All K2 expedition dispatches

Heading off to begin the final rotation

Our 2021 K2 expedition is now concluded with just Garrett and our crew preparing to fly home.  Expedition leader, Garrett Madison, calls in from Skardu, Pakistan with this final expedition dispatch:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering K2 expedition which now has concluded!

We’re back in Skardu and all of our members from the UK, the USA, and Ukraine have flown out and are back home now. Just myself and the Nepal Sherpa team and the Pakastani team are here in Skardu. We arrived last night from the trek out from base camp to Skardu. It took us four days.

Today we did some gear organizing, and some sight-seeing around Skardu. We are hoping tomorrow that we have good weather to fly to Islamabad. All’s well here in Skardu. Nice weather and we are looking forward to getting back to Islamabad and on our way home.

It’s been a wonderful expedition here. We had 100% summit success with 21 summits of K2 on our team in total and everyone made it down safely and is on their way home healthy, which is the most important.

So, we had a wonderful expedition. Thanks for following along. Looking forward to our next expeditions out there on the horizon.

Starry skies above K2

Starry skies above K2

The day we set off from base camp for the K2 summit push. Serious faces..

The day we set off from base camp for the K2 summit push. Serious faces..

A very happy 3-time K2 summiteer at base camp

A very happy 3-time K2 summiteer at base camp

After getting down from the successful K2 summit rotation, happy face!

After getting down from the successful K2 summit rotation, happy face!

Garrett with Sherpa and Pakistani crew departing K2 base camp

Garrett with Sherpa and Pakistani crew departing K2 base camp

Cutting the celebratory K2 cake in Skardu

Cutting the celebratory K2 cake in Skardu

Post K2 celebration in Skardu

Post-K2 celebration in Skardu

If climbing K2 or Broad Peak is in your future, please contact our office, we would love to have you climb with us!


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates on select expeditions.  Just say, “Alexa, play my Madison Mountaineering flash briefing.

Instagram:

– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking map:

Flying down the Baltoro Glacier at the conclusion of the K2 expedition

Well how do we sum up our Madison Mountaineering K2 2021 expedition?

Today Chase, Becks, Jon and Rob flew from K2 Base Camp to Skardu on 2 helicopters with the Pakistan Army. The flight was spectacular, skimming low down the rugged Baltoro Glacier, where we had trekked up several weeks before. Leaving the cloud capped K2 behind us, we sped past the 3 summits of Broad Peak, before swooping right at Concordia. We strained our necks out the side windows as the soaring granite bulks of Cathedral, Trango and Uili Biaho zipped past. Sights we had taken days to approach and march past on the way in to Base Camp, as we each personally contemplated what lay ahead.

Now we were completing the return journey, content with our efforts and the conclusion we all hoped for but knew was unlikely. Our entire team had safely and successfully climbed K2 to its summit and returned to Base Camp. Rarely are expeditions harmonious, safe and successful in their objective. However K2 2021 was just that. A small team of dedicated climbers were happy to commit despite uncertainty and no guaranteed outcome. The odds of summiting K2 in any year are low. At times in the lead up, the odds of this trip simply running seemed low. But problems were overcome, and the team assembled a week behind the original schedule.

We acclimatized, ropes were fixed in stages and our Sherpa team worked hard. We had an extended wait of 12 days waiting for the right weather window. Patience was tested as other teams attempted Broad Peak while we waited.

On 28 July all decisions were vindicated as we climbed steadily in the darkness, under a starlit sky. The sunrise lit the horizon like a band of gold as the sky lightened to reveal a sea of cloud over China. We reached the summit in windless conditions, and it was hard to believe the top of K2 could feel so benign. Relief was palpable and the whole team spent as much time on the summit as they desired in this unique place. Congratulations were exchanged, embraces given, prayer flags were strung out, photographs taken and quiet moments of contemplation had.

The descent was as testing as the summit was benign. It felt that K2 wanted to remind us that attempting a climb was as serious an undertaking as ever, though we needed no reminder. Snow had been stripped off the lower slopes, removing the frozen bond that held the mass of rocks safely in place. It was a relief to get everyone to the base of the mountain the following day, and we walked down the glacier knowing we had been allowed to leave the clutches of K2.

It is somewhat of a shock to find ourselves suddenly in Skardu, in the presence of strangers and unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells. Such are the ends of expeditions where intense shared experience and close communal living comes to an end, replaced by new encounters with those who have little idea of what has been invested or endured to reach a point meaningless to the majority, but absolutely worthwhile and so memorable to those who stand there. We have set foot on top of K2 and shall remember that for the rest of our lives.

Rob Smith and the Madison Mountaineering K2 2021 team.

Helis at K2 Base Camp

Helis at K2 Base Camp

Chase, Jon, and Becks back in Skardu after flying from K2 base camp

Chase, Jon, and Becks back in Skardu after flying from K2 base camp

Remainder of our K2 team preparing to depart base camp

We’re packing up base camp and our expedition team is heading home after an incredibly successful and safe K2 climb. Here’s the latest from Garrett Madison:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering K2 expedition team. Today is August 3rd.

Today the remainder of our members flew out of K2 base camp by helicopter and it’s just me left with our Pakistani and Nepal Sherpa team here in base camp. We’re going to pack up and head out the day after tomorrow with our mule train back to Skardu.

Nice weather today but we decided not to go for Broad Peak due to the snow fall and high winds that had made the route seemingly very challenging and a very low probability of success. But we’re very happy with our K2 summit success and everyone getting down safely.

Everyone is heading home now. We had a great expedition! We’ll be packing up here and heading down the

in the next few days, back towards Skardu.

All’s well here in Pakistan. Thanks!

If climbing K2 or Broad Peak is in your future, please contact our office, we would love to have you climb with us!


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates on select expeditions.  Just say, “Alexa, play my Madison Mountaineering flash briefing.

Instagram:

– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking map:

K2 summit celebration at base camp

Party-time at K2 base camp!  Our own, guide extraordinaire, Conan Bliss calls in with today’s expedition dispatch:

Yeah, hey!  This is Conan Bliss checking-in with Madison Mountaineering.  Hey everybody!   Woo!

We’re having a fun, relaxing recovery day here at base camp after a successful K2 summit two days ago.  Woohoo!  Yup, and today we gotta celebrate Kenton Cool‘s birthday.  Yeah!!  Yup, another young man in the group!  Anyways, everyone’s doing very well.

Thanks again for following us on this amazing expedition.  We’ll check-in with you later!

Kenton and his birthday cake at K2 base camp. Make a wish!

Kenton and his birthday cake at K2 base camp. Make a wish!

Conan pouring the champagne!

Conan pouring the champagne!

Guide Rob Smith cuts the K2 Summit Celebration cake!

Guide Rob Smith cuts the K2 Summit Celebration cake!

If climbing K2 or Broad Peak is in your future, please contact our office, we would love to have you climb with us!


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates on select expeditions.  Just say, “Alexa, play my Madison Mountaineering flash briefing.

Instagram:

– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking map:

Conan, Rob, and Garrett on the summit of K2!

The full K2 team is now safely back to base camp and getting so very, very much deserved and needed rest.  Outstanding climb one and all!  Thank you, weather Gods.  Before falling into a deep slumber, expedition leader Garrett Madison provided this recap of the descent to base camp:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering K2 expedition team.  Today is July 29th and we have all arrived safely back in base camp.

Yesterday we summitted K2.  It was a perfect day, just a magical experience on top with our whole team – 100% success!  We came down to Camp 3 and today descended from Camp 3 all the way down to base camp.  So, just very happy that everyone is down, off the mountain safely and back in base camp.  We’re just thrilled with the outcome here on K2!

We’re gonna have a celebration dinner tonight and a good night’s rest, some showers, and think about further plans – either heading out or, perhaps, attempting Broad Peak depending on conditions.

We’re very happy to be down off the mountain and back in base camp.  All’s well here.  Thanks for following along!

Morning views on the way to the top of K2!

Morning views on the way to the top of K2!

Three time K2 summiteer Garrett Madison with with youngest American K2 summiteer Chase M.

Three-time K2 summiteer Garrett Madison with the youngest American K2 summiteer Chase M.

Happy team on the summit of K2!

Happy team on the summit of K2!

At The Bottleneck on K2 on the way down

At The Bottleneck on K2 on the way down

If climbing K2 or Broad Peak is in your future, please contact our office, we would love to have you climb with us!


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates on select expeditions.  Just say, “Alexa, play my Madison Mountaineering flash briefing.

Instagram:

– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking map:

Climbing the final slopes to the top of K2

We are pleased to announce the following team members successfully obtained the summit of K2 (8,611 m / 28,251 ft) on July 28, 2018 at approximately 6:07 AM PKT (local time):

# Name Country
1 Mr. Garrett Madison USA
2 Mr. Conan Bliss USA
3 Mr. Robert Smith Ireland
4 Mr. Chase Merriam USA
5 Ms. Oksana Litynska Ukraine
6 Mr. Kenton Cool United Kingdom
7 Mr. Robert Lucas United Kingdom
8 Mr. Jonathan Gupta United Kingdom
9 Ms. Rebecca Ferry United Kingdom
10 Mr. Aang Phurba Sherpa Nepal
11 Mr. Siddhi Bahadur Tamang Nepal
12 Mr. Dorje Gyeljen Sherpa Nepal
13 Mr. Pasdawa Sherpa Nepal
14 Mr. Kamdorji Sherpa Nepal
15 Mr. Mingdorchi Sherpa Nepal
16 Mr. Dawa Nupu Sherpa Nepal
17 Mr. Lhakpa Wongchu Sherpa Nepal
18 Mr. Mingmar Sherpa Nepal
19 Mr. Muhammad Ali Pakistan
20 Mr. Hussain Ali Pakistan
21 Mr. Zahir Hussain Pakistan
View of K2 from base camp

Our K2 team is safely resting up at high camp, Camp 4 (7681m/25,200ft.), and preparing to go for the summit in about 90 minutes!!  Be sure to follow along with our real-time location tracker:  https://madisonmountaineering.com/maps/k2-2021.

Godspeed team!  Get up and back down safely.

If climbing K2 or Broad Peak is in your future, please contact our office, we would love to have you climb with us!


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates on select expeditions.  Just say, “Alexa, play my Madison Mountaineering flash briefing.

Instagram:

– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking map:

Broad Peak as seen from the K2 Camp 3 tent

The K2 team is now in place at Camp 3 (7250m/23,800ft.) and setting their sights on a summit attempt in two days on the 28th.  Here’s expedition leader Garrett Madison’s recap of the day’s climbing and the plan for what’s next:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering K2 and Broad Peak expedition team.  Today is July 26th and we are up at Camp 3.

It was a beautiful day climbing up from Camp 2, clear skys, not much wind, and not many people on the route actually.  We were the only team moving up.  So, we had a great day climbing the Black Pyramid and got into Camp 3 here, about 24,000 ft., this afternoon.  We’re just taking it easy, resting.

Our Sherpa team, which was fixing lines today, was able to make it up The Shoulder through The Bottleneck, around the Traverse, and nearly up to The Bench on the way towards the final pitches to the summit.  So that’s great news!

I think the Pioneer team is going for it tonight and we wish them the best of luck and good conditions.

Our plan is to rest here tomorrow and head up tomorrow evening.  So our plan is to leave the evening of the 27th and hopefully get to the top on the morning of the 28th.  Fingers crossed!  I’m praying this great weather continues and these good conditions hold.

Everyone’s doing well here in Camp 3.  Thanks for following!

Kenton and Rob on the way to K2 Camp 3

Kenton and Rob on the way to K2 Camp 3

If climbing K2 or Broad Peak is in your future, please contact our office, we would love to have you climb with us!


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates on select expeditions.  Just say, “Alexa, play my Madison Mountaineering flash briefing.

Instagram:

– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking map:

Chase staying cool at K2 Camp 2 earlier today

On their summit push, our K2 team climbed up from Camp 1 to Camp 2 (6700m/21,980ft.) today under beautiful weather and route conditions.  Expedition leader, Garrett Madison, provides today’s expedition dispatch from 6,700 meters:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering K2 and Broad Peak expedition team.  Today is July 25th and we are up at Camp 2.

Our whole team’s up here: all nine climbers and most of our sherpa team, except for five of our Nepal sherpas who are up at Camp 4 (7681m/25,200ft.) tonight.  They climbed up from Camp 2 to Camp 4 today and tomorrow and the next day they are going to work on fixing lines above Camp 4 in anticipation of our arrival.

So, we had a beautiful day today, sunny skies, warm temps, almost too warm for us.  But we got into Camp 2 around noon and have just been relaxing, enjoying the amazing views up here, and getting ready for some dinner and a good night’s rest.  And then tomorrow, we’ll be off early on our way up to Camp 3 (7250m/23,800ft.).

All’s well here, the team’s doing excellent, and we’re excited that more good weather is on the way and we’re headed up the route!  We’ll check-in soon, thanks!

If climbing K2 or Broad Peak is in your future, please contact our office, we would love to have you climb with us!


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates on select expeditions.  Just say, “Alexa, play my Madison Mountaineering flash briefing.

Instagram:

– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking map:

Helicopter rescue today in K2 base camp of some Broad Peak climbers with frostbite

The weather looks good and our K2 team will begin their summit push tomorrow morning!  Expedition Leader, Garrett Madison has called in with this expedition dispatch:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering K2 and Broad Peak expedition team. Today’s July 23rd and we are about to head up on our summit rotation.

Our plan is to leave base camp tomorrow morning on the 24th and head up to Camp 1, following day up to Camp 2, next day to Camp 3, following day to Camp 4 and to go for the summit on July 28th! So, fingers crossed we’ll have good weather and good route conditions and some great views up there. We’re looking forward to getting up high on the mountain and returning to Base Camp in about a week.

All’s well here, everyone’s excited, feeling well rested, healthy, strong, and looking forward to getting up the mountain. We’ll check in soon. Thanks!

The view of K2 on the eve of our summit push

The view of K2 on the eve of our summit push

The view of Broad Peak on the eve of our summit push

The view of Broad Peak on the eve of our summit push

If climbing K2 or Broad Peak is in your future, please contact our office, we would love to have you climb with us!


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates on select expeditions.  Just say, “Alexa, play my Madison Mountaineering flash briefing.

Instagram:

– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking map: