Island Peak – A Trekking Peak That Requires Mountaineering Skills
So for the past three weeks I have been in Nepal trekking around the Goyko and Khumbu Valley region. The trek was amazing!!
We spent two weeks sojourning through the incredible Himalaya, with special highlights of hiking up Gokyo Ri, crossing the Cho La Pass and sleeping a night at Everest Base Camp with one of the climbing expeditions. Suffice to say it was the most incredible trekking experience I have had to date.
I had done quite a bit of research on the trek but nothing could have prepared me for the actual experience. The route prior to 2015’s devastating earthquake looked relatively straightforward – a crossing over a glacier with a 150m ice / snow headwall climb (at 40-50 degrees) followed by a knife edge summit ridge approach.
All of these characteristics remain, but since the earthquake the glacier has opened up to large and ominous crevasses, which necessitate a ladder crossing. Let’s just say this was frightening, but thanks to our awesome Kandoo Adventures team we managed to all get across safely.
But after the glacier crossing we were faced with a headwall that resembled a crazy patchwork of broken ice, similar to an icefall / not a smooth ice wall!
The change has occurred over the past 12 months due to the earthquake and climate change.
Ascending up this type of surface was extreme and really difficult. Descending was worse. Thankfully our experienced team of climbing sherpa were along each step of the way to make the experience safe. Without them I don’t know how we would have reached the summit ridge, which itself has been sheared and shaved by weather conditions that now mean climbers traverse along the ridge as opposed to walking along it.
All in all, our Island Peak experience was an epic, but very well worth it. We all agreed reaching the summit was the hardest thing we have ever done, but by far the most rewarding.
All I recommend to future trekkers is that they have some climbing experience before taking on Island Peak. It is most certainly not a trek. You need to be comfortable wearjng and walking in crampons and using a jumar to ascend a steep ice wall, that is completely broken in places. You also need to be able to abseil or rappel down a steep face.
We used the amazing Kandoo Adventures to get us to the top of Island Peak – check them out here: http://www.kandooadventures.com/himalaya-trekking/routes/everest-treks/island-peak/. This free guide site also gave me some great Island Peak information