Ama Dablam (6857m) is one of the most beautiful and stunning mountaineering peaks in the world, rises above the Dudh Kosi River valley on the way to Everest Base Camp. Ama Dablam Climbing Expedition is for experienced climbers who want to enjoy the structure and leadership of a top notch program, yet maintain some personal flexibility.
Ama Dablam Expedition requires competent alpine ice-climbing technique on slopes to 55 degrees and experience climbing on mixed terrain with heavy packs. Good basic rock climbing skills. Ama Dablam is a classic expedition-style climb that requires focus, flexibility and determination over a period of more than 4 weeks. Fixed lines will be used in our ascent, to aid speed and efficient movement on this impressive mountain.
Ama Dablam is a popular technical climbing and mountaineering peak. The normal climbing route is the south west ridge offers a semi-technical, but climbable and fun route of steep snow, ice and rock sections in spectacular and very exposed situations. In combination with the special Sherpa team, the Ama Dablam Expedition provides you a unique climbing experience in the Himalayas and a great preparation for an 8000m peak like Everest or Lhotse.
Base Camp to Camp 1 climbing -This is quite a long walk and may take five to six hours on the first journey. This is likely to reduce considerably with improved acclimatization. Unusually there is no glacier approach and you can walk in trainers along pleasant grassy ridges that curve around behind the SW ridge. As you gain height, a superb views open up to the whole of the Western Himalaya, most notably Cho Oyu (8201m), Numbur (6859m) and Tawache (6367m). Just before reaching camp 1 we cross a granite boulder field and scramble easily up some huge boiler plate granite slabs.
Camp 1 to Camp 2 climbing -Camp 1 is situated at the foot of the SW ridge and so you embark on the climb as soon as you leave camp and clip into the fixed ropes. Initially there is some quite easy traversing of rocky terraces and snowy ledges. Then there are some superb compact granite slabs to cross and these lead into equally enjoyable slabby buttresses to ascend. Just before Camp 2 is reached The Yellow Tower must be climbed/jumared and this provides the technical crux of the whole route. The climbing is extremely enjoyable but it is hard work at this altitude. Three to five hours.
Camp 2 to Camp 3 climbing - As soon as you leave Camp 2 you start gaining height. It’s hard work but the climbing is good and the ascent of The Grey Tower provides the next obstacle. Easy snow and ice then leads to the ‘Mushroom Ridge’, the corniced snow crest that links the mixed SW ridge below with the summit snow fields above. Your ‘composure with exposure’ will be tested here! However the ground is not technically difficult, Scottish II, and you will soon reach the narrow snow shelves that provide the site of Camp 3.
Camp 3 to Summit climbing -The site of Camp 2.9 is quite cold, high and exposed and you are unlikely to have a great night’s sleep! As we are now essentially on the West Face the sun does not arrive until around 9.30am. We will probably set off from the high camp at around 7.30am and be aiming to reach the summit after about 3-4 hours of ascending the fixed ropes up the grade I summit snow fields. There is one short steep section over an icy bulge that provides a welcome contrast in climbing style! The summit of Ama Dablam is a truly outstanding view point.
Below is our Ama Dablam Expedition itinerary, and talk to our expedition guide and leader for more expedition travel guide, customized expedition itinerary, and the best deals to Ama Dablam Expedition. We are very happy to see you soon with answer of your entire query.
Day 1: Arrive in Kathmandu
One of our representatives will receive you at Kathmandu airport upon arrival to Nepal’s only one International Kathmandu airport and transferred to a standard hotel in Kathmandu. The expedition leaders will also check out all of your equipment to ensure you have everything you need. If something is missing, we can plan a shopping excursion for the next day.
Day 2: Private and Personal day in Kathmandu
This is a great day to explore the Thamel district of Kathmandu, do some shopping or just sit and read a book. We are about to embark on an expedition to Ama Dablam so there will surely be a lot on our minds and this is a great day to get your head in the right place. In the evening, all start getting to know each other.
Day 3: Fly to Lukla, trek to Phakding
The flight to Lukla is weather dependent. If a flight is not possible we will need to stay in Kathmandu and wait for the weather to clear. After the short 45 minute flight, we will have a snack and start the walk to the small village of Phakding. We will stay at a very comfortable tea house located near the Dud Khosi River. Lukla to Phakding is about 3/4 hours trek.
Day 4: Trek to Namche Bazzar
This is very exciting day. We really start to feel that we are in Sherpa country now. After entering Sagamarta National Park, we descend to a lovely lunch spot where our cook staff will prepare us a hot lunch while we talk about the climb ahead. After lunch, the ‘big hill’ brings us, usually short of breath, to the Sherpa capital of Namche Bazzar. Phakding to Namche bazzar is nearly 5/6 hours trekking.
Day 5/6: Active acclimatization in Namche Bazzar (3550m)
This is a crucial part of proper acclimatization for the Ama Dablam expedition. Although most groups choose to spend only one day here, we spend two full days and three nights resting and acclimatizing. Based out of a comfortable tea house in the heart of Namche, we will embark on morning walks that offer not only stunning scenery and culture but also serve to acclimatize our bodies to new altitudes and environments. Ama Dablam, Lhotse south face and Everest will be revealed here and drop the jaws of everyone on the team. Now you will know what all the hype is about. Namche is also the last stop for a game of pool, beers and some dancing if that’s your thing.
Day 7: Trek to Tengboche and Debouche (3900m, 5-7 hours trekking).
This is 6 hours trek broken up by an excellent hot lunch will bring us into the height where proper acclimatization really starts to make a difference. The trail is well travelled and very straight forward. The main challenge of this day is staying out of the hot sun and keeping hydrated. Slow and steady wins the race on this expedition. We will spend a few hours in Tengboche visiting the world famous Monastery. Here we will have the chance to experience a true Buddhist cultural sensory overload. This is something that should not be excluded from any excursion into the Khumbu region of Nepal. After we visit the monastery we make the short 20 minute walk down the hill to Deboche where we will stay in one of the many Ama Dablam lodges in this area. Ama Dablam continues to grow in front of us and by now, people usually start looking away. It’s big, steep and wonderful.
Day 8: Trek to Ama Dablam Base Camp (4600m, 6/7 hours)
We are really starting to get into the mountains now. We pass Kantega, Tawoche and many more while breaking this big day up into manageable chunks. If required, some members may stay in Pangboche and depart to Ama Dablam base camp early the next morning.
Day 9 /10: Rest Day and ropes course in Ama Dablam base camp (4600m)
After the big height gain of the previous day a rest will be welcomed by all. We spend this day sorting our gear, eating, drinking and doing whatever needs to be done to prepare for the challenge ahead. Our second rest day will consist of the usual base camp life plus an extensive training session on the sure of fixed ropes and jumaring on vertical terrain. This is a mandatory part of the expedition and also helps the guides assess the skills of all team members.
Day 11: Puja and Height gain to Ama Dablam camp 1 (5650m, 7-10 hours)
After the customary Puja ceremony at base camp, the guides will lead the group on a crucial day of height gain and acclimatization. The Sherpa staff will be busy hauling loads of tents, ropes and other equipment up to camp one where they will begin to build and stock our high camps. After a height gain of approximately 1000m we will all be feeling the need to rest for another day and will return exhilarated to Ama Dablam base camp.
Day 12: Active Acclimatization day at Ama Dablam base camp
This day is included to allow everyone the time to prepare for a move to camp one. By this time, the Sherpa staff will have the camp in place and likely already be stocking our camp 2 at 6000m depending on the condition of the route. Today, your guides will sift through your gear with a fine toothed comb to ensure you are not bringing anything unnecessary or redundant.
Day 13: Climb to Ama Dablam Camp (1 5650m)
Apart from your personal climbing equipment and clothing the Sherpa team will carry your food and equipment to your tent at camp one. Regardless, we will still need to carry a load of about 5kg on our backs and at this point in the schedule; we will really notice the difference of a few extra kilos. Something to note for future expeditions. We will all sleep in camp one if possible. This is a moderate climb over moraine, grass and eventually a large talus field leading to the slabs before camp 1. We actually gain the SW ridge from the east by climbing around the base of the ridge and in a series of left turns eventually reach a large talus field consisting of large flat boulders of which we pick our way through to the base of the rocky slabs directly below camp one. This is where helmets go on and we usually clip into a fixed line to ascend this 45 degree rock slope. This 4th class exposed scramble is about 150m in length.
Day 13: Height gain to 5900m and return to Ama Dablam Base Camp
Today is a short 2-4 hour climb up to just below camp 2. We depart early and are on the fixed lines right out of the tent. This is a technically challenging day and doing it as many times as possible is not only great fun but also really helps one get to know the route and the ropes on this very exposed terrain. Ama Dablam is right there the whole day and as we approach base camp, out route comes into full view. It’s a long way off but by now we all know that our acclimatization is starting to grow and our bodies have a chance of making the top. Our Staff will already be hard at work building tent spots for our personal tents as well as our excellent base camp. We’ve made it! Time to get to work.
Day 14: Rest Day in Ama Dablam Base Camp or Sleeping at Camp 1
Regardless of what we do here, we are taking everything very slowly. This will not only help us stay healthy on the climb but moreover ensure proper adjustment to the ever increasing altitudes.
Day 15: Move to Camp 1 on Ama Dablam
Day 16: Move to Camp 2 on Ama Dablam and return to Camp 1
This is the best part of the climb. Right out of the gates we traverse on broken granite in a slow rise to gain the apex of the SW ridge. There are many exposed traverses on rock with a couple short 80 degree steps. At the top of the second of these steps we reach the apex of the ridge and can look over and down to base camp nearly 1000 vertical meters below. Huge exposure throughout the entire day will definitely get you comfortable with this airy exposed climb. The route then zig zags to the other side of the ridge crest and we consistently have 1200m of air beneath our feet. Dont look down! After a few zigs and zags we surmount a short mixed step and traverse to the base of the infamous “Yellow Tower” at about 5900m. It is possible to free climb this barely off vertical section and on the Yosemite Decimal rating system it is a 5.9. Keep in mind though; at nearly 6000m with a pack and in mountain boots, this is nothing like a 5.9 on a sport crag or climbing wall. Good, efficient climbing technique will make this section easier and much more enjoyable. Or, you can do it like the Sherpas and just the line in a series of short jump moves. This is enough to make anyone cringe as the exposure below the Yellow Tower is about 600m. Once the Yellow Tower in climbed, about 30 minutes of enjoyable mixed climbing brings you to the stunning and unforgettable camp 2, 6000m. Camp 2 is situated on a large rocky pinnacle and offers amazing views and sunsets.
Day 17: Move to Camp 2 and sleep
Day 18: Height gain to 6250m and return to base camp
This is a good day to get used to your systems and also get proficient and efficient at descending the fixed lines. We will leave camp 2 early in the morning, crampons on and traverse up and over to the base of the 200m“Grey Tower”. This used to be an exciting mixed climb on ice and rock but in recent years it has become a steep rock climb up loose granite. The key to this section is not to kick rocks down on the people below you. After a few pitches of steep rock barely in the fifth class range, let’s call it 4.11, the route usually becomes caked with snow and ice. We will then climb to the base of the mushroom ridge and turn back, rapping all the way down to camp one and on to base camp.
Day 19-20: Rest days in Ama Dablam base camp or down to Pangboche.
We may decide as a group to descent to Pangboche to rest, have a beer and get ready for the upcoming summit push. It is only about 1 hour down to the village and for some; it is a welcome change from base camp. We can easily walk back to base camp in about 2.3 hours now that we are acclimatized properly.
Day 21: Move to Camp 1 on Ama Dablam
Day 22: Move to Camp 2 on Ama Dablam
Day 23: Summit Day on Ama Dablam (6856m)
This day will begin at 1:15 am. After reaching the base of the Mushroom Ridge we will climb steep snow and ice to the ridge proper. After about 1 hour of insane exposure and scenery we will reach the site of camp 3, usually at first light. It will be very cold here and it is crucial to keep moving and protect one’s self from the unrelenting winds that blow early in the day. We will quickly move out of the path of the Dablam and climb 50 degree snow and ice until we round the Dablam at about 6500m. From here, the route varies year to year but it usually consists of steep snow climbing up a large fluting directly to the summit! No false promises here. The climb us the final 45 degree snow slope leads directly to the summit. We will then descent to camp 2 for some much needed rest.
Day 24: Descend to Ama Dablam base camp and celebrate
Day 25: Packing and relaxing after the climb of Ama Dablam
Day 26: Trek from Ama Dablam Base Camp to Pangboche.
Day 27: Trek back to Namche bazaar.
Day 28: Trek down to Lukla.
Day 29: Fly to Kathmandu
Day 28: Kathmandu airport
Transfer to airport to get your onwards flight.
Note: This itinerary represents only one possibility for our expedition schedule during the trek as well as on the mountain. It is possible that the schedule may be changed as a result of weather or other circumstances beyond our control.