Union Glacier Camp

Our final Mount Vinson expedition of the season was able to go all the way from Mount Vinson High Camp to Union Glacier Camp in a day.  Listen in to expedition leader Garrett Madison‘s audio expedition dispatch:

Hello!  This is Garrett calling in for the Mount Vinson expedition with Jim Lumberg and Garrett Madison (in conjunction with PolarExplorers).  Today is January 19th and we have arrived back at Union Glacier Camp.  We had a great summit yesterday on Mount Vinson, the highest peak in Antarctica.  Today we woke up at High Camp, packed up our camp, descended down to Low Camp, and then all the way to Vinson Base Camp.  We were very fortunate to be met by a Twin Otter aircraft which then shuttled us 45-minutes back to Union Glacier Camp, the main hub here in Antarctica.


The plan is that tomorrow we hope to fly out on the llyshun jet back to Punta Arenas, Chile.  Then, in the next few days, be homeward bound.  We were very lucky to get out today from Mount Vinson to Union Glacier.  We are both doing well, just had a great dinner, and looking forward to some much needed rest.


Thanks for following along.  We will check in soon.

(photo:  Madison Mountaineering 2019 Mount Vinson team two)

Climbing up Mount Vinson

This just in from expedition leader, Garrett Madison.  Our third and final expedition of the season reached the Mount Vinson summit making 3 for 3!

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for Mount Vinson expedition with Jim Lumberg and Garrett Madison.  Today is January 18th and we summited Mount Vinson today!  We had a beautiful summit day with the mountain all to ourselves.  We are back at High Camp about to have some pad thai dehydrated meals.


Our plan is to head down tomorrow to Vinson Base Camp and hopefully soon catch a flight to back to Union Glacier Camp.  It’s been a great climb so far.  We just have to get down the steep fixed rope section tomorrow and down on to Vinson Base Camp.


All is well here and it’s been a wonderful expedition!  This is Garrett Madison and Madison Mountaineering in collaboration with PolarExplorers.

(photo:  Madison Mountaineering 2019 team two)

Branscomb Ridge

Our final Mount Vinson expedition, in conjunction with PolarExplorers, made the move to High Camp today as reported in the satellite phone dispatch from expedition leader, Garrett Madison:

Hi, this is Garrett calling in for the Mount Vinson expedition number three with Garret and Jim Lumberg.  We are up at high camp today on January 17th.  We made the push from Low Camp up to High Camp after waking up this morning at Low Camp and having a nice breakfast.  Then we climbed up the fixed ropes about 1,000 meters or 3,300 feet to High Camp.  It was a little cool and windy once we got to High Camp.  But we managed to set up tents, get some water going, had dinner.  And now we are tucked into our sleeping bags, ready for a nice long sleep.


There were a couple of other teams that were up here and summitted today:  the Alpine Ascents and IMG crews.  They will be heading down tomorrow and it will be just us up here!  So we are looking forward to having the mountain all to ourselves.  We are going to take a rest day tomorrow and see what the weather forecast brings for a potential summit the following day.


Everything is great here on Vinson!  We will check in soon.

(photo:  Madison Mountaineering Vinson 2019 team two)

Twin Otter aircraft at Vinson base camp

Our third and final Mount Vinson expedition for 2019 got going in style today, moving all the way from Union Glacier to Mount Vinson Low Camp as reported by expedition leader, Garrett Madison:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for Mount Vinson expedition number three:  Garrett Madison and Jim Lumberg in collaboration with PolarExplorers!  Today we left Union Glacier camp and flew via Twin Otter aircraft to Mount Vinson base camp at 7,800 ft..  We rigged our sleds and backpacks and started climbing up to Low Camp.  It took us about five and a half hours to get to Low Camp.  We arrived, pitched our tents, fired up our stoves, started melting snow for water, and cooked a great dinner.  Now we’re getting ready for bed.


Tomorrow our plan is to climb up the fixed ropes to High Camp, gaining just over 3,000 ft..  Then we will settle into High Camp around 12,400 ft. and see what the weather brings.  We are both doing well here!  It’s a beautiful day on Mount Vinson – sunny / no wind.  We are the only ones here in camp, so we have the mountain to ourselves!  It’s really special to be here.


We will check in soon.  Thanks!

(photo:  Vinson 2019 team two from earlier this week)

Our Vinson expedition team had a big day today as reported by expedition leader, Garrett Madison:

Hello!  This is Garrett calling in for the Mount Vinson expedition team number two.


Today is Friday, January 11th and we have reached Union Glacier camp!  We had a great day descending from our high camp on Mount Vinson all the way down to Vinson base camp.  And then we were picked up by a Twin Otter aircraft and flown back to Union Glacier camp where we all are now tucked into our tents and looking forward to a good night’s rest.


The team will be here at Union Glacier camp for a few days until the scheduled flight back to Punta Arenas on the Ilyushin-76 aircraft on January 14th.  So all’s well here, everybody’s doing great.  We had a wonderful summit day, again yesterday.  Everyone made it to the top and down safe and we had wonderful views of Antarctica from the highest point on the continent.


Thank so much for following along.

(photo:  Madison Mountaineering archives)

Best Christmas

100% summit success reported by expedition leader Garrett Madison:

Hello!  This is Garrett calling in for the Mount Vinson expedition team two.  Today, January 10th, our entire team made it up to the summit of Mount Vinson, the highest peak in Antarctica.  We got to the top around 4:00 PM today – myself, Conan Bliss, Shawn, Fon, Linda, and Paul.  We had a great day, nice views from the top, a little breezy up there, but not too bad.  Everyone made it safe back down to High Camp.  We had a good dinner here at High Camp:  some salmon and some potatoes and noodles.


Our plan is to head down to Vinson Base Camp tomorrow, on the 11th of January.  And then, from there, hopefully soon after to Union Glacier Camp.  Everyone is doing great, we had a wonderful summit day, very thankful for the good weather and that everyone made it to the top and back down safely.  We will check-in soon.

(photo: Madison Mountaineering archives – reusing last’s year’s summit pose — we will post photo’s when the team is back in Chile)

Approaching the summit of Kilimanjaro

We have received word that our team has reached The Roof of Africa:  the summit of Kilimanjaro‘s Uhuru Peak (5895 m / 19,341 ft)!  Congratulations team!

The team checked-in after they returned from the summit to Kosovo camp.  They were packing up camp and starting the descent to Mweka camp (3075 m / 10,090 ft).  Big day!  First ascending 1025 meters of elevation to the summit and then descending a massive 2820 meters (9,252 ft) down to camp for the night.  Whew!

Tomorrow they will have the comfortable hike down to the Mweka Gate (1638 m / 5,375 ft).  Where they will arrive in time for a lunch-time celebration.  From there it’s on to a 4-day safari of the three major game parks of Tanzania:  the Tarangire, the mighty Serengeti, and the beautiful Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Near High Camp on Mount Vinson

As the team readies for their summit attempt, team member Linda gets the honors and provides today’s dispatch from High Camp on Mount Vinson:

Hello, this is Linda calling in from the Madison Mountaineering Vinson team two.  We had a wonderful day here at High Camp, resting, enjoying the scenery, and getting ready for our summit attempt tomorrow.  The weather looks beautiful!  We just had our summit talk and a good dinner and we are getting ready to settle in.  We are going to get up early and hopefully head to the summit tomorrow!!


Sending our love to friends and family!

(photo:  Madison Mountaineering archives)

The view of Mawenzi peak (5149 m) from Kosovo camp.

Our Kilimanjaro team is ready for summit day!  Today they completed their eastern traverse of Kilimanjaro and climbed up to the high camp, known as Kosovo camp.  Kosovo camp is our special high camp that rarely sees use by other climbers.  It sits 210 meters above the traditional, and frequently very crowded, Barafu high camp.  Using this higher camp puts us in a position above most other climbing parties, so that our summit day is shorter and we can get out ahead of any potential crowds at the start.

By now our team should be just about ready to begin their “alpine start” in the very early morning hours.  With the right steady and slow ascent to manage the altitude, they should reach Stella Point (5750 m) just in time for a once-in-a-lifetime African sunrise.

Stay tuned for the next update!

(photo:  view of Mawenzi peak (5149 m) from Kosovo camp from the Madison Mountaineering archives)