Dispatches

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The team enjoyed stunning views of the Trango Towers and surrounding peaks as they made their way to camp at Urdukas.  Here’s Garrett with today’s K2 expedition dispatch:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the K2 expedition team.  Today is June 25th, and we had a great day trekking from Paiju (3400m/11,155ft) up to Urdukas camp (4034m/13,235ft).  We passed by the Grand Trango Towers, Nameless Tower, some beautiful rock spires, and the weather was really nice today.  It was cool for a bit, and then sunny, and we got some great views.  We had a nice lunch break and made it to Urdukas camp.  So everyone’s doing great here, and we are heading up the Baltoro Glacier to Goro 2 (4285m/14,058ft) camp tomorrow!

Nameless Tower (Trango group) as seen from the trail to K2 base camp

Nameless Tower (Trango group) as seen from the trail to K2 base camp

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Today the team will be enjoying a rest day at the camp of Paiju along the banks of the Braldu river just below the snout of the Baltoro Glacier.  Garrett provides this update:

Hello this is Garrett calling in for the K2 climbing expedition team.  Today is June 24th and last night we arrived in Paiju (3400m/11,155ft) on the trek to base camp.  Today we’re taking a rest day in Paiju to give our porters a chance to rest up and then we’ll continue on the following day up to Urdukas (4034m/13,235ft).  Weather’s good, sometimes a little bit of rain, sun, bit of wind; mountain weather…  But, it’s all good here.  Everyone’s doing well and we’re looking forward to enjoying a rest day.

(photo:  Madison Mountaineering K2 archive)

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The first day of trekking is complete and the team is now at Jhola camp.  Expedition leader Garrett Madison checks in with this satellite phone dispatch:

Hello this is Garrett calling in for the K2 expedition team.  Today is June 22nd and we arrived at the stop of Jhola (3151m/10,338ft) here on the trek to K2 base camp.  We had a nice day leaving Askole (3040m/9,974ft) about 7 AM.  We trekked up the (Barldu) river and had great weather, some nice views of peaks, stopped for lunch, and setup our camp in the early afternoon.  So we had a nice day here in camp and now tucked in for bed.  And we are looking forward to another great day of trekking tomorrow.  All’s well here in Pakistan and we’ll check in soon!  Thanks!!

(photo: Madison Mountaineering K2 archives 2018)

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It’s all on foot from here!  Careful not to wake other team members, K2 expedition leader, Garrett Madison quietly calls in this early morning expedition update from the last town, Askole, Pakistan, before the trek begins on foot this morning.

Hello this is Garrett calling in for the K2 Everest [it’s early] team.  We are in Askole (3040m/9,974ft.).  We had a great drive by jeep from Skardu to Askole yesterday.  It was a very scenic jeep ride, very rugged with some narrow river gorges.  But we made it to Askole, had a nice dinner, and setup our camp.  Now we are getting ready today to head off towards our first day trekking to Jhola (3151m/10,338ft).  Everyone’s doing great.  We’ve got good weather here and we are looking forward to getting the trek underway!

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As the team prepares for some four-wheelin’ to Askole, expedition leader Garrett Madison provides this update:

Hello this is Garrett calling in for the K2 expedition team.  Today we are heading by jeep from Skardu to Askole.  It’s about a six hour jeep ride.  Beautiful day here, Sun’s out.  Looking forward to a very scenic and exciting ride.  Everybody’s doing well.  We are excited to get the expedition underway and start trekking to base camp.

Our lead rope fixing Sherpa Siddhi Badahur who was also the first rope fixing Sherpa to summit Everest with us this past season

Our lead rope fixing Sherpa Siddhi Badahur who was also the first rope fixing Sherpa to summit Everest with us this past season

 

Loading up the jeeps in Skardu

Loading up the Land Cruisers in Skardu

 

Gear is loaded and ready to head to Askole

Gear is loaded and ready to head to Askole

 

Our fleet of Vintage Land Cruisers to ride to Askole

Our fleet of vintage Land Cruisers to ride to Askole

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After a restful night at the comfortable Serena hotel in Islamabad, we flew to Skardu. We are thankful that nice weather allowed us to fly today, rather than driving the Karakoram Highway, a two-day journey. We are organizing gear today and tomorrow here in Skardu, touring the town, and preparing for the jeep ride to Askole. Everyone is well!

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Our team of climbers & trekkers have arrived in Pakistan and are on the way to K2, the world’s 2nd highest mountain!

Our advance team of 100 porters began the trek to base camp 2 weeks ago to help deliver supplies for our expedition team and reserve our place. The journey to K2 base camp is rugged, wild, and very scenic with breathtaking views! We begin in Islamabad and hope to fly to Skardu. I’ve been very lucky the last few years and had good weather for this flight, however, if weather conditions are not suitable for flying we will drive the Karakoram Highway, a two-day journey by road to Skardu, which is part of the original Silk Road trading route. While it’s a scenic and historic route, I prefer the flight! Fingers crossed for good flying weather!

From Skardu, we plan to drive by vintage Toyota Land Cruisers to the mountain village of Askoli. This jeep ride is a fun six-hour adventure along steep river gorges and mountain passes. From Askoli we will begin the trek, a ~100 km journey to base camp up the Baltoro glacier. We will pass by iconic peaks such as the Great Trango Towers, Gasherbrum 4, Broad Peak, then arrive at K2 base camp.

*** Stay tuned here for daily expedition dispatches!  You can also follow the team on Amazon Alexa devices and with our real-time location tracking map:  https://madisonmountaineering.com/maps/k2-2019 ****

Here are some of our favorite photos from the 2018 K2 expedition.  Enjoy!!

The 'traverse' on K2 in 2018

The ‘traverse’ on K2 in 2018

View from high on K2 looking at Broad Peak in 2018

View from high on K2 looking at Broad Peak in 2018

2018 K2 Base Camp

2018 K2 Base Camp

Congratulations to our Everest 2019 spring team in successfully climbing the world’s highest peak, but more importantly making it down safely! In contrast to what the media has portrayed, our experience on summit day was a pleasant one, due to a strong and experienced team. Our guides and Sherpas not only installed the fixed lines to the summit, which ‘opened’ the route on May 14th for all climbers on the south side of the mountain but also supported our climbers in a seamless climb of Mount Everest. The challenge of climbing Everest, coupled with the added uncertainty of the weather and other climbers on the route, can create adverse conditions. However, our team of professionals orchestrated a perfect expedition under the circumstances.

Climbers celebrating at the summit

Climbers celebrating at the summit

The Everest summit ridge on May 23rd

The Everest summit ridge on May 23rd

In my 12 expeditions to Everest, this was one of the finest teams of hard working, competent, positive, and pleasant Nepal “Sherpas”, many of who I have climbed with for the last 5 years. Big thanks for these incredible guys who helped us make our extraordinary success possible!

Madison Mountaineering rope fixing team on Everest summit day

MM rope team on summit day

 

Now our attention turns to the world’s second highest peak, K2. Today, our advance team of 100 porters and 2 Pakistan high altitude climbers left the village of Askole to begin the 100 km trek to K2 base camp.

K2 supplies headed to base camp

K2 supplies headed to base camp

Over 100 porters and staff leaving Askoli for K2

Over 100 porters and staff leaving Askoli for K2

We are excited to meet our climbing team in Islamabad in mid-June and make our way to ‘Chogori’, the savage mountain.

Our autumn Himalayan season following K2 will be action-packed, with our first ever Expedition to Everest in the fall!  We also have expeditions attempting Ama Dablam, as well as an unclimbed peak! Previously, we have had very high success on these peaks in the autumn. For climbers looking to climb the highest peak in Oceania, we also have a Carstensz Pyramid climb. We invite you to join us if climbing in the Himalaya or Oceania is on your ‘to do’ list this autumn!

Our Mount Vinson expeditions also have some availability, if climbing in Antarctica is on your mind, contact us for details!

With the Everest season quickly wrapping up, here’s expedition leader, Garrett Madison, with a final dispatch from the 2019 Mount Everest base camp:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Everest team.  Today most of our crew helicoptered down to Kathmandu and they are at the Yak & Yeti hotel, relaxing and enjoying a nice comfortable stay and a great dinner.  Myself, Conan and Stuart along with Joyce are still here in base camp with our Sherpa team – just packing up the camp and we are hoping to head out tomorrow down to Kathmandu.

 

But, it’s been a great season for us.  We have a very high success and safely all around with our team.  It was a challenging season, very windy on the mountain and cold this year with a narrow summit window.  And unfortunetly, there was a notable loss of life with climbers the last week on the mountain.  But we are happy to be down safe and looking forward to heading home soon.  All’s well here at base camp.  Thanks for following along!

Descending down from C2 with the Sun about to rise over Everest

Descending down from C2 with the Sun about to rise over Everest

Walking down the Western Cwm between C2 and C1

Walking down the Western Cwm between C2 and C1

Climbers descending the icefall

Climbers descending the icefall

A toast to a safe climb at our base camp with the Khumbu Icefall behind

A toast to a safe climb at our base camp with the Khumbu Icefall behind

All climbers, guides, and Sherpa from the 2019 Madison Mountaineering Everest expedition have safely returned to base camp.  More details and recap of the climb coming soon…

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