Ama Dablam South West Ridge

Health & Fitness

Your health

Expedition members will be provided with pre-trip medical advice and a medical questionnaire and asked to visit their family physician to receive a full medical examination.  This information will be sighted only by the expedition leader and our medical adviser and treated with full confidentiality.

Level of experience required

This climb is not for novice mountaineers.  It will require members to be comfortable ascending and descending steep terrain on fixed ropes.

A high technical standard is not mandatory because primarily the guides will be leading the climb and fixing the route.   However, this is not a mountain to visit and then discover that you are not comfortable with exposure. We suggest that you gain experience and the required skills for travel on exposed technical ground before joining this expedition.

Membership will be restricted to climbers with a proven list of alpine ascents.  A high standard of fitness is expected. It is advantageous to be able to move over rocky terrain efficiently. 

What you carry on the mountain

We have the luxury of a strong Sherpa team that will carry all the team equipment, food and ropes on the mountain. Whilst there are some instances where the Sherpas will take a couple of small items for you to the next camp, this is only occasional and you are expected to carry your personal gear. When you put all your gear into a pack it still amounts to between 18-25kg so the load is not insignificant and you must come prepared for the high level of physical output. This reinforces the need to take just the right amount of equipment with you on the mountain and to ensure you are ‘pack fit’ before you arrive on the expedition.

Specific technical training for Ama Dablam

We climb Ama Dablam via the SW ridge, a technical route, and considered to be the standard route. The route is considered a relatively safe route by Himalayan standards. It is a varied and interesting route with loads of superb climbing on snow, rock and ice. On Ama Dablam, the hardest pitches of technical rock and ice climbing are not sustained but tend to come in short manageable sections, all with ropes fixed in place.

One of the most energy absorbing activities, if not done properly, is ascending a steep fixed rope. Getting specific training in this area is important for not wasting energy at altitude (it’s hard enough at sea level). By practising at a local cliff or climbing gym you should be able to get all your lengths of leash attachments right and fine tune your technique.

Other skills specific to Ama Dablam include travelling along rocky ridges in your plastic mountaineering boots, camping in the snow, repelling/abseiling and general mountain movement, which can be difficult if you live in a city.

Above all, have fun, enjoy the people around you and marvel in the spectacular environment you are in!