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October 15 – November 13, 2018
30 days in Nepal
One of the most fascinating mountains on earth, Ama Dablam when viewed from nearly any angle intrigues the true alpinist spirit. Located in Nepal’s famous Everest Region, this beautiful mountain with its dominating features stands alone near the foot of the Khumbu Valley. The mountain rises nearly 10,000 feet above the Sherpa village of Pangboche, traditionally known as the last year-round settlement on the trek to Everest Base Camp. Our post-monsoon expedition climbs the classic Southwest Ridge.
The route is technically challenging yet incredibly rewarding and requires a high level of proficiency on steep, exposed and technical terrain at high altitude. The mountain is known by its massive hanging glacier that is the Ama Dablam, or “Mother’s Charm Box“ for which it is named.
Our expedition begins in the historic city of Kathmandu, known for its fascinating Nepalese culture and ancient temples. We fly to Lukla and trek along the Dudh Koshi River until arriving in legendary village of Namche Bazaar; the main trading center of the Sherpa people and gateway to the Khumbu Valley. Over the next few days we are rewarded with amazing Himalayan views and tour the historic Tengboche monastery before arriving in Base Camp at 15,000 ft.
The technical rock climbing between Camp 1 and 2 is superb. The entire climbing route is fixed line, climbers use an ascender as they traverse 4th and 5th class rock (up to 5.7) around gendarmes and towers. Camp 2 is perched above the great “yellow tower“ on a narrow ledge with incredible views of the upper mountain. Above Camp 2 the route climbs mixed terrain up a 50 degree snow couloir and an exposed traverse along “mushroom ridge“. Camp 3 rests just beyond the famous hanging glacier. We traverse right of the Dablam Glacier and climb a 40-60 degree snow rib to the summit. From the summit the views of Mt. Everest, Lhotse and Makalu are outstanding.
Are you ready to climb one of the world’s most intriguing peaks? Climbing Ama Dablam is not for the faint of heart. The expedition requires one month in Nepal, as well as prior training. It takes more than a few months to develop the climbing experience and skills needed to make this technical climbing journey. For many, summiting a peak such as Ama Dablam will be a culmination of years of preparation and training, both mental and physical.
Before you consider participating in a Ama Dablam expedition, you should have three to four significant climbing expeditions under your belt. These may include Carstensz Pyramid, Denali, or other Himalayan peaks such as Everest, Cho Oyu or Island Peak. Only seasoned climbers will be accepted for the expedition group so if you are just starting out, please consider taking one of our mountaineering courses or Seven Summits climbs.
Peak physical conditioning with advanced technical skills are required to be eligible for this climb. A brief roster of the skills you must have include: extensive high altitude climbing experience, advanced mountaineering and technical skills, crampon techniques, glacier travel, fixed line use, ice axe skills, rock climbing skills and rappelling, experience with ice axe self-arrest, crevasse rescue, rope knowledge including knots and anchors, and extreme weather camping. Read our The Four-Legged Stool blog post for a better understanding of what skills are required to climb Ama Dablam.
If you aspire to climb Ama Dablam and are new to climbing, check out our Northwest climbs and courses to get you started developing the basics. From there, we can recommend incrementally challenging expeditions to set you on a road toward developing the skills you will need to summit Ama Dablam.
Day 1 • Arrive Kathmandu
Day 2 • Kathmandu
Day 3 • Flight to Lukla • Phakding • 8,700 ft
Day 4-5 • Namche Bazaar • 11,300 ft
Day 6 • Tengboche Monastery • 12,850 ft
Day 7 • Pangboche • 13,100 ft
Day 8-9 • Ama Dablam Base Camp • 15,000 ft
Day 10 • Carry to Advanced Base Camp
Day 11 • Advanced Base Camp • 17,700 ft
Day 12 • Carry to Camp 1 • 18,900 ft
Day 13 • Ama Dablam Base Camp
Day 14 • Advanced Base Camp
Day 15 • Camp 1 • 18,900 ft
Day 16 • Southwest Ridge
Day 17 • Ama Dablam Base Camp
Day 18 • Camp 1
Day 19 • Camp 2 • 19,500 ft
Day 20 • Camp 3 • 21,000 ft
Day 21 • Summit Day • Ama Dablam • 22,349 ft
Day 22 • Camp 3 to Base Camp
Day 23-25 • Contingency Days
Day 26-30 • Namche Bazaar • Kathmandu
Our Ama Dablam itinerary remains flexible. We seek to gain adequate acclimatization managing our exposure at higher elevations.
Arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport, Nepal (KTM). Mountain Gurus representatives will transfer you to the hotel. Our trek begins in the historic city of Kathmandu, known for its fascinating Nepalese culture and ancient temples. The hotel is located near the popular Thamel district jammed with restaurants and shops selling Nepali handicrafts. In the late afternoon we will have a trek orientation and equipment check.
After breakfast we begin our tour of Kathmandu’s world heritage sites. Among them we visit Durbar Square a complex of palaces, courtyards, Hindu temples and home of the Living Goddess, Kumari Ghar. Next, we visit the always favorite Monkey Temple known as Swayambhunath, situated on a small hill which offers panoramic views of the city and very curious monkeys. As time allows we’ll visit the temples of Pashupatinath and Boudhanath. (B)
We transfer to Kathmandu’s domestic airport for our morning flight to Lukla. The views from the twin-engine Otter are nothing less than remarkable, providing amazing scenes of the terraced Nepalese hillside and Himalayan giants including the crown jewel Mount Everest towering in the distance. Once in Lukla we are welcomed with a cup of tea and meet our Sherpa staff. The trek into the Khumbu region begins with a few hours walk until we reach a long suspension bridge connecting the two sides of Phakding. (B, L, D)
The trek continues along the banks of the Dudh Koshi crossing the “Milky River“ many times as we pass small Sherpa farming villages laden with prayer flags and carved prayer stones known as “Mani Stones“. We carry light packs as porters carry all our heavy expedition gear. After entering Sagamatha National Park, the trail climbs steeply through the forest giving us a chance of seeing our first glimpse of Everest before arriving in Namche Bazaar the main trading center of the Sherpa people and gateway to the Khumbu Valley. (B, L, D)
We begin our day with an acclimatization trek above Namche Bazaar to Sunrise Point and the Everest View Hotel. Here we’re rewarded with a spectacular view of Mount Everest rising above the massive Nuptse face with Lhotse and the distinctive Ama Dablam in sight. On the way down, we explore the lively village of Namche with its interesting trekking shops and street merchants selling an assortment of Tibetan wares. As we walk the stone paved streets one can’t resist stopping by the local bakery for a cup of coffee and slice of pie. We spend the rest of the day relaxing and enjoying the fresh mountain atmosphere. On Saturday mornings, a local market is held in the center of the village which allows for interesting people watching. (B, L, D)
As we leave Namche our trekking route follows the steep hillside high above the Imja Khola. Magnificent views of Ama Dablam, Kantega and Thamserku increase with every step. We descend to the river, crossing it and begin the steep climb to Tengboche, regarded by many as the hardest day of the approach trek. The afternoon is spent touring the historic monastery considered the spiritual heart of the Khumbu region and residence of the famous Rinpoche revered by Buddhist’s. The route drops to Deboche a quite village situated among conifer and rhododendron forest where we spend the night. (B, L, D)
Our trek continues through rhododendron forest until crossing another suspension bridge high above the Imja Khola. The route climbs the sheer valley to the village of Pangboche traditionally known as the last year-round settlement in the Khumbu region. Ama Dablam meaning “mother’s charm box“ offers nothing less than spectacular views. We have the chance to meet and receive a blessing from Lama Geshe near to upper Pangboche monastery. (B, L, D)
We descend to the river, cross a small bridge and then follow the route as it climbs up to base camp. As we trek the Southwest Ridge of Ama Dablam comes into view. (B, L, D)
Rest and acclimatization day. (B, L, D)
Today we carry our personal climbing gear up the large lateral moraine towards Advanced Base Camp. Our ascent of Ama Dablam adheres to a logical acclimatization schedule of equipment carries and alternate rest days. The team will establish a series of three high camps on the upper ridge of the mountain. We spend the evening at base camp. (B, L, D)
Today our team moves to ABC to spend the night. (B, L, D)
We begin our day scrambling up a boulder field near the base of Ama Dablam. We soon reach a series of rock slabs which present the first technical climbing of the route (Class 4). After gaining the slabs we arrive on the Southwest Ridge proper. We establish Camp 1 on the crest of the narrow and exposed ridge. We leave our gear at Camp 1 and return to base camp. (B, L, D)
Rest and acclimatization day. (B, L, D)
Once again our team moves to ABC to spend the night. (B, L, D)
We climb back up the ridge to Camp 1. We spend our first night on the ridge. (B, L, D)
Our team climbs high on the Southwest Ridge towards Camp 2. We return to base camp that afternoon. (B, L, D)
Rest and acclimatization day. We prepare for the next day’s summit attempt. (B, L, D)
We climb back up the ridge to Camp 1. (B, L, D)
This morning we move to Camp 2. The technical rock climbing between Camp 1 and 2 is superb. The entire climbing route is fixed line; climbers use an ascender and sling as they traverse 4th and 5th class rock (up to 5.7) around gendarmes and towers. We continue climbing the extremely exposed ridge on high quality rock up the great “yellow tower“. Camp 2 is perched on a narrow ledge with unbelievable exposure and amazing views of the upper mountain and surrounding peaks. (B, L, D)
Today we leave Camp 2 climbing mixed rock and ice up a 50 degree snow couloir and exposed traverse along “mushroom ridge”. Camp 3 rests just beyond the famous hanging glacier that is the Ama Dablam, or “Mother’s Charm Box“ for which the mountain is named. (B, L, D)
The route climbs steeply right out of camp. We climb towards the Dablam Glacier traversing right, around some crevasses and then climb a 40-60 degree snow rib which leads to the summit. From the summit the views of Mt. Everest, Lhotse and Makalu are outstanding. We descend to Camp 2 for the night. (B, L, D)
Today we make our final descent all the way to base camp. (B, L, D)
These days are extra contingency days for weather, acclimatization or a second summit attempt. (B, L, D)
Over the next two days we descend to Namche and Lukla. (B, L, D)
After saying farewell to our Sherpa staff, we depart to Kathmandu on an early morning flight. (B)
Spend the day exploring the Thamel District. (B)
Transport to Tribhuvan International Airport for flights home. (B)
Mountain Gurus makes every effort to uphold the scheduled itinerary, although our guides are given discretion to adapt the itinerary for reasons beyond our control or due to the needs of the group. Meal schedule: (B) Breakfast (L) Lunch (D) Dinner
$8,900 (based on 1 climber) w/ Sherpa guide
$13,900 (based on 2 climbers) w/ American guide
Lobuche Peak Climb: $1600
$2,000.00 deposit includes reservation fee, due with application.
Balance due 90 days prior to departure
A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your trip will be sent to you in the PreClimb information upon reservation.
Note: Please read our Mountaineering Boot and Crampon guide for more information.
Begins and ends in Kathmandu, Nepal
Passport must have six months or more validity remaining at the time of entry. American citizens may obtain a visa prior to travel or upon arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. 30 day multiple-entry visa ($40), or 90 day multiple-entry visa ($100)
Health & Immunizations:
Immunizations are not required for entry into Nepal
Flight Travel Information:
Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM), Kathmandu, Nepal
Itineraries reflect the date and time you will need to arrive in country for a program. Mountain Gurus programs begin and end in the countries destination city. When booking your flight, you will need to account for travel time and crossing the international dateline if needed. It is easiest to give your booking agent the day and time you will need to arrive.
Meals and Food:
All meals are provided as per meal schedule. See itinerary.
A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your program will be sent to you in the pre-departure packet upon reservation. For your safety and comfort, it is extremely important that you adhere strictly to the equipment list.
Climbing Grade: Advanced
This climb requires significant physical, mental, and technical skills. Previous experience at altitude and expedition style climbing is a must. Be prepared to carry 40 lbs. packs at altitude, while negotiating steep terrain. Experience with fixed lines, steep snow climbing, and rock climbing are essential to making this trip a safe and enjoyable climb.
Prior to the expedition we recommend taking a private prep course with Mountain Gurus or have extensive rock and/ or ice climbing experience.
Here’s a suggested progression of climbs before attempting Ama Dablam.
Most cell phone providers will work in Nepal, check your provider for overseas rates before you leave. Beyond this wifi service is available at basecamp and along the trekking route ($100-$500 depending on usage). It is often best to purchase an unlocked cell phone and a local Ncell sim card if you intend do a lot of international calling. Cell phone and wifi service is not available above basecamp. Thuraya satellite phone service is more reliable at basecamp and above at higher camps.