Author: kurt_hunter

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The Everest climbing team is safely tucked in for the night at the South Col (Camp 4)! Listen to Garrett’s sat phone audio dispatch:

Hey, this is Garrett Madison calling in from the Everest climbing team. Today is Tuesday, May 17th at 9:30PM and we are tucked in here at the South Col. We moved up from Camp 3 to Camp 4 today. The weather forecast did not play out the way it was supposed to. It was supposed to be a nice, sunny day. But uh, it turned into a very blustery day with high winds and some precipitation in the form of snow coming down. Our plan is to rest tomorrow. Hopefully the weather improves and we can make a summit attempt on the evening of the 18th and hopefully get up to the top the morning of the 19th. So, everyone is doing well. We are all tucked in here at the South Col trying to stay warm and enjoying being here at 26,000 feet. All is well and we’ll check in again soon. Thanks!

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Garrett called in via sat phone from Everest Camp 3 on the Lhoste face (7230m/23,720ft) to report:

Hey this is Garrett calling in for the Everest team. Today is May 16th, it’s 5:00PM and we are up at Camp 3! Everyone’s doing great and we are tucked in here getting ready to have dinner and go to bed. Tomorrow we are going to head up to Camp 4 on the South Col. We are on schedule for a summit of May 18th. The weather is looking good. And hopefully Lhotse May 19th! So we are just keeping an eye on the weather and moving up the mountain slowly here. Everyone is doing well and we’ll check in soon.

In the final expedition audio dispatch, today Garrett reports that the team had a great day descending the 1,600 vertical meters from high camp. They are now safely down to Plaza de Mulas Base Camp (4367m / 14,327ft) and revelling in their 100% summit success! Doubly great day as the team is also celebrating team member Ginna Kelly’s birthday. Happy birthday Ginna from all of us at Madison Mountaineering! Tomorrow they will trek out to the Los Horcones trail head and continue the celebration with a nice team dinner and night in Los Penitentes before heading back to Mendoza on Monday.

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Audio dispatch by Garrett Madison:

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Beautiful photos taken Wenny Sanchez:

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100 % summit on Aconcagua!! Congratulations to the entire Madison Mountaineering climbing team as they made it to the summit of the highest point of the South American continent just minutes ago. Reaching an elevation of 6962 meters /22,841 Ft with blue skies gave the team a perfect break in the weather for this summit push. Woot!!! “Couldn’t ask for a better summit day!” Listen to expedition leader Garrett Madison‘s phone call from the summit:

Following this successful summit on Aconcagua, our team will descend from our Camp 3 to Plaza de Mulas base camp at(13,800′). After a days rest our team will then make the return trek to Horcones trail head, and transfer to the Ayelen hotel in Penitentes. Here the team will have a much deserved shower and celebration dinner!! Congratulations to all of our climbers and we look forward to seeing the beautiful pictures to come.

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6962 meters /22,841 Ft on the Suunto! Go Team!!

6962 meters/22,841 Ft

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Team members celebrating at the summit of Aconcagua!

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The Aconcagua team is preparing for their summit bid and have moved to the high camp, Camp 3 at 19,600 ft. (5974m)! Everyone is doing great and hoping for nice weather for the summit climb. The team is ready for the long day tomorrow required to reach the top of the highest point in the Western and Southern Hemispheres and then return back to high camp.

On summit day our team will climb to Independencia refuge, then traverse the western slope, ascend the Canaleta, and reach the summit ridge leading to the highest point in the Americas. Descending into the Horcones valley and exit out of the western side of Aconcagua, nearly circumnavigating the entire peak!

Onward and upward!

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Beautiful photos taken by Aconcagua climber Linda Wohlegemuth!

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Team photo while climbing Aconcagua!

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Team members and tentmates Audrey and Linda call into to report the team is in good health for summit, setting several personal altitude records, and have completed the carry to the high camp, Camp 3 (5989m / 19,650ft). They were also able to sneak in several product placements in their dispatch! 🙂 After a nice dinner and night at Camp 2, the plan is to complete the move to Camp 3 tomorrow and plan to make the summit attempt on Friday, January 22. The team members miss their family members and send their love. To higher places!!

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Bernd on the way to Camp 3:

Bernd on the way to Camp 3

Today Peter, from the Aconcagua climbing team, provides a audio dispatch from Camp 2 as the team rests at an elevation of (5492m/18,020ft) and outlines their summit day plan. We also get a nice introduction to all of the other team members. Weather is continuing to be great, the team is feeling good and looking forward to the summit attempt in a few days.

Check out team member Ginna Kelly’s awesome cause – http://climbforconservation.org/

The audio dispatch is in two parts:

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2)

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Walt and Ginna relaxing at camp (Photo by: Bernd):

Walt and Ginna (photo by Bernd)

Walt and Ginna relaxing in base camp

Today Garrett Madison checked in via satellite phone to report that under great weather conditions the team made a successful carry of gear and supplies up to Camp 2 (5492m / 18,020ft) on the north flank of Aconcagua as they prepare to move to Camp 2 tomorrow. This “double carry” strategy (that is, carrying a load of gear up to the next camp and dropping it off, then descending back back down to sleep at the lower camp, then moving up the following day) lightens the load when advancing up the mountain and adds to the acclimatization process following the ‘climb high / sleep low’ approach.

Garrett reports that the team is healthy, strong, and in excellent spirits and are all hoping for continued great weather!
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Audio dispatch from expedition leader Garrett Madison:

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Team dinner:

Team Pre-Summit Huddle

For our final day of Safari we woke in the fog and mist all along the Ngorongoro crater rim.  The Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge served up one it’s famous breakfast buffets to completely fuel us up for the day in the world’s largest inactive, intact, and unfilled volcanic caldera: the Ngorongoro.

Via our trusty LandCrusiers, we descended the 2,000 feet to the crater floor on the switch-backed road taking us well below the clouds.  In the cool overcast morning, some of the animals took novel approaches to finding a warm place to rest, including a pair of lioness laying right in the middle of the road.  Our photographs were from not more than six feet away – I wisely kept my window rolled up!

Just after this we were delighted to spot the extremely rare Black Rhino at some distance, thereby completing our capture (photographically, of course) of Africa’s Big Five.  What a thrill!!

We once again found our lunch spot occupied by some locals.  In this case, some very active big hippopotamus! No reason to argue with the most dangerous mammal in Africa over location, we found an alternative place to eat.

After lunch we headed up out of the crater and on to the Mount Meru Hotel in Arusha where our group formally concluded the Madison Mountaineering 2015 Kilimanjaro climb and African Safari.

Half the team headed to the airport for flights home while the other half are continuing their vacations with  some time on the beaches of Zanzibar!

Thanks for following our adventure.  This concludes our Kilimanjaro 2015 dispatches.

Why don’t you make plans to join us next year?
   
    

A long view of the rare Black Rhino

    
    
 

There is something quite magical about waking up in a tent on Africa’s Serengeti!  After watching the sun rise with a hot cup of coffee in hand, we enjoyed a full breakfast before loading once again into our LandCruisers to continue our exploration of the Serengeti.

Our animal checklist checklist grew with Crocodile and Hippopotamus sightings.  But the animal of the day was the Lion.  So many Lions!  Most were found resting in the late morning heat under shade of the acacia trees while  very actively keeping an eye on the nearby Zebra.

We did have a chance to see the pre-Lion and post-Lion states of the Cape Buffalo:  alive and dead.  We came across a group of Lion guarding their fresh Buffalo kill.  This caused a minor skirmish between the Lions and a group of Elephants who came to use the watering hole.  Real life Wild Kingdom stuff!

Out of necessity, we had our lunches in the vehicles.  Reason being that our biggest surprise of the day was waiting for us at our picnic site.  Once again located on a bluff overlooking the plain, our picnic area had stone tables and benches shaded by trees.  But hidden within tree branches was our rarest sighting of all:  Leopards!  Three Leopards had taken to the trees for rest and tourist watching.  We were quite lucky to see these amazing cats so up close as they are, by nature, nocturnal and wary of humans.  Best to stay in the car and eat rather than get out of the car and be…

After lunch, we said goodbye to the Serengeti and headed back to the Ngorongoro crater rim for an evening at the spectacular (and I mean it) Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge.  Each of our rooms have a terrace that overlook the amazing crater.  Tomorrow we will venture down into the crater for our final day of safari.  Everyone is hopeful to spot a rare Black Rhino to complete our African Big Five bingo card.