It was a terrible last night, a bad headache kept me awake almost all the night. I was suffering from the nagging headache and back of my head was throbbing with pain. Was that AMS? This simply was adding to my fearful thoughts and making me restless. On the bed, next to me was sleeping Kamal, my co-trekker. He was snoring occasionally and I was becoming envious of him. In the room next to us, our guide Bale Tamang was sleeping but I hesitated to wake him up at that mid of night. I was carrying a first aid kit with all essential medicines. I popped in an Ibrufen tablet, an anti-inflammatory drug that is used for treating pain, fever and inflammation. It took time for the modest relief I got after having the medicine and at last I could sleep may be for an hour or two in the early morning.
We had a plan to go to Dingboche today but I was afraid of gaining further altitude and sleep at higher altitude than this present place. I expressed my intension to my mate and the guide for staying another night at Pangboche. They agreed to spend one more night there for allowing my conditions to improve. For better acclimatization, we all then decided to explore Ama Dablam Base Camp which is about 4 km from Pangboche and after breakfast, we set off on the trail to Ama Dablam Base Camp.
During this time of the year, October – November, Ama Dablam Base Camp is a site to behold. It’s the main climbing season of Mt Ama Dablam; one can see colourful tents at its base and encounter with the climbers, see them closely and their preparation for the climb.
Just after leaving the lower Pangboche village, we descended vertically about 100m into a stream and crossed that over a small footbridge. The trail from here is pretty steep and not a properly laid down one. We had to be very slow as the hike was very difficult for its steepness and the thin air. However, once we climbed the initial steepest part of about little less than a kilometer, we had no problem walking on a less difficult but rocky trail. The trail to Ama Dablam Base Camp is just like most other mountain trails and not like well laid down EBC trail.
On our last leg to the Mt Ama Dablam Base Camp I met her again, the beautiful girl was in red outfits over a black trekking pant. Yesterday, I met her at Tengboche Monastery when we talked about the magnificent landscape of EBC trek and our plan to visit the places on the trail. She had always the plan to see Ama Dablam Base camp but I had not anything as such. We shared this too yesterday in our brief conversations. So she was surprised to find me climbing there. “Hey, you said you won’t come here!” she asked with a broad smile on her face. “Good to see you again” I replied with a smile back. But I couldn’t tell her the actual reason for my one extra day stay at Pangboche and now visiting the Ama Dablam Base Camp. I replied, “I changed my mind. By the way how was it?” She maintained that broad smile on her face and replied, “It’s wonderful, go and enjoy it.” How wonderful she was looking with that broad smile on her face, perhaps she knows that and keeps it always while interacting even with a stranger. I wished her good luck for the successful expedition to Everest Base Camp and heard back the same from her. As she moved ahead on her trail back, I stepped forward to resume my journey to complete the last stretch of this trail to Ama Dablam Base camp. Walking on the rocky trail and climbing of some 4000m+ mountains huffing and puffing, we made it to the base camp (4600m). The Base Camp is a wonderful site to behold. Why not? Colourful tents were spread all over the base of such a beautiful mountain, Ama Dablam, they simply were adding to the beautiful panorama. I have never seen any other mountain as beautiful as Mt Ama Dablam.
The literal meaning of Ama Dablam is Mother’s Necklace. Ama means mother and Dablam is a pendent worn by Sherpa women. As I soaked into the beauties of Ama Dablam, I could only figure out a mother extending her both hands for protecting her child. Her hanging glacier looked to me in the shape of a pendant and I could find the reason for naming this beautiful mountain as Ama Dablam.
Our mission for the day was accomplished. On my way back, I started feeling much better, a sense of accomplishment and seeing the most beautiful mountain in the Everest region were boosting my spirit. I felt, I was now prepared to take the journey on to the Everest Base Camp.
You can read the day to day account of my Everest Base Camp Trek here-