We followed the ridge which led to another rock wall. This one is called the Grey Tower. Again I set up to lead this. I climbed up a bit until I was stopped by an overhang which I couldn’t negotiate. I anchored myself into the rock, whilst staring down a 1000 metres drop and belayed Pat to me. Pat then led out and over the overhang and we reached the ridge above, only to find another tower. This wasn’t so difficult and we found some old fixed line that we used to assist us. We overcame that and were now met by the last challenge. An ice slope stretched away into the sky to our left whilst in front was an impenetrable rock wall. I led this ice gully to the start of the mushroom ridge. To our left was a huge crevasse which we bypassed and then we arrived at the normal camp 3. This camp was occupied with 4 tents. We stopped here for 20minutes, drank some soup and marvelled at what we had achieved and then baulked at the thought of what was to come. We had started this day at 4am. It was now 11am! It was late and we shouldn’t be on this mountain at this late an hour planning to go higher. We did.
We left camp 3 and set off straight up the snow slope behind us. To our left is the huge expanse of the Dablam which is constantly making noises and throwing bits off it. We climbed this slope, it was surprisingly easy going, my head was pounding now though, but I kept going. Pat was about 50 metres ahead of me and I knew I was slowing down. I started to plod on just following Pats footsteps. His path weaved this way and that and now we were moving left across the face. I looked up and Pat has reached some icy flutes leading to a crest. I gained some inner strength and pushed myself hard to reach it. I scrambled over the crest and found Pat lying on his back in the ice. I managed to mumble something and he turned to me grinning and said “well done taffy! You’ve made it.” I attempted to speak but was speechless with exhaustion and emotion so just giggled. One of my dreams came true. We looked around to see another team had ascended and were on the summit already. We took there pictures and vice versa.
The descent was energetic. We spent less than five minutes on the summit at 4.30pm, drank some lukewarm tea and set off for our camp. We reached camp three in 25 minutes by glissading most of the way. I had left one of my ice tools and my rucksack here so I retrieved them and we carried on. As we descended the snow slopes below I dropped my descender so had to switch to an Italian hitch, not so good when your vision is blurry from the exhaustion. The rest of the descent went very smoothly with us reaching our base camp at about midnight. The following day a very jubilant, but very tired pair of mountaineers descended into Thyangboche and settled into a ‘bar’ for a relaxing beer. Ama Dablam was one of my dreams, it came true and although it was very hard physically and mentally the sense of achievement to kneel on the summit and weep was mind blowing. It was the highest and hardest summit I have managed to climb and reach and I am proud for it to have been that one.