Everest Dispatches

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Today at base camp our Everest Express climbers continued with icefall ladder training in the Khumbu icefall. Guide Conan Bliss took John and Allan out for this morning and returned ready to make their first ascent up to Camp 1 and 2. This afternoon we cleaned up camp and continued our base camp chores of keeping the ground flat. For context, at night we hear the loud cracking and popping of the ice underneath us and wake up to a slight shift in the ice. After leveling the ground many of us did our laundry and enjoyed hot showers today under the warm sun.

Our climbers at Camp 1 this morning moved up to Camp 2 and are now safe and sound acclimatizing on their second rotation. They will spend tomorrow at Camp 2 with a small day hike before returning to camp. The following day, weather permitting, our team will make the ascent to touch Camp 3 without oxygen. Our forecasts are calling for high winds up on the mountain that are predicted to settle over the next few days. At base camp we are hearing that the Sherpa summit route fixing team will push to the summit on May 6 and 7 if the winds allow a safe ascent.

Guides Brent and Geoff are planning to take advantage of the first summit window with climbers John and Anders. They will continue to rest up and enjoy delicious food here at base camp before heading up on their summit rotation. Based on current weather forecasts they are planning to move up in the next 3-4 days when the winds die down up high.

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Watching the sun go down over base camp

icefall ladder training

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Night shot looking up the icefall

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Descending through the Khumbu Icefall

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Anders coming down through the icefall

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Evening shot looking up at Pumori

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Brent, Geoff, Anders and John coming down from Camp 3

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Brent and Anders on the Lhotse face

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Ascending the Lhotse face

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Anders on the Lhotse face

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John and Anders at Camp 3

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We have two climber birthdays today. Happy birthday to our 2017 Everest climbers Anders C. and Alina Z! Our base camp chef Antony Dubber made a delicious chocolate birthday cake at 17,000ft (picture below). Earlier today we woke up to cloudy weather with light snowfall covering our camp. In the afternoon the sun was finally able to break through and we caught a glimpse of the sun. Guides Brent and Geoff returned to base camp early this afternoon with climbers Anders and John after a successful second rotation up to Camp 3. They enjoyed a nice lunch of roasted duck in cherry sauce and T-bone steaks for dinner.

Our main group of climbers with guides Garrett, Sid and Billy departed base camp at 1:30am this morning for Camp 1 and will spend 3-4 nights up high before returning down to EBC. Now tucked in for the night at Camp 1, our team will rest up and then move to Camp 2 tomorrow morning.

Back at base camp, Conan Bliss (guide) went through icefall training with our Everest Express climbers John and Allen. Tomorrow we will continue to train in the Khumbu icefall with ladder practice and difficult fixed line courses. Our strong Sherpa team have been moving gear up to the high camps in preparation for our upcoming summit rotation in the weeks ahead. With strong winds striking the upper mountain our fixed lines have yet to be set to the summit of Everest and Lhotse.

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Welcome to Mount Everest base camp Allan! 

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Sumo stance!

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Sangeeta and Phurba at base camp

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Steak dinner 🙂 

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Antony Dubber aka extreme high altitude chef 

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Khumbu Icefall

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Ladder crossing in the icefall

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Geoff Schellens with his talented mountain art! Check out his amazing portfolio HERE

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Mount Everest Birthday Cake!

climber birthdays

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Mount Everest 2017 guide Geoff Schellens was raised in Norwich, Vermont but spends most of his time traveling the world to satisfy his passion for climbing.  This passion is in his blood, inspired by his Mother, Beth, who has climbed Mt. Rainier and Mont Blanc. When little Geoff was 11, he decided that he was an adult and that it was time for him to face Mother Nature. He designed his first climbing harness out of backpack straps and set out to find some rock.  His Father, Dick, acted as an enabler and belayed him from his leather belt.  When he was 13, he tried to buy his first climbing rope but the salesperson said that he was too young.  Instead Geoff purchased climbing shoes, which in hindsight, was probably more dangerous than him buying a rope.

After some trial and error Geoff taught himself some of the basics.  He attended Prescott College where he pursued his passion for climbing and graduated with a degree in Adventure Education.  He took his love for climbing and and passion for sharing it with others and began his guiding career.  Geoff has worked and climbed all over the world from Patagonia to Tibet, Alaskan peaks to frozen waterfalls of Montana.

Everest has crossed every climbers mind and is often a controversial topic amongst climbers.  “I truly believe that any climber that say they don’t want to climb Everest is lying to themselves”. Given the perfect opportunity everyone would want to see how they do on the highest peak in the world. Geoff now has that perfect opportunity, to climb with his long time friend John, with the best guide company in the business.

“The key to expedition climbing is patience and having fun.”  Summiting Everest is the ultimate goal but I believe the journey is the most rewarding aspect of the adventure.

Geoff’s perfect evening would include puppies, burritos and scotch.  He is quite the catch but you will have to chase him!  And guess what… he loves to cook!

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Everest 2017 guide Geoff Schellens

 

Over the past two days here at base camp we have enjoyed some high altitude rest and relaxation between our first and second rotation. On the night of the 30th our main group of climbers will move up to Camp 2 and begin their second acclimatization rotation. They will spend 3-4 nights up at Camp 2 and touch Camp 3 before returning back to EBC. Our incredible Sherpa team is working very hard to move supplies and oxygen up the mountain. The Sherpa summit fixing team is expected to reach the summit in early May based on weather conditions with first climber summits soon after.

Our close base camp friend Randy Christofferson took off yesterday and we said our last goodbyes at the helicopter pad before he flew back to Kathmandu. His son, Anders, is being guided by Brent Bishop whom is currently up at Camp 2. Guides Brent and Geoff will be moving up to touch Camp 3 tomorrow and will return to EBC on May 1.

While relaxing at base camp we have enjoyed the company of Melissa Arnot and learned about her adventures both past and present. Her recent journey to climb the tallest mountains in all 50 states was very interesting. Tonight after dinner we had James Kerr join us, he is originally from New Zealand and spent a few years with the All Black New Zealand rugby team. He wrote and recently published a book called Legacy where he describes his experiences with ‘the most successful sports team in the world’.

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Trekking around base camp

high altitude rest

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Coming back down through the Khumbu Icefall

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Khumbu Icefall

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Base Camp Managers sharing provisions 

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Re-supply

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Goodbye RC!

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Beautiful views from Pumori Camp 1

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Looking down from Pumori Camp 1

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Today guides Brent and Geoff departed for their second Everest rotation with John and Anders. They will climb to Camp 2 for two nights and then touch Camp 3 before returning to base camp. Back at base camp we had a housekeeping day where we cleaned our personal tents and re-centered our dining tent. Each week the glacier underneath our base camp shifts, so to keep our camp flat we have to reposition the rocks (picture below). After our tidy up at base camp we relaxed and caught up on laundry and rest.

In the icefall today guides Sid and Billy went through training with our Everest Express climber John. He will continue to train in the icefall and sync up with the main group’s second rotation in the days to come. The weather was warm and sunny from the morning to afternoon today with light winds. Our main climbing group is planning to move up on their second rotation on the 30th night. Over the next three days our climbers will go on acclimatization hikes around EBC and rest up. Beautiful photographs from our team below!

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In-between Camp 1 and 2

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Khumbu Icefall

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Everest Base Camp

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Beautiful night shot by Randy Christofferson!

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Camp 1

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Camp 1

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View from above the icefall

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Ascent in the Khumbu Icefall

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Basecamp bonding during our Puja ceremony

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Everest Base Camp

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Our amazing Sherpa team!

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Camp 2

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Antony Dubber’s amazing dessert 🙂 

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“Mickey Mouse” Sherpa (14 Everest ascents)

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Icefall crossing

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Beginning of our second rotation

second Everest rotation

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Basecamp tidy up

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Working on our propane systems at base camp

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Leveling our dining tent 

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Guides Sid and Billy with our Everest Express climber John

Today our second wave of climbers returned to Everest base camp after a successful first rotation. The weather has been cold and clear with beautiful views of the mountains in the day and a sky full of stars at night. Tomorrow Garrett and team will come down from Camp 2 to complete our first rotation. Our climbers are feeling well and will rest and recover over the next few days. Antony made a superb dinner followed by a bitter chocolate cake with caramelized apples for dessert. We will now have 3-5 days rest here at base camp before moving up on our team’s second rotation. Onward!

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Antony’s dinner at base camp

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Khumbu Icefall

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Garrett Madison at Camp 2

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Base camp lunch

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Beautiful view from base camp

Everest base camp

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Drew at Camp 1

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Conan Bliss

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Camp 1

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Icefall descent

Mount Everest 2017 guide Brent Bishop, the son of the late legendary climber Barry Bishop, was the first American legacy to follow in his father’s footsteps and summit Mt. Everest.  Brent first reached the summit of Everest in 1994, and again climbed the mountain in the 2002, with the National Geographic Mt. Everest Expedition that marked the 50th anniversary of the first ascent of the mountain.  National Geographic produced the documentary, Surviving Everest, based on this climb.  Brent attempted the technical West Ridge on Everest in 2012 and took part in the documentary, High and Hollowed.  He was back on Everest in 2016, successfully guiding and filming for Madison Mountaineering. In 1994 Brent co-founded, the Sagarmatha Environmental Expedition (SEE), an organization committed to cleaning trash off the slopes of Everest.  Brent has run SEE since 1994, and since its inception, the organization has removed more than 25,000 pounds of trash from the mountain.

Brent was born in Washington, D.C. in 1966 and began climbing as a child with his father on the East Coast and Rocky Mountains, and he has been climbing ever since.  Brent’s climbing and work as a guide has taken him throughout the United States, Canada, South America, Europe, Asia, and the Antarctic.  Brent received the Lowell Thomas Award from The Explorers Club, the international professional exploration society.  The award recognizes explorers who have distinguished themselves in unique and distinct ways.  Brent is also the recipient of the American Alpine Club’s, David Brower Award, presented for environmental achievement.

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Everest 2017 guide Brent Bishop

Today guides Brent and Geoff returned to base camp with John and Anders after a successful first rotation. The weather at base camp has been cold with steady snowfall over the past two days. Our climbers up on the mountain are doing well and tucked in at Camp 1 and 2 on Mount Everest. They will follow the same schedule with two nights at Camp 1 and two nights at Camp 2 before returning back down to base camp.

Our Sherpa team reports that the route fixing team has moved up to Camp 4. We predict that the first Sherpa summits will be in the next one to two weeks. Beautiful photos below taken by our first rotation team!

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successful first rotation

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Today at base camp we woke up to sunshine and by early afternoon we had steady snowfall accumulating, Everest weather changes quickly! Our second wave of climbers pushed through the Khumbu icefall and made it to Camp 1 early this morning. We now have climbers acclimatizing at Camp 1 and Camp 2 on Mount Everest. Our third and final group will depart for Camp 1 early this morning. Everyone is doing well and in good spirits.

For daily photo updates follow us on Instagram @MadisonMtng.

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Everest weather

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Everest weather

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Everest weather

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Everest weather

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Everest weather

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Our first Everest rotation is in mid-swing with our second wave of climbers moving up in a few hours. Beautiful day at base camp today with ample time to enjoy the sunshine. Our climbers at base camp continued icefall training with difficult courses set up by our guide staff. Up at Camp 1 our team is doing well with heavy clouds reported throughout the afternoon. Tomorrow our Camp 1 team will move up to Camp 2 where they will spend two days acclimatizing.

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first Everest rotation

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first Everest rotation

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first Everest rotation

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Sid Pattison reports a successful ascent of Island Peak (pictures below):

Bookended by a forecast of wind and snow our team squeaked in a summit of Island Peak at 6:15am on the 17th. Our climb began at 12:15am and after climbing steadily up tallus fields and ridges we made it to Crampon Point as the sun rose. We put on crampons and roped up to cross the very broken and bridged glacier, after an hour we made it to the base of the final 750ft headwall. The steep climbing was strenuous but we moved steadily up to the summit ridge. From the summit the beautiful Himalayan mountain range was on display, Lhotse, Taboche, Cholatse and Ama Dablam fueling dreams of future climbs. The descent went smoothly, we packed up basecamp and made the final trek back to Chhukung and slept soundly. Today we made the long trek to Namche and Lukla tomorrow.

“We couldn’t have asked for better conditions, this summit is the culmination of weeks of hard work” Jared Moravec reflected on the climb.

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Island Peak Expedition 2017 

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