On July 12th we were blessed with near perfect weather and climbing conditions when we reached Mount Elbrus North Summit in Russia, the highest peak in all of Europe at 18,506′, and one of the ‘seven summits’ on Earth. David, Matthew, and myself began our climb from our high camp at 11 PM on July 11th, as the elevation gain from high camp to the summit of Mount Elbrus is 6,200′, a big summit day! With a slight breeze we made our way up the glaciated slopes of Mount Elbrus in the dark using our headlamps, up to Lenz Rocks at 15,000′, then onward up the glacier to the saddle which is in between the East and West (highest) summits of Mount Elbrus. We continued on up the West summit to the highest point in all of Europe at 9:30 AM, had unobstructed views as far as the eye can see, it was truly a magnificent day. We then descended back down and reached our high camp in the early afternoon. The following day we descended back down to base camp where we had a nice dinner and shower and slept in our comfortable cabin. Yesterday we drove from the base camp on Mount Elbrus back to the town of Pyatigorsk and had a celebration dinner, now we are heading to St. Petersburg for some sightseeing and then home. It has been a wonderful trip!
Note: This was a ‘North Side’ climb of Mount Elbrus, whereas our regular and other recent programs on are on the ‘South Side’ of Mount Elbrus. Madison Mountaineering has led successful expeditions on both sides of Mount Elbrus, and as a boutique mountaineering guide service we strive to develop customer expeditions for intrepid climbers!
Garrett and Matthew gazing at Mount Elbrus from the hotel in Pyatigorsk
Summit selfie at the top of Mount Elbrus
Garrett and our driver Yuri enjoying dinner in base camp
Matthew and David on the approach to high camp
Matthew and David on the summit of Mount Elbrus
Watching the sun rise from up high on the glaciated slopes of Mount Elbrus
David and Matthew descending from high camp after a successful summit of Mount Elbrus!
Mount Elbrus north route summit!! Congratulations to our team of climbers for making a safe and successfully ascent of the tallest mountain in Europe. Listen to our audio dispatch below, Garrett Madison checking in after reaching the summit with David and Matthew. Photos and complete expedition recap will be posted shortly. Onward and upward!
Garrett with David and Matthew at high camp at the north side of Mount Elbrus, roughly 12,500ft. Our team did a acclimatization hike today. Plan to rest tomorrow and then go to the summit tomorrow night. Hopefully summit the morning of the 12th then return to high camp that day. Descend back to base camp on the 13th, everyone is doing well and excited to make the summit ascent!
Pictures to come!! Onward and upward!
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 Mount Everest 2017 expedition is coming to an end! This morning our entire team navigated through the Khumbu icefall and arrived safely from Camp 2 back to base camp. With successful ascents of Mount Everest and Lhotse, our entire team is thankful for safe passage and excited to return home to family and loved ones. We are incredibly proud of our guides, climbers and Sherpa for working together as a team to accomplish our goals. For dinner we enjoyed steak and chicken with a few bottles of bubbly to celebrate our season. Tomorrow our team will helicopter out back to Kathmandu to conclude their expedition in the Himalayas.
Make sure to follow us on social as we will continue to post photos and videos from this expedition!
Facebook / Instagram / Twitter @MadisonMtng
Navigating the icefall at night. Photo: AndersC
Welcome back to base camp Ingvild!! (Everest+Lhotse summits)
Conan, Drew and Allan returning back to base camp
Billy, Garrett, Sid and Phurba
Safe travels John!
Allan taking off back to Kathmandu. Safe travels!
Descent from summit of Lhotse
Lhotse summit with Makalu in the background
Congrats to climbers Sid Pattison and IngvildS for a successful Lhotse summit today! They made the ascent with Lakpa Dandi in great time and are now safe and sound at Camp 2. Our main team moved down from Camp 4 today and are now resting at Camp 2 before making the final descent to base camp. We’ve had an incredible expedition and look forward to having our team back down safely. We posted a beautiful 360-photo from the summit of Lhotse today on Facebook, check it out here! Epic photos below from guide Geoff Schellens 🙂
Moving up from Camp 3 on the Lhotse face.
Toward the summit of Lhotse
Moving toward Everest summit
Ascent of Everest
Sid Pattison and IngvildS after an amazing summit today!! L for… Lhotse!!
After a successful summit on both Mount Everest (main team) and Lhotse (private team) today, our climbers made a safe descent and are now resting at Camp 4 on the South Col. With high winds today our team bunkered down in their tents after returning from their summit push. Guide Sid Pattison and climber IngvildS will climb Lhotse tonight if the weather allows. The rest of our team will return to Camp 2 tomorrow and base camp the following day. Summit photos and video will be posted soon! 🙂
Private guide Geoff Schellens and climber JohnS successfully summited Lhotse this morning! After their summit they made a safe descent to Camp 2. Tomorrow morning they will depart Camp 2 and will arrive back in to base camp before lunch time. We are incredibly proud of all our climbers and can’t wait to have the entire team back down to base camp safe and sound.
Looking up from Camp 4 toward the summit of Everest
Amazing news from Nepal, Mount Everest 2017 summit success!! This morning our entire climbing team reached the summit with clear conditions and light wind at 8848 meters. After snapping a few pictures our team is now making their descent back down to Camp 4. Congratulations to the following:
Guides: Garrett Madison, Conan Bliss, Billy Nugent
Climbers: JohnK, AlinaZ, AllanM, IngvildS, DrewM, EllenG
Sherpa: Ang Phurba, Lakpa Dendi, Nurbu Sherpa, Pasang Dawa, Pemba Sherpa, K.B. Thapa, Tsherine Bhote, Ming Dorjee, Shere Thapa, Chhombi Sherpa, Shamgbu Bhote, Kam Dorjee, Phurba Bhote
Once the team arrives back to Camp 4, a few will evaluate their conditions and make a decision on climbing Lhotse tonight with guides Garrett and Sid Pattison. Guide Geoff Schellens and JohnS successfully summited Lhotse this morning!! The conditions were beautiful today with clear skies and 360 views!
This evening here on Everest our climbing teams had a short weather delay, then around 10pm left Camp 4 for the summit. Looking outside, the mountain is still and thousands of stars light up the sky. Little to no wind now here at base camp. Our main climbing team is currently making their ascent of Mount Everest, as they are moving well we expect them to approach the summit by sunrise.
Geoff (private guide) and JohnS. are currently climbing Lhotse together with Shidi Tamang. As our climbers approach the summits we will send another update here from base camp. Pictures and video to come 🙂
To the top!