June 2016

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Today we climbed up the Abruzzi ridge about 3000 ft to our Camp 1. The terrain was steep, sometimes up to 70 degrees on snow and rock. We are doing well and will climb to camp 2 tomorrow.

-Garrett Madison

Photos below are taken by Stuart Erskine. Enjoy!

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Having supper at K2 Advanced Base Camp.

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Our guides Garrett and Shinji doing some great domestic duties after supper at K2 Advanced Base Camp. 

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Our climbers and guides climbing from Advanced Base Camp to Camp 1 on K2 on July 30, 2016.

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Garrett Madison, our expedition leader is leading our group of climbers that are moving toward Camp 1 on K2 on July 30, 2016. 

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Climbing from K2 Advanced Base Camp to Camp 1 on fixed ropes.

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Climbers arriving around noon to Camp 1 on K2 on June 30, 2016. 

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Tent sites are limited at Camp 1 on K2 and the locations are precarious and prone to serious rock fall and avalanche risk. We use Mountain Hardware Trango 3 tents. We use the Trango 3 tents as a one person tent at Base Camp, two person tents on our trek in and climbing on the mountain, and at camps where space is limited or at high altitude camps, we may have three persons per tent. The Trango 3 is well tested in the world’s harshest environments and is one of the most common tents used on many extreme expeditions.

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Camp 1 on K2 at 20,000 ft ASL on June 30, 2016. Broad Peak, one of the world’s highest fourteen 8,000 metre peaks and the 12th highest mountain in the world is in the background. The Godwin Austin Glacier is in the valley below and flows down into the large Baltoro Glacier.

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Yesterday our climbing team successfully moved up to our K2 ABC (advanced base camp). After a good nights rest we took off this morning and climbed partway up the Abruzzi ridge route and returned to our ABC to sleep. Our plan for tomorrow is to climb up to Camp 1, at about 20,000′. Everyone is doing well and the weather is holding out for us at the moment.

-Garrett Madison

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Climbers moving up the icefall en route to ABC.

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The K2 climbing weather is excellent (sunny and cold) and the forecast is for the same good weather for the next 5-7 days. We are all eager to make as much progress as possible with the good weather. We arrived at K2 base camp a few days ago and have settled into our home for the next 4-6 weeks. Yesterday we did our Puja ceremony with our Sherpa team, asking the mountain for safe passage. Today our Sherpas are establishing our advanced base camp. We have all had hot showers, and our chef (Antony Dubber) is keeping us well fed with his marvelous food creations. The weather looks very favorable the next few days so we are pushing ahead with establishing the climbing route and our higher camps. Everyone is doing well and we look forward to start our first rotation.               -Garrett Madison

Amazing photos below taken by Stuart!

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Our first view of the summit of K2 from Concordia on June 21, 2016.

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Porters, sherpa’s and climbers leave at 5:00 AM from Broad Peak Base Camp to K2 Base Camp on a cool snowy morning.

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After a hard day of trekking, the Pakistani porters huddle in groups around the camp at Broad Peak Base Camp.

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Porters, sherpa’s, and climbers make their way from Concordia to Broad Peak Base Camp on their way into K2 Base Camp. K2 can be seen faintly in the background middle left as it is shrouded by clouds.

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Sunset on Broad Peak from K2 Base Camp. Broad Peak is the twelfth highest mountain in the world at 8,051 meters or 27,414 ft.

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Climbers trekking up the upper Baltoro Glacier early in the morning on their way to climb K2.

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Good morning Pakistani style. While at Base Camp our kitchen staff prepare and deliver Balistan tea to our personal sleeping tents at our get out of tent time. All the climbers and guides have a personal three person tent to themselves at Base Camp. On the trek into Base Camp we share two persons to a tent. While climbing on K2 the camping spaces are very limited and dangerous, so we will be sleeping two to three people to a tent.

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Mules, donkeys, and horses stand waiting at K2 Base Camp for their 130 km return journey to Askole.

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Our first meal in our new dining tent at K2 Base Camp. From left to right: Antony Dubber, UK (our chef); Mark Shuttleworth, UK; Klara Polakova, Chech; Semba Takayasu, Japan; Garret Madison, USA (expedition leader); Peter Juraka, Chech (photographer); Shinji Tamura, Switzerland (climbing guide); Rene Bergsma, Holland; Stuart Erskine, Canada.

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Our Nepalese Sherpas are putting the climbing ropes that are used for fixed lines on K2 into their packs ready for tomorrow. Our six sherpas will leave tomorrow to establish the route to ABC (Advanced Base Camp) on the glacier further around K2 and at the base of the Abruzi Ridge, where we will start to climb K2. Once the route is established the Pakistani high altitude porters will carry all the tents, fuel, supplies and equipment to ABC and the Sherpas will establish the route up the Abruzi Ridge on K2 to camp 1. The climbers will follow in their first rotation.

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The two K2 expeditions have a total of 15 climbers for 2016. In addition to the 300 porters traveling with our climbers into K2 and the 300 plus porters that have delivered loads to Base Camp a week earlier, we also have over 100 mules, donkeys and horses carrying loads as well. This photo is of some of the mules, donkeys, and horses arriving at 8:30 AM June 22, 2016 to K2 Base Camp on a cool snowy morning.

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Four climbers on the Godwin Austin Glacier heading back down to K2 Base Camp on June 26, 2016.

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Our kitchen assistants Mirza Mohammad (left) and Khadim Hussain (right) are waiting to greet our climbers and guides back to K2 Base Camp with a welcomed cold drink.

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K2 Advanced Base Camp for 2016. The Godwin Austin glacier on the left flows down the valley to K2 Base Camp which is out of sight on the right.

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Trekking back down the ice fall of the Godwin Austin Glacier from K2 Advanced Base Camp to K2 Base Camp on June 26, 2016.

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Our climbing team start to navigate their way through the ice fall of the Godwin Austin Glacier on the way to K2 Advanced Base Camp.

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The climbing team arriving at K2 Advanced Base Camp carrying a load of items (extra sleeping bags, sleeping mats, summit suits, extra clothing, etc) to stay at ABC ready for our first seven day rotation, which is in a couple of days to Camp 1, 2 and 3.

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After the ice fall we climb up rocky moraine slopes towards Advanced Base Camp.

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Climbers navigating the ice fall. 

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Our climbing team entering the popcorn section of the ice fall.

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Our climbing team and guides have a rest break about every 60 to 75 minutes, depending on conditions. We hydrate, have a snack and rest our shoulders. K2 is in the background.

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Some of our climbing team and guides trekking up the glacier to ABC, with K2 in the background.

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K2 at 7:00 AM June 26, 2016. Our team is doing an acclimatization climb and moving items from Base Camp to Advanced Base Camp (ABC), which is located where the base of right ridge of K2 meets the glacier.

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Madison Mountaineering K2 2016 USA International Team at K2 Base Camp on June 26, 2016.

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A Nepalese Lama and sherpas perform a puja ceremony for all the climbers, sherpas and high altitude porters that will be climbing K2, to pray for their safe passage and return from K2.

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Siddhi Bahadur Tamang is from Gongar dada, Dolkha, Nepal and has a wife and two girls aged 10 and 3. Siddhi has summited Everest once, Cho oyu once, Manaslu four times, Ama Dablam five times and Baruntse one time. 

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Pemba Oingdi Sherpa is from Khebalung, Sankhuwa, Sabah, Nepal and has a new wife and no kids. Oingdi has summited Everest twice, Lhotse once and Manaslu twice.

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Lakpa Nuru Sherpa is from Solu, Khumbu and has a wife and one boy and one girl ages 12 and 8. Lakpa has summited Everest six times, Manaslu once, Ama Dablam twice, Annapurna once and Dhaulagiri once.

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Pasang Tenjing is from Makalu, Sankhuwa Sabah, Nepal and has a wife and one boy and two girls aged 15, 8 and 7 Pasung has summited Everest three times, Manaslu once, and Dhaulagiri once.

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Aang Phurba Sherpa, (Sirder or Sherpa boss) is from Khebalung, sankhuwa Sabah, Nepal and has a wife and two boys aged 10 and 7. Phurba has summited Everest five times, Manaslu four times, Lhotse once, Makalu once, Cho Oyu once and Ama Dablam twice.

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Our 2016 K2 expedition in the Karakoram is off to a great start with climbers on their 5th day of trekking with one day remaining till arrival at K2 base camp. Below we have a beautiful photo journey that will take you on the adventure. Thank you Stuart for the amazing photos!

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Garrett Madison our expedition leader trekking into K2 Base Camp. We start trekking at 5:00 AM to beat the heat as we anticipated a hot, dusty, and bouldery trail making for a long trekking day. We trekked 20 km’s which took about nine hours due to the rough terrain and heat.

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We have over 100 mules, donkeys, and horses in addition to more than 300 porters traveling with our Madison Mountaineering K2 Expedition to K2 Base Camp.

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This is a view on day three of six days of the trek into K2 Base Camp. Trango towers in the background. Note the string of many pack mules, donkeys, horses, and porters heading up the Baltoro Valley to the right.

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Stuart shading himself from the sunny day two of the trek info K2 Base Camp which is at the head of the Baltoro Valley of the Karakoram Mountain Range.

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This is Payou Camp where we stayed between day two and day three of our trek into K2 Base Camp. A horse getting a new shoe in the foreground and some of the Trango Towers are in the background.

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Madison Mountaineering 2016 K2 Porter Team.

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The porters, sherpas, and support staff are packing up our camp early in the morning to again move the camp 20 km up the Baltoro Glacier on our way to K2 Base Camp.

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Climbers and Nepalese Sherpa’s trek up the Baltoro Glacier early in the morning on their way to K2 Base Camp.

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A small glacial lake on the Baltoro Galcier with the Masherburn mountain range in the background. Masherburn mountain  (almost 8,000 meter mountain) is in the distance but is mostly hidden by clouds.

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This is a view back down the valley where we have trekked from over the last two days. The photo is taken from the beginning of the Baltoro Glacier.

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This is Urdukas Camp where we stayed after the third day of the six day trek into K2 Base Camp. The Baltoro Glacier and the Trango Towers are in the background.

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The sun rises over Urdukas Camp and the Trango Towers of the Baltoro Valley. The camp is being packed up and is ready for the porters and mules to pick up the loads for the climbers that are on their way to climb K2 and Broad Peak.

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Climbers destined to climb K2 or Broad Peak trek on the Baltoro Glacier on their way into their Base Camp. There is a lot of up and down as we head up the glacier. Traveling on the icy and slippery glacier is still a very welcome change to what we experienced further down the Baltoro Valley where it was very dusty, hot and bouldery.

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Stuart, the man behind the camera! 

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Now passing the remote Askole settlement at the foothills of the Karakoram wilderness, our K2 team is in good condition and excited for the adventure ahead. Our Madison Mountaineering K2 International Expedition has five climbers for K2 plus 2 guides, 1 camera man and 1 base camp chef, and we are traveling with and sharing some resources with another K2 Expedition led by Kari Kobler from Switzerland. The two expeditions combined have sent in an advance group of about 300 Pakistani porters and about 100 horses to carry equipment and supplies. In addition to the advanced group of porters and horses, both expeditions combined also have an additional 300 Pakistani porters and more than 100 horses traveling into K2 Base Camp with the climbers. There are just under 100 permits issued for western climbers and supporting Nepalese Sherpa’s for 2016 for the four 8,000 metre peaks in the Karakoram region that include K2, Broad Peak and Gashaburm 1 and 2. There is only about 45 climbing permits for K2 for 2016.

We are excited to be connecting climbers scaling the worlds highest peaks to physicians, researchers, emergency teams, friends and family in near real-time using the first and only fully integrated remote physiological monitoring platform capable of doing so this season on K2. As a part of this ascent, this project represents the collaboration of three leaders in wireless technology and communications – WiCis-Sports, Thuraya, and OCENS, – to stream vital sign and location data within seconds to any internet-enabled device anywhere in the world. With the goal of advancing the availability of scalable, continuous monitoring for those participating in extreme outdoor adventure sports, this project goes well beyond to keep explorers everywhere well within reach.

Thank you Stuart for the photos and update!

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K2 Hotel in Skardu

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Getting ready to leave the K2 hotel

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Driving from Skardu to Askole

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Our team had 15 Toyota Landcruisers full of people and supplies. Trucks went ahead with other supplies. One of the rivers had a fairly good mudslide causing our trucks to get stuck

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One of the many bridges on the drive from Skardu to Askole

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A cooked chapatti

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The drive 130 km from Skardu to Askole took about nine hours

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A Toyota Landcruiser overheated and needed water after each steam

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Drive in from Skardu to Askole was very narrow and steep in many parts

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The trek in to K2

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Preparing dough for chapattis

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Cooking chapatti

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All of our members for the 2016 K2 climbing expedition have arrived and our gear is sorted, we are excited to begin the first part of our journey very soon, the trek to base camp!  We enjoyed a nice day in Islamabad at the lovely Serena hotel, had a traditional Pakistani dinner, and then flew to Skardu where we are currently awaiting final clearance from the Army to proceed by jeep on our route to Askole, where the trek to base camp begins!  Our hotel is just above the Indus river, during the day it is quite hot but in the afternoon it begins to cool off and is very pleasant.

Stuart Erskine will be taking many of the beautiful photos you will see on this expedition 🙂

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Pictured in the photo left to right (Stuart, Peter, Shinji, Mark, Klara, Rene, Semba, Garrett, Ken, Antony)

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2016 K2 Team

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Garrett buying medicine at a pharmacy in Skardu for the expedition

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Garrett and team chef Antony buying fruit at a local market  in Skardu

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“I am happy to report we (Jared and Andrew) successfully summited Iliniza Norte this afternoon!  Snow and ice made the ascent and descent rather technical as well as frigid temperatures and strong winds (Jose estimated gusts to near 70 mph). It was a fantastic climb to end the trip and Jose took excellent care of us along the way. I can’t say enough good things about him! We were lucky to have him!
Looking back, sometimes the better climbs aren’t the highest, they are the ones that present the more challenging conditions and technical aspects of mountaineering.  Despite being sick for Antisana, weathered off of Cayambe, and switching things up to give up Chimborazo for Iliniza Norte (technically an acclimatization peak), today’s climb made the trip worth it!” – Jared
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Beautiful photos by expedition climber’s  Jared and Andrew!
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Our climbing team is having a cloudy and rainy week across Ecuador so far and we all hope that conditions will get better shortly. Starting in Guachala earlier this week the team moved up towards the hut on Cayambe. Despite a smooth start to our team’s summit attempt last night on Cayambe, the weather very quickly turned shortly after roping up and starting up the glacier. Two hours into the climb up the glaciated slopes of Cayambe the clouds appeared out of nowhere and proceeded to dump wet snow on our team.  Not long after, the sky was filled with lightning and thunder.  At this point our team quickly descended back to the hut. The weather turned on our climbers when they reached around 5,000 meters.  It dumped snow most of the night causing Jared and Andrew to be a bit delayed on the departure trying to wait for the hazardous road conditions to improve. Our team is now assessing options for Chimborazo given the weather and our maximum acclimatization height to date.

Mother Nature always gets the final say.

 

Thank-you Jared for the update and pictures!

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View from the Cayambe Hut
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Snowing hard at the Cayambe Hut!
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Our climbing team in Ecuador continued their acclimatization climbs outside of Quito with a successful summit of Rucu Pinchincha this afternoon. Jared and Andrew were able to beat the change in weather and are now settled in Papallacta. Our team had just started to descend in the cable car when it started to rain. Jared reports that Cayambe was clear this morning before getting clouded in, and Antisana and Cotopaxi had lenticular clouds over them. Currently low clouds are reported in the surrounding hills while raining on and off at Papallacta.

Yesterday Jared and Andrew had an easy day at Papallacta. Completing a short hike in the park up to one of the lakes in the morning.  Our team is healthy and doing well. Onward!

Thank you Jared for the awesome pics!!

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Today our Ecuador climbing team successfully summited Pasochoa (13,860ft) outside of Quito, Ecuador.  Jared and Andrew got caught in a unexpected afternoon hail storm on the summit which made for a bit of fun for the descent.  It poured and hailed on us on the way down which made for a wet ride home to our hotel in Quito.  The team is in good spirits and is enjoying the adventure!

It is currently raining with thunder and lightning in Quito.  Jared and Andrew are back at the hotel, sorting through some gear for tomorrow’s climb of Rucu Pinchincha. To view our Ecuador team’s upcoming climbing itinerary click here.

So far, so good!  Team is one for one in the summit department!

Pictures provided by Jared. Enjoy! 🙂

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