The way I've learned to get the most out of my tobaccos is to light, tamp, light, tamp, light, tamp, and then once it's good and lit, occasionally tamp to maintain the cherry and draw tightness.
So when I get to the bottom, it's usually all grey ash.
Starting as a cigar smoker, my instinct was to dump the top ash every so often, but I get the best result by just tamping the ash and everything down as the column burns down.
I'm with you. Also from cigars, and find that dumping ash then tramp/draw at about 1/3 bowl intervals usually gets me to less than 10% dottle with most bowls
I smoke most aros and that sounds about right. English blends and burley I can take to 90% white ash, 10% dottle maybe 60% of the time. I've only been able to smoke to pure white ash acouple times in 28 years of smoking and that was while I was in Alaska (very low humidity).
I’m pretty new to pipe smoking so I’m not sure what the perfect result is, but I usually have mostly ash, and then a really small amount of blackened tobacco. From my understanding that’s just something that happens sometimes. I did see a post on here where a guy bought these little rocks that are supposed to prevent there being any tobacco left over but I haven’t tried them yet so I can’t tell you how well they work.
I’ve noticed it’s hard to be consistent if the tobacco is even slightly too damp. If you are going in on Aros, then it becomes a real struggle. I used to ash the top and it became easier. I’m still a little inconsistent.
Like other folks have said, sure it could be lighting technique, but you might consider how you're packing. ....possibly too dense.
Also the pick tool is good for occasionally lifting the tobacco, extremely gently, from the bottom of the bowl at the intake upwards. Then gently retamp and throw some heat on the cherry.
This could be from pipe design concerning the draft hole... Not sure without knowing what pipe you're smoking. I had an estate pipe like this.