From his tent at Ama Dablam base camp, guide Sid Pattison checks in with this recap of the climb of Ama Dablam:
The climb to camp 1 was a big day for everyone. But the views of our intended route made it all worth it. After about 1220 m (4000 ft) of elevation gain, we were happy to see our tents. But Ama kept pulling us out. Situated at the toe of the SW ridge, camp 1 let us see just about every step we will take to the summit: the yellow tower on the way to camp 2, the gray tower just out of camp 2 and of course the intimidating Dablam with the steep fluted snow slopes leading to the summit.
Yesterday we woke up to beautiful skies, very little wind and the move to camp 2 ahead of us. While only a 2-3 hour day, the terrain we were to move over has little in common with the pastoral hiking we had done the day before. Right out of camp we put our harnesses on and clipped in for the move. Most of the terrain was steep, very exposed and held our attention.
The highlight of the day was the yellow tower, while only clocking in at around 5.8, with a full pack, approach shoes and at roughly 20,000ft, to say it was strenuous would be an understatement. Needless to say, we all made it up and moved into camp 2. I gotta say, camp 2 is one of the coolest places on earth! All of our tents are set on unlikely stone platforms just below the beginning of the vertical climbing. With a vivid view of what’s to come, hours are spent admiring the climbing route. We spent our day here napping, eating, prepping gear and generally wrapping our minds around the climb that would begin that night…
1 am never seems like a sensible time to wake up. But when the day holds climbing one of the worlds most iconic mountains, you deal appropriately. In our case, it was wondering if the winds whipping at our tents were too much to climb in. After a few brief comments thrown from tent to tent, we decided the growl was worse than the bite.
We suited up and were off by 2:15. The night was perfect, with only two parties climbing from camp 2 there was no pressure, we could enjoy the climbing without worrying about other people. We climbed up through the vertical mixed ice and rock terrain of the gray tower, over the ridge that connects to camp 3 before the sun rose. As we stood, staring up at the Dablam and the face that rises above it we knew we would make it! Though much bigger than it appears, the mental boost was enough.
We crunched up the frozen snow, lost in our thoughts for several hours. As the valley villages below us started to show I mentally picked them out, Pengboche, Dingboche, Phortse, Phereche, also picking out the paths I had walked looking up at this beautiful mountain. At around 8:30 we stood on top. We hugged, high fived and knew we had a long road back.
Back to Base Camp
The descent is as much fun as the climb, with lots of rappels one was never bored. We arrived back at camp 2 and packed our things. We planned to be back at base camp for dinner. Reversing the exposed, technical terrain to camp 1, we put out climbing kits away and endured the 3-hour hike back to base camp where a fantastic meal awaited us. And now I’m in my tent writing this. Good night and dream of climbing Ama Dablam.
We just received a satellite phone call from the team. They are standing on the summit of Ama Dablam (6812 m / 22,349 ft)!! After they safely descend, we will share the climb recap and some photos.
Fun facts: Ama Dablam is the third most popular Himalayan peak for permitted expeditions, first climbed in March of 1961 via the Southwest Ridge (same as our team uses) by an international team which included Barry Bishop of the USA.
The team is here at Ama Dablam base camp. We all rendezvoused after parting ways following the Nupla Khang climb. We met up yesterday in Pangboche and spent the afternoon resorting gear and getting ready for Ama Dablam. The team is in great spirits and really psyched to climb! We arrived at BC around 4:00 PM greeted by huge views of our anticipated route and a super comfy camp.
Tomorrow we will take a rest day to train a bit and pack for our climb. The following day, the 9th, we will head up to Camp 1. We plan to spend one night at Camp 1 and one night at Camp 2 before pushing for the summit on the 11th. Hopefully, the weather cooperates with our plans.
We are excited to share the great First Ascent news as reported in the Himalayan Times:
KATHMANDU: Six climbers along with five Sherpa guides of Madison Mountaineering Nupla Khang Expedition Team 2018 has made first ascent of Mt Nupla Khang earlier today.
According to Managing Director of Himalayan Guides Nepal, Iswari Paudel, the expedition team led by Garrett Madison of the United States of America summitted the virgin peak at 11:10 am.
Other members of the team were Ingvild Marie Settemsdel of Norway, Joshua Joseph Miller, Sidney Pattison, Kristan Ann Bennet, and Ben Beres, all from the USA.
Likewise, Aang Phurba Sherpa, Pasdawa Sherpa, Kam Dorjee Sherpa, Tashi Sherpa and Lakpa Dendi Sherpa accompanied the climbers on their expedition.
Mt Nupla Khang — which is 6,861 m tall — lies in the Solukhumbu region.
As soon as the team gets back to network connectivity range, we will share some photos of this super accomplishment. Join us in congratulating the entire climbing team!!
Today the team flew by helicopter from base camp (4965 m) across the Ngozumpa glacier and by last year’s First Ascent peak, Tharke Khang to our advanced base camp. Advanced base camp is located just near the Nepal / China border at approximately 6170 m (just over 20,000 ft). After scouting out the area and base of the route, they spend some time acclimatizing to the new elevation.
The plan will be to launch a summit bid within the next few days. The weather is favorable, and the team is strong, in high spirits and ready to do this! Network communications are currently limited, so no new pictures yet.
We are looking forward to a recorded audio dispatch in the next day or so with a detailed update direct from the team.
Meanwhile, our Island Peak team has trekked from Gokyo over the Cho La pass (5420 m / 17,782 ft) into the Khumbu valley and down to Dingboche. Yesterday, they continued to Chukhung. Today they will finish the trek to the Island Peak base camp and conduct some additional training. They should be going for the summit on November 2nd in Nepal.
We are pretty excited to have our two teams going for Himalayan summit possibly the same day! Join us in wishing them both great climbing success, and we will have another update for you tomorrow.
While we are still awaiting some photos of the triumphant team member summits, the message from the island of New Guinea is that the team awoke to fantastic weather at the Yellow Valley base camp. Half of the team (Richard, Joel, and Gary) were able to jump on a helicopter a day early and head back to Timika. The timing should allow them to connect with the return flight to Bali and be enjoying the sunset from Bali’s world-famous beaches this evening!
Garrett, Jim, and Chad will follow suit tomorrow morning and met up with the others for a celebration dinner in Bali tomorrow night.
I promise pictures soon!
We received word that 100% of the team reached the summit of Carstensz Pyramid (4884 m / 16,024 ft) at 10:40 AM local time on October 17, 2018 (about 10 hours ago) and have all safely returned to base camp in the Yellow Valley!
We should have some pictures and details to share shortly.
This morning the Carstensz Pyramid climbing team flew by helicopter from the town of Timika, Papua up to their base camp in the Yellow Valley. The base camp is located at an elevation of 4285 m / 14,050 ft. That’s quite a change from the sea-level beaches of Bali just a couple of days ago! Today the team will spend some time hiking around the area of base camp to acclimatize to the new altitude. The weather is looking favorable and everyone is ready for a great day of climbing.
At 4,884 m (16,024 ft.) above sea level, Carstensz Pyramid is the highest point between the Himalayas and the Andres. As the team climbs tomorrow, they will have views of the nearby Grasberg mine, the largest gold mine and second largest copper mine in the world.