October 2015

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:
Helicopter arrival into Gokyo:
BK 4
Map of the team’s current location. Burke Khang is in the very middle.
Team photo at Gokyo before our trek to base camp:
Team members departing:
Foggy morning in Gokyo before our trek to base camp:
Burke Khang 2015 Base Camp:
Burke Khang 2015 Base Camp:
Burke Khang 2015 Base Camp:
Halloween at Burke Khang!

After receiving a kind hearted blessing from the owner of the Panorama Tea House, we trekked to Khumjung at an elevation of 12,600 ft. The team witnessed devastating destruction from the earthquake that struck Nepal earlier this year. We were thankful to meet Bill’s friend, Dr. Mingma, who gave us a tour of the school and hospital that Sir Edmund Hillary built in 1961. The school started off as a two classroom facility and now educates over 350 students. We have since continued through the beautiful Himalayan valley to Machermo, a small village in the Khumbu region among the snow capped peaks of eastern Nepal. It is nestled in the Dudh Kosi River valley at an elevation of 14,665 ft, just below the Ngozumpa glacier, the longest glacier in the Himalaya region. We are all enjoying the breathtaking views of Cho Oyu, the 6th highest peak in the world! The team is bonding very well, everyone is enjoying the spectacular views, the fresh air, friendly sherpa people, and good food! Tomorrow we will trek to the village of Gokyo, the last stop before we reach base camp. Moral is high and we are all very  excited to make it to Burke Khang Base Camp. Captain Challenge continuously brings a laugh to everyone in the group. This is a truly special group of individuals!

“Do not follow where the path may lead.  Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson


Trekking toward Burke Khang Base Camp


Trekking toward Burke Khang Base Camp


Trekking toward Burke Khang Base Camp


Garrett Madison and Bill Burke:


Team relaxing and soaking up the sun!


Our sherpa head guide, Ang Phurba:



The Madison Mountaineering team has trekked to the village of Namche Bazaar! Yesterday we arrived into the village after a challenging 4,000 vertical foot hike from Phadking. This remote village is located within the Khumbu area at 3,440 metres (11,286 ft) and is nestled quietly in the hills. The crew rested, drank tea and chatted it up with other trekkers and climbers in the Panorama Hotel. The trek was as beautiful as a hike could possibly be, through mountain villages, past small tea houses along the river and across high suspension bridges. This morning we took an acclimatization hike up to the Everest View Hotel and were rewarded with spectacular panoramic views of Mt. Everest, Ama Dablam and many other giants, reminding us of the wild country ahead of us. We will now rest up and continue to acclimatize our bodies as we push further into the mountains tomorrow. Enjoying the scrumptious food here in Namche Bazaar before we are back on the trails. Garrett and Sid are some of the best chefs on the mountain, so the team will be well taken care of!

Check out this article written by Outside if you have not already!

Team Photo:


Namche Bazaar:


Namche Bazaar:image-4

Mt. Everest, Lhoste, and Ama Dablam:image-5

Trekking into Namche Bazaar: image-7

Team Photo:image


Well, we’ve begun! The first leg of our journey to climb Burke-Khang is done. This morning we awoke around 4:30AM to catch our flight into the infamous Lukla airport, the portal the the Himalaya. Stoke was high as we filed into the small twin prop Dornier aircraft and soon we were in the sky, flying over deep, lush valleys, a stark contrast to the environment we are heading into just a short week away. The 45 minute flight deposited us into the unlikely hanging town of Lukla. Here we further sorted gear, helped (as much as we could) the porters pack the Yaks and before long we were off down the trail to the village of Phakding. The wonderful trail meanders through small villages and past tea houses with beautiful views the entire way. While wondering through the small villages we spoke with the locals and received best wishes for the journey ahead.

Here in Phakding, Garrett, Sid and the crew are resting, eating and preparing for the longer trek to Namche Bazaar in the morning where they will take an acclimatization day and prepare to head up to the Gokyo Valley and ultimately Burke-Khang.

image-2 image-5 image-6 image-7 image

With the team just about complete the day was spent putting final touches on packing, eating good food and everybody getting reacquainted. The weather today was in the 70’s with a low at night in the mid 50’s. The team has a great energy and can not wait to begin this historic climb. Today the expedition finally started to feel real, people were here, people were packed and people were psyched to head out! While Garrett finalized some logistical tasks at the office Sid helped the crew find minor pieces of gear they needed in Kathmandu. We all regrouped in the evening and went out for out first team dinner at Kilroys, a wonderful roof top restaurant known to serve up delicious fare. We laughed, ate and told stories of past climbs. Stuffed and happy we all made it back to the Yak and Yeti to zip up the zippers on our duffles for the 5am wake up to fly to Lukla to begin our 9 day trek to the very remote Gokyo Valley and eventually to our base camp. The team is gearing up for liftoff!!

Keep your browser set to this page because the expedition we are about to embark on is incredible!

BurkeKhang3 BurkeKhang4

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!

BurkeKhang1 BurkeKhang2

The Madison Mountaineering team is preparing for a expedition to the highest island peak in the world! This massive rock formation is the largest mountain in Indonesia as well as the Australian continent. Carstensz Pyramid, or Puncak Jaya, is one of the least climbed peaks in the “7 Summits” and a formidable objective located in Papua, Indonesia. Our expedition will begin in the beautiful island of Bali, where the team will then fly to Timika then Sugapa to begin the trek to base camp. Madison Mountaineering’s high end logistics, local staff relationships, and mountain guide experience ensure the group will be well taken care of throughout this expedition.


Carstensz Pyramid was developed by the collision between the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates. The rock formation that exists today is composed of limestone that rises from the thick forest below to just over 16,000′. This mountain ascent will be a exciting adventure filled with many challenging rock formations. Along the ascent the team will push through multiple glacier fields across the mountain such as Carstensz Glacier. Upon reaching the peak the summit will typically be free of ice. The team’s rock climbing ability to ascents includes mostly 5th class terrain on fixed ropes. Stay tuned as this expedition prepares to launch!!

Carstensz Pyramid

The Madison Mountaineering team is preparing to depart for the highest peaks in Ecuador. At the summit of Chimborazo, we will be at the farthest point from the Earth’s surface! Located in the Andes mountain range this inactive volcano is believed to have erupted around 550AD. The Ecuador volcanoes offer a magnificent climbing on high altitude glaciated peaks. During this expedition we have ample time for technical skills review with the team. During this process our knowledgable guides will be able to share tips and mountain wisdom with the group. The volcanoes the team will be traveling to are located just outside the capital city of Quito. With Quito as our base, we ascend these Ecuadorian giants, and rest between climbs in Hacienda style lodges that provide an outstanding relaxation and dining experience. Our camps on these volcanoes are either European style mountain huts or tent camps. Reaching a altitude of over 20,000ft on Chimborazo, the views from the summit will be nothing short of spectacular! Past trips have explored to nearby Cotopaxi, yet in recent events mother nature has called and this volcano is now active. Needless to say we will be keeping our distance and monitoring the volcanoes activity.

Ecuador Volcanoes

In just over a month the Madison Mountaineering team will depart for Antarctica! This expedition will bring climbers to Vinson Massif, standing at 16,050ft. Part of the Ellsworth mountain range, Mt. Vinson is the highest peak in Antarctica, approx. 600 miles from the South Pole and over 1,200 miles from the beginning of the Antarctic Peninsula. A pristine land of ice, snow, and rock, Antarctica is actually a desert, with the least precipitation of any continent on Earth. Leading this expedition will be Garrett Madison, who is perhaps one of the best ‘expedition leaders’ in regards to balancing climber safety, reaching the summit, and having a great time throughout the program. The ascent of Mt. Vincent will be broken up into multiple stages, with two higher camps above our base camp. The average temperature is well below 0°F and occasionally the winds can reach up to 40 mph. Luckily this ascent will be in the summer season in the southern hemisphere with 24 hours of daylight in Antarctica. This epic adventure will begin in the Tierra del Fuego or ‘Land of Fire’ in Chile’s southernmost city of Punta Arenas, located on the straight of Magellan. Stay tuned as the Madison Mountaineering team prepares to launch this fall expedition.

Igloo Camping

The Madison Mountaineering team is excited to be leaving for Nepal on October 16th to begin our expedition to Burke Khang, an unclimbed peak in Nepal! In May of 2014, the government of Nepal officially opened up for exploration 104 new peaks in the Himalayan mountain range. Burke Khang is 22,775 feet high and is geographically situated between Mt. Everest and Cho-Oyu. It is unclimbed and, like Everest and Cho Oyu, is a border peak, since it sits on the border of Nepal and Tibet. In April 2015, Garrett and Bill Burke completed a helicopter reconnaissance of Burke Khang. After assessing the mountain terrain the team successfully outlined a route to the summit. Here is a photograph showing the upper section of the mountain with our proposed route to the summit. Stay tuned everyone this is going to be an epic adventure!!Burke Khang

Translate »