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lazy climber
30th October 2008, 11:28 PM
I am going trekking in May-2009 with a group of 7-10 people and we are using a guide service since we will finish the trek with an Island Peak climb. This will be our first time to Nepal so what are the general thoughts for the following route.

Lukla to Gokyo then over the Cho La pass to Kala Patthar/EBC then over the Kongma La pass to Chhukhung then on to Island Peak. We are expecting 18-20 days for this trip.

Most of our group are moutaineers from North America and the others are fairly hard core hikers.

Escher
31st October 2008, 02:11 PM
Route sounds fine. I did something similar in 2004. If you are climbers then be aware that Island Peak is a relatively easy peak (technically) to climb. The French Alpine grade is PD and probably easy PD or PD-. The standard method for climbing trekking peaks in Nepal is for the guide to fix a rope up and for the clients to jug up any difficulties. That's not a very satisfactory way of climbing for people who already climb (although probably suitable for the many climbing novices that Island Peak attracts), so I would have a word with your guide, and if it suits, arrange to climb it alpine style or solo. Most climbing guides aren't too familiar with this style of climbing so you will need to specify how you want to climb and organise it yourself. In 2004 we (a group of five) climbed it unroped (we had 30m of 7mm with us just in case - but didn't need it), the bergschrund was an easy hop and the slots on the glacier pretty obvious and easily negotiable. Obviously 4 years of glacier movement will have changed things up there but competent climbers should still find all difficulties pretty straightforward without the need for fixed ropes. Also many groups will fix a high camp, but if properly acclimatised it isn't necessary. Up and down in good time from base camp is perfectly possible and you will be very well acclimatised by the time you get there. You can get up to 5700m odd in trainers/walking boots before you get on snow and need crampons/boots.

The only problem with May though is it is getting warmer and the air just before the monsoon starts to get really hazy and the views suffer. Should still be crisp when up very high up though.

Make sure you have a day or two in Gokyo, take in Gokyo Ri (I prefer it at sunset over sunrise - often a terrific inversion), then explore further up the glacier and maybe climb the nameless fangs (straightforward scramble). Gokyo is my favourite place in the whole region.

Have a great trip.

lazy climber
1st November 2008, 12:49 AM
Thanks for the reply and info. We had assumed that Island peak would not be technically difficult, but most of us have never climbed at that elevation so we figured it would be a good way to see what we can do. We have already started looking at some of the bigger hills if we survive this terk.

We plan on a couple of days at Gokyo as everyone says it is worth the stay.

Thanks

Escher
1st November 2008, 01:29 AM
We have already started looking at some of the bigger hills if we survive this terk.


Then you'll have your eye on Ama Dablam. It dominates the vistas almost throughout the trek, as you come over the Cho La it looks stupendous and it is always there as you approach Island Peak BC and looms behind as you climb. The SW ridge route is awesome and once you have seen Ama Dablam in the flesh you will want to climb her. She truly is one of the most amazing looking peaks on earth and an irresistible target for anyone who has an eye for a striking mountain.

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/23/31500921_fcbb38503f_o.jpg
Ama Dablam from on the way to IPBC

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Hiking to Camp 1

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Looking down towards Pangboche and Nanche from the SW ridge

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/21/38369664_261bd1cfa8_o.jpg
On the way to camp 2