We have had a fantastic week of training in the lower Khumbu glacier!  After our Puja ceremony we spent 6 days reviewing fixed line techniques, climbing vertical ice, climbing ladders, rappelling, and we climbed about 1/3 of the way up the Khumbu Icefall route to Camp 1.  The route seems easier than the last few years, however we are looking forward to the vertical ladder sections.  We have also been ice climbing, it has been a very productive period of training and we are ready to head up to Camp 1 tonight!  We plan to spend 2 nights at Camp 1 and then climb to Camp 2, and spend 2 nights there before returning to base camp. Be sure to follow our Rainon GPS track as we climb through the icefall tomorrow, this will show the exact track (new route) from Everest base camp to Camp 1.

Photos: Training in the lower Khumbu Icefall




The Madison Mountaineering Everest & Lhotse team at base camp

The Madison Mountaineering Everest & Lhotse team at base camp

Today we had our Puja ceremony with our whole team of climbers, guides, and sherpas. A Buddhist Lama led the prayers asking the mountain for safe passage before we begin climbing. We had very nice weather and will relax this afternoon. Tomorrow we begin our technical climbing review in the lower Khumbu Icefall. The weather is improving and we are excited to begin our acclimatization process by climbing high to sleep at our Camps 1 & 2. Everyone is doing well!

Be sure to catch Garrett Madison in the ESPN SportsCenter Featured episode “At the Top of the World” premiering this Sunday, April 12 on ESPN!

“At the Top of the World”, a look at how the people of Nepal are trying to balance their lucrative livelihood catering to adventure‐seeking tourists with the inherent dangers of the job one year after the avalanche tragedy that killed more than a dozen Sherpas on Mount Everest.

Our team arrived in Namche last night after a wonderful day of trekking and then enjoyed the comfort and fine meals at the Panorama lodge. Today we hiked up to the Everest view hotel for clear views of Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam, and then to Khumjung to visit the Hillary School. We will spend 2 more nights here in Namche before making our way up the valley towards base camp. Everyone is doing great.

This morning a few members took a helicopter flight, and we had a look at the new route up the Khumbu Icefall to Camp 1 on Everest. We were able to see clearly that the new route is in fact completely new, and veers to the ‘climbers right’ near Nuptse, avoiding the hanging ice on the West Shoulder that buried the 16 Nepali mountain workers last year. It appears that climbers will have to negotiate broken ice as before, and perhaps more vertical ladders. The red line on the right shows the new route (if you look closely you can see the footprints, ladders, fixed lines) while the red line on the left is the approximate old route from last year. There is at least one section that has 4 vertical ladders tied together to ascend up a very large ice cliff.icefall new route2
good ariel view
vertical ladder2


This morning the whole team flew from Kathmandu to Lukla, to begin our trek to base camp. We just finished breakfast and now starting the hike today, it’s a beautiful day here in the Khumbu!!

Everest & Lhotse 2015 is coming soon…stay tuned!  Check out Google’s amazing footage of the Khumbu!  We are so excited to be back in this magical place very soon!

Everest South East Ridge

Everest South East Ridge



Yesterday we climbed to the top of Chimborazo, 20,702′, with clear skies above the clouds. The climb started from our high camp at 16,200’ with a brief scramble over rock scree, and then onto the glacier where we ascended up the flanks to the summit of the highest peak in Ecuador.  Chimborazo is not the highest mountain in the world by elevation above sea level, but its location along the equatorial bulge makes its summit the farthest point on the Earth’s surface from the center of the Earth. We had the summit all to ourselves, and glimpses of the surrounding volcano summits Cayambe, Cotopaxi, and Antisana that were just above the clouds. Now we are back in Quito for our final night in Ecuador, and look forward to heading home tomorrow. It’s been a wonderful trip!

Photo 1: On the summit of Chimborazo

Photo 2: Climbers at high camp the night before the climb

Photo 3: Climbing the final steps to the summit




Today our team reached the top of Cotopaxi at 19,347′! We began at midnight and climbed through the night, up the glaciated slopes around crevasses and some steep snow to reach the top just after sunrise. We had excellent views of Quito, as well as the surrounding volcanoes Chimborazo, Cayambe, and Antisana. Now we are back in the tambopaxi lodge enjoying a nice meal and looking forward to a good nights rest!

Photo: The team on the summit of Cotopaxi: Conan Bliss (MM Guide), Garrett Madison (MM Guide), John, Patrick, Denise, & Tom, with Chimborazo in the background.

taking a pause on the descent
We spent the day on the glaciated slopes of Cotopaxi reviewing climbing skills such as rope travel, ice axe arrest, and crampon technique. The day was sunny in the beginning but later turned into a moderate blizzard, making it a fun afternoon! We climbed up to 17,000′ to acclimate before returning to our lodge for the evening.

Today we hiked to the extinct volcano above Quito, utilizing the telepherique to gain some elevation at the start of the hike! The ‘old volcano’ was a pleasant walk up and rocky scramble at the end. The weather was cool today with clouds keeping us out of the hot equatorial sun. We are now enroute to the Tambopaxi lodge where we will stay for the next few nights. We enjoyed the sights, culture, and restaurants of busy Quito the last 3 nights, now we are ready to relax in a quiet country setting.