Author: garrett_madison

Our Carstensz Pyramid team reached the summit and has now returned to Bali today, after a helicopter flight early this morning from the base camp.  The weather over the last 48 hours since we got down from the summit has been very stormy, so we were laying low at our base camp until the storm passed and the clouds and rain cleared up for a brief window to let the helicopter fly in.  Most of the kitchen and dining tents in the base camp were destroyed in the wind storm, but our personal tents held up fine throughout the storm, thanks to the great engineering from Mountain Hardwear for our Trango 3 tents!

The climb was an epic day on the tallest peak in Australasia, a rock pyramid jutting out of the surrounding jungle landscape.  We departed before dawn, climbing up the route over varying degrees of steepness on sustained slopes until we reached the summit ridge.  We then traversed the ridge to the famous “abyss” crossing, where we tip toed across a wire cable to the other side.  That wasn’t the crux, as there were a couple more challenging crossings where we literally had to leap across to the other side!  We lucked out with great weather the whole day and reached the top around 9 AM, then began the long series of rappels back down to base camp.  This has truly been an epic adventure!  We are all now on our way home after a wonderful time in Indonesia, climbing one of the world’s “7 summits”!

Once the expedition gets underway, follow our progress on this real-time tracking map.

 
Hello and greetings from Timika, the island of Papua. While on standby for the last couple of days waiting for good weather to fly into the base camp of Carstensz Pyramid, we have made the most of our time here by visiting some nice restaurants and touring the town & surrounding areas.  Our climbing team is very eager to get to the mountain and begin climbing, however, we must wait for good flying conditions.  So we are playing the waiting game, keeping our spirits up, and anticipating with positive hopes for a flight in the next day or two.  As soon as we are able to fly to the base camp we will be poised to make our climb of the famed Carstensz Pyramid rock wall!

Once the expedition gets underway, follow our progress on this real-time tracking map.

Greetings from the town of Timika, on the Island of Papua.  We arrived yesterday here from Bali and went to the immigration office to get our permits.  Then we enjoyed some nice dinner here before checking our equipment and preparing for today’s helicopter flight to Carstensz Pyramid, assuming good weather and flyable conditions.  We will fly about 45 minutes over the jungle to the base camp at about 14,000′, and once there plan to settle into our base camp.  We are very excited to get to the mountain and start climbing!

Our 2017 Carstensz Pyramid expedition team is departing North America tomorrow to head to Bali, and from there to the Island of Papua to begin our climb of this fabled peak.

Carstensz Pyramid, as one of the most exotic climbing objectives in the “7 Summits”, is located in Western Papua and is comprised of limestone which rises abruptly from the surrounding rainforest. The highest point on Australasia, this very remote peak is an engaging challenge both in getting to the base of the climb and also in the ascent itself!  Not many climbers venture to this mysterious and unfrequented mountain, that has glaciers surrounding the rock pyramid that towers above the jungle below.

Our ascent will involve a classic rock climb along with some very intriguing cultural experiences along the way, a journey through unknown landscapes in a remote part of the world, and of course a notable achievement in reaching the top of this exotic peak.  This uncommon adventure will surely challenge us as climbers and explorers, but the rewards for venturing into this obscure region will surely be well worth the arduous journey!  Myself, along with 2 good climbing friends will be arriving in Bali on October 11th, and then we hope to reach the island of Papua on October 13th or 14th, from there the real adventure begins!

Once the expedition gets underway, follow our progress on this real-time tracking map.

 

-Garrett Madison

Carstensz Pyramid expedition team

It’s autumn season now and we are excited to announce our plans to attempt a magnificent unclimbed peak in the northern region of Nepal. This approximately 22,000+’ peak is unclimbed, so we will be making the first attempt to climb to the summit.  People often ask, how did you put together such an expedition?  Without having records of others to utilize, we have done careful and lengthy research to identify this peak, and planned how we can best make a safe and successful attempt to reach the top.  We have sourced the necessary equipment & supplies, planned a trekking route to access the base of the mountain, and scouted possible routes to the summit (with Google Earth).  We also have obtained permission from the Ministry of Tourism in Nepal to climb this peak, and organized the logistics of trekking to the base with all of our team and supplies.  All of the effort required to put together such an expedition is a lot more complicated and time consuming than a more ‘standard’ peak, such as Everest, or the “7 Summits“, where vast amounts of information exist to understand how one would plan such endeavors, as well as detailed information regarding the route.  In the spirit of exploration and discovering new frontiers, we have taken upon ourselves the challenge of venturing into the unknown!  We have prepared ourselves the best we can in our physical fitness, technical climbing, and understanding of what may lay ahead, but ultimately we don’t know what we will find up high on this mountain, we do know that we will be challenged!

Why, you may ask, have we not publicly identified the name of this peak?  Well, the answer is that we are aware of other climbers currently on the hunt for unclimbed peaks in Nepal, who want very much to claim a ‘first ascent’ of a virgin peak, so we have deliberately kept the name a secret.   Last year, I had shared detailed information regarding our 2016 Unclimbed Peak project in the Nepal Gokyo region, and when we had to delay our expedition, one of the individuals I had shared the specifics with decided to go about climbing it on her own, and was successful.  I’m happy for her that she succeeded in accomplishing her goal and did so safely.  Obviously, every individual has the right to pursue their own path in life and in climbing, however, I was a bit disappointed that after all of our research, planning, and anticipation, that I had let this peak slip away simply because I assumed that those I shared the information with in confidence would not use it to their advantage to climb the peak before we did.

Our 2017 ‘first ascent’ expedition team is comprised of 6 very experienced mountaineers led by Sid Pattison and myself, along with a few of our most trusted climbing Sherpas from Nepal.  All of our team has extensive experience climbing in the Himalayas and at high altitude, most have already reached the top of Everest.  We plan to begin trekking from the small village of Lukla in late October and reach our base camp by the end of the month, where we then will begin making forays up onto the steep ridglines of this high altitude alpine objective.  We will be tracking our route from the beginning of the trek to the summit with GPS using a Garmin InReach, so you can follow our daily progress here on our dispatch page.  Below is a Google Earth image of the peak.

For information regarding our first ascent expedition on this unclimbed peak, please contact our office.

To ‘Higher Places’! -Garrett Madison

 

The Madison Mountaineering Climb for Conservation team reached the top of Kilimanjaro yesterday with 100% success, all 12 members stood on the summit with amazing views over Tanzania!  Not only did we climb the highest mountain in Africa, we climbed for conservation to raise awareness and funds for the critically endangered Rhinos of Tanzania.  The team raised close to $10,000 with the non-profit Climb for Conservation to be donated to the Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary.  Before the climb, the team spent a day visiting the Sanctuary.  We look forward to more climbs for conservation in the future!

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Conservation Kilimanjaro summits

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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.

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Conservation Kilimanjaro

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Conservation Kilimanjaro

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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!

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Mont Blanc summit success

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Mont Blanc summit success

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Mont Blanc summit success

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 Mont Blanc summit success

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′!

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French Alps

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French Alps

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French Alps

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