Ama Dablam • November 2002

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For the month of November Chris Kulp joined Mark for an expedition to Nepal's Ama Dablam. Arguably the most beautiful mountain in the world. In addition to Ama Dablam, we also climbed Pokalde Peak as well as the Lowe-Kendall route on Lobuche East. The latter was as difficult as the former was easy. The Lowe-Kendall route follows a hidden icy gully with several pitches of steep waterfall climbing.

Other Recent Trips

This view of Lobuche Peak was taken from near Pokalde Peak. The Lowe-Kendall route is shown. On our climb, time, and very snowy weather forced us to descend from the top of the main difficulties, where the route reaches the normal route of the South Ridge. We downclimbed easy ground out of sight to the left.

Looking into the gully and the line we climbed.


Chris approaches the start of the first pitch.


Looking down pitch 2. The crux of the route is pitch 1, a little over 50 meters long and including some "breathtaking" grade 4+, or maybe even 5, ice. Pitch 2 shown here is a pleasant affair with rolling ice to about 75°, but mostly easier.


From the top of the gully, we managed to find our way down through fog and falling snow. Here, as we approach our "base camp" in Lobuche the weather clears, showing Nuptse through the clouds. Lhakpa and Pemba came up to meet us (make sure we didn't get lost) and to carry down our packs. Much appreciated!


After our fun on Lobuche—and after we decided we were sufficiently acclimated—we hiked down valley back toward Ama Dablam, seen here. Chris strides out en route to Base Camp.


Ama Dablam from Base Camp. Our route, the SW Ridge is the right-hand skyline. The tents seen here are from Jim Williams' expedition who arrived just as we were finishing.


Here's a bit of info. Camp I is easily reached by non-technical hiking. It is about 19,000 feet high. The route to Camp II is along the sharp ridge crest. There is also a Camp III about half way between Camp II and the summit. But we elected to climb from Camp II to the summit and back in one push. This is a long day, but it worked for us.

On our climb we went to Camp I in a day, then spent a day there resting and acclimating. On our third day above Base we climbed to Camp II. Then to the summit and back to II on day 4. And finally back to Base on day 5.


Dawa prepares a puja in Base Camp to bless our climb. I have to say this worked, as our days on the peak were absolutely flawless, sunny and nearly without wind.


Camp I at 19,000 feet. It is a long way above Base Camp, but at least the going is easy.


Chris referring to something at Camp I.


Just above Camp I.


Rock slabs between Camps I and II.


Here, we are just a couple hundred feet below Camp II.


The "sting in the tail". A short but very steep wall just below Camp II. Camp I lies on the "peak" at the end of the ridge.


Our summit day. Our little green tent of Camp II can be seen below.

A bit higher on the route. Camp III is perhaps 400 feet above.


Chris at 22,488 feet on the summit of Ama Dablam. A classic plume of cloud and snow streams from Everest and Lhotse.


A rather horrible self-portrait on the summit.


Rappelling down as the sun sets.


Descending down from Camp I.


And hiking back down to Base Camp at the end of a long day.

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