Tag: Base Camp

I am very proud to say that the Madison Mountaineering climbing team on Aconcagua had complete success!  All team members stood on the highest point of the Western & Southern Hemispheres together on January 22nd. Congratulations to the following climbers:

-Audrey Cadwallader

-Linda Wohlegemuth

-Walt Harris

-Ginna Kelly

-Peter Horsman

-Bernd Horsman

-Wenny Sanchez

As many climbers are aware, this season on Aconcagua has been a very tough one with severe storms preventing teams from reaching the summit.  As we approached the mountain on our trek into base camp, we encountered many teams that had not ascended past Camp 1 on the mountain, and were very discouraging.  The look of defeat in their faces and of time spent suffering at high altitude without any summit attempt made us wonder….We pressed onward.  After we reached base camp we received a weather forecast that suggested favorable weather, but only for a short time.  In order to take advantage of this, we accelerated our climbing schedule and put our team in a position to summit on the last day of good weather (January 22nd).  All team members pulled together to push the itinerary forward, with hard work and determination we succeeded in reaching our goal.

The day after we reached the summit the next storm cycle began with high winds and snow preventing any other summit attempts, we reached base camp on this day, and were informed by the park rangers that they were closing the mountain to climbers indefinitely because of landslides. We really lucked out with our weather window, and with a group individual climbers who pulled together as a team to make the summit become a reality for everyone.  Great job team!

The team is doing well and we are currently waiting in Penitentes for the road to open so we can drive to Mendoza. Because of the landslides the road is currently closed in both directions. We expect the roads to be opened shorty. Onward!

-Garrett Madison

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A picnic on the approach hike

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Aconcagua from Plaza Mulas base camp

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Aconcagua team on the summit!

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Climbers head up the Canaleta

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Last rest break before the summit

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Peter climbing up the Canaleta

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Summit day!

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The team at Camp 1 on the way up

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View of the Andes from 22,500′!

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In the final expedition audio dispatch, today Garrett reports that the team had a great day descending the 1,600 vertical meters from high camp. They are now safely down to Plaza de Mulas Base Camp (4367m / 14,327ft) and revelling in their 100% summit success! Doubly great day as the team is also celebrating team member Ginna Kelly’s birthday. Happy birthday Ginna from all of us at Madison Mountaineering! Tomorrow they will trek out to the Los Horcones trail head and continue the celebration with a nice team dinner and night in Los Penitentes before heading back to Mendoza on Monday.

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Audio dispatch by Garrett Madison:

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Beautiful photos taken Wenny Sanchez:

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Yesterday our Aconcagua team had beautiful blue skies and no wind on the mountain and successful completed a carry to Camp 1 at an elevation of 16,100′. After moving gear and food up the mountain our team returned to base camp to rest. All is well and our team is gearing up for  a safe ascent up the mountain. To the top!

To see our teams itinerary for getting to the top visit our page here!

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Audio dispatch from expedition leader Garrett Madison:

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Beautiful weather for our climbers!

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Andes Mountain Range is a beauty!

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Climbers making their way up Aconcagua!

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Magnificent sunset on Aconcagua!

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Our climbing team in Argentina has successfully made it to Aconcagua Base Camp! After yesterday’s trek through the Relinchos Valley our climbers have a chance to enjoy the beautiful views and continue to adjust to the altitude. After a warm dinner at base camp the team enjoyed amazing company and another beautiful night on the mountain. Now resting at an elevation of 13,900′, the team will prepare for the climb to Camp 1 (16’000) tomorrow and their departure from our friendly Argentinian outfitter and staff. Winds have faded with favorable climbing conditions for the summit ascent ahead. With magnificent views of the Aconcagua Provincial Park and the surrounding Andes mountain range, Audrey, Bernd, Ginna, Linda, Walter, Peter, Weny, and Garrett have an exciting expedition ahead of them. Stay tuned on our dispatch page as we watch our Madison Mountaineering team make their way to the summit. To the top!

Fun face: Aconcagua is not just the highest mountain in South America but also the highest in the Western Hemisphere. The mountain dominates the skyline and it is visible 50+ off the coast in the Pacific Ocean on a clear day.

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Audio dispatch from expedition leader Garrett Madison:

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Rocky terrain on Aconcagua! This mountain is arguably the highest non-technical mountain in the world.

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Yesterday our team enjoyed a beautiful day of trekking through the Vacas Valley (8,000′). Weather has been enjoyable with winds gusting throughout the day and temperatures cooling down nicely in the evening. Last night our team enjoyed a traditional open fire barbecue with chicken, steak, fresh salad, and vegetables along the riverside. After a relaxing nights rest at Pampa de Lena camp (9,200′) our team woke up early to cross the river (with river shoes or by mule) through the Relinchos Valley to Plaza Argentina base camp (13,900′). This will be our team’s third day of trekking and they will be greeted shortly by our friendly outfitter and enjoy a warm dinner celebrating their arrival to Aconcagua. Tomorrow our team will rest at base camp and begin to organize the loads of gear to be moved to higher camps on Aconcagua. Members of the team will have the option to participate in a short acclimatization hike to a nearby peak with Garrett. Onward!!

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Audio dispatch from expedition leader Garrett Madison:

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Trekking toward Aconcagua ~ the highest mountain outside of Asia at 6,961m  (22,838ft)!

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Today Garrett, Mike, Sam, Iñaki, and Todd spent the day exploring vast glaciated slopes on Mount Vinson. With crampons and fixed lines our team reviewed the crucial skills that will be used in the upcoming summit push. Camp 1 has been established and fortified to endure the elements, keeping our team warm and safe tonight. Garrett and team continue to enjoy the adventure of exploring Antarctica as they make their way up Mount Vinson. Weather has been stable today and forecasts predict the same tomorrow. The climate on Mount Vinson is generally controlled by the polar ice cap’s high-pressure system, creating predominantly stable conditions but, as in any polar climate, high winds and snowfall do occur quickly. Tomorrow our team plans to do a carry of gear up to Camp 2. To the top!

Interesting fact:  In 1961, the Vinson Massif was named by the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names, for Carl G. Vinson, a Georgia congressman for his support for Antarctic exploration.

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Audio Dispatch from Garrett Madison ~ Thursday, December 3

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Garrett, Mike, Sam, Iñaki, and Todd ventured out from Camp 1 and enjoyed the spectacular glacier views around them!

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Breathtaking NASA image of Vinson Massif from space! The limited amount of snow that falls on Vinson Massif compacts and is transformed into ice, forming the glaciers our team is climbing on.

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With a change in weather, Garrett, Mike, Sam, Iñaki, and Todd have successfully made the ascent to Camp 1 at 9,154 feet! After two days at Vinson Base Camp, the team was very excited to push onward. Garrett and team made the eight hour push through cold and breezy conditions before arriving at Camp 1. Other than the wind, todays weather report on Mount Vinson was clear and sunny. Quickly after arriving the team set up camp and started warming up with a hot dinner prepared by Garrett.

Tomorrow our team will enjoy a rest day and let their bodies recover and continue to acclimatize to todays elevation gain. Garrett, Mike, Sam, Iñaki, and Todd will work together tomorrow to develop a strategy for reaching Camp 2, with factors including weather and overall route conditions. Everyone is doing well and in high spirit!

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Audio Dispatch from Garrett Madison ~ Wednesday, December 2

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Climbing across glaciated slopes on Mount Vinson.

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Looks pretty similar to “The Wall” from Game of Thrones! This gorgeous shot was take during the ascent to Camp 1. Onward!

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Awesome news received from Indonesia, the team has arrived to Carstensz Pyramid Base Camp! The Madison Mountaineering expedition is underway after a volcano eruption near Bali had delayed the team’s departure. Yesterday the team flew to Timika in the Papua province by jet, then a quick helicopter ride to base camp. Weather is overcast with light rain reported. Our climbing team will be spending these first couple days acclimatizing to the altitude change. A team member on our expedition has backpacked in a DJI Phantom 3 drone, needless to say that we expect to receive some AMAZING content following this epic life adventure. More to come as this expedition progresses up the mountain!!

Attached is a audio dispatch received from our expedition leader, Joe Butler. At times the audio can be difficult to hear. I found the most effective way to listen was to play this audio on a louder sound system.

Hope everyone had a great Halloween weekend! We said good bye to our trekking team that accompanied us all the way from our start in Kathmandu to our base camp here at Gokyo’s fifth lake. It was hard to say goodbye after the last ten days of trekking together in the Khumbu region of Nepal. They are now heading towards Cho La Pass and then onwards to Mount Everest base camp before returning to Lukla and then Kathmandu.
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Our climbing team organized equipment at base camp today and took a walkabout around camp, scouting the glacier we will cross when we make our move towards our advanced base camp on our summit push. Our base camp is a very beautiful setting, with a nearby lake, and high peaks on all sides. A team of our Sherpa guides along with Madison Mountaineering guide Sid Pattison left today to head to advanced base camp. Tomorrow they will work on establishing the route to camp 1, at the top of the rock buttress, the first major technical section of the climb. This climbing involves around two thousand feet of steep snow and an ice arête (description and imagery here), after which we can establish our first high camp. Everyone is doing well and we look forward to our next acclimatization hike tomorrow.
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View of glacier above camp:
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Acclimatization hike:
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View of Mount Everest from our base camp:
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Burke Khang Base Camp:
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Team exploring near base camp:
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The Madison Mountaineering expedition has safely trekked from Gokyo to our base camp near the 5th lake. Bud Allen of our climbing team elected to take a helicopter down to Lukla, as he was a little under the weather. One of our Trekkers (Jenna) went with his helicopter. It is hard that a team member returned home, but for the best as we did not want Bud’s cold to worsen and further risk his well being. Our prayers are with Bud for a quick recovery.
As the team arrived at the 5th lake and set up base camp it continued to snow.  In the festive spirit, the team gathered together for a high altitude Halloween celebration! Check out the pictures below for a glimpse of these entertaining costumes, Captain America continues to bring high spirits to the team. It has been snowing and we are preparing our gear for the first ascent. It is harder to send digital content out and we will most likely begin to post audio dispatches. As the team begins the first ascent of Burke Khang, the most up to date news will be coming out right here on our dispatch page!
Team yoga in the lodge:
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Helicopter arrival into Gokyo:
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Map of the team’s current location. Burke Khang is in the very middle.
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Team photo at Gokyo before our trek to base camp:
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Team members departing:
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Foggy morning in Gokyo before our trek to base camp:
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Burke Khang 2015 Base Camp:
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Burke Khang 2015 Base Camp:
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Burke Khang 2015 Base Camp:
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Halloween at Burke Khang!
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