Popularly known as the Matterhorn of the Himalaya, the overwhelming ice-coated granite pyramid of Ama Dablam dominates the sky above the trekkers trail to the Everest Base Camp. The mountain derives its name from the glacier lying on its Southwest face. The glacier looks like a jewel box hanging on the neck of the mountain, hence the name Ama Dablam, literally meaning The Mothers Jewel Box. Interestingly, when a team led by Edmund Hillary scaled the mountain for the first time, Nepals King nearly imprisoned Hillary for climbing the sacred Ama Dablam without permission.
The standard ascent to Ama Dablam is made via the South-Western Ridge, the same route followed by Ward (UK), Bishop (USA) and Gill (NZ) in the first ascent of the mountain in 1961. The route offers varied and sustained climb with reasonable level of difficulty. Three high camps are set up at strategic points. The climb is moderate up to Camp 1, then it gets challenging up along the narrow granite ridge. Negotiating pitches of steep ice and snow slopes, the route gets more technical from Camp 2. From Camp 3, skirt around the hanging glacier or the Dablam, cross snow arete (A sharp ridge) and bergschrund(A gap or crevasse at the edge) between ice cliffs, and scale the summit.
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