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Thread: Island Peak as a first trekking peak?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Default Island Peak as a first trekking peak?

    hi everybody (especially those who climbed Island Peak)!

    I'm planning trek in Everest region and fantasizing
    about ascending on Island Peak. Actually, I don't know if it is reasonably
    doable for me. I have a pretty good trekking experience , including ABC, reasonably fit and understand things like proper acclimatization etc. We definitely plan to make it thru an agency, with guide - but I still have a few questions:
    a) is previous experience with crampons/axes/jumars needed? if yes,
    can we take a day-two of training in base camp with guide to fill the gap?
    b) can we decide about going up to Island Peak after , say, 10 days of trekking when we are sure that everybody is in a good shape? can everything be organized in Namche/Lukla or we should bring climbimg guide and climb permit from Katmandu?
    c) can be climbing equipment be rented in Chukung?
    d) if Island Peak is too much for novices, any ideas for going up?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    England
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    1,285

    Default Re: Island Peak as a first trekking peak?

    a) is previous experience with crampons/axes/jumars needed?

    >>No, but advisable. Get some practice in - every little bit helps. You will obviously be quicker and safer the more practice you have.

    if yes,
    can we take a day-two of training in base camp with guide to fill the gap?

    >> Yes

    b) can we decide about going up to Island Peak after , say, 10 days of trekking when we are sure that everybody is in a good shape? can everything be organized in Namche/Lukla or we should bring climbimg guide and climb permit from Katmandu?

    >> You need to get everything sorted in Kathmandu. I don't think you can get a permit in the Khumbu and you can' tg et past Chukkung if you don't have one.

    c) can be climbing equipment be rented in Chukung?

    >> Don't know. If you can then what they have will be limited. Better to get in Kathmandu and fly/porter it in. Although you can pick up gear in Namche too. Just get boots that fit.

    d) if Island Peak is too much for novices, any ideas for going up?

    >> Of course it depends on the novice, but Island Peak (in the whole scheme of things accepting alpine climbing is phyiscally very hard work and tougher and more risky than trekking and coupled with the altitude very strenuous) it is a relatively straightforward peak. Many novices get to the top first go but then again many do not (weather, fitness, ability, illness etc). Island Peak is a suitable target for the novice if employing a guide. However any experience in alpinism will make you a more efficient, safer and more self-reliant climber.

    >> Some of the viewing points in the Khumbu include a bit of a scramble to get to the top and are fine vewing points. Not really mountaineering as such but good days out none-the-less and a little more challenging than just trekking. The Nameless Fangs in Gokyo, the higher viewpoint on Kala Pattar and Chukkung Tse are 3 examples. None of these require an extra permit. So if you wanted to do some a little more adventurous without forking out for a climbing permit you could do the 3 passes (Renjo, Kongma, Cho) and include Chukkung Tse, Kala Pattar, Gokyo ri and Nameless Fangs and you wouldn't need more than your National Park entry fee.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Escher

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Near Brisbane, Australia
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    Default Re: Island Peak as a first trekking peak?

    I hired harness, crampons etc at Chukkung. Had climbing boots with me. It would depend on volume of climbers as from what I saw supply was limited.

    I would say i was a real novice. Basic training only on the few days before but due to circumstances in my favour the others on the permit were a few days behind so I had the guide to myself. I climbed November 6th last year. 40+ went up that day and thats a real issue. Some turned back at the first ropes due to concerns over safety.

    Like Escher says, doubt you can "make up your mind" after you leave on your trek. Will you have a climbing guide with you ? Permit issue etc. My permit was never checked though my guide may have been asked if we had one, don't know.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Perth, Australia
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    Default Re: Island Peak as a first trekking peak?

    I'm in the same boat as you but I have committed to this trek/climb already. Tickets bought and climb of Island Peak (IP) paid for through a trekking company in Nepal. I'll be attempting to summit IP mid Oct.

    I too don't have previous experience with crampons and ice axe, however I'm quite fit and a seasoned trekker. I'm hoping that fitness and level head at altitude will get me through. I'll be going over Cho La and Kongma La before I attempt IP as it will expose me to high altitude which hopefully aid me in acclimatisation. My itinerary gives me 17 days between Lukla - summit day of IP from high camp. I have the option to extend this if we require during the trek for whatever reason.

    Regarding gear/clothing:

    Bought in Australia: Waterproof/windproof shells, mountaineering boots (Nepal Evo GTX), Exped downmat 7, thermal base layers, water bottles, mountaineering socks.

    The rest of the equipment and clothing I'll buy/rent in Kathmandu once I arrive there, these include, insulating layers, rucksack, duffel bag, crampons, ice axe, rope, ascender, descender etc.

    Leaving equipment hire until Chukhung might be a bit risky, a better option might be Kathmandu or Namche.

    Regarding fitness, I jog 10km 2-3 times a week and go to the gym to do strength training (legs, back and arms) on days I don't run. I take weekends off for recovery. I have been doing this for the last 4 months. There aren't any hills around where I live so this is the only training option.

    Like you I was originally going to do the EBC trek but my fantasies have got the better of me.

    Good luck, I might see you there on the trek or peak.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Singapore
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    67

    Default Re: Island Peak as a first trekking peak?

    Boulia,

    Could you elaborate why pple turn back on first rope due to safety concern? I have never been there and no prior cimbing experience except trekkng, but I am keen on climbing up IP too. Who are the people that fix those ropes? Our guide if we engage one? I have seen a picture on the section of IP that is very steep. Is that the one required ropes? how difficult to go up and get down then?

    Saurav,
    Look forward to your trip report after your climb. I will be very interested to hear of your experience.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Near Brisbane, Australia
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    Default Re: Island Peak as a first trekking peak?

    Those that turned back was mainly a group with a western guide as well as a Sherpa. Basically what they said later at Chukkung was that "his" opinion the 40 (mainly novices) attempting to go up four ropes on that wall then switch to 1 for the last leg on the narrow ridge to the summit was not on without too much risk.

    The ropes were fixed by groups who leave people permanently based at the IP base camp during the climbing season and who guide many climbs in a season. My guide who had other climbers following two days later did fix a fifth rope on the wall as we descended but I just used the next rope free when it was my turn up the wall. Some groups were up to 10 in number so there were long delays and much passing. I think i was unfortunate to pick a very busy day and time of season. Friends who climbed March 07 virtually climbed on their own. I understand (but do not consider myself expert) there are many factors such as ice conditions/visibility etc that make climbers go towards a particular time/season but I would research all possible times for a safe climb to try avoid the crowd.

    Up was OK till on the final leg to summit and you have the early summiters coming down to pass but down when you are stuck atop the wall awaiting a free rope to desend with many slow climbers using all ropes coming up was a pain. 40 minutes wait prompted my guide to decide to fix his rope to get me moving. Like its only a few minutes to ab sail down that bit but no one would hold off attaching to the line long enough to clear anyone descending. As my first attempt at climbing I was somewhat surprised that there seemed no "rules", push and shove rulled. First and only time I have seen sherpas really yell abuse at each other.

    Sound like a real put off, sorry, honestly I will do it again cause I lost the best views at top thru cloud and for me at least its an achievable peak. My certifiacte hangs proudly on the wall. Its looks great in a country where thats about 3 times your nations highest peak !!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Perth, Australia
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    Default Re: Island Peak as a first trekking peak?

    Lisa,

    I will do an in depth post once I return. I'm not only going to IP for personal experience but for work also. I'm a professional photographer and I'm going on the trip to build an image collection for my self and a company I'm doing freelance work for. Hopefully the camera gear and I stay healthy for some awesome photographic opportunity.

    Boulia,

    What was involved in your fitness preparation prior to reaching Nepal?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    20

    Cool Re: Island Peak as a first trekking peak?

    Hi, Boulia! You are now the one who provides details...

    When you are talking about 4 ropes and the fifth to the summit,
    what is the length of every rope? Just to get an impression how
    long the real climbing is, and how much time it can take for novices.
    And how much time it takes ( very rough estimation,waiting including)
    from the high camp to the summit and back?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    England
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    Default Re: Island Peak as a first trekking peak?

    Quote Originally Posted by Slowtrotter
    Hi, Boulia! You are now the one who provides details...

    When you are talking about 4 ropes and the fifth to the summit,
    what is the length of every rope? Just to get an impression how
    long the real climbing is, and how much time it can take for novices.
    And how much time it takes ( very rough estimation,waiting including)
    from the high camp to the summit and back?
    I am afraid I am going to stick my oar in on this one...

    The first difficulty is the headwall which is about 80m of 45 to 60 degree snow/ice above the bergshrund then there are two short (10m) steep steps. These are the only places fixed ropes might be "needed". Though a guide might fix one or two more. The rest is a walk or a move or two of rock scrambling. The two short steps are where there can be a queue as the ridge is slender and passing opportunities limited.


    IP Headwall

    BUT! There really is no need to only use fixed ropes. Jugging up a fixed rope laid down by a guide is missing out of a lot of the feeling of achievement of climbing the mountain. Certainly the headwall can be climbed easily with an axe and crampons, the steps too. Go and get yourselves a little climbing experience and you will soon supercede the need to use fixed ropes on Island Peak and will mean you can get up and down more quickly and safely and you will also be able to decide for yourself whether you want to use the fixed ropes or not. Certainly on the headwall you could solo past others waiting and queueing to get on the fixed rope. This is perhaps less easy on the steps but if you have some of your own climbing skill then you will be able to decide when you are there whether you want to wait in the queue or climb up/down yourself without waiting. Speed is safety in alpine climbing. The less time you are on the mountain the less chance there is to encounter problems.

    We climbed from base camp and it took us about 5 hours to get to the summit and another 2-3 to get down. We were fit and acclimatised though and did not use the ropes.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Escher

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Espoo,Finland
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    Default Re: Island Peak as a first trekking peak?

    I have not climbed Imja Tse myself, but some of my pals did it through the back door (permit?) by camping at the back side of the mountain and then walking along the ridge from the north-east. That route might be even easier and there are no crowds.

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