Ama Dablam 2015
A Special Note on The Political Situation
In the past few years Nepal has made the news due to a variety of different political and diplomatic incidents. Despite these hiccoughs Nepal in general, and the popular trekking regions in particular, have actually remained very safe areas for travellers and mountaineers. On a particularly poignant note the Maoists have specifically said that tourists are not a target (they realise the benefits of our trade and custom. Without the annual influx of tourists the entire Nepalese economy will suffer, which will undoubtedly be detrimental to the way the population feels about the Maoists and potentially cause a backlash).
Bearing in mind that we have had London bombings, occasional riots, the odd national strike, frequent flooding, BSE, Foot and Mouth, warm beer and The Spice Girls - if a tourist were to ask you if the UK is safe to visit what would you say?...
By the same token Nepal is still a safe country to travel to if you stay away from any unsafe areas. And you can rest assured that The Khumbu is about as safe as you get.
If the situation were to become so serious that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office were to decree that Nepal was not safe for us to travel through then naturally the trip may need to be postponed or cancelled.
If the FCO does not issue advice against travel then a disinclination to travel on the basis of a perceived threat or hazard, howsoever formed, will be interpreted as a voluntary cancellation and the relevant cancellation charges will apply.
Please also see the notes associated with insurance below.
Another Special Note - this time about safety & The Dablam.
In the last couple of years there have been a couple of incidents that have caused people to come up with all kinds of theories. Tragically in 2006 there was an accident affecting the site of Camp 3, killing 6 people. This was initial misreported as The Dablam falling off. Indeed one report was from a chap in Australia who wasn't in Nepal and hadn't even been there that season. Further investigation revealed that it was actually an avalanche from above the Dablam. There had been an unusually big dump of snow in late October which then released an avalanche in the middle of November. This was very unusual and an unprecedented occurance.
Then in Oct 2007 there were some reports that as much as 50% of The Dablam had fallen off. Before the November trip I managed to get a photograph from a friend who was in The Khumbu at the time and was able to ascertain that it was perhaps a 10% chunk, if that, that had fallen off. And it was stuff from the far left and middle of The Dablam that had come off where all the mass had been, not to the right where the route goes. When we arrived at Base Camp it actually looked less 'angry' and heavy and, as mentioned earlier, the weight had been removed and the tension had been alleviated. Anyway, to be double safe, the route was pushed well off to the right to ensure that it was away from the fall line. We also used Camp 2.9 rather than the original site of Camp 3 and, as a consequence of these factors, we managed to put 7 members and 2 Climbing Sherpas safely on the summit.
Unfortunately at the beginning of November 2014 a Climbing Sherpa was killed and 3 clients injured when some ice fell from the right side of The Dablam. We arrived at Base Camp with this news very much at the forefront of our collective minds and we observed the state of The Dablam on a daily basis through the telescope. We also gained quite a lot of corroborating evidence from other teams abou the state of the ropes (great), the state of the route (great) and the state of the route from the old C3 to where it past the Dablam (dodgy). We witnessed quite a few calvings and sheddings of blocks of various sizes and there were doubtlessly others that we didn't see.
Despite the fact that clients from other teams were still summiting I was not convinced that this meant that the route was safe (enough) for our team to progress beyond C3. In particular I was concerned that if anyone were to get injured whilst making an unsupported summit attempt that I would still need to get the Climbing Sherpas in to action - to assist thereby rendering any solo action pointless.
To that end it was decided that we would not be attempting the summit at all in 2014 - a decision that was respected by the team and Sherpas alike. We then changed tack slightly and some folk went home, some went trekking and some I took round to Island Peak.
So, what does this hold for 2015? Well to be frank I can't gaze in to the crystal ball. But what I can say is that it is still 11 months away and a lot can, and will, happen between now and then. The right hand side of the Dablam had slumped quite considerably during November 2014 and I will be keeping a close eye on the situation. I will be trekking past en route to Everest in April 2015 so that will be a prime time to see what has changed.
You can always be assured that safety is of paramount importance and everything will be done to make sure that this isn't compromised. These are big steep mountains and there is snow on them so of course there are going to be avalanches and serac falls - but that doesn't mean that everyone needs to run away and start scary rumours.
If, however, things don't appear to have stabilised then there has to be a 'Plan B.' For some companies Plan B may be that you get a refund. For others there is no Plan B and their expedition will press on regardless. For me 'Plan B' is a multi faceted option. Plan B isn't set in stone and doesn't necessarily have a cut off point. If we decided that Ama Dablam was no longer Plan A and you wanted a refund then this is what you will have. But my issue here is that you have taken time off work, organised your life around you being away and you have a flight and insurance - do you actually want a refund? You probably want an expedition. In which case we are looking at Baruntse as Plan B which means that the dates are the same, the equipment is the same and you still get to go high. The only caveat is that there will be an additional expense as it is a more costly trip. Having said that we will keep the additional surcharge to a minimum accordingly.
So ... Plan B has not been initiated and won't be until deemed absolutely necessary. Indeed I really hope that we can stay with Plan A. But if The Dablam is still playing up which would you prefer - to be denied a summit on Ama Dablam or be allowed a crack at Baruntse?
What is next?
secure a booking for Ama Dablam
2015 I require a non refundable
deposit of 25% of the trip cost
Please see Here for the pricing policy.
Your Expedition Account
All payments are to be in Pounds Stirling. You will be invoiced according to the services required and your expedition account will be credited with any payments received. Any bank charges and currency fluctuations will be your responsibility.
If you should need to cancel your place on the trip then the following cancellation refunds will apply :-
o From booking to 9 months prior to trip - Loss of deposit
o From 9 months to 6 months prior to trip - 35% refund
o From 6 months to 3 months prior to trip - 20% refund
o Less than 3 months prior to trip - No refund
To that end please make sure that you take out appropriate cancellation insurance as soon as possible to cover you for legitimate reasons should you need to withdraw from the trip.
Which brings us to the next point
You MUST have insurance appropriate for the mountain. This means that helicopter rescue and repatriation need to be a part of the policy.
Presently the companies that offer suitable packages are HCC Atlas Travel, ihi Bupa, Snowcard and The BMC (although this is not as user friendly as it used to be and you now have to complete a form for submission - please have a look at the notes I have completed if applying for BMC insurance).
Naturally, whoever you insure with, please make sure that the policy is valid for Ama Dablam and includes helicopter evacuation just in case it is required.
CANCELLATION COVER usually starts immediately your application and payment is received by the insurers. So, for your protection, you are advised to sign up for this at the time of booking.
o I provide a personal service throughout - from your initial contact to standing on top of our mountain. To that end you will not be getting conflicting advice from someone in an office who hasn't actually been there, as happens with many trekking companies.
o I am a full member of The Association of Mountaineering Instructors and a qualified instructor holding my Mountain Instructors Award, Winter ML, MIC training and current 1st aid certificate appropriate to the outdoors and wilderness environment. This is quite a rare amongst trek leaders, many of whom are totally unqualified - but that is not to say that they are not good at their jobs.
o Since I have no office, admin staff, brochures and general business overheads I offer quality treks at very competitive prices. I use the same in-country agents as many of the big trekking companies and so you can be assured that the quality will be the same. The difference is that with me you will be getting incredible value for money.
o With my experience working at Needlesports in Keswick, and having conducted a number of gear reviews for On The Edge magazine, I can advise you quite specifically on what gear and equipment is appropriate for your trip.
o Lastly, I am an active year round climber and mountaineer, have trekked numerous times in the Khumbu and successfully climbed and guided on Lobuche East (5 times), Pokalde (7 times), Island Peak (6 times), Mera Peak (twice) and Ama Dablam ten times. I also have numerous Alpine seasons, Greenland expeditions (over 50 first ascents), Scottish winters, and over three thousand rock climbs under my belt. I summited Everest from the North side in 2005 and summited Cho Oyu in autumn 2006 with 3 out of 4 clients. In 2011 I summited Everest again (this time from the Nepal side, becoming only the 10th Brit to summit Everest from both sides), guiding 4 clients safely to the summit and back down again. You are in experienced, safe and qualified hands.
If you have any queries then please do not hesitate to contact me on email@example.com - I reply to all e mails as soon as I receive them so if you don't hear back immediately please bear in mind that I may be out of reach for a few days.
Alternatively you can call me on 017687 71050 or 07980 521079.
Added Value for YOU
Once you have signed up for the trip, and paid a deposit, I will be available to come and meet you to discuss the trip in more detail if you require (mainland UK - free if within 50 miles of Keswick, £15 supplement per 100 miles thereafter, elsewhere please ask for cost). Alternatively you can arrange to come to The Lakes and we can meet up there.
I now have a guesthouse in Keswick and will be running a pre-trip-get-together weekend where we can discuss kit and equipment, make any last minute purchases at Needlesports, you will have a chance to meet with other team members and I will do a slide show presentation to put things in to perspective.
As mentioned earlier I will give a 20% discount on instruction fees for any winter days out (minimum 2 days) and a 15% discount on instruction fees for any summer climbing / instruction days for anyone who has paid a deposit for the trip.
You can call or e mail me anytime and I will be available to answer your questions.
And lastly it will be me who is your personal contact from initial enquiry to post expedition pizza in Kathmandu - which means continuity.
In the meantime 'Live the dream'
Yours - Tim Mosedale
Tel : 017687 71050 vvMobile : 07980 521079
e mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
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Last update 11-Dec-2014