The first ascent attempts on unclimbed peaks in Nepal

Well, we’ve begun! The first leg of our journey to climb Burke-Khang is done. This morning we awoke around 4:30AM to catch our flight into the infamous Lukla airport, the portal the the Himalaya. Stoke was high as we filed into the small twin prop Dornier aircraft and soon we were in the sky, flying over deep, lush valleys, a stark contrast to the environment we are heading into just a short week away. The 45 minute flight deposited us into the unlikely hanging town of Lukla. Here we further sorted gear, helped (as much as we could) the porters pack the Yaks and before long we were off down the trail to the village of Phakding. The wonderful trail meanders through small villages and past tea houses with beautiful views the entire way. While wondering through the small villages we spoke with the locals and received best wishes for the journey ahead.

Here in Phakding, Garrett, Sid and the crew are resting, eating and preparing for the longer trek to Namche Bazaar in the morning where they will take an acclimatization day and prepare to head up to the Gokyo Valley and ultimately Burke-Khang.

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With the team just about complete the day was spent putting final touches on packing, eating good food and everybody getting reacquainted. The weather today was in the 70’s with a low at night in the mid 50’s. The team has a great energy and can not wait to begin this historic climb. Today the expedition finally started to feel real, people were here, people were packed and people were psyched to head out! While Garrett finalized some logistical tasks at the office Sid helped the crew find minor pieces of gear they needed in Kathmandu. We all regrouped in the evening and went out for out first team dinner at Kilroys, a wonderful roof top restaurant known to serve up delicious fare. We laughed, ate and told stories of past climbs. Stuffed and happy we all made it back to the Yak and Yeti to zip up the zippers on our duffles for the 5am wake up to fly to Lukla to begin our 9 day trek to the very remote Gokyo Valley and eventually to our base camp. The team is gearing up for liftoff!!

Keep your browser set to this page because the expedition we are about to embark on is incredible!

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Guides Garrett Madison & Sid Pattison are in Kathmandu, preparing for the expedition as the climbing team members trickle in from the USA. The Kathmandu Metropolitan City has a population level of over three million people and is Nepal’s largest city. We spent most of today organizing gear and food for our expedition. We received awesome gear from our good Seattle friends at Filson. We also received Truth Bars made by our friends at Forte. Thank you for your support!! The streets of Kathmandu feel very empty, compared to what is normal. The fuel shortage in Nepal has resulted in not many vehicles on the roads, however the Nepalese people are out and going about life as normal. International airlines have cancelled many of  their flights into the country. Thousands of locals have formed mile-long lines with the hope of receiving fuel in the coming days. The country’s unrest increased nearly two weeks ago, when India’s authorities refused to refuel Nepalese oil tankers. This comes at a hard time as the country is still recovering from the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck April 25th, 2015. This nation will continue to come together as a resilient people and overcome these obstacles.

Today we received our expedition permit, as tomorrow the Nepalese holiday of Dashein begins and the ministry of tourism office will be closed for a week. The temperature is in the 60’s and is very pleasant. We are quickly adjusting to the nearly 13 hour time difference between Seattle and Nepal. Team picture and pre-expedition announcement will be shared soon!

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The Madison Mountaineering team is excited to be leaving for Nepal on October 16th to begin our expedition to Burke Khang, an unclimbed peak in Nepal! In May of 2014, the government of Nepal officially opened up for exploration 104 new peaks in the Himalayan mountain range. Burke Khang is 22,775 feet high and is geographically situated between Mt. Everest and Cho-Oyu. It is unclimbed and, like Everest and Cho Oyu, is a border peak, since it sits on the border of Nepal and Tibet. In April 2015, Garrett and Bill Burke completed a helicopter reconnaissance of Burke Khang. After assessing the mountain terrain the team successfully outlined a route to the summit. Here is a photograph showing the upper section of the mountain with our proposed route to the summit. Stay tuned everyone this is going to be an epic adventure!!Burke Khang

Our 2018 ‘First Ascent of an Unclimbed Peak’ was successful!  Click here to read the recap of this historic climb.

Join us this autumn for another historic ‘first ascent’ of a 22,000’+ unclimbed peak in Nepal. This mountain is relatively nearby Mount Everest, and is unclimbed, presenting a beautiful line to the summit. The peak is approximately 6,500m – 7000m and presents significant technical challenges such as steep snow/ice, as well as route finding, glacier travel, and ridge climbing. We will begin our expedition in Kathmandu, then fly into Lukla and begin trekking to the base camp. From here we will have at least two higher camps on the mountain. We will have sherpa support and plan to use fixed ropes where appropriate, and stock our high camps with plenty of food, equipment, etc. After studying the mountain and climbing route we are very excited to test ourselves and explore this new area. We also are offering an Ama Dablam extension as an option for this program. This will surely be an incredible adventure!

If you are interested please contact our office for more details (+1-206-494-5799), or email We are also offering a trek to the base camp that will accompany the climbing group for individuals such as friends or family members who would like to participate. The trekking group will spend one night in base camp and then return via a different route, visiting Everest base camp, then returning to Lukla and flying back to Kathmandu. If you are interested in the trek please contact us for details (+1-206-494-5799), or email The cost will be commensurate with the Everest base camp trek.