Detailed, safe and successful ascent of Ama Dablam 2018
We were on the first expedition to Ama Dablam that Mountain Monarch organized themselves. The company was extremely open and forthright about that fact, and provided plenty of support to ensure a safe and successful summit. They provided all the technical gear except for double boots. This included the harness, helmet, ascender, carabiners, accessory cords, ice axe, sleeping bag, and much more if you need. The acclimatization plan was very thorough and had been explained to us right at the beginning. Before we left Kathmandu, the climbing guides reviewed our gear to make sure we were well equipped for the climb.
Outside of gear, we had plenty of guides to help us along the way. By the time we were ready to summit, we had more than one guide per person. The luxury of this arrangement is that we had individual checks of our safety lines and to give us immediate support if we needed.
The itinerary had built in a lot of acclimatization before reaching Ama Dablam. We trekked through Renjo pass, Chola pass, and climbed Lobuche East (6119 m) as a way to refresh our technical skills. For those who are not familiar with using a jumar/ascender, we spent a rest day reviewing gear and training on a large boulder. We were all very comfortable with elevation by the time we reached Ama Dablam basecamp. On top of that, the climbing schedule for Ama Dablam is extremely thorough. If you are worried about rushing up the mountain, there is absolutely no reason to be. On the contrary, we ended up spending a lot of time exposed to the elements as a result, so it’s important to stay warm and healthy.
In general, the plan had a week of contingency in case of bad weather. During this trek, we were hit with a spell of high winds during our summit window. Mountain Monarch gave us the option to descend to Pengboche to wait for the weather to clear. This was an extra cost to them that was not passed down to us!
At basecamp, we were equipped with a group dining tent, personal sleeping tents (with a down exped mattress), outhouse, and an altar for the puja ceremony. Having our own personal tent to rest in was a comfort I never expected to have. Another luxury was the charging station that would kick on every night during dinner service. We had about 3 hours to charge our phones and battery packs in the dining tent. Breakfast, lunch and dinner was provided and served with a smile. When we returned from our successful summit, they even made us a cake to celebrate!
Overall, I felt a lot of attention was given to us to ensure our safety and comfort. The plan was thorough and well executed by all of the guides and sirdar. We even had a helicopter take us back to Lukla in order to catch a flight out to Kathmandu on the same day! All 4 of us who left the the base camp for the summit bid climbed the Amadablam peak together – great achievement. I’m very happy I picked Mountain Monarch to go up Ama Dablam.