Madison Mountaineering Everest 2017 Recap, “The Leader” on Everest
Success / Safety:
All of our climbers and Sherpas are off the mountain and now and preparing to head home! We have had a fantastically successful expedition, with all 8 of our clients reaching the summit of Everest, along with 4 American guides, and 15 Sherpas. We also had several of our climbers complete the Everest & Lhotse “peak to peak” combination, where they climbed Mount Lhotse (4th highest mountain) the day after reaching the summit of Mount Everest. This amazing and unmatched level of success among all the teams on Mount Everest is secondary to our number one priority, that all members (clients, guides, & Sherpas) made it safely off the peak.
Rope Fixing to the Summit:
Our team took the lead in partnership with the British – Nepal Gurkha team in fixing the ropes to the summit of Mount Everest on May 15th. This was not part of our original plan, as the rope-fixing project was taken upon by several other teams at the start of the season. Unfortunately, after several mishaps, the lead team had to abandon the rope-fixing project along with their partners. Without any clear consensus on how or when the lines would be put in to the summit, our team stepped up to finish the job. This “mission critical” project was necessary so that teams could begin their summit attempts on Mount Everest, with teams reaching the summit the following day on May 16th and continuing to reach the summit today. We are glad that our team had the capability and prowess to organize and execute such an important task, when no other teams on the mountain could summon such an effort, at such a critical stage in the climbing season.
Our team was at the South Col when several climbers who had pushed themselves very hard on summit day returned and needed critical medical attention. Our guides came to assist with medicine (dexamethasone, etc) and supplemental oxygen. However, what stands out the most is that one of our veteran guides, Brent Bishop, along with our Sherpas, rescued the Slovak Climber from the Balcony (27,500’), lowering him all the way down to the South Col high camp. Our Sherpas gave up their oxygen for him to use on the descent. This heroic effort by Brent and our Sherpas involved abandoning their own summit attempt, just hours away from the top, and spending the day giving their all in an effort to save a life.
We feel very fortunate that our expedition was a stunning success. We attribute this to our careful team selection and training, our top notch Everest guides and leadership, and of course our incredible Sherpa team who we invest heavily in year after year.
Photo: At the top of Mount Everest on May 23rd, 2017
Our Sherpa team in base camp
Descending Mount Everest with a little wind on our summit day!
View from the top!!
Summit ridge of Mount Everest all to ourselves May 23rd, 2017
We are now going to relax and enjoy the post summit euphoria before returning to our friends, families, and loved ones, as well as our busy lives back home! Thanks for following along!
Mount Everest 2017 Guide Billy Nugent
Moved from the Chicago area to Washington in 1999 to attend the University of Puget Sound where he found the Cascade Mountains and ultimately climbing. Before starting out as a professional guide in 2005 he spent the previous several years completing his BS in chemistry, working as a fisherman in Alaska, and as a chemist in Seattle. And for the last ten years he’s been guiding a seasonal circuit that takes him from Argentina and Ecuador, to Alaska, and then back to Rainier and the North Cascades, with an occasional bonus trip to Mexico or Antarctica. Billy loves living outside and enjoys surfing, riding, climbing, and music in his spare time.
Mt. Everest (3 expeditions)
Mt. Rainier (125+ summits via 6 routes)
Denali (9 expeditions)
Aconcagua (8 expeditions)
Vinson Massif (1 expedition)
Orizaba (2 expeditions)
Cotopaxi and Cayambe (8 expeditions)
Mt Baker (4 summits via 4 routes)
Mt. Adams (3 summits via 3 routes)
North Cascades (numerous alpine routes)
Wilderness First Responder, CPR
Outdoor Emergency Care
AIARE Avalanche Level II
Leave No Trace Trainer
AMGA member and Rock Guide Course graduate
Our Trekkers left Kathmandu this morning on the way to Lukla, but due to quickly deteriorating weather conditions the aircraft was diverted to Phaplou, nearby Lukla. The team will spend the night there and attempt to finish the flight tomorrow morning. All is well, and we are keeping our fingers crossed for good weather tomorrow!
Today we caught the first flight out of Kathmandu to Lukla! We lucked out before the clouds and rain, and trekked through lush green river valleys and over suspension bridges to our destination for the evening, the Paradise lodge in Phakding. We are very happy to be on our way to Everest base camp! The fresh mountain air is a nice change from the bustling capital city of Kathmandu. Our trekking team’s flight could not land at Lukla so currently they are in Phaplu, and will try to fly to Lukla later today or tomorrow. Here is a photo of our team on the trek today, and another of our plane taking off on the runway at Lukla after dropping us off.
Arrival into Tenzing Hillary Airport, Lukla
The Madison Mountaineering Spring 2016 Everest trekking season has officially launched! Today our second trekking team of the season is arriving in the capital city of Kathmandu, Nepal. Trekking through the Khumbu Valley to Everest base camp is a life changing experience for many, as the spectacular mountain scenery integrated with Sherpa culture and Buddhist religion makes for a truly engaging combination. Our team’s will follow the same route to Base Camp as the Everest climbers and recount the historical ascents with the climbers who share our lodges along the way.
Beautiful photos taken by Fred Crosetto below from our first Spring 2016 Everest Trek! Enjoy 🙂
Madison Mountaineering climbers around the world are gearing up for Everest 2016! In a few short weeks we will converge in Kathmandu, Nepal and begin the journey to Mount Everest, known by the locals as Sagarmāthā. Mount Everest is Earth’s highest mountain at 8,848m (29,035ft) above sea level. Here in Seattle,WA our team is actively preparing mountaineering gear, food supplies, and taking care of other important expedition logistics before our departure. We look forward to returning to Nepal to witness and share with you the growth and progress that has been made since last year’s season ending earthquake.
Stay tuned! 🙂
Interesting Everest Fact: The international border between Tibet and Nepal runs across Everest’s precise summit point.
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!
Guides Garrett Madison & Sid Pattison are in Kathmandu, preparing for the expedition as the climbing team members trickle in from the USA. The Kathmandu Metropolitan City has a population level of over three million people and is Nepal’s largest city. We spent most of today organizing gear and food for our expedition. We received awesome gear from our good Seattle friends at Filson. We also received Truth Bars made by our friends at Forte. Thank you for your support!! The streets of Kathmandu feel very empty, compared to what is normal. The fuel shortage in Nepal has resulted in not many vehicles on the roads, however the Nepalese people are out and going about life as normal. International airlines have cancelled many of their flights into the country. Thousands of locals have formed mile-long lines with the hope of receiving fuel in the coming days. The country’s unrest increased nearly two weeks ago, when India’s authorities refused to refuel Nepalese oil tankers. This comes at a hard time as the country is still recovering from the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck April 25th, 2015. This nation will continue to come together as a resilient people and overcome these obstacles.
Today we received our expedition permit, as tomorrow the Nepalese holiday of Dashein begins and the ministry of tourism office will be closed for a week. The temperature is in the 60’s and is very pleasant. We are quickly adjusting to the nearly 13 hour time difference between Seattle and Nepal. Team picture and pre-expedition announcement will be shared soon!