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!
Year of Expedition : 2019