David von Oheimbphoto gallery / Everest (Solukhumbu) trek, Nepal

Day 15: Island Peak (Imja Tse, 6189m)-Chukhung

This is the summit day of our Island Peak climb organized by Equator expeditions. We (three young Western tourists plus our climbing guide, while a fourth one had given up since he did not cope well with the altitude) got up at 2 AM and left the base camp just after 2:15 AM. We took about 3 hours to ascend the boring trail on scree, eventually passing all other groups. At the lower edge of the glacier at 5800m we put on our crampons. We also roped up, yet this proved not really necessary as the glacier was in excellent condition with a well-beaten track leading to the summit. Before 6:30 at around 6000m we reached the fixed ropes leading first 'vertically' up the steep (50°) flank of the summit ridge and then along the ridge to the top. Following them up was strenuous mainly because of the elevation, but technically easy and safe using an ascender on the way up and abseiling on the way down. It was very beneficial to be first group such that we did not have to wait in the line. The weather was wonderful: sunny, calm, and clear. We reached the summit around 8 AM and spent there some 45 minutes. The views from the summit are good, but relatively confined by the high surrounding mountains, in particular the enormous Lhotse wall to the north. While I had problems with cold toes on the way up, on the descent in the sunshine it was already so warm that I went in T-shirt. We were back at the base camp between 11 and 11:30 AM, and after having a nice lunch there, we went back to the lodge in Chukhung.
All of us liked the good service (training, food, camping, etc.) provided by our two climbing guides N.D. and P.K. and the cook. Yet since one of my fellow climbers and me already had experience with high-elevation climbing (e.g. on Mount Rainier and Piz Palü), we felt that it would not really have been necessary to subscribe for an organized climb and pay 700 USD for the 5-days event. If I ever do this climb again, I would skip the uncomfortable night in the tent and instead leave 3 hours earlier (i.e. around 11 PM) from the lodge in Chukhung and do the summit single-push by myself. The only important thing is to be well acclimatized.

The climb had a very unpleasant but interesting aftermath. Two days later near the Everest Base Camp I ran into group of Austrian trekkers, guided by H.K. from the Berchtesgaden region in southeastern Germany. I had met them already in Namche and in Dingboche while they who were on their way to Island Peak, too, and now they asked me how my experience was. When I mentioned that I found the ascent relatively easy and actually a bit disappointing from the Alpinist perspective, the guide suddenly began shouting at me, calling me names like clueless Prussian and showy liar, and threatened to beat me if I do not stop sharing to his clients. Well, the only thing I was clueless about was why he showed such an insane behavior, in particular since I had not done him any harm. Later I found out why: he had failed to bring any of his clients to the summit of Island Peak! The reason for this obviously was because he had not given them enough time for acclimatization - a serious mistake which he tried to conceal. I also consider it not very beneficial that after the base camp night at 5000m they spent another night at high camp, which is just about 400m higher. It would have been much better to spend, like we did, a few more relatively comfy nights at a lodge in Chukhung (or Dingboche), i.e. at an elevation of around 4500m.

[Prev] prev day Day 15: Island Peak-Chukhung next day [Next]
Galcier walk

Up the ridge

On the summit

Down the ridge

Down the glacier

Down the scree

Base Camp

Return to Chuckhung

[Prev] prev day Day 15: Island Peak (Imja Tse, 6189m)-Chukhung next day [Next]

URL: http://David.von-Oheimb.de/gallery/Everest/day15.html, Last modified: Thu Aug 8 20:56:39 CEST 2013