Ama Dablam

Ama Dablam is a mountain in the eastern Himalayan range of Province No. 1, Nepal. The main peak is 6,812 metres (22,349 ft), the lower western peak is 6,170 metres (20,243 ft). Ama Dablam means “Mother’s necklace”; the long ridges on each side like the arms of a mother (ama) protecting her child, and the hanging glacier thought of as the dablam, the traditional double-pendant containing pictures of the gods, worn by Sherpa women. For several days, Ama Dablam dominates the eastern sky for anyone trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp. For its soaring ridges and steep faces Ama Dablam is sometimes referred as the “Matterhorn of the Himalayas.” The mountain is featured in one rupee banknote of Nepal.

Ama Dablam was first climbed on 13 March 1961 by Mike Gill (NZ), Barry Bishop (USA), Mike Ward (UK) and Wally Romanes (NZ) via the Southwest Ridge. They were well-acclimatised to altitude, having wintered over at 5800 metres near the base of the peak as part of the 1960–61 Silver Hut expedition, led by Sir Edmund Hillary.

Situated at a distance of 162 km north of the provincial capital of Biratnagar and 152 km northeast to Kathmandu, Ama Dablam is the third most popular Himalayan peak for permitted expeditions. The most popular route by far is the Southwest Ridge (right skyline in the photo). Prior to a 2006 avalanche, climbers typically set up three camps along the ridge with Camp III just below and to the right of the hanging glacier, the Dablam. Any ice that calves off the glacier typically goes left, away from the camp. However, after the avalanche, climbers now prefer to set just two camps to minimize risk. A climbing permit and a liaison officer are required when attempting Ama Dablam. As with Mount Everest, the best climbing months are April–May (before the monsoon) and September–October.

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