December 2016

There are few places like the beautiful Shira Camp sunrise on Mount Kilimanjaro. Looking out over the jungle, seeing Meru peaking up above the clouds watching the frost give way to sun warmth is fantastic. Today the team rocked our acclimatization day climbing up to 15,000ft to the Lava Tower! We moved confidently and steadily up, happy to see our lunch tent through the mist. We dined in luxury on chicken, pasta, sandwiches and fresh fruit while trying out best to master the Swahili phrases of gratitude we have been learning. After a good break we descended down through the Hidden Moorlands of indescribable beauty. Wandering past waterfalls, clumps of wild Dr. Suess trees we arrived at Baranco Camp at 12,750ft. Red blood cells freshly oxygenated, we rest before dinner.

Sid Pattison

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Finally on Mount Kilimanjaro after our jungle trek! Sometimes in climbing, the toughest part is waiting to start. Like a runner in the starting blocks, we waited and prepared. Yesterday we set off and now have our first day under our belt. We steadily climbed through the jungle seeing monkeys and beautifully colored birds who’s names I wish I knew to Machame camp at 9500ft in elevation. The group is strong and psyched to be here. We ate, rested and sleep like babies.

This morning we were greeted to sun and our first views of Kilimanjaro! The team did great grinding up from 9000ft to our 12000ft Shira camp. As we climbed up out of the last of the jungle, past the majestic Erica trees we were treated with fleeting views of the jungle below. Dinner and rest was well earned now we shall all sleep like baby giraffes.

Sid Pattison

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“We have enjoyed a couple of nice evenings in Mendoza and Penitentes, savoring the fine Argentine cuisine and gearing up for our climb. We are very excited to begin our trek to Aconcagua base camp today. The trek to base camp is about 36 miles, and we plan to cover this distance over 3 days.  Recently there has been significant snowfall in base camp, so we are preparing for ‘adverse’ conditions when we arrive, but we hope that the typical hot & sunny weather this time of year will return soon.  Our team members Randy, Peter, Erik, Tom, and guides Javier and myself are all looking forward to getting started on the trail and making our way to the mountain.  It’s great to be back here in Argentina and climbing the highest peak outside of Asia, also the highest in the western and southern hemisphere.”

Garrett Madison

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Peter Rosenfeld, Garrett Madison, Tom Dimler, Erik Richardson, Randy Perkins

Under promising sky’s we load up the jeep, packed, ready and psyched to climb! Tonight we sleep in the jungle at the foot of the tallest mountain in Africa! We couldn’t be more ready! –Sid Pattison

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After many hours of travel and several times zones we all made it to Tanzania! This morning we met up, excitedly talked about our climb and sorted gear. Stoke is high as we prepare for our climb! With gear packed we are off to Arusha to explore the city a bit and pick up some last minute items. Tomorrow we are off!

-Sid Pattison

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The Madison Mountaineering climbing team will soon be arriving in Mendoza, Argentina to begin our December expedition of the highest mountain in the western and southern hemispheres.  Aconcagua stands at an impressive 6,962m (22,834 ft.) above sea level and is great training for high altitude peaks in the Himalaya. Please follow our dispatches as we journey from the lush wine region of Mendoza (known for grass fed beef and Malbec) to the arid slopes of the Vacas Valley and up to the base of the Polish Glacier, before making our way to the highest point in the Andes.  Aconcagua is known at times for high winds (100mph) and sub zero temps, as well as the high altitude extreme environment. This mountain is never an easy feat and over half the climbers who attempt are turned back.

The mountain and its surroundings are part of the Aconcagua Provincial Park. The mountain has a number of glaciers. The largest glacier is the Ventisquero Horcones Inferior at about 10 km long, which descends from the south face to about 3,600 m altitude near the Confluencia camp. Our climbers will begin on the eastern side of the mountain, by trekking along the Vacas River to Plaza Argentina base camp. From here we ascend the non technical false polish and then upper Guanacos route to our high camp.

Stay tuned!

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Sid Pattison and Garrett Madison preparing to climb around the world this month!

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