On a snowy day at Everest Base Camp, expedition leader, Garrett Madison, has this daily report:
Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering Autumn Everest Expedition. Today is September 28th and we had a rest day in base camp as it snowed outside all day and fairly cloudy.
We were very happy to see our friend Kilian Jornet and his friend Carlos come into our camp for a few hours this afternoon and have lunch with us. Kilian’s just back from Namche and planning on heading up in a few days, weather pending.
We heard a big boom today in the icefall, it might have been the serac that we’ve been waiting to break loose and fall down. We won’t know until we get a good view when the weather clears up in a day or two.
But, we’re doing great here in base camp. Everyone’s doing well and just enjoying being here at Everest Base Camp.
[photo above: One week ago at our Camp 1 looking up at Lhotse (📸: Kilian Jornet)]
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:
– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking map:
Garrett called in with an audio dispatch this morning from K2 Camp 1:
Hi! This is Garrett calling for the K2 expedition. Today is July 18th. We are up at Camp 1. We had a good climb up here yesterday; it was nice and cool and then in the afternoon some snow showers moved and it was cloudy and a bit blustery. But everyone had a good night and today it’s cleared up, so we are moving to Camp 2! Everyone’s doing well and the Sun’s out so we are looking forward to a nice day! We will check in again once we get to Camp 2. Bye.
Today our whole team of climbers & guides climbed up the first part of the Abruzzi ridge on K2 reaching Camp 1. We are all here safe and doing well. The climb took us around 7 hours from base camp, and around 5 hours for those of us who elected to spend the night at Advanced Base Camp last night. Our plan is to rest here tomorrow, make a short acclimatization climb partway to Camp 2, and then sleep again at Camp 1. The weather is nice, a little windy but great views of the surrounding peaks.
Unfortunately, today we witnessed a climber from another team (Canadian) falling down the mountain. The cause of the accident is unclear, however from reports of Sherpas who were nearby it may have been an old fixed rope that broke as the climber was descending below Camp 2. Our team’s thoughts and prayers are with the climber and his family.
Today we departed Mount Everest base camp at 4 AM and climbed up through the Khumbu Icefall in the pre dawn hours when the ice is solid. Then we had the pleasure of a beautiful sunrise as we ascended up through the Icefall to Camp 1. After reaching Camp 1 we continued up through the Western CWM (valley) to Camp 2, our Advanced Base Camp. It was a long day of climbing, but we are happy to finally have arrived in our Advanced Base Camp on Mount Everest and now looking forward to a rest day tomorrow! Everyone is doing well here on Mount Everest!
Today our Sherpas carried 10 loads of ropes and hardware from Camp 2, our Advanced Base Camp, to the South Col high camp (Camp 4) on Mount Everest. This load carry is approximately 4,500 ft. (1380m) from Camp 2 to Camp 4, and very strenuous day, which involves climbing the steep ice of the Lhotse Face, crossing the rock formation known as the Yellow Band, and then up and over the secondary rock formation known as the Geneva Spur, a ridge line which separates the upper Lhotse Face. Our Sherpas are planning to carry another 10 loads of essential equipment tomorrow, to complete the positioning of gear necessary for the rope fixing project to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
Our team has arrived at Camp 2 on Mount Everest! Today we climbed from our Camp 1 up through the Western CWM and arrived at Camp 2 in the early afternoon. We are settling in now and excited to be in our “ABC” or Advanced Base Camp! Everyone is doing well!
We have begun our First Rotation! Today our climbers and guides departed Everest base camp at 3 AM . They will climbed up through the Khumbu Icefall to Camp 1, arriving in the morning. Our plan is to rest for the remainder of the day at Camp 1 and then spend the night here. Our plan for tomorrow is to go for an acclimatization hike up the Western CWM (valley) tomorrow and then spend another night in Camp 1. All is well here on Camp1.
Yesterday was our Puja ceremony in base camp. Our whole team of climbers and Sherpas took part with a Buddhist lama. They ask permission for the mountain to grant us safe passage. After the blessing was complete and our Puja ceremony finished, we commenced with some dancing and traditional Sherpa / Nepali music. Then, our whole team walked down to the helicopter pad in base camp to reconstruct the helipad. Our team of climbers & Sherpas, 40 men in total, worked for 2 hours to carry rocks and gravel to the helipad .They level the surface in preparation for the helicopter flights to transport the loads of equipment for the rope fixing project . i.e (ropes, carabiners, ice screws, etc.) from base camp to Camp 2 on Mount Everest.
Today at 6 AM we awoke to a cloudy sky in base camp. But, soon after the clouds burned off and the weather was suitable for flying. We transported all of the equipment for the rope fixing project (750 kg) from our base camp to the helipad . Until then waited for the AS 350 B3E helicopter to arrive. By 8:30 AM the helicopter arrived and the first load went up to Camp 2 where our climbing Sherpas had been waiting anxiously for the helicopter to land. And, unload the equipment.
They had arrived earlier in the day and already scouted a suitable landing zone for the helicopter . They were communicating with us in base camp by VHF radio regarding the weather conditions at Camp 2 . Additionally, the expected arrival time of the first helicopter load. In total 7 flights were made from the base camp helipad with equipment for the rope fixing project. This will be deposited in our Camp 2 where our Sherpas will collect the equipment. Afterwards, they will begin rope fixing up the Lhotse face towards Camp 3 on April 19th. As, Tomorrow April 18th is a ‘black day’ in memory of the 2014 Khumbu Icefall tragedy that took the lives of 16 Sherpas.
Our team of climbers is currently training in the lower Khumbu Icefall today practicing ascending vertical fixed ropes, rappelling, and crossing ladders. They are training for the preparation for our climb to Camp 1. The weather is nice and we are excited that everything is on track so far for Everest 2018!
Today is our 4th day in Everest base camp, we are now settled here for this 2018 expedition. We have been training for the Khumbu Icefall by practicing various climbing techniques such as ascending fixed ropes, rappelling, and crossing ladders. We will continue training the next few days before we make our first ‘rotation’ to Camps 1 & 2. Tomorrow is our Puja ceremony. All is well here in base camp.
K2 2016 Climbing Season Recap:
Our K2 2016 team made a great effort to climb the peak but it was not meant to be. We are thankful that nobody was injured in the avalanche that came down from high on the mountain on July 23rd and took our Camp 3 and Camp 4 deposit off the mountain. This avalanche resulted in the cancellation of the climbing season for all teams on K2 in 2016. We have enjoyed our time in Pakistan and feel very lucky to have experienced this incredible mountain range, the Karakorum. Please read the National Geographic article here for more information on the recent K2 climbing season.