A Transformational Adventure
The majesty of the mighty Himalayas have drawn adventurers, climbers and cultural enthusiasts for more than a century. The spectacular terrain and the extraordinary cultural of the local Sherpa people combine to offer experiences that are truly transformational. The peaks of the high Himalaya have a reputation for being out of reach for most inexperienced travelers, but many ascents can be made by those with limited climbing experience who have the assistance of an experienced guide. Our program has been designed to experience all the best that the Himalaya has to offer. We’ve combined a spiritual journey through the Tibetan Buddhist villages of the Khumbu Region with an opportunity to climb up to three himalayan peaks.
Our journey begins with a two-day tour of the holy sites of Kathmandu. We’ll have the opportunity to see the living Hindu child-goddess, the Kumori, at Kasthamandap, receive a blessing from a Tibetan Buddhist lama at Boudhanath, and participate in a Hindu puja ceremony at Swayambhunath. After completing our cultural tour, we’ll race bicycle rickshaws through the bustling streets of the Thamel market district on our way to pizza and ice cream at the notorious “Fire and Ice” cafe.
The trek to Island Peak begins with a short airplane ride from Kathmandu to the alpine village, Lukla. The 45-minute flight is one of the most spectacular in the world and is an experience that you’ll treasure for the rest of your life. Our hike begins with visits to the Sherpa villages of Phakding and Namche Bazaar before reaching the revered monastic community of Tengboche. Along the way we’ll trek through the Himalayan countryside where we’ll experience Nepalese and Tibetan cultures as they have existed for centuries. Upon reaching Tengboche, we’ll have the opportunity to attend a ceremony at the monastery and then tour the nearby women’s convent.
As we continue on to the charming alpine village, Dingboche, we’ll experience some of the most striking mountain scenery in the world. Our path will be marked with several large gompas and thousands of mani stones, some of which are believed to be more than 500 years old. We’ll take a rest day in Dingboche, during which our team will have the opportunity to visit a nearby gompa or climb Nangkar Tshang Ri (15,806 ft.). We’ll then continue on to the remarkably picturesque village, Chhukung, where we’ll spend another rest day. During the rest day, our team will have the opportunity to climb Chhukhung Ri (18,209 ft.) or relax around the fire in our host’s tea house. Those that choose to climb to the summit of Chhukung will be rewarded with incredible views of the Everest region and the south face of Lhotse.
We’ll then continue on with a short hike to the Base Camp of Island Peak, where we will begin our ascent of Imja Tse (20,285 ft.).
Climbing Imja Tse
Imja Tse is a mountain in the eastern Himalayas of Nepal. The peak was named by Eric Shipton in 1951 during an exploratory expedition to Mount Everest. “Imja Tse” means “Island Peak” in Nepali, and the name was selected as the mountain appears as an island in a sea of ice when viewed from the villages that surround the mountain’s base.
The mountain was first climbed in 1953 by a British team that was preparing for an attempt on Mount Everest. Tenzing Norgay, the famous Sherpa who went on to become the first person to climb Mount Everest, was among the members of first summit team.
The peak is located along the south ridge of Lhotse Shar, which joins the Western Cwm to connect with Everest, Lhotse, and Nuptse. From the summit of Imja Tse, climbers have an extraordinary view of many of the largest mountains in the world.
At 20,400 feet, the ascent of Imja Tse is a serious undertaking, but a goal which is achievable for all of our participants. The peak is rated as a “Himalayan Trekking Peak” (PD+) and requires the use of crampons during the last few hours of a summit attempt.