Imja Tse (Island Peak)
|Range/Region:||Central Nepal Himalaya|
|Difficulty:||Basic Snow/Ice Climb|
|Best months for climbing:||Apr, May, Oct, Nov|
|Year first climbed:||1953|
|First successful climber(s):||C.Evans, A.Gregory, C.Wylie, T.Norgay + 7 sherpas|
|Nearest major airport:||Kathmandu|
|Convenient Center:||Namche bazar|
This is a trekking Peak in Nepal close to the Everest Base Camp Trek. You leave the Everest Base Camp Trek at Dingboche and walk up to Chhukung. Then a base camp and/or an advanced base camp can be established between 5300 and 5600 m. The route to the summit includes a rather steep slope and a narrow ridge. Crampons, Ice-axe and ropes are necessary.
The name Island Peak was given to the mountain in 1952 by Eric Shipton's party who were on their way to explore the Barun Gorge. Seen from above Dingboche the mountain does indeed resemble an island in a sea of ice. In 1983 it was renamed Imja Tse, although for most people the descriptive name of Island Peak seems to have been retained.
The mountain was first climbed in 1953 by a very prestigious team in preparation for the ascent of Everest. They were Charles Evans, Alf Gregory, Charles Wylie and Tenzing Norgay, with seven Sherpas who were trying out the new fangled oxygen sets; as practice, of course, for loftier things. Fortunately this didn't set a precedent and most people seem able to climb it without bottled air, although a Sherpa Seen from the moraines between Pheriche and Dingboche the mountain doesn't look too impressive, dwarfed as it is by one of the largest mountain faces in the world; the South Face of Lhotse. However, on close inspection it reveals itself to be an interesting and attractive summit with a highly glaciated West Face rising from the Lhotse Glacier. The mountain itself is really an extension of the South Ridge of Lhotse Shar and is separated from it by a small col. Above this gap, rising to the south, is a classically beautiful ridge leading to the summit of lmja Tse. The continuation of this ridge, descending south-west, provides part of the normal route of ascent and leads in turn to the South Summit, seen capping the rocky west facet of the mountain when viewed from near Chhukhung.
As well as providing an enjoyable climb the peak also provides some of the most striking scenery in the Khumbu. If the peak can be likened to an island in a glacial sea, then the mainland forms a semicircle of cliffs that rise in the north to the rugged summits of Nuptse (7.879m) Lhotse (8.501m), Lhotse Middle Peak (8.410m), as yet still unclimbed andLhotse Shar (8.383m). To the east, rising above the frozen waves of the Lhotse SharGlacier, is Cho Polu (6.734m). beyond which can be seen the red granite mass ofMakalu (8,475m).