via Everest Base Camp
P5 - Superlative fitness is called for. Regular, long and intense physical training is required for preparation. Expect long days on the hill of 10-15 hours in testing weather conditions (especially summit day) carrying up to 15-20kg in weight, and or pulling a pulk with exceptional weight.
Visit our Grading Information page for a full overview.
T5 - Competent Alpine climbing ability. Should be comfortable on Scottish Winter III ground or Alpine AD. Complete understanding and confidence in use of your technical kit will be required.
Visit our Grading Information page for a full overview.
Date & Prices
Pics & Vids
Ama Dablam (6,856m) is one of the most iconic mountains in Nepal’s Khumbu Valley. The Matterhorn of the Himalayas, reaching its summit provides an exhilarating climbing experience and a skill-honing introduction to technical high-altitude mountaineering. We hear it every time we reach Namche Bazaar, the trading village where the action starts from. ‘WHAT is that mountain!?’ That mountain is Ama Dablam. The queen of the Khumbu – towering, extreme, striking. One look and you’re captivated.
We acclimatise by trekking to Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar, enjoying the best this amazing region has to offer before attempting the prize. Our constant companion, Ama Dablam, dominates the skyline and we’ll see the peak from all angles and grow familiar with it. Only when absolutely ready will we begin our ascent following the South West Ridge to attempt the summit.
Graded Alpine Difficile this expedition involves every bit of skill, nerve and technique a climber can muster. Our chance of success is improved considerably by incredible Guide and Sherpa support and fixed lines safeguarding the technical sections. We can never guarantee you a summit but we can guarantee you’ll return having experienced the mountain and this unique part of the world to the fullest. And that, in the end, is what adventure is all about.Find out more
Date & Prices
Departure & Return
Price (excl. flight)
Price (incl. flight)
Start: 25 October 2019
End: 18 November 2019
Price without flights:
Price with flights: £5,800
Leader for Ama section: Rolfe Oostra
Price based on a minimum of 4 pax joining.
25 October 2019
18 November 2019
Leader for Ama section: Rolfe Oostra
Price based on a minimum of 4 pax joining.
- International Flights
- Local guides and a 360 Leader (depending on group size)
- Sagarmatha National park fees
- Equipment & clothing for porters & local crew
- Accommodation during trek (tents on camping trek or lodges)
- Accommodation in Kathmandu in doubles sharing with breakfast
- Airport transfers and escort
- All food whilst on trek and breakfast when city based
- Dinner of arrival
- Two on one guide to client ratio on Ama Dablam
- Climbing permit
- Liaison officer
- Fixed line
- Climbing Sherpa ratio of 3:1
- Base camp cook
- Staff insurance
- Refuse bond
- Dwarika’s 9 course degustacion celebration meal
- Personal equipment
- Staff/guide gratuities
- Trip Insurance
- Items of a personal nature; phone calls, laundry, room service, alcoholic beverages etc.
- Unscheduled hotels and restaurant meals
- Lunch and dinner when city based on return from your expedition
- Any additional costs associated with leaving the expedition early including any airline surcharges as a result of changing return airline tickets
Pics & Vids
DAY 1 : Depart the UK
We will meet at Heathrow and set off for Kathmandu.
DAY 2 : Arrive Kathmandu
Arrive in Kathmandu and check into our hotel located in the heart of Kathmandu where we are met by an amazing blend of cultures, religions and people. Great souvenir shopping and Durbar square with its numerous temples and markets are nearby. During the rest of the day you will have an opportunity to settle after your flight.
DAY 3 : Lukla
An early morning flight into Lukla, from where we begin our trek into the Khumbu region. The views from the plane are amazing, providing dramatic scenes of terraced hills and the distant Himalayan giants. After landing we meet our ground crew and begin a 3-4 hour trek to Monju (2,835m), our night’s resting place.
DAY 4 : Namche Bazaar
We continue trekking along the banks of the Dudh Kosi, crossing this roaring river on exciting suspension bridges laden with prayer flags. After entering Sagamartha National Park, the trail climbs steeply with breathtaking views to Namche Bazaar, the gateway to the Khumbu region.
DAY 5 : Namche Bazaar
Today is a rest and acclimatisation day in Namche Bazaar. Namche is the Sherpa capital and a bustling village crammed with markets and traditional Sherpa houses. We will leave on an early morning hike to the Sherpa museum from where we can see views of Mt. Everest, Lhotse (the 4th highest peak in the world) and the beautiful Ama Dablam. The rest of the day is for private exploration of this enchanting place.
DAY 6 : Deboche
From Namche Bazaar, we trek along the contour of the hills, with amazing views into the deep and lush valleys below. Our route will take us through Thyangboche, the spiritual centre of the Khumbu. At Thyangboche resides a famous monastery. Inside the monastery are incredibly ornate wall hangings, a giant sculpture of Buddha, and the musical instruments and robes of the Lamas. We may spend some time here before our trek continues downhill into rhododendron forests, taking us to our secluded accommodation at Deboche.
DAY 7 : Dingboche
The trek continues along the roaring glacial waters of the Dudh Kosi with magnificent views of the mountains. We cross another exciting suspension bridge on the Imja Khola, and climb to Pangboche amongst thousands of Mani stones. From Pangboche the route winds high above the valley floor, passing through various Sherpa settlements until we reach our resting place for the next couple of days, Dingboche.
DAY 8 : Dingboche
This will be a valuable day to acclimatise and allow our bodies to adjust to the rarefied atmosphere now we have gone above 4,000m. There is the option of a light hike up the valley for a wider variety of photos and views of the spectacular 6,000m peaks of Tawoche, Cholatse, Island Peak and the 8,000m wall of Lhotse. On a clear day one may see Mount Makulu, another giant above 8,000m and the 5th highest mountain in the world.
DAY 9 : Lobuche
From Dingboche the trail traverses through farmlands and meadows. We will stop in Dzugla, (4,570m) for lunch before continuing along the lateral moraine of the Khumbu Glacier. Today we pass by the stone memorials to climbers who have died on the mountains around us. Look carefully to find touching memorials to famous mountaineers. We follow the trail to Lobuche and camp just below the terminal moraine of the tributary glacier.
DAY 10 : Gorak Shep and Kala Pattar
An early morning start brings us closer to our two objectives. We wind our way through the terminal moraine of the Khumbu glacier to our accommodation at Gorak Shep, situated at the base of Kala Patthar. This was the original Base Camp used by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay on their successful ascent of Everest, before the Base Camp moved closer to the mountain on the edge of the Khumbu Icefall. From Gorak Shep we ascend the non-technical Kala Patthar (5,550m) and are rewarded for our efforts by unbeatable views. From this lofty perch we can clearly see the summit of Mount Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse and Ama Dablam. This is simply an amazing panorama and we’ll allow ample time to savour the rewards of our efforts.
DAY 11 : Everest Base Camp
Today we will journey towards our goal, the Base Camp of Mount Everest, located at the foot of the Khumbu Icefall. This can be a long day but the satisfaction of having achieved our objective will make this all the more worthwhile. We’ll spend the day at Everest/Lhotse Base Camp, giving you a chance to thoroughly explore this historic area, before returning back to Gorak Shep.
DAY 12 : Descent to Dingboche
Today we follow the route back down the Khumbu valley to Dingboche in readiness for the next phase of our expedition. At Dingboche the members of the team who are not continuing on Ama Dablam will be heading down to Lukla (2 days away) and on to Kathmandu for their well-earned celebration.
DAY 13 : Pangboche
Trek to Pangboche
DAY 14 : Ama Dablam Base Camp
A 3-4 hour walk will take us to our comfortable Base Camp situated in an open field.
DAY 15 : Rest day at Ama Dablam Base Camp
This will be a day of sorting out your gear. Also a quick refresher of your mountain skills.
DAY 16 : Contingency day
A day kept for contingency.
DAY 17 : Camp 1
The trek to Camp 1 starts out over open fields and grass ridges before crossing a large expanse of granite to reach the foot of the SW ridge.
DAY 18 : Camp 2
The going gets tough to Camp 2, particularly beneath the Grey Tower as you cross loose rock, scree, and some snow. It also gets fairly exposed up here, not least the narrow shelf where the camp is located.
DAY 19 : Summit and back to Camp 2
From Camp 2 the slope is steep, it’s going to be cold, windy and exposed. We stay attached to fixed ropes as we climb, hopefully reaching the summit at dawn where the views are simply outstanding.
DAY 20 : Base Camp
Back to Base Camp and pack up
DAY 21 : Namche Bazaar
Back down to Namche which will feel after all our time in the hill like a booming city. Get ready for all those luxuries you may have missed.
DAY 22 : Lukla
Our last day on the trail, we hike from Namche to Lukla. We stay in Lukla and enjoy a welcome beer.
DAY 23 : Kathmandu
The scenic morning flight back to Kathmandu gives us one last chance to say farewell to the mountains. We will have the day to explore, go shopping, visit the palaces and markets. An enduring favourite destination is the Monkey Temple, a Buddhist temple situated on a small hill that offers panoramic views of the city. Or perhaps we will join the thousands of Hindus who venture to the Pashupatinath temple, one of the most famous Hindu temples in Nepal; we will also visit the most famous Shiva temple in Asia.
DAY 24 : Kathmandu
This is a day to explore Kathmandu some more and is built into the program in the event that the flights didn’t leave Lukla the previous day. This can happen due to poor weather, grounding the planes.
DAY 25 : Depart Nepal
Fight to UK.
These are subject to minor changes depending on flight arrival and departure times, weather, group dynamics and fitness and so on, but the itinerary outlined provides an excellent indication of the expedition and what you will experience.
Bags & Packs
A 120-140L duffel bag to transport kit. A duffel bag is a strong, soft, weather resistant bag without wheels but with functional straps for carrying. Suitcases and wheeled bags are not suitable
A 70+litre rucksack . This needs to be big as you will be ferrying bulky items such as sleeping mats and sleeping bags between camps. Store in the bottom of your Kit bag/ Hold/ Porter luggage.
A 45-55L rucksack. For hand luggage on the flight to Nepal; to store additional items and for the trekking to BC.
Waterproof rucksack cover
To protect rucksack from rain
Nylon rolltop bags (or even just large plastic bags) that keep fresh clothing and other important items like passports and iPods dry in the event of a total downpour that seeps into your kitbag. Good for quarantining old socks
Heavy plastic bags
For water / dust proofing luggage carried by porters
Must fit through zips (i.e.small)
5 Season sleeping bag
5-season with a comfort rating to -25C is essential. Down is lighter but more expensive than synthetic and ratings vary between manufacturers
Sleeping bag compression sack
Sleeping bag liner
Silk is best for keeping the bag clean and you a little warmer
Wide brimmed hat
Keeps the sun off exposed areas like ears and the nape of the neck
This can be a warm hat, beanie, balaclava, anything to reduce the heat loss from your head
Power stretch balaclava
Neck warmer/ buff
Factor 40 minimum
Sun cream will not work on your lips and they are very susceptible to burn without proper protection
Must provide coverage on the sides. Julbo is our preferred supplier
Necessary for climbing above C2 and summit day
Light insulated jacket
A lighter jacket such as a Primaloft or lightweight down which can be worn at lower to mid altitudes is a great addition to your kit offering greater flexibility with layering
Waterproof shell jacket
Expedition quality and with high level of down fill
These should be windproof (not all are) and insulative. They are mostly made of soft polyester and sometimes resemble a neoprene finish which makes them very mobile and comfortable to wear. While offering a degree of weather repellence, they are not waterproof
This is the layer closest to the skin and its principal function is to draw (wick) moisture and sweat away from the skin. You can also get thermal base layers for use at higher altitudes that provide an additional insulative layer while still drawing sweat during times of high exertion
To keep you warm at colder temperatures. Merino is ideal
A thinner pair that fit under.
Essential for higher altitudes to be worn with a liner glove underneath
Liners and heavier ski gloves with leather palm protection
Hand warmers for summit day
Waterproof shell trousers
To be combined with down jacket or full down climbing suit
Outer layer / soft shell trousers
Climbing trousers for lower on the mountain. Fleece lined Sallopettes ideal
Merino is ideal
These tend to be polyester so they dry quickly after a shower and weigh little in your pack. Consider perhaps a pair with detachable lower legs as an alternative to shorts
Merino or wicking material, not cotton. How many pairs you take is entirely up to you
Boots / approach shoes
Start with lighter socks lower down, working up to thicker pairs for higher up as it gets colder. Some people like a clean pair every day, others are happy to change every other day – that’s a personal choice
Walking sandals with a good grip are a good choice
Warm mountaineering socks
Keep one clean pair handy for the summit attempt
To protect the tops of your footwear from harsh conditions and to provide some added insulation
High altitude boots
These boots are double or triple layered to offer the best insulation and the warmest feet up high. Either La Sportiva G2 SMs, Scarpa Phantom 6000s, La Sportiva Spantiks or 8,000m boots are suitable. Make sure you can fit 2 pairs of socks for added warmth with room to wiggle your toes.
12 points. Grivel
Crampon antiball plates
Long heavy duty zip ties
Light weight harness
We recommend Petzl
Light weight figure of eight
Of your choice
Available for hire, a 2nd jumar is highly recommended
1.5m of 5mm cord to be used as a prusik loop
4m length of 9mm dynamic cord
Technical rather than walking ice-axe
2x 1L water bottles
Purification tablets are better than any other system. Highly unlikely to be needed. Always good to have in your bag
Keep it simple on the mountain. Essentials are toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant. Moisturiser is advisable, everything else is a luxury!
Travel towels from the likes of Lifesystems are perfect
Preferably biodegradable, these are great for washing when modern shower facilities become a thing of the past
A must have for good camp hygiene
Personal first aid kit
The 360 med kits are designed to be used in emergencies and akin to an A&E rather than a pharmacy on Expeditions so please come prepared with useful meds for yourself such as painkillers (Ibuprofen if you can take it and a Paracetamol) plus blister plasters, plasters, antiseptic, rehydration sachets and any muscle rubs you wish to use.
Keep this in your daysack
We recommend Petzl head torches. Bring spare batteries.
Watch with alarm
These tend to be a personal preference but help with your stability and can dampen the pressure on the knees coming down hill
iPod, book, Kindle etc.
Bring plenty of spare batteries and memory cards
These are useful to keep electricals charged but are a luxury rather than a necessity
Old mobile phone
You can buy a SIM card out there
Plastic insulated mug
Plastic bowl/ Tupperware box
Pee bottle (+ optional Shewee for the girls!)
A good idea if you are storm bound at higher camps. A 1ltr Nalgene bottle is a good option but do make sure you label it as your pee bottle!!
Don’t forget this! Your passport should have at least 6 months validity. With your passport expiry date at least six months after the final day of travel.
Copy of passport
Just in case
Passport photos x 4
We need these to obtain your climbing and trekking permits
Granted upon arrival (cost: $50 USD for 1 month stay, $90 USD for 3 month stay; subject to change, will need one of your passport photos to staple to your visa application form upon arrival)
Dental check up
We recommend you have a dental check-up before your trip. New fillings can be an issue at altitude if there is an air pocket left in the gap
Copy of own travel insurance details. And relevant contact numbers.
We have a partnership with True Traveller and would recommend that you contact them when looking for travel insurance for your trip with 360. However, it is vital that you ensure that the insurance cover they offer is suitable for you, taking your personal circumstances (items to be insured, cancellation cover, medical history) into account. Many other insurance providers are available and we do recommend that you shop around to get the best cover for you on the expedition you are undertaking.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the appropriate insurance for your intended trip. To include medical evacuation and coverage up to the maximum altitude of this trip.
- For tipping EBC porters. (approx: $100 USD p/p)
- For summit bonus for your climbing Sherpa (approx: $300 – $500 p/p)
Who is the guiding team composed of (How many guides? Climber to guide ratio?)
Our 360 guides are some of the most experienced in the business. They spend many months a year climbing and trekking in the Himalaya. They have established a close rapport with our ground crew and run a very enjoyable expedition.
We have a 2:1 ratio when climbing on the mountain. Our 6 person teams depart with one 360 expedition guide. This ratio also includes Sherpa guides.
Generally your accompanying 360 leader will be in charge of the expedition and he or she will be assisted by the Sherpa Guides. Sometimes climbers prefer to climb without Sherpa guides and the need for porters. This option is naturally the climbers decision and depending on their level of experience.
Where do I meet my guides?
There are a number of options surrounding the Ama Dablam climb. Depending on where you are joining the expedition depends on where you will meet your 360 guide. Some clients come acclimatised and others join us in Kathmandu and head out on Mera Peak or Everest BC before heading onto Ama Dablam. Naturally we will talk through all options with you before you join.
Food and Water
Where does water come from on the mountain?
Water comes from ice. Above Base Camp we use local snow drifts and snow fields to collect ice and then melt this to water. This is a labour and fuel intensive job. We boil this snow/ice immediately to make soups and hot drinks. Another round of ice is boiled to produce water for the next day’s use.
How often is fresh water available for replenishing during the day?
Before leaving camp in the morning you will fill your water bottles or camel bladder. If this runs low you will have ample more water to replace it with. For most walking days water can be replenished at the evening’s campsite.
What will the meals on the expedition be like?
All meals on the mountain are of the highest possible standards. In fact considering that our 360 expedition guides have to produce the best possible meals in a wilderness setting using only the most basic of facilities (kerosene stoves) the meals they produce are nothing short of miracle. The meals are always fresh, nutritious and varied. We ensure that dietary preferences are always met and that the best local ingredients are used.
The underlying aim is to provide balanced nutritional meals packed with carbohydrates to refuel hungry bodies and to replenish stores for the next day of activity.
On top of well balanced meals clients are provided with coffee, tea and snacks upon arrival into camp. The morning wake-up call is usually accompanied with a cup of tea or coffee in your tent.
Clients are invited to bring along any of their favourite snacks and goodie bags from home or Kathmandu as they are expensive to buy at Base Camp. Concentrate on high energy food-stuffs such as Jelly babies etc to give you that little boost on an arduous day.
Meals at Base Camp will include fresh fruits and vegetables. Lightweight nutritious foods are prepared higher on the mountain.
Will I have to share a tent on this expedition?
At the Base Camp of Ama Dablam each climber will have their own tent. Climbers will be acclimitised from having trekked to EBC or having climbed on a nearby 6,000m trekking peak. This arrangement allows climbers to properly relax and enjoy a bit of comfort before the ascent begins.
Most altitude related symptoms manifest themselves at night. We therefore only have tent sharing above Base Camp. Also camping options at C2 and C3 are very limited and sometimes three climbers might be sharing one tent.
Tent share is always organised according to similar sex and where possible age groups. Obviously if you are climbing this mountain with a friend or partner then share tents with them. If you have joined the team by yourself then it is highly likely that you will be sharing a tent with your pre-assigned room buddy unless prior arrangements have been made.
Health and Safety
You advocate taking a small first aid kit, what should it have in it?
We advocate a little bit of self-help on the climb. If you have a blister developing for example then please stop take off your boot and treat it before it becomes a problem.
Your own first aid kit should contain: a basic blister kit, plasters, sun protection, your own personal medication (sometimes your porter might get to camp after you and if he is carrying your medication you may not be able to take it according to the regime you are used to), basic pain relief (aspirin and Ibuprofen), antisceptic, a personal course of antibiotics if prone to illness etc. Foot powder in your socks every morning is great for preventing blisters.
Generally the best approach to take when packing your first aid kit is to include such basic medications as if you would on a family or personal holiday.
Your 360 expedition guide carries a comprehensive first aid kit which contains a wide range of supplies and medications. They are fully trained to use whatever is needed in any emergency that may arise. We advocate keeping this in mind when packing your own first aid supplies and keeping your own FA kit as compact and light as possible.
What vaccinations do I need?
The following vaccinations are recommended:
- Hepatitis A
This list is not absolute and it is important you should see your GP, surgery or travel clinic for latest recommendations and to ensure you are up to date on necessary vaccinations.
Am I likely to suffer from altitude sickness on this expedition?
There are different types of altitude sickness. Although our acclimatisation regime ensures that everybody enjoys the best possible chance of getting high on the mountain, altitude related problems can happen.
The most common of this is high altitude sickness (AMS – acute mountain sickness). Symptoms for this generally include:
This sounds quite dramatic but generally this is just the process your body naturally goes through to adjust to the higher altitudes and the reduced partial pressure of the atmosphere.
For some people the acclimatisation process takes a little longer than others. For our guides this is all part and parcel of ascending a 6,000m peak and although we assess each client’s personal situation carefully we also further consider the compounding affects of dehydration brought on by excessive vomiting and loss of appetite.
AMS might sound frightening but our guides are fully trained (and highly experienced) in helping relieve your personal symptoms and providing advice on how to best proceed.
What can I do to help prevent AMS?
In most cases AMS can be avoided by following guidelines:
- Drink lots of water
- Walk slowly
- Stay warm
- Eat well
We recommend that you familiarise yourself with the various affects that altitude can cause. During your pre-climb briefing, we describe altitude sickness to you in detail, and advise you how to cope with it.
The most important thing is not to fear it, but to respect it and to know how to deal with it and more importantly tell your guides how you feel. Our guides have seen every condition that the mountain produces, and they will always know how to deal with problems.
Is there a risk of getting HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema) and HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema) on the mountain?
HACE and HAPE rarely occur on Ama Dablam and our guides are fully trained in recognition of the onset of these problems and will deal with them at the first sign of their development.
What happens if I need to leave the expedition early?
If a climber needs to leave early arrangements can be made with the assistance our 360 Guide. Additional costs (transport, hotels flights etc.) will be incurred by the climber but our guides will be able to assist in every detail of your departure.
What happens if there is a problem on the mountain?
All our guides are in communication with each other by radio. In the vast majority of cases of emergency rescue the problems can be attributed to slow acclimatisation or altitude and if so the solution is immediate descent to lower altitudes. Our 360 guide and local crew are very experienced in dealing with any problems that may arise. Our guides are either doctors or are qualified with the highest standard of wilderness first aid qualifications and can handle any emergency to the highest level of competency without assistance if necessary.
How much will my pack weigh during the climb?
A rucksack is worn by the climber at all times. During the trek into Base Camp and for the short climbs around the peak the content of the rucksack should include: a fleece (when taking breaks or the weather changes) a full set (top and bottom) of waterproofs, sufficient water for the day, snacks, camera, personal medication and a head torch.
Your day to day rucksack should weigh no more than 3 – 4 kg and a rucksack of around 30 – 40 L capacity will more than suffice. This rucksack can be filled to the brim with extra stuff when you check in at the airport. Our guides for instance put their down jackets or a thick fleece and a pair of mountain socks in this bag so as to free up space in their hold luggage.
Once the load carrying between camps starts your load weight will increase to around 15kg. For these carries the focus is on moving up as many supplies to the higher camps as possible and your personal equipment may be reduced to just a head torch and Gortex jacket. Once the higher camp has been reached we secure a decent spot to store our provisions and return virtually weightless back down to sleep at the lower camp.
It is important that your rucksacks have an adjustable waist belt to transfer the weight of your daily load onto your hips and from here onto your legs (your strongest muscles) to do most of the carrying. Another handy feature would be a compartment in which to fit a Platypus/Camelbak or water bladder. Our initial hold luggage should be around 22 – 25kg.
What gear will I need?
Please review the equipment list. While all items are required there may be times when some of the items on the gear list may not be used (such as warm weather or changing conditions). The gear lists are created by the guides so that climbers are prepared to summit in any conditions.
The guides will check your equipment whilst in Kathmandu or Base Camp (if joining from another expedition) and will advise as to what is suitable or not. A quick trip to the local gear shops may be needed to buy or rent the last essential items.
What clothing should I wear on Ama Dablam?
Our guides usually start the trek wearing long, lightweight trekking trousers and wicking (non-cotton) shirts. Long trousers are recommended as a deterrent to insects and to act as sun protection.
Ensure that you apply sun cream frequently, or buy a once a day product such as P20 if you’re not very good at remembering to apply it. Sun glasses are worn for most of the trek in as well as suitable sunhats.
The prevailing conditions on the trek will dictate what you will wear: if it is cold when you leave the camp in the morning then wear your fleece. As things warm up take advantage of the zipper system which most trekking clothing have and open and close the zips to adjust to your own preferred temperature. If you get too warm then take a layer off.
Waterproofs are needed on hand at all times. It is not unusual to be caught in an afternoon snowstorm anywhere on the mountain. Waterproofs should be Gortex material or similar.
Over the top of your clothing you will wear a climbing harness and you will be attached to a rope when conditions dictate.
What clothing should I wear on the mountain during Summit day?
On summit day it gets cold and temperatures of -20C are not unusual and -30 in extremes.
Typically our guides wear 2 sets of base layers (long johns), a thick fleece layer (top and bottom) and then on the legs insulated climbing salopettes. On the upper torso the same layers plus a down jacket are worn. As the wind picks up near the summit ridge our guides will put on their wind proof layer to ward off the windchill. On their hands they’ll wear a thin layer of fleece working gloves with a thicker set of “ski gloves” or mittens over the top.
Alternatively in Autumn conditions a similar set of base layers can be worn under a full down suit. The suit is usually only worn on the actual summit day.
On summit day our guides’ heads are covered by a thermal beanie hat or a thick balaclava and the hood of their down jackets. On their feet the guides wear one pair of thin socks and one pair of thick inside their double boots.
Guides will also wear snow goggles on summit day. Waterproofs are used as an invaluable wind shield to protect you from windchill when a strong wind blows.
What is the best type of footwear to use for the trek to the Base Camp? And above Base Camp?
Plastic boots are essential for climbing 6,000m peaks. You will only be using your plastic boots for the mountain phase of this climb. You will not be wearing them on the trek to the Base Camp nor for when doing the load carrying as high as Camp 1. Once we start our ascent properly we will leave Camp 1 wearing plastic boots.
These boots should be the double boot (with a soft inner and hard plastic shell) the basic model would be Scarpa Vega’s, Phantom 8000 or La Sportiva Spantiks. Temperatures high up the mountain are usually well below -20 and only plastic boots can withstand such conditions. Ensure that you have tried the boots on before you leave home and that you can wear a thin and a thick pair of socks in them and still be able to wriggle your toes, (for adequate circulation).
Crampons are worn when there has been lots of snowfall above Camp 2 and sometimes even above Camp 1. Your crampons are preferably of the easy “heel clip” variety (rather than the strap systems which are fiddly). It is necessary to use specialist technical climbing crampons as standard.
Trekking boots should be sturdy, waterproof, insulated against cold temperatures and offer adequate ankle support. In addition it is highly recommended that your boots are well worn in to prevent the formation of blisters. A range of suitable boots are on the market and further advice as to which brand names are available can be found online or at your local gear store.
Are down jackets necessary?
They are essential and are worth their weight in gold on summit day. Our guides wear them on all evenings from the first camp up. We recommend a down jacket with at least 800 grams of down fill.
How warm does my sleeping bag need to be?
Sleeping bags should be rated within the -20C comfort zone. From the first camp upwards it is not unusual to experience frosty nights and a good night’s sleep is important to giving you the best chance to climb this mountain. And ensure you get a sleeping bag that has this temperature rating at this comfort zone rather than as its extreme zone.
Our guides take sleeping bags rated to well below -20C to ensure that they are warm at night. A four season sleeping bag can be enhanced by using an inner silk or fleece bag (or similar). The idea is to be as comfortable and warm as possible for the night and henceforth to ensure plenty of sleep for the arduous days ahead. Some climbers have found a “Bivouac bag” useful to increase the warmth of their bag. It is important to remember that down sleeping bags work by your own body heating the down that’s inside the bag.
Once you have warmed up the bag its down will retain the heat and ensure that you sleep at a temperature that’s your own body temperature. For best results it is best to wear as little as possible when inside your sleeping bag. Our guides will often only wear a set of thermals in their bag. It is important for the bag to trap the heat. By wearing multiple layers of clothing your clothing will trap this heat and your bag will not function properly.
Is it possible to rent equipment before I go?
It is possible from our local ground crew but we advocate the use of personal equipment whenever possible. This is particular important for the use of boots and high altitude clothing.
What clothing is suitable for when we come back from the mountain?
Casual dress is recommended for Kathmandu. Daytime temperatures are usually warm and shorts and t-shirts are fine. Evenings are generally cooler and a light fleece is recommended. A bag containing fresh clothes can be left in hotel storage ready for when you come back.
How does this expedition differ from other expeditions 360 offers:
Ama Dablam is one of the most technically demanding of all our expeditions. It is also seen as the most exposed due to its free standing peak and the location of the 3 camps which are on its south west ridge. Ama Dablam is regarded as one of the most beautiful mountains in the world. It offers some breathtaking summit views from the route up which include Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu.
Can we get porters to help carry loads if we want them?
Porters are available to carry loads from Base Camp up to Camp three and also to carry stuff down from camps. Sometimes climbers choose to employ one porter between two, reducing the weight they have to carry by 10kg to make life a easier. 360 Expeditions will employ porters to assist in carrying loads down the mountain. This is done especially to bring down toilet and camping waste. In most cases porters are highly skilled Sherpa guides who will be climbing alongside you and assist in climbing the harder sections.
What happens to toilet waste?
All toilet waste is bagged and tagged in especially allocated “poo bags”. We are required to carry down all toilet waste which is disposed of at Base Camp. Generally we carry the waste down in double plastic bags and early in the morning when it is still frozen. A toilet tent with a basic sit down toilet is set up at our mountain campsites.
How long is summit day?
Summit day will start in the early hours of the morning. From Camp 3 we head straight for the summit but there are some very steep (40+ degree) snow-ice sections. We have to then navigate past the Dablam (a notorious ice and snow section) and climb to the snow-capped summit. We then return late afternoon.
What is the skill level of this climb?
Ama Dablam is a technical climb. You should be comfortable ascending and descending on fixed lines, using crampons and ice axes. It is recommended that climbers have past rock and steep snow climbing experience on exposed terrain. To increase your chances of success, members should be in good physical condition. It is a huge advantage for climbers to be able to compentently climb Scottish 3 and/or French AD+ alpine routes. The terrain on Ama Dablam is exposed and steep and being comfortable climbing in this type of terrain will make progress much easier.
How fit do I need to be for this expedition?
Climbers are expected to be in good physical condition. The better your physical shape the more you will be able to handle the demands of climbing the peak. This expedition is more arduous and physically demanding then other 360 expeditions as load carrying is done by the climbers themselves. Having a good level of fitness will allow you to enjoy the expedition far more and increase your chances of reaching the summit. Summit day can be up to 16 hours long.
How many climbers are on this expedition?
The most that we are prepared to take on an expedition of this magnitude is 6 people.
Can I contact the others on the climb? How about the guide?
You can always call our offices and one of guides will contact you. Generally about one month before your trip departure we mail a list of other team members to you.
How cold can it get?
The temperature at the top of the mountain can vary widely. Sometimes it is only a degree or two below freezing, but climbers should be prepared for possible temperatures as low as -30 Celsius, especially in conjunction with wind chill.
Low down on the mountain you can expect cold mornings (usually frosty). An afternoon snowstorm is not unusual at the lower altitudes.
What is the best season to climb / which dates will have the most chance for success?
Spring and autumn are the best times to climb as the weather and conditions are most favourable. On Ama Dablam autumn is particularly good as this time enjoys a lot less snowfall than springtime. Late autumn (November/December) is generally colder clearer and far more stable.
Do I need to book my own flights to Nepal?
360 Expeditions will be booking flights on your behalf. We provide confirmation of flight times and departure terminal approximately eight weeks before your departure date. Please be aware that flight schedules are subject to change. Please ensure that you have checked flight details before setting out for your flight.
What if I arrive early or depart late? Can you arrange extra nights’ lodging? Is there a single room option for this expedition?
We are happy to make any arrangements scheduled outside of the trek dates: these may include personalised tours, extra hotel rooms, private airport pick-ups or arranging private rooms. Please indicate that your requirements on your booking form and we will contact you for the relevant arrangements.
Do I need special insurance for the trip?
You must carry individual travel insurance to take part in the expedition. We cannot take you on the mountain without proof of insurance.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the appropriate insurance for your intended trip. To include medical evacuation and coverage up to the maximum altitude of this trip.
Your insurance details are requested on the booking form, however this can be arranged at a later date. 360 Expeditions will be requesting your insurance details 8 weeks before your departure.
Entry into Country
Are there any entry or visa requirements?
All foreigners, except Indians, must have a visa. Nepali embassies and consulates overseas issue visas with no fuss. You can also get one on the spot when you arrive in Nepal, at Kathmandu Airport. All tourist visas are multiple entry as standard. A Nepali visa is valid for entry for three to six months from the date of issue. Your passport must have at least six months of validity.
Any tips on how a climber can maximize their chances of success?
The 360 expedition training programs have been devised to be expedition specific. Use these as a guide but also feel free to contact us for individual advice on how to incorporate the best fitness program with your own lifestyle. High altitude mountaineering is about slack days of low activity followed by long days where every grain of stamina you have is called upon and every ounce of determination you process is necessary to reach your goal.
The essential idea in order to prepare for a mountain such as Ama Dablam is to increase the intensity of the exercise you do by small increments over 4 to 6 months before you leave for the expedition. Concentrate on cardiovascular work-outs during the initial weeks by taking short runs when time allows and try to spend at least 2 weekends a month going on long duration walks (longer than 6 hrs) carrying a rucksack of around 15kg in hilly terrain if possible. As you get stronger increase this rate of exercise and the duration by walking every weekend and running 5km every second day, for example.
A focused regime will not only prepare your body to carry minor loads but will harden your body against the big days on the mountain itself. In addition the weekend walks will help break in your boots and get you used to your equipment.In combination this will pay dividends when you reach Base Camp because even though you can’t train for altitude your body will be ready for arduous days and you will be familiar with how to best use your equipment, both adding to you enjoying and appreciating the mountain all the more.
When is the money due for this expedition? What kind of payment do you accept?
Generally deposits are due when you book as we need in turn to book the international flights well in advance. The full amount should be paid four months prior to departure. However having said that, our aim is to get you to the top of this mountain and we understand that personal financial situations can vary. Please contact our friendly office crew to discuss a suitable payment plan should you find raising the funds to be difficult. We have been in your shoes after all and go by the motto of where there’s a will there’s a way.
What is your cancellation policy? What is your refund policy?
Please read 360 expeditions terms and conditions careful before you depart. 360 expeditions highly recommends trip cancellation insurance for all expeditions. Due to the nature and heavy costs of government and operator permits 360 expeditions must adhere to a stringent refund policy.
How much do we tip our local crew?
Our local crew work extremely hard to assure that your expedition runs well. Although tipping is not compulsory once someone sees the hard work the crew provides tipping seems the least one can do to say thank you. As a general rule we suggest around $150 per client for the entire local crew to be shared amongst them. With that, a summit bonus of between $300 – $500 for the Sherpa Guide that accompanies you personally for your ascent. Tipping the 360 Guide is at to your discretion.
Money – how easy is it to change money?
The Nepali rupee (Rs) is divided into 100 paisa (p). Except in Solu Khumbu and on the Annapurna treks, changing foreign money is likely to be very difficult if not impossible. Bring enough money for the whole trek and don’t count on being able to change Rs 1000 notes except in Namche Bazaar and Jomsom. Away from major centres, changing a 1,000Rs note can be very difficult, so it is always a good idea to keep a stash of small denomination notes.
Even in Kathmandu, many small businesses, especially rickshaw and taxi drivers, simply don’t have sufficient spare money to allow them the luxury of carrying masses of change.
What additional spending money will we need?
The amount of money you will need depends on how many presents you wish to buy or how much you wish to drink when you come off the hill.
As a basic rule of thumb $400 USD should be more than adequate for any post expedition spending. The only cash you’ll need to consider taking with you on the mountain is the local crew tips. (See tipping section above.) And for any additional snacks and soft drinks you wish to purchase from the Base Camp facilities. Additional supplies can be quite expensive though as all this is brought in by mules.
Is there mobile phone reception on the climb?
In Nepal telephones and internet access are readily available in most towns. Our guides will carry satellite phones in the mountains. The quality of the reception varies from location to location but is generally poor on the mountain.