Tag: Adventure

The Madison Mountaineering Polar Explorer’s Mount Vinson expedition team have now arrived back to Union Glacier Camp in Antarctica. With foggy conditions at Vinson base camp it took a couple days to safely land the inbound plane and pick up our climbers. Plan is to enjoy the next couple days at Union Glacier Camp with very comfortable accommodations, hot showers, three hot meals a day and many fun outdoor activities. The Union Glacier Camp is the only private seasonally occupied camp site located in Ellsworth Land in Antarctica. The camp is located in the Heritage Range, below the Ellsworth Mountains, on Union Glacier.

All is well and our team will check in once back in Punta Arenas, Chile!

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Audio dispatch from Garrett Madison

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Mountaineering Polar

The Madison Mountaineering – Polar Explorers team arrived safely to Mount Vinson base camp after a successful summit yesterday. Everyone is happy that they made the summit with the upper mountain to themselves on a beautiful sunny day. Today the clouds have moved in and it has started to snow. Now back at base camp the team will wait for a flight back to Union Glacier. All is well and we will check in soon!

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Audio dispatch from Garrett Madison

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Polar Explorers team

 

The Madison Mountaineering Polar Explorer’s team reached the summit of Mount Vinson today! Climbers are now safely back at high camp after a wonderful summit day with hardly any wind and clouds beneath. Headed down to Vinson base camp tomorrow and will check in soon!

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Audio dispatch from Garrett Madison

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Mountaineering Polar Explorer

Our climbers enjoyed a rest day at high camp while preparing for their Mount Vinson summit push. Plan is to head off around 9am after breakfast, summit mid afternoon and be back by dinner time. Team is looking forward to begin their ascent and hope to all stand on the tallest point in Antarctica together. Fingers crossed for good weather! Everyone is doing well and we will check in soon.

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Vinson summit push

Garrett Madison checks in with the Polar Explorers Mount Vinson expedition team. Our team climbed up to high camp in a single push and had a nice dinner before bunkering down for the night. The weather is holding good and the team will probably take rest day tomorrow before their summit attempt the following day. The team is doing well and everyone is enjoying their time in magical Antarctica.

Madison Mountaineering is a partner with Polar Explorer’s for this expedition.

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Explorers Mount Vinson

 

After completing a ski trip to the South Pole, our second Vinson team departed Union Glacier Camp for the Ellsworth Mountains. After arriving at Vinson the team quickly moved up to low camp. Tomorrow our team will enjoy a rest day while reviewing technical climbing skills for the upper mountain ascent. All is well on Vinson and fingers crossed for the beautiful weather to continue!

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Audio dispatch by Garrett Madison

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Second Vinson team

After a quick Twin Otter flight back to Union Glacier Camp, the Mount Vinson team took off on the Russian Ilushyn 76 for Punta Arenas, Chile. Congratulations to our climbers for reaching the highest point in Antarctica at 4,892m / 16,050ft!

Garrett will remain at Union Glacier Camp until the following team arrives from a ski trip to the South Pole. All is well on the ice and we will check in soon!

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Audio dispatch from Garrett Madison

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punta arenas

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punta arenas

On January 7th at around 3pm our Antarctica expedition team summited Mount Vinson! Garrett reported clear skies, hardly any wind and nice temperatures. The whole team had the summit to themselves on this special summit day. Now our team will rest and recover at high camp before making the descent to base camp. Everyone is doing well and looking forward to their return flight back to Union Glacier Camp. Team photos and video will be shared soon!

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Audio dispatch from Garrett Madison

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Looking out over the Ellsworth Mountains 🙂

Team summited Mount Vinson

Garrett Madison checks in from high camp in Antarctica before our climbing team makes their Mount Vinson summit push! The plan is to leave high camp at around 9am and reach the summit by early afternoon. This final day to the top involves climbing the summit ridge with breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks as well as looking to the horizon of ice as far as the eye can see. Mount Vinson is the highest peak in Antarctica, at 4,892 meters (16,050 ft). Weather report is looking favorable with light cloud cover and low winds, stay tuned!

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Audio dispatch from Garrett Madison:

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Vinson summit push

Yesterday at 9:15 AM the Madison Mountaineering team reached the top of the Unclimbed Peak, Tharke Khang, located in the Nepal Himalayas near Mount Everest at over 22,000′ (6670m).  We began our summit day just after midnight on November 3rd, and departed our high camp (19,200′ / 5820m) on the Nup La glacier near the China – Nepal border at 2 AM.  This was the culmination of more than a year’s planning, we were anxiously anticipating what the route to the summit would entail, and wondering if we would be able to ascend to the top of a peak that no climbers had yet attempted before us.  Although seemingly doable in our eyes from google earth and helicopter reconnaissance, we expected the route would likely have some unexpected challenges in store for us, perhaps preventing us from reaching the summit.

From our high camp we traversed the Nup La glacier 45 minutes to the North Face of the peak, ascending a firm 45 degree snow slope about 500 ft. up to the ridge line, breaking through the corniced ridge, then ascending the ridge through varying degrees of steepness, sometimes vertical for sustained portions.  Over the previous 2 days our team had ascended about two thirds of the route and placed fixed ropes over the steep and exposed sections, however the remaining 1/3 of the route to the summit was still unclimbed and our plan was to find and establish this portion of the route as we climbed on our final summit push, in a ‘make or break’ style.  As our team ascended the route in the very cold and dark night, we were divided into two groups.  The first group was focused on climbing ahead and fixing (problem solving) the remaining portion of the route and the second group was making steady progress towards the goal of reaching the top.  I climbed with my friends Aang Phurba and Lakpa Dandi Sherpa, Aang Phurba led the final steep pitches to the ridge just before the highest point on the peak.  Aang Phurba and I have climbed together many times in recent years on Mount Everest, K2, Lhotse, etc. His brother was part of my team in 2014 on Mount Everest and perished tragically during the avalanche in the Khumbu Icefall on April 18th that ended the climbing season for us, Aang Phurba and I have a special bond that goes beyond the singular focus of climbing.

Before reaching the summit, Lakpa Dandi and I climbed up to join Aang Phurba just below the highest point on the peak, unfurled some prayer flags and silk Khata scarves, anchoring them near the top where they would float in the breeze, then together walked the final steps to the highest point and true summit of Tharke Khang.  We could not have had a better day for climbing in the Himalayas, there was not a cloud in the sky and only a small breath of wind.  We gazed upon Mount Everest, Mount Lhotse, Mount Cho Oyu, and many other of the surrounding Himalayan peaks.  Shortly thereafter, a few of our other climbers ascended to the summit and reveled in the majesty of this spectacular mountain range on such a glorious day.  After savoring our time at the summit, we began our descent down the ridge, a series of rappels over exposed terrain, where often both sides of the ridge dropped away into nothingness. After descending around 2800′ (910m) we traversed the Nup La glacier back to our high camp and settled in for the night. Today, we awoke at 6 AM and helicoptered down to our base camp located at the Gokyo 5th lake, then continued by helicopter to Kathmandu for a celebratory dinner this evening.  It’s been somewhat of a culture shock for us today, going from isolation in a high altitude alpine zone in a remote corner of the highest mountain range on Earth, to a bustling city. We all feel very blessed to have concluded a safe climbing expedition in a beautiful mountain environment, and to now be heading home to our friends and loved ones.  For me personally, yesterday was an extra special summit day, as it was my 39th birthday and I was able to share it with friends in a spectacular place never before visited by anyone.

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Unclimbed Peak

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Unclimbed Peak

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Unclimbed Peak

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Unclimbed Peak

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Unclimbed Peak

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