Ama Dablam 1979-Tom Frost, DR & Jeff Lowe

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Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 26, 2009 - 10:00pm PT
Three different views of climbing Ama Dablam in 1979 once it was opened up for climbing again.

Tom Frost's account from Summit August-September 1979.

Doug Robinson on mixed ground between Camps 1 and 2. Tom Frost photo.







And two perspectives from Mountain March -April 1980.













Happy Thanksgiving everyone!




Pate

Trad climber
The Lost Highway
Nov 27, 2009 - 12:00am PT
A Few Moments is harrowing. Do you have a copy of the Mountain 71 that the complete accident is reported in?
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Nov 27, 2009 - 02:39am PT
Awesome. I'd love to climb that mountain.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Nov 27, 2009 - 03:15am PT
hey there steve, say... this is a really great way to present a climb like this:

in a three-in-one view... really neat...

thanks for the shared info...
:)


edit: oooopsss, the pictures are just fully downloading, ... did NOT know there were so many nice ones... had only see the first half of the post...

great mountain shots... :)
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Nov 27, 2009 - 09:38am PT
Thanks!

I'm interested in anything about Nepal, Khumbu, and Sherpas.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 27, 2009 - 06:21pm PT
Jeff's solo adventure is truly inspiring and out there! I hope that he will join in.
wildone

climber
GHOST TOWN
Nov 27, 2009 - 06:23pm PT
How many hook placements did they enhance?
Fritz

Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Nov 27, 2009 - 08:06pm PT
Steve: Thanks for posting up a great group of articles. I looked at the post on my first read ------and had "dejae vue all over again."

I had read the two articles from Mountain, while researching Royal Robbins ads, about a week ago.

What's the odds that two Tacoites would be reading the same 1970's Mountain articles in such a short time-span?

That Jello-----he was a "rope rocket."
ionlyski

Trad climber
Kalispell, Montana
Nov 27, 2009 - 10:35pm PT
How many hook placements did they enhance?

Hey Wildobeast. Keep your adolescent remarks within the WOS threads and stay out of Steve's historical contributions, unless you have something pertinent to add. You're like the heckler in the back of the classroom, who knows nothing of the current discussion. Right, this is history son, so pay attention.
Arne
wildone

climber
GHOST TOWN
Nov 27, 2009 - 11:52pm PT
Deleted.
Majid_S

Mountain climber
Bay Area , California
Nov 28, 2009 - 12:28am PT
Picture of Ama Da Blan taken from our tent in 2002 on Lobuche BC


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Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 28, 2009 - 12:42am PT
What an amazing mountain! Nice shots, Majid.
johntp

Trad climber
socal
Nov 28, 2009 - 08:47pm PT
Awesome! I remember raptly reading this stuff; too bad I moved too many times and always purged before each move. I left too many mags and catalogs and gear on the curb.

Jello's account of Ama Dablam is one of my favorite reads.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 28, 2009 - 09:44pm PT
Another view from the Book of Modern Mountaineering edited by Malcolm Milne, 1968.

Michael Hjorth

Trad climber
Copenhagen, Denmark
Nov 30, 2009 - 05:12pm PT
Yes, it was an inspiring article. Possibly to the extend that me and my Danish friends went there in Oct. 1988...

We were there I think in the last season where it was possible to be alone on the South Ridge. And we managed to climb the mountain in pure alpine style, not using the old fixed ropes nor sherpas above base. Well, my friends did; I ran out of steam at c. 6400 m and waited at the snow shoulder (the "Dablam") while they went up. One week later two more from our group reached the summit. A good trip!

Here is a recorded report (mp3-file) from the Radio Nepal:
Radio Nepal

And some pictures.
Ama Dablam:


From Tengboche:


Tengboche Monastery before the fire in 1989:


From Khumjung:


ABC and Kantega:


Bo Christensen and me on the ridge in 6000 m:


On Ama Dablam South Ridge:


Soren Smidt before the Mushroom Ridge:


Soren Smidt on the upper slopes. It's me on the snowledge down to the right:


Soren and Bo on summit; Lhotse and Everest behind:


Getting the records straight with Himalya chronicler Elizabeth Hawley:


We even wrote a book!


Michael

Michael Hjorth

Trad climber
Copenhagen, Denmark
Dec 2, 2009 - 03:22am PT
A selfish bump...
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 2, 2009 - 10:17am PT
Michael- Fantastic adventure for your team! Thanks for sharing the photos.

Do you recall what year the mountain was closed to climbing?
Pate

Trad climber
The Lost Highway
Dec 2, 2009 - 10:53am PT
Michael- well done! And beautiful photography, thanks man.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 3, 2009 - 11:53pm PT
The classic Tom Frost shot of Jeff looking stud!

Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Dec 12, 2009 - 02:26am PT
I agree with Pate: great pics, Michael! What a classy mountain...

And Steve, Tom Frost can make anyone look like a stud, when all the while the real stud is behind the lens.

-JelloTheWobbly
Michael Hjorth

Trad climber
Copenhagen, Denmark
Dec 12, 2009 - 05:53am PT
Thanks; it's an honour to show them and get comments from you guys!

Steve: No, I do not recall when it was closed. Maybe Jello would know: The 1979 was the first expedition since the 1961, where Bishop and Hillary et al fell into bad standing due to their slightly illegal climb. As it was climbed regular after the Frost-Lowe et al ascent, maybe it was before 79?

When I write that ours was the last chance to be alone, only means that after 1988 Ama D became one of the most popular peaks for guided expeditions, knitted into an amour of fixed ropes. So it goes ...

**

With a slight drift I can mention that one hour ago I said farewell to wellknown climbing sherpas Pertemba Sherpa (of SWF-Everest fame) and multi-multi everester (and recently Ama D) Phurba Tashi Sherpa, who stayed in my flat during the Summiteers Summit here in Copenhagen. Nice guys, lots of stories!

Will put up a climbing related COP15-thread soon...
Michael Hjorth

Trad climber
Copenhagen, Denmark
Feb 17, 2011 - 08:09am PT
- another selfish bump...!
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Feb 17, 2011 - 09:00am PT






SWEET!!!!
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Feb 17, 2011 - 03:39pm PT
ASB-"another selfish bump" is fine with me as I missed this before and it is a classic. Sweet as..............
Barbarian

Trad climber
The great white north, eh?
Apr 13, 2011 - 12:28pm PT
Bumping this agin for great content.

BTW - Is there anypone else here who wishes we could get Tom Frost to get on SuperTopo and tell us some storiies? He's a great guy, super photographer, and gear designer extaordinaire!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - May 11, 2011 - 02:11pm PT
Tom isn't likely to post here as he really isn't a computer entertained kind of guy. I can easily get questions answered for you as I am currently his biographer and talk with him on the phone several times a week.

If you want to ask him questions about his experiences in person then come to the gathering in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the FA of the Salathe Wall happening in Yosemite Valley On October 22.

Tom makes himself available to everyone at these special events. Since he stopped doing slideshows at the Lodge this is your golden opportunity to get a hit of the man if you desire to do so. He is totally service oriented in his personal philosophy and isn't inclined to leave any gathering before all questions are answered.
Ain't no flatlander

climber
May 11, 2011 - 02:41pm PT
Ask Tom to tell you the story behind his photo of Harlin on the Aiguille Du Fou in '63. Whose idea was it for Harlin to "walk the plank?" Still one of my favorite alpine photos.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - May 11, 2011 - 03:45pm PT
Will do.
cleo

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
May 11, 2011 - 05:31pm PT
Wow!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - May 11, 2011 - 08:02pm PT
Little known fact- Tom Frost engineered the Hummingbird tools and the Footfangs working with Greg and Jeff.
marv

Mountain climber
Bay Area
May 11, 2011 - 08:02pm PT
that's incredibly cool. I've fantasized about climbing the West Face in winter.



guess I'll get to it out after my Cerro Torre-Fitzroy mega-enchainment
Johnny K.

climber
Southern,California
May 12, 2011 - 06:37pm PT
Such crisp history,delightful to read!Thanks!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - May 13, 2011 - 11:37am PT
How cool must it have been for Jeff's father, Ralph, to get to see his son climb and lead so brilliantly! This was a family affair. Once Tom figured out that the 5K that he was going to make on the expedition was enough to cover his family's expenses, he invited them along and encouraged the rest of the expedition to do the same. The atmosphere which resulted was unique for an expedition and made the experience even richer for the participants.
philo

Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
May 13, 2011 - 12:56pm PT
This amazing thread is thoroughly Groovy.
I will return to this many times.
There are no shameful bumps of this thread.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
May 13, 2011 - 01:00pm PT
Dear lord, save us from wow really?
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
May 13, 2011 - 01:18pm PT
The family atmosphere added so much; really it became the defining tone of basecamp and beyond. This is the only trip I've been on that had the classic Himalayan expedition form, but it felt entirely different from all the accounts you read where the expedition falls victim to warring factions and raw ambition.

We had none of that, laughed a lot instead. Everybody felt competent within themselves and trusted one another, and there wasn't much question that we could do the climb. The bigger goal was making a film anyway, and that felt very doable too. The weather was basically perfect and the climbing was classic alpine, up to 5.8 on good granite, patches of 50-degree water ice mixed in among bomber steirofoam snow climbing in a breathtaking setting.

We got up every day and went climbing in inspiring conditions. At the end of a month we had put 10 people on top -- all but one of those who wanted to -- we had the makings of a good film in the bag, we were all still friends and there had never been so much as a raised voice the whole trip.

Ralph Lowe was amazing. He was under severe warning about a heart attack and had gotten reluctant permission from his doctor to go no higher than basecamp at 15,000 feet. Yet one day he wandered into Camp I at 19,000 feet. After hearing Jeff Lowe's stories of being taken to climb the Grand as a young boy, it came full circle to meet his Dad who had made that happen.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - May 17, 2011 - 09:44pm PT
Thanks for weighing in Doug!

Tom has remarked several times to me about how good you are with kids and how much easier that made it for Marna and Ryan to settle in and have a memorable time in Base Camp.

The Sherpas put major emphasis on family so they must have really been grooving on the scene when they could relate so easily to what this particular expedition was about. Tom's account in the AAJ talks about the Sherpas ducking out to check in down in their own villages making their work that much smoother at home.

Dreamy expedition for everyone climbing the neighborhood mountain!

Had the film assignment been less sports and more culturally oriented the whole experience could have been captured to yield an astounding documentary. Hard to not see the missed opportunity on this one!
yo

climber
a tied-off Tomahawk™
May 17, 2011 - 10:06pm PT
What about this rumor: the regulation-size green army duffle chockfull of Reese's peanut butter cups, Snickers, Hershey bars, Baby Ruths, Jolly Ranchers, who can say what other Western delights?

It was kept under lock and key 24/7 by some weak-willed individual. Could it have been Bossier? Super-agent Rodney Korich? Who can say. There were conniving children afoot, not to mention sly Sherpas.

Doug's recollections are nice but when the duffle dipped toward empty well ahead of schedule, oh, the fabric of the expedition was tested indeed.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - May 17, 2011 - 10:23pm PT
Who is your source for all these important rumors?
tylerbotzon

climber
cayucos ca
May 17, 2011 - 11:26pm PT
I just got back 3 days ago, From an alpine style attempt of this incredible mountain. Early season mega monsoon weather with tons of snow shut down the climbing between camp 1 and camp 3. This is one of the most beautiful climbs I have ever seen! I'm on my way back to alaska to work and save up for round 2! In a trance because of this mountain..
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
May 18, 2011 - 12:23am PT
Sorry to hear you got snowed out, Tyler.

Our experience was radically different: sunbathing naked at Camp II (19,600') pretty much any morning up there. The camp was on an ice shelf fifty feet down off the east side of the ridge. You'd pull your foam pad out of the tent, stretch it across the ice and up the granite for a backrest, look straight off at the sunrise over the Mingbo La at about the same elevation, and roll up some of the local ganja. Then suit up and carry a load and it would be snowing lightly as we came back down the fixed ropes in the afternoon.




I didn't touch that green duffel, I swear...
Majid_S

Mountain climber
Bay Area , California
May 18, 2011 - 02:45am PT
I think I had the best view off my hotel room from Loboche advance camp
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rodney korich

Mountain climber
evergreen,co
Jul 11, 2011 - 03:43pm PT
my alabi is that i was over on the Arun river scouting for the second film
reddirt

climber
PNW
Jul 31, 2011 - 01:12pm PT
a bump for Jello
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 28, 2013 - 08:58pm PT
Tell us more rodney.
Scole

Trad climber
Joshua Tree
Dec 29, 2013 - 05:11pm PT
Ama Dablam (Mother's Charm Box) is one of the most beautiful mountains in the world, and one of the best I have climbed. It would have been nice without all the ratty fixed lines and the electron ladder fixed on the 5.8 pitch made it impossible to free, but what an amazing place!

I was impressed with the sacrifice that all of the teams on the mountain made when one of our team members was seriously injured by rockfall. Everyone stopped what they were doing and helped with the carry out. Several teams sacrificed their own summit chances to help an injured foreigner.

Credit: Scole
Michael Hjorth

Trad climber
Copenhagen, Denmark
Dec 29, 2013 - 05:49pm PT
Nice to see this string rolling again! I could add a few shots of semi naked friends sunbathing at altitude on our autumn 88 trip - just to back up Guido's story...!

Until then: Happy New Year!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 31, 2013 - 03:09pm PT
Right back at ya, Michael!

Post and Proost!
Michael Hjorth

Trad climber
Copenhagen, Denmark
Nov 16, 2015 - 02:04pm PT
Hm, seems that I totally forgot my promise to post more photos from our 1988 (post monsoon) Danish Ama Dablam Expedition. The half naked people though are rather boring - and the following only slighty less. Anyway...:

Me hiking towards ABC:


ABC:


Bivouac on the Dablam:


Our doctor Henrik Jessen Hansen on summit. Makalu behind:


The team:


Henrik being carried out due to frostbite. Taweche behind:


A small Swiss group with young photographer Robert Bösch (of Mammut fame, right) swapped their N-Ridge route with our S-Ridge, which they dispatched quickly after our ascent:


Michael
KristofferSzilas

Mountain climber
Denmark
Nov 16, 2015 - 02:57pm PT
Too bad that some people apparently don't respect the mountains any more. Ama Dablam is getting uglier by the year because of tourists who wants to summit at any cost...
This is what that mountain looked like when I did an alpine-style ascent of its SW-ridge in 2009:

Clusterf**k on Ama Dablam.
Clusterf**k on Ama Dablam.
Credit: KristofferSzilas

Alpine climbing on a messed up Ama Dablam, Khumbu Valley.
Alpine climbing on a messed up Ama Dablam, Khumbu Valley.
Credit: KristofferSzilas

The crux of this climb has literally become not to trip over fixed lines!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 8, 2017 - 04:13pm PT
Bump for the love of a pristine peak...
another nickname

Social climber
Yazoo Ms
Apr 14, 2017 - 08:03am PT
one of the better threads.
Are the 1979 jogging shorts equally as obscene as the current situation there?
originalpmac

Mountain climber
Timbers of Fennario
Jan 20, 2018 - 07:31pm PT
Good stuff.
Bale

Mountain climber
UT
Aug 29, 2018 - 10:53am PT
Bump for Jeff and Tom.
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