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.
This climbing itinerary is based on a 4 week Saturday to Sunday period as follows:
- 11th Nov – Arrive Kathmandu (KTM).
- 12th Nov – Sightseeing in KTM. Sort gear / final preparations for the expedition.
- 13th Nov – Fly to Lukla (2800m) and start trekking. 13th – 6th Dec – Trek to Ama Dablam Base Camp. Rest. Train. Climb. Party.
- 7th Dec – Fly to KTM. Sort gear. Sightseeing. Party again.
- 8th Dec – Depart KTM.
- Ama Dablam Peak Fee
- Liaison Officer
- Compulsory rope fixing fee
- Climbing Sherpa(s)
- Base Camp Sherpa(s)
- Cook crew
- Administration fee for our expedition agent in Nepal – I use one of the premiere trekking and climbing agencies in KTM. (They have a proven track record of providing an excellent service, are able to provide full support throughout the expedition and have a tried and tested emergency call out procedure should the need arise)
- My fee for administration and planning prior to the expedition and technical support, guiding, instruction, planning and logistics during the expedition
- Trekking and teahouse arrangements to / from Ama Dablam Base Camp
- Full porter support to / from Base Camp
- Catering and sleeping arrangements during our stay at Base Camp on a full board basis (this includes 3 course meals, services of cook crew, camping equipment, kitchen tent, dining tent, toilet tent, shower tent, kitchen utensils etc)
- Single tent for individual use at Base Camp (with foam mattress provided)
- Solar charging at Base Camp (priority given to the comms equipment)
- Snacks and goodies for rest days including olives, gherkins, pate, crackers and cheeses, Tangfastics™, various chocolatey bars from the UK, proper coffee, cashew nuts, pistachios etc etc. You will not be disappointed.
- Tents, pots and pans for use on the mountain
- Food and fuel above Ama Dablam Base Camp. There is a really varied menu with a good mixture of things for you to choose from.
- Porterage of group equipment to Advance Base Camp and Camp 1 (I don’t allow porters to go beyond Camp 1 as the terrain becomes too technical)
- A member of staff stationed at Camp 1 who will be melting ice and providing hot water for you when you camp there
- Ropes, climbing gear required for equipping the mountain, ice screws, snow stakes etc
- Comprehensive 1st aid kit including antibiotics and medicines for use at altitude (Note: there is also a 1st aid post at Pheriche which is manned with Western doctors throughout the trekking season which is only a couple of hours away)
- Insurance for Nepalese Base Camp crew
- Insurance for the Climbing Sherpas
- Insurance for porters
- Internal flights KTM / Lukla / KTM
- Departure tax KTM / Lukla / KTM
- 25 kg baggage allowance on Lukla flight
- Airport transfers in KTM
- National Park entrance fees
- Sightseeing tour in Kathmandu
- Hotel arrangements in Kathmandu on a twin shared basis
- Feeding arrangements in Kathmandu
- International flight (approx £750-£850). Please make sure you book a flexible ticket to allow for changes should you summit early and wish to come home ahead of schedule
- Entry visa (approx £40)
- Inoculation / vaccination costs
- Travel and medical insurance – MUST include helicopter rescue and repatriation
- Hire of any equipment for personal use
- Portering of personal equipment beyond Base Camp (see below)
- Tips for the staff (approx US$150 – in GB£, US$, €uros or Rs)
- Climbing Sherpa summit bonus (US$400 – in GB£, US$, €uros or Rs)
- Excess baggage charges on the Lukla flight (around Rs120 per kilo)
- Drinks with meals in Kathmandu
- Any drinks and/or food during the trek other than that which is provided by the crew (e.g. soft drinks, snacks, alcohol, etc etc).
- Spending money
- Unscheduled Hotel / teahouse stays and restaurant meals (e.g. if delayed departing KTM or Lukla)
- Any costs incurred if leaving the expedition early
- Any costs incurred if the expedition ends early (e.g. bringing your international flight departure forward)
- Any international freight charges in the event that your bags don’t arrive in Kathmandu from Lukla due to any delays prior to your departure from Nepal.
Some optional extras
- Single occupancy hotel room in KTM – please ask for the price but usually around US$50pn subject to availability
- 1:1 Climbing Sherpa ratio for the summit bid. Around US$550 (plus summit bonus)
- Kit and equipment carry to Camp 1 – around US$35 per load (restricted to only 1 load per member)
- Your climbing gear to the bottom of the slabs below Camp 1 and your plastic boots, ice and axe and crampons to Camp 1 – US$20pp.
I'd done a lot of non-guided mountaineering and climbing before coming to Ama. For my first high altitude trip I chose Tim Mosedale as he had been highly recommended by a friend. The trip was everything I had hoped for - Tim has been doing this for so many years he has the logistics completely wired and all the right people in place to make the trip fun, safe and achievable. This is exactly what you need when trying a high mountain a long way from home. The ascent profile was spot on with plenty of time and leeway for acclimatisation to happen at the pace that is right for you. The food was great, the staff amazing and the climb was brilliant fun. In the end I didn't make the top - cold, fatigue and hypoxia put an end to it for me not far from the summit, but that was no hassle and Tim and the Sherpa team helped me descend safely. Overall, it was a fantastic trip, with good banter and fun times in an amazing setting. I'd highly recommend going with Tim, who became a friend as well as being an extremely knowledgable and competent guide for the high mountains of Nepal.
I first climbed with Tim on Ama Dablam in 2007 near the beginning of a climbing career which culminated in summiting Everest in 2011. It will perhaps tell you all you need to know when I say that I chose to go to both Cho Oyu (8201m) and Everest with Tim, to the extent that had I not been asked by Tim if I were interested in being amongst the members of his first guided team on Everest, I would almost certainly not have attempted it. This, I will put down to the unsurpassed experience I had with him on Ama Dablam, and the trust I feel in him as a mountaineer, a guide, a logistician and basically an all-round good guy, who takes great personal satisfaction in seeing his team-members achieve, and sometimes surpass their own personal goals. Tim has the background, experience and personality to make it happen for you, in exactly the way you want it to happen. He allows as much or as little autonomy as desired and appropriate, whilst giving sound advice, backup and support, both logistical and psychological. His background in military harsh-environment training gives him insight into what each team member needs personally in order to progress. He will only take team members with the right attitude and experience, so nobody is a liability to the team as a whole, whilst having the local knowledge and years of mountain experience to deal with any curveballs that these extreme environments can (and often do) throw at you. From the laughs and fun in Kathmandu, to the carefully calculated (yet completely natural!) team-building and acclimatisation on the trek in, I really felt like a valued and important part of an expedition, rather than a client on a climbing tour. Tim has been going to the Khumbu for years, and has many friends in the valley, supporting and fundraising for some of those that have faced hardship, and hence is greeted like family along the route, as will you be. Most of local staff are also trusted old friends, or come highly recommended by them, and are some of the most experienced professionals on the mountain, which is one less thing to worry about. Basecamp is made comfortable, well appointed, well-served, and above all FUN, which is important on the extensive down-time, and this can in the main, be put down to the atmosphere fostered by the good humour of Tim and his team. The climb itself is a wonderful thing. Everything is in place for you to do it the way you want to, with the support needed, the specific local knowledge imparted at basecamp, the radio-comms in place for reassurance should things not go to plan, and the flexibility to accommodate changing conditions or changing minds. I guess I don’t need to add that I thoroughly recommend that you go with Mr Mosedale for an unforgettable experience on AD. I’m so glad I did, for that and for my subsequent adventures with him in the high places of the Himalayas.
I was a member of Tim Mosedale’s Ama Dablam expedition in 2007. From the outset I found Tim very helpful and informative regarding all aspects of preparation. I went to see him at his home before confirming my place, and was very impressed my his ex-military approach to planning and logistics before and during the expedition. I was amazed that more people did not undertake this approach to meeting their potential expedition leader. I seemed rather important that you should like and get on with someone in whom you place such trust. Tim was very approachable and patient, answering all my questions and queries throughout my preparations, which he guided meticulously. From the time we arrived in Kathmandu, where most people had not met each other, he worked hard to gel the team together. He allowed latitude for decision making from the outset, providing advice and guidance, but as expedition members allowing us ultimately to make our own decisions within certain parameters. A classic moment was the discussion around summit pairings and sequence – he facilitated the group towards making the right decisions and for the right pairings to emerge. It felt like our collective decision – not exclusively his – really important in such a small team. On the hill he was always in evidence – we had radios with regular radio checks on progress, health, well-being, etc. each evening so that he knew exactly where everyone was. And how they were feeling. Really important. We all made the distinction between expedition leader, (who can’t possibly be everywhere, although Tim was on the mountain with us all at different times whilst managing the logistics supply chain too) and the expedition guide, who ties you on in the morning and supervises you throughout the day. Ama Dablam is no place for novices, and you need to be competent and confident to look after yourselves through you passage up and down, with minimal Sherpa supervision or presence. It’s the same on Everest, where we had to take full responsibility for our actions, or seek advice if unsure. Tim managed the balance amongst us perfectly, encouraging us up the final summit slopes when the turnaround time was looming, and then chastening us to return when we reached the top and lost all track of time. He got the balance absolutely right. He engendered loyalty to him as a leader, and collaboration and help towards each other. In the military, that’s rare. In “civi-street”, it’s even rarer! Tim was a buoyant and lively expedition leader, and worked really hard at helping us learn to work together and “buddy-up” effectively. His attention to detail both before the expedition, at Base Camp and on the hill was very impressive – we felt both safe and confident because of his leadership. We helped each other, because he encouraged us to do so, and he managed the different styles and personalities really well. As a result of our trip together, we planned to tackle Everest with a small group. I then could not get the time off work, so Tim eventually took the group and there were several successful summits. I summited two years later. On Ama I learnt the skills, decision making and the confidence I needed to tackle Everest in a similar manner. A significant part of that confidence came from the way Tim led team, encouraged us to make our own decisions, and enabled us all to feel our own stake and responsibility for our expedition, rather than leaning on, sitting in judgement and then blaming the expedition leader for any shortcoming or lack of planning on our part. I would not hesitate to recommend Tim Mosedale to lead anyone considering an adventure in the high Himalayas. Roger Owen Ama Dablam 2007
Very happy to recommend Tim - he runs a tight ship, is good craic, knows pretty much every stone on Ama and looks after his clients and crew really well. I particularly liked the way that Tim gives the group a lot of autonomy to go at their own pace and has a deep connection with the people of the Khumbu.
Here is my comprehensive review of our 2017 Ama Dablam expeditions. Sit back, have a brew, read at leisure. Three words spring to mind - slick, experienced and knowledgable. I decided to go with Tim Mosedale after speaking with a leader of one of my previous expeditions. Tim was highly spoken of by other top expedition leaders and to me, having the backing and support of other top leaders speaks volumes. Tim was on hand prior to the expedition at all times. Any questions were answered promptly and comprehensively from kit, to travel, routes, contingency’s, emergency plans and everything in between. First rate service and it was clear from the start that Tim was incredibly knowledgable and had bags of experience that he readily and happily shared. On to Nepal. Logistics were seamless from the start. Being picked up at the airport tying in many other clients from many different country’s was seamless. A few days in a lovely hotel in Kathmandu, taking in the sights and sounds of the city with Tim imparting local knowledge was a cultural experience that would put most holiday providers to shame. Meals out and good chat between members ensured we gelled right from the off. Tim was friendly, approachable and bags of energy. Very welcoming! On to the trail. Here I must emphasise something important. Tim was very clear from the off that this expedition was to be our own. We would have freedom to make whatever decisions we felt were right with Tim providing knowledge and experience to best guide us. Ama Dablam is a serious mountain. If you aren’t experienced enough to look after yourself on a big hill then simply, you shouldn’t be there. This was a big selling point for me. Taking ownership of your own expedition to gain the most from it. The degree of flexibility Tim provided was fantastic for someone who wants to build on skill and knowledge rather than be spoon fed all the way to the summit. Of course, if that’s what you want I’m sure Tim would provide, but then ask yourself should you really be on the hill to start with. The trail to basecamp was fantastic. Again flexibility was great. Tim would explain the days Route with uncanny detail clearly showing his experience of the area and we were free to go along our merry way rather than in the rank and file of some other expeditions. We stopped along the way at many friendly tea houses where Tim and the team were greeted and treated as members of the family. Tim clearly gives a lot to these local community’s in a not so fortunate part of the world. Basecamp was a delight. We actually had our own camp away from the other commercial teams which was a huge bonus. A tent to yourself with a mattress, toilet tent, shower tent and mess tent - all fairly standard on big expeditions but with a top rate cook crew who were friendly, chatty and helpful throughout the trip providing good, fresh local food was ace - best base camp I’ve had. Fresh snacks to nibble on, plenty of chat and Tim providing top tips and handy hints throughout the trip was invaluable. A training sesh was put on by Tim as a refresher and brush up on skills for using the fixed lines with Tim outlining the pros and cons for various methods. On the hill. Again flexibility with top logistics and a top crew. Tim outlined a standard acclimatisation plan with the teams free to make decisions on the hill when necessary. One example, myself and my small 3 man team of members who stuck together throughout the trip decided to have an additional day at ABC - most teams don’t use an ABC (again bonus to have that flexibility) meaning we would require some extra food sent up. Tim would check in each day with every member of the team via radio to see how everyone was getting on and what their plans were so that provisions were in place. The next morning a large bag of additional food was outside our tent before we had even woken up - first class service. Tents already up for us when we arrived at each of the camps and fresh hot water was provided by the porters whenever we needed it. Good food with plenty of variety was provided at base camp for you to select and carry up with a good selection of boil in the bag meals for the high camp - high calorie, low weight, perfect for summit bid. For me this was a great idea. A variety of normal food I.e beans, mash potato, rice meals, meats, cheeses, biscuits etc for lower down and a higher calorie diet with low weight for when it’s required. Summit bid. Weather updates were regular and spot on. That combined with first rate Sherpas and detailed explanation of route meant we had the best chance of success. And succeed we did! Side note - 1 member of our team did suffer frostbite on his hands, but that was due to their own mistake not changing gloves when required. With help from super strong Sherpa, he was down to base camp and slick logistics meant a helicopter was called in the next day for immediate treatment back in Kathmandu the next day, no doubt saving fingers due to the promptness! Back down the hill, camps were quickly dismantled and whisked away. Flexibility again provided if members wanted to take a different route home taking in more sites of the khumbu. Tim again providing local info on the best and safest places to go. More friendly tea houses, relaxed atmosphere, card games, connect 4 (don’t play Tim...he’s unbeatable) and good times all round. Overall I can’t speak highly enough of Tim AND his team. If you’re someone who wishes to improve skill, gain knowledge and undertake a serious expedition that is made to feel your own then look no further! Tip top!
Wow-what an expedition, bottom line upfront. I highly recommend Tim Mosedale and his Ama Dablam Expedition, it truly exceeded all of my expectations and is very much value for money. Everything truly exceeded my expectations. It's always a little unnerving, booking an expedition "blind", not meeting the leaders face to face beforehand and not knowing the team members you'll be climbing with. I did speak with Tim several times by phone when booking and to go over logistics, he really made me feel comfortable with my choice of attempting Ama Dablam. It all gets real when you land at Kathmandu airport, will there really be someone there to greet me? How will I find them? Tim had provided me instructions prior, when I arrived and got my bags, I was greeting remediation and I felt relieved and glad that things were falling in place. Arriving at the hotel, Tim greeted me and we went out to dinner, what a great start. The trek from Lukla was well designed, easy walking each day as we slowly gained altitude and acclimatized. Tim was greeted as family at each Tea House, we were treated the same. Just a really fun hike to base camp as the team bonded and new friendships were made. Base camp far exceeded my expectations. A lovely 3 man tent to myself, with a mattress no less :) Kitchen tent where many good meals were served, laughs shared and games were played. Two toilet tents, and a bonus, a shower tent !!! The climbing was really fun, the support of our Sherpa crew and their friendliness was fantastic. Not having to lug tents and set camp felt a little unusual as I’m used to being self-supported, but heck it’s nice to hot camp 2 and not having to spend time finding a platform and pitching tents. Even better was having a supply of water, hot and cold when you needed it. Summit day we set out from camp 2,m the Sherpas came with us for safety and support. Wow are they amazing, without them I doubt I’d have summited. I did get some frostbite during summit day, that was totally my fault for lack of self-care though. Back at base camp, Tim managed to whistle up a helicopter to get me out and for treatment back in KTM. So nice to have someone who cares for you and is well connected to get you to safety when needed. I’m pretty much all healed up now, probably due to the quick extraction and treatment. Thanks Tim ! If someone has taken the time to read this review, you’re probably serious in attempting Ama Dablam. I’d HIGHLY recommend going with Tim Mosedale, its value for money, amazing service and all-around a fantastic experience. Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly if you’d like more insight into my experience. Five stars, only because the rating doesn’t have 6 stars :)
Here is my end-to-end review of our 2019 Ama Dablam expedition, with Tim Mosedale. I am describing all stages of our trip in chronological order. As you can see, they are generally very positive with a few items that potentially could have been different. Our decision to go with Tim: We were a team of three climbers living in the US. We contacted 13 different expedition companies asking various questions about: cost, food, Sherpas, facilities, itinerary and ‘leave-no-trace’ policies. We created a decision matrix by assigning weights to each of the 12 different factors, including ‘responsiveness’. At the end two companies came to the top: Tim Mosedale and a well-known New Zealand company. We found no way to justify the significant price difference for our specific needs. So, our small group unanimously decided to go with Tim. Before the trip: As we approached the trip, we got more comfortable that we made the right decision. Tim was available to talk on the phone and continued to be very responsive on emails. He helped with all sorts of planning and gear questions. Two of us planned to start their trip 3 weeks early by trekking in the area before joining the rest for Ama. Tim helped curating a customized itinerary for them, which worked perfectly fine. We realized the value of working with a small company: we were directly communicating with a mountaineering expert who would accompany us on the actual trip. No communication gaps, no misunderstandings, no organizational layers, no delays. Kathmandu: Received in-time instructions on how to cross the customs and fill the forms at the airport. Smooth arrival. Great hotel. Met our friendly guide face-to-face. All good. Trek to basecamp: This was the fun part. As we trekked our way up, we realized how flexible Tim’s approach is toward the expedition. He would accommodate different needs and preferences. He knew every single turn on the trek. He was greeted by the Tea Houses as if he was a native Tibetan – some called him their son. He was actively working to contribute to the well-being of locals and our entire team was treated with special care in return. This is when we realized this is not just about climbing a mountain, but a more meaningful cultural and a deeper human experience. Very valuable indeed. Also every night Tim provided valuable tips and tricks on how to stay warm, how to sleep well, how to stay hydrated and generally how to enjoy our time at altitude. He continued to be available any moment to answer our questions. I cannot emphasize enough on the value of the information we received along the way. Ama Basecamp: We met the rest of the expedition team at the Basecamp. To keep it short: everything and everyone was at or above expectations: the tents, the food, the snacks, the entertainment, the puja ceremony and more. No complaints. Tim brought some quality snacks from the UK which was really appreciated for our long stay at the Basecamp. High camps: Again everything went smoothly. Tim customized the expedition based on the needs/condition of each individual. We were not forced to stay together or move together. Our team of Sherpa’s were very experienced. Tim was dynamically adjusting the plan and giving advice to each climber. Although some people began to suffer from altitude at Camp 1. Summit push: Here is when I think certain things could have been different. One was the food for the summit push: I generally lose my appetite at altitude. This happened to me at Aconcagua a year earlier and happened again at Ama. I could not eat the food that was provided. I am not sure if it would be possible to have more options to choose from (honestly have had limited experience in such expeditions). But I can say that I ‘wish’ I had different food for the high camp. Not sure if I could blame Tim for this, but since I could not eat well, I did not have enough energy on the summit push. The other thing was the weather: we faced very cold weather and very strong winds on the summit day. Our lead Sherpa indicated that this was one of the coldest days he had experienced. The team was caught off-guard and some suffered frostbites. I ‘wish’ we had the heads-up to expect what was coming, and perhaps adjusting accordingly. Again, not sure how accurate the weather models are for Ama. But we did not know about the very challenging conditions which was ahead of us. Finally, it was my Sherpa: I had hired a one-to-one Sherpa so I can have the flexibility to adjust my pace on the summit day. I was hopping to go ahead of the rest of the team to avoid delays on the anchors (which was even more important in very cold and windy conditions). Unfortunately, my Sherpa was reluctant to separate from the rest of the team. Considering the conditions (strong winds), he was not able to communicate properly. So I cannot tell if he had legitimate reason to stay with the rest of the team or simply did not have the confidence to lead. Anyway, our pace was very slow all the way to Camp 3 when I insisted to go ahead and he reluctantly agreed. Despite all of these wishes and the challenging weather, our team had a successful summit day. A large majority of the team summited with no incidents (beside frostbites). Back to Kathmandu: The fun started again once we returned to the Basecamp. Laughs and celebrations all the way back to the hotel. I think Tim was very generous in his hospitality in Kathmandu after our return. We could not ask for more! All in all, very successful tip. If I want to reemphasize on one item it would be Tim’s vast mountaineering experience, flexibility and unique leadership. He was a main reason why enjoyed this trip and had such good success record. I hope I can go on more expeditions with Tim. I strongly recommend him on any major expedition!