Travel and Leisure

Why we chose Ama Dablam and why you should consider it too?

What is special about Ama Dablam:

It is unusual to find a technical climbing peak with such good quality climbable granite, easy-to-climb stable mixed terrain and climbable solid firm snow and ice. Ama Dablam is very pleasing to the eye, with it’s many graceful lines. Rather than the usual Himalayan “snow plod” the climbing on Ama Dablam is very gratifying to the mountaineer. With a lot of fun easy moderately technical pitches on rock, snow, ice and mixed terrain.

Ama Dablam is easily fixed with safety ropes, rendering it relatively easy and safe for the moderately experienced, novice, and also yields challenging fun for the expert climber. Not only is climbing rendered much safer and simpler with the use of good quality fixed ropes, using ascending devices “jumars” but also, descending is made much safer by the use of fixed lines, descenders, and arm rappels / abseils. Another special feature, it has no glacier at it’s base. Instead,  basecamp is on grass. And the basecamp is quite low as well, being situated at just 4500 metres / 14,750 feet. Another outstanding feature is Ama Dablam’s relative ease of access. Its only 5 short days of trekking from Lukla to Ama Dablam basecamp. This includes 1 rest day in Namche as well.
Ama Dablam and its photogenicity
It is also special due to its photogenicity and beauty. Ama Dablam is often pictured in movies and photo essays about Everest. Everest is quite boring looking and hard to see. Due the way it is hidden behind Lhotse, Nuptse, and the West Ridge. However, Ama Dablam looks more like the stereotypical mountain pinnacle. Because of this, Ama Dablam is known as the Matterhorn of the Himalaya. And indeed it does look like the Matterhorn. Because of its fame, Ama Dablam is often referred to the “most famous rock, ice, and snow peak in all Asia”.

Climbing Grade / Difficulty:

While Ama Dablam looks tough due to its daunting vertical relief and steepness. It only has a few moves (moves not pitches) of North American 5.7, British Severe and French 4. At sea level, these are considered to be relatively low climbing grades. And often, when one reads accounts of climbing Ama Dablam, the grades are vastly overestimated.

However, believe the easy grades! Most of Ama Dablam is what we call 3rd and 4th class scrambling. However easy, one must not underestimate Ama Dablam. It is very exposed, and it is important to stay clipped to good quality ropes, for below that little granite ridge or ice outcrop your feet are perched on may lie 100s of metres / feet of air. Another important consideration is to know your ropes.

Not all ropes on Ama Dablam are new, and some are old ones that should have been removed long ago, so please check first, before clipping to just anything that comes to hand.

What Equipment, Clothing and Boots Are Necessary for Ama Dablam:

We climb Ama Dablam in November, so you need the normal Autumn trekking and rock climbing long sleeve warm clothing plus a full complement of thick hooded down jacket, thick down trousers, perhaps a downsuit (but its limited in that you cant use it lower on the mountain), down booties, down mitts or super insulated mitts, warm face mask, etc. Wind and snow googles are important, as are clear lenses for high winds at night to prevent snow/wind blindness.

For boots we recommend lightweight running/trainers/trailshoes, all leather sturdy single trekking/mountain ankle high boots for boulder hopping and rock climbing scrambling to camp 2, and 7000 metre / 8000 metre 23,000 – 26,000  foot high double mountaineering boots for summit day above camp 2. For your harness we recommend a good mountaineering mid weight harness, ice-axe, ascender, figure 8, four 2 metre slings, 2 locking carabiners and 4 standard carabiners. Of course, don’t forget your helmet (must fit over a warm hat) and your headtorch(es) with extra batteries.

Summit day

We highly recommend 3 one-litre water bottles. Climbing gloves are nice to have , and you will enjoy having a range of thicknesses from ultralight liner gloves up to lightweight with reinforced palms to medium weight with warm insulation. You will be switching to down mitts or super insulated mitts up high. Goretex windshell layers of trousers and jackets are brilliant to have as are expedition weight thermal shirt and long underwear leggings.

Be sure to bring a warm sleeping bag. A good quality 60 litre back pack seems to be the perfect size. We purchase our mattresses in Lukla where they have a nice selection of thick foam matts for basecamp and folding closed cell foam (karri) matts for the high mountain.

All group gear like ropes, rock and ice protection, tents, stoves, fuel, food, walkie talkies, is included in our service.

Other treks in Nepal: Annapurna

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