Lobuche East, Phokalde & Island Peak Expeditions
This Expedition will be led and organized by Janet Belarmino.
LOBUCHE EAST PEAK
The Lobuche Mountain consists of two different summits, viz. East and West with heights of 6,119 m and 6,145 m respectively. A continuous ridge connects them but there is still a sharp gap and a considerable distance between them. The East Peak is recognized as a trekking peak, whereas the West is known as an Expedition Peak. Lobuche being an attractive mountain offers various existing routes and also a potential for new ones. The dark triangle of its rocky East face rises over the moraines of the Khumbu Glacier to a spectacular skyline, forming the south ridge.
The peak of Lobuche East is reached by descending a marked notch and climbing steep snowy slopes to the top. On most occasions, the mountain is climbed on the summit ridge only as far as a subsidiary snow summit, south–east of the true peak and before the notch. This peak is identified as the false peak. Laurence Nielson and Ang Gyalzen Sherpa made the first ascent to Lobuche East on 25 April 1984 although there are possibilities that others have reached the summit before. But no records are available. Lobuche West Peak (6154m) The Lobuche Mountain consists of two different summits, viz. East and West with heights of 6,119 m and 6,145 m respectively. A continuous ridge connects them but there is still a sharp gap and a considerable distance between them. The East Peak is recognized as a trekking peak, whereas the West is known as an Expedition Peak. Lobuche, being an attractive mountain offers various existing routes and also a potential for new ones.
Island peak (6189m) is the most popular trekking peak in Nepal. From Dingboche the mountain is seen as an island in a sea of ice. The summit is interesting and attractive with a highly glaciated west face rising from the Lhotse Glacier. The mountain itself is the extension of the South Ridge of Lhotse Shar separated by a small col. The ridge rising to the south from this point leads to the summit of Island Peak.
The extension of this ridge descending southwest is the part of the normal route of ascent and leads to the South Summit. Imja Tse not only provides an enjoyable climb but also provides some of the most spectacular scenery of Himalayas in the Khumbu region. Seen from the summit the giant mountains, Nuptse (7,879m), Lhotse (8,501m), Lhotse Middle Peak (8,410m) and Lhotse Shar (8,383m) make a semi circle in the north. The views of Makalu (8475m) in the east, Baruntse and Amadablam in the south add more charm for climbing Island Peak. South East Flank & South-West Ridge Normally, the base camp is set at Pareshaya Gyab (5,087m), between Imja Tse and the lateral moraine of the Imja Glacier.
It should not be forgotten that the place is more likely for avalanche in the event of heavy snowfall. From the base camp, a well-acclimatized party in good conditions can make the summit and return to the base camp in a day. However, most of the climbers prefer alpine style camping at high camp, which helps a safe ascent. From the base camp the route skirts southeast around and base of Imja Tse and climbs steep grassy slopes and small rocky steps. We scramble up on open gully which leads between two ridges to the site of high camp on the left-hand ridge below and to the right of a small hanging glacier (5, 280m). From the high camp, the left hands ridge scramble across the broad open gully. After crossing a gully a steep snow and ice ramp leads upward for nearly 100 meters to the summit ridge. Climbing near the summit is a little difficult due to steep climbing.
This mountain was first climbed in 1953 by a route from the Kongma La along its North-ridge. Despite its relatively low altitude the mountain's first successful climbers were giants of the mountaineering world, a fact that is true of many of the Trekking peaks. Phokalde is an insignificant-looking mountain when seen from Periche, from where it appears as a rocky ridge dominated by the vast bulk of Nuptse. Seen from the Lobuche or Gorak Shep the peak looks more interesting rising to the south of the Kongma La (5,535m/18,159ft), an infrequently traversed pass that leads into the Chhukhung Valley. The northern side of the mountain has a small hanging glacier that is best reached along the ridge rising from the Kongma La. By and large the rock on the mountains poor, although it does offers some interesting scrambling on the well-defined ridges. The summit provides a good viewpoint and from that perspective is a fine little peak.
Island peak (6,189-m.) and view around from the summit
Day 01 Arrival in Kathmandu (1,348-m.), meet at airport and transfer to Thamel – O/nt. hotel.
Day 02 Preparation for trek / climb (documentation) in Kathmandu – O/nt. hotel.
Day 03 Drive to airport for short flight (35-40 min.) Kathmandu – Lukla (2,840-m.) then trek to Phakding (2,610-m.) – 4/5 hrs. – O/nt. lodge.
Day 04 Trek Phakding – Namche Bazar (3,440-m.) – 6/7 hrs. – O/nt. lodge.
Day 05 Rest day for acclimatization; day excursion of Syangboche (3,720-m.), Everest view point (3,859-m.) then visit Khumjung (3,780-m.) and return to Namche – 4/5 hrs. – O/nt. lodge.
Day 06 Trek Namche Bazar – Khumjung and visit village,school and Hillary hospital at Khunde village (3,860-m.) – 5/6 hrs. – O/nt. lodge.
Day 07 Trek Khumjung – to Tengboche Monastery ( 3867m) – 5/6 hrs. – O/nt. lodge.
Day 08 Trek Tengboche - Dingboche for acclimatization – O/nt. lodge.
Day 09 Rest at Dingboche - Climbing clinic (fitting your gears, training talk by our guides)
Day 10 Trek Dingboche – Chukung valley – 5/6 hrs. – O/nt. lodge.
Day 11 Trek Chhukung – Island Peak Base Camp (4.970-m.) – O/nt. camp
Day 12 Base Camp – Camp 1 you have all day to reach that intermediate camp. Our climbing guide will give you all necessary instructions.
Day 13 Camp 1-Island Peak Summit-Chukkung Early morning start. After camp 1, go up in the gully, traverse to the right, up on a wide stone field, cross the ridge to the glacier. Always beware of the crevasses.
Day 14 Trek Chukung- Dingboche and rest day. Today you can relax and use internet or write emails to your family and friends.
Day 15 Dingboche -Phokalde Base camp (4300-m.)
Day 16 Phokalde Base camp -Summit Phokalde Peak (5800-m) trek to Lobuche (4900m)
Day 17 Trek Lobuche to Lobuche East Base Camp (5,290-m.) – 3/4 hrs. After a short rest, prepare your climbing gears and rest – O/nt. camp.
Day 18 Climb Base Camp - Lobuche High Camp ( 5357m)
Day 19 Lobuche High Camp -Lobuche East Summit return Lobuche Base Camp
Day 20 Buffer day for climb in case of bad weather the previous day – O/nt. camp.
Day 21 Lobuche East Base Camp -Trek Lobuche . – O/nt. lodge.
Day 22 Trek to Kalapathar (5545-m) and return to Gorakshep overnight – O/nt. lodge.
Day 23 Trek/explore to Everest Base Camp and return to Lobuche
Day 24 Trek to Tyengboche Monastery
Day 25 Trek to Phakding
Day 26 Trek Phakding – Lukla – O/nt. lodge.
Day 27 Fly Lukla – Kathmandu, on arrival, meet at airport and transfer to Thamel – O/nt. hotel.
Day 28 City Sightseeing in Kathmandu & farewell Dinner party
Day 29 Departure from Kathmandu / transfer hotel – airport for onward flight.
Note: Flights to and from Lukla depends greatly on weather. Even when the season is said to be best for climbing the flight gets delayed by few hours or gets cancelled for one to several days due to unpredictable weather (change of weather to blame??). Thus, you must be prepared for prolonged waiting in Kathmandu and Lukla as it can happen on either on start or at the end of the trip or even both. Care will be taken to avoid such delay on our side, but we suggest you to be prepared for the worst case scenario regarding the delays and cancellations of the flight to/from Lukla and have about 1 to 2 additional days at the end of the trek on top of the scheduled trip plan. Worse come worst, if you demand, we will organize helicopter rescue for you to be able to come to Kathmandu, depending on availability of helicopter flights and your willingness to reimburse the cost of such flight. Helicopter flight carries 4 to 5 passengers which can cost approximately USD 5000+ per flight.
If the flight delay / cancellation does happen at the start of your trip and continues few more days that threatens your trip schedule, you can opt for an alternative trip; like trekking either to Langtang or Annapurna region. If you rather prefer to take the scheduled trip than the alternative, then you have to wait in Kathmandu until the next flight to Lukla operates. We will arrange your moderate hotel accommodation with meals in Kathmandu but there will be no refund entertained. However, if the flight gets delayed or cancelled at the end of the trip, you will have to bear the cost of lodge rooms and meals in Lukla yourself. In the start of the trip, if you wait for the flight to Lukla and the waiting becomes long and that you have little time left of your trip and you end up doing a short trip elsewhere in Nepal, again you will not be entitled to any refund what so ever as relevant arrangements for your trip are done before your trip commences. Therefore we suggest you to obtain a good insurance policy in your own country before you embark on the trip.
** Domestic airfare KTM-Lukla-KTM is subject to increase without prior notice. If increased, that portion will be extra payable.
Cost includes … (kindly read carefully)
Cost excludes… (kindly read carefully)
A day on trekking / climbing
As the day breaks, one of the camp crew wakes you with a cup of tea / coffee and a warm smile. After the tea you freshen up and head for heartily prepared breakfast before setting off for the day. After about 3 to 4 hours of trekking, there will be a lunch in a suitable place along the trail. Throughout the day, you will take frequent breaks and take time to admire (take pictures) the fascinating scenery. After a rather quick lunch, you have another 2 to 3 hours or a bit more before reaching your campsite. Once you arrive at your camping place, you take a brief rest, and have a light snack with tea or coffee. You might enjoy a short walk through the village and surrounding neighborhood or enjoy some games or some chats with your group members and crew while the cook and helpers prepare dinner. Now finally after your guide briefs you on next day’s program you will go for a sleep.
Climbing periods (specially the summit day) is different than other days. Camp staffs would wake up around 1 am to prepare your breakfast and pack some food for lunch. You also have to wake up around 2-3 am and take very early breakfast. After packing and putting on the gears, you set on for the journey to summit. After summiting, you get back to your camp where the cook and helpers prepare food for you. You will find the food more delicious today after the toughest day of your adventure. You get back to sleep very soundly as you would have fulfilled your goal, gone up higher than the place you sleep, had waken up early the previous night and had climbed for longer hours.
Your trip cost includes accommodations in Kathmandu and during trekking and climbing. In Kathmandu, you will have twin sharing accommodation in standard room in a 3 star hotel. During the trek, we will provide twin sharing lodge rooms. We will try to make sure that you get clean and comfortable rooms in the lodge. Toilets during lodge trek will be away (outside) from the room. For camping, it will be 2 men tent with self inflating Thermarest mattress for more comfort. We will also provide you toilet tent at the base camp of both the peaks. Accommodation in Kathmandu could be upgraded, if you pay extra in a higher category of hotel.
Freshly prepared meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) will be provided throughout the teahouses (lodge restaurant) during the trek. Each day, dinner and breakfast will be provided at the same lodge you spend the night. Lunch, during trek, will be provided at teahouse in fairly pleasant surrounding on the trail. Meals during climbing period / at camp will also be freshly cooked by the accompanying trained cook. Meals at teahouses can be selected from the existing menu and during climbing will be variety in buffet style (Chinese, Indian, basic Italian and of course Nepali and Sherpa too). During your stay at hotel in Kathmandu, breakfast is provided at the hotel that you stay. You can choose to eat lunch and dinner either at the restaurant at the hotel that you are staying or venture out to different restaurants that are located near your hotel.
Chance of success in summiting peaks depends on tolerance to hard conditions, general physical condition, reasonable fitness and lots of will power. Lobuche East and Island (Imja Tse) can be climbed without previous climbing experience as they are categorized as non-technical peaks. However, it requires stamina and endurance, as it involves a longer period of climbing at high altitude where amount of Oxygen is less. For your kind information, Oxygen cylinders are not provided during peak climbing. Yet, if you have some skills on rock climbing, skills of using climbing equipments and if possible experience in high altitude trek then it will be added advantage. Therefore, my suggestion is that you prepare yourself for stamina and endurance building at least 3 to 6 months prior to your trip. Physical exercise for endurance and building depends on you but jogging at first then running, swimming will help you to strengthen your leg muscles. I also suggest you to visit fitness center at least 3 times a week.
Every participant on this trip should be in sound health. I would also suggest you for regular check up during the preparation period. It is important that participant informs us of any pre-existing medical problems or conditions at the time of confirming his/her trip with our company. Consult your physician regarding your pre-existing medical condition in connection to your trip and vaccination or medical requirements. Remember to pack prescribed medicines as it may not be available in Nepal (especially not up in the mountains). Please note that our company is not responsible for medical treatment, hospitalization and rescue by any means of transportation and this service is excluded in our package. We will, however, arrange / assist, if there is assurance that you will bear the cost.
Travel insurance is a must and not an option when joining trekking, tour and mountaineering trips. Your insurance policy should include helicopter rescue flight/s, medical treatment, hospitalization and repatriation apart from the normal coverage of loss of baggage, theft, flight / trip delay, cancellation etc. We suggest you to obtain such policy in your own country before setting on your trip as we do not arrange or sell insurance.
List of personal equipment and gears
List provided below doesn’t represent what you must take but is simply a guide, an aide memoire to help you tick off the things you might need and have to pack.
Personal Climbing Gears:
- Ice axe
- Plastic double boots for mountaineering
- Tape Slings (2)
- Carabiners (2 lock, 2 unlock)
- Figure of Eight
- Helmet (optional)
- A pair of woolen / fleece gloves
- A pair of insulated ski gloves
- trekking/hiking boots that supports your ankle with spare laces
- Light socks (2 pairs), cotton or thin woolen
- Thick socks (2 pairs), woolen
- Gaiters (protects your foot wears from fresh snow)
- Camp shoes (sneakers and/or sandals)
- Sun hat or scarf or both
- Light balaclava or warm fleece hat
- Sunglasses with UV protection
- Headlamp with spare bulbs and batteries (if not torch / flash light)
- Light and expedition weight thermal tops
- Fleece jacket or pullover
- Fleece Wind-Stopper jacket (optional)
- Waterproof jacket / top (preferably with breathable fabric)
- Down jacket with hood
- Under Garments
- Hiking shorts or trouser that can be detached
- Lightweight cotton long pants
- Light and expedition weight thermal bottoms
- Fleece or wool pants (seasonal)
- Waterproof trousers (preferably with breathable fabric)
- Sleeping bag with cotton and fleece liner (rated to -15 to -20 degree centigrade)
- Large plastic bags - to keep items dry inside rucksack or duffle bag.
- Daypack (approximate capacity 35 to 50 liters)
- Trekking Poles (serves well when trekking down hill).
- Water bottle with wide neck (2 pieces with 1 liter capacity) or camel bag.
- Toiletries (soap, toothbrush, paste, saving machine, nail clippers, lip balm etc.) & personal necessities.
- Small quick drying towel
- Ear Plug (would be useful; who knows some people in group snores)
- Sun screen lotion 30 SPF or higher
- Pee bottle (for night but make sure to empty it yourself the next morning)
- Basic First Aid Kit
- Digital camera or handy cam
- Route Map / Guide book
- Binoculars (optional)
- Music set with headphone (optional)
- Pocket sized notebook and pen (optional)
- Reading book (optional)
- Travel games (such as scrabble, playing cards, chess etc.)
Lobuche East -6119m, Pokalde-5806m Island Peak- 6145m
Dates: April 27th to May 25th, 2016
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