American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Mahalangur Himal - Khumbu Section, Ama Dablam (6,814m), West Face, Partial New Route, Free Tibet

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2009

Ama Dablam (6,814m), west face, partial new route, Free Tibet. Ashild Tomassen (Norway) and we arrived in Nepal at the start of the Nepalese New Year, 2065, and on April 14 took a flight to Lukla. Four days later we, already breathless, were at Ama Dablam’s 4,600m base camp and a few days later summited via the normal route. Back at base camp, having studied various faces of the mountain, we felt there was a gap in the upper half of the west face between the Original (Japanese) route (Ariaka-Sakashita, 1985) and the top section of the Japanese route on the northwest face (Fukushima-Kato-Ogawa-Teranishi-Tomika-Tsubai, 1980). The upper serac of “the Dablam” appeared intact, so we traced an imaginary itinerary over terrain yet to be discovered.

On April 30 we (Francesco and Santiago)left base camp carrying light sleeping bags, a tent, and food for four days. We made our first camp at 5,350m, close to the bottom of the face and protected by a huge boulder. On May 1 we climbed the lower part of the face near the 1985 route, until we veered left over a serac to camp at 6,200m. On this first day we spent 11 hours mainly snow climbing, with some steep ice and several mixed sections.

On our second day we climbed for 12 hours. During the afternoon the weather turned bad, and new snow hampered progress. It cleared, though, as we approached the top. For 300m we moved together up steep snow arêtes and in funnels. We climbed the upper steeper 300m in eight pitches: the first three on mixed terrain of UIAA V/V+ and the remaining five on more moderate snow and ice. At sunset we emerged onto the flat summit of Ama Dablam and camped right there—a fantastic situation. There was 15cm of new snow, and the temperature in the morning was -15°C. On the 3rd we made a difficult descent of the normal route in heavy snowfall, which started in the morning and continued for three days, depositing 20cm at base camp. As we believe the Japanese route to be unrepeated, and our line on the upper face to be new, we propose the name Free Tibet 2065 (1,500m, V+ M5+ 80°) for our route Francesco Fazzi, Italy and Santiago Padros, Spain

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