No mountain in the world captures alpine climbers’ imaginations like Ama Dablam (22,349’ / 6,812m).
It stands alone in the Solu Khumbu (Everest Valley), towering almost (10,000’ / 3050m) over the famous Sherpa villages of Thyangboche and Pangboche. With no easy route to Ama Dablam’s summit, climbing it is reserved for dedicated alpinists, who have built high altitude skills and experience. The successful climber to summit Ama Dablam will have solid multi-pitch rock and ice climbing experience, and be comfortable climbing technical terrain with a pack on, taking care of themselves in very high alpine camps, and spending days at a time in exposed terrain.
Ama Dablam Rapid Ascent™ Itinerary
- Day 1
Arrive in Kathmandu, Nepal
After arriving, we transfer to our hotel, and begin the process of getting over jetlag.
- Day 2
Today we explore some of Kathmandu’s most famous sites. These include Swyambunath (the Monkey Temple), Pashupati (Nepal’s largest Hindu temple), Boudanath (Kathmandu’s most important Buddhist temple) and the old city’s original central square, Durbar. We also have our first team meeting, and organize our bags for the helicopter flight to Namche.
- Day 3
Fly via helicopter to Namche (11,300 feet / 3444m), trek to Phortse (12,450 feet / 3840m)
An absolutely beautiful helicopter ride delivers us to the legendary town of Namche Bazaar. From Namche we trek roughly 4 hours to Phortse (12,450 feet / 3840m).
- Day 4
Climb to Ama Dablam Base Camp (15,000 feet / 4570m)
This is our first test in the Himalaya as we hike for 4 – 6 hours until we reach our comfortable base camp. Situated at the foot of Ama Dablam, we’ll be greeted by our team with hot drinks and our beautiful base camp and set up and ready to go.
- Day 5
Rest in Base Camp
After yesterday’s trek, we’ll need to rest our legs and allow the reality that we are about to climb sink in. Part of the day will be spent practicing high altitude skills.
- Day 6
Climb to Yak Camp (17,000 feet / 5182m)
After a big breakfast we begin hiking up along a morainal ridge with spectacular views of the mountain. We eventually join the beginning of the Southwest Ridge, at this point a large plateau, and follow it thirty minutes or so to our tents.
- Day 7
Climb to Camp 1 (18,500 feet / 5639m)
We pack our gear in Yak Camp and climb up the Southwest Ridge as it turns from a plateau to a true knife-edge. The climb begins on easy sandy trails, but quickly enters a large talus field, where we climb up and over huge granite boulders. The final few hundred feet (200 meters) are on fixed lines up a steep rock slab. The tents of Camp 1 are perched in an incredible airy position on rock platforms at the top of this slab.
- Day 8
Climb to Camp 2.7 (20,800 feet / 6350m)
Fun rock climbing from Camp 1 to Camp 2 as we continue on to new terrain. The climb from Camp 2 to Camp 2.7 is mostly ice and mixed climbing, and includes some of the toughest pitches of the whole climb, including the steep and difficult Grey Tower. Just before reaching Camp 2.7 we cross the mushroom ridge, a series of cornices and ice sculptures glued precipitously onto a knife-edge rock ridge. It is a section of climbing you will never forget! We build Camp 2.7 on the Mushroom Ridge in order to avoid any serac (icefall) danger from the Dablam that has endangered the traditional Camp 3 in previous years.
- Day 9
Summit day! (22,525 feet / 6866m)
The climb from Camp 2.7 to the summit is actually technically easier than anything prior to it. However, we will be dealing with extremely high altitude and cold temperatures. Generally we do not leave camp until daybreak, making things warm enough to climb the steep ice and snow to the summit. The views are staggering; we will be able to see six 8,000-meter peaks, including Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu. Depending on the team’s strength we will descend to Camp 2.7, or all the way to Camp 1.
- Days 10 – 11
Extra Summit Day’s
These are built in days that we can utilize for weather, extra acclimatization or any other reason we see fit.
- Day 12
Fly via Helicopter to Kathmandu
After our summit bid, we are greeted back in base camp by a helicopter that will carry us quickly over the Khumbu Valley and back to civilization in Kathmandu.
- Day 13
Extra day to Explore Kathmandu
This day is also built into our itinerary if we need an extra weather day for the helicopter to fly. If we do end up in Kathmandu the prior day, this extra day can be used to explore Kathmandu even further.
- Day 14
After a final group breakfast, return to the airport to catch international flights home.
Bring your favorite baseball hat for shelter from the sun. No white under the brim – the reflection off of it from the sun is blinding.
Recommended: Alpenglow Hat
A comfortable, warm well-fitting hat that covers your ears. Make sure that one of your hats fits under a helmet.
Recommended: Black Diamond Levels Beanie
Neck Gaiter (Buff)
A multi-purpose neck gator that can also be worn under your hat. Make sure that it covers as much skin as possible and yet is still comfy.
Recommended: Alpenglow Buff
We recommend a tight-fitting balaclava that is worn under your hat. Make sure that it covers as much skin as possible, but is comfortable enough to wear for hours.
Recommended: Black Diamond Coefficient LT Balaclava
Must have dark lenses. Minimal light should come in below, above, or around the sides of the lenses.“Wrap” style is best. Ventilation is important and a retainer strap is very useful (Chums or Croakies).
Recommended: Vaurnet Ice Rounds
These will be worn on stormy or windy days. Make sure you are getting a snug fit with lenses for bright sun. Ventilation and anti-fog features are desired.
Recommended: Vuarnet Everest Goggles
All-around gloves for mountaineering, backcountry skiing, and hiking. These gloves (and similar options) are warm, wind-resistant, durable and have a sure grip. You will rarely take these gloves off. They should be snug-fitting, and have some sort of reinforced palm.
Recommended: Black Diamond Tour Gloves
These gloves should be full GORE-TEX®, and insulated. These will be the workhorse glove for any expedition.
Recommend: Black Diamond Mission MX Gloves
These gloves should be full GORE-TEX®, with a removable fleece liner (so you can take the liner out and dry it at night). These gloves are used at higher altitudes and are needed to keep your hands dry, and warm. Over the cuff style is desired.
Recommended: Black Diamond Guide Gloves
Big Mountain Mitts
These mittens should be warm and worn over either a liner glove or a windstopper glove. Down mittens are not required. You should choose a pair that allows you to still operate locking carabiners.
Recommended: Black Diamond Absolute Mitts
A super-thin wicking sock that repels moisture. Liner socks help to reduce the likelihood of blisters. The socks should be thin wool, nylon, or Capilene®. NO COTTON
Recommended: Ice Breaker Merino Liner
Your everyday sock, good for day hikes, trekking, and in-town. It’s good to bring several pairs of these socks. NO COTTON.
Recommended: Darn Tough Hiking Sock
A wool synthetic blend. Pure rag wool socks are not nearly as effective in wicking moisture or retaining their shape and reducing blisters. Bring a few pairs of these socks. NO COTTON.
Recommended: Darn Tough Mountaineering Sock
These light to mid-weight shoes are for everyday use. The ideal shoe is comfortable to wear for multiple days and scrambles decently on rock. A Gore-tex lined shoe stays drier when hiking in rain or snow.
Recommended: La Sportiva TX Guide
Mountaineering Boots (6,000m – 7,000m)
Should be double boots that have a stiff sole and accept a step-in crampon. The boots should be comfortable, have adequate wiggle room for your toes, and your heel should not lift more than 1/8th of an inch when walking.
Recommended: La Sportiva G2 Evo
You’ll love having a warm, comfortable shoe to slip into when tent-bound. These are optional, but nice to have.
Recommended: Western Mountaineering Flash Down Booties
Ultra-light base layer that effectively wicks moisture away from your body and is breathable. Quick-dry is important as well. One light-colored shirt is recommended for extremely sunny days.
Recommended Men’s: Black Diamond Lightwire Short Sleeve
Recommended Women’s: Black Diamond Lightwire Short Sleeve
Mid-Weight Puffy Jacket
Hard Shell Jacket
Expedition-Weight Base Layer
Fitted, light-weight and quick drying. The mid-weight will be a base- layer that will get you through a wide range of temperatures. Bring multiple changes of layers.
Recommended Men’s: Black Diamond Mens Solution 150 Merino Bottoms
Recommended Women’s: Black Diamond Women’s Solution 150 Merino Bottoms
Full-length side zippers are recommended, for throwing on top of all of your layers.
Recommended: Black Diamond Stance Belay Pants
Mid-size pack for city days and trekking. Streamlined, neat and lightweight (10-20 liters).
Recommended: Black Diamond Bullet 16 Pack
Climbing Pack: 50-60L
Internal frame pack that is between 50 and 60 liters. Either purchase a matching pack cover, or use garbage bags as liners. Make sure the pack is fitted to YOUR body.
Recommended: Black Diamond Speed 50L Pack
2 Duffle Bags – At least one bag should be extremely durable, waterproof, and big – between 90L and 120L. You should feel comfortable leaving it in a puddle for several hours. Remember dry clothes are hot commodities in the mountains! Large enough to fit everything you own, plus what you anticipate buying. Two duffel bags are necessary to fit all your equipment for travel (we don’t recommend checking your backpack, best is to put all gear and backpack into your duffle). Once in country, you can consolidate your gear into one duffel and your backpack. It’s common to leave the second duffel with city clothes and other non-necessary items behind in a locked and secure location that your guide will arrange for you.
Note: For ski expeditions such as the Ecuador Ring of Fire, you can replace one of these duffle bags with a ski/splitboard bag.
Recommended: Black Diamond Stonehauler 90L
Should carry 70-100 ounces. Must be durable and have a reliable closure system. Recommended: MSR Dromlite 2L with Hydration Tube
Compressible 1-1.5L Bottle
Wide mouth compressible 1-1.5 liter bottle. Optional but strongly recommended. Often used as a designated pee bottle.
Recommended: Nalgene Flexible Cantene
Two 1L Nalgene Bottles
Two 1 Liter Wide Mouth Nalgene bottles.
Recommended: Nalgene 1 L wide mouth
A fully insulated thermos is optional but recommended for warm drinks that help with comfort, hydration, and safety on cold days in the mountains.
Recommended: Thermos STAINLESS KING™ DRINK BOTTLE 24OZ
Inflatable Sleeping Pad
72-inch long inflatable pad required. Make sure you also purchase and bring a repair kit + bag for the sleeping pad.
Recommended: NeoAir Xtherm
Sleeping Bag (-20°)
Rated to -20º F. Choose an 800+ Fill Premium Goose Down bag. Make certain that the sleeping bag is the right length. DON’T FORGET A COMPRESSION SACK FOR THE SLEEPING BAG.
Recommended: Marmot Col -20°
Plastic Bowl, Mug, and Spoon
A lightweight and compact cookware setup. You’ll want a plastic bowl, mug and spoon.
Recommended Kit: MSR 2-Person Mess Kit
2 BIC Lighters
L.E.D. headlamps are required. Make sure they have 3+ bulbs. Bring extra batteries. We highly recommend a tilting lamp.
Recommended: Black Diamond Storm 450
Make sure that they are durable, lightweight + easily adjustable.
Recommended: Black Diamond Pursuit FLZ Trekking Poles
General Mountaineering Axe
One non-technical climbing axe. The tool should be approx. 55cm- 65cm long and comfortable to hold. *Ice axes are also available to rent (for our introductory climbing courses) at no charge from Alpenglow expeditions on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Recommended: Black Diamond Raven Pro Ice Axe
Steel crampons with anti-balling plates are required (so that snow does not build-up in the base of your foot). Make sure that crampons have a heel bail and that they fit snugly on your ski or snowboard boots. Crampons are available to rent (for our introductory climbing courses) at no charge from Alpenglow Expeditions on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Recommended: Black Diamond Sabretooth Crampons
Should have a large opening for gloved hands, and an easy thumb trigger.
Recommended: Black Diamond Index Ascender
Light, easy to use + simple. Should have teeth/grooves for skinny ropes.
Recommended: Black Diamond ATC Alpine Belay Device
An easily adjustable lightweight helmet that fits with hat and Balaclava. Make sure this is a climbing-specific helmet. *Climbing helmets are also available to rent (for our introductory climbing courses) at no charge from Alpenglow Expeditions on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Recommended: Black Diamond Vision Helmet – MIPS
Must have belay loop, gear loops and adjustable leg loops so that you can layer up underneath it. Easy to pack, lightweight + comfortable. *Harnesses are also available to rent (for our introductory climbing courses) at no charge from Alpenglow expeditions on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Recommended: Black Diamond Couloir
Locking Carabiner (2)
Small, lightweight locking carabiners are best.
Recommended: Black Diamond LiteForge Screwgate
Non-locking Carabiner (2)
Small, lightweight small carabiners are best, wire-gates are fine.
Recommended: Black diamond HotForge Carabiner
Pear Shaped Carabiner (x2)
A Pear Shaped HMS carabiner.
Recommended: Black Diamond RockLock Screw Gate Carabiner
7mm Accessory Cord
7mm Accessory Cord used to create a personal anchoring system to use in technical terrain.
- Passport (with visa, if necessary)
- 2 luggage locks (TSA compliant)
- Non-cotton underwear
- Wag bags, 1 per night camping as to leave no trace
- Stuffsacks: assorted sizes, for organizing your clothes and gear
- Sunscreen: SPF 30 (or higher)
- Lip balm with SPF 15 (or higher)
- Personal first-aid kit (Band-aids, Ibuprofen, Cough Drops, Moleskin, Pepto-bismol, Imodium, Personal Medications)
- 3-4lbs of Snack food (a variety of snack food, some whole food, some bars, some gels)
- Hand Warmers
- Face Mask
- Hand Sanitizer
A perfect peak in a stunning setting
“A perfect peak in a stunning setting, Alpenglow’s Ama Dablam expedition was well-organized from the moment we landed in Kathmandu all the way to the summit. I can’t imagine a smoother trip, and the guides kept us moving while maintaining great margins of safety along the way. I’d go anywhere with Alpenglow Expeditions.”