10-time Everest summiteer Babu Chiri Sherpa (Nepalese mountain guide) who perished on a mission to climb Everest. The trail then continues to the Khumbu Glacier moraine and we find ourselves facing several great peaks - Khumbutse, Lingtren, Pumori and Mahalangur Himal.
Day 8: Lobuche to GorakShep(5170 m), visit Everest Base Camp (5346 m / 6 - 7 hours)
We take the trail to Everest Base Camp through the once vast GorakShep Lake. Continuing straight ahead, we come across the Indian army mountaineers' memorials. The path from here can be misleading; hence it is important that we follow our lead Sherpa diligently. The walk is strenuous due to thin air in the high altitude. We pass through rocky dunes, moraine and streams before reaching the Everest Base Camp. Upon reaching the Everest Base Camp, we see tents of mountaineers that stand out in bright colors against the monotony of gray surroundings (especially in the spring). Nuptse, Khumbuste and Pumori are the mountains we can view from the base camp. We get back to GorakShep for a good night's rest.
Day 9: GorakShep to Kala Patthar(5545 m) & back to Lobuche (4930 m / 7 - 8 hours)
We prepare for an early morning departure, amid pre-dawn darkness and cold temperatures (-10 to -14 C). Plus, there is always the potential for chilly winds which are quite common. Familiar peaks such as Lingtren, Khumbutse, and Changtse tower to the east even as Everest begins to reveal itself. But, it is upon reaching Kala Patthar that we get to see360 degree up-close and formidable views of Mt. Everest. We take pictures, enjoy the magnificent mountain panorama, and then return back to Lobuche for a good night's rest.
Day 10: Lobuche to Kongma La (5535 m) to Chhukung (4730 m / 6 - 7 hours)
After breakfast, we trek via Khumbu Glacier to Kongma La Base Camp (5,000m). The ascent to Kongma La pass is the most difficult part of our trek today. In the Kongma La, we see cairn wrapped in prayer flags to mark the pass. Then we descend gradually to ImjaKhola valley, followed by another descent to Chhukung, a small summer settlement. After reaching Chhukung we will also check our equipment in order to get ready for our ultimate climb.
Note: If we do not want to undertake the Kongma La pass, we can follow another route via Dingboche to Chhukung instead.
Day 11: Chhukung to Island Peak base camp (5200 m / 3 - 4 hours)
The trek to Island Peak Base Camp is on a fairly steep trail. First, we climb south then turn east to the main line of the valley. We then walk on a winding path below the southern flank of the moraine from the Lhotse Glacier. Next, we continue walking on a pleasant trail along a streamside. The route to the AmphuLabtsa lies to the southeast. A crisscross route through the Imja and Lhotse glacier moraines leads to a wide valley flanking the SW side of Island Peak.
Our guides will provide training on peak climbing techniques and the proper ways of using climbing gears such as the ice axe, climbing boots and crampons, harness, ascender, etc. The training will also include using ropes to go up and down. Although it is not mandatory to have prior training for Island Peak Climbing, we strongly believe that some training experience will boost your confidence and climbing skills to increase the chances of scaling the summit as well as to fully enjoy the experience. We can spend the rest of the day hiking to high camp and back or resting for the next day’s climb.
Day 12: Island Peak base camp to Island Peak summit (6189 m), back to Chhukung (10 – 12 hours)
We wake up early today at around 1 to 2 am and have tea / coffee before beginning our climb. It is important we reach the summit before noon because in the afternoon the strong winds in the highlands might become a barrier for a successful summit. The trail moves up beyond the base camp for several hundred meters before striking off the steep hillside. Initially sandy, the path soon turns to grass before becoming boulder strewn. As we climb up the hill, we will see that the slope narrows and the trail enters a steep rock channel. We climb the rock gully. This is not difficult, but there are several short rock steps to climb before we emerge on the right side of the gully. The route then follows a ridgeline, which leads to an exhilarating and exposed traverse onto the snout of the summit glacier. The guides will fix a rope when required. A steep snow slope leads us onto the summit ridge. After enjoying the summit views and taking pictures, we descend all the way to Chhukung. We celebrate on our successful Island Peak climb.
Day 13: Chhukung to Pangboche(3985 m / 4 – 5hours)
Today’s walk will be a much easier as we descend to the lower altitudes. Following the same route back through the wide valley of KhumbuKhola, we pass through the beautiful Sherpa villages, Orsho and Shomare. We can also take a different trail to visit the Gompa in Upper Pangboche, which is believed to be the oldest in the Khumbu region or take the regular trail to reach Pangboche. Pangboche is a scenic village surrounded by Everest to its north, AmaDablam, Thamserku, and Kangtaiga to the east, the Kongde range to the south and the ImjaTseriver flowing through the wide fertile valley.
Day 14: Pangboche to Namche Bazaar (4 – 5hours)
From Pangboche we retrace our steps down to the ImjaKhola and up through the forest to Tengboche. If interested, we can also visit nuns at the Tengboche monastery. After lunch at Tengboche, we continue through the hillside blanketed by rhododendron and juniper trees. After crossing the bridge over the DudhKoshi River, our trail follows the DudhKoshi gorge descending rapidly through the pine forests before reaching Sansa. We keep a lookout for wildlife such as mountain goats, snow leopards, colorful pheasants, etc., while passing through the forest. After passing a chorten, we reach the army camp at Namche Bazaar.
Day 15: Namche Bazaar to Lukla: (6-7 hours)
The trail descends steeply downward so we need to walk cautiously as our shaky legs continuously battle the rocky terrain. After crossing the suspension bridges over the fast flowing DudhKoshi and its tributaries, the trail becomes more level and natural. After our arrival in Lukla, we stretch those sore legs and recall the experiences of the last couple of weeks.
Day 16: Fly Lukla / Kathmandu
Fly to Kathmandu Weather-permitting, we fly from the tiny mountain airstrip back to Kathmandu, with a last chance to glimpse the mighty snowcapped Himalaya in the distance.
Day 17: In Kathmandu
Explore the fascinating city of Kathmandu, visit Pashupatinath Temple, Bouddhanath Stupa & Patan Durbar Square.