The stunning pyramid of Ama Dablam is regarded as one of the world’s most exquisite and sought after peaks, alongside the infamous Matterhorn and Khan Tengri. The ambitious and experienced mountaineer will find the South West Ridge an acceptable challenge. We take the standard route up Ama Dablam which offers steep snow, ice and rock climbing in exhilarating and exposed situations. Fixed lines will be used in our ascent, to aid speed and efficient movement on this impressive mountain.
Ama Dablam Base Camp
This is quite a long walk and may take five to six hours on the first journey. This is likely to reduce considerably with improved acclimatisation. Unusually there is no glacier approach and you can walk in trainers along pleasant grassy ridges that curve around behind the SW ridge. As you gain height superb views open up to the whole of the Western Himalaya, most notably Cho Oyu (8201m), Numbur (6859m) and Taweche (6367m). Just before reaching camp 1 we cross a granite boulder field and scramble easily up some huge boiler plate granite slabs.
Camp 1 – Camp 2
Camp 1 is situated at the foot of the SW ridge and so you embark on the climb as soon as you leave camp and clip into the fixed ropes. Initially there is some quite easy traversing of rocky terraces and snowy ledges. Then there are some superb compact granite slabs to cross and these lead into equally enjoyable slabby buttresses to ascend. Just before Camp 2 is reached The Yellow Tower must be climbed/jumared and this provides the technical crux of the whole route. The climbing is extremely enjoyable but it is hard work at this altitude. Three to five hours.
Camp 2 – Camp 2.9
As soon as you leave Camp 2 you start gaining height. It’s hard work but the climbing is good and the ascent of The Grey Tower provides the next obstacle. Easy snow and ice then leads to the ‘Mushroom Ridge’, the corniced snow crest that links the mixed SW ridge below with the summit snow fields above. Your ‘composure with exposure’ will be tested here! However the ground is not technically difficult, Scottish II, and you will soon reach the narrow snow shelves that provide the site of Camp 2.9.
Climb Ama Dablam to Camp 2.9 – Summit
The site of Camp 2.9 is quite cold, high and exposed and you are unlikely to have a great night’s sleep! As we are now essentially on the West Face the sun does not arrive until around 9.30am. We will probably set off from the high camp at around 7.30am and be aiming to reach the summit after about 3-4 hours of ascending the fixed ropes up the grade I summit snow fields. There is one short steep section over an icy bulge that provides a welcome contrast in climbing style! The summit of Ama Dablam is a truly outstanding viewpoint.
We have had excellent summit success on all previous expeditions and those wishing to join should be technically proficient and confident to Alpine AD, Scottish grade III and be able to second VS/5.7 on rock.