Tag: Everest

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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On November 3rd our unclimbed peak expedition team reached the Tharke Khang summit! Garrett Madison checks in via satellite phone and reports beautiful conditions with views of surrounding peaks in the Himalayas. Our climbers will now descend to high camp to eat and rest up. Nice work team!

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Audio dispatch by Garrett Madison

The high Buddhist monk journeyed to Mount Everest base camp this afternoon and blessed our team with a joyful Puja ceremony. Our climbing and Sherpa team gathered together as one to give thanks to Sagarmatha and present gifts for safe passage. The lama was graceful and presented each climber with a blessing. After the ceremony concluded our friends on the Gurkha team (Nepal and UK) came down to our camp and joined in the festivities. Winds have finally settled down and we were all able to relax outside together and enjoy the cultural Nepalese experience.

In the afternoon, a few members of our team went out into the Khumbu icefall for additional training on the ice. We are all settling down for the night now and about to enjoy another of Antony Dubber’s amazing meals, I do believe that we are all gaining weight up here with his extraordinary high altitude culinary skills. After supper we typically partake in watching a film in our the movie theater, tonight we watched Top Gun.

Tomorrow we will not be climbing or training in the icefall in remembrance of the 2014 icefall tragedy. Our team will rest and prepare equipment for the first rotation in the days to come. The stoke is high and we are all ready to move up the mountain. To higher places!

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Joyful Puja ceremony

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Joyful Puja ceremony

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Joyful Puja ceremony

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Joyful Puja ceremony

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Joyful Puja ceremony

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Joyful Puja ceremony

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Joyful Puja ceremony

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Joyful Puja ceremony

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Joyful Puja ceremony

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Joyful Puja ceremony

Today our Mount Everest 2017 climbing team had an amazing day training in the Khumbu icefall. The winds have been fierce the past few days, gusting to 50mph at times. While we have been training between the ice towers we are protected for the most part. The sun was out all day today and the recent snowfall is slowly melting.

After a few rounds on the training circuit with fixed lines and ladders, we enjoyed a few laps of epic ice climbing on a sweet Serac. We practiced with ice climbing tools and then a select few climbers were able to scale the ice with just crampons. From the top of the ice we had great views of Everest base camp and the surrounding glaciers.

Tomorrow we will have our Puja ceremony here at base camp. Our weather forecasts are predicting decreased winds and sun, we hope this is accurate! Soon after our Puja ceremony we will begin preparations for our first rotation up to Camp 1. Enjoy the photos from today!

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Everest 2017 climbing

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Everest 2017 climbing

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Everest 2017 climbing

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Everest 2017 climbing

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Everest 2017 climbing

After a wild thunder and lightning storm last night, we awoke to about 8 inches of fresh snow here at Mount Everest base camp! Our team of climbers set off for their first day of technical training in the Khumbu Icefall. Our guides reviewed the basics to refresh our team and covered best practices for a safe climb on Mount Everest. Our amazing base camp chef, Antony Dubber, continues to impress our taste buds with amazing meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We had a special guest join us for lunch today. Ueli Steck, from Switzerland known as the ‘Swiss Machine’ shared a meal with our team and we chatted about our past and upcoming ascents.

Tomorrow we will continue our icefall training and build a more difficult course for our climbers to navigate. On the 17th we will have our Puja ceremony here at base camp where we will all be blessed for a safe season on Everest. Enjoy the pictures below!

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lightning storm

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After an amazing trek through the Khumbu Valley, our team of climbers and trekkers have arrived safely to Mount Everest 2017 base camp. As we arrived to camp we caught two time Grammy Award nominee Paul Oakenfold playing a set at Everest base camp. Our Sherpa team danced along with fans from around the world as we laughed and enjoyed the beautiful setting.

With a warm welcome from our chef (Antony Dubber), we all enjoyed fresh Norwegian salmon and a tasty variety of side dishes. I think we will be eating well on this expedition! The weather here at Mount Everest base camp has been warm and sunny the past few days, allowing for ample reading outside with magnificent 360 degree views of some of the tallest mountains in the world. Today we are having a personal day where we are able to do laundry and set up personal tents. Over the next few days we will start training in the Khumbu icefall in preparation for our first rotation to Camp 1 on Mount Everest. We are excited to be here and look forward to making our ascent. Onward!

Follow us on social media @MadisonMtng on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter. Thank you Mountain Hardwear, MusclePharm, Thuraya, Wicis and Modern Oats for your support on this expedition!!

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Kala Patthar, meaning ‘black rock’ in Nepali and Hindi, is a notable landmark located on the south ridge of Pumori in the Nepalese Himalayas. Thank you to our expedition friend Rob Mens for sharing these.

Mount Everest 2017 Kala Patthar

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Kala Patthar view at sunset

Mount Everest 2017 Kala Patthar

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Kala Patthar view at sunset

Mount Everest 2017 Kala Patthar

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Kala Patthar view at sunset

Mount Everest 2017 Kala Patthar

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Yak train looking over Mount Everest base camp and the Khumbu Icefall

Mount Everest 2017 base camp

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So happy to have the world traveling chef Antony Dubber here with us this season!! 🙂 

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Norwegian salmon as our team arrives at base camp. So tasty!!

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Mount Everest 2017 base camp

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Madison Mountaineering’s Sherpa team enjoying an awesome gig by Paul Oakenfold!

Mount Everest 2017 base camp

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Paul Oakenfold rocking the stage on Mount Everest!

Mount Everest 2017 base camp

Our climbers and trekkers have all made it safely from Kathmandu to Tenzing Hillary Airport in Lukla. From here we passed through several Sherpa villages, and entered the beautiful Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park. After crossing the river by suspension bridge, we arrived in the village of Phakding. After a good nights sleep we continued trekking along the scenic Dudh Kosi River through the village of Monjo, then up the steep hill to Namche Bazaar. Currently we are spending our second night in our comfortable lodge acclimatizing and enjoying the sights, cafes and tasty pastries in Namche. This afternoon we saw our first view of Mount Everest!

Follow us on social media @MadisonMtng on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter. We love to hear from you 🙂

Onward and upward!

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Prayer wheel in Kathmandu 

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Early morning flight from Kathmandu to Lukla

Tenzing Hillary Airport

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Tenzing Hillary Airport

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Last chance for Starbucks 🙂 

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Prayer wheel near Lukla

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2017 Mount Everest climbing and trekking team leaving Lukla 

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Relaxing at a local tea house

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Geoff and John

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Amazing views on the trek to Namche

Madison Mountaineering’s 2017 Himalayan expedition team of Everest & Lhotse climbers have arrived from around the world. We are now  in the final stages of logistical preparation before our exciting flight to Lukla. After our short flight tomorrow from Kathmandu to Lukla, we will begin the journey toward Mount Everest, known by the locals as Sagarmāthā. Mount Everest is earth’s highest mountain at 8,848m (29,035ft) above sea level. Tonight our team of trekkers and climbers will enjoy the comforts of the city before we take off early tomorrow morning. Here we go!

Expedition dispatches will be posted here as frequently as possible. Follow us on social media @MadisonMtng on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter!!

Below are some photos of our city tour today around Kathmandu.

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2017 Himalayan

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2017 Himalayan

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2017 Himalayan

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2017 Himalayan

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2017 Himalayan

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2017 Himalayan

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2017 Himalayan

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Local Nepal street art

2017 Himalayan

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Monkey Temple 

2017 Himalayan

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Money Temple

2017 Himalayan

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Received a departing blessing for a safe passage through the Himalaya.

2017 Himalayan

Our 2017 Everest expedition is preparing to launch! This March we will lead a group of climbers and trekkers from around the world as we journey through the Khumbu Valley toward Mount Everest base camp. If you would like to join our team of trekkers and spend a night at base camp please contact us here. To higher places!

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2017 Everest

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2017 Everest

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Our Mount Everest expedition team is now back in Kathmandu after a successful and safe climb of Mount Everest.  All climbers are heading home, after what has been a great experience in the Nepal Himalaya.  On May 19th, our team reached the summit with 7 climbers, 5 guides (1 of whom was working as a high altitude camera man) and 15 Sherpas.  We all made it back down safely without any injuries such as frostbite, etc.  There have been recent fatalities on Everest, and we are thankful that our team was very fortunate and did not suffer any losses.  100% of the climbers who embarked on the summit rotation made it to the top, we are very proud of this achievement.
Our decision to abandon our Lhotse climb after the fatality in the Lhotse couloir was in part ethical and also taking into consideration of the hazardous nature of the existing terrain that likely contributed to that accident, likely no climbers will reach the summit of Lhotse this season.
Thanks for following our climb of Mount Everest!

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