Ama Dablam 8th October 2022
Leader: Di Gilbert
Follow Di and the team here:
I think this is what they might call a Full House in terms of mountaineering. At 0845 local time on Sunday 30th all team members (Jon, Pierre, Ethan and Omar), our 2 climbing Sherpas (Phursemba and Dawa) and a Di didi stood on the summit of Ama Dablam.
"The pictures don’t tell the full story, mainly because of the blue skies but I will assure you one thing - the winds were brutal and there was more than one occasion when I nearly turned the group around. No mountain is worth frostbite. However, we layered up, dug deep and were rewarded with a once-in-a-lifetime memory.
Having spent the past 2 nights with no sleep, everybody was keen to return to the luxury of base camp. Di and Omar continued down to base camp after nearly 24 hours on the go, Ethan arrived a few hours later and Jon and Pierre continued their own adventure by biving out under the stars near ABC.
I don’t think it’s fully sank in yet. We are all pottering around camp drying out equipment, packing and rehydrating. Base camp is pretty busy now and we’re glad to have been one of the first teams on the hill. We plan to depart camp tomorrow and return to Kathmandu via a few detours.
Thanks for the comments on the website - it means a lot."
The team have arrived back in base camp after spending a couple of nights on the mountain.
We made good steady progress to our camp one which about 20 minutes below the conventional campsite. This means that we have clean snow for melting, no rubbish and we aren’t disturbed by the other groups. After our first night we made good progress to camp two - we managed this in approach shoes (unlike previous years where big boots and crampons have been required) which made the scrambling a complete joy. After touching camp 2 we returned to camp one for a second nights sleep.
We are now looking forward to eating and drinking lots as we rest before the summit push.
The team will now descend to basecamp for some rest.
The group have well and truly settled into base camp life. We are getting spoilt by Pasang, our cook, who without any college/uni cook school training has produced food far better than any tea house or Kathmandu restaurant. Needless to say our belts are being slackened.
We have had our Puja and already done our first load carry to 5450m. Phursemba and Dawa (our lovely climbing Sherpas) have established our camp 1 and after a rest day (which will involve trying to send this) we will head high for a few nights. The weather has been stable ranging from temperatures requiring thermals to woolly bonnets.
After leaving Namche the group climb a steep trail which leads them round a corner to open up the views of Everest and Ama Dablam. “The trail soon thinned out as people adjusted to their individual pace, leaving just the sound of crunching boots and the quiet chatter of our group.” Di
Later that day:
Di: “We have arrived in Lower Pangboche after a beautiful trek up the valley. These photos speak for themselves. Tomorrow, we say goodbye to our Everest Base Camp trekkers as they continue up the valley and we branch off to base camp. Signal may become more challenging so it may be a while before I can send more photos. The group are all well and feeling good about the route ahead.”
The group have had some time to enjoy the sights and bustle of Namche. Here are some fabulous photos from Di of Namche at night-time.
“Today the weather has been glorious. The skies are buzzing with activity, and we have been graced with amazing views. We have arrived in Jorsalle in daylight hours saving the pull up to Namche for tomorrow morning.” Di
Recent bad weather had caused a unusual lengthy backlog of flights to Lukla, so the team decided to take the old traditional approach and walk up to Lukla! The team reached Kharikola the starting point for the Trek after quite a lengthy drive. Di jokes “I can safely say that we have all had our lifetime quota of off-road driving. The great thing about expeditions is having to be dynamic and change plans accordingly.” (weather and the backlog have both cleared now for future groups)
The next day their journey continued on foot and made good progress despite the rain. As they go through the Dudh Kosi Valley at least they had the brightly painted lodges of Phakding to brighten things up.
Di has called in today to say that the team arrived safely into Kathmandu yesterday. Today was a day of city tours, shopping, eating, drinking, ministry briefings and general mooching around town. It rained today and Thamel is buzzing with excited tourists.
Due to the extreme weather Nepal is currently experiencing, all flights to Lukla, either by plane, or helicopter are significantly delayed. So the team have taken the decision to drive to Kari Khola and trek in from lower down the valley. This will cause a slight delay to their itinerary, but at least they will be able to make some progress, rather than waiting for flights to start operating again.
Di Gilbert works full time as an Independent Mountaineering Instructor, based in the Cairngorm National Park. She has never had a proper job and it is unlikely that this will change now. Di has stood on the bottom of the world without falling off, she has stood on top of the world without suffering from vertigo, she has climbed the world's 7 summits and completed all 282 Munros.