Island Peak, Nepal
Climbing the World to End Alzheimer's
20,305-feet 6,189-meterss

YOU DID IT!!! Over $40,000 was raised for Cure Alzheimer's Fund in October during Kami and my summit of Island Peak. 100% of all donations go to research, none to overhead, marketing or ever to me. My deep appreciation to Jim and Carol Beers for the matching $20K donation

Island Peak from Chhukung. Summit is snow ridge at back.

A Personal Journey

Island is known as a trekking peak in Nepal and often used as a first Himalayan climb. So given I have summited Everest, K2, Manaslu or much more difficult peaks, why am I interested in Island at about 20,000 feet?

As you may know if you have been following my social media or this site that last year on February 10, 2017 a 100 mph wind gust cart-wheeled me in to a scree field breaking my tibia and fibula in three places Thankfully Jim Davidson was with me and was able to call 911. We laid in the rocks for fours that winter afternoon until 40 members of the local search and resource teams came to our aid. I'm forever grateful to the Larimer Country Search and Rescue, Boulder County Rescue Group, Rocky Mountain National Park Rangers and of course Jim.

I chronicled my progress since then on multiple blog posts but it has taken a long time to recover and I'm just not sure if I'm ready to return to a big peak again, thus Island is a great test.

Climbing to End Alzheimer's

I climbed again to raise money for the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to funding research with the highest probability of preventing, slowing or reversing Alzheimer’s disease through venture-based philanthropy. I have worked with them since 2008. Over $40,000 was raised for Cure Alzheimer's Fund in October during Kami and my summit of Island Peak. 100% of all donations go to research, none to overhead, marketing or ever to me. My deep appreciation to Jim and Carol Beers for the matching $20K donation

The day my mom, Ida, asked me "Who are you?" was the day my life changed forever. I made a personal commitment to do everything I could to make a difference in finding a cure for Alzheimer's. I began to dedicate my climbs to raise awareness about AD: no cure, always fatal, not a part of normal aging. Thus far, thanks to many of you, we have reached 50 million people and raised $300,000 for Alzheimer's research.

But there is so much more to be done, more I can do. Please visit the donations page to consider a contribution to one of the non-profits I support.

The October 2018 Summit of Island

I climbed with Kami Sherpa to summit Island Peak aka Imja Tse at 20,305-feet/6,189-meters. It is located just over the ridge from Everest and Lhotse and you reach it by trekking through the Khumbu. The closest village is Chhukung (4,730m/15,518ft). As you may remember Kami and I have summited Everest (2011) and K2 (2014) and had two attempts on Lhotse (2015/2016) that were stopped by the earthquake and me getting sick.

As usual, I live blogged throughout the trek and climb. Click the link to read the blogs.

Island Peak is classified as a "trekking" climb - but this is huge mistake by Nepal - meaning there is little objective danger as in vertical ice but there are crevasses (with ladder crossings)and potential avalanches along the route so care must be taken. The real crux of climbing Island Peak is the final 100 meters or last 300 feet. It can be a bit steep and usually there is a fixed rope for safety.

We took the off-route trekking route to Goyko and then to Chhukung. From there we went to base camp (hosted by Sunrise Mountain Gear) at 16,800' where we launched our summit bid.

From high camp the climbing angle increased and has a few switchbacks and rock scrambling before reaching "crampon point". We made our way across the glacier using several ladders to cross deep crevasses. The final challenge on the ascent was a 450-foot/150-meter "headwall" which is a 60 degree angle snow slope leading to the summit ridge. It had several sets of fixed rope that multiple climbers used along with a carabineer and a jumar.

The summit is tiny but on our day there were about 12 people squeezed onto it.

Ambassador Work

Another reason I returned to Nepal was to help, as much as I am capable of, the wonderful people of this country. I served as an ambassador for two non-profits: The Himalayan Stove Project (HSP) and helping to scout out the potential for a dental clinic in the Khumbu.

I was eager to see how Kami is using his clean cook stove from the HSP as well as the widow of Lama Geshe. The HSP has impacted over 40,000 people in Nepal since 2010 by providing about 4,000 stoves. You can support their mission through a donation. It only costs $150 to build and deliver each stove. If you are not familiar with the problem, many homes throughout rural Nepal are not adequately ventilated for the wood fires used for cooking. Alternative cooking technologies like solar or fuel are not practical or feasible thus many families depend on wood. The clean cook stove reduces the smoke by 90% by burning the wood more efficiently.

Island Peak Resources