Ama DablamAltitude 6,856m/22,494ft » Duration 29 Days » Grade 5D
An ascent of the famous 'Matterhorn of the Himalaya'
IntroductionAma Dablam is one of the most stunning peaks in the Himalaya and one of the most impressive mountains in the world. Situated in the heart of Everest's Khumbu region, it lies directly above Thyangboche Monastery on the well-worn path to Everest Base Camp and is admired by thousands of trekkers and climbers every year. This expedition offers a superb, technical climbing experience in a magnificent setting, with numerous cultural and scenic diversions.
The expedition is not a "guided" ascent. It will be a professionally led team of competent mountaineers who have enough experience to climb one of the world's most sought after mountains without undue risk. This approach ensures that team members are suitably experienced, reasonably self-sufficient and capable and willing to move between camps unsupervised. You will still have a high level of support, starting with strong, confident leadership; this will maximise your chances of success without undermining the quality of your achievement.
If you have the necessary experience and wish to participate fully as a team member of an expertly led expedition to one of the world's most impressive mountains, this could be the trip for you!
The MountainLike the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps, Ama Dablam epitomises all that is grand about the mountains. Its striking features have become a familiar figure to the public through its adoption as the logo of 'Perpetual', an international assurance company, and numerous posters and books throughout the world. Such impressive beauty has made Ama Dablam a highly coveted prize for climbers. Since its first ascent in 1961 by an Anglo-American-New Zealand team, it has been climbed frequently and by many different routes. As you might expect for such a mountain, some of these routes are of the highest order of difficulty.
Our route will be by the original line of ascent, the South West Ridge. This gives a fine and varied climb, sustained at a reasonable level of difficulty and with good camp platforms at strategic points. The climbing provides interest on rock, snow and ice and although of a fairly technical nature, in normal conditions it is never very difficult. Apart from one short section, the climb is objectively very safe. A route description is included in the detailed itinerary.
Jagged Globe on Ama DablamOur aim is to provide you with a safe, enjoyable and successful expedition to Nepal. This remarkable Himalayan country is the centrepiece of our worldwide activities and we provide all of our climbers with a smooth and efficient service to maximise both your enjoyment and your chances of a successful climb. The benefits of climbing with us on Ama Dablam are:
- Early winter expeditions when there are far less teams on the mountain.
- A well-planned itinerary and acclimatisation schedule based on our experience of running expeditions to Ama Dablam since 1992.
- We appoint our most experienced Jagged Globe leaders. Depending on numbers, we appoint an assistant leader.
- We provide a good level of Sherpa support. Our Sherpas will stock the camps with tents, stoves and food, as well as climbing with members when necessary (for example, on summit day).
- We have a comfortable base camp with separate tents for each team member, high backed chairs and gas heater in a double skinned mess tent and solar power.
- Excellent food in base camp is cooked by our Nepalese staff, with meals supplemented by western food.
- All high-altitude rations on the mountain are sourced and shipped from the UK.
- We have high-quality mountain tents, stoves and equipment on the mountain and have the ability to leave tents in place at each camp and use an Advanced Base Camp at c5,400m.
- We use a great hotel in Kathmandu which people really appreciate, particularly after the climbing. The Summit Hotel is a welcome oasis!
Additional benefits include:
- Jagged Globe (Climb, Trek, Ski Ltd) is ATOL bonded.
- A fully staffed office here in the UK with staff who have recent experience of Ama Dablam.
- You can take advantage of our comprehensive Equipment Hire Service to ensure you are well equipped for the climb without having to make expensive purchases (for example, hiring an 1100 sleeping bag).
We are here to make your climb a great and memorable experience, so why not join us for your Himalayan adventure!
|Day 1:||Fly London to Kathmandu.|
Our flight to Nepal departs London Heathrow at 8 p.m.
|Day 2:||Arrive at Kathmandu.|
We arrive in the afternoon and are taken to the Summit Hotel. The Summit is delightfully situated on the outskirts of the city, with relaxing gardens and a swimming pool.
|Day 3:||Fly to Lukla.|
The 40-minute flight from Kathmandu to Lukla is one of the most spectacular flights in the world. The sixteen-seater Twin Otter takes us east into the heart of Sherpa country, giving us views of the peaks of the Khumbu region, including Everest and Ama Dablam (remember to sit on the left hand side of the plane!). The landing on the tiny airstrip at Lukla is, to put it mildly, exciting.
Soon after landing, we set off along the famous trail to Everest Base Camp. From Lukla 9,184 ft (2,800 m), we walk north-west and descend to the river at Phakding 8,698 ft (2,652 m), where we camp for the night.
|Day 4:||Walk to Namche Bazaar.|
Setting off early in the morning, we follow the river before climbing the steep hill to Namche Bazaar. Hopefully, we get our first views of Everest and Lhotse as we approach Namche. We reach the town after about six hours' walking. Namche is the most prosperous and largest settlement in the Khumbu. It is the capital of the Sherpa population, a people who closely resemble the Tibetans in looks and culture. Namche is a vibrant town with many shops and several restaurants and lodges. Superb mountain scenery makes an impressive back-drop.
We are likely to feel breathless from the altitude, as Namche is 11,300 ft (3,445 m) above sea level. To assist acclimatisation we spend two nights here.
|Day 5:||Rest day at Namche Bazaar.|
Team members have the opportunity to look around Namche today and to walk to the Everest View Hotel (c3,900m).
|Day 6:||Trek to Deboche.|
From Namche, the well-worn Everest trail contours around the side of the valley high above the Dudh Kosi. As we follow the path, we will get our first really good views of the great peaks of the Khumbu: Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Ama Dablam. Passing by several villages and numerous tea shops, we will cross the Dudh Kosi river and make a steep climb to Thyangboche, home of an impressive and recently rebuilt monastery. We have plenty of time to look around Thyangboche and have a cake at the bakery before dropping down to the river and the village of Deboche (3,700m/12,135ft) a little further along the trail, where we will stay in a relaxing lodge.
|Day 7:||Trek to Pheriche (4,300m).|
It's 1.5 hours walk further up the trail to the village of Pangboche (4,000m/13,120ft). Pangboche is situated directly below Ama Dablam and many of the Sherpas who work on the mountain each season are from this village. We continue up the trail from Pangboche to Pheriche, where we stay in one of the comfortable lodges there.
|Day 8:||Acclimatisation above Pheriche.|
To assist in our acclimatisation, we can walk up the slope towards Taweche (4,800m) for great views up the Khumbu and Imja Valleys. In the afternoon, there is time for an altitude briefing by the Himalayan Rescue Association.
|Day 9:||Move to Base Camp.|
We trek back down the trail to the bridge at Pangboche and cross the Dudh Kosi before climbing up the far side of the river and following the trail and ridgeline up to base camp (3.5 hours from Pangboche). Base camp is an idyllic spot from which the majority of the route is visible. At an altitude of about 15,000ft (4,570m) it provides a comfortable escape from the rigours of the climb. Our porters deposit their loads and leave us here for the next 3 weeks, with only our Sirdar, Sherpas and Cook staff remaining.
|Day 10-24:||Ascent of Ama Dablam.|
We do not provide a prescriptive day-to-day itinerary for the climb, as this will be decided by the expedition leader. They will take a flexible approach based on their own experience, previous Jagged Globe expeditions to the mountain and the make-up of the team. Typically, the team will spend a few days at base camp organising food, practicing rope skills and acclimatising before moving above base camp. It is normal to 'tag' or spend at least one night in camp 1 (5,700m) as part of any acclimatisation schedule, before returning to base camp, resting and preparing for a summit push.
An example 'Climbing Strategy' is described in the Articles Section of our website.
A description of the route up the South West Ridge of Ama Dablam is as follows:
From base camp c4,450m old grassy moraine ridges are followed roughly eastwards to a broad saddle c5,150m from where we can see the Mingbo La. From the saddle we ascend easily northwards until the ground steepens at the start of a large boulder field. It is possible to place an Advanced Base Camp at 5,400m below the boulder field. The route continues in a northwards direction around the base of the boulder field, and then follow cairns upwards towards the toe of the SW ridge. Camp 1 should now be visible just below Pt. 5,705m. At the end of the boulder field, slabs are crossed and then a short gully ascended, which allows access to the ridge proper in a very exposed position. Easy scrambling on the east side of the ridge leads quickly to Camp 1 c5,700m. There are four or five tent platforms.
From Camp 1 we contour round the snowy bowl (possible alternative site for Camp 1) until below two rock fingers. The east side of the ridge is followed, climbing easy mixed ground until a short pitch of Severe (5.4) standard leads to the ridge proper. The ridge is narrow in places, turning difficulties on the east side, until the second tension traverse leads to two pitches of Very Severe (5.6) standard. The route continues on the crest of the ridge for a short distance until we are forced via an awkward step onto the west side of the ridge. The crest of the ridge is regained and easy ground followed to the start of a traverse on the east face, which leads to the Yellow Tower. This 15 metre pitch, which is just below Camp II, is one of the hardest pitches on the climb at HVS (5.8) standard. A short section of ridge now leads to Camp II c5,900m. Camp II has very limited tent space (3 or 4 platforms) and is extremely exposed. It is sometimes only used as an equipment dump with expeditions choosing to go from Camp I to Camp III in a single push.
From Camp II, the climb skirts a red rock bluff on the east and after a step down, follows the snow ridge direct to an awkward traverse eastwards which leads to a gully between the Grey Tower and the lower rock buttress. We climb the gully until a very exposed traverse line is reached on the west side of the ridge. A short snow slope is ascended to the start of the Mushroom Ridge. This is followed and typically involves negotiating some steep snow sections, until Camp III c6,300m is reached (since the November 2006 Dablam collapse, this has been sited in a sheltered position, just off the east side of the ridge).
The route climbs the snow and ice slope directly above Camp III and to the right hand side of the Dablam (there can be hard water ice on this section. In 2008, this section was fixed on mixed ground to the right). We continue to skirt the Dablam on the right side and then move westwards to gain a small snowfield below the Burgschrund. The Burgschrund is crossed and then the climb heads directly to the obvious ice crest. In the past couple of years, crevasses have been opening up on the upper snowfield, so these need to be negotiated. The ice crest is followed in a magnificent position to the summit.
The team needs to be back at base camp by Day 24. At this point, the porters arrive for our return trek to Lukla.
|Day 25-26:||Trek to Lukla.|
We retrace our steps via Thyangboche, Namche Bazaar and Phakding to arrive back in Lukla ready for the morning flight to Kathmandu.
|Day 27:||Fly Lukla to Kathmandu.|
An exhilarating take-off that you will never forget starts our journey back to Kathmandu and the Summit Hotel.
|Day 28:||At leisure in Kathmandu.|
This is also a buffer day in case our Lukla flight is delayed. If we fly out of Lukla on time we have a full day to relax and enjoy the various delights of Kathmandu.
|Day 29:||Depart Kathmandu.|
Our scheduled flight to London Heathrow departs in the early morning and arrives back in London early evening.
PLEASE NOTE: Every effort will be made to keep to the above itinerary, but as this is Adventure Travel in a remote mountain region, we cannot guarantee it. Weather conditions, road conditions, vehicle breakdowns and the health of climbers can all contribute to changes. The Expedition Leader and our local agent will try to ensure that the trip runs according to plan, but an easy going nature will be an asset!
AcclimatisationApproximate altitude profile of Ama Dablam:
Please note: This profile does not represent the gradient of the mountain!
LeadershipOur expeditions are led by very experienced mountain leaders. In selecting suitable leaders, our prime concern is that they have an excellent personal track-record of climbing at high altitudes...read more about leaders.
Team CompositionIain Peter (IFMGA) is leading our 2012 team. Iain has worked as a Mountain Guide for 30 years and has led a number of expeditions for Jagged Globe, including an extremely successful 2007 Everest climb. Depending on numbers, Iain will be joined by an assistant leader.
The expedition leaders will be supported by a number of handpicked climbing Sherpas, who will have climbed Ama Dablam and mountains such as Everest and Cho Oyu with Jagged Globe. We will have a cook team in base camp.
- There are a maximum of 10 places available on the expedition.
Experience RequiredAma Dablam is graded 5D.
The expedition grade reflects the technical nature and physical toughness of the climb. Whilst the altitude of the summit is relatively modest, climbing on steep ground and carrying a pack of 10 - 15Kg is a considerable step up from, for example, expeditions graded 3B (e.g. Khumbu Climber, Bolivian Climber), where c6,000m summits are reached from one high camp.
To join this expedition and have a good chance of success you need:
- To be confident on Alpine AD routes, Scottish grade IV and able to climb rock at VS (UK) or 5.7 (USA).
We also recommend that you have:
- Previous expedition experience and experience of mountains at altitudes above 6,000m.
Although ropes are fixed the whole way to the summit, climbers need to be able to climb steep rock and hard water ice. You also need to be psychologically prepared for and personally well organised to cope with living high on a precipitous mountain in cold conditions. To discuss what is involved in this expedition in more detail, please speak to Tom Briggs in the Jagged Globe office.
Our Scottish Winter Courses and our Alpine Courses provide good skills preparation for an expedition.
Porter ProtectionAny trek or expedition to Nepal relies on the hard work of local porters. It is their carrying of our supplies and baggage that makes a journey into the mountains possible. Jagged Globe is therefore careful to ensure that they are well treated, not exploited and have good protection from the elements. We work closely with our Nepal based partner, Kit Spencer to provide shelter, clothing and footwear that match the severity of the environment. Porters who become sick are treated with the same care and attention as team members, and we have used helicopters, at our expense, to rescue porters from hazardous situations.
Jagged Globe supports the work of the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG), and provides help and advice to those organisations to improve the working conditions of the porters on whom we depend. All trekkers are asked to provide feedback on porters' working conditions in post-trip questionnaires.
EquipmentFind out about our comprehensive Equipment Hire Service.
A complete climbing equipment and clothing list is included in the expedition dossier, which is sent to you on booking.
What the price includes
- Economy class return airfares from the UK (unless Land Only).
- UK airport taxes.
- All internal flights and hotel/airport transfers.
- Accommodation at our base in Kathmandu, the relaxing Summit Hotel.
- All road transport by private vehicles.
- All camping facilities and meals during the expedition.
- All porterage costs.
- All costs for leaders, guides and local helpers detailed under Team Composition.
- Jagged Globe kitbag or Fleece top.
What the price does not include
- Visa fees.
- Overseas airports taxes not paid in advance through the international airline ticket.
- Bar bills and laundry.
- Travel insurance.
- Lunch and evening meals in Kathmandu.
- Optional trips and sightseeing tours.
Tailor-made optionWe can organise this expedition on a 'tailor-made' private basis for groups of friends, families, clubs, charities or any other group. Depending on your mountaineering experience, you may want a Jagged Globe leader or go 'self-led' with the assistance of local guides. The cost of going private can be surprisingly reasonable, particularly if you take the self-led option. Please contact us to discuss the itinerary and your preferred dates. We will then send you a quote, with no obligation.
Additional InformationIf you wish to discuss any aspect of the expedition or your suitability for it, please contact us by telephone:
- +44 (0) 845 345 8848
Alternatively, you can contact us by email via the Contact Page on the website.