Returning from a vacation in Colorado late in September 2005, I had rather few ideas what to do during the next months. My desire was to go back to the Himalayas in order to climb a major peak, but I didn’t have any particular ones on my mind. Ama Dablam, however, had been on my wish list since the autumn of 2000, when I first saw her remarkable silhouette from a small village above Namche.
|The southwest-ridge route of Ama Dablam|
Towering over the access route to the upper Khumbu and presiding grandly over the Sherpa outpost of Thyangboche, Ama Dablam is a coveted Nepalese peak. The southwest ridge is roundly held as one of the finest and most aesthetic mixed lines anywhere on the planet. The route weaves its way up through an ever changing environment of rock towers, ice humps, snow and ice platforms, and terminates upon a ramp of steepish ice and snow before rounding off to a spectacular summit mound where the views of Everest and a multitude of other peaks abound. An ultimate dream for all mountaineers.
I had finally decided what peak to climb, but not how. I spent several hours on the internet before I found a commercial operator that would suit my budget, timeframe and several other requirements. I sent my climbing resume to Fieldtouring Alpine, and shortly after I got in touch with the expedition leader Stu Remensnyder from USA. He eventually offered me the 10th and last position on the expedition. After the agreement had been settled and the fee was paid, I started to feel very excited, and a bit anxious, about the upcoming adventure.
"It is the outlandish exposure, a mind boggling variation of scenery and topography, and the little hidden discoveries along the way up and across the ridge, that make climbing this route (southwest-ridge) such a tantalizing experience" - (Fieltouring)
Fieldtouring is running a more self sufficient styled expedition than many of the other operators, thus being far cheaper. All the paperwork and logistics from Kathmandu to Ama Dablam BC would of course be handled by Fieldtouring, or one of their subcontractors. From BC and above, however, the clients would be more self sufficient, carrying all the food and equipment themselves. Experienced climbers/clients would be offered to climb independently without guide and if needed, participate in the work of establishing the route, while less experienced climbers would be offered more assistance, according to the traditional approach of guiding in the Himalayas.
I joined the expedition less than two weeks before departure, leaving me only some few days to get ready. As expected, it turned out to be a rather stressful period and a lot of last-minute arrangements. But when I checked in at the airport in Oslo, together with my oversized luggage, things started to calm down. The long journey had finally started and all my attention was on the upcoming climb.
Journals from this expedition:
Intro to the Expedition
The Expedition Team
Part 1 - In Kathmandu
Part 2 - From Lukla to BC
Part 3 - Acclimatizing
Part 4 - To Camp 3
Part 5 - Summit Day