Ama Dablam Expedition Summary: At 7:40 am on November 4th, the Madison Mountaineering team stood alone on the summit of Ama Dablam. The sky was cloudless, offering amazing 360-degree views including Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu. This was the culmination of weeks of effort, patience, and perseverance and we were fortunate with an excellent weather window. The team is back at base camp today resting and will trek out tomorrow and the following day. We would like to say special thanks to our amazing Nepali crew, both climbing Sherpas as well as our outstanding base camp crew. Thanks for following us on this epic adventure; we hope to see you in the mountains soon!
(photo: Madison Mountaineering archives)
The Ama Dablam team arrived back at BC after a successful acclimatization rotation. We stayed 2 nights at C1 and made a climb up to C2, ascending the famous Yellow Tower yesterday. Tomorrow we’ll have a rest day then plan our summit push on the 2nd, weather permitting.
Expedition leader, Conan Bliss, checks in with today’s update:
The Ama Dablam team is enjoying another training session this morning at BC. We’ll relax this afternoon and get packed for our two-night acclimatization rotation starting tomorrow (29th/30th). We’ll stay both nights at C1 and plan to climb to touch C2 on the 30th. We’ll check back in on the 31st when we are back in BC.
Expedition leader, Conan Bliss, checks in with today’s update on the Ama Dablam expedition:
The Ama Dablam team arrived at BC yesterday (October 25 – local). It was a snowy evening but clouds are breaking today. We had a fun and productive morning doing rope training. Tomorrow we’re planning an acclimatization hike to Yak Camp and will spend the next 2 nights in BC. Weather permitting we aim to climb to C1 on the 28th or 29th for two nights. Thanks for checking in.
Our autumn Ama Dablam expedition kicked off earlier this week and the team has been trekking their way up to base camp from the mountain airport village of Lukla (2860m / 9,380ft.). The first stop was the village of Monjo where they entered the Sagarmatha National Park. and from there up to Namche Bazaar where a couple of days were spent resting. On their acclimatization hikes above Namche, the team caught the first glimpses of their objective: Ama Dablam. Great hiking weather with dramatic clouds unveiling the summit. From Namche, the team pressed on to Deboche and were able to spend some time enjoying the Tengboche Monastery on their way.
Today they are now at the last village before Ama Dablam base camp, Pangboche and should be crossing the river and finishing up the trek to BC tomorrow.
Also follow the team on Instagram: @MadisonMtng
Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering Mount Everest Expedtion – Autumn Season 2019. Today was a sunny day! Finally the sun came out – it was beautiful.
Kristin is doing well; she’s in Pheriche on her way to Pangboche tomorrow, heading towards Ama Dablam for an attempt on Ama Dablam with our team. Zac is back in Kathmandu. Our friend Kilian Jornet is up at Camp 1. He is spending a couple of nights up there. We’ll see what his plans are, but he’s doing well.
We’re still waiting and watching the serac hoping it’s gonna come down and clear the way for a safe route up through the icefall. Meanwhile, we are looking forward to more sunny weather, hopefully in the future. All’s well here at Everest Base Camp!
In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow the team as they trek to Everest Base Camp and then make their attempt to summit the world’s highest mountain on:
– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking map:
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.