Monster serac forces expedition decisions

MHW team considering current icefall route data at EBC

Autumn Everest expedition leader, Garrett Madison, provides this update on the new data regarding the Khumbu Icefall route and subsequent decisions made:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering / Mountain Hardwear Autumn Everest Expedition.  Today is September 22nd.  To recap yesterday:  we had a great day, our sherpa team reached Camp 1.  But, on the way down they noticed a large serac about 3,000 ft. or 1,000m up off of the Khumbu Icefall on the west shoulder of Mount Everest.


We were studying that late last night and again today with some drone footage (shared by the Polish Lhotse team) and, uh, it doesn’t look very safe.  So the Mountain Hardwear team has decided to conclude their expedition on Everest and decouple from the Madison Mountaineering expedition.  That means Joe Vernachio and Tim Emmett are going to be heading out tomorrow by helicopter, weather pending.  [see the @mhweverest2019 Instagram post for their firsthand conciderations]


Myself and the other climbers here with Madison Mountaineering, Zac and Kristin, are going to stay and evaluate conditions on a day-by-day basis.  So, we’ll have to keep an eye on the serac and also the weather, of course, to see how things progress.  But, everyone’s doing well here in base camp.


Today our sherpas decided not to move up look for a route from Camp 1 to Camp 2 because the weather was bad.  It was very cloudy with little to no visibility up in the Western Cwm between Camp 1 and Camp 2, which would make route finding very difficult with the deep snow.


Everyone’s here doing well, but we’re sad to have things turn out this way, but we’ll keep our hopes up that perhaps the serac will may come down tonight when no one’s on the route and clear out for the rest of the expedition.

Photo of serac above, with 3 climbers below...

Photo of serac above, with 3 climbers below… (📸: Tim Emmett)

Zoomed view of detatched section of hanging serac

Zoomed view (upper red circle in above image) of detached section of hanging serac (📸: Andrzej Bargiel)

In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow the team as they trek to Everest Base Camp and then make their attempt to summit the world’s highest mountain 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


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

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