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Successful summit ama dablam2

Successful Summit on Ama Dablam!

Con­grat­u­la­tions to Per and Tul­si for a job well done and a suc­cess­ful sum­mit of the 22,501-foot Ama Dablam! Now that they are back in civ­i­liza­tion and recov­er­ing from their great feat, Per has had a chance to catch us up on the last 15 days of their expe­di­tion. Check out their sto­ries below: 

Per nego­ti­at­ing the fixed lines beneath Camp 2. Per Ost­berg photo

Days 19 – 25 (Ama Dablam base camp & camp 1)

The base camp is locat­ed in a huge mead­ow beneath the west face, almost 2500 meters of snow, rock and ice moun­tain face look­ing down on you every­day. The route to the sum­mit fol­lows the south­west ridge fram­ing the mead­ow’s right side. A small creek flows through the camp area that is lit­tered with cook­ing, din­ing and sleep­ing tents from var­i­ous expe­di­tions. It is hard to real­ize you are camped at 4450 meters! The expe­di­tions are a mix of hard­core focused” teams and more relaxed groups. I met Chris from New Zee­land and Majic from Poland, both def­i­nite­ly part of the relaxed group! Great guys who sum­mit­ed a cou­ple of days before me. They left base camp as I start­ed my 1st sum­mit bid. 

When reach­ing camp 1 at 5800 meters for our sum­mit attempt a cou­ple of days after our equip­ment car­ry there, I woke up the next day with the moth­er of all headaches. We decid­ed to decend the 1200 back to base to see how i felt the next day… What a bum­mer! The route to camp 1 from base camp goes along an amaz­ing­ly long ridge, via advanced base camp and a one hour boul­der hop­ping area… Not some­thing you would like to do everyday!

Clas­sic view of Camp 2 seen from the Great Couloir. Per Ost­berg photo

Days 26 – 30 (summit push)

10.30am, Tues­day Novem­ber 30th, and I heaved my oxy­gen starved body over the crest… WOW! The ‑30 degrees Cel­sius, the howl­ing 15 m/​s cross wind on the upper snow slopes, me feel­ing like a gold­fish out­side the bowl, all dis­ap­peared into the past… I was stand­ing on top of Ama Dablam, at 6812 meters! 

On the sum­mit of Ama Dablam! Per Ost­berg photo

Around me was a painter’s land­scape of icy moun­tain peaks and deep val­leys. The wind died away and it was just Tul­si Gurung, me and the flat­tish summit! 

Between deep breaths, I tried to rec­ol­lect the route we had tak­en from base camp to the sum­mit: camp 1 was a des­o­late rock slope with tents perched on built-up plat­forms at around 5800 meters; camp 2 has been made clas­sic as an eagles’ nest camp seen from above: a rock pil­lar with space for 5 tents on the ridge lead­ing upwards. It is reached by weav­ing left, right and across the ridge from camp 1 and is most­ly a rock climb with a 15-meter ver­ti­cal rock face as a grand finale. Here we got stuck for 2 hours wait­ing for anoth­er group to mas­ter jumar­ing and absail­ing… Our Cap­puc­ci­no” ledge was great until the clouds moved in and it got bone chill­ing­ly cold. We even­tu­al­ly reached one of the tents at 6200 meters.

Tul­si hang­ing out above the Great Couloir close to Camp 3. Per Ost­berg photo

From camp 2 the route con­tin­ues weav­ing along the ridge but now a mix of ice, rock and snow climb. Camp 3 is a clas­sic and beau­ti­ful moun­tain camp. It us locat­ed on a snow ridge at 6450 meters, cov­ered by an over­hang­ing and pro­tect­ing glac­i­er. No wind and space for just 3 tents… Mag­i­cal site! The expo­sure between camp 2 and 3 is grand. You walk along a ridge with 200 – 400 meter drops on either side after 60 – 70 meters of a 70-degree couloir of ice and rock climb.

Back at Camp 3 at 6450 meters, shel­tered by the Mush­room Ridge,
after a suc­cess­ful sum­mit bid. Per Ost­berg photo

Final­ly, after a good night’s sleep, the sum­mit is reached via a 70 degree snow slope wind­ing around a hang­ing glac­i­er. The snow field is around 400 meters long but is reduced to: 10 steps, 5 min­utes breath­ing, 10 steps, 5 min­utes breath­ing.… Where did the oxy­gen go???? The wind cut­ting across the snow field felt like rough con­crete bricks mas­sag­ing your face’s left side.

And now, only one way to go: down! Same way as up… We reached camp 1 around 12 hours after leav­ing camp 3, exhaust­ed but happy!!!

The wel­com­ing mess tent at Base Camp. Per Ost­berg photo

Day 31

We left Ama Dablam base camp at 9am and spent some hours in Pang­boche to dis­cuss some addi­tion­al Mani wheels (as part of my project for repair­ing bro­ken Mani wheels) as well as some admin”. We reached the warmth of the Riven­dell lodge around lunch and shed 2 weeks of clothes in a hot show­er in a deluxe” room with views of Mt. Ever­est and the west face of Ama Dablam we just climbed. What a feel­ing!!!! Cold beers and a warm fire.… What else can one want… Well, there is that!

Per, Tul­si and the base camp team. Per Osterg photo

Home­ward-bound now, but we still need to dis­cuss the 7 Pun­gi­tan­ga mani wheels with Ten­z­ing tonight and tomor­row, then our expe­di­tion is completed.

One ques­tion remains: girls, how do you keep long hair from get­ting tan­gled? I must have spent 1 hour get­ting a comb through the tan­gled mess that was once my pony tail… 

The upper snow field. Three climbers can be seen in the mid­dle on the right. Per Ost­berg photo

Day 32

Today has been spent decom­press­ing and meet­ing the Teng­boche Rim­boche (the head lama for the whole Khum­bu val­ley. He is the one con­trol­ling all things reli­gious here). He gave his approval and bless­ing for the refur­bish­ment of the water dri­ven mani wheels project so i guess it is now just” to raise the appro­pri­ate funds :-)

The expe­di­tion is now wind­ing down. We are head­ing back down to Nam­che Bazar tomor­row but will stop at Pun­gi­tang to mea­sure and dis­cuss what needs to be dobe with the 7 Mani wheels there with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the monastery and the community.

All in all, an absolute­ly great day!

Rap­pelling down the Yel­low Tow­er towards Camp 1. Per Ost­berg photo

Day 33

This has has been the day of con­trasts! Start­ing with Mani Wheel work at Pun­gi­tan­ga with Nam­gya Lama, a Teng­boche Monastery monk (expert of Mani Wheels in the Teng­boche area), and end­ing in the com­mer­cial hub of Nam­ch­er Bazar where Tra­cy Chap­man live record­ing from one bar is com­pet­ing with repeat ver­sions of Hotel Claifor­nia” from The Irish Pub across the path while Jhos (not Yaks) rub shoul­ders with tourists in the shop­ping lanes… Brings back mem­o­ries from Khao San Road in Bangkok, 1992!

Puja at Base Camp. Per Ost­berg photo

The expe­di­tion is wind­ing down and it is only a day’s hike to Lhuk­la, a flight back to Kath­man­du and a cou­ple of days wait­ing for the flight home left!

My body has not yet adjust­ed to lux­u­ry.… it start­ed prun­ing’ after 10 min­utes in a hot show­er this after­noon, who thought that was pos­si­ble?! Prob­a­bly need to try that again tomor­row or slow­ly adjust it to water again :-)

Walk­ing along the Mush­room Ridge. Per Ost­berg photo

Last day!

Arrived back down in Kath­man­du from the Khum­bu Val­ley yes­ter­day and man­aged to change my flight for an ear­ly trip! The 4+ weeks spent in Nepal have been absolute­ly fab­tas­tic with a vari­ety of expe­ri­ences rang­ing from trekking, climb­ing Island Peak, meet­ing var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers and lamas, climb­ing Ama Dablam, and meet­ing the Teng­boche Rim­boche (head lama) with his spe­cial bless­ing for the Mani wheel project. 

And, most of all, meet­ing, get­ting to know, become friends with, work­ing and climb­ing with Tul­si Gurung. A fan­tas­tic per­son with a great spir­it and heart that I am proud to call my friend! With­out him, this expe­di­tion would not have been the expe­ri­ence and suc­cess it has been!

I’m now head­ing home to sum­mery South Africa and to all peo­ple who have fol­lowed the trip, thanks for your sup­port and encouragements!

~ Per Ostberg