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Yesterday we completed our K2 climbing rotation of 5 nights above base camp, up to Camp 2. We climbed the Abruzzi ridge route and notable features such as House’s chimney to reach our Camp 2, where we spent 2 nights. Yesterday we descended in winds and snow (stormy weather) to base camp, where we enjoyed another amazing dinner by our base camp chef Antony Dubber.
Photos taken by 2016 K2 expedition climber Stuart Erskine
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Petr flying one of his drones at K2 Base Camp with K2 in the background. In this photo Petr is landing the drone after a flight, directly into his hand.

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Petr flying one of his drones at K2 Base Camp with K2 in the background.

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Petr climbing to Camp 1 on K2 at 20,000 ft or 6,100 meters ASL with his camera equipment and drone in his backpack.

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Petr flying one of his drones at Camp 1 on K2 which is at 20,000 ft or 6,100 metres ASL. He flew for three minutes which could be the highest altitude drone flight on K2.

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Looking up K2 from Camp 2. The weather is very fickle and highly changeable on K2, which ads to the other dangers on this mountain. The top you see here is far from the summit, which is still about 6,500 ft from this location of Camp 2. Note the tents that are destroyed by previous bad weather and how the current tents are tied down in preparation for bad weather.

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This is the kitchen tent where food is prepared for the four climbers, two guides, photographer and chef. Antony Dubber from the UK is our chef and is preparing a soup for lunch. We have Antony our chef and his five kitchen helpers cooking for eight of us.

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A typical Base Camp lunch for the climbers and guides which is prepared by our chef Antony and his five kitchen helpers. While at Base Camp meal times are typically 8:00 AM, 1:00 PM and 6:30 PM.

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Our first rotation. This is Camp 2 on K2 in the middle of summer at 22,000 ft or 6,700 meters ASL. K2 is a steep, inhospitable and dangerous place when the weather is not on your side. High winds and blowing snow kept us in our tents for 36 hours, before we retreated in bad weather back down the steep mountainside of K2. From Camp 2, to Camp 1, to Advanced Base Camp (ABC) to Base Camp in one day. From Camp 2 at 22,000 ft to ABC at 17,500 ft is 4,500 ft altitude loss, of which about 80% of it has to be repelled on a rope as its too steep to free climb or arm wrap a rope down.

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Living on a glacier has its challenges as the glacier is constantly melting, moving and changing. Our team spends time each day repairing the bases for all of the personal sleeping tent sites.

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K2 Base Camp on July 5, 2016
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Two Pakistani army helicopters have flown from Skardu to K2 Base Camp (50 minutes one way) to evacuate one climber on another team that has altitude sickness. K2 is seen on the left and Broad Peak on the right with the Godwin Austin glacier in that middle. K2 Base Camp is behind the landed helicopter.

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One of our climbers, Mark Shuttleworth, was having knee issues  and has left the expedition and is now on his way home, below is a photo of Mark with 3 Army majors, who flew him out from base camp to Skardu yesterday.

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We climbed from Camp 1 to Camp 2 on the Abruzzi ridge on K2, House’s Chimney was one of the most interesting parts of the climb, steep rock and ice for about 60 feet. We had some inclement weather in the afternoon, big gusts of wind and some snow, now it has calmed down, and the view was spectacular! We are all tucked into our tents and resting, everyone is doing well.

-Garrett Madison

Photos taken by Stuart Erskine

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Climbers, guides, sherpas and Pakistani high altitude porters are climbing from Camp 1 to Camp 2 on K2. Camp 1 and Advanced Base Camp are visible in the background directly below the climbers.

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Climbers getting ready to leave Camp 1 on K2 to climb to Camp 2 on July 1, 2016. Broad Peak and the Godwin Austin Glacier are in the background.

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Climbing from Camp 1 to Camp 2 on K2, July 1 2016

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Climbing from Camp 1 to Camp 2 on K2, July 1 2016

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Climbing from Camp 1 to Camp 2 on K2, July 1 2016. K2 is extremely steep and rugged with highly erratic weather.

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Climbing up the steep section of K2.

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Climbing up from the chimney section towards Camp 2 on K2.

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Two climbers make their way up through fog, wind and light snow to Camp 2. The weather is notoriously changeable on K2. Being prepared for the extremes of K2’s weather is a challenge, especially at higher altitudes.

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Camp 2 on K2. It’s way steeper than it looks. At Camp 1 and 2 you need your boots, crampons, harness and to be clipped into a fixed rope or to a tent if you want to walk around. Broad Peak, the Godwin Austin Glacier, Concordia, and the Baltoro Glacier are all in the background.

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Today we climbed up the Abruzzi ridge about 3000 ft to our Camp 1. The terrain was steep, sometimes up to 70 degrees on snow and rock. We are doing well and will climb to camp 2 tomorrow.

-Garrett Madison

Photos below are taken by Stuart Erskine. Enjoy!

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Having supper at K2 Advanced Base Camp.

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Our guides Garrett and Shinji doing some great domestic duties after supper at K2 Advanced Base Camp. 

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Our climbers and guides climbing from Advanced Base Camp to Camp 1 on K2 on July 30, 2016.

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Garrett Madison, our expedition leader is leading our group of climbers that are moving toward Camp 1 on K2 on July 30, 2016. 

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Climbing from K2 Advanced Base Camp to Camp 1 on fixed ropes.

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Climbers arriving around noon to Camp 1 on K2 on June 30, 2016. 

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Tent sites are limited at Camp 1 on K2 and the locations are precarious and prone to serious rock fall and avalanche risk. We use Mountain Hardware Trango 3 tents. We use the Trango 3 tents as a one person tent at Base Camp, two person tents on our trek in and climbing on the mountain, and at camps where space is limited or at high altitude camps, we may have three persons per tent. The Trango 3 is well tested in the world’s harshest environments and is one of the most common tents used on many extreme expeditions.

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Camp 1 on K2 at 20,000 ft ASL on June 30, 2016. Broad Peak, one of the world’s highest fourteen 8,000 metre peaks and the 12th highest mountain in the world is in the background. The Godwin Austin Glacier is in the valley below and flows down into the large Baltoro Glacier.

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Yesterday our climbing team successfully moved up to our K2 ABC (advanced base camp). After a good nights rest we took off this morning and climbed partway up the Abruzzi ridge route and returned to our ABC to sleep. Our plan for tomorrow is to climb up to Camp 1, at about 20,000′. Everyone is doing well and the weather is holding out for us at the moment.

-Garrett Madison

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Climbers moving up the icefall en route to ABC.

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The K2 climbing weather is excellent (sunny and cold) and the forecast is for the same good weather for the next 5-7 days. We are all eager to make as much progress as possible with the good weather. We arrived at K2 base camp a few days ago and have settled into our home for the next 4-6 weeks. Yesterday we did our Puja ceremony with our Sherpa team, asking the mountain for safe passage. Today our Sherpas are establishing our advanced base camp. We have all had hot showers, and our chef (Antony Dubber) is keeping us well fed with his marvelous food creations. The weather looks very favorable the next few days so we are pushing ahead with establishing the climbing route and our higher camps. Everyone is doing well and we look forward to start our first rotation.               -Garrett Madison

Amazing photos below taken by Stuart!

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Our first view of the summit of K2 from Concordia on June 21, 2016.

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Porters, sherpa’s and climbers leave at 5:00 AM from Broad Peak Base Camp to K2 Base Camp on a cool snowy morning.

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After a hard day of trekking, the Pakistani porters huddle in groups around the camp at Broad Peak Base Camp.

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Porters, sherpa’s, and climbers make their way from Concordia to Broad Peak Base Camp on their way into K2 Base Camp. K2 can be seen faintly in the background middle left as it is shrouded by clouds.

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Sunset on Broad Peak from K2 Base Camp. Broad Peak is the twelfth highest mountain in the world at 8,051 meters or 27,414 ft.

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Climbers trekking up the upper Baltoro Glacier early in the morning on their way to climb K2.

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Good morning Pakistani style. While at Base Camp our kitchen staff prepare and deliver Balistan tea to our personal sleeping tents at our get out of tent time. All the climbers and guides have a personal three person tent to themselves at Base Camp. On the trek into Base Camp we share two persons to a tent. While climbing on K2 the camping spaces are very limited and dangerous, so we will be sleeping two to three people to a tent.

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Mules, donkeys, and horses stand waiting at K2 Base Camp for their 130 km return journey to Askole.

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Our first meal in our new dining tent at K2 Base Camp. From left to right: Antony Dubber, UK (our chef); Mark Shuttleworth, UK; Klara Polakova, Chech; Semba Takayasu, Japan; Garret Madison, USA (expedition leader); Peter Juraka, Chech (photographer); Shinji Tamura, Switzerland (climbing guide); Rene Bergsma, Holland; Stuart Erskine, Canada.

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Our Nepalese Sherpas are putting the climbing ropes that are used for fixed lines on K2 into their packs ready for tomorrow. Our six sherpas will leave tomorrow to establish the route to ABC (Advanced Base Camp) on the glacier further around K2 and at the base of the Abruzi Ridge, where we will start to climb K2. Once the route is established the Pakistani high altitude porters will carry all the tents, fuel, supplies and equipment to ABC and the Sherpas will establish the route up the Abruzi Ridge on K2 to camp 1. The climbers will follow in their first rotation.

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The two K2 expeditions have a total of 15 climbers for 2016. In addition to the 300 porters traveling with our climbers into K2 and the 300 plus porters that have delivered loads to Base Camp a week earlier, we also have over 100 mules, donkeys and horses carrying loads as well. This photo is of some of the mules, donkeys, and horses arriving at 8:30 AM June 22, 2016 to K2 Base Camp on a cool snowy morning.

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Four climbers on the Godwin Austin Glacier heading back down to K2 Base Camp on June 26, 2016.

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Our kitchen assistants Mirza Mohammad (left) and Khadim Hussain (right) are waiting to greet our climbers and guides back to K2 Base Camp with a welcomed cold drink.

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K2 Advanced Base Camp for 2016. The Godwin Austin glacier on the left flows down the valley to K2 Base Camp which is out of sight on the right.

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Trekking back down the ice fall of the Godwin Austin Glacier from K2 Advanced Base Camp to K2 Base Camp on June 26, 2016.

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Our climbing team start to navigate their way through the ice fall of the Godwin Austin Glacier on the way to K2 Advanced Base Camp.

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The climbing team arriving at K2 Advanced Base Camp carrying a load of items (extra sleeping bags, sleeping mats, summit suits, extra clothing, etc) to stay at ABC ready for our first seven day rotation, which is in a couple of days to Camp 1, 2 and 3.

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After the ice fall we climb up rocky moraine slopes towards Advanced Base Camp.

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Climbers navigating the ice fall. 

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Our climbing team entering the popcorn section of the ice fall.

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Our climbing team and guides have a rest break about every 60 to 75 minutes, depending on conditions. We hydrate, have a snack and rest our shoulders. K2 is in the background.

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Some of our climbing team and guides trekking up the glacier to ABC, with K2 in the background.

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K2 at 7:00 AM June 26, 2016. Our team is doing an acclimatization climb and moving items from Base Camp to Advanced Base Camp (ABC), which is located where the base of right ridge of K2 meets the glacier.

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Madison Mountaineering K2 2016 USA International Team at K2 Base Camp on June 26, 2016.

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A Nepalese Lama and sherpas perform a puja ceremony for all the climbers, sherpas and high altitude porters that will be climbing K2, to pray for their safe passage and return from K2.

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Siddhi Bahadur Tamang is from Gongar dada, Dolkha, Nepal and has a wife and two girls aged 10 and 3. Siddhi has summited Everest once, Cho oyu once, Manaslu four times, Ama Dablam five times and Baruntse one time. 

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Pemba Oingdi Sherpa is from Khebalung, Sankhuwa, Sabah, Nepal and has a new wife and no kids. Oingdi has summited Everest twice, Lhotse once and Manaslu twice.

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Lakpa Nuru Sherpa is from Solu, Khumbu and has a wife and one boy and one girl ages 12 and 8. Lakpa has summited Everest six times, Manaslu once, Ama Dablam twice, Annapurna once and Dhaulagiri once.

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Pasang Tenjing is from Makalu, Sankhuwa Sabah, Nepal and has a wife and one boy and two girls aged 15, 8 and 7 Pasung has summited Everest three times, Manaslu once, and Dhaulagiri once.

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Aang Phurba Sherpa, (Sirder or Sherpa boss) is from Khebalung, sankhuwa Sabah, Nepal and has a wife and two boys aged 10 and 7. Phurba has summited Everest five times, Manaslu four times, Lhotse once, Makalu once, Cho Oyu once and Ama Dablam twice.

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Our 2016 K2 expedition in the Karakoram is off to a great start with climbers on their 5th day of trekking with one day remaining till arrival at K2 base camp. Below we have a beautiful photo journey that will take you on the adventure. Thank you Stuart for the amazing photos!

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Garrett Madison our expedition leader trekking into K2 Base Camp. We start trekking at 5:00 AM to beat the heat as we anticipated a hot, dusty, and bouldery trail making for a long trekking day. We trekked 20 km’s which took about nine hours due to the rough terrain and heat.

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We have over 100 mules, donkeys, and horses in addition to more than 300 porters traveling with our Madison Mountaineering K2 Expedition to K2 Base Camp.

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This is a view on day three of six days of the trek into K2 Base Camp. Trango towers in the background. Note the string of many pack mules, donkeys, horses, and porters heading up the Baltoro Valley to the right.

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Stuart shading himself from the sunny day two of the trek info K2 Base Camp which is at the head of the Baltoro Valley of the Karakoram Mountain Range.

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This is Payou Camp where we stayed between day two and day three of our trek into K2 Base Camp. A horse getting a new shoe in the foreground and some of the Trango Towers are in the background.

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Madison Mountaineering 2016 K2 Porter Team.

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The porters, sherpas, and support staff are packing up our camp early in the morning to again move the camp 20 km up the Baltoro Glacier on our way to K2 Base Camp.

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Climbers and Nepalese Sherpa’s trek up the Baltoro Glacier early in the morning on their way to K2 Base Camp.

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A small glacial lake on the Baltoro Galcier with the Masherburn mountain range in the background. Masherburn mountain  (almost 8,000 meter mountain) is in the distance but is mostly hidden by clouds.

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This is a view back down the valley where we have trekked from over the last two days. The photo is taken from the beginning of the Baltoro Glacier.

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This is Urdukas Camp where we stayed after the third day of the six day trek into K2 Base Camp. The Baltoro Glacier and the Trango Towers are in the background.

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The sun rises over Urdukas Camp and the Trango Towers of the Baltoro Valley. The camp is being packed up and is ready for the porters and mules to pick up the loads for the climbers that are on their way to climb K2 and Broad Peak.

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Climbers destined to climb K2 or Broad Peak trek on the Baltoro Glacier on their way into their Base Camp. There is a lot of up and down as we head up the glacier. Traveling on the icy and slippery glacier is still a very welcome change to what we experienced further down the Baltoro Valley where it was very dusty, hot and bouldery.

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Stuart, the man behind the camera! 

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