Dispatches

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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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Our Mount Everest expedition team is now back in Kathmandu after a successful and safe climb of Mount Everest.  All climbers are heading home, after what has been a great experience in the Nepal Himalaya.  On May 19th, our team reached the summit with 7 climbers, 5 guides (1 of whom was working as a high altitude camera man) and 15 Sherpas.  We all made it back down safely without any injuries such as frostbite, etc.  There have been recent fatalities on Everest, and we are thankful that our team was very fortunate and did not suffer any losses.  100% of the climbers who embarked on the summit rotation made it to the top, we are very proud of this achievement.
Our decision to abandon our Lhotse climb after the fatality in the Lhotse couloir was in part ethical and also taking into consideration of the hazardous nature of the existing terrain that likely contributed to that accident, likely no climbers will reach the summit of Lhotse this season.
Thanks for following our climb of Mount Everest!

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Today our climbing team made a safe descent to Camp 2 on Everest and will be arriving into base camp tomorrow. After resting at Camp 4 last night the team enjoyed warm drinks and food after their successful summit. All team members are in good health and look forward to hot showers and thicker air back at base camp. We are expecting the whole team to arrive early afternoon and we will have a celebration in order here at our camp. I will have more pictures up tomorrow and look forward to hearing the team tell of their journey to the top of the world!

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What a day!! Our climbers are now resting at Camp 4 at 7,950m (26,085ft) on Everest after their successful summit bid earlier today. The weather was perfect and the views from what I hear were nothing short of spectacular. Tonight the team will rest on oxygen before descending to Camp 2 tomorrow. Our Lhotse team is waiting and will not make an ascent tonight due to uncertain route conditions. The current plan is to descend together tomorrow and re-evaluate Lhotse conditions before making a decision. All members are in good health and have accomplished what many dream of today.

Will have pictures and videos up as soon as possible! 🙂