Island Peak - Classic peak of the Himalaya
The Imja Tse or Island Peak is a summit of over 6,000 m / 19,700 ft among the inmense Himalayan mountains in the Everest region of Nepal. It looks a bit like an island in the Chukkung valley, with the impressive Lhotse Nuptse South Wall to the north and Baruntse to the south as neighbours.
It was first climbed in 1953 by Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing who were preparing for the Everest ascent. It is officially a "Trekking Peak" but this term can be misleading as it is one of some 14 mountains with this title given by the Nepalese government that are really apt for mountaineering. It is a great first himalayan peak and still used by many to prepare for the Everest or other high mountains in the area, facts that have given it the MOSTPOINT qualification.
The route to the summit includes a glacier to travel across, a steep slope with a fixed line and a narrow ridge. Crampons, Ice-axe and ropes are necessary, and it is useful to have a sherpa guide who knows the best part of the ridge to climb. The route that the original climbing team discovered is the same one that is used today. Once you ascend to the small summit ridge, with place for no more than 4 people, you enjoy a spectacular panorama of many of the highest peaks in the world: Nuptse (7,879 m / 25,850 ft), Lhotse (8,501 m / 27,890 ft), Lhotse Middle Peak (8,410 m / 27,591 ft) Lhotse Shar (8,383 m / 27,503 ft) and Makalu (8,475 m / 27,805 ft) just to mention some.
The typical approach route follows the Chukkung Valley to the comfortable Base Camp Pareshaya Gyab at some 5,000 m / 16,400 ft, from which the summit is a demanding 9 to 12 hour round trip depending on conditions.