Chukung and mount Ama Dablam
On the way to Mount Everest, travellers pass a striking peak called Ama Dablam. At 6856 m, its summit is a full 2 km lower than that of Mount Everest. But, as they say, size isn't everything. At the foot of Ama Dablam and just a short distance off the Everest trail is a little village called Chukung. It makes a great base for doing some exploring, some scrambling, and enjoying some of the most spectacular mountain scenery anywhere.
Ama Dablam, from Pangboche.
The awesome south face of Ama Dablam towers over the Pangboche area. Mani stones are stacked beside the spur trail that leads to the main village of Pangboche.
Ama Dablam, closeup.
Near the summit block of Ama Damlam are several clumps of glacier ice that cling precariously to the steep south face. These form the necklace of Ama Dablam, which means "Mother and her necklace".
Ama Dablam, from the summit of Chukung Ri.
A tremendous view of the north and east faces of Ama Dablam. On the left is the Chukung glacier, a mile-high wall of seracs capped by a fluted ice wall. Nara and I ascended the moraine that runs to the base of the ice (center) to get a closer view (see below).
Descending Chukung Ri.
Nara is descending from Chukung Ri on platy, greasy shales, a bit of an anomaly in this area where most rock is heavily metamorphosed. In the background is Lhotse and the Lhotse - Nuptse ridge.
On our approach to the Chukung glacier moraine, we needed to cross this little creek. We walked alongside it a ways, looking for a good place to cross, but everywhere it was just to far to jump across and too deep and fast running to wade. Until we found this bridge, that is, built entirely out of stacked stones. From here, the moraine (right center) was just a stone's throw away.
From the top of the moraine, there was a tremendous view across the Chukung glacier. A fluted icewall caps the glacier above the bergschrund. It was a perfect day; the sky was blue, the air was still, and it was very quiet except for the odd creak and groan from the nearby glaciers.
East face, Ama Dablam.
The east face of Ama Dablam, from the lower slopes of Chukung Ri.