Tag: First Ascent

Our unclimbed peak expedition team is now in base camp, preparing to make a recon up to the peak to scout the potential climbing route. Our peak, Tharke Khang, looks to have a ridge line beginning from the west that appears climbable, with steep snow and ice slopes. Our base camp is comfortable with a heated dining tent and great food!

Garrett

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peak expedition

We made our from Machermo up the valley to the village of Gokyo, situated next to a beautiful aqua marine lake. After lunch a few of us hiked up nearby Gokyo Ri, at just over 17,500’. We glimpsed our unclimbed peak in the distance, still a long way off…with major challenges between us and the start of the route, about 10 miles of glacier moraine and glacier/ icefall. This will not be an easy walk to say the least…accessing the base of the route is one thing, climbing the technical ridge is another.

Exploration in essence is venturing into the unknown… and that is exactly where we are headed.

Our team is good, everyone is acclimatizing well. The weather has been favorable and we hope this trend continues. We look forward to reaching our base camp the next day or two.

Garrett Madison

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Tham Serku peak

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Ama Dablam

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Trekking through the high country towards base camp

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First view of the unclimbed peak, Tharke Khang

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At the top of Gokyo Ri today, 17,500′

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The village of Gokyo, at 15,600′ high in the Himalayas where we are staying

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At one of the Gokyo lakes today

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Our head Sherpa, Aang Phurba

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Stairway to heaven

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Old chorton (in Sherpa language) means stupa

 

Namche Bazaar! Despite the flights, the time in Kathmandu and the preparation, for me it always takes until Namche to start feel like we are moving forward. Yesterday we trekked from Phakding to Namche under a low cloud ceiling keeping it nice and cool. Arriving around 2 in the afternoon we all had time to wander the narrow streets and relax at the beautiful Panorama Lodge. This morning we woke up, ate breakfast and took a nice acclimatization hike up to the Everest View hotel. There we took in stunning views of Mt. Everest, Lhotse and the crown jewel of the Himalaya, Ama Dablam, our objective after our unclimbed peak. Now back at the Panorama, we eat lunch, rest and prepare to head off towards Khumjung in the morning. The team is healthy, strong and psyched to get moving!

Sid Pattison

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Namche is the main trading center and hub for the Khumbu region with many Nepalese officials, a police check, post and a bank

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Namche

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Team lunch with Ama Damblam in the background

Greetings from Lukla! We made it! After a couple of days of preparation in Kathmandu, today we boarded our Dornier aircraft and landed on Lukla. With most of our bags accounted for we are about to start off towards Phakding for the night. The crew is well rested, healthy and excited about finally being on our way to our unclimbed peak.

The Himalayan giants greeted us on arrival!

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Lukla

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The climbing team is safely back in Kathmandu, Nepal! We had a wonderful dinner last night and today we are sorting equipment and preparing to head home to the USA. It’s been a wonderful trip with amazing people. On November 10th we climbed to within about 100 feet of the summit of Burke Khang (22,935 feet), and did not feel that the snow cornice at the top was stable enough to climb upon, so we ‘almost’ summitted the peak. We are calling this expedition a success, because even though we did not make it to the very top of the peak, we climbed 99% of the mountain and decided to turn back because of a potential safety risk involving unstable snow at the top. All of the climbers had a great time and did not suffer any injuries, and we are much better friends after an enjoyable month together. To climb on a virgin peak was an incredible experience that will never be forgotten. The trek into base camp was spectacular, and from there to our Advanced Base Camp and up to our high camps was very challenging, with incredible views of Mount Everest. The snow and ice slopes involved sustained climbing at around 60-70 degrees. We were the only team in the area, so it was a true exploration of the mountain and surrounding peaks. We plan to return again next year for another ‘first ascent’ of an unclimbed peak in Nepal, please contact us if you would like to know more!

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Team photo at the Yak & Yeti Hotel in Kathmandu, Nepal:
Team in Kathmandu after the climb

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Final team dinner back in Kathmandu! Till next time!:Team at lunch

The Madison Mountaineering climbing team had a safe descent to Lukla airport by helicopter yesterday afternoon. Our climbing team decided to take a helicopter back to Lukla instead of the long trek down on foot. Everyone is in good condition and ready to relax and reflect on this exploratory expedition once back home. The climbing team will be picked up by plane and flown back to Kathmandu where the journey began. We will have a final dispatch written by Garrett Madison that reflects on this expedition of a lifetime in the near future.

If you have a few minutes, check out this article by CNN that discusses the physical attributes that make Sherpas superhuman mountaineers. An integral part of our high altitude expeditions is the assistance from our Sherpa family. Many thanks and continued companionship!

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Photos below were taken by Sid Pattison and Garrett Madison, enjoy!

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Sunset on Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse from our Camp 2. Photo by Sid Pattison.

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Throwing duffels on the helicopter pad before heading back to Lukla. Photo by Sid Pattison.

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Sorting gear at advanced base camp. Photo by Sid Pattison.

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Sid Pattison on the descent! Photo by Garrett Madison.

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Sid Pattison enjoying the view of a lifetime! Photo by Garrett Madison

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Looking across from Camp 2. Photo by Sid Pattison.

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Keeping it safe with fixed lines. Photo by Sid Pattison.

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Helicopter arriving at Camp 1. Photo by Sid Pattison.

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Hanging out with our sherpas at our high point, the corniced snow ridge just below the summit. Photo by Sid Pattison.

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Base Camp with prayer flags. Photo by Sid Pattison.

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The Madison Mountaineering climbing team nearly summited and reached a distance within a few hundred feet of the summit. There was a rock face that was impassable and would have presented a significant risk of collapsing. The team made the smart and safe decision. They have traversed unchartered territory and went where no man has gone before. We are extremely proud of our team. It is in the morning hours and the team has a beautiful sunrise to enjoy after this incredible accomplishment. Photos to be posted shortly!!

 

Yesterday Garrett & Sid, along with four of our climbing Sherpas went up from Camp 1 to work on fixing lines to the summit ridge. This was a slow and important step as we prepare the route for our climbing teams ascent. The route from Camp 1 follows the ridge line to the right, hard climbing but without the objective hazard (icefall, avalanches) that the less steep ‘climbers left’ potential route offers. We accomplished a lot, the lines are now just a few hours from the summit. Today Bill, Sid, and Phurba Rita Sherpa are heading up from Camp 1 to put in a small Camp 2, just below the summit ridge. Our plan is for the climbers here in Camp 1 to wake up and leave around 2 AM, an ‘alpine start’ and to climb up and join the three climbers who are in Camp 2 around 6 AM, then continue together towards the summit. We still have a bit of route setting work ahead, hopefully just a few hours along the summit ridge to the top! The climbing team is ready for this ascent and our group is in good health.

 

Here we go everyone, this is what we have been waiting for! News from the mountain will be released as soon as it is received here on the dispatch page.

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View of climbing route & Burke Khang summit from Camp 1:

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Burke Khang Expedition Update – November 5th, 2015:

Our climbing team has made it to Burke Khang Advanced Base Camp! The team is currently sleeping at an elevation of 17,713 feet. Yesterday the team made another acclimatization hike with views of giants Cho Oyu, Everest, Lhotse, & Nuptse, we also spied more unclimbed peaks for next year! Check out our Facebook page for additional photos and beautiful panoramas!! Tomorrow the climbing team will head onward to our Camp 1 and up the very technical route of rock, snow, and ice towards the summit of Burke Khang!

For family and friends who want to watch the summit push check out this link, it will show you a basic map view of the climbing groups location as they push toward the summit. The data is refreshed every 10 minutes. My personal suggestion for watching this historic summit push would be to download Google Earth on your device. Once you have this software downloaded shoot me an email at: andrew@madisonmountaineering.com. I will send you an email with instructions on how to view the climbing team’s progress on Google Earth. We have been working hard to develop this technology and will hopefully have this available in a mobile application in the near future.

Team before rappel practice. Left to right: Paul and Denise Fejtek, Bill Burke,                                                          Kathy Meyers, Garrett Madison , Nick Logic

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Rappel onto glacier practice:

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View of our route to advanced base camp, towards Everest:

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View from our hike yesterday, the Ngonzoma glacier:

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Pics from our hike to advanced 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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