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K2 2014 Dispatches

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After a two day bus ride from Skardu we are finally back in Islamabad, and very happy to be here! This is the end of our journey back from K2, the 75 mile trek from base camp to Askole, the jeep ride from Askole to Skardu, then the two day bus ride from Skardu to Islamabad (because of flight delays out of Skardu). We are indulging in our celebration dinner and will be flying out over the next few days. It’s been an incredible experience and a very successful one!

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As we are making our way from Skardu to Islamabad we can’t help feel like our climb to the top of K2 was all just a dream. We had perfect weather and route conditions for our climb, and had the summit all to ourselves with little to no wind as we gazed for hundreds of miles in every direction, it was truly a magnificent experience, with a great team. There are less than twenty American climbers including ourselves to reach the top of K2 since the first American ascent in 1978, so we feel lucky to be part of this special group. After three days of trekking from base camp down the Baltoro Glacier we reached Askole and then traveled by jeep yesterday to Skardu. It’s comforting to be here in the hotel, and on our way to an even better hotel in Islamabad! Most of us are heading home, however I will stay in the Eastern Hemisphere and meet my next group in Tanzania, for a climb of Kilimanjaro!

Attached are a few photos of our perfect summit day!

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Transcript:

New tonight a local man has done what fewer than 20 Americans ever have.

He summited the second tallest mountain in the world, K2.  Garrett Madison is a Bainbridge Island native and president of Madison Mountaineering.  Yesterday he and two other Americans became the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth climbers from the U.S. to stand atop the summit of K2 which is on the border of China and Pakistan.  It’s considered more dangerous to climb than Everest and deadlier.  One out of four climbers don’t survive.

Congratulations to those guys.

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We just spoke with Garrett Madison from K2 base camp. Communications are still limited and photos will be posted soon. The team spent yesterday at base camp recovering from the climb and packing and organizing their gear for the 60 mile trek out to Askole. Today they start the multi-day journey down the Godwin-Austen and Baltoro glaciers. The team is reveling in their amazing success and good fortune with weather, climbing conditions, and overall health of the team. Many lifelong dreams were fulfilled.

Join us one more time in congratulating Matthew Du Puy, Alan Arnette, and Garrett Madison along with Sherpa climbing team Kami Rita Sherpa, Fur Kancha Sherpa and Kami Tshering Sherpa and all of our wonderful base camp staff, including our Pakistani Liason Officer, Squadron Leader Khalid Mehmood Chishti.

Thank you for following along and we hope you enjoyed our dispatches. This concludes our coverage of K2 2014.

NEXT UP: Kilimanjaro August 2014!

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Happy to be back in base camp after a successful climb of K2.

– Garrett

Elevation = 16,388.85 ft.   Location = (35.881720, 76.513230)

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The K2 team has just arrived back at base camp. More details to follow…

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Just back to camp 4 (high camp) with the team:) a long descent down from the summit..

– Garrett

Elevation = 25,460.96 ft.   Location = (35.878408, 76.524947)

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We just received a sat phone call from the summit of K2 (8611m/28,251ft), the second highest point on Earth. Garrett Madison, Matt Du Puy, and Alan Arnette have just become the 16th, 17th, and 18th Americans to stand on the summit of K2, the first American K2 summit success since 2007. Garrett sounded fantastic! A transcript of the call is provided below.

[UPDATE] The Sherpa team members are Kami Rita Sherpa, Fur Kancha Sherpa (both of Thame Solu Khumbu, Nepal) and Kami Tshering Sherpa (of Pangbotse, Nepal).

Transcript:

Okay! Hey, this is Garrett Madison calling in from Madison Mountaineering. It is July 27th, eight o’clock in the morning (0800 PKT) and today myself and two of the climbers on our team, Alan Arnette and Matt Du Puy are standing on the summit of K2. It’s a glorious morning, hardly any wind, views in every direction for 360 degrees, some clouds building on the horizon, but just a spectacular day.

We are up here all alone with our three climbing Sherpas who we have climbed all over the world with. They are like brothers to us. I have personally climbed Everest five times with two of them and many other Himalayan peaks. We are just so thrilled to be here. It’s a special moment for us and a great, great moment for Madison Mountaineering and also for all the climbers on the team here, so we are just looking forward to a safe descent and rejoining our friends and family in due time. So we will check in when we get down to high camp. And hey beautiful, beautiful day on the summit, thanks for following along and we will check in soon. Bye bye.

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K2 Summit! Garrett, Alan, & Matt are on top of the worlds 2nd highest peak!

– Garrett

Elevation = 28,278.08 ft.   Location = (35.881720, 76.513230)

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The RainOn powered real-time tracking map shows that the climbing team has just left Camp 4 at 25,200 ft. and is heading for the summit of K2!

Message Type startTrack
Trackpoint 65 of 65
Time 7/26/2014 5:31:00 PM UTC
Latitude 35.87823°
Longitude 76.52377°
Elevation 25,046 ft.
Distance 0.066 mi.
Heading 267.3°
Total Distance 5.75 mi.