Island Vs Mera Peak

Nepal is an abode of Himalayas. It’s gifted with some of the most majestic mountains in the world. Out of the 14 Eight-Thousander peaks, 7 remains in Nepal. Along with these mighty mountains, there are 100s of smaller peaks which caters the enthusiastic climbers. These can be cheaper than climbing the Everest and can be completed with ease.

Island Peak and Mera Peak are the two most popular smaller peaks in Nepal. These two mountains attract the most amount of climbers in the country. The climb may account for a day or two, hence, it easier to undertake small peak climbing. An expert as well as an amateur climber  can complete the climb without the need of any expedition.

Here are some holistic differences between the two to help you decide better.


Island Peak

Island Peak or Imja Tse is a small peak located at the Khumbu region. It measures 6,189 meters (20,305 ft). It was named Island Peak by Eric Shipton’s party in 1951, since it appears as an island in a sea of ice when viewed from Dingboche.

An Alpine PD peak, you need to have proper technical skills to ascent the peak. Cramponing, harnessing and ice-axing is essential. A Sherpa guide will always be there to assist you during the climb. Most of  the trail encounters trekking, however, the last 400-500 m section requires climbing through snow and rocks.

The ascent is generally started during early morning. Around 2 am, you get up and ready to tackle the climb with your ice-axe, ropes and head-lamp. You may reach the summit around 11 am-12 pm in the morning. The rest of the time will be spent descending all the way to the Chhukung village, which offers better tea-house for lodging.

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Mera Peak

Mera Peak at 6,476 meters (21,247 ft) is known as the highest trekking peak in the world. An Alpine PD peak, it is technically superior than most smaller peaks in the region. it is located in the Hinku valley of northeastern Nepal. It contains 3 main summits. Most climbers take on Mera North, the highest of them all.

You would need proper technical skills to ascent the peak. Cramponing, harnessing and ice-axing will be equally essential. A proper  logistical support and qualified Sherpa guides will always be there to assist you. From the summit, 5 of the major peaks will easily be visible, including Mount Everest.

Most of the trail accounts for trekking. The final 600-700 meters ascent requires climbing through snow, rocks and ice. The ascent starts early morning. You may reach the summit by noon and back to Lower Base Camp by the evening.

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Ascent Profile & Logistics

Mera and Island Peak
Mera and Island Peak

Both the trip starts and ends at Lukla. The commute to Lukla is facilitated by the domestic flights. You’d generally trek 10-12 days and keep 2 days for climbing. A spare summit day is kept in case you aren’t able to summit the previous day due to bad weather.

Island Peak’s summit is just 287 meters lesser in height than the Mera Peak’s summit. Both requires a good amount of ice-axing, alpine style of climbing through ropes and cramponing. As the summit generally lasts only a day, the lengthy climb may prove to be a fatiguing experience for the most climbers.


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The Island Peak

Island Peak is one of the most climbed mountains in Nepal, mainly for its easier technical accessibility and lesser altitude.


Overview

Island Peak or Imja Tse at 6,189 meters is an Alpine PD+ peak mainly know for the sports climbing.

It was named ‘Island Peak’ by the Erik Shipton’s party in 1951, because it seemed like an island floating in the sea of ice when seen from Dingboche.

Eric Shipton
Eric Shipton

Located at the Khumbu region of Nepal; which is also known for possessing Mount Everest, Lhotse, Ama Dablam and countless other peaks, Island Peak accounts for a fairly easy climb and can be done by amateurs as well as experts.

The ascent mostly requires scrambling and ice-axing skills. Cramponing becomes essential during the Ice wall climbing and thick snow areas.

History

Imja Tse summit was first climbed in 1956 by a Swiss team as a training exercise in preparation for Mount Everest and Lhotse. Since then, it has been climbed thousands of time by hundreds of climbers, mainly for sports, training or serious climb.

PROFESSIONAL TIPS BY UIAA

  • The summit attempt from Base Camp (BC) avoids a night spent at Advanced Camp (AC) that, during high season, can get overcrowded. It may be necessary to negotiate with other groups before leaving BC in order to ensure that there is a space to pitch your tent at AC.
  • An ascent from BC requires a very early start (midnight or earlier) and often means a very late finish (sometimes in the dark). This option should only be considered by fit groups who are well acclimatized.
  • Ascending from AC means you can start at 2 am and still descend in daylight.
  • If you stay at AC you will need to take water, food and camping equipment with you. There are no toilets.
  • Some people actually enjoy the experience and the atmosphere at the AC! It allows you to feel closer to the mountain and its environment and the surrounding scenery is very beautiful.

Peak Climbing

Ascent profileIn order to reach the summit you’ll be expected to be able to climb to Scottish Grade II standard (steep snow, possible use of two ice tools, possible difficult cornice exit, but technical difficulties are short) or Alpine PD (some technical climbing and complicated glaciers).

It can generally be climbed during two different seasons. Spring lasts from February to June, and Autumn lasts from September to November.

The place can be really crowded during these two occasions, and most climbing takes place in groups to avoid hassle. It’s easier to climb the Island peak compared to most other smaller peaks, and is generally completed within a day, however, one must need to comprehend the basic skills of ice-axing, cramponing and staying fit. Trekking can be a great opportunity to get in shape and imbibe the local environment for the climb.


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Trekking Peaks in Nepal

Trekking peaks are the smaller peaks in Nepal which were opened for recreational climbing and training. They are called “Trekking Peaks,” because they mostly require trekking with minimal climbing to reach the summit, and are different than premier mountaineering. Small peaks can be climbed with ease and do not require lengthy Expeditions.

Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) has classified 33 such peaks as the Trekking Peaks; which are are lesser than 7,000 meters in altitude. Currently there are 326 peaks open for climbing in Nepal.

To encourage climbing, NMA has removed the royalty fee from the peaks which are lesser than 5,800 meters in height.

These peaks are divided into two groups. Most of them open for climbing during Spring (March-June) and Autumn (September-November) seasons.


Group A

Peaks Altitude (meters) Location
Cholatse 6,440 Khumbu
Machermo 6,273 Mahalangur
Kyajo Ri 6,186 Mahalangur
Phari Lapcha 6,017 Mahalangur
Langsisa Ri 6,427 Jugal
Ombigaichen 6,340 Mahalangur
Bokta 6,143 Kanchenjunga
Checkigo 6,257 Gaurishankar
Lobuche West 6,145 Khumbu
Larkya Peak 6,010 Manaslu
ABI 6,097 Mahalangur
Yubra Himal 6,035 Langtang
Chhukung Ri 5,550 Khumbu
Yala Peak 5,732 Langtang

Group B

Peaks Altitude (meters) Location
Singu Chuli (Flute Peak) 6,501 Annapurna
Mera Peak 6,654 Khumbu
Kusum Kangru 6,367 Khumbu
Kwangde 6,011 Khumbu
Chulu West 6,200 Manang
Chulu East 6,200 Manang
Imja Tse 6,160 Khumbu
Parchemuche 6,187 Rolwaling
Lobuche 6,119 Khumbu
Ramdung 5,925 Rolwaling
Pisang Peak 6,019 Manang
Tharpu Chuli (Tent Peak) 5,663 Annapurna
Khongma Tse (Mehra Peak) 5,849 Khumbu
Ganja La Chuli (Naya Kamga) 5,849 Langtang
Pokhalde 5,806 Khumbu
Mardi Himal 5,587 Annapurna
Paldor Peak 5,896 Langtang