Ras Dashen

  • Ras Dashen
  • 4543 m
  • Primary factor 3990 m
  • Ethiopia
  • Location: North 13.23689, East 038.37267 (GPS at the summit)
  • Difficulty: YDS class 3
  • Climbed February 25. 2019.


How to get there:
See the description under Inatye.
Route description:
From Ambiko, first follow the trail up the valley, joining a road after the initial stretch. This road climbs on the left hand side of the main valley, gradually turning more left. leave the road near location N13.2380, E038.3235, elevation about 3480m, and climb this somewhat steeper gully to the top. From here, ascend east following a clear trail, ascend to a shoulder and rejoin the road on the far side. Follow the road (some short-cuts are possible) until you reach the crest at location N13.23163, E038.36007, elevation about 4270 meter.
From here, there are two possibilities. A clear trail turns below the ridge and enters the basin, leading up to the base of the East summit, from where a short (and easy) scramble will get you to the top of Ethiopia. There is also a West summit, this summit is 1-2 meter lower than the East summit. One can get directly to this West summit by turning left at the crest and follow the high ridge all the way to this summit. The two summits are connected by a rocky ridge that may be scrambled, if the difficulties are a bit too much, then bypass on the south side. One should note that the highest summit is hidden behind the ridge (leading to the west summit), when looking from the crest (where one must leave the road).
We left shortly before dawn using our head-torches. When daylight came, somehow Denise and Richard found it important to continue hiking with the lamps on their heads, appearently to save a 2 minute stop? With a large number of subsequent stops I still do not quite get the logic - I guess such small (irrational?) differences in behavior is what makes our world a bit more complex than needed. The sun came up, first shining on Bwahit, the peak we climbed yesterday, now due west.
We made good progress and arrived at the main crest around 0930. The weather was good and we followed the trail around and into the basin, soon having the west top up left and the east summit up on our right. An easy scramble and arrival at the highest point in Ethiopia at 1045.
Everybody being happy for this, our 5th. and most important ultra of the trip. Good views in all directions. Hand level measurements quickly confirmed that the west summit was indeed lower. We stayed around for quite a while, enjoying the good views as well as this very special place, the 2nd. most prominent peak in Africa.
Leaving, we all wanted to scramble across to the west summit. This scramble is easier the lower down on the south side one goes. We all made it across and confirmed again, by looking back (hand level) that the east summit is indeed the highest. From this summit, we all descended back to the road/crest along the broad ridge that makes for a natural and direct route.
The hike back down to the camp (Ambiko) was uneventful. We had some afternoon rain, slightly more than previous days and sufficient to make the soil/clay quite slippery in places. I was back in camp before 1600, receiving a warm welcome from our support people.
The next peak on this trek was Silki.