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!
Yesterday the weather was good up here , we took some rest in Camp 2. Today we departed Camp 2, our Advanced Base Camp, at 7 AM to climb up the Lhotse Face to Camp 3 at nearly 23,500 ft. (7120m) We donned our Down Suits to stay warm in the early morning before the sun arrived on the Lhotse Face at around 9 AM. Climbing up the steep ice was challenging, but our steel crampons held firm as we made our way up the face to Camp 3.
Upon reaching Camp 3 we took a long break and had a snack before making our way down the Lhotse Face, rappelling the steeper line over the blue ice to the base of the Lhotse Face near the Bergschrund. We then made our way back to Camp 2 for dinner and a restful sleep. Our plan is to either descend tomorrow or take a rest day and descend the following day down to Everest base camp, and then take a long rest before embarking on our summit rotation!
Today our climbing sherpas carried loads to the South Col high camp (Camp 4) in preparation for the final rope fixing to the summit of Mount Everest – Our Rope fixing team fixed the rope upto South Col! . Now that all of the essential equipment is in place for the rope fixing (ropes, ice screws, carabiners, oxygen, etc) we are keeping an eye on the weather for an opportunity to fix the final portion of the route up the Triangular Face to the Balcony (27,500 ft / 8335m), then up the south east ridge and over the rock bands to the south summit, along the summit ridge to the top of the world! Stay tuned for updates from our rope fixing team!
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.
All of our climbers are down in Mount Everest base camp at the moment, resting up and preparing for our next rotation up the mountain to acclimatize. We have been taking hot showers, doing laundry, and enjoying many fine meals here in our base camp. Our bodies are responding from the time we recently spent up at the higher camps by building more red blood cells. So that we will be better acclimated the next time we venture up Everest.
The weather has been good, only a little wind on the upper mountain and some daily snow fall in the afternoon, but we dont need to worry. This is the typical weather pattern for Mount Everest during this time of the year. Our Sherpa team is carrying loads up to Camp 2 and will make a carry while also completing the fixing of the ropes to the South Col high camp (Camp 4) in the coming days. Everyone is doing well and enjoying the magnificent views here in Everest base camp. We are hoping for good weather for next steps!
Today all of our climbers and guides in our main team descended from Camp 2 down to Everest base camp after a great first rotation! We ended up staying an extra night at Camp 2 for acclimatization because everything was going so well for us up at our “Advanced Base Camp”. This will assist us in our acclimatization process as we prepare for our ‘summit rotation’. We spent two nights at Camp 1 and three nights at Camp 2 while we were up on our ‘first rotation.
Today, while we were preparing to descend to base camp at 6 AM from Camp 2, we received information that the icefall route had changed . Our team at basecamp were saying that it was in the process of being repaired. So, we delayed our descent to around 10 AM when we had confirmation that the new variation in the Khumbu Icefall route was complete, arriving base camp this afternoon. Our team is excited to be back in Everest base camp where the air is thick, the food amazing, and the accommodations seeming very plush after nearly a week up high on the mountain.
Over the last few days our expert team of Nepal Climbing Sherpas were able to fix ropes to the Geneva Spur, just short of the South Col (Camp 4) high camp on Mount Everest, despite the windy conditions and the icier than normal slope on the Lhotse Face. Now, with an up line and a down line in place from the base of the Lhotse Face to Camp 3, and then a single line going above that to the Geneva Spur, teams will be able to acclimatize and position loads up higher on the mountain.
Our rope fixing team is preparing to head back up and fix ropes all the way to the South Col in the coming days and then position oxygen and equipment for the ‘summit fixing’ project at the South Col so that when the weather conditions permit they can begin fixing ropes from the South Col up towards the Balcony, the South Summit, and onward to the summit of Mount Everest. They will also install a second ‘down line’ in places to ease congestion on the route such as on the Yellow Band, the Geneva Spur, and at other bottlenecks along the route. All is well here on Mount Everest and we hope for good weather and route conditions to continue!
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!