Author: garrett_madison

Yesterday our Climb for Conservation Kilimanjaro team met in Moshe and is making final preparations for our trek up Africa’s highest peak, Kilimanjaro 19,340′.  This climb is a fundraiser for the non profit Climb for Conservation, so we made a trip to the Rhino sanctuary just a couple of hours away to observe a few Rhinos and other animals in their native habitat.  After our day trip to see the Rhinos we returned to our hotel and completed a gear check and then had a team dinner.  

The Madison Mountaineering Mont Blanc team summitted August 18th with 100% success! All 11 clients & 5 guides made the top with clear conditions and only a little wind. We climbed from the Cosmiques hut near the Aguille du Mide top station, and over Mont Blanc du Tacul and then Mont Maudit before reaching the summit of Mont Blanc, known as the ‘traverse’ or ‘triple summits’ route. We descended the Gouter route, some of us staying in the Gouter hut and some staying in the Tete Rousse hut, then made our way back to Chamonix, for a celebration lunch! We are very happy with our success, great weather and climbing conditions we had here in France on the ‘Mont Blanc’!  Thanks so much to our amazing climbers, as well as our fantastic guide team for making this climb a great one!

The last few days we have been climbing in the French Alps around the small town of Chamonix.  We stayed at the newly remodeled Albert Premier hut at 8,900′ and then summitted the Tete Blanch yesterday which involved some climbing on steep glaciated slopes as well as a few technical moves on rock at the top.  It was a fun ‘mixed’ climb to prepare us for the upcoming climb. The team is excited for our next challenge, Mont Blanc, at 15,773′!

On July 12th we were blessed with near perfect weather and climbing conditions when we reached Mount Elbrus North Summit in Russia, the highest peak in all of Europe at 18,506′, and one of the ‘seven summits’ on Earth.  David, Matthew, and myself began our climb from our high camp at 11 PM on July 11th, as the elevation gain from high camp to the summit of Mount Elbrus is 6,200′, a big summit day!  With a slight breeze we made our way up the glaciated slopes of Mount Elbrus in the dark using our headlamps, up to Lenz Rocks at 15,000′, then onward up the glacier to the saddle which is in between the East and West (highest) summits of Mount Elbrus.  We continued on up the West summit to the highest point in all of Europe at 9:30 AM, had unobstructed views as far as the eye can see, it was truly a magnificent day.  We then descended back down and reached our high camp in the early afternoon.  The following day we descended back down to base camp where we had a nice dinner and shower and slept in our comfortable cabin.  Yesterday we drove from the base camp on Mount Elbrus back to the town of Pyatigorsk and had a celebration dinner, now we are heading to St. Petersburg for some sightseeing and then home.  It has been a wonderful trip!

Note: This was a ‘North Side’ climb of Mount Elbrus, whereas our regular and other recent programs on are on the ‘South Side’ of Mount Elbrus.  Madison Mountaineering has led successful expeditions on both sides of Mount Elbrus, and as a boutique mountaineering guide service we strive to develop customer expeditions for intrepid climbers!

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Photos:

Garrett and Matthew gazing at Mount Elbrus from the hotel in Pyatigorsk

Mount Elbrus North Summit

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Summit selfie at the top of Mount Elbrus

Mount Elbrus North Summit

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Garrett and our driver Yuri enjoying dinner in base camp

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Matthew and David on the approach to high camp

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Matthew and David on the summit of Mount Elbrus

Mount Elbrus North Summit

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Watching the sun rise from up high on the glaciated slopes of Mount Elbrus

Mount Elbrus North Summit

 

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David and Matthew descending from high camp after a successful summit of Mount Elbrus!

Mount Elbrus North Summit

Yesterday we reached the Mount Elbrus summit at 6:45 AM, the highest mountain in all of Europe.  We had fantastic conditions, very calm winds and almost no clouds in the sky, allowing us to see for miles around!

We began our summit push in the dark using our headlamps at 2:45 AM and passed a few teams as we made our way up the snow covered glaciers, eventually reaching the saddle between the east and west peak around 5:30 AM.  The sunrise was spectacular!  Then we continued up to the west peak (highest) and to the summit.  We had it all to ourselves for about 30 minutes, enjoying the 360 degree views of the Caucasus mountains, then another climbing team reached the top and we took a few photos together.  Accompanying the climbers was a wolf dog, who was very friendly!  On our way down we used our skis / snowboard, a fun way to quickly descend part of the peak.  We descended back to our hut and now have reached the village of Terskol, and are planning a few fun activities here today.  Tomorrow we will head back to Moscow!

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Mount Elbrus summit

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Madison Mountaineering Everest 2017 Recap, “The Leader” on Everest

Success / Safety:

All of our climbers and Sherpas are off the mountain and now and preparing to head home! We have had a fantastically successful expedition, with all 8 of our clients reaching the summit of Everest, along with 4 American guides, and 15 Sherpas. We also had several of our climbers complete the Everest & Lhotse “peak to peak” combination, where they climbed Mount Lhotse (4th highest mountain) the day after reaching the summit of Mount Everest. This amazing and unmatched level of success among all the teams on Mount Everest is secondary to our number one priority, that all members (clients, guides, & Sherpas) made it safely off the peak.

Rope Fixing to the Summit:

Our team took the lead in partnership with the British – Nepal Gurkha team in fixing the ropes to the summit of Mount Everest on May 15th. This was not part of our original plan, as the rope-fixing project was taken upon by several other teams at the start of the season. Unfortunately, after several mishaps, the lead team had to abandon the rope-fixing project along with their partners. Without any clear consensus on how or when the lines would be put in to the summit, our team stepped up to finish the job. This “mission critical” project was necessary so that teams could begin their summit attempts on Mount Everest, with teams reaching the summit the following day on May 16th and continuing to reach the summit today. We are glad that our team had the capability and prowess to organize and execute such an important task, when no other teams on the mountain could summon such an effort, at such a critical stage in the climbing season.

Rescues:

Our team was at the South Col when several climbers who had pushed themselves very hard on summit day returned and needed critical medical attention. Our guides came to assist with medicine (dexamethasone, etc) and supplemental oxygen. However, what stands out the most is that one of our veteran guides, Brent Bishop, along with our Sherpas, rescued the Slovak Climber from the Balcony (27,500’), lowering him all the way down to the South Col high camp. Our Sherpas gave up their oxygen for him to use on the descent. This heroic effort by Brent and our Sherpas involved abandoning their own summit attempt, just hours away from the top, and spending the day giving their all in an effort to save a life.

We feel very fortunate that our expedition was a stunning success. We attribute this to our careful team selection and training, our top notch Everest guides and leadership, and of course our incredible Sherpa team who we invest heavily in year after year.

Photo: At the top of Mount Everest on May 23rd, 2017

Everest 2017 Recap

Our Sherpa team in base camp

Everest 2017 Recap

Descending Mount Everest with a little wind on our summit day!

Everest 2017 Recap

Lhotse climbers Sid Pattison and Ingvild Settemsdal near the summit of Lhotse with Everest behind

Everest 2017 Recap

The South Col high camp on Everest with Lhotse behind

Everest 2017 Recap

Guide Billy Nugent taking a pause on the descent from Everest

Everest 2017 Recap

View from the top!!

Everest 2017 Recap

Summit ridge of Mount Everest all to ourselves May 23rd, 2017

Everest 2017 Recap

We are now going to relax and enjoy the post summit euphoria before returning to our friends, families, and loved ones, as well as our busy lives back home! Thanks for following along!

Garrett Madison

Today our team trekked from the village of Lobuche to Gorak Shep, then after lunch we climbed Kala Pattar, about 18,600′!  We had great views of Everest Base Camp, and the surrounding peaks of Mount Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Pumori, Ama Dablam, and many others.  Now all members are in the lodge in Gorak Shep and resting.  We very much look forward to arriving in our base camp tomorrow!  Everyone is doing well and enjoying the beautiful Khumbu valley.Namche

Our climbing team had a wonderful ascent of Haba ‘Snow Mountain’ above the village of Haba in the Yunnan province of China. The climb was only 3 days followed by some sight seeing in the historical city of Lijiang. The summit of Haba is 5,396m or nearly 18,000′ so this was not a small climb by any means!

We hiked from the village of Haba on our first day of the trip through the dense forest and along mountain streams then came to grassy meadows as we approached our base camp. By the afternoon we reached our camp and had a glimpse of the peak.

On summit day we awoke at 3 AM and departed camp around 4 AM for the summit. We climbed up the rocky slopes and gained the glacier just as the sun began to rise, where we roped up and donned crampons. We then climbed the snow and ice slopes  and reached the top at 10:30 AM. We saw only a few other climbers on our ascent, even though it was a holiday weekend in China. At the summit we found the peak marker and savored the moment before heading down to our camp. The next day we hiked down through the lush forest back to the village of Haba, then drove along the scenic ‘Tiger leaping gorge’ back to Lijiang, where we visited the beautiful ‘old town’ that dates back to the 1300’s and enjoyed a traditional Chinese dinner typical of the Yunnan province. It’s been a great adventure with climbers Scott, Florian, Lloyd and Rafael!

To higher places!

Garrett Madison

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To view our climbing team’s exact route to the summit you can view our RainOn mapping platform here!

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Today both the climbing & trekking teams hiked up from Lobuche to village Gorak Shep and had a nice lunch, then trekked up Kala Pattar peak (18,315′) for a spectacular view of Mount Everest! This is one of the most beautiful day climbs as our teams make their way toward Everest Base Camp. We had clear skies and a bit of wind at the top, but they views were most definitely worth it! The climbers & trekkers are all together now at our lodge and will trek to Everest base camp tomorrow. We are all very excited to finally reach Mount Everest base camp!

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After a rest day and acclimatization hike in Dingbuche the team moved further up the Kumbu Valley. We passed through the Everest Climbers Memorial where many large memorials are built. As the team moved onward they are surrounded and guarded on all sides by the tallest mountains in the world it is certainly one of the most stunning and beautiful monument locations on earth. We will spend the night in Lobuche and hopefully move futher up valley in the morning.

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We are enjoying the beautiful views and abundance of hot tea as we make our way toward Everest Base Camp!