After yesterday’s big initial push up from base camp, the K2 team has been resting up at Camp 2 today and will move up to Camp 3 tomorrow. Garrett fills us in on the details:
Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the K2 climbing team. Today is July 17th, and we decided to take a rest day here in Camp 2 on the Cesen route. The weather is great! Litte bit of uncertainty regarding the rope fixing up high, so we decided to wait a day, give ourselves a little more time, and also rest up from the big push we did yesterday from base camp up to Camp 2 (about 4,500 vertical feet). Our plan is to climb up to Camp 3 tomorrow. Everybody’s doing well. We’ll check in soon. Thanks!
In a big kick-off push, the K2 team climbed from base camp (4990m) to Camp 2 (6325m) on the Česen route today. A steady, steep climb of over 9 hours positioned them very well for moving to Camp 3 (~7000m) tomorrow. Expedition leader, Garrett Madison, has this update:
Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the K2 climbing team. Today is July 16th and we have started our summit push. We left base camp at 3:00 AM today and climbed up the Česen route to Camp 2, a gain of about 4,400 vertical feet or 1330m. Everyone did really good today on the way up and we had nice weather, great views. And we are looking forward to another nice day climbing up to Camp 3 tomorrow.
Expedition leader Garrett Madison provides this update via sat phone from K2 Cesen Camp 2:
Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the K2 climbing expedition team. Today is July 9th. We had a nice rest day up at Camp 2 (6327m). A few of us went for an acclimatization hike up towards Camp 3 (7000m). Good weather today and all members of the team are now up at Camp 2. Tomorrow morning we are going to head back down to base camp. Everybody’s doing great up here, and the weather has been fantastic. We are looking forward to getting back down to base camp and having some good rest and some good food. And we are looking forward to the next phase of the expedition. We’ll check in soon. Thanks!
(photo: Madison Mountaineering archive)
Most of the team is up on the Cesen route acclimatizing and the rest are heading up tomorrow morning from base camp (in ~7 hours). Expedition leader, Garrett Madison provides today’s update:
Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the K2 climbing expedition team. Today is July 8th, and we are up at Camp 2, most of us. We had a great day today: we climbed halfway up to Camp 3 for acclimatization and familiarity with the route. Had beautiful weather today; great views of the surrounding peaks and the Godwin-Austen Glacier. We are back to Camp 2, tucked in and ready for bed. Our plan is to probably spend another day up here at Camp 2 acclimatizing and then heading down in a couple of days time. All’s well here on K2. We’ll check in soon. Thanks!
(photo: Madison Mountaineering archive)
Madison Mountaineering guide Conan Bliss reports in on the team’s first rotation progress from Camp 2 on the Cesen route:
Hi! This is Conan checking with everybody out there in cyberspace for the Madison Mountaineering K2 expedition. Today we had a stellar move up to Camp 2 on the Cesen spur. Everybody’s had a good dinner and are tucked into their tents tonight. Spectacular day today with an unbelievable view over the Karakoram, Concordia, and the Baltoro Glacier. We are planning on staying here tonight. Tomorrow should be a mellow day, also should be nice weather. I will check in with you then.
(photo: Madison Mountaineering archives)
The Everest team has safely descended down the Lhotse face from the South Col to advanced base camp (ABC), Camp 2. Here’s Garrett with the sat phone dispatch from 6500m Camp 2:
Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Everest climbing team. Today is May 24th. We all made it down to Camp 2, our advanced base camp here on Mount Everest. We has a very good day coming down from the South Col high camp. We climbed down past Camp 3 on our way to Camp 2. We all made it safe, all the climbers, guides, and Sherpa.
So, we are here and we just had a nice dinner and we’re tucked into our tents now for a good night’s rest. And tomorrow our plan is to depart Camp 2 at 6:00 AM and head down through the Khumbu Icefall to Everest base camp. So, all’s well here and we’re looking forward to checking in from base camp tomorrow. Thanks!
(photo: Madison Mountaineering archives)
Audio dispatch via satellite phone this evening from K2 Camp 2:
Hey this is Garrett calling in for the K2 expedition team. Today is July 18th and we are up at Camp 2 tucked into our tents! We had a good day coming up to Camp 2. It’s been snowing most of the day and a little breezy but hopefully good weather is on the way. So all’s well here. We are listening to some music in the tent, making some hot water, about to have dinner, go to sleep and tomorrow plan to move up to Camp 3. Our Sherpas are up at Camp 4. They made a good effort today in fixing ropes up towards the Bottleneck. But they still have a long ways to go. So fingers crossed for good weather in the future. That’s all for now, we will check in again soon, bye.
We are all up at our Camp 2, perched at 22,000 ft on the Abruzzi ridge overlooking the Godwin Austin and Baltoro glaciers. We had a great day climbing from Camp 1 up the steep rock & snow slopes. Everyone is doing well.
Today our super Sherpas left base camp at 2 AM and carried up additional fixed ropes (9mm Petzl semi static kernmantle ropes) and re-fixed the entire distance between Camp 1 and Camp 2 ahead of us, so that we did not have to rely on using the Korean ropes that the Japanese team fixed. We are very thankful that our team could respond on a days notice and quickly put these lines in place so that our team and others can climb safely on this section of the route with confidence.
We look forward to a rest day tomorrow.
Today our madison everest team climbers with guides Garrett Madison, Conan Bliss, & Sid Pattison along with climbers Josh, Matt, Randy, Tym, & David are resting in base camp up . They are waiting to begin the summit rotation, this is the final rotation on Mount Everest and hopefully will culminate in reaching the summit! The weather has been windy, more so than the specialized weather forecasts have predicted. So, we have been conservative in our decision making and decided to hold here in base camp until the weather trend looks suitable for us to move us.
Then our Everest climbers will climb from Everest base camp through the Khumbu Icefall and negotiate the many ladders which span crevasses, sometimes about 20 ft. (6m) in width, along with the steep ice and vertical sections of the route. We will go up past Camp 1 through the Western CWM (Valley) to Camp 2, our Advanced Base Camp and from there take a rest day to re evaluate the weather, route conditions, etc.
Our 2 advance teams are already enroute on the final summit rotation! Ed & Ant, our first team, are at Camp 2, having moved up from Everest base camp 2 days ago, and are assessing the mountain conditions which includes the weather, the rope fixing progress, etc.
Our second advance team with Kenton, Ben, and Mark left Everest base camp yesterday and are currently also at Camp 2. They reported very good conditions in the Khumbu Icefall and after arriving at Camp 2 are also reassessing the mountain conditions in preparation for moving up higher on Everest.
Our rope fixing Sherpas moved up to the South Col (Camp 4) yesterday in preparation to fix ropes from there to the Balcony (27,500 ft. / 8,333m), despite strong winds on the Lhotse Face. Yesterday we had a huge wind storm on Everest that lasted through the night and many teams lost tents at Camp 2, fortunately we had our entire Sherpa team (22 Sherpas plus camp staff) in our Camp 2 (Advanced Base Camp) so they were able to secure and protect our camp during this massive wind event. Thankfully, our Sherpas reached the South Col (Camp 4) and established a camp there, and then commenced the first part of the rope fixing project today, reaching the Balcony (27,500 ft. / 8333m).
If the weather is good, and mountain conditions are favorable (they reported deep snow on the route), and our team has the physical energy and mental fortitude, then hopefully our Sherpas will be able to finish the summit rope fixing and open the route by the end of May 12th, so that the route will be open for all climbers on Mount Everest by May 13th.
This is our plan, and with determination and good luck we expect our 4 teams of climbers (Sherpa rope fixing team, advance team of Ed & Ant, second team of Kenton / Ben/ Mark, and third team of Garrett / Conan / Sid with Josh / Matt / Tym / Randy / David to be reaching the summit of Mount Everest between May 12th and May 18th, weather pending! Fortunately the weather forecast looks good through May 21st, so we have a very good weather window in which to make our summit attempts. Thanks for your kind thoughts and prayers! We hope Mount Everest (‘Sagarmatha’ in Nepal) will grant us safe passage to the top of her peak and back!
We concluded a great second rotation today by descending from our Camp 2, known as our Advanced Base Camp, all the way down to our Everest base camp. While on our rotation we spent three nights at our Camp 2, and were very lucky to have great weather. To begin our rotation, we departed our base camp at 4 AM and climbed all the way to Camp 2.
Then, we took a rest day to recuperate and recover from the big climb, nearly 4,000 ft (1,212m) of vertical gain. After our rest day we planned to climb to our Camp 3 on the Lhotse Face, so we departed our Camp 2 (Advanced Base Camp) at 8 AM .We climbed with our down suits to the base of the Lhotse Face, then began our ascent up the steep ice wall on the fixed ropes towards Camp 3. It is situated about halfway up the Lhotse Face at approximately 23,500 ft. (7,121m).
The Lhotse Face is notably icier this year and requires good crampon technique! After 5 hours of climbing we reached our Camp 3 and took a long break to rest, hydrate, and eat a few snacks. We also had the privilege of enjoying an amazing view from Camp 3, looking down over Camp 2, the Western CWM, and Camp 1. We then descended the fixed rope designated for rappelling and made good time in our descent, reaching our Camp 2 just an hour later for a late afternoon lunch. It was a very productive rotation in that we accomplished our goal of climbing to Camp 3 to acclimatize . Additionally, we also familiarize ourselves with the steep and technical terrain of the Lhotse Face.
Our Sherpas have been busy carrying loads of equipment to the South Col high camp (Camp 4) for the final stage of the rope fixing project . This involves setting the ropes from the South Col to the Summit of Mount Everest. They have done an exemplary job so far by setting two lines up to Camp 3. One for ascending and one for descending, as well as an additional line above Camp 3 to ease congestion on the route. We have received many compliments regarding how the lines are set in a safe and desirable fashion on the Lhotse Face which makes for efficient climbing.
Lines have also been set on the Geneva Spur, the final rock ridge before the South Col, so that climbers can go up and down on separate lines for safety and efficiency. At this time Sherpas have been utilizing these ropes to carry loads of oxygen cylinders, tents, food, and fuel to position at the South Col for the eventual summit attempt on Mount Everest!
According to our weather forecasts, it appears that a major wind event is approaching Mount Everest, probably in the next day or two. Our Sherpas will make good use of tomorrows marginal weather forecast to position additional loads at the South Col high camp, and then see if the following day is appropriate for climbing above 8000 meters. The jet stream will likely cover the Mount Everest region for up to a week and no climbing will take place above 8000 meters during this time, so we are preparing to hold tight and wait for the opportunity when the Jet Stream passes and the winds are calm enough for a summit attempt! Until then we plan to rest and enjoy the amenities of our Everest base camp!