Imja Tse Mountain - Island Peak
The Imja Tse Mountain is also known as "Island Peak" and is located near the base camp of Mount Everest. Even though it is not the highest peak compared to the other mountains in Nepal, with a height of 6,183 meters, it is a very challenging climb. Eric Shipton and his expedition looked down on the mountain from Dingboche in 1952 and named the mountain Island Peak, as it looked like a deserted island in the center of a sea of ice. It was renamed to Imja Tse in the year 1983, but locals still refer to the mountain as Island Peak.
As with most mountains in Nepal, Imja Tse offers its own and unique challenges along the way and requires climbers to have mountaineering experience. It is known as a basic snow climb or ice climb and the use of ropes, ice-axes and crampons are necessary to make the climb. Many climbers use Imja Tse to make the transition from lower to higher altitude climbs here. It was even used by the world famous expedition that consisted of Charles Evans, Charles Wylie, Tenzing Norgay, Alf Gregory and their Sherpa companions, to get ready to summit Mount Everest in 1953. On Island Peak they were able to test oxygen sets and practice their climbing techniques before challenging the highest mountain in the world.
The recommended months to climb Imja Tse are April, May, October and November. After passing through Dingboche, the base camp of Mount Everest, climbers can make their way to Chhukung. They can then decide to set up camp somewhere between 5,300 to 5,600 meters. Climbers must remember to give themselves time to acclimatize and should rest after approximately four to six hours of walking. Climbers and trekkers should therefore be reasonably fit to keep the pace. The ascent to the summit of Imja Tse is where the climb gets quite difficult.
To summit Island Peak climbers need to overcome the very narrow ridges and extremely steep slopes. It is here that climbing skills and techniques are vital. Climbers will make use of scrambling techniques to make it to the ice field. The ice field is approximately 200 meters, which in turn will lead climbers to the headwall. On this last part of the climb, climbers will be forced to use ice-axes, crampons and ropes to safely summit the mountain. Once climbers have conquered Island Peak, they will be rewarded by breathtaking views and the elation of victory.