Ama Dablam, Nepal

Altitude Junkies offer one of the most cost-effective full-service expeditions on Ama Dablam.

We don't advertise an expedition price and then ask for additional payments at the conclusion of the expedition such as Sherpa summit bonus and kitchen staff gratuities as some of the other operators do. The price you pay the Junkies is the final price.

Our expedition is limited to eight climbers and one expedition leader with a 1:2 Sherpa to climber ratio. Some of the other operators have as many as twenty climbers on one expedition and we feel a smaller team makes for a more intimate and satisfying experience for a climber on Ama Dablam.

The single leader/expedition manager offers similar expertise as a fully guided climb with a 4:1 climber to guide ratio. Having a 1:2 climbing Sherpa to climber ratio allows a more flexible schedule to travel with the climbing Sherpa during acclimatization rotations.

Ama Dablam is a very crowded peak during October and November, so the Junkies prefer to climb on the mountain when the crowds are gone in late November and early December. It is a little colder, but the route is quieter, with only a handful of other climbers present and the weather conditions are usually more stable.

Leadership
Himalayan veteran expedition organizer Phil Crampton who has multiple summits on 7,000 and 8,000-meter peaks in Nepal, Pakistan and Tibet will lead the 2018 expedition and this will be his sixtieth plus Himalayan expedition.

In addition to an experienced leader, the team's head climbing Sherpa Sirdar will be Pasang Ongcho Sherpa who holds the coveted UIAGM guide certification. Pasang has vast experience being a Sirdar on Everest, Lhotse Makalu, Manaslu, Cholatse and Ama Dablam and will be directing our climbing Sherpas who have all summitted 8,000-meter peaks before, some multiple times, and their knowledge of the mountains of Nepal is unrivaled.

Helicopters
We utilize helicopters from Kathmandu flying directly to Namche Bazar. The Lukla fixed-wing flights are very weather dependent and we believe helicopters are a safer option. Namche Bazar is a good elevation to start the trek to base camp from and we will return to Namche Bazar at the conclusion of the expedition and take helicopter flights directly back to Kathmandu.

Trek to Base Camp
Our expedition will meet in the capital city of Nepal, Kathmandu where we will stay in the beautiful Hotel Tibet located in a quiet area of the Lazimpat district of Kathmandu close to the tourist district of Thamel. After a few days in Kathmandu we fly to Namche Bazar. After taking an acclimatization day in Namche Bazar we start the three day trek to base camp. At the conclusion of the expedition we will trek back to Namche before flying to Kathmandu.

Base Camp
Our base camp is as luxurious, if not more so than some of the other more expensive operators in the Khumbu and the food prepared by our highly experienced cooks is considered some of the best available in the Himalayas.

Each climber is provided with a personal Mountain Hardwear 3-person tent at base camp, which is insulated with a foam floor covering and complimented with an extra thick foam mattress.

We provide a carpeted, heated and solar-lit dining tent. We make it a policy at Altitude Junkies to remove all human waste from base camp and have porters carry our toilet drums to a lower village where it can be disposed of properly.

The Kitchen
The head and assistant cooks have all been trained by western chefs in food preparation and strict hygiene standards and produce a varied and nutritious western menu throughout the expedition. They prepare three delicious hot meals a day and use local fresh produce and meats and these are complimented by a huge selection of imported foods and snacks. Our cooks are especially proud of our propane ovens they use to bake us all sorts of treats.

Climb Strategy
We follow a cautious acclimatization schedule at Base Camp spending two or three nights there before taking our first trip onto the mountain. We plan to use the Yak Camp, Camp One and Camp Two to acclimatize using the old adage of climbing high and sleeping low, returning to base camp before making the summit attempt from Camp 2.7.

The summit push will see us make our final climb to Camp One, Camp Two, and possibly Camp 2.7 respectively before leaving for the summit from the high camp in early daylight hours of the morning.

The Route
From Base Camp to Yak Camp we hike along a moraine ridge with amazing views of the mountain and route. Eventually we join the beginning of the Southwest Ridge, at this point a large plateau, and follow it for thirty minutes to our Yak campsite

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The climb from Yak Camp heads up the Southwest Ridge where it turns from a plateau to a knife-edge. The climb begins on a trail but enters a large talus field and we climb over granite boulders. The final 200 meters are climbed using fixed lines up a steep rock slab where camp one sits on rock platforms at the top of this slab.

From Camp One we start the technical climbing using fixed ropes with short sections of up to 5.8 climbing. The crux pitch of the entire route is found here with the Yellow Tower en route to our Camp two located at 5,900 meters.

The climb to Camp 2.7 is mostly ice and mixed climbing, including the steep Grey Tower. We cross Mushroom Ridge, a series of cornices and ice sculptures, just before reaching Camp 2.7. We build Camp 2.7 on the Mushroom Ridge in order to avoid any serac danger from the Dablam that has since made the traditional Camp Three redundant.

Summit day is technically easier than anything we have climbed up until high camp. The route involves snow and ice up to 50 degrees, climbed using the safety of the fixed ropes in place.

High Altitude Camps
Black Diamond 3-person tents will be used at high camps and these will be occupied by two persons up to the highest camp where we usually place three persons per tent for warmth. All high altitude food, stoves and cooking gas will be in place and members are only required to carry their own personal gear during the expedition.

Health
We provide medical oxygen, portable altitude chambers and comprehensive medical chests at base camp. The higher camps also have medical kits and we also ask that all climbers carry individual micro high altitude medical kits at all times above base camp as the Sherpas and leader does. All climbing members and climbing Sherpas wear a personal avalanche beacon above base camp.

Communications
For constant communication we have all climbing members, climbing Sherpas and guides have their own personal two-way radio at all times on the mountain. We also have base station radios at base camp and have these active at all times when members andSherpas are on the mountain.

Our satellite phones and satellite internet modems are available for our team members to use at base camp at actual cost price as we feel charging an outrageous amount to phone or email family is unfair during such a long expedition.

Weather Forecasts
To ensure the safety of all our climbers we subscribe to a professional weather forecast service for the duration of the season and have access to this information at all the respective base and high camps and receive constant updates during our summit push.

Himalayan peaks are a serious undertaking and climbers need to be aware there are certain risks that are out of the control of Altitude Junkies. We prefer to describe our Ama Dablam expedition as professionally managed rather than guided. A true guided expedition is where the guides have UIAGM certification, which is the only internationally recognized qualification for mountain guides. If you need to be guided, look for guides with full UIAGM certification.

Altitude Junkies does not allow any solo climbing above base camp on any of our expeditions.

Photo credits: Ama Dablam by Expedition Himalaya

The expedition cost includes:
· Single accommodation with breakfast in Kathmandu as itinerary
· All transportation in Nepal as itinerary
· Porters for personal gear to base camp and return
· All meals at base camp
· Group Nepal climbing Sherpas
· Group Nepal cooks at base camp
· Expedition permit, peak fee and conservation fees
· Liaison Officer expenses
· Garbage Deposit
· Base camp and high camp tents
· Group climbing equipment, stoves and fuel
· Two-way radios
· Medical kits, portable altitude chamber and medical oxygen
· High altitude freeze-dried meals
· Climbing Sherpa summit bonus and carry bonus
· Kitchen Sherpa staff gratuities
· Kathmandu to Namche Bazar round trip helicopter flight
· Satellite phone and satellite internet use at cost price
The expedition cost does not include:
· Airfare to and from Nepal
· Meals and drinks in Kathmandu
· Alcoholic beverages in Kathmandu
· Bottled beverages, showers and snack food on trek
· Nepal visa costs
· Evacuation costs, medical and rescue insurance
· Personal climbing clothing and equipment
· Personal Puja contribution

Contact us: info@altitudejunkies.com