NEWSLETTERS - Ama Dablam 2014

The Daily Moraine - Ama Dablam 2014 #117 October 2014

Ama Dablam

Ama Dablam

I write from Phortse as we start our next Ama Dablam adventure. As most Daily Moraine followers will already know we finished on Manaslu early so these members had the chance to go home early. It also meant that Woody and Shinji our Manaslu and Ama Dablam guides could leave Kathmandu early, after a short break in the city. So we actually have two parts to our team at the moment.

The small team consists of:

Russell Brice New Zealand - Who first climbed this route in 1980
Mark Woodward New Zealand
Shinji Tamura Japan
Kumiko Asahida Japan
Rochelle Rafferty New Zealand
Nina Ribbat Germany
Phurba Tashi
Ngawang Tenzing
Nima Tenzing
Lhakpa Wongchu

On 4 Oct Woody, Shinji, Rochelle, our Manaslu doctor Tracee along with Phurba and Ngwang all flew directly from Ktm to Khumjung and made the whole journey of 50m from the helicopter to Phurba’s house, remembering that they also had to climb over a treacherous 1m high stone wall. They spent a day acclimatising in Khumjung before then trekking to Phortse for one night and then on to Pheriche where we have a store of equipment. Here they sorted what was required for the Ama Dablam BC so spent a second night, which helped with acclimatisation for Rochelle, remembering that all the others are already well acclimatised from being on the summit of Manaslu. This small team then went to Chhukum for a night and then proceeded directly to the Island Peak high camp. Then on the 12th they all summited Island Peak in perfect conditions before returning to Chhukum.

In the meanwhile Russ was still in Ktm dealing with various logistics for next year’s Everest and Lhotse expeditions. On the 9th I did the Manaslu debrief and the new briefing for Ama Dablam so the AD Sherpas were able to go from Pheriche to establish the BC. On the 12th they started climbing on the route and managed to fix 200m of rope above the col, as well as fixing rope up to the col and deposited all the rope that we will require for the route.

Russ, Nina and Kumiko also made the flight by helicopter with our pilot friend Jason who flies for Simrik Helicopters directly to Khumjung. We also spent two nights there before going to Phortse. It was interesting to see that Phurba’s wife had a list of odd jobs to be done around the house, just like we do when we get home from expedition. Fix the double swing door to the dining room, fix the telephone, fix the water pipe, all quite normal for us but one thing different was, fix the old horse saddle leather parts to the new wooden saddle base that Phurba had bought in Samagon as his old metal frame had broken.

Last year there was a large intense cyclone in the Bay of Bengal which spread to the Himalaya and dropped over 2m of snow at the AD BC. To my dismay the exact same weather pattern formed again this year, so it was with trepidation that I few into Khumjung knowing that there was bad weather following. Sure enough the skies became overcast and the cloud level reduced with the inevitable snow falling, but to just below BC level. Last night there was a spectacular thunder and lightning show with more snow to Phortse and about 15cm of snow at BC. But this morning the skies were clear, and so it looks like we have been spared the same unusual conditions of last year.

An interesting night with several trekking parties in Phortse, and one woman who was not walking so well, so Phurba and Lhakpa ventured out into the raging storm and sleet to help her. They were away for just one and half hours but managed to get her to the comfort of the warm lodge. Then at breakfast we had a local girl having an epileptic fit, so life is always dealing with the unexpected. It was good to see Mingma Tshering the son of Lhakpa looking so well and full of life. He has recently had an operation to remove a 6th finger from his right hand which was sponsored by David Tait one of our regular expedition members, thank you for this generosity.

Regards Russ