Mani stone outside Namche monastery A Trek in Solu-Khumbu, Nepal
Island Peak Approach
Day 17: After spending a night in Chukkung, we trekked to Island Peak Base Camp. The landscape was rough and somewhat bleak, but we walked through this pastoral valley on the way. The Imja Khola -- it's baby blue, honest to God, I did not doctor this photograph -- runs cold and fast through here, descending from a glacier next to Island Peak (Imja Tse). What doesn't show up in this picture are the glacial erratic boulders scattered around the valley floor. Some of them were 12-foot cubes, as if a giant had been playing dice in the valley...
Imja Khola Valley near Island Peak
The immense Lhotse wall towered over us on the left as we walked towards base camp. This picture cannot possibly give you an appropriate sense of scale. Island Peak -- a nontrivial 4000-foot climb -- is dwarfed next to this thing. (That black slope on the right is Island Peak, by the way.) You might see a horizontal band of yellowish streaks near the top of the ridge; this is the same geological feature as the Yellow Band on Everest. Luis says that fossils are sometimes found there. Lhotse, however, is rarely climbed.
Lhotse from near Island Peak
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Text and images © 2001 by Jenifer Tidwell