Everest 2015 Dispatches

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Last night we had our final team dinner at a nice restaurant in Kathmandu, where we began our expedition just over one month ago. Although this season on Everest was marked by tragedy, it felt good to be together and enjoy a nice meal among friends back from the mountain. Yesterday I went to the Ministry of Tourism to sign off on the expedition paperwork, and received notice that the SPCC had officially cancelled any plans to re fix the route from base camp through the Khumbu Icefall to Camp 1. We understand all teams have abandoned their climbs, both on the North and South sides of Everest, as the mountain is “closed” on both sides, by the Chinese and Nepalese governments respectively.

All of our climbers are now either on their way home or planning to leave Kathmandu in the next day or two. The damage caused to the city of Kathmandu by the earthquake is evident, but things seem very much back to normal, although the city is quiet and many businesses are still closed.

Our expedition had been going perfectly up until the earthquake occurred on April 25th. We had trekked to base camp, reviewed technical climbing skills for a full week in the lower Khumbu glacier, and had almost reached Camp 2 on our first acclimatization ‘rotation’ when the mountain shook. Those of us up high on the mountain were lucky, those in base camp were not. Our hearts go out to the family of our wonderful base camp doctor, Eve Girawong, and the others who perished at Everest Base Camp as a result of the earthquake. The overall loss of life in Nepal is very tragic, and we recommend the below relief fund if you wish to donate. There is much work to be done in helping the people of Nepal and in rebuilding the areas devastated by the earthquake, we will continue to support these efforts.

International Medical Corps

Although this season on Everest was challenging on many levels, we will continue to climb, and we will return to Everest.

Garrett Madison, Expedition Leader
Madison Mountaineering

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The climbers are all back in Kathmandu and preparing to head home soon.

Climbers back in KTM

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Garrett, Vibeke, Andrea, and Karl arrived in Lukla yesterday and are hoping to be able to fly to Kathmandu today. The rest of team has already made their way to Kathmandu and some on to their home countries.

More details as we get them.

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Today the team members Alan, Rosier, Davi, Yuki, Koei, and guides Conan, Billy, & Fred walked from Namche to Lukla, and are expecting to fly tomorrow morning to Kathmandu, to join members Joe, Haley, Randall, Louis, Michael, and Ron. Ankur has begun the journey home to India.

In Namche now we have Garrett, Vibeke, Andrea, and Karl. All members listed are doing fine and enjoying the nice weather today in the Khumbu and Kathmandu valleys.

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Please help celebrate and honor the life of our dear base camp medic Eve Girawong, who mean so much to all of us and who dedicated her life to helping others, by generously making donations in her name to International Medical Corps Nepal Disaster Relief Fund.

International Medical Corps Nepal Disaster Relief Fund

Honor Eve

Currently the team is on the way down the Khumbu valley and heading home. As we walk down the valley we have seen many homes that have been damaged by the earthquake. Some have lost walls, others have been totally leveled. The local people are now working to repair the damage done to their villages. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of them.

Joe, Louis, Haley, Randall, and Ankur took a helicopter to Lukla and are awaiting a flight to Kathmandu. In Namche for the next two nights we have Garrett, Conan, Billy, Fred, Yuki, Koei, Alan, Rosier, and Davi.

Karl, Andrea, and Vibeke stayed behind in Gorak Shep to look for additional items around base camp, and will likely meet the others tomorrow in Namche. Michael and Ron are in Kathmandu at the Yak & Yeti hotel.

All members listed are doing fine. Thank you for all your well wishes.

We would like to encourage you to donate in memory of Eve to the Nepal Disaster Relief Fund. As our base camp Medic, Marisa Eve Girawong, dedicated her life to helping others.

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The climbing team hiked down from Gorak Shep to the village of Deboche for the night and will be moving to Namche Bazaar tomorrow Nepal time. They are doing fine.

More details as we get them.

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Transcript:

This is Garrett Madison calling in from Gorak Shep. Today the team was able to descend from Camp 2 on Mount Everest down to Camp 1. We had a good break in the weather and then from Camp 1 we were able to be evacuated by helicopter down to Base Camp. We got down to Base Camp and were able to sort through what was left of our camp after the wind blast from the landslide triggered by the earthquake here in Nepal. It was a very sobering couple of hours sorting through the rubble of what was left of our camp. Now we are on our way down the valley. All team members are doing well. Michael and Ron are in Kathmandu at the moment. The rest of the members are here at Gorak Shep in the Khumbu valley and we are working our way down slowly towards Lukla and Kathmandu.

We are still just incredibly devastated by the loss of our Base Camp doctor, Marisa Eve Girawong. She supported us throughout the expedition, took good care of us and insured that we were healthy throughout. We are just totally devastated that we lost her in Base Camp due to wind blast from the landslide.

We will check in again tomorrow. Thank you.

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The climbing team is down to base camp. Garrett provided an update via phone on the NBC Today Show: http://www.today.com/news/nepal-earthquake-everest-climber-describes-avalanches-awful-noise-t17586.

More details as we have them.

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We received a call from Garrett that the climbing team has quickly and safely descended from Camp 2 to Camp 1 and is now awaiting a helicopter evacuation to base camp. The weather is currently very good at base camp and there are a number of climbers from several teams awaiting a flight down. If everything goes to schedule, we expect the team to be safely in base camp sometime today in Nepal (Monday).

More information as we get it.