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Autumn Everest 2002
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Ama Dablam Autumn 2002

Dan Mazur and his Autumn 2002 Ama Dablam Team

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WHY THE SOUTH WEST RIDGE

Here is what Jonathan Pratt, from Essex, England has to say about the route:

“The easiest way to the top of Ama Dablam is via the SW ridge, a 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 hardest pitches of technical rock and ice climbing are not sustained but tend to come in short manageable sections.”

ROUTE DESCRIPTION

Base Camp (4650 metres) to Advanced Basecamp  (5150m):   Ama Dablam is one of the few Himalayan peaks that can be reached without crossing a glacier. We climb a long ridge-slope, cross a boulder field and scramble up rock slopes to reach the SW ridge where we will place advanced basecamp.

Advanced Basecamp to Camp 1 (5400 metres). We scramble across a large ridge system which lies at the head of the Mingbo valley. The slope is steep here, but the climbing is not technical. We place our tent at the base of  large boulders on the ridge proper.  

Camp 1 to Camp 2 (5750m). We climb along a horizontal rock ridge and around several pinnacles (Severe, or 5.6) gaining only 350m vertical. The exposure is huge, with especially massive drop-offs on both sides of the ridge. The climbing is mostly enjoyable with a good quality of granite. At the end of the horizontal ridge we climb the Yellow Tower (two pitches Severe, or 5.5), above which we place Camp 2 on ledges and a rock pinnacle. Camp 2 may also be a bivouac, if the limited tent spaces are already taken.  

Camp 2 to Camp 3 (6230 m):  A steep snow ridge is climbed through the Grey Tower, a 20m rock step (Severe, or 5.6). Then 3 pitches in an ice chute are climbed to regain the ridge and climb the second rock step to the mushroom ridge. This is followed to the upper face where camp 3 is made on a broad snow and rock terrace to the side of the Dablam. Camp 3 is traditional snow-camping.  

Camp 3 to Summit (6812m) . 2 pitches of dramatic 40+ degree snow-ice are climbed to the side of the Dablam to reach the fluted snowfields that lead to one of the worlds finest summits, with stunning views of the south Face of Lhotse, Nuptse, Mount Everest and the Khumbu Himal.