"The mountains only live because we love them. Where the houses and the trees and the flowers give way, there begins the lifeless world, wild, mineral; at the same time, in its dire poverty, in its total bareness, the place dispenses riches without price: the happiness we find in the eyes of those who go there."
This November I'll be guiding a small group on Ama Dablam. I've been dreaming of this peak for a long time. Dreaming about it is nice, but life is short, so it's time to go.
Last June on Denali I had the chance to hang out with a fellow named Ang. When I met him he was busy wowing the rangers with his card tricks in the med tent. Ang was working as a volunteer ranger and getting a taste of the Alaska range. At high camp he spun me some stories of his home mountains, and I realized I no longer had any excuses. When someone invites you to visit, isn't it polite to take them up on the offer?
While exploring the North Cascades this autumn, I got to thinking about what it means to have a home range. It means a well-annotated mental map of the place, and a long list of questions and mysteries and love affairs yet to be had. There is plenty of excitement for me in my home range, and certainly adventures. But the nature of mountains--and the nature of myself--means that I always tend to catalogue and categorize the secrets; I seek a state of comfortable familiarity with the place. So while my backyard still offers the challenge of first ascents, foreign mountains offer utter immersion in the mystery. What is this flower here? What's that snowy peak to the east? What's the name of this river? I'm excited for these questions, and for the climb of a lifetime.
I'll spend the month leading up to the expedition in the Khumbu area, climbing the route on Ama and laying the groundwork for a smooth trip.The classic route climbs the southwest ridge of this iconic 6,000 meter peak (the right-hand skyline in the Ben Tubby photo above). With difficulties on rock, snow and ice at high altitude, this is a climb for alpinists with a fairly strong resume covering a variety of long mountain routes. We'll acclimatize on some trekking peaks, move camps up the mountain with support from Ang's seasoned Sherpa crew, and poise ourselves for a summit. It will be thirty days of grand adventure, and it all begins November 1st when we meet in Khatmandu.
If this adventure speaks to you, or if you'd like to know more, please give me a call. The mountains of home are the perfect place to train, and Ama is the perfect excuse to fill this summer with memorable climbs.
Stay tuned for updates.