Thursday, October 27, 2016

Himalaya Fall 2016: Summit Push Begins on Ama Dablam

The fall climbing season on the 8000-meter peaks in the Himalaya are all but over, but there is still plenty of action taking place in Nepal on other mountains. Most of the ongoing expeditions are small and relatively off the radar, with some squarely focused on putting up the first ascents on several unclimbed peaks. But, one popular mountain is about to get extremely busy as a large number of climbers launch their summit push.

Yesterday, the rope-fixing Sherpas on Ama Dablam reached the summit after waiting out poor weather conditions all of last week. The team of six mountain guides worked from Camp 2 on the mountain all the way to the 6812-meter (22,349 ft) summit in a single push, clearing the way for commercial teams that have been waiting in the wings. Now, with the ropes installed, it looks like there will be a mass summit push will begin in the next few days.

According to The Himalayan Times, more than 400 climbers will now move up from Base Camp to get into position to reach the summit. 200 of those alpinists are foreign climbers, while the others mostly consist of guides, high altitude porters, and the like. 

It is unclear at this time exactly when the summit push will be completed, but with good weather in the forecast it seems like it should take place within the next few days. Unlike expeditions on other big Himalayan peaks, it doesn't take weeks to acclimatize on Ama Dablam, nor does it take numerous days to top out. Once the push begins, the summit should be very busy  a few days later. 

Ama Dablam is one of the most distinct mountains in the Khumbu Valley, with climbers and trekkers passing by on their way to Everest Base Camp. The beautiful peak is a good place for climbers to get valuable experience for what it is like to climb in the Himalaya prior to moving on to one of the 8000-meter peaks. For my money, it is still one of the most beautiful mountains that I have ever personally seen with my own eyes, creating a very memorable view on the trail to EBC.

Good luck to everyone heading up the mountain in the next few days. Get up and down safely and quickly, and enjoy the walk. 

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