Ecuador.2016.05 Dispatches

“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
Beautiful photos by expedition climber’s  Jared and Andrew!

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!

View from the Cayambe Hut
Snowing hard at the Cayambe Hut!

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!!











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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I am very proud to say that the Madison Mountaineering climbing team on Aconcagua had complete success!  All team members stood on the highest point of the Western & Southern Hemispheres together on January 22nd. Congratulations to the following climbers:

-Audrey Cadwallader

-Linda Wohlegemuth

-Walt Harris

-Ginna Kelly

-Peter Horsman

-Bernd Horsman

-Wenny Sanchez

As many climbers are aware, this season on Aconcagua has been a very tough one with severe storms preventing teams from reaching the summit.  As we approached the mountain on our trek into base camp, we encountered many teams that had not ascended past Camp 1 on the mountain, and were very discouraging.  The look of defeat in their faces and of time spent suffering at high altitude without any summit attempt made us wonder….We pressed onward.  After we reached base camp we received a weather forecast that suggested favorable weather, but only for a short time.  In order to take advantage of this, we accelerated our climbing schedule and put our team in a position to summit on the last day of good weather (January 22nd).  All team members pulled together to push the itinerary forward, with hard work and determination we succeeded in reaching our goal.

The day after we reached the summit the next storm cycle began with high winds and snow preventing any other summit attempts, we reached base camp on this day, and were informed by the park rangers that they were closing the mountain to climbers indefinitely because of landslides. We really lucked out with our weather window, and with a group individual climbers who pulled together as a team to make the summit become a reality for everyone.  Great job team!

The team is doing well and we are currently waiting in Penitentes for the road to open so we can drive to Mendoza. Because of the landslides the road is currently closed in both directions. We expect the roads to be opened shorty. Onward!

-Garrett Madison


A picnic on the approach hike

A picnic on the approach hike.jpg


Aconcagua from Plaza Mulas base camp

Aconcagua from Plaza Mulas base camp.jpg


Aconcagua team on the summit!

Aconcagua team on the summit.jpg


Climbers head up the Canaleta

Climbers head up the Canaleta.jpg


Last rest break before the summit

Last rest break before the summit.jpg


Peter climbing up the Canaleta

Peter climbing up the Canaleta.jpg


Summit day!

Summit day.jpg


The team at Camp 1 on the way up

The team at Camp 1 on the way up.jpg


View of the Andes from 22,500′!

View of the Andes from 22,500'.jpg

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.


Audio dispatch by Garrett Madison:


Beautiful photos taken Wenny Sanchez:












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.


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

6962 meters/22,841 Ft


Team members celebrating at the summit of Aconcagua!


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!


Beautiful photos taken by Aconcagua climber Linda Wohlegemuth!



Team photo while climbing Aconcagua!


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!!


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 –

The audio dispatch is in two parts:




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

Walt and Ginna (photo by Bernd)

Walt and Ginna relaxing in base camp