Ama Dablam or ‘Mother’s Necklace’ is arguable one of the most beautiful mountains in the Himalayas. The mountain itself is a key highlight while on the Everest Base Camp trek and accompanies you while you make the journey up. Located near the village of Dingboche, climbing Ama Dablam is on every aspiring alpinist's Wishlist. The 25-day expedition is ideal for mountaineers and can be considered as a worthy precursor to 7000 and 8000-metre expeditions. With 2 camps en route, Ama Dablam is a serious mountain to climb. The Dablam or glacier near the summit is what gives it its name. Ama Dablam’s aesthetic pinnacle has also be found in games such as Ubisoft’s Farcry 4 and is often mistaken for Mt. Everest in pictures. First climbed by Mike Gill (NZ), Barry Bishop (USA), Mike Ward (UK) and Wally Romanes (NZ) led by the one and only Sir Edmund Hillary, Ama Dablam has since then cemented itself as the must-do climb for any serious mountaineer.
Most climbs take place through the South-West Ridge. The route involves setting up 2 camps, and one summit camp in some cases. Camp 2 is probably the most exposed and spectacular camps in the Khumbu Valley and videos of Camp 2 often make headlines. Proper acclimatization is key to climbing this technical peak. The 28-day itinerary includes making rounds of the camps allowing your body to produce the RBCs that will ensure a successful summit bid.
The short answer is, not too many people. Climbing a mountain like Ama Dablam requires a very high level of fitness as well as significant mountaineering knowledge. A mountaineering course from a recognized institute is required. Additionally, you also must have the experience of climbing another 6000-metre peak like Kang Yatse or Lobuche. Here are 5 6000 metre peaks you can consider before climbing Ama Dablam.
Climbing Ama Dablam requires excellent rock-climbing skills as the climb has several rock-climbing sections; most famously the approach to camp 2 is marked with a steep 20-metre rock climb (Grade 5A ish) known as the ‘Yellow Tower’. Apart from that, ice fields mark the approach to the summit, and you will require comprehensive knowledge of the use of crampons, jumar and ice axes.
We at Adventure-Pulse will ensure that you have the necessary fitness and skills to climb. We recommend 6 months to a year of preparation. With regular ‘warm-up’ treks and in-depth technical classes to aid your physical preparation, we will ensure that you are fighting fit for the expedition.
Best Time : September to November
Duration : 25 days
Max. Altitude : 6,812 metres
Commences At : Kathmandu
Ends At : Kathmandu
The first day on the Ama Dablam climb. As you arrive at Kathmandu, our team will receive you at the airport and take you to your hotel located in the heart of Thamel which is the shopping hub. You can spend the rest of the day sightseeing and finishing any leftover shopping. Thamel has a wide array of gear shops that cover everything that you might need while on the climb. Contact your Adventure-Pulse representative for suggestions on where to buy/rent your gear.
Today’s day will be spent hiking up to Swaymbonath Stupa, a marvellous stupa in Kathmandu. From there you’ll get a bird’s eye view of Kathmandu. The steps leading up to the Stupa are perfect to prepare the legs for the days ahead. Once you get back, our team will brief you on the plan for the next couple of days. We will also check your gear and if you miss anything, you can pick it up from Thamel.
The 30 minute flight to Lukla will definitely occupy a prominent place on your list of top ten experiences during the course of this climb. The Tenzing-Hillary Airport here is one of the most challenging airstrips in the world. Built on a cliff-top 9334 ft in the air, this little runway is just 30 meters wide and 527 meters long (less than a tenth of the usual dimensions for a regular runway) with a 11.7 Degree gradient which is significant enough to make it one of the steepest approach landings in the world! There is no prospect of a successful go-around on-short final due to the terrain which is high (a jagged, unforgiving mountain face) immediately beyond the northern end of the runway and a steeply angled drop at the southern end of the runway into the valley below! Are you scared yet? Well, don't be! Only the most skilled and experienced pilots operate the flights that go to and from this area and they've practised it to perfection. The planes that land here aren't the regular Airbus and Boeings that we're used to either. The airport's paved asphalt runway is accessible only to helicopters and small, fixed-wing, short-take-off-and-landing aircraft such as the DHC-6 Twin Otter, Dornier 228 and Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter. The views of the Solo khumbu’s forested valleys and its panoramic snow-capped mountain ranges are absolutely surreal. What's more, for a plane that seats only 20 people, there's still an incredibly charming air-hostess and everyone gets a window seat!!! Once you land, you stop for breakfast during which time you will be introduced to the real muscle behind this climb – our team of intrepid Sherpas and their Yaks who will be entrusted with your luggage for the duration of the trek, following which, we will begin our short walk down to our very first destination, the riverside village of Phakding.
Our ascent to Namche Bazaar will see us intimately acquainted with the beautiful Dudh Kosi River. As she meanders through the Everest Valley, we enjoy her clever little game of hide-and-seek, at times appearing as a raging torrent under the many suspension bridges that we cross in our attempt to catch up with her, and, at others, a delightfully effervescent companion as we hop over rocks and through pretty tree-lined mountain trails inching closer and closer to the true heart of the Khumbu Valley - Namche Bazaar. Huge, beautifully carved Mani stones adorn the trail that cuts through the Sagarmatha National Park, accentuated by the colourful Buddhist prayer flags that flutter in the breeze seeking blessings from the clear-skied heavens above. As for the village itself, Namche Bazaar is teeming with life! The terraced approach with its quaint potato-kale-and-spinach farms, antiquated little shops (that sell everything you could possibly need), purposeful yak caravans, playfully curious local children, and its warm, welcoming people will leave your delighted heart, spoilt for choice.
At 3340m above mean sea level, after your first official night at high altitude, our fourth day sees the group waking up to a well-deserved and much-needed rest day a.k.a ‘Acclimatization day’. The lofty snow-capped peaks of Thamserku and Kongde Ri stand guard right outside your window. With dreamy scenery now merging into everyday reality, even the most persistent dreamers find it impossible to delay their excitement at seeing these amazing peaks in favour for a few extra winks of sleep. Grumbling stomachs (and calf muscles alike) are in for a treat today too. A relatively relaxed start with a hot, wholesome breakfast - simple pleasures truly are the order of acclimatization days, which come along every time we gain roughly one vertical kilometer in height during this particular trail. The purpose of the Acclimatization day is to allow your body to get used to the lower levels of oxygen in the air. The universally accepted way of doing this is to "Climb high and sleep low". Once everyone has had their fill of the various manifestations of gourmet menus that Namche's tea houses are known to produce, we visit the Sherpa Cultural Museum which has many artefacts of historical significance and some detailed information on the local flora, fauna, topography and prevailing conditions of the region. The plateau that the museum sits on offers some great panoramic views of the Himalayas and marks the beginning of the trail for our hike to the Syangboche airstrip (you have to see this one to believe it) and the Everest View Hotel. It's a day full of exciting firsts for the Adventure Pulse teams including, but not limited to, your very first view of Mount Everest and Ama Dablam (weather permitting)!!!
The sheer beauty of this part of the trek cannot be overstated, and is personally, our favourite day on the trail. The wildly fun descent to our lunch stop at the riverside village of Phukithanga takes you through expansive rhododendron forests which are a verdant delight after the monsoon season and are rivalled only by their pre-monsoon avatar which captivates all your senses with Its pink, white, and scarlet flowers that dance merrily above you and line the path all the way to the little village of Tengboche. Calories are never an issue in this part of the world, with lunch invariably being followed by immediate uphill stretches. Mount Everest and Ama Dablam stay visible and resolute all through the day's trek with her tell-tale plume of snowy clouds softly beckoning you closer. The route after our lunch stop is a steady, shaded climb whose forested slopes will have you shaking your head in utter-and-complete disbelief, at the fact that the Himalayas were, (in the not-so-distant past), entirely underwater, even as you walk through irrefutable proof of it! A beautifully carved gateway marks the end of the climb and welcomes you to Tengboche, home to the largest Gompa in the Khumbu region, the ancient and sacred Tengboche Monastery. Teams from Adventure Pulse enjoy the rare privilege of attending the prayer ceremonies at this monastery where the monks and Lama bless our expedition and request the Gods to grant us safe passage to and from the mountain.
5 There are certain treks, or sometimes, just specific trails that have the ability to turn your entire world upside down. The walk from Tengboche to Dingboche occupies a prime position amongst these. We start by descending to the settlement of Deboche which sits placidly sheltered in the shadow of Tengboche alongside the ImjaKohla River. If the trail itself doesn't immediately summon images of the scenery that one can usually only witness in epic fantasy movies like the Lord of the Rings, one look at the almost-elven-looking Rivendell Lodge here definitely will! The hike from Debouche to Dingbouche is filled with stream and river crossings along wooden bridges, climbing up large steps, going through impressive colorful Tibetan gates, and the ever-present, never-tiring views of the Himalayas. Disguised as one of the infamous "Nepali flats", a term that you will doubtless hear from the locals at some stage during the course of your trek, there's only one way to find out what this trail is truly about! Cliché as it sounds, you will find that you discover more about yourself and who you really want to be with every passing step, as you gradually follow the river, crossing above the tree line into this improbably-beautiful, almost-lunar segment of our expedition. It's amazing to see just how much life there is up here despite the fact that you are at an altitude of more than 4000m and over 50 kilometers (not to mention a whole airplane ride) away from the nearest roads! The huge metal bridges that span the riverine valley will soon take you to the village of Dingboche where our groups invariably experience that magical, mesmerizing phenomenon we've all come to recognize as the first snowfall on the trail!
7 The acclimatization day at Dingboche is quite like the one at Namche Bazaar and involves a short day-hike uphill to a point called Nangakarshang which is ringed by some of the most technical and difficult peaks to climb. The view point showcases the peaks of Lhotse (4th highest mountain in the world), Manaslu (the 5th highest mountain in the world), a new face of Ama Dablam, Island peak, Baruntse, Lobuche East and the ever steadfast Thamserku amongst others. We get back to our tea house in time for a scrumptious lunch and spend the rest of the day enjoying Dingboche, exploring the area (basically following our noses as we chase the delicious smells that waft toward us from its little bakery) and playing various board / card games; or just reading a novel in a cozy corner in front of the Bukhara( fire stove) in the wooden dining hall.
9 The trek from Dingboche to Lobuche is where things suddenly start to get very real! There's a good chance you'll be walking through snow as you cross into the glacial moraine by this time which adds to the excitement. The fact that you, are now only one short day away from our destination, Everest Base Camp adds to the excitement. Our route takes us to Lobuche over the Thukla-Dukla pass — a tough climb given the high altitude and steep terrain, both of which make for slow progress. However, perseverance is generously rewarded here and as you reach the top of the pass, you find yourself amidst memorials of some of the most famous climbers in the world who attempted Everest and died in the process!
11 The most anticipated day on the trail - we start early in the morning from Lobuche and set off for Gorakshep in order to make our final ascent to Everest Base Camp! The walk to Gorakshep takes us above 5000 mtrs, where even the most resilient climbers start slowing down due to the altitude. We stop at Gorakshep to catch our breath where we wait for our Sherpas to arrive with our bags so we can settle them into our rooms and in the meantime, fortify ourselves with brunch. Once everyone is well rested, we set off on the glacier, spirits soaring, for Everest Base Camp. We head back to the shelter of Gorakshep's Tea house before night fall and turn in early to a welcoming soft bed and thick warm sleeping bags. The next day after all is the attempt at the summit of Kalapatthar.
13 The day ahead is as rewarding as it is long. Located on the south ridge of Mt Pumori, Kalapatthar offers you the best view of Mount Everest unmatched by anything you have seen thus far, showing her bold silhouette off right form the base camp to the summit. The sky puts on the most dramatic display of colours as the night turns to dawn and the sun rises over Mount Everest in its entirety and sets this majestic mountain range ablaze! The experience is literally breath-taking and time itself seems to stop. You descend down to Gorakshep for breakfast, post which, we pack our bags and make our way over the Thukla-Dukla pass once again, cross Lobuche and descend to the prettiest stopover on the trail, the evergreen, yak-breeding village of Pheriche.
Today’s day will be spent in the grassy meadows of Pheriche. Pheriche will be our launchpad to Ama Dablam base camp and will be the last tea house before the start of our climb. You won’t be the only ones enjoying the meadows of Pheriche, as the lush grass is the perfect meals for Yaks and the small puff of cloud roaming around are actually baby Yaks.
This is when the things get a little more serious. We begin our journey to Ama Dablam base Camp which will be placed right below one of the ridges. It is from here you’ll be able to see the challenge in front of you. At base camp, you’ll be staying in tents on a double sharing basis. Our climbing Headquarters will be set up in our dining tent where you’ll get daily briefings and weather reports.
This day is reserved in case of bad weather, in case of bad weather the previous day we will make our attempt to reach the summit of Ama Dablam
After a successful summit, we leave Base camp to head down to Pangboche, where you’ll be greeted by a cosy bed and some warm drinks to commemorate the success of the expedition.
Spirits and oxygen levels alike soar at the prospect of returning to Namche Bazaar and as the enormity of the achievement of successfully reaching Everest Base Camp starts to sink in, you feel practically invincible in the Khumbu's technicolour world. We walk through the familiar villages of Debouche, Tengbouche and rendezvous with the DudhKosi stopping for lunch on river before we climb back up to Namche's divine bakery and ever-so-Irish-pubs to enjoy the a few extra happy hours with our favourite celebratory beverages. For those who can muster the energy for a few extra hours of walking, we take a small detour and visit the Khumjung Monastery which houses the nearly-mythical relic - the preserved skull of a real yeti!
1 The last day of this wonderful trek will see you excitedly racing down the Sagarmatha National Park as you rush home to narrate all the triumphant tales of the thrilling 2 weeks that you spent in the remoteness of the mountains. The walk up to Phakding is stunning, with picnic spots along the river tucked into every corner, at every turn. Everything seems more alive and before you know it, you’ve become seasoned enough to high-five the many trekkers, (still on their first day), as they now make their way up to Everest Base Camp bolstered by the buoyant, cheery words of encouragement that you are sure to send their way. The last stretch from Phakding to Lukla is a long uphill one but it pales in comparison to the climbs you have already conquered for you will now be part of that elite group of exclusive trekkers who have successfully made it through the Everest Base Camp trail and are now, and forever-more, unbeatable!
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