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  SummitClimb Ama Dablam 2005: Ama Dablam Expedition: Last Dispatch


Dear all Everest News Readers-

Doug Sandok writing to you from Kathmandu. We arrived back in Kathmandu on October 30th from Lukla in the Khumbu valley. Though flights were slightly delayed we all made it out in good weather and arrived back in Kathmandu by late morning.

As we left the Khumbu valley we passed many groups and individual trekkers on their way up and down. From our observation it seems that the numbers for this season must be quite good. Reportedly many teahouses in the higher Khumbu were difficult to get a room in at times. Its probably because of the cease fire which has now blanketed all of Nepal in relative peacefulness.

All of us spent a good deal of time looking back at Ama Dablam during our trek out of the valley, looking at it from different angles, remembering the various sections, and various challenges of the mountain and remembering our time standing on the summit.

Since arriving back in Kathmandu we have been busy saying our goodbyes, celebrating our success on Ama Dablam and participating in many, many Tihar (Diwali) celebrations. This is a five day family holiday when people do a lot of praying and spend time with their families. All of Kathmandu has been strung with lights, butter lamps and candles and we have had a number of celebrations with our Sherpas, as well as a feast at the house of our excellent local trekking/expedition agency (Parivar Everest Expeditions) operator, Murari Sharma. 

A number of members have made their way out of Nepal already and we are even getting some updates via e-mail from them as they reach their homes and send along news. Today and tomorrow the last few members leave for home as Tihar draws to a close and people go back to their daily lives in Nepal.

We have had much time to talk about the climb, what we are all up to next, future climbing plans and much more. I think everyone felt that we were very lucky to have the people on this trip that we did- all very capable and interesting people who put a lot of thought and energy into making this trip a positive, safe, and memorable experience for all. In our initial briefing Jay Reilly told us that Safety, Having a good time doing it, and making the summit were the priorities- in that order. It is clear that we managed those goals and that may have led to everyone's success. The comradery of the team is evident to anyone who has seen us together and many people have made plans to climb and adventure together in the future already.

The incredible mountains, people and cultures of Nepal, and the beautiful mountain, Ama Dablam have left it's impression on all members, from those who have come for the first time to those who have been here many times.

Thanks to Dan Mazur and Jay Reilly for skillfully organizing the expedition and bringing us to together for this truly memorable adventure. And thanks to the fantastic members and staff of our team who made it all happen!

Namaste from Kathmandu

-Doug Sandok

Updates

AMA DABLAM: sometimes spelled: Ama Dablan, or Amadablam, or Amadablan

ASIA'S MOST FAMOUS TECHNICAL BUT CLIMBABLE ROCK-ICE-SNOW CLIMB

Leader: Daniel Mazur, Ama Dablam 4 time summiter, climber-leader-organizer of Everest, K2, and 12 "eight-thousand-metre-peaks", leading together with Jay Reilly, two time Ama Dablam and two time Pumori summiter

Our expedition offers an opportunity to climb this challenging semi-technical rock-ice-snow climb with an experienced team, at an affordable price. We have organized five previous expeditions to Ama Dablam, so our leaders and staff are very familiar with the climb. In October 2003, fourteen of our members and 5 Sherpas reached the summit in all safety. It was our fifth successful ascent of the mountain. We were fortunate in that the weather was ideal, the team cooperated together well, our Sherpa climbing staff worked very hard, our equipment functioned well, the food and hot drinks were well prepared, and the route was in excellent condition. Please share in our congratulations to all of the team members and thanks to everyone who helped and supported us, including our generous sponsors. Nepal is indeed beautiful now and the pleasant weather and calm conditions in this very peaceful and happy region made our expedition especially enjoyable.

SOME FACTS ABOUT AMA DABLAM:  Ama Dablam is in the Khumbu valley, near to Mt. Everest, in the heart of the Sherpa area of Nepal, and is considered by many to be the most famous rock-ice-snow climb in all Asia. The name Ama Dablam means Mother’s Charm Box: the high hanging serac located just below the summit resembling the Dablam or Charm Box which unmarried Sherpa women used to wear around their necks. The first ascent of the mountain was by Ed Hillary's Silver Hut expedition in 1961 when Bishop (USA), Gill, Romanes (NZ) and Ward (UK) reached the summit, via the SW ridge, on 13 March after 20 days working on the route. Since then the mountain has received about 500 ascents (not including Sherpas) mostly via the SW ridge.

WHY THE SOUTH WEST RIDGE

Here is what one of our previous top climb leaders (Jonathan Pratt, from Essex, England) had to say about the route:  “The easiest way to the top of Ama Dablam is via the SW ridge, a semi-technical route, and considered to be the standard route. Although there are several other routes on the mountain, they are all very much harder than the SW ridge. The route has been considered to be a safe route, free from objective danger, such as avalanche. It is a varied and interesting route with loads of superb climbing - not just a huge snow slog, unlike other Himalayan climbs. On Ama Dablam, the rock and ice is not sustained but tends to come in short manageable sections.”

NOTE: Please don’t underestimate this climb. Although there is only one 6 metre, 20 foot section of grade British severe, or North America 5.5, (the rest of the climb is known as "scrambling" or "4th class") there are complicating factors which you may not find at home on your local crag and definitely not in the rock-gym. These may include: ice, snow, high-altitude, temperature, weather, exposure, and other factors.

 

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