May 2016

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Today our climbing team rested at camp 2 and will prepare for the upcoming ascent to Camp 3 in the days to come. The weather forecast is calling for increased winds higher on the mountain and our team is planning to hold at Camp 2 and wait for the conditions to settle. Currently we are expecting a summit date between May 17-20 based on current forecasts. The team is in good health and spirits and will enjoy the spectacular views around them. We sent up today a Scrabble game and a few card games to keep the team occupied as they wait for the weather to settle on the summit.

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Beautiful photo taken on the team’s climb to Camp 2!

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Today our climbing team enjoyed a rest day at Camp 2 on Everest and celebrated the great news that our collaborative Sherpa team successfully reached the summit of Everest today at 5:10pm our time. Lakpa Chiring Sherpa from Pangboche represented Madison Mountaineering and stood on top of the world earlier today. This was a group effort among a few other lead teams here this season and marks the first summit of the year from the south side. We are very happy that the ropes and fixed lines have been set and now our climbing team is awaiting the weather window to push for the summit. Right now the weather forecasts are calling for increased winds which could possibly push our anticipated summit date back a few days. Early tomorrow morning our Sherpa team will bring food and supplies up to Camp 2 as we wait for the weather to clear.

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Climbing Sherpa Team

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After a early alpine start this morning our entire team is now safely resting at Camp 2 on their summit rotation. Our team will plan to rest at Camp 2 for an additional day before making the ascent to Camp 3 on Everest. Weather reports are looking positive for our original summit date between May 14-16. Tomorrow morning we will receive a detailed weather report from Michael Fagin in Seattle which will provide our team with the forecasts needed to make the decision. Our Sherpa team higher on the mountain is securing the route and fixed lines to the summit and is on track for success. It has been snowing pretty consistently here at base camp in the afternoon’s with the sun shining earlier in the day. Communication systems are back up and running and we will check in tomorrow at the same time. Onward!

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Our season has progressed very well so far, our fingers are crossed for good weather and climbing conditions in the days ahead!  At this point our climbers have completed 2 ‘rotations’ on Mount Everest, reaching Camp 3.  Of our 10 climbers & 4 American mountain guides, 3 climbers have left the expedition in recent weeks due to medical / altitude complications, although everyone on the team is very strong and qualified, sometimes the mountain decides that it is not your season to climb to the summit.

Our plan is to climb up to Camp 2 on May 10th and evaluate the weather forecast and the summit route fixing progress, and if all looks good then we will likely make a summit bid between May 14-16.  Currently, our 7 climbers and 4 guides, along with most of our 18 climbing Sherpas will be in position to go for the summit should conditions allow, as well as our high altitude cameraman.  Our plan is to climb together, as a team, so that we can choose the best day in the weather forecast for our summit bid as well as have all of our resources and manpower available to ensure a safe and successful summit attempt .  This definitely sets our team apart from others in that we are the largest / strongest ‘stand alone’ guided team on the mountain that climbs together.  While there are a few larger teams at base camp, they don’t climb together but rather have to stagger their climbers in separate summit attempts on different days to accommodate their large group size, thinning out resources / manpower and often not able to take advantage of the best weather for a summit day.

We are very proud of our climbing Sherpas who have contributed to the rope fixing effort high on Mount Everest, alongside a few other well equipped teams on the mountain.  While there are about 20 teams on the mountain this year, it’s only a small few that are able to set the route.  Our team of climbing Sherpas has been working hard carrying loads and fixing ropes up high on the mountain, they will be climbing with us over the next few days.

We hope Mount Everest (Chomolungma / Sagarmatha) will allow us to visit her summit and return safely.  If, after arriving at Camp 2 and evaluating the weather forecast / summit fixing progress we do not feel we have an optimum chance for our summit attempt between May 14-16, then we will focus our efforts on the next weather window, most likely sometime around May 19-20.

-Garrett Madison

Early this morning our team departed base camp for Camp 2. They should be arriving shortly and will rest most of the afternoon. Yesterday we had a large snow storm that knocked our communication system offline. Things seem to be back to normal now and I will plan to post this evening at 10pm our time.

-Andrew

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Garrett ~ Expedition Leader

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Andrew ~ Base Camp Manager

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Conan ~ Guide

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Billy ~ Guide

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Fred ~ High Altitude Camera Man / Guide

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Brent ~ High Altitude Camera Man / Guide

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Bhola ~ Base Camp Sirdar

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Jim ~ Climber

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Jeff ~ Climber

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Ankur ~ Climber

 

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Nick ~ Climber

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Stuart ~ Climber

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Joel ~ Climber

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Lisa ~ Climber

 

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Today our climbing team departed Namche and enjoyed their scenic helicopter ride coming back through the Khumbu Valley to Everest Base Camp. We all enjoyed the powerful Airbus B3e helicopter’s that are among the most powerful in the business. I was able to post a few videos on our Madison Mountaineering FB page today of our team boarding the heli’s in Namche, check them out here! Our pilot was from Switzerland and made three trips shuttling our team back to base camp. Having enjoyed a couple days of shopping and great food in Namche the team is well rested and ready to begin the journey to the top of Mt. Everest. Tonight for dinner we enjoyed fried chicken, pot stickers, mixed vegetables, pasta, and a wonderful apple pie for dessert.

Based on current weather predictions that we have received the conditions on Everest are optimal for the next week or so before the winds begin to pick up higher on the mountain. Our team will gear up and prepare to begin the summit ascent tomorrow evening. We are all very excited here at base camp with positive energy being felt among the group. Through the summit ascent I will begin to post daily dispatches routinely at about 10pm our time. We do occasionally have breaks in wifi and if so I will post as soon as I am able.

For immediate family I can be reached throughout this ascent at: andrew@madisonmountaineering.com

To the top!

-Andrew

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After a successful second rotation on Mount Everest, our entire climbing team decided to helicopter to Namche to rest at a lower altitude and prepare themselves for the summit rotation. Billy and team will be staying at the Panorama Lodge in Namche, with small luxuries such as individual showers and heated blankets. I’m sure the team will also enjoy the delicious bakery which is very close to their lodge. Current plan is to helicopter back to Everest base camp in the next 1-2 days depending on the weather forecasts higher on the mountain. Our preferred weather window is quickly approaching. For now the team will relax and rest their bodies before returning for their final rotation to the top of the world.

Our Sherpa team has assisted in the line fixing through Camp 4 and have placed oxygen at the strategic locations for our next rotation. Once climbers reach Camp 2 they will be ascending with oxygen. This next week will be exciting so stay tuned!

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Today we had a wonderful lunch of cheese burgers and fresh baked pie as all of our climbers arrived into base camp. Now that we have concluded our second rotation the team will enjoy a few days of rest and recovery at lower altitude. Tomorrow morning we have scheduled a Airbus B3e helicopter coming into base camp (weather permitting) to take members of our climbing team down to Namche. Right now we have the B3e making three trips to base camp to shuttle our team down valley. Over the next 5-6 days our team will travel back down the Khumbu to rest at a lower altitude before returning for the final summit rotation. Garrett discussed with the team that by doing this it allows you to come back stronger and perform better on the summit rotation. We discussed as a team today that we WILL NOT be summiting on the 13th of this month, which happens to be a Friday! 😉

Tonight we had a few laughs after dinner while watching Happy Gilmore. Now the team is getting some well deserved sleep!

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Burgers, fries and a Coke for lunch!

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Pretty impressive baking skills for 17,500ft! 

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Jeff G. coming up toward Camp 3. You can see Camp 2 toward the bottom left.

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After departing Camp 2 at around 5am this morning, members of our climbing team wrapped up a successful second rotation and returned to base camp. The team had a positive experience up on the mountain and as you can see below enjoyed spectacular views along the way (more pictures to come!). The weather was cold and windy at night and heated up considerably during the day while climbing. Billy, Joel and Jim are spending an additional acclimatization night at Camp 2 with Brent and will be coming back down to base camp tomorrow. The team is in good health and we all look forward to a week of R&R before our last rotation.

The many teams at base camp from around the world are working together now to fix the ropes up through Camp 4, we expect this to happen tomorrow. At this point we will be able to begin to put in place the gear and oxygen necessary for our summit rotation. Michael Fagin, our meteorologist based in Seattle, will soon be reporting to us the weather window for summit day. Our team has been training for months in preparation for the days to come, we are all very excited to begin the ascent to the top of of the world. Stay tuned!

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Camp Two viewed from Camp Three

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Camp Two

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Madison Mountaineering 2016 Everest Team

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On the ascent toward Camp Three

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Today our team woke up at 6:30am and began the climb toward Camp 3 at 7,200m (23,625ft). The weather today is beautiful with no clouds in sight. Yesterday our climbers took a rest day at Camp 2 after the direct ascent from base camp. The game plan for today is to touch Camp 3 then return to Camp 2 for the night. Tomorrow our team will come back down the mountain and arrive at base camp early afternoon. A few members of the team are planning to helicopter back down to Namche for 3-4 nights to rest at lower altitude before returning for the summit rotation. We are expecting 5-6 days between this next rotation depending on the weather window for our summit push.

All climbers are in good health and we are all looking forward to the next rotation!

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Ankur enjoying the view of Everest!

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Climbers moving up from Camp 1

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After a alpine start this morning our climbing team safely arrived in Camp 2 this afternoon. Waking up at 11:30pm our team had a quick breakfast before taking off into the icefall. The weather conditions were clear through the night with snow rolling in throughout the morning. Garrett reports from Camp 2 that the team is tired but all in good condition after the big push. The plan is to rest tomorrow at Camp 2 then touch Camp 3 the following day. In total spending 4 nights on the mountain for this second rotation before coming back down to base camp.

Brent and Kent are acclimatizing here at base camp and will go on a hike toward Pumori tomorrow morning. They plan to climb to Camp 1 the following day. The summit window for Everest will be arriving shortly, stay tuned as we journey to the top of the world!

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