For many, the Ama Dablam Base Camp trek will be a clear highlight of their Everest Base Camp or Three High Passes treks in the Khumbu. I certainly know that it was for me!
This hike will take you to an altitude of 4580M at the base of one of the most beautiful and powerful mountains in the Himalayan range.
This blog post will serve as a more in-depth guide for those attempting the trek as a day trip.
The thumb-like peak stands prominent in the Himalayan landscape from Namche Bazaar to as far as Kallar Pathar. It’s one of the most powerful and picturesque peaks in the entire world and my personal favorite.
Ama Dablam’s tallest point stands at 6812M, while the smaller western peak is 6170M.
Ama Dablam is a climbing peak that requires a special permit and should not be attempted without a professional guide. It takes climbers several days to reach the peak of Ama Dablam, and unfortunately, many people have died in the attempt.
It’s a powerful and humbling feeling sitting at Ama Dablam base camp, knowing that people’s lives have been given in pursuit of the mountain. It’s hard not to feel a huge sense of respect for the climbers who give everything to these peaks.
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Read the fine print– Most travel insurance companies void coverage as soon as you step over 5000 m. That’s why I use and recommend Global Rescue, which offers yearly or expedition-based rescue coverage with no altitude caps.
Getting to the Ama Dablam Base Camp Trek
Ama Dablam is located roughly one or two days walk from Namche Bazaar or at least three to four days from Lukla. The Ama Dablam Base camp trek is usually completed as a day-trip or acclimatization hike for trekkers on the EBC or Three High Passes treks.
You’ll need to follow proper acclimatization principles in reaching the start of the Ama Dablam Base Camp trek, remember to do your research and plan accordingly. If you’re planning the Three High Passes Trek,
The Ama Dablam Trailhead from Panboche
The trailhead picks up and ends at the far end of Panboche, just next to Sonam Lodge. The map below will give you an approximate location. However, it’s easy to simply keep walking along the trail through Panboche and keeping an eye out for signs pointing to Ama Dablam Base camp near the lodge.
For unguided trekkers, I’d recommend staying in Panboche and leaving your bags at the lodge. The trail is pretty steep and much better enjoyed with a light day-pack.
It’s crucial to have a physical Everest Three Passes Trek map when hiking in the Khumbu.
This guide should not replace a proper map and should be a complement to individual research and trekking preparation efforts.
Ama Dablam Base Camp Trek
STARTING ELEVATION: 3900M
AMA DABLAM BASECAMP ELEVATION: 4580M
TOTAL ASCENT: 680M TOTAL DESCENT: 680M
TOTAL HIKING TIME: 5 HOURS
At Sonam Lodge, follow the sign along the ridge and make the comfortable and slow descent to a small bridge at the base of the Dudh Kosi river.
A note: Completing the Ama Dablam Base Camp Trek will take you to an altitude of 4580M. Many hikers including myself may begin to feel signs of AMS. It’s important to monitor symptoms and ascend slowly.
Looking to Step it Up?
Check out my guide to climbing Mera Peak (6476m), Nepal’s highest trekking peak (non-technical). This is a great entry-level summit in the Khumbu requiring no prior mountaineering experience.
Section One – Steep
After the bridge, you might notice some herding yaks eating the dry Himalayan grass as you continue up the rocky trail to the base of a grassy slope covered in boulders.
The trail seems to disappear as you ascend this steep hill. Soon, as you progress higher, a row of prayer flags will be noticeable near the top of the bluff. Head towards these for a fantastic view of Panboche and the Dudh Kosi all the way to Dingboche.
From here, you’ll also get to witness the eroding ravine on the other side and listen to huge falling rocks as they crash down into the valley below.
Section Two – Flat
After a quick rest at the prayer flag viewpoint, look for and pick up the trail leading in the same direction along a flat plane.
This part of the Ama Dablam Base Camp trek snakes itself through grassy and sandy sections and is mostly flat for about 45 minutes.
Although the trail disappears in sections, a visible path will be clear and always visible further in the distance. Make sure to only attempt this in good conditions, as I’d imagine it would be easy to get lost in a snowstorm.
Section Three – Steep
The last section is steep and begins near some flowing water. This will most likely be frozen at the surface and sometimes covered in snow, so take care not to step through.
Follow this water flow and begin the last steep climb until you reach the bowl valley that is the Ama Dablam Base camp.
Ama Dablam Base Camp
Depending on the time of the year, you might get to witness the expedition tents of climbers that are eagerly training and waiting to tackle the summit.
Climbing season is from April to May and September to October. Ama Dablam is the third most popular climbing peak in the Himalayas so during this time expect to see many eager climbers.
When I completed the Ama Dablam Base Camp trek as an acclimatization hike on the Three Passes Trek, there was, unfortunately, no tents set up. However, it was an amazing experience exploring the base camp and having the entire mountain to ourselves.
Returning to Panboche
After spending some time resting and admiring Ama Dablam, take the same trail down towards Panboche for a well-deserved serving of Dahl Baht and a lemon tea.
It will most likely be a much faster trip downhill, but it might be a little wearing on the knees.
Three Passes: Independent Trekking Ebook
Since internet connectivity is limited in the Khumbu, I’ve written a comprehensive trekking guide to the Three Passes which you can download as an eBook for use on your mobile, tablet, or e-reader.
More Nepal Trekking Guides
MY CAMERA AND PHOTOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT
- Mirrorless Camera: Canon R5
- Drone: DJI Mavic Pro 2
- 360 Action Camera: Insta360 One X2
- Landscape Lens: Canon RF 15-35mm f/2.8L
- All-Round Lens: Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L
- Telephoto Lens: Canon RF 100-500mm f/f/4.5-7.1 L
- Long Action Pole: Insta360 Invisible Pole (BulletTime)
- Landscape Lens Filter: Hoya Circular Polarizer
- Camera Backpack: F-Stop Tilopa
- Favorite Photography Accessory: Peak Design Capture Clip
For a list of all my recommended photography gear (including what I use and why) check out my guide to camera gear for travel.
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