Panorama from the summit of Ama Dablam. Five of the world’s six highest peaks (Cho Oyu, Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Kangchenjunga) shape the skyline.
Climbers and trekkers have long considered Ama Dablam to be among the world’s most beautiful mountains. You could disagree, but alas, you’d be wrong. It says a lot about a mountain that in a range filled with giants, a shorter, slender fin of rock and ice has captured the imagination of those who walk beneath it for centuries. Ama is the mother. The dablam, represented by the hanging serac below the summit, is her amulet. Ironically, for climbers, it has been a source of fear. A collapse in 2006 that killed six is a harsh reminder of the realities of climbing big mountains. It’s also why Furtemba and I made the decision to leverage our acclimatization and summit in a long push from camp 2. And needless to say, on a mountain this steep and technical, I wore the amulet Lama Geshe had blessed for me from start to finish.
Smeared with tsampa (barley flour) following our puja. A lama from Pangboche came up to base camp to bless us.
Looking back down into the Khumbu from above the clouds.
I wasn’t kidding myself thinking Ama would be easy, but I was definitely surprised by the amount of steep, technical traversing. Here, Furtemba negotiates somewhat typical terrain between camp 1 and 2.
Furtemba on the Yellow Tower. OK, this was hard with a pack on at nearly 20,000 ft.
We’d delayed our summit bid due to high winds one day. Then the weather was looking like it could take a cold snap. At camp 1, Furtemba and I agreed to continue upwards even though our potential summit day was forecasted to be significantly colder.
Camp 2 on Ama Dablam. Outrageous location.
I think I was smiling mostly because I could feel my toes again! Everest and Lhotse looked spectacular from our vantage point. It’s a bit of a tradition to have summit photos taken with Lama Geshe’s blessing card.
Furte starts down the face. Base camp, which we reached under 10 hours later, is at the confluence of creeks below.
Yours truly rapping the face. There are quite a few steep ice sections on summit day.
Scattering mom’s ashes