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Early this morning our climbers departed from base camp and successfully navigated through the Khumbu Icefall to reach Everest Camp One. Crossing the many crevasse’s with ladders fixed together and steep fixed lines our climbers worked as a team to overcome the obstacles and reach the safety of our tents above the icefall. Our weather reports in the weeks to come will be from our good friend Micheal Fagin with Everest Weather. Michael will be providing tailored weather analytics that provide the most up to date and accurate assessments, allowing our team to make data driven decisions closer to summit day. Right now we are not seeing any storms that may move out of the Bay of Bengal with light precipitation on Mount Everest over the next few days.

Tomorrow our team will go on a 2-3 hour day hike and return to Camp One in the evening. All members are doing well and I’m sure will have a good night sleep after their ascent through the Khumbu Icefall. Below is a shot of Madison Mountaineering Camp One!

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Today was our third day training on the edge of the Khumbu Icefall, with our climbing team gearing up for their first rotation to Camp 1 early this coming week. On the course today we had multiple ladder crossings and fixed rope circuits that continued to challenge the team and allowed each climber to grow stronger. Tomorrow we will rest up and go for a short hike around base camp. All of the climbing team’s in base camp are taking the day off from climbing in the icefall tomorrow in remembrance of the 2014 icefall avalanche.

The weather has been beautiful in the mornings with snow clouds rolling in early afternoon and  throughout the evening. All members of the team are in good health and are excited to begin the next stage of their journey. Our meals are plentiful and delicious, we are all convinced that we will be gaining weight on this expedition.

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Jeff, José, and I have made a safe and successful ascent of Cayambe volcano! After we finished our acclimatization hikes near Quito we departed for Cayambe hut at an elevation of 15,250 feet. After a hour of driving from Hacienda Guachala we took our expedition vehicle across rocky and steep terrain toward Cayambe. The hut was beautifully located and provided spectacular views of the mountain. After three days of glacier training we prepared our gear and left at 11pm for the summit. After 7 hours of climbing we made it over the last crevasse and to the top on a crystal clear day just as the sun came up over the horizon. We were the first climbing team to reach the summit 🙂 We had an amazing adventure and thank our guide José Luis for his expert guidance and support! I will be posting additional photos from our expedition to the Madison Mountaineering Facebook page!

Onward!

-Andrew Tierney

Photos taken below by Andrew Tierney using a GoPro Hero 4 Black and iPhone 6. Enjoy! 🙂

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Dinner at Hacienda Guachala. The Hacienda Guachalá is known as the oldest hacienda in Ecuador, and the most important hacienda until the middle of the 20th century. The oldest buildings date from the year 1580!

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Breakfast with a view at Hacienda Guachala.

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Middle of the World!

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Happy Birthday Jeff! 🙂 Mountain Birthday’s are the best!

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Jeff with Cayambe in the background!

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Glacier training on Cayambe.

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Ladder training in preparation for Jeff’s upcoming Everest ascent!

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Andrew enjoying the fixed ropes and ladders on Cayambe!

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Jeff preparing to cross the ladder.

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Andrew on the summit of Cayambe!

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Jeff on the summit of Cayambe! Rise & Shine!

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Spectacular sunrise across Ecuador!

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Cayambe Hut

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Cayambe Volcano

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Last sunset before we made our ascent!

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Yesterday Jeff, José, and I summited Pichincha in record time and enjoyed panoramic views of Cayambe, Cotopaxi (active), and many other notorious mountains across Ecuador. Once we reached the summit at 15,700 feet we had lunch and continued to acclimate as we prepare for the journey to Cayambe hut today. After our climb we checked out of our hotel in Quito and drove a short distance to Hacienda Guachala, a famous establishment that dates back to 1580! As we fell asleep we enjoyed a warm fire in our room and woke up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee on our patio. Today we will journey to the Cayambe hut and begin to review the technical skills that we will need for the climb. Service will become harder to find but I will try and update the blog as soon as I am able. Onward!

-Andrew

 

Photos taken below by Andrew Tierney

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Bouldering across a rock field as we make our way up Pichincha.

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Jeff and José Luis climbing up the last few steps of Pichincha!

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Jeff and Andrew at the summit of Pichincha (15,700 feet).

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Beautiful views looking over the city of Quito from Pichincha!

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Today Jeff Glasbrenner and I explored the rolling country side and completed acclimatization hikes near Quito. We cruised to the top of Pasochoa at 13,860 ft and bagged another nearby summit as well. After a day of hiking we explored the beautiful city of Quito where we saw the historic sites and had an authentic Ecuadorian dinner in town. Tomorrow we will continue to acclimate to the altitude with our amazing guide, José Luis, and climb Pinchincha at 15,700 ft. The weather is beautiful and our team is very excited to begin our journey to Cayambe in the days to come.

To the top!

-Andrew Tierney

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Photos taken using DJI Phantom 3 Professional drone and GoPro Hero4. Enjoy!

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Virgin of El Panecillo overlooking the city of Quito

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Church of San Francisco

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One of my favorite shots looking over the city of Quito!

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Basílica del Voto Nacional – Quito

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Rolling layers of fog made for a beautiful picture here from the summit of Pasochoa (13,860′).

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Jeff and I taking our first summit photo! More to come!!

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Our adventure rig for the week!

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Climbing down from Pasochoa over the rolling hills outside of Quito

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Palace in the Plaza Grande

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Church of La Compañía de Jesús

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Today the Madison Mountaineering team made another acclimatization climb to the summit of Ruku Pichincha Volcano at 4,698 metres (15,413 ft)! This was the teams third successful day trek as they continue to adapt to the elevation gain in the Andes. These peaks were visible from the nearby city of Quito where the expedition began. Weather today was partly cloudy with breaks in the clouds throughout the afternoon. The team is now in route to Hacienda Guachala near the town of Cayambe. This colonial town is known as the oldest hacienda (Spanish for estate) in Ecuador, with structures dating all the way back to 1580! Tomorrow the team will be making another day hike to Imbabura and continue this epic journey. Onward!

Interesting Fact about Pichincha Volcano: On May 24, 1822, General Sucre’s southern campaign in the Spanish-America war of independence, came to a climax when patriot forces defeated the Spanish colonial army on the south-east slopes of this volcano. The engagement, known as the Battle of Pichincha, secured the independence of the territories of present day Ecuador.

Beautiful photos from our expedition leader Estalin below! 🙂

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Team starting the trek to Ruku Pichincha:

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Lunch break with a pretty epic view! 

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Traversing rocky terrain:

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Luke resting before the last step to the summit:

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Last push before the summit!

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Summit of Ruku Pichincha Volcano at 4,698 metres (15,413 ft):

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Making our descent through the clouds:

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Luke enjoying the moment! 🙂 

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Yesterday our Madison Mountaineering team in Ecuador made it to the summit of Pasochoa!! Pasochoa is an extinct volcano with amazing views and is located in the Ecuadorian Andes. This initial acclimatization hike is the first of many as the team continues to adapt to the high altitude Ecuador volcanoes. At 8:30 am the team started the trek toward the summit of Pasochoa Volcano at 4,200 meters (13,860 feet). The weather was enjoyable with a few clouds throughout the day. Luke and Zack made amazing time on this first hike and trekked up and down of the mountain in four hours and sixteen minutes! The team then made their way back to the hotel for a good nights rest. Tomorrow Luke and Zack will depart the hotel and hike up Pichincha at 4,784 meters ( 15,700 feet).  Stay tuned as the expedition continues, beautiful pictures below!
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Luke and Zack starting the way up in the middle of the Andean grassland:
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Lunch break selfie 🙂

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Luke and Zack viewing the beautiful volcano crater:

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The final push to the summit of Pasochoa Volcano at 4,200 meters:

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Summit of Pasochoa volcano:

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