Tag: 2017

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Minutes ago the first 2017 Mount Everest summits were made by a group of climbing Sherpa’s. This team included two of our best climbing Sherpa’s that were chosen to fix the ropes to the summit. Lakpa Dandi and Tashi were among seven climbing Sherpa’s that fixed the summit route. Now that the route to the summit is fixed we will start to see climber summits as early as tomorrow morning.

Our team is holding at base camp as high winds will be hitting the mountain over the next 1-2 days. Based on current weather forecasts we are looking to move up to our high camps by Wednesday. Stay tuned!

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2017 Mount Everest summits

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Mount Everest 2017 Guide Sidney Pattison: 35 year old

Hometown: Winthrop, WA

First started climbing in the North Cascades, first big peak was the west ridge of Forbidden Peak at the age of 16.  In 1997, became intern at the Northwest Mountain School, led climbs on Glacier Peak, rock instruction at Smith Rock, other mountaineering programs on Mount Baker, etc.

Notable ascents include ski decent of Denali, unclimbed peaks in the Himalayas (7000m), Mount Baker & Mount Shuksan combo in 1 day.

Favorite mountaineering equipment:

-ATC guide, due to the auto blocking abilities for both belaying and rappelling.  Can be used as a rope ascension device, for crevasse rescue, a simple device without any mechanical parts.

-Down Suit: Mountain Hardwear Absolute Zero Suit: A slim fitting one piece suit with deep hood, pockets in all the right places, and good length on the arms and legs, doesn’t bunch up in the middle.

Sid is very excited to be guiding Mount Lhotse with our team, the 4th highest peak in the world at 27,940’ (8516m).  The Lhotse couloir will be the final ascent route to the summit of Lhotse.  The couloir is the ‘corridor to the impossible’, allowing one to be in a place where without that ‘weakness’ the climb would be near impossible.  As Madison Mountaineering is the only guide company regularly offering the ‘Everest & Lhotse’ combination climb, this means that climbers will reach the summit of Mount Everest and then return to high camp at the south col (Camp 4), rest about 9 hours then depart high camp to climb to the summit of Lhotse, usually reaching the summit of Lhotse the next morning just after sunrise.  Sidney will be waiting for our team to return from the summit of Everest to high camp, and then he will be fresh to climb with us to the summit of Lhotse.  As the support person at high camp while we are on our Mount Everest summit attempt, Sid will also be supporting us by looking after the camp with our Sherpa staff that remain in high camp preparing water, food, and making sure the tents are secure as high winds regularly torment the South Col high camp, resulting in many tents blowing away.

Sidney is scheduled to guide our unclimbed peak expedition in the Gokyo region of Nepal (near Mount Everest) this autumn, a beautiful virgin peak over 6000m!  This will be an amazing experience with aesthetic ridge climbing on steep snow, ice, and rock!

In the late winter and early spring before our Mount Everest season Sidney works as a heli ski guide in the North Cascades of Washington State.  During the summer Sidney works as a mountain guide on Mount Rainer and other notable peaks in Washington State such as Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan, Mount Olumpus, and the North Cascades, etc.

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Everest 2017 Guide Sidney Pattison

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Everest 2017 Guide Conan Bliss :

Growing up in Colorado left an indelible imprint on Conan as a boy.  The mountains beckoned.  At an early age, he enjoyed sojourns in the Rocky Mountains with his father, Robert, being exposed to all sorts of inclement weather, steep pitches and exciting adventure.  Rather than turn to more docile pursuits, he carried forth in the hills as a young man, seeking more diverse and intriguing climbing, regardless of whether a route was a well known classic or an obscure piece of unknown rock.

As a climbing guide, his path has taken him around the globe, from the trade routes of the North Cascades, the cold reaches of Alaska, the airy peaks of the Andes, to the shimmering heights of the Himalayas and Karakoram.  He has no favorite peak, no favorite route, as every climb is different and unique in its own right.  To him, the essence of the climb is the the symbiotic energy of the climbers and the mountain, so the same peak will be a different climb each day, week, and season.

Outside of work, Conan enjoys traveling the world with his girlfriend, Gesine, as well as other more domestic pursuits such as cooking and woodworking.  They are looking forward to their new home base at the foot of the Alps this summer.

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Everest 2017 Guide Conan Bliss

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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

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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