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Ama Dablam Expedition Comes to a Close

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Our 2014 Ama Dablam expedition has come to a close. The team collectively made the decision not to summit Ama Dablam this year. Below is a recap of the trip.

On 10/22 they moved to Yak Camp to begin their 4-Night, 5-Day rotation. The team felt great and strong. They headed up to Yak Camp after lunch and settled in for the evening. The following day, the climbers woke to tents warmed by the sun and were ready to go by 9 a.m. They headed up to Camp 1 in good time and then the members continued back to Yak Camp and Alpenglow guide Brian Warren continued to Camp 2 to check out the fixed lines between Camp 1 and Camp 2. By the time Brian reached Camp 2, he decided that they would need massive amounts of new rope to be fixed between Camp 1 and Camp 2. After numerous radio conversations, they had a team from the Expedition Operators Association, as well as the Alpenglow Sherpa and some IMG Sherpa, ready to come up and help fix the following day.

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Two days later, on 10/24, the team woke at Yak Camp, packed up all their gear and headed to Camp 1. This was a short day but it allowed them to progress while the mountain was getting new fixed lines put in. They had a great night sleep in Camp 1 and woke early the following morning prepared for a long day. Brian, Pasang and the climbers made their way towards Camp 2. The other climbing Sherpa, Tenzing and Karma, went to Camp 2.7 to establish the tent sites. They had a great day despite very cold, windy and snowy conditions. Throughout the day, Pasang and Brian re-fixed many sections of the fixed lines with the help of the EOA and IMG teams. They had to re-fix the ropes on Yellow Tower upon arrival as even the new ropes had seen a lot of damage despite minimal use this season. As the team expected, the route had iced up with new snow and verglas. The climbers did exceptionally well over this technical terrain and certainly fought hard throughout the day.

After their big day of Camp 1 to Camp 2, they woke early on 10/26, with excitement to head back down to Base Camp for Tashi’s cooking. After seeing how much effort had gone into the rope re-fixing, the Alpenglow Sherpa, climbers and Brian had a lot of confidence in the way things were shaping up on the mountain. The climbers were strong and they were climbing on brand new 10mm fixed lines for the majority of the route. On 10/27 and 10/28 the team had rest days. On Wednesday, 10/29, David and Per were feeling well rested after a series of showers, lounging, movie nights, and of course, the amazing food coming from the kitchen. On this day, the team headed up after breakfast to make their way slowly to Camp 1. 

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10/30: The group woke at 6am for their departure as they were planning on making their way to Camp 2.7 on this day. They had breakfast and coffee in Camp 1 and climbed as normal, feeling great as there was no wind, and they were down to their base layer tops in the sun. Around mid morning, the team had numerous conversations about the route, conditions and if they needed and wanted to continue. Up to this point, there had been a few releases of ice from the hanging Dablam glacier, which was certainly in the forethought of their minds. The climbers, Sherpa and other teams discussed the risk and dangers of climbing underneath the Dablam, as you must, on summit day.

By the time they reached Camp 2, the Alpenglow climbers, Sherpa and Brian decided that they would turn around and that they would not push on to Camp 2.7 or further. This decision was truly based on the black and white facts that there were some hazards on the mountain that the team was not comfortable with. This was a very difficult decision for the entire team as they had all worked extremely hard to get to this point. The group had pushed their bodies hard through the terrain from Lukla all the way to Camp 2 on Ama Dablam. The Alpenglow team had helped re-fix the mountain and our Sherpa team had worked extremely hard to establish Camp 2.7 high on the mountain. Despite this, the team knew they made the right decision and they turned around at Camp 2 and headed for Base Camp. Even with the prefect forecast and weather window, brand new fixed lines and an overall strong team, the team decided that they would not continue to the summit this season. The climbers all recognized that sometimes the mountains make decisions for us and the Alpenglow team was all in agreement that turning around at Camp 2 was the most reasonable and safe decision at the time. 

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