New Route to Ama Dablam's Summit

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The line of Free Tibet 2065 on Ama Dablam’s west face. The normal route (southwest ridge) is to the right. Courtesy of Santi Padrós.

The line of Free Tibet 2065 on Ama Dablam’s west face. The normal route (southwest ridge) is to the right. Courtesy of Santi Padrós.

An Italian-Spanish pair has climbed a new variation on the west face of 22,493-foot Ama Dablam, the striking peak in the Khumbu region of Nepal. Francesco Fazzi (Italy) and Santiago Padrós (Spanish, living in Italy) climbed Free Tibet 2065 (1,500m, V+ M5+ 80°) in two days, with a descent via the peak’s normal route on the southwest ridge during the third day.

After acclimatizing during a couple of forays on the mountain (including a trip to the summit by Padrós with Slovenian Peter Tomko), the two men started up a snow gully on the lower west face, climbing along or very near the 1985 Japanese route. A little over halfway up the 5,000-foot face, they veered left to a bivouac atop a serac at around 20,300 feet, very near the 1980 Japanese route on the upper west face. The next day, they continued up what appears to be unclimbed ground between the 1980 and 1985 routes, following a direct line to the summit. The two climbed for 11 hours over mixed terrain, with steep snow and occasional difficult rock steps. Exhausted by the rapid ascent, they bivvied on the summit and then descended the next day.

First day of climbing: Traversing left away from the 2005 Japanese route toward new ground on the upper west face. Courtesy of Santi Padrós.

First day of climbing: Traversing left away from the 2005 Japanese route toward new ground on the upper west face. Courtesy of Santi Padrós.

Regardless of how much new terrain was covered, this is likely the fastest ascent of this large face. A note of explanation on the route name, Free Tibet 2065: The Nepali year 2065 overlaps the Western years 2008–2009.

Dates of Ascent: April 30–May 2, 2008

Source: Santi Padrós, The American Alpine Journal, Alpinist X

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Steep ground near the top of the west face of Ama Dablam. Courtesy of Santi Padrós.

Steep ground near the top of the west face of Ama Dablam. Courtesy of Santi Padrós.

A tangle of fixed ropes on Ama Dablam’s southwest ridge, during the descent. Courtesy of Santi Padrós.

A tangle of fixed ropes on Ama Dablam’s southwest ridge, during the descent. Courtesy of Santi Padrós.