Ama Dablam Update!

Hi Everyone,

I’m now back in the UK and I must apologies for not updating the blog whilst I was away. Last year there was 3G internet in the Kumbu valley which is what i was planning to use to stay connected to the world. Unfortunately the network was completely down and the phone network was very temperamental so for the whole time i was on the mountain I couldn't do any updating.

Anyway now that I'm back and I can run through everything. Firstly due to a commitment at home I actually ran out of time so sadly i did not summit! I wasn't to fussed as I know i would of been able to had everything with the timmings worked out. I knew it was going to be tight and sometimes things work out and sometimes things don't work out! I was very fortunate last year to get my Summit on Everest so felt coming back another day to Ama was no real problem.

What was it like and how did it compare to Everest? At 6858m Ama Dablam is not as high as Everest but it certainly is far more technical. You cant really fall off Everest as such, apart from one or two places but you certainly could fall off Ama Dablam. Pretty much all of the mountain has fixed rope for the technical climbing and a lot of it is actually traversing along small ledges with very big drops below you. Once you have got your head around the heights and exposure and realize that as long as you're clipped on its not that difficult. One of the tricky bits is known as the “Tower” which is just under Camp two. Its about a 10 meter vertical rock face that you need to scale. Camp two is over 6000 meters so by now breathing is not particularly easy when trying to scale a 10m vertical wall of rock. The trick is to take it slowly and use your legs as opposed to trying to pull your self up with the Jumar Arnold Schwarzenegger style!

One of the things that hit me this trip was just how cold it was out there. It was regularly falling to below -20 just at base camp with a bitterly cold wind. Although the temperatures were similar and sometimes colder on Everest last spring for some reason it felt a lot colder this time round. It’s mainly due to the season as it's winter out in Nepal now. Even the temperature in Kathmandu was pretty chilly at night.

For me one of things that i like about travelling is meeting new people from different cultures. On the walk out of the Kumbu which was only two days I had a fantastic little porter who was only 15 years old. He was tiny and very young looking mainly because he was i suppose. At first I felt a bit guilty that he was carrying one of my bags. I made sure I carried more in my rucksack so his load was only around 15Kg which is very light for a porter. He didn't speak great English but it turned out he was on holiday from school and was really excited about the prospect of earning some money as a porter. He was very strong for such a young small person and i think he really wanted to impress me as I would regularly see him in front of me running along turning around making sure i wasn't catching up with him. Towards the end of the day I could see he was getting tired so I made him slow down a bit and take some rest stops with me. Its not in the nature of a Nepalese person to show weakness or say they are tired you would only know this when they collapse in front of you. They have incredible strength of mind. Obviously I didn't want this to happen to a young boy. When we got to Lukla I paid him 7000 Nepalese rupees for two days work which is about £40 and I don't think I’ve ever seen anyone's face light up so much. He was over the moon. He would of taken that money straight home to his parents and I know they would of been very proud of him. When we got to the end of the trail in Lukla i took the above photo of us both. His name was Bim although for some strange reason he never replied when I called his name so perhaps I got it wrong. Either way he really was a fantastic young lad!

I’m currently pretty busy sorting everything out for my project next year now but am very much looking forward to getting back to Nepal soon.

Out for now

Captain Ketch,


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