Nepal, the Himalayan Mountains, and Mt Everest. When we see or hear these words images of soaring high peaks, or fluttering prayer flags, or even daring and brave mountaineers come to mind. Many people know that Nepal is a country dominated by the Himalayan Mountains and that it creates the backbone of the northern border between it and Tibet. Almost everyone knows that Mt Everest, the highest mountain in the world is shared by Nepal and Tibet northeast of Kathmandu.
So is this why it is considered the hub for climbers and mountaineers? More or less undoubtedly so. Every year eyes turn towards the highest summit in the world as hundreds attempt to climb Everest, and every year that number grows. Still, there are a number of other people quietly perfecting their alpine craft on dozens of other peaks scattered throughout the Himalayan Mountains. And still, even a few more come here to try climbing their first high-altitude summit, as they enjoy a trekking in the Himalayan Mountains holiday.
What are these peaks that are high in altitude, yet accessible to the novice climber? There are a handful of peaks that are considered “trekking peaks”. This distinction concerns the price for the permit of climbing, and they tend to be the least expensive, as opposed to climbing Ama Dablam, or even Everest. However, most use this classification to distinguish peaks that have little to no technical climbing involved. These peaks can be climbed by those who are in very good physical shape and would like the opportunity to climb a mountain that has significant elevation gain but have little or no mountaineering experience. With an experienced guide, many people successfully climb to heights that would otherwise be completely inaccessible anywhere else.
So what makes climbing in Nepal so special? Well, exactly this. A novice climber can experience mountaineering at high-altitude and gaze upon the tallest mountains of the world once they reach the summit. Even better, these peaks are easily added to many popular treks such as the Everest Base Camp Trek.
The top three trekking peaks that can be accomplished with or without a trek and are accessible for the novice or hobby climber are Island, Mera, and Lobuche Peaks. These are beautiful summits, each with their own perspective, their own character, and have diverse and different surroundings as one approaches them.
Lies within the remote and beautiful Hinku Valley and rises 6,461 meters above sea level. There is often some confusion as the height tends to be reported at 6,654 meters and is said to be the highest trekking peak in Nepal. However, this figure is for a neighboring peak and of the 3 summits of Mera, the central peak is the most common for expedition companies to take clients on. The approach is similar to that of Island Peak, in that it begins with a flight into Lukla, the famous airstrip perched at the edge of a vast and deep valley and considered the gateway to the entire Everest Region. From the summit views of Everest (8,848m), Lhotse, Cho Oyu and Makalu can be seen.
Its lesser-known name stands at 6,189 meters. The name Island Peak was given this name because it appears as an “island in a sea of ice when viewed from Dingboche Peak”. Island Peak has the distinction of residing within the Sagarmatha National Park, the same park as Mt Everest. This peak also carries another distinction. It was climbed in 1953 by the famous Tenzing Norgay, one of the first people, along with Sir Edmond Hillary, to successfully summit Mt Everest. And it was done so in preparation for climbing Everest. For those who are students of mountaineering history and lore, this peak would be a perfect choice because each step would be following the footsteps of a mountaineering legend. Views of Lhotse (2,300m) dominate the view from the peak, and many will enjoy this peak in conjunction with the EBC Trek.
The third most popular trekking peak is Lobuche Peak. Again this is another great peak to climb for those new to mountaineering and stands within close proximity to Mt Everest. It reaches a height of 6,199 meters and is quite close to the Khumbu Glacier. There is sometimes confusion about peak names, and the peak is actually two; Lobuche Far East, and Lobuche East. The latter often is mistaken as Lobuche West. So Lobuche East Peak is considered the trekking peak, and when going with a guiding company this will be the one summited. The Khumbu region where the famous Sherpa people live in the area of entry to this peak and will offer great opportunities for cultural exchange along the way.
Whichever peak is climbed they all have their own unique flavor and are all great options for the physically fit who would like to try their hand at high- altitude mountaineering without the intense technical climbing know-how. So if choosing to trek into the Everest Region, and want to add something extra to the experience try a trekking peak and add incredible memories to an already amazing adventure!