Dispatches - Island Peak & Khumbu Trek #2 2022

November 04, 2022

Follow news and updates from our 2022 Island Peak (6,189m/20,305ft) and Khumbu Trek as they explore Nepal's stunning Khumbu Valley from Lukla to Everest Base Camp and Island Peak.

The Adventure Consultants Island Peak Expedition 2022 #2 runs from October 14 to November 6, 2022.

The team includes:

Island Peak/Khumbu Trekking Team
AC Trekking Guide: Suze Kelly
Expedition Sidar: Passang Bhote
Gokyo Trekking Guide: Rita Dorje Sherpa

Island Peak Guiding Team
AC Climbing Guide: Guy Cotter
Climbing Sherpa: Kunga Sherpa
Climbing Sherpa: Rita Dorje Sherpa
Climbing Sherpa: Tashi Chhiring Sherpa

Camp Cook: Chhiri Lama Sherpa
Cook Boy: Passang Sherpa

Team Members
Heather Geluk - Canada
Rob Imbeau - Canada
Erika Flavelle - Canada
Iwona Karska - United States

14 October 2022

Island Peak Expedition Underway!

14 10 Le Sherpa SKNamaste from Kathmandu, Nepal! All our Island Peak and Khumbu Trek expedition team members have arrived. We have completed our gear checks, had a look around the local stores and cafes in nearby Thamel shopping district, had our first team briefing and then we went out for our first meal together at the delightful Le Sherpa restaurant. It’s so good to be here! We look forward to sharing our journey with you in the coming days and weeks. Suze Kelly for the Island Peak team.

17 October 2022

On the Trail

17 10 Monjo trail SKWhat a peaceful night’s sleep it is next to a roaring river! With Day 1 done and dusted everyone was in bed pretty early as we had an early start - bags ready for our porters by 6.30am. But that’s all good, as then we are up nice and early to consume copious amounts of coffee and breakfast and hit the trail to Namche. We had nice cool walking conditions to start with but by the time we reached Monjo and the Sagarmatha National Park gate it was getting warm. Passang Bhote our trek sirdar had us ticked off and through the gate in no time, bypassing the crowds who were queuing. We crossed the river by yet another swing bridge to stop in the wee hamlet of Jorsales, then it was off to tackle the hill to Namche. A couple of hours later we cruised into town, found our lodge Khumbu Lodge, and had a late lunch. Everyone did great, and now we’re here, in the Sherpa capital and ancient trading post of the Khumbu region.

Suze Kelly for the Island Peak team.

Photos: (Above) Welcome shade on the trail at Monjo, (Below) The Namche Bridge and Rob, Iwona and Suze in Namche by Suze Kelly.

17 10 Namche Bridge SK17 10 Rob Iwona Suze Namche SK

16 October 2022

Up, Up and Away

16 10 Heli View SKSometimes luck is on your side and today we got lucky with our helicopter flight to Lukla from Kathmandu. So many Himalayan giants of Nepal were on display and all we had to do was sit there and take it all in! After the 45 minute flight we landed in Lukla just after 9am and what with drinking tea, sorting cargo, having a second breakfast (espresso and cinnamon scrolls) plus purchasing local SIM cards for some followed by paying our Khumbu visit fee, we finally left town about 11am for our meandering walk to Phakding.

16 10 Leaving Lukla SKEverything is so green after the summer months, lush gardens and chirpy birds, really very delightful to be starting walking. It got quite warm and then after a tea break we made it to Phakding by 3pm in time for a late lunch.

Photos: (L) View of Everest from the helicopter and (R) Leaving Lukla by Suze Kelly

 

18 October 2022

What a day!

18 10 Jaw dropping viewsOnce you are absorbed into Namche you really feel like you become a part of the place. In amongst all the other visitors everyone is super excited to actually be here, and the sun keeps shining. To make the most of our first rest day we set off shortly after breakfast and climbed the steps through town to visit at the Tenzing Norgay Sherpa statue at the National Park Centre, with our first stupendous views of the Everest massif. Then further climbing brought us to the new art gallery Sagarmatha Next, where we marvelled at the new building and it’s fabulous architecture, followed by a visit to the Everest View Hotel, where at 3,880m we felt we were acclimatising well. Then on to the village of Khumjung for lunch at the Everest Bakery, then a visit to the monastery. It was starting to be mid afternoon on our big day out so we turned for home and descended back to Namche at 3,440m to an afternoon treat of apple pie and nachos followed by dinner back at Khumbu Lodge. Now we’re getting ready to leave Namche first thing in the morning for our next jump in altitude to the village of Phortse at 3,950m. Suze for the Island Peak & Khumbu Trek team.

Photos (L) Jaw dropping views everywhere! and (below) The memorial statue of Tenzing Norgay Sherpa with views to Everest beyond and the Khumjung or Samten Choling Monastery by Suze Kelly.

18 10 Tenzing statue18 10 Khumjung Samten Choling Monastery

19 October 2022

Namche to Phortse

19 10 Yak bellsWhen it’s time to leave the metropolitan capital of the Sherpa kingdom, it’s hard to turn your back on the espresso, cheesecake and burgers, but leave we did. Another beautiful clear day meant we were able to soak up the mountain vistas and gasp at the trail improvements that have been made over the past three years. At our turn off to Gokyo/Phortse we put our heads down and cruised up the hill to the Mong La (pass) at 3950m, a perfect spot for lunch in the rarefied air.

Then down down down the other side of the pass to cross the river and enjoy more uphill to get to the village of Phortse, a jump in altitude for us, to sleep at 3,840m. This is another ‘as it was’ original Sherpa hamlet, and we are enjoying the pace and quiet at aptly named Peaceful Lodge. Another action packed day is in store for us tomorrow as we trek to the village of Pangboche and then onto Pheriche at 4,270m where we are going to spend two nights. Suze for the Island Peak & Khumbu Trek team.

Photos: (R) Yak bells for sale, one of the many trail side shopping opportunities (Below) Phortse Village with Ama Dablam behind and Late afternoon light show looking out from Phortse back to Namche by Suze Kelly.

19 10 Phortse village19 10 Phortse looking back to Namche

20 October 2022

A Walk on the Wild Side!

20 10 Money shot enroute to PangbocheWe awoke to fresh snow on the slopes up high, a reminder that we’re moving up into the real alpine zone of the Himalaya. We started today’s journey with a visit to the Khumbu Climbing Centre which has been built in Phortse over the last decade. With backing from the Alex Lowe Foundation the centre is now open and provides training for Nepalese guides in climbing techniques as well as rescue and wilderness first responder courses. We were super impressed with the facility. Then it was time to leave Phortse and take the high trail to Pangboche. It’s a less frequented trail so you see a lot more wildlife such as Thar and yaks grazing.

We got to Pangboche in good time for lunch at the Holiday Inn, before a visit with the Lama at the monastery where we each received a blessing and sungdi, a blessed necklace cord to wear for the rest of the trip. We then made tracks for Pheriche to get to our warm and wonderful lodge, the Edelweiss, in time for hot tea, showers, hanging out by the fire and dinner followed by a BIG sleep. Another action packed day of blissful walking in the high Himalaya.

Photos: (L) A picture says it all! Enroute to Pheriche with Ama Dablam taking centre stage. (Below) The team with Conrad Anker at the Khumbu Climbing Centre and Rob receives a blessing from the Lama at Pangboche by Suze Kelly.

20 10 Team with Conrad Anker KCC SK20 10 Rob Lama blessing Pangboche SK

21 October 2022

Rest (!) Day at Pheriche

21 10 Island Peak in distance SKYep we’re feeling the altitude now, though most slept ok at our new elevation of 4,270m. This morning we bid farewell to Erika and Passang Bhote who headed for Lobuche Base Camp and Erika’s add on climb of Lobuche. Being acclimatised already from a trek in the Rolwaling region prior to this trip, we have added on a Lobuche ascent for her since the weather is so good. The rest of us headed up the hill towards Dingboche and then just kept on climbing up to above 5,000m! Why? Cause the weather was great, and it was a good opportunity to push our acclimatisation schedule a little bit further. It will all help in the coming days.

21 10 Acclimatisation hike IP and Makalu behind SKWe returned to Pheriche mid afternoon for a late lunch of burgers, espresso and cheesecake. Yes you read it here first! Burgers in Pheriche. After hiking at altitude it’s all about food and rehydration and rest. Dinner is next :) Tomorrow we move up to Lobuche Base Camp to acclimatise some more and see how our Himalayan Climbing Course team are getting on. Thanks for following!

 

21 10 Pasang Bhote and Erika SKPhotos: (Top) Yes, that's Island Peak, (R) The team at today's high point, Island Peak and Makalu in the distance behind and (L) Passang Bhote and Erika depart ahead of the group to climb Lobuche East with the Himalayan Climbing Course team. All photos by Suze Kelly.

 

22 October 2022

Pheriche to Lobuche Base Camp

22 10 Approaching Lobuche BC SKThe rhythm of our trekking days has a familiar feel to it - wake up, pack up, bags ready for our porter team, have breakfast, COFFEE, then hit the trail for a few hours of walking to our new elevation and destination. We made our way slowly out of the Pheriche valley, around the corner and up over the terminal moraine of the Khumbu Glacier. It was hot, dusty and busy on the trail but then we sampled The Best Tomato Soup in Nepal at the halfway stop, Thukla, truly amazing made with all fresh ingredients (tomatoes, lemon, rosemary, garlic). Just above Thukla we were met by Tilak Rai with a big thermos of hot juice, so good! We made our way up the hill to where the memorials to fallen Himalayan climbers are and were met by Guy Cotter, another nice surprise! We carried on to the turnoff to Lobuche Basecamp and arrived into the most picturesque lakeside camp, in time for sushi for lunch.

Guy and the Himalayan Climbing Course team did some rope skills training in the afternoon while we all rested. Our first night camping on this trip at this beautiful, quiet camp was much appreciated by us all, including the heated dining tent. Goodnight from 4,800m!

Photos: (L) Approaching Lobuche Base Camp, (Below) Arriving at Louche Base Camp and a view of the stunning lakeside camp location by Suze Kelly.

22 10 Lakeside Lobuche BC SK22 10 Arriving Lobuche BC SK

23 October 2022

An actual rest day!

23 10 Chhiri Lama and Tilak Lobuche BC SKThat’s what we did - hang out at camp, with bed tea delivered by the amazing AC Lobuche Base Camp Sherpa Cook team, as the sun hits the tent then a leisurely breakfast, showers (!), more eating and an afternoon ramble to check out a possible climbing area above camp. Bliss! Oh, and Erica climbed Lobuche East today with Passang Bhote. Being already acclimatised from her earlier Rolwaling trek, Erica and Passang left base camp at 1.45, summited at 7.30am and were back down in time for lunch. Sterling effort! 

Photos: (L) Chhiri Lama and Tilak cooking another amazing meal, (Below) Erica and Passang after their successful climb of Lobuche and spectacular Lobuche Base Camp from above by Suze Kelly.

23 10 Erika and Pasang Bhote after climbing Lobuche SK23 10 Lobuche BC SK

24 October 2022

Everest Views at Sunset

Everest Sunset from Kala Patar SKSown valley views from KP SK

 

 

 

 

 

 


We hiked up to the village of Gorak Shep today arriving in time for lunch, and then after a bit of a break we set off up the nearby peak of Kala Patar. It's a 2 hour climb to 5,550 metres to see sunset views of Mount Everest, Nuptse and the upper Khumbu Valley. The photos say it all.

Photos: Stunning images from Kala Patar by Suze Kelly

Everest sunset SKEverest Nuptse sunset SK

25 October 2022

Everest Base Camp

Team EBC SKIt’s a rather special journey up to Everest Base Camp and oh my goodness did we have a good day for it! We made our way through the trails of the Khumbu Glacier moraine and slowly the Khumbu Icefall became larger and next thing we were there. Woohoo! We spent more than an hour absorbing the environment and taking photos, before it was time to return down the trail back to Gorak Shep, and THEN we still had our hike to Lobuche Basecamp, our abode for the night. More magical sunset photos to share :) 

Suze EBCPhotos: (L) The team at Everest Base Camp, (R) Suze at Everest Base Camp and (Below) Nuptse ridge sunset from Lobuche Base Camp and the view from Lobuche Base Camp after sundown by Suze Kelly.

 

 

Sunset Lobuche BC SKLobuche BC Lake SK

26 October 2022

Moving Round the Corner

Dingboche SKWe have just loved staying at Lobuche Base Camp, what a treat! But it’s time to move around the corner, from the Khumbu Valley up to Chhukung. With some long days trekking at high altitude done and with the idea to preserve our energy for our attempt on Island Peak, we opted to not go over the Kongma La pass, but rather to descend to Dingboche Cottage near Pheriche SKand then trek up to Chhukung. A cruisey day was had by all on the trail and we arrived into a full lodge at Chhukung, with cloud chasing us up the valley. We settled in for the best night of sleep yet on the trip. Goodnight!

Photos: (L) Arriving at Dingboche, (R) You don't see old buildings like this anymore, and (Below) Dingboche Village with views of Island Peak beyond and Classic Khumbu views by Suze Kelly.

Dingboche Village with Island Peak beyondClassic views in the Khumbu

27 October 2022

A Hike up Chhukung Ri

Rob and Suze on Chukung RiAnother chance for more acclimatisation today as we climbed up the peak of Chhukung Ri, 5,546m which is just behind the lodge. Another gorgeous day saw us enjoying a 3 hour hike to the saddle then a further hour to reach the very top. An airy place to be! Astounding views of Lhotse, Island Peak, Makalu and the North Ridge of Ama Dablam. Once we got back down to the lodge we were reunited with the Himalayan Climbing Course team of Guy, Niv, John, Alan, Kunga and Rita and Erika had trekked with them as well from Lobuche Basecamp to Chhukung. Great to be together again and now focusing on our Island Peak climb in three days time. Tomorrow is a rest day - hooray! We’ll be sorting out climbing gear and reviewing rope skills needed for the ascent to 6,189m.

Photos: (L) Rob and Suze on Chhukung Ri, and (Below) Yak in the river and Mount Makalu, 5th highest in the world, rears up above the other mountains in front by Suze Kelly.

Yak in riverMt Makalu 5th highest in the world rears up above the other mountains in front

28 October 2022

Chhukung Resting

Ivana descending a fixed lineA day spent in Chhukung resting prior to our Island Peak ascent has been just delightful. There’s been time to relax, take a shower, sort our climbing equipment and go over rope skills required for the climb. Using an ascender efficiently and abseiling safely are skills that are essential for climbing a peak such as Island Peak. Tomorrow afternoon we will move to Island Peak Base Camp, and our plan is to start our summit attempt in the early hours of 30 October. The forecast for fine weather continues. Wish us luck!

Rope skills training here in ChukungPhotos: (L) Iwona descending a fixed line and (R) Rope skills training in Chhukung by Suze Kelly.

30 October 2022

Summit Day on Island Peak

Island Peak Summit Ridge SKThe weather has been simply amazing during the second half of October and today delivered the goods again. We had walked up from Chhukung to Island Peak Base Camp yesterday and settled in for a few hours sleep before getting up at midnight for breakfast at 12.30am, then we were off at 1.00am. The hard work of climbing a 6,000m peak with a 1,200m summit day is done during the early hours of the morning, zig zagging up the trails and then moving onto the rocky sections, traversing ledges where you are aware there is a drop off but you can’t see it.

GC Summit Island Peak SKDawn light saw us reach crampon point where we swapped from hiking boots to climbing boots with crampons, and harnesses on. The crunch crunch of crampons in styrofoam like snow and ice was welcome, after the hours on the trail, and up we go. Traversing a section of the glacier roped together, we then reached the fixed lines that lead to the summit ridge. Once you clip in your ascender the progress to the ridge is quite fast.

Island Peak Summit ViewsAnd now with the morning sun on us we reached the summit at 8.15am. Others from our combined group of the Himalayan Climbing Course and Island Peak team reached the top at 5.30am, 5.40am and 7.45am. A great day out had by all! We were back down to base camp by midday after rappelling back down the ropes and and then switching back to hiking boots at crampon point for the descent to the valley floor. After a wee rest and some lunch we continued back to Chhukung by 3.30pm. Time for a nap!

Photos: (L Top) Summit ridge of Island Peak with the North Ridge of Ama Dablam in profile in the distance, (L) Views from the summit of Island Peak and (R) AC CEO Guy Cotter on the summit of Island Peak by Suze Kelly.

Tashi Sherpa on Island Peak SKDawn from Island Peak SK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Island Peak glacier SKLooking up to Island Peak summit SK

 

 

 

 

 

 

View across valley on Island Peak descent


Photos (Above L to R) Tashi Sherpa on ascent of Island Peak, Dawn approaches, The Island Peak Glacier extends down towards the valley, Looking back up at the summit of Island Peak from below Crampon Point, Views across the valley on the descent by Suze Kelly.

2 November 2022

Trek down to Pangboche, Namche and Lukla

Leaving Chukung It’s time to go down! When the turn around point on your expedition comes along and you start heading downhill back to the thicker air, you always feel ready for the retreat. For our group it was no exception and after our successful climb of Island Peak we felt excited about descending back down into the villages and forests of the lower Khumbu Valley. Setting off from Chhukung we soon reached Dingboche for a lunch stop, then continued on to Pangboche for the night. We waved goodbye to Rob after Dingboche, accompanied by Rita Dorjee, who headed off to cross the Cho La and Renjo La passes on their Gokyo Extension.

Yaks crossing the Pangboche BridgeOur next stop was Namche, and for going down there seemed to be a lot of going up, but we got there in good time and everyone enjoyed a rest day there also on November 2. Our last day of walking to Lukla from Namche was a ‘fitness day’ where tired bodies were willed to keep on walking, until we finally arrivals back where we started, 19 days later.

What a fantastic trip has been, and we couldn’t have done it without our super nice team supported so well by Passang Bhote, Tashi Tsering, and our porters plus the AC Lobuche Basecamp crew led by Chhiri Lama. Thank you all! Tomorrow we fly to Kathmandu first thing via helicopter, but there’s no change in the great weather and all will go as planned.

Looking back to Island Peak Photos: (L top) Leaving Chhukung, (R) Crossing the Pangboche Bridge and (L) Looking back to Island Peak by Suze Kelly.

 

4 November 2022

Early Morning Helicopter Flight

Ready to depart LuklaAnother early start, but this time to board the first heli flight out of Lukla, bound for Kathmandu. More great weather, another perfect day reveals itself upon checking the dawn sky, we have been so lucky. Whilst sad to leave the high mountains behind, it’s super exciting to be on our way to lower altitudes again and the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu city. One very scenic flight later we arrive at Kathmandu heliport and spend a few minutes catching up with Chhiring, our Nepal Operations Co-ordinator, and Da Jangbu, our Everest Sirdar, who are both starting their trips with AC clients, heading into the hills, and they climb into the helicopter we have just alighted from. We wish them well on their journeys and wave goodbye.

Our journey into the city to the Radisson Hotel takes us past streetscapes the morning rituals of the day are underway. It’s quite special observing the city come to life in this way. As we await our rooms to be ready we take advantage of the breakfast buffet and spend time adjusting to our ‘new’ surroundings, whilst reflecting on the huge journey we have just had, transitioning from high altitude back to thicker air and city vibes. Thanks for following our wee adventure and hope you too can join us here in Nepal on an expedition trek or climb soon. 

Photos: (L top) Ready to depart Lukla and (Below) Last night’s surprise cake from Paradise Lodge in Lukla! and Views of the foothills on the flight out by Suze Kelly.

Almost forgot last nights surprise cake from Paradise Lodge in Lukla Views of the foothills on the flight out

Intro Image

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