October 2014


We just received a sat phone call from the spectacular summit of Ama Dablam (6812m/22,349ft.). Garrett and team sounded fantastic and are enjoying a picture perfect summit day. A transcript of the call is provided below. Congratulations team!

Transcript:

This is Garrett Madison for the Madison Mountaineering Ama Dablam expedition and we are calling from the summit of Ama Dablam! It is October 30th, 8:30am Nepal time. A beautiful day here, not a cloud in the sky, hardly a breeze here on the summit and just a glorious day. We are really excited to be up here, fantastic climb, and we are looking forward to getting back down and being back in base camp shortly. We are really luck to be up here, wonderful climb, and we are going to take our time on the descent. All is well!

Ama Dablam Camp 2

After ascending to Ama Dablam Camp 1 yesterday from base camp, earlier today Garrett and team climbed on and established Camp 2 near 6000m (19,685ft.). Ama Dablam Camp 2 is stunningly located on the cap of a rock pillar with narrowly room for just a few tents.

Weather continues to be favorable. Tomorrow the team will either press on for a summit attempt or move up to Camp 2.7 (6280m/20,600ft.). Stay tuned for live tracking!

ama7

After a few days in Ama Dablam base camp we are now ready to begin our summit attempt. We have been reviewing fixed line techniques, rappelling and have sorted our equipment and food for the high camps. The weather forecast looks good, and the recent snowfall has negligible effect on our route as it is generally follows an exposed ridge.

Today we plan to climb to camp 1, then tomorrow ascend up the southwest ridge to camp 2, then summit the following morning. We are well acclimatized and looking forward to the epic climbing along sections such as the Yellow Tower and Mushroom Ridge, as well as the spectacular views along the way. We should be able to see at least 6 of the 8000 meter peaks from the summit!

Follow along with our real-time tracking. We will post another dispatch from Camp 1 tomorrow.

ama8

This morning we flew by helicopter (a brand new AS350 B3e) from the lower Makalu base camp to Ama Dablam base camp, it was a spectacular ride! We flew right by Baruntse, and many other high peaks before swooping down into Ama Dablam base camp. As you likely know, we called off our Makalu climb due to deep snow and avalanche conditions left by the recent storm, all other teams (British & Slovenian) have also abandoned the mountain without a summit. It was tough to walk away empty handed, but definitely the right call given the existing hazards. We will be back!

After spending several weeks at the upper Makalu base camp (5650m / 18,700 ft.) and higher camps we are well acclimatized and feel great at Ama Dablam base camp which is 4600m (15,200 ft.). It’s a welcome transition from a very remote camp to a very busy one, and we have already met many friends here this morning that we have shared other peaks with recently. Our cook from the recent K2 expedition welcomed us with French Toast and fried eggs, bringing back good memories of climbing in Pakistan last July. We will likely rest a day or two, then push up the route on Ama Dablam.

The weather forecast is good, with a bit of snow this weekend, hopefully not enough to shut down the route as happened last year at this time. All is well here at Ama Dablam base camp and we are excited to climb!

Makalu

We have just returned to base camp after pushing as high as possible on Makalu.

Above our Camp 2 at 22,500′ we found deep snow left by the recent storm that caused the avalanches and fatalities on nearby peaks in the Annapurna region. We felt it unreasonable to press on in such difficult / dangerous conditions, so have called off our climb. Currently we are packing up our base camp and preparing to head out in a few days.

We have had a great time attempting the world’s 5th highest mountain, and have made some great friends along the way.

Thanks for following!

Here we go! The summit push is on! We spoke with Garrett a little while ago from Makalu base camp. According the tracking map, the team has just left base camp and is heading up to Camp 1 (6150m / 20,177ft.). Weather and conditions pending, the rough target for summit day is currently October 24th. Follow along with the team by visiting this dispatch page and monitor the real-time RainOn tracking.

More details as we get them.

Greetings from Makalu base camp!

The forecasted storm came and deposited about 30 centimeters of new snow in our base camp.

Currently the winds are still very high, we hope they will drop in a few days. We are waiting patiently here in base camp, enjoying the clear blue sky and sunshine during the day, and if the weather cooperates soon we will make our summit push.

Everything is good here, as we have plenty of nice food, books, movies and some very friendly Slovenian climbers to share the time with.

We will check in again soon,
Garrett Madison

Makalu

After a few nights up high on Makalu at elevations of approximately 21,000′ we are now back in base camp relaxing and enjoying the comforts of our camp. We accomplished our goal of stocking camps with gear and food, as well as acclimatizing to the higher altitudes.

We experienced perfect weather thus far, but we hear from our forecasting service that the weather is about to change. Apparently a storm is brewing in the bay of Bengal, and is moving north towards us, reaching our area on October 14th. We could have up to 12 inches of snow per day during this time. We are crossing our fingers and hoping a strong wind will appear and blow this low pressure system off track before it reaches us. The benefit of this storm is that it may push the jet stream (high winds), currently over the summit preventing a summit bid, north away from the mountain so that we have calm conditions for an extended period.

Our plan will be to rest a few days in base camp and see what happens…

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Makalu Camp 2

After moving base camp 5.5 miles and 3,100 vertical feet up the Barun glacier and then climbing up to Camp 1 at 20,100 ft. on the Makalu standard North West route, today the team established Camp 2 at 21,210 ft. Garrett called in the following dispatch via satellite phone.

Transcript:
Hi, this is Garrett Madison calling in for the Madison Mountaineering Makalu expedition. Today is Tuesday October 7th. It’s 6:30pm and we are tucked in up at our Camp 2 on Makalu. Beautiful day climbing up from Camp 1 to Camp 2! We had clear skies. We could see for miles and miles in every direction and we are the only ones up here right now. Here’s a few down at Camp 1. But great to be up here on the mountain having a fantastic time. We are going to climb up towards Camp 3 tomorrow, probably come back down to this camp and then head down the following day. Everything’s going great and we’ll check in soon.

Makalu Base Camp

We had a great time the last few days up at our advanced base camp on the South East Ridge. Great views of the surrounding peaks and fun climbing on the ridge line! We are now enjoying a rest day in base camp, with hot showers and great food!

We have decided to change our climbing route to the Northwest side of the mountain or what is the normal route via the Makalu La. This means we will move our base camp tomorrow up the Barun Glacier about 2500′ higher than our current camp, to approximately 18,500′ (5639m). We are looking forward to exploring this side of the mountain as we have not yet seen it from this angle. It’s great that our climbing permit allows us to climb on both sides.

We are doing well, the days are typically sunny and clear in the morning with clouds and some snow in the afternoon / evening.

We will check in again soon!
Garrett Madison