Day 11 – Chukung to Island Peak base camp

And so the day has come to set off on the climb of Island Peak. At 6189 meters Island Peak (locally known as Imja Tse) is a popular climbing peak, and features many mountaineering challenges, including rocky scrambles, a glacier walk, ladders crossing crevasses, a near vertical wall of ice and a tiny ridge to walk along the width of 2 boots all leading to a summit that is the size of a dining room table, not to mention high altitude where oxygen levels are half that in Cayman, climbing for 5 hours during the night by torch light and temperatures expected to plummet to minus 30 degrees Celsius. A true Himalayan adventure.

The summit team of Cayman Turtle Trekkers set off for Base Camp. The trail wound its way up the banks of the Imja Khola river with Lhotse on one side and Ama Dablam on the other side of the valley, but all pointing to Island Peak, which as the name suggests stands alone like an island between these mountain ranges.

After a three hour hike, we arrived at the Base Camp at the foot of Island Peak and on the banks of Imja Tsho lake.

Base Camp is a collection of large dining and kitchen tents and small two man sleeping tents. It made for a colorful interlude amongst the barren glacial moraine. We were greeted by the camp chef handing out hot mango tea and a bowl of delicious pasta.

Then it was time for the Turtle Trekkers to wish the summit team good luck and begin the return journey to Chhukung and for the summit team to prepare their sleeping bags and gear for a night in the expedition tents, where temperatures in the tents were expected to drop to minus 30 degrees Celsius. Tomorrow the summit team will do some climbing training and then move to High Camp , half way up the mountain.

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