The climbing team is safely back in Kathmandu, Nepal! We had a wonderful dinner last night and today we are sorting equipment and preparing to head home to the USA. It’s been a wonderful trip with amazing people. On November 10th we climbed to within about 100 feet of the summit of Burke Khang (22,935 feet), and did not feel that the snow cornice at the top was stable enough to climb upon, so we ‘almost’ summitted the peak. We are calling this expedition a success, because even though we did not make it to the very top of the peak, we climbed 99% of the mountain and decided to turn back because of a potential safety risk involving unstable snow at the top. All of the climbers had a great time and did not suffer any injuries, and we are much better friends after an enjoyable month together. To climb on a virgin peak was an incredible experience that will never be forgotten. The trek into base camp was spectacular, and from there to our Advanced Base Camp and up to our high camps was very challenging, with incredible views of Mount Everest. The snow and ice slopes involved sustained climbing at around 60-70 degrees. We were the only team in the area, so it was a true exploration of the mountain and surrounding peaks. We plan to return again next year for another ‘first ascent’ of an unclimbed peak in Nepal, please contact us if you would like to know more!

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Team photo at the Yak & Yeti Hotel in Kathmandu, Nepal:
Team in Kathmandu after the climb

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Final team dinner back in Kathmandu! Till next time!:Team at lunch

The Madison Mountaineering climbing team had a safe descent to Lukla airport by helicopter yesterday afternoon. Our climbing team decided to take a helicopter back to Lukla instead of the long trek down on foot. Everyone is in good condition and ready to relax and reflect on this exploratory expedition once back home. The climbing team will be picked up by plane and flown back to Kathmandu where the journey began. We will have a final dispatch written by Garrett Madison that reflects on this expedition of a lifetime in the near future.

If you have a few minutes, check out this article by CNN that discusses the physical attributes that make Sherpas superhuman mountaineers. An integral part of our high altitude expeditions is the assistance from our Sherpa family. Many thanks and continued companionship!

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Photos below were taken by Sid Pattison and Garrett Madison, enjoy!

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Sunset on Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse from our Camp 2. Photo by Sid Pattison.

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Throwing duffels on the helicopter pad before heading back to Lukla. Photo by Sid Pattison.

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Sorting gear at advanced base camp. Photo by Sid Pattison.

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Sid Pattison on the descent! Photo by Garrett Madison.

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Sid Pattison enjoying the view of a lifetime! Photo by Garrett Madison

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Looking across from Camp 2. Photo by Sid Pattison.

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Keeping it safe with fixed lines. Photo by Sid Pattison.

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Helicopter arriving at Camp 1. Photo by Sid Pattison.

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Hanging out with our sherpas at our high point, the corniced snow ridge just below the summit. Photo by Sid Pattison.

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Base Camp with prayer flags. Photo by Sid Pattison.

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Expedition leader Joe Buttler’s reconnaissance mission from base camp turned into a successful summit push today! Joe and Newall pushed onward through the Yellow Valley and to the impressive rock face of Carstensz Pyramid. At this point the team crossed the Tyrolean Traverse and continued up the summit ridge. After reaching an elevation of 16,042 ft, Joe and Newall experienced beautiful views from the highest point in Indonesia. Carstensz Pyramid is also the highest point between the Himalayas and the Andes, and the highest island peak in the world!

Ankur of our climbing team is currently under the weather and we are hoping for a fast recovery to full health. Tomorrow the team will have an early start to the day and make another push to the summit. To the top!

Awesome news received from Indonesia, the team has arrived to Carstensz Pyramid Base Camp! The Madison Mountaineering expedition is underway after a volcano eruption near Bali had delayed the team’s departure. Yesterday the team flew to Timika in the Papua province by jet, then a quick helicopter ride to base camp. Weather is overcast with light rain reported. Our climbing team will be spending these first couple days acclimatizing to the altitude change. A team member on our expedition has backpacked in a DJI Phantom 3 drone, needless to say that we expect to receive some AMAZING content following this epic life adventure. More to come as this expedition progresses up the mountain!!

Attached is a audio dispatch received from our expedition leader, Joe Butler. At times the audio can be difficult to hear. I found the most effective way to listen was to play this audio on a louder sound system.

After yesterday’s exciting summit attempt, the Madison Mountaineering climbing team is safely trekking their way back down the mountain. Once the team is back at advanced base camp, expedition leader Garrett Madison will schedule a helicopter pickup which will transport the team to Lukla airport. From here the team will be ready to take a flight back to Kathmandu where the journey began! This expedition has been nothing short of an epic adventure that pioneered a unclimbed peak in the Himalayan mountain range of Nepal. With over 100 peaks being recently opened up for climbing, I can safely say that the Madison Mountaineering team will be back in 2016 to continue to explore these unchartered lands.

Beautiful photos shared by expedition leader Garrett Madison of the Burke Khang descent and yesterday’s summit attempt are shown below!

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Afternoon view of Everest & Lhotse from Burke Khang:

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Climbing access pitch to summit ridge on Burke Khang:

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The snow corniced ridge just below summit of Burke Khang:

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Packing up at camp 2, just below the summit ridge of Burke Khang:

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Climbing in the early AM from Camp 1 toward the summit of Burke Khang:

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Climbing up from Camp 1 to Camp 2 on Burke Khang:

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Dawn, before sunrise with Everest, moon above on Burke Khang:

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With the eruption of Mount Barujari in West Nusa Tenggara settling, the Madison Mountaineering team is preparing for liftoff in Bali. The spread of volcanic ash from the volcano is moving to the south and west of the eruption point. With any luck, our climbing team will be headed to Timika and then board a helicopter to base camp today. While in Bali the team has enjoyed the breathtaking forested volcanic mountains, iconic rice paddies, beaches and coral reefs. Bali is a part of the Coral Triangle, a famous oceanographic area with some of the highest biodiversity of marine species in the world. The weather has been warm for the most part in the low 80’s, with occasional thunder storms in the area.

Earlier today, the Jakarta Post wrote an article that details the Bali airport gradually reopening and the continued effects of this powerful volcano eruption. The Madison Mountaineering team will receive daily updates as the climbing team progresses toward Carstensz Pyramid. Daily dispatches will be posted here!

For family members and friends, my email is andrew@madisonmountaineering.com. Feel free to email me if you have any questions as this expedition continues. Onward!

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Gear check with Ankur and Sangeeta in Bali:

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Team welcome dinner in Bali! The adventure begins:

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The Madison Mountaineering climbing team nearly summited and reached a distance within a few hundred feet of the summit. There was a rock face that was impassable and would have presented a significant risk of collapsing. The team made the smart and safe decision. They have traversed unchartered territory and went where no man has gone before. We are extremely proud of our team. It is in the morning hours and the team has a beautiful sunrise to enjoy after this incredible accomplishment. Photos to be posted shortly!!

 

Yesterday Garrett & Sid, along with four of our climbing Sherpas went up from Camp 1 to work on fixing lines to the summit ridge. This was a slow and important step as we prepare the route for our climbing teams ascent. The route from Camp 1 follows the ridge line to the right, hard climbing but without the objective hazard (icefall, avalanches) that the less steep ‘climbers left’ potential route offers. We accomplished a lot, the lines are now just a few hours from the summit. Today Bill, Sid, and Phurba Rita Sherpa are heading up from Camp 1 to put in a small Camp 2, just below the summit ridge. Our plan is for the climbers here in Camp 1 to wake up and leave around 2 AM, an ‘alpine start’ and to climb up and join the three climbers who are in Camp 2 around 6 AM, then continue together towards the summit. We still have a bit of route setting work ahead, hopefully just a few hours along the summit ridge to the top! The climbing team is ready for this ascent and our group is in good health.

 

Here we go everyone, this is what we have been waiting for! News from the mountain will be released as soon as it is received here on the dispatch page.

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View of climbing route & Burke Khang summit from Camp 1:

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The Burke Khang summit is in sight! Our climbing team has reached an altitude of 20,371 feet. Unfortunately our team mate Kathy flew out with one of our Sherpas. She was dealing with a respiratory cold and is back in Kathmandu now. She is feeling better and we are thankful that all is well. Camp One has a beautiful view and the team is preparing for the final push for the summit. Weather has been great these past few days with blue skies. Check out the photos below and stay tuned for the summit push. Updates from expedition leader Garrett Madison will be uploaded here first. Will post dispatches as quickly as possible for this final push.

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For those interested in Nepal’s new Constitution and the developing political environment, read this NY Times article.

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Check out this Youtube video for a live chat with King5 news here in Seattle, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ST5M4XnBmRI

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Bill Burke Climbing to Camp One from Advanced Base Camp:

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Bill Burke Climbing to Camp One from Advanced Base Camp:

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Burke Khang Camp One at 20,371 feet:

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Beautiful photo taken by Garrett Madison while climbing!

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Climbing toward Camp one from Advanced Base Camp:

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Climbing toward Camp one from Advanced Base Camp:

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Expedition Leader Garrett Madison staying warm!

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Burke Khang Expedition Update – November 5th, 2015:

Our climbing team has made it to Burke Khang Advanced Base Camp! The team is currently sleeping at an elevation of 17,713 feet. Yesterday the team made another acclimatization hike with views of giants Cho Oyu, Everest, Lhotse, & Nuptse, we also spied more unclimbed peaks for next year! Check out our Facebook page for additional photos and beautiful panoramas!! Tomorrow the climbing team will head onward to our Camp 1 and up the very technical route of rock, snow, and ice towards the summit of Burke Khang!

For family and friends who want to watch the summit push check out this link, it will show you a basic map view of the climbing groups location as they push toward the summit. The data is refreshed every 10 minutes. My personal suggestion for watching this historic summit push would be to download Google Earth on your device. Once you have this software downloaded shoot me an email at: andrew@madisonmountaineering.com. I will send you an email with instructions on how to view the climbing team’s progress on Google Earth. We have been working hard to develop this technology and will hopefully have this available in a mobile application in the near future.

Team before rappel practice. Left to right: Paul and Denise Fejtek, Bill Burke,                                                          Kathy Meyers, Garrett Madison , Nick Logic

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Rappel onto glacier practice:

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View of our route to advanced base camp, towards Everest:

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View from our hike yesterday, the Ngonzoma glacier:

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Pics from our hike to advanced base camp:

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