Ama Dablam Expedition Difficulty
Ama Dablam is a mountain in the eastern Himalayan range of Nepal with an altitude of 6,812 meters (22,349 ft). The word Ama Dablam means “Mother’s necklace”. The structure of this peak seems like the long ridges on each side like the arms of a mother protecting her child. Ama Dablam fascinates anyone who sets eyes to it. The view here leaves you captivated and wanting more. The more you walk here the more stunning and fascinating you feel by nature. The Ama Dablam Expedition has it all. From Cultural exploration to extreme adventure to world-class mountain viewing, this trek can provide you all. Therefore, this trek is for the people who want to enjoy the best of the Everest region along with making the trekking days shorter. Here we are going to get knowledge all about Ama Dablam Expedition Difficulty.
- Trek to the base camp of Ama Dablam
- Get stunned with the pan panoramic view of Everest and surrounding peaks
- Exploration of Sherpa culture at its vibrant ‘capital’ Namche Bazaar
- Visit Sir Edmund Hillary’s “Schoolhouse In the Clouds” and the famed Khunde hospital
- Explore the stunningly situated monastery of Thyangboche
- Get a scenic flight from Kathmandu to Lukla.
Ama Dablam is well known as one of the most stunningly exposed Himalayan mountains in the Everest region. It is one of the mountains which is on the watch list of mountaineering enthusiasts. Ama Dablam Expedition in itself is a mountaineering challenge on its own. It was first summited on 13th March 1961, a Silver hut scientific expedition led by Sir Edmund Hillary. The Ama Dablam Expedition has been a dream for many mountaineers. Likewise, trekkers can choose the Southwest ridgeline as it is the safest route to climb this amazing peak.
Ama Dablam Expedition Difficulty
Despite being an altitude-friendly trek compared to other peaks, Ama Dablam Expedition is technically hard as well as challenging.
Though it comes amongst the easier trek it is completely a challenging trek for beginners. Standing tall at an altitude of 6812m, this peak has plenty of challenging sections. The mountaineers had to face several difficulties during the summit of Ama Dablam. The difficulties that we are concerned about may include weather, altitude sickness, avalanche and falls, etc. When setting out on the challenging journey, there will likely be several hindrances. However, overcoming all the obstacles and being at the top is the goal of all the trekkers.
The Ama Dablam expedition difficulty provides easy, moderate, and hard experiences as the level of difficulty range from moderate to hard. The trail has several short and steep sections as well as near-vertical ice and rock on the spectacular ridge between Camp I and Camp- III. High Camp-I is easy climbing. However, the route from High Camp- II is mostly covered with steep rocks, snow, ice glaciers, etc. This might be tough for the climbers but not impossible. The final landing on the top is a long and steep climb over the snow and ice glacier which requires both strength and technique
Difficulty of Ama Dablam Expedition
Here are some of the difficulties that one has to face during their Ama Dablam Expedition.
Altitude sickness can become a major issue when climbing Mt. Ama Dablam. As altitude sickness starts at an elevation from 2500m however Mt. Ama Dablam is above 6000m. So, there are probably very high chances of getting altitude sickness at that high altitude.
Weather and temperatures can be the next issue for the summit. The weather in the mountain area is extreme and unpredictable. There may be heavy snowfall at the moment, or the temperature always drops at freezing point.
The trails or routes. Unlike the trails of any other area, the route to the expedition of the Himalayas is far more rough and difficult than one could imagine. One needs to be extra careful even stepping out there in the Himalayas and the same goes with Ama Dablam.
Avalanche and falls are other unpredictable difficulties that climbers have to face in the Everest region.
Also at Ama Dablam, the expedition features steep and vertical mixed climbing in rock, ice and snow. Therefore, it will be better if you have prior experience in rock and ice climbing.
How Hard is to Climb Mount Ama Dablam?
The expedition to the mountain region is never easy. It is better if you have some previous experience. However, it doesn’t mean that beginners should not opt for mountain expeditions. With proper training and preparation, the journey to the Himalayas can be much more comfortable and easier. And same goes with Ama Dablam Expedition. This mountain can be extreme if you climb without any preparation. Ama Dablam is a serious technical climb where the climbing becomes easy with some experience of rock climbing. Ama Dablam Peak is a challenging expedition in the wild and remote northern Himalayas of the Khumbu region in Nepal. The trails traverse through the Sherpa settlements of Dudh Koshi Valley than the isolated Chukkung Valley.
Mount Ama Dablam
Ama Dablam became one of the most difficult climbing expeditions in Nepal. As the climbing involves using technical pieces of equipment such as ice ax, ropes, hammers, ascenders, etc. The climbing gets challenging upon reaching camp one. From here one has to take several narrow ridges and climb the snowy rocks. So, you will encounter a 15 m pitch after crossing camp II. This pitch is the most challenging part of this journey. Besides many small and steady steps in the icy camps of the steep facing peak, the summit offers mesmerizing views of the Everest range and neighboring mountains. Because of the climbing difficulty, the peak is well suited for mountaineers with past climbing experiences.
Despite the challenges, there are fixed ropes and a well-defined route which make the climb easier as well. However, the expedition features steep and vertical mixed climbing in rock, ice and snow. Therefore, physical fitness is the most important. Furthermore, it is better if the trekkers have previous climbing experiences, endurance, and physical strength to navigate the mountain safely. The summit to the peak is never easy but possible with the support of a little mortal. With the support of guides, porters, and technical equipment with a little more physical stamina, your dream of climbing Ama Dablam can become a reality.
Ama Dablam Expedition Difficulty
But because the expedition to the Ama Dablam is at an altitude of 6812m, it is one of the moderate difficult treks to the Everest region of Nepal. Besides, the trek can be a bit harder for beginners as well as intermediate without prior training and preparation. Certain things add extra hardness to the trek such as the steep and slippery routes, the heavy rainfall and snowfall, altitude sickness, and mostly the weather conditions. Also, being at an altitude of more than 5000m to the Himalayan region of Nepal is a new and challenging journey for many climbers.
Expedition to Ama Dablam needs a lot of dedication and hard work. The mountaineers need to put in extra hard work and physical fitness with the capacity of endurance and spirit. There are several challenging factors for the expedition of the Ama Dablam. Altitude can be a major problem as one may suffer from altitude sickness. Besides, the walking hours make you exhausted. The trail where you have to ascend and descend is a rocky and bumpy road that is difficult to walk. Therefore, you have to face major difficulties but the journey will be worth the challenges.
Here are some factors that make the expedition of Ama Dablam much more challenging.
High altitude and elevation
Altitude and elevation can become a major provocation when climbing Ama Dablam. As it may be an altitude-friendly trek compared to another trek above 8000m, even so, the challenges that one has to face are the same. Standing at an altitude of 6812m, the Ama Dablam expedition can be confronted. On the other hand, you must use technical equipment such as an ice ax, ropes, crampons, ice screws, and Jumars. The altitude becomes one of the major challenges here.
Weather and temperature
Another notable obstacle of Ama Dablam Difficulty can be the severe cold climate and wind. As the weather in Ama Dablam is never the same, it changes dramatically. Trekkers can have a more significant adaptation problem than in any other mountains of similar heights. Because of the unpredictable weather, trekking late can be challenging. Also, the temperature in the winter night reached below the freezing point which is extreme for the night stay.
Altitude sickness can be life-threatening if it is extreme. With the low level of oxygen in the high Himalayas, altitude sickness becomes a major problem when climbing to Ama Dablam. As altitude sickness can start anywhere from an altitude of 2500m. The symptoms might include headaches, problems with breathing, nausea, vomiting, fainting, etc. So, if any of these problems show up one should immediately fault the journey and rest for some time. If not taken care of this can be life-threatening.
Avalanches and falls
Avalanches and falls are common in the Ama Dablam. Falling masses of snow, rocks, and ice are avalanches. As soon as an avalanche occurs, the climbers have to halt their expedition and descend downwards. Falls are generally pretty common in the Ama Dablam with massive snowfall. The majority of the deaths that occur on the expedition are because of falls. It is highly dangerous when climbing the high ridges in higher camps.
How long does it take to climb Ama Dablam?
Overall, the Ama Dablam expedition can be expected to do within 25 days to an entire month. This time frame usually includes a few days in Kathmandu going over the plan for the trip before transferring to Lukla. From here, the trekkers can expect to spend about five days on the hiking approach to base camp. Likewise, the climb to Ama Dablam itself takes place over about two weeks.
On the other hand, the days will involve ascending to and descending from the various mountain camps to properly acclimatize. Several days are taken for proper acclimatization. In case of an emergency, one has to be at fault for a day. So, several other factors are affecting the climb such as weather, avalanche, and falls. Similarly, the summit can be pushed forward to five days. Finally, the trekkers may attempt a summit from Camp II without moving to Camp III.
Therefore, After completing the summit, another four or five days are spent hiking back to Lukla and returning to Kathmandu.
Here is the proper itinerary for the expedition to Ama Dablam.
How much does it cost for Ama Dablam Expedition?
The Ama Dablam expedition can cost anywhere from USD 6,000 to $8,000. However, the cost generally depends upon the time frame of the trek as well as the number of people in the group. Similarly, the includes in the trek can differ in the price range. So it is wise to check the price and calculate it accordingly keeping in mind the includes as well.
- Arrive in Kathmandu
- Sightseeing in Kathmandu
- Fly to Lukla (2840m), trek to Monjo (2840m) ~5 hrs
- Trek Monjo (2840m) to Namche (3440m) ~4 hrs
- Acclimatisation day in Namche ~ 5 hrs
- Trek Namche (3440m) to Debuche (3710m) ~ 5 hrs
- Trek Debuche (3710m) to Amadablam base camp (4600m) ~4.5 hrs
- Rest day in Amadablam base camp
- Training day at base camp
- Day trip base camp to 5800m
- Rest and gear preparation
- Climb base camp (4600m) to Camp 1 (5900m)
- Climb Camp 1 (5900m) to Camp 2 (6100m), return to base camp (4600m)
- Rest, contingency day and final Summit preparation
- Climb base camp (4600m) to Camp 1 (5900m)
- Camp 1 (5900m) to Camp 2 (6100m)
- Similarly Camp 2 (6100m) to Camp 3 (6400m)
- Likewise Camp 3 (6400m) to Summit (6856m), return to Camp 2 (6100m)
- Again Camp 2 (6100m) to base camp (4600m)
- Rest and pack up base camp
- Trek base camp (4600m) to Namche (3440m) ~6 hr
- Trek Namche (3440m) to Lukla (2840m) ~6hr
- Fly Lukla to Kathmandu
- In Kathmandu
Permits and entrance fees, transport during the trip, porters, meals, and accommodations are usually included in the itinerary of the trip. Gratuities for the driver, porter, and guides are never included but are expected. As it makes up the majority of the income for a porter. However, Depending on circumstances, such as weather, prices may change based on whether the trip has to be extended or abbreviated.
Experience Required to Climb Ama Dablam
Climbers should have experienced multi-pitch climbing (rock or ice), be comfortable following grade 4 ice climbs, 5.9 rock climbs, and have climbed at altitude (over 18,000 feet).
It is required that climbers have prior experience at altitudes up to 18,000′.
Climbers must be in excellent physical shape and stamina to join this expedition.
Climbing Routes to Ama Dablam
Overall, there are eight different routes up to the summit of Ama Dablam. However, the Southwest Ridge Route is almost exclusively used by guides taking climbers to the summit. Generally, the rest of the routes are taken only by professional mountaineers.
Southwest Ridge Route
Either Everest or Ama Dablam, the southwest Dodge route is the most popular one. It was first climbed in 1961 by a team of climbers from the U.S. and New Zealand. Since then, the route has become a choice of all expeditions. After reaching base camp this route will have 3 camps before the summit. Besides, from the base camp, each day climbing lasts for 4-8 hours.
Base camp to Camp 1
Once you leave base camp, follow the path up the grassy ridge over rippling terrain and reach the rarely used advanced base camp, aka Yak Camp. 5100M. Similarly from here look out for the infamous boulder field. STAY AS HIGH AS POSSIBLE HERE. It is easy to rock scrambling which presents little difficulty to a competent climber. Swing left and high and finally reach the traversing path to the bottom of the slabs. The slabs are located right below camp one. Most people don’t need rope here but if you do you can use one.
Camp 1 to Camp 2
Leave camp early with your approach shoes and carry your big boots. The track will be well defined with little or no snow. The first hour is mainly traversing granite blocks. Afterward drifting slowly upward and onward, enjoy the views and love the exposure and finally reach the yellow tower. Don’t climb up too high and stay low until the rise to the bottom of the tower. The Yellow Tower is about one pitch. Don’t look down. After you are at the top, this pitch moves relatively straight forward up to camp 2, 6000M.
Camp 2 to Camp 3
From camp 2, you do an airy traverse to the bottom of the Grey Tower, a blocky granite mixed climb of about 1.5 pitches. However, the tower used to be icy but nowadays it is dry as dust. Stay close to your climbing partners and keep in close contact. The Grey Tower is about 75 degrees and blocky. It is super exciting yet dangerous as well. After the Grey Tower, an amazing airy cross leads to the Mushroom Ridge. Walking a tightrope at 6200M, you will reach Camp 3. It is really dangerous so don’t sleep there. Go to the summit from Camp 2.
Camp 3 to the summit
Camp 3 is all about alpine ice and snow climbing. Despite being dangerous to stay in camp 3, many teams choose to do so. Camp 3 above 6400m, is a mixture of ice and snow depending on the season and conditions. Try to reach camp three at about 05:30-06:00 in the morning. You will benefit from the warmth of the sun this way. Here, your fingers and toes freeze so be sure to keep wiggling those toes and fingers. However, depending on your speed, you will reach the summit after about 4 hours of climbing. Therefore, there are no wrong summits on this route and you top out right onto the summit.
On the other hand, the other routes up to the summit of Ama Dablam include:
- The Lower Route was the second route to be successfully climbed after the Southwest Ridge Route, in April 1979.
- The North Ridge Route was first climbed in October 1979 and has become one of the main options to the Southwest Ridge Route
- The East Ridge route is the tougher route up to the summit of the mountain and was just successfully climbed after 1983.
- The Northeast Route was the steepest one with the scene of the first winter ascent up Ama Dablam, in 1985.
- The Ariake-Sakashita Route, on the west face.
- The Stane Belak Šrauf Memorial Route, on the northwest face, was first climbed in 1996 by Vanja Furlan and Tomaž Humar.
- The Northwest Ridge Route. The only time it has been successfully climbed to the summit came in 2001
Best Season for This Expedition
Due to its extreme climate, weather, altitude, and geographic location, this mountain can be climbed only during two seasons of the year, Autumn and spring.
It is the best time to explore the Himalayas of Nepal. During this time of the year, the mountains are at their best presenting a panoramic view. Autumn is the trekking season for Nepal so is for the expedition or summit as well. As Ama Dablam lies in the Everest region, this season is one of the best seasons for the expedition of Ama Dablam. Autumn falls in September, October, and November in Nepal. This is the time of the year when nature is at its best and so is the weather and temperature. The weather around Autumn is much more favorable for expeditions than any other season. However, it is a fact that the weather in the Himalayas is extreme and unpredictable. But Autumn brings out different kinds of joy and refreshment to the journey. The temperature becomes bearable for walking.
In the autumn, after the monsoon, the atmosphere balances and changes the dynamics of the ascent. Here, Mountaineers should be more focused on rock climbing and less snow and ice, though all aspects of mixed climbing will be present and prevalent.
The spring is another favorable season for the Ama Dablam expedition after Autumn. It is the month of March, April, and May in Nepal. April to May climb will have slightly more capricious weather than the autumn. The temperature in the valley is warm and got. Also, the weather is the same around base camp, which will rapidly drop as you gain elevation. Besides, the mountains will be more covered with snow and ice in the spring than the autumn. Despite chilly weather in the higher elevation, the lower areas remain warm during spring.
On the other hand, the view in spring is astonishing. The clear blue sky, the natural and green vegetation add extra refreshment to the summit.
Gears for Ama Dablam Expeditions.
- Ice Axe
- 12-point Crampons
- Climbing Harness
- Climbing Helmet
- 3 locking carabiners
- 4 lightweight regular carabiners Ascender with handle
- Petzl Tlaloc
- 2 sewn 48″ nylon slings
- 10′ of 8mm per cord
- 1 small 5mm prusik loop
- Black Diamond ATC Guide
- Climbing Backpack: 70L
- Sleeping Bag rated to -20°F
- Sleeping Pads
- Headlamp with extra batteries
- Water Bottles and Water Bottle Insulators
- Water Treatment:
- Insulated Cup, Bowl, Spoon
- Double Climbing Boots with expedition liners or Triple boots
- Overboots and approach boots
- Gaiters and Yaktrax or Kahtoola Microspikes
- Insulated Parka: 800 Fill Down
- Insulated Pants and down Suit
- Shell JacketGore-Tex Pants
- Mid Layers
- Climbing Pants
- Base Layers 2 synthetic tops and 1 bottom
- Mittens: 8000-meter mittens
- Expedition Weight Gloves
- Light Gloves
- Leather gloves or good abrasion resistant climbing glove for the rock sections
- Winter Beanie
- Neck Gaiter and/or a Buff
- Baseball hat and Bandana
- Sleeping Pad or Thermarest
- Expedition and trekking Backpack.
- Sleeping Bag.
- Self Inflating pads
- Closed-Cell foam pad. used in combination with your self-inflating pad.
- Cooking Gear
- Spoon, Bowl
- Sunscreen and on-screen with SPF or Water Bottles
- Toiletry bag. Include toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and a small towel as well as a toothbrush, toothpaste,
- Camp Knife or Multi-Tool.
- Thermos. 1 Liter capacity.
- Camera gear. Optional.
- Trekking Poles
- Pack Cover
- 5 large plastic garbage bags to pack gear inside duffels to protect gear from rain
- Trekking Clothes
- Lightweight Approach Boots