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The Island Peak

The Island Peak

Dec 4, 2017
Sajal Maharjan

Imja Tse otherwise known as The Island Peak belongs to the great Himalaya. Located in the Sagarmatha National Park, this mountain stretches to an astounding 6,189 meters. It lies on the Khumbu district of Nepal, in the range of Khumbu Himal. The geographical co-ordinates to this beauty is 27o55’21’N 86o56’10’E. It is popular among Nepalese climbers and the standard route has the difficulty level of Alpine PD+.

When viewed from Dingboche, the mountain looks like an island right at the middle of the sea of ice. Thus, Eric Shipton named this mountain as The Island Peak and was later named as Imja Tse.

The beginning of the Imja Tse climb started as a part of a training exercise before summiting the Mount Everest. The first climb was carried by a team of British expeditors Charles Evans, Alf Gregory, Charles Wylie and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa along with 7 Serpas. The peak is usually climbed in a round trip from Kathmandu in 20 Days.

The Climb

Marching Towards The Island Peak

Climbing the Island Peak comes with two choices. Either you start from the Base camp (5,087m) or ascend to the high camp (5,600m) and carry on from there. If you start from the base camp, which lies at the place called Pareshaya Gyab the climb should start in between 2 and 3 AM. From there it’s basically a short hike to the high camp.

Starting from the high camp will reduce the effort and time estimated for summit day. But, the water supply and sleeping at a high altitude might be difficult. So, starting from the base camp is referred by experienced mountaineers. Also, the distance from the Base camp to High camp is basically, some rocky steps, moderate scrambles and through a broad open ravine.

The glacier travel begins from the top of the ravine (gully) followed by a steep snow and ice slopes.  The mountain guides will then set up ropes and the strenuous ascent of about 100 meters will lead to the summit ridge. The steep climbing makes summiting difficult. When you reach 6,189m, The Mount Everest is Just 10km away to the North, but the view is blocked by the huge wall of Lhotse, which is 2,300m high above the summit.   

The other locations you will encounter are:

The Imja Glacier:

The glacier is located at the Solukhumbu District to the southern slopes of the Imja Tse. The origin of the glacier traces back to the western fae of Kali Himal (7,057 meters). The glacier extends up to the eastern extent of Imja Tso and drains through the Dingboche Valley to the Imja Khola, Dudh Koshi, Ganges, and finally drops to the Indian Ocean.

Imja Tso:

The Imja Tso is a glacial lake, formed after the melted water began collecting at the foot of the imja glacier on the lower part of the glacier. It is located at 27o 59’ 17”N Latitude and 86o 55’ 31” Latitude at an altitude of 5,010m in the Everest region. This was the fastest growing glacial lake in the Himalayas and poses threat to the communities with the potential glacial outburst.

The Imja Tso has been tagged as one of the dangerous lakes in the Himalayas. The Imja Tso was first mapped as a cluster of ponds from the satellite image taken in 1962; later the ponds merged into a super glacial lake in 1970 and have been expanding ever since. The total area of the lake was 0.03 km2 then, now its measures approximately 0.8 km2. Every year the lake grows by 0.02 km2 in average.

The latest satellite imagery shows that the Imja Tso has expanded to an area of 1.055 km2 (from 2000 – 2009). It has increased by 11% in the lake area in comparison to the image received in 2008. Due to the massive expansion of the lake, the Nepalese Army drained over 4 Million cubic meters of water from the lake in 2016 to prevent potential glacial flood.

These people made it to the top:

Adolph & Paul

Zdenek Binek

Many more did conquer this giant. Stay tuned for more news.

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