No mountain in the world captures alpine climbers’ imaginations like 22,525 foot (6,866 meter) Ama Dablam. It stands alone in the Solu Khumbu (Everest) valley, towering almost 10,000 feet (3,050 meters) over the famous Sherpa villages of Thyangboche and Pangboche. With no easy route to its summit, climbing Ama Dablam is reserved for dedicated alpinists, who have built skills and experience in much more than simply high altitude walking. The successful climber will have solid multi-pitch climbing experience on rock and ice, 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.
This expedition is in many ways the culmination of Alpenglow Expeditions’ teaching system and mission. On Ama Dablam our expectation is that each climber takes real responsibility for their own success and that of their teammates. Members of the team will assist in setting camps, carrying loads, cooking, and melting snow in high camps. Summiting the peak will be a success you have truly earned, and can be, if you choose, an ideal stepping stone to more independent expeditions on big Himalayan peaks.
On our expedition we climb the route of the mountain’s first ascent, the Southwest Ridge. First climbed in 1961, the route is incredibly varied. It offers every type of climbing along the way to the summit, and from Camp 1 up is always exposed and technical.
From Base Camp to Camp 1, we will climb up a long moderate morainal ridge, enjoying excellent views of our entire route.
From Camp 1 to 2 we encounter the route’s crux rock climbing sections. There are interesting technical traverses combined with countless easy fifth class moves and some short harder pitches of up to 5.8 climbing. On all of this climbing, you will be truly climbing each move, using fixed ropes only to protect yourself. This is not a route of jug-hauling!
Camp 2 to 2.7 offers the route’s most challenging ice climbing, with sustained pitches of steep ice and mixed terrain. The final section into Camp 2.7 is the famed mushroom ridge, a mostly horizontal traverse across cornices tenuously stuck to a knife-edge ridge.
From Camp 2.7 to the summit, the route lessons slightly in technical difficulty, climbing straightforward 50-70 degree ice and snow around the hanging glacier (the Dablam) and up the summit face.
An expedition to Ama Dablam will test all of your mountaineering skills, and a summit is one to be very proud of. Climbing this peak also provides a taste of true Himalayan expedition life. You will be supported by the best Sherpa staff in the Khumbu. After an 8-day trek through the villages of the Everest Valley, we will have a full Puja blessing ceremony, and then settle into life in a very comfortable basecamp, complete with cook, heated dining tent, individual sleeping tents, and a private bathroom tent with shower. We have found that these amenities are essential in having a well-rested and strong team of climbers during our summit push. We pride ourselves in our record of safety and success. Beware of operators who offer Ama Dablam climbs with less support!
Our Ama Dablam expedition will be guided by one or more of Alpenglow’s AMGA certified lead guides. AMGA (American Mountain Guides Association) certification is the highest possible training available to guides, and only the most experienced and dedicated attain it. Our guides have been climbing in Nepal for more than a decade, and have led dozens of expeditions to Himalayan peaks (including 9 successful summits of Ama Dablam). Their knowledge of Sherpa culture as well as the mountains, combined with their passion for teaching mountaineering skills to others, guarantees that your experience will be one to remember.
Our climber to guide ratio is 4:1, and our climber to sherpa ratio is 1:1. This ensures that we have unparalleled support carrying loads, fixing ropes, and building camps. The guides climb with the members every day throughout the season. The sherpa also spend lots of time climbing with us, and on summit day will be with their climbing member at all times.
All of our guides and sherpa have summited Ama Dablam and other Himalayan peaks countless times. This maximizes your safety and your opportunity to climb Ama Dablam successfully.
We combine our western guides’ and sherpa’s experience with the local expertise of one of Nepal’s best logistics operators, and the services of our good friend and local sirdar/guide, Dorji Sonam Sherpa. Dorji hails from the beautiful town of Phortse, and along with at least 6 ascents of Ama Dablam, he has summited Everest 15 times. His management of our local staff, knowledge of the Khumbu, and friendly personality will be essential in ensuring that you stay healthy, strong, and able to enjoy each component of this experience.