Climbing period for Ama Dablam. Stay overnight at camp.
Base camp (4600 m): Situated on a large grassy meadow with a wonderful views.
To yak camp (5400 m): Yaks carry most of our equipment for this section, which saves three to four hours of heavy work. There is a rough track over very rocky terrain, which we and the yaks use.
To camp I (5800 m): Your first real camp is only one and a half hours walk above Yak camp. This section is marked by rock cairns and involves boulder hopping and some easy scrambling. You sometimes fix a couple of sections with rope to be used as a handrail.
Camp I to Camp II (6000 m): Now, you begin your climb. This route mostly involves rock climbing. You follow a narrow ridge, switching back and forth on each side of the ridge. This is the hardest rock climbing of the entire route. In places the exposure is extreme and you will be grateful for the fixed ropes in place. You can also use your jumar to help you over the odd spots of difficulties. Most of the climbing on this section is traversing on rock, so good rock climbing skills will help you move efficiently and quickly over this terrain.
Camp II: Situated on top of the Yellow Tower on a narrow platform, this camp site is rather exposed and has fantastic views. If you dropped your cup from here, it would probably land in base camp!
Camp II to Camp III (6300m): Now, for the hardest snow and ice pitches of the route we follow a system of steep snow and ice gullies up to join a feature called the Mushroom Ridge. Whilst the ridge itself is not as technical as the gullies leading up to it, the exposure here is palpable. It is a narrow, windy, snow mushroom-like ridge with giant Himalayan peaks in the background. This feature leads us up onto a small plateau at 6300 m, which serves the purpose of camp three.
Camp III: A cold and exposed position is the start of your summit push. The Sherpas will often use a full climbing rope to tie our tents down as the natural shape of the mountain can at times unfortunately funnel the wind to this location. It is, however, the only safe flat piece of real estate within range of the summit.
Summit day: The initial route is to the right of the huge “Dablam” (ice cliff), up a moderately steep slope. Once past this feature we move toward the centre of the face. The angle eases slightly and a couple of tough hours later we emerge on the summit (6856 m). The summit is the size of a tennis court and allows us to move around and take pictures. Five of the world’s six highest peaks are clearly visible, with many other 7000m and lesser peaks filling the gaps.