Ama Dablam presents a significant climbing challenge with sustained technical sections of snow, ice, and rock at relative high altitude with significant exposure. Trekking through the beautiful Khumbu valley and interacting with the local Sherpa culture combine with this challenging climb to create a truly remarkable experience!
Note from Garrett Madison, Lead Guide:
I first attempted Ama Dablam in 2003 with a few of my mountain guide friends after a Cho Oyu expedition, my first season in the Himalayas. We did not reach the summit due to complications on the route. I returned in 2012, as a seasoned Himalayan guide and Expedition Leader with 3 climbers, and had an excellent climb, reaching the summit with all climbers on November 7th. It was one of the most enjoyable climbs of my career. I returned to Ama Dablam in the autumn of 2014 with a few climbers and again had a fantastic climb.
Ama Dablam, or “mother’s necklace” is an iconic peak located in the Khumbu Valley of Nepal, and was first climbed in 1961. At 22,493’, ‘Ama’ is a challenging climb because of the steep faces of snow, ice, and rock that one must negotiate during the ascent of the Southwest ridge. Climbers must have experience with fixed ropes, and be comfortable climbing along very exposed ridgelines. The view from the summit is spectacular, as one can see Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, and Sishapangma.
We begin our expedition by trekking from Lukla along the Dudh Kosi river through the Sherpa villages of Monjo, Namche, Debuche, then Pangbochce. From here we leave the valley and climb up to our base camp.
We have the finest base camp on the mountain. Because our camp is built on a large grassy plain, we are able to bring a large dining and communications tent, as well as personal tents that you can stand up in with a very plush mattresses for sleeping. Fresh food is brought up daily from the valley so our base camp meals are truly delicious! We have a state of the art communications system that allows us to receive regular weather forecasts, make phone calls, and check in via the internet, as well as coordinating with our climbers and Sherpas on the mountain. The views from base camp are stunning, and often we take breakfast outside in the sunshine to start the day.
Our high camps are reserved by our Sherpa team in advance of the season, as space in these camps is very limited. By reserving these camps and stocking them with provisions such as food and cooking equipment, we are fortunate in that we only have to carry our personal items with us during our acclimatization rotations and our ascent. Our Sherpa team will arrive in base camp several weeks ahead of us and begin setting the route. This is a huge advantage for us as setting the route on Ama can take weeks. By the time we arrive the route should be ready for climbing.
We regularly organize custom programs for private groups. We are happy to accommodate your program dates, as well as other specific requests related to the itinerary, amenities, and group size. Please contact us if you would like to know more about custom programs.
Day 1: Arrive Kathmandu. Check all gear, review program itinerary
Day 2: Fly to Lukla and trek to Monjo
Day 3: Trek to Namche
Day 4: Rest in Namche, acclimatization hike to Everest View Hotel for tea
Day 5: Trek to Debuche
Day 6: Trek to Pangboche, visit Lama Geshe for blessing
Day 7: Trek to Ama Dablam base camp (15,000’)
Day 8: Climb to Yak Camp (17,000), return to base camp
Day 9: Rest in base camp, review fixed line climbing techniques
Day 10: Move to Camp 1 (18,500)
Day 11: Climb to Camp 2 (19,600’), sleep in Camp 1
Day 12: Descend to base camp
Day 13: Rest in base camp
Day 14: Move to Camp 1
Day 15: Move to Camp 2
Day 16: Move to Camp 2.7 (20,550’)
Day 17: Summit day and return to Camp 1 or base camp.
Day 18: Rest in base camp
Day 19: Trek to Namche
Day 20: Trek Namche to Lukla
Day 21: Fly Lukla to Kathmandu
Day 22: Depart Kathmandu for home
Days 23-27: Contingency days for bad weather, etc.
October 20-November 15
Ama Dablam Climb: $16,500
Balance due 120 days prior to departure
• Airport pick up
• Welcome dinner in Kathmandu
• American mountain mountain guide, support staff, porters, cooks, climbing Sherpas
• Accommodations in Kathmandu (1 night) before the expedition, and (1 night) after the expedition.
• High quality lodges will be provided during the trek, and tents will be provided during the climb.
• We provide all meals during the trek and climb. We bring high quality food from the US and source local organic food from Nepal for this expedition (think real maple syrup and bacon!). We are happy to accommodate your dietary needs!
• All ground transportation in Kathmandu.
• All regular scheduled air transportation in Nepal. This includes round-trip air flights from Kathmandu to Lukla.
• All group gear such as tents, stoves and pots/pans, fuel, ropes, snow, ice & rock protection, VHF radios (we have a base station in our base camp and climbers carry hand held VHF radios), oxygen and other medical items if necessary.
• Climbing permits, garbage deposit and removal fee, liaison officer.
• Use of our satellite phone, and satellite modem for internet access.
Costs Do Not Include:
• Wire Transfer Fee
• Airfare to Nepal
• Food or Dining in Kathmandu and hotel expenses before the program begins, and after the climber has departed from the Khumbu Valley.
• Alcoholic beverages
• Bottled or canned beverages
• Specialty coffee or espresso drinks
• Personal items (see equipment list)
• A Medical & Evacuation insurance policy is required for this expedition. Taking a helicopter from the mountain this is very expensive. Travelex is recommended for this and for trip cancellation insurance.
• Medical Release signed by your doctor.
• Any costs that are beyond the control of Madison Mountaineering.
Cancellation and Refund Guidelines:
The upfront costs to operate this program involving the local outfitters, government, permits, etc., necessitate a strict refund policy.
Each deposit includes a $250.00 non-refundable registration fee.
A full refund, minus the registration fee, will be provided 90 days prior to the program start date.
50% refunds will be provided 60-90 days prior to program start date.
No refunds will be provided 59 days prior to program start date.
All refund requests must be submitted in writing and received by our office within the 60-90 day period.
All balances are due 90 days prior to departure date.
Trip Cancelation Insurance
We strongly recommend trip cancellation insurance. Oftentimes, this is the only way to receive a refund if you have to cancel or depart early from the program and may allow you reimbursement if you are not within the parameters for a refund from Madison Mountaineering.
• Ice Axe: A short ice axe no longer than 60 cm.
• Crampons: General mountaineering crampons
• Trekking Poles: Adjustable poles for the trek to base camp
• Climbing harness: An alpine climbing harness
• Carabineers: 4 locking and 2 non locking
• Belay / Rappel device: For rappelling or belaying climbers
• Helmet: Must fit over a thick hat
• Ascender: One right or left hand ascender (Petzl is best)
• Prussik Cord: 20’ or 7 meters of 6mm cord.
• Light hiking boots or trekking shoes: For the trek to base camp, these can be worn at base camp and as high as camp 2 depending on route conditions.
• Mountaineering Boots: A boot with a built in gaiter such as the La Sportiva Olympus Mons, Millet Everest, Scarpa 8000, etc.
• Socks: Minimum 3 pair thick mountaineering socks and 3 pair liner socks
• Short Underwear: 2-3 pair of synthetic short underwear
• Long Underwear: 2-3 pair lightweight long underwear pants and shirts. 1 pair of heavy expedition weight long underwear.
• Soft Shell Jacket: A hooded jacket
• Soft Shell pants: For trekking and climbing
• Insulated Jacket: PrimaLoft or Down
• Expedition Down Parka: A hooded down jacket with 800 minimum down fill.
• Insulated Pants: PrimaLoft or Down, these should have full side zippers.
• Hard Shell Jacket: To be worn in wet conditions
• Hard Shell Pants: To be worn in wet conditions, these pants should have full side zippers.
• Headlamp: Bring extra batteries
• Warm Hat: A warm fleece or wool hat.
• Balaclava: to cover your face and neck on windy days.
• Sun hat: A baseball style sun camp.
• Buff: 1-3 of these to wear around your neck & face to block the wind, UV rays, dust.
• Glacier Glasses: wrap around style sunglasses with dark lenses
• Goggles: With dark lenses.
• Soft Shell Gloves: 1 pair
• Shell gloves with insulated liner: 1 pair
• Shell mittens with insulated liner: 1 pair
• Expedition Backpack: A 65 liter internal frame back pack.
• Trekking Backpack: Optional. A small pack for the trek in.
• Sleeping Bag: Rated to at least -20 °F. Down is preferable over synthetic.
• Compression stuff sacks: for reducing volume for your sleeping bag and down jacket.
• Self Inflating pad: A full length air mattress
• Closed Cell foam pad: Full length is best
• Headlamp: Bring a spare set of batteries
• Cup: 16oz. minimum
• Bowl: ½ liter minimum capacity
• Spoon: Plastic (lexan)
• Sunscreen: 2 tubes, SPF 40 or stronger
• Lipscreen: 2 sticks, SPF 30 or stronger
• Thermos: 1 liter capacity
• Water bottles: 2 bottles with 1 liter capacity each
• Water Purification System: Tablets or Steripen
• Water Bottle Parkas: To keep your water from freezing
• Pee Bottle: 1 liter capacity minimum
• Pee Funnel: For Women
• Knife: Optional
• Toiletry Bag: Toothpaste, Toothbrush, baby wipes, etc.
• Hand Sanitizer: 2 small bottles
• Hand warmers / Toe warmers: 3 sets of each
• Trash Compactor bags (4): To line stuff sacks and separate gear
• Camera: lightweight with extra batteries
• Travel Clothes: For days in Kathmandu.
• Large Duffel Bag with lock: for transporting all personal gear to base camp.
• Small duffel bag: to store items in the hotel
• Small Personal First Aid Kit: Athletic tape, band aids, Ibuprofen, Moleskin, blister care products, personal medications, cough drops.
‣ Acetazolamide (Diamox) for altitude illness
‣ Antibiotics such as Ciprofloxin or Azithromycin for gastro intestinal or respiratory illness
‣ Ibuprofen for muscle soreness
‣ Pepto Bismol for loose stool
‣ Excedrin for headaches
‣ Anti-nausea medications.
• Climbing Snacks:
‣ Electrolyte Replacement Drink Mix: Bring a supply for 12 days such as Nuun.
‣ Energy Gel: Single serving gel packs such as GU, Clifshot, Powergel, etc.)
‣ Energy Bars: Power bar, Cliff bar, etc.