Ama Dablam - Mother of Pearl Necklace
There are a number of absolutely breathtaking mountains in the Himalayas of eastern Nepal but Ama Dablam is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful. This stunning mountain is crowned by two different peaks. The higher or ‘main peak’ is 6 812 m (22 349 ft) high while the lower peak is 5 563 m (18 251 ft) high. Because of the mountain's beauty it receives a lot of attention from visitors who often consider it to be the most beautiful mountain in the region. Appropriately the name ‘Ama Dablam’ means ‘Mother of Pearl Necklace’ which is not only a reference to the two peaks and the mountain's beauty, but also to the perennial hanging glacier which can be found on this breath-taking mountain.
The summit of Ama Dablam is generally encrusted with snow and ice, so anyone wishing to climb it should definitely keep this in mind. The mountain was first climbed in 1961 and many others have attempted to climb it since. Most people will start their climb by ascending the southwest ridge, stopping at three camps along the way. The third camp is situated perilously right below the glacier. However, this is usually not a problem since any ice coming off the glacier usually makes its way away from the camp. The climb is certainly not an easy one and climbers should ensure that they get a climbing permit and book a liaison officer to travel with them before trying to climb the peak. Of course, thorough training in mountain climbing is also a must and climbers must have a high level of fitness. The best time to climb Ama Dablam is during the months of April and May as well as September and October when the weather is most favorable.
For those who get a little squeamish at the thought of an avalanche rolling down on them, it is wise to keep in mind that a particularly devastating avalanche has occurred on Ama Dablam before. It happened late at night on the 13th of November 2006 when a large piece of the hanging glacier broke off sending debris crashing through Camp 3. The avalanche killed all six climbers stationed at the camp, sweeping away anything and everything in its path. While this is not a common occurrence, the fact that it has happened once means that it could easily happen again. However, it is unlikely that it will happen any time soon and those working in the area will likely be more alert to avoiding catastrophes such as this one in the future.