Practice Run No.3: First View of Ama Dablam

In Practice Run No.3by Steve

Ama Dablam in Real Life – Reality Hit

Been a couple of days so figured it’s time for another update.

Yesterday we flew in to Lukla and spent the past two days trekking up through the Khumbu valley. We were delayed leaving Kathmandu due to maintenance issues with the plane. Always reassuring sitting on the tarmac watching ground crew undertake running repairs to the plane you are about to board. Anyway, we made it, with a hard bumpy landing at Lukla.

It is really interesting to be trekking the same route which I did back in ’98. It’s still all pretty much as I remember. The trail is much busier, more tea huts line the track, and it has become more sanitised for mass “adventure” tourism, but the mountains and valleys are still the same. Some of the upgrades have removed the fun though. Lukla airstrip now has tarmac coating the old, and arguably more exciting, gravel runway. And some of the old wooden suspension bridges which span high above the valley floor have been replaced with new steel ones. You no longer need to step over the missing timber planks, or look out for the cracked ones which are about to give way. The new bridges are now all structurally sound. Where’s the fun in that….

Today we climbed up above Namche Bazar and got our first views of Ama Dablam (and Everest just off to the side, but we’ll leave that one for another day). Seeing Ama Dablam again in real life has suddenly rammed home the magnitude of the challenge that lies ahead. The thought of actually climbing the knife edge ridges and steep upper slopes is an exciting, intimidating, terrifying proposition. The altitude is only slightly higher than what I did in Peru, so reasonably comfortable with that. But it is the much colder temperatures and technical mixed climbing that is really keeping me on edge.

Three more days and we should be in Base Camp, then the fun really begins.

“Go with the decision that will make for a great story”.