Ama Dablam – who is it for? If you are a seasoned all round mountaineer and are wanting to do your first Himalayan peak then this trip to climb Ama Dablam will be right up your alley. Or perhaps you have visited Nepal already and want to do something higher or harder than Mera or Island peak. Alternatively maybe you are just awe inspired by the name, sight and size of the mountain and just want to give it a go.
The terrain on Ama Dablam is fantastic and consistently easier than it looks (it is a pretty daunting mountain from afar). Having said that a good head for heights and being happy with exposure is an absolute necessity. People often hear that there are sections of VS or HVS climbing, that it is Scottish grade III out of Camp 3 or that you have to be able to do 5a moves. In all honesty the harder sections are fixed and it is up to you, on a personal basis, to decide how you want to climb the mountain. Some folk will want to solely jumar to get to the top, some may want to clip a cowstail in to the fixed ropes and climb the harder sections safe in the knowledge that they are protected, and others will perhaps want to do a combination of various techniques. It is entirely a personal choice and since we all have different threshholds it is up to you to decide how you want to tackle it (and if you want to carry all your own loads and do it Alpine style then go for it – it’s how I did it in 2003).
But regardless of all that, rest assured that I conduct a comprehensive training session at Ama Dablam Base Camp, on appropriate terrain, to cover all the situations that you may be faced with. For a comprehensive overview of the minimum requirement please have a look at the suggested list of skills you should have. One other thing that I would mention is that whilst rock and ice climbing are certainly essential skills to have in actual fact a lot of the terrain is of a scrambling, mixed or Alpine nature. So whilst you may think that cranking it out on a 6b rock route or WI4 ice climb is good pre trip training please don’t overlook the fact that you should also be out doing lots of hill days covering a variety of not too technical terrain to make sure that you have a rounded background and all round mountain fitness.
Staffing The ratios that I use are between 1:2 and 1:3 depending on the group size. For instance, in 2005 we managed to get 13 clients (out of 15) and 3 Climbing Sherpas on the summit. In 2013 we got 17 (out of 19) clients on the summit on 7 separate summit bids and the Climbing Sherpas summited 12 times between them. The expeditions were an unprecedented success. The Climbing Sherpas that we use are amongst some of the most experienced that there are. You are in VERY experienced and capable hands.