Tag: Everest

We’ve wrapped up our Everest expedition for the 2019 autumn season, and everyone is heading home. There were no summits of Everest this season by our team or any of the teams attempting the peak. We had the good fortune to connect with some of the world’s best high-altitude climbers & skiers alongside us this season. However, the conditions were such that we’ve all accepted the Mountain was not in a safe enough condition to make a reasonable attempt. Among others, I had the pleasure of spending time this season with Kilian Jornet, who is likely the world’s best high altitude climber, Andrezj Bargiel, who is likely the world’s best high altitude skier, and Tim Emmett who is one of the world’s best all-around climbers.

This ‘post-monsoon’ autumn season on 8000m peaks was a tough one. The monsoon came late and was very heavy, significant amounts of snowfall continued to accumulate daily throughout the time we were on Everest, rather than the typically drier weather of September.

Despite the unusually inclement weather making the overall conditions more challenging, after establishing the route to Camp 1 we discovered a large Serac (ice cliff) that was precariously hanging above the icefall route, on the way from base camp to camp 1. After studying the Serac by drone footage, we determined that when this Serac fell it would obliterate a large portion of the route, a wide area of the route was in danger with no way to avoid this section. None of the teams present, except for Kilian, were willing to take the risk of climbing through this section. Kilian can move very quickly and independently, so he could justify going through this area.

We continued to wait patiently in base camp for the Serac to fall, thereby making the route safe & reasonable for us. However, that day never came. Although the Serac looked more precarious each day, it never broke off while we waited. Eventually, all of the teams decided that they were running out of time and had to call off their expedition plans. Kilian did make one great attempt and reached 8300m on Everest before deciding the deep and unstable snow was too risky for an avalanche. His recap is here: https://www.instagram.com/p/B3RjuN6nHZV/

I stayed with our Nepal team and held out hope that the Serac would fall and allow us to climb until October 6th, when it became apparent that we were out of time. Even if the Serac came down the next day, it would take us more than two weeks to mobilize our team and make an attempt under best-case circumstances, assuming perfect weather, route conditions, climber health and acclimatization, etc., an additional two weeks past our scheduled end date for the expedition.

Everest felt like a totally different mountain this autumn as compared to my prior 12 spring Everest expeditions, due to the continued inclement weather and substantial buildup of new snow. In spring typically the weather is much nicer, and the route conditions are relatively dry, allowing for straightforward climbing.

I’m happy to say that nobody had mixed emotions about climbing under the Serac. It was plain to all of us (except Kilian) that the risk to human life was too high for us, given the precarious position of this ice cliff. Independent, professional climbers can afford, if they choose, to take high risks. However, as a professional mountain guide & expedition leader, I cannot subject my clients and staff to such risks. I appreciate how amenable our clients were in their understanding and agreement in this decision.

We came to the mountain, having prepared ourselves to make an attempt at the summit, should the opportunity present itself. However, many factors are out of our control and must all must align for us to even have a shot at the summit. This season the mountain did not present a reasonable set of conditions for us to make a viable attempt. That’s an inherent part of mountaineering, knowing that the summit is not guaranteed. I’m glad we all enjoyed our time together on this journey in the Himalayas experiencing the mountain, the Sherpa culture, and the richness of Nepal!  A special thank you to Joe Vernachio and everyone at Mountain Hardwear!

I look forward to my next opportunity on Everest in spring 2020!

Team in Pheriche

Team in Pheriche (📸: Francois Lebeau / Louder than 11)

Due to the unsafe route conditions in the Khumbu Icefall, expedition leader, Garrett Madison, has today called off the expedition and has started making the preparations to pack up and head home.  Many thanks to our entire Nepal-based staff and to our climbers and trekkers – and good luck to Kristin who is making her attempt on Ama Dablam:

Hello this is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering Autumn Everest Expedition 2019.

 

Well, The Serac is still up there and despite the decent weather, we are going to call off the Everest Expedition.  Even if The Serac came down, our climbers were able to return to base camp in a few days, and we had perfect weather and route conditions to climb, it would take us over two weeks beyond our orginial end date to climb the mountain.  So, we are going to conclude the dispatches for the expedition.

 

Everyone is safely off the mountain at this time and we’re looking forward to Everest Spring 2020!  All the other teams have gone home, climbers are off the mountain and I’m the last one here.  Looking forward to great season next spring.  Thanks!

Kristin and Aang Phurba approaching Ama Dablam

Kristin and Aang Phurba approaching Ama Dablam

Autumn Everest Base Camp

Autumn Everest Base Camp


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:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates

Instagram:

– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking map:

Expedition leader, Garrett Madison, reports that the great weather is continuing at Everest base camp:

Hello!  This is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering Autumn Everest Expedition here in Nepal.  Today is October 5th.  Great day here at Everest base camp — sunny day, great views, nice people around.

 

The Serac is still up there so we’re not heading up the mountian anytime soon.  Everyone’s doing well and we’ll check in soon.  Thanks.


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:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates

Instagram:

– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking map:

Expedition leader, Garrett Madison, and team are still hanging tight at Everest Base Camp, waiting to see who will blink first, the team or the massive ice serac that continues to precariously hang over the Khumbu Icefall:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering Autumn Everest Expedtion.  Today is October 4th.  It’s a beautiful day here in Everest base camp – the Sun is out!

 

We have our fingers crossed that the serac comes down and we can give it a climb.  But, for the time being, we are just hanging tight so we don’t feel that it is safe to climb up with the serac looming over the Icefall.

 

Everyone’s doing well and a beautiful day here in Nepal.  We are just thankful to be enjoying this great weather.  We’ll check-in soon.  Thanks!

The sun rises above Everest base camp

The sun rises above Everest base camp

Everest pokes its head out

Everest pokes its head out


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:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates

Instagram:

– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking map:

Expedition leader, Garrett Madison, reports in on another nice weather day at Everest base camp and still waiting on that hanging serac…

Hello, this is Garrett Madison calling in for the Madison Mountaineering Autumn Everest Expedition here.  Today is October 3rd and the weather’s great here in Everest base camp — nice view of the mountains.  Everyone’s doing well and we’re just waiting and watching to see if the serac will come down.

 

Fingers crossed for more good weather.  All’s well here at Everest base camp.  We’ll check in soon!  Thanks.


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:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates

Instagram:

– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking map:

Under nice weather at EBC, expedition leader, Garrett Madison, reports in about today’s relaxing day visiting with friends:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering Autumn Everest Expedition.  Today is October 2nd.  A sunny day here in base camp and just hanging out, enjoying the nice weather, organizing camp a bit, and we had a few friends and visitors swing by.  So lots of happy, smiling faces!

 

Fingers crossed, hoping the serac is going to come down in the next couple of days.  Everything’s going well here.  We’ll check-in soon.  Thanks!

Prayer flags and Nuptse behind from Everest base camp (📸: Philip Preiter)

Prayer flags and Nuptse behind from Everest base camp (📸: Philip Preiter)

Everest in the distance

Everest in the distance

Guests in our base camp: Philip and Carole

Guests in our base camp: Philip and Carole

Sunny skies over EBC

Sunny skies over EBC


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:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates

Instagram:

– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking map:

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We are pleased to offer a new program that combines the majesty of Mount Everest with world-class ice climbing for participants of all levels. By basing out of Madison Mountaineering’s signature Everest base camp, participants get to live at the foot of Mount Everest, while enjoying the luxuries and comforts of the most professionally managed camp on the mountain. We have individual ‘box’ tents where members can stand up & have a cot with a thick mattress, we have hot showers, a first-rate dining tent with fresh meat and vegetables flown in regularly from Kathmandu, and a leisure tent to stretch out in, do yoga, etc. The camp is positioned adjacent to the famous Khumbu glacier ice pinnacles where we do the majority of our climbing.

Day 1: Arrive Kathmandu. We pick you up at the airport and go to the iconic Yak & Yeti hotel where we do an equipment check, then see some of the famous sights in Kathmandu such as Buddhist and Hindu temples, then we have a team dinner before heading off to bed.

Day 2: Helicopter flight to Namche Bazaar. We depart the Yak & Yeti hotel early and fly into the Khumbu valley to the village of Namche Bazaar, where we stay in the lovely Panorama lodge. We tour the ‘capital of the Khumbu’ village and have a restful night at 10,500 ft.

Day 3: Acclimatization hike above Namche. We hike to the Everest View Hotel and have tea overlooking the iconic peaks of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, and Ama Dablam. We return to our lodge and spend the night.

Day 4: Trek to Debuche. We trek through the beautiful Khumbu valley to the Tengboche monastery, then descend into the rhododendron forest to our lodge for the night.

Day 5: Trek to Pheriche. We continue trekking up the Khumbu valley with magnificent views of Ama Dablam. We stop in Pangboche for a blessing by the ‘high lama’ of the Buddhist monastery, then continue onward to the Edelweiss lodge for the night.

Day 6: Acclimatization hike above Pheriche. We hike up a nearby ridge to gain a spectacular view of many famous Himalayan peaks such as Makalu, Cho Oyu, Cholatse, and Ama Dablam. We return to Pheriche and visit the Himalayan Rescue Association medical post for a talk on altitude issues with the human body. We have a restful night in our lodge.

Day 7: Trek to Lobuche. We trek upwards and visit the Everest memorials, taking in this heavy yet important legacy to climbers that have perished on the mountain. We continue to the village of Lobuche where we stay for the night. We visit the ‘world’s highest bakery’ for coffee and pastries before dinner.

Day 8: Arrive in Everest base camp! We trek past the village of Gorak Shep, then hike up nearby Kala Pattar (18,250) for a magnificent view of Mount Everest, then continue to base camp. We arrive in base camp and have a hot meal, then tour the camp and move into our personal tents for the duration of our stay. We do an ice climbing info session and prepare for our first day out climbing!

Days 9-12: Climb on! After a hearty breakfast we head out onto the Khumbu ice pinnacles! Our staff has already set up a course with several routes we can climb and practice our techniques on. Tim Emmett instructs climbers as we gradually tackle more difficult ice routes and pinnacles during the program. In addition to ice climbing on top rope & lead climbing, we discuss and practice fixed line ascension, tyrolean traverses, zip-lining, and free soloing, all from one of Ice Climbing’s pioneering and top climbers in the world. Each day climbers are provided with 3 hot meals in Madison Mountaineering’s luxury base camp, and climbers have access to the camp’s hot showers, leisure tent, WiFi, and laundry service.

Day 13: Climbers depart Everest base camp by helicopter and fly to Kathmandu. This helicopter flight is truly one of the most spectacular helicopter flights in the world, as we first have a scenic tour of Everest base camp and the surrounding peaks, then descend around and have birds-eye views of the peaks that we came to know from our trek in such as Ama Dablam and Cholatse. We have a celebratory team dinner in Kathmandu then sleep in the Yak & Yeti hotel in preparation for our departure from Nepal.

Day 14: We head to the airport to board our flights for home.

Cost: $9,850
Deposit: $2,500

2020
March 27 – April 09

Costs Include:
• Accommodations at the Yak & Yeti hotel for one night before and one night after travel into the Khumbu
• Airport pick up upon arrival
• Welcome dinner in Kathmandu
• All in-country flights
• All lodging while in the Khumbu
• All meals while in the Khumbu
• Permits and Park entrance fees
• Guide, Sherpa guides, Nepali staff to carry loads, etc.

Costs Do Not Include:
• Personal items (see Equipment list)
• Bank wire transfer fees, if applicable
• Meals in Kathmandu
• Alcoholic beverages
• Bottled or canned beverages
• Specialty coffee or espresso drinks
• Option to upgrade to single room
• Any costs as the result of an early departure from the program

Cancellation/Refund Policy
• There are no refunds for the deposit or balance payments for this expedition. This includes but is not limited to, expeditions that conclude without reaching objectives or progress towards objectives for participants due to route conditions, weather, insufficient manpower, or any other factor outside the control of Madison Mountaineering. Expedition leader has the final say on the expedition conclusion and will make all best efforts within our margin of safety.
• Participants that choose to leave an active expedition for any reason are not entitled to any refunds
• Madison Mountaineering, LLC highly recommends trip cancellation insurance for all expeditions
• Due to the nature and heavy costs of government and operator permits, Madison Mountaineering must adhere to a stringent refund policy
• Deposit due with registration materials
• All balances are due 120 days prior to departure date unless otherwise specified
• Participants whose balances are not received by the 120-day deadline as stated above, risk forfeiture of their funds and their place on the expedition

Note: Madison Mountaineering, LLC reserves the right to waive any fees. As we offer personalized service, we will attempt to accommodate changes and cancellations when necessary, waiving certain fees when feasible. Deposits paid by participants acknowledge the above cancellation terms.

Base Layers
• Short Underwear: 2-3 pair of synthetic short underwear
• Long Underwear: 2-3 pair lightweight long underwear pants and shirts. 1 pair of heavy expedition weight long underwear.

Mid Layers
• Soft Shell Jacket: A hooded jacket
• Soft Shell pants: For trekking and climbing

Windproof/Rain Layers
• Hard Shell Jacket: To be worn in wet conditions
• Hard Shell Pants: To be worn in wet conditions, these pants should have full side zippers.

Insulation Layers
• Insulated Jacket: PrimaLoft or Down
• Expedition Down Parka: A hooded down jacket with 800 minimum down fill.
• Insulated Pants: PrimaLoft or Down, these should have full side zippers.

Headwear
• Warm Hat: A warm fleece or wool hat.
• Balaclava: to cover your face and neck on windy days.
• Sun hat: A baseball style sun camp.
• Buff: 1-3 of these to wear around your neck & face to block the wind, UV rays, dust.

Eyewear
• Glacier Glasses: wrap around style sunglasses with dark lenses

Gloves
• Waterproof Shell gloves with insulated liner: 2 pair’s for ice climbing
• Soft Shell Gloves: 1 pair
• Shell mittens with insulated liner: 1 pair

Footwear
• Socks: Minimum 3 pair thick mountaineering socks and 3 pair liner socks
• Light hiking boots or trekking shoes: For the trek to base camp, these can be worn at base camp
• Ice climbing Boots: A boot with a built-in gaiter such as the Scarpa Phantom Tech, or Phantom 6000

Sleeping Equipment
• Sleeping Bag: Rated to at least -20 °F. Down is preferable over synthetic.
• Self Inflating pad: A full-length air mattress
• Closed Cell foam pad: Full length is best

Mountaineering Gear
• Ice climbing Backpack: A 45-liter internal frame backpack.
• Compression stuff sacks: for reducing volume for your sleeping bag and down jacket.
• Trash Compactor bags (4): To line stuff sacks and separate gear
• Trekking Backpack: Optional. A small pack for the trek in.
• Trekking Poles: Adjustable poles for the trek to base camp
• Ice Axes: 2 technical tools for ice climbing (Less than 60cm)
• Crampons: Ice climbing
• Helmet: Must fit over a thick hat
• Climbing harness/Alpine
• Carabineers: 4 locking and 2 non-locking
• Belay / Rappel device: For rappelling or belaying climbers
• Ascender: One right or left-hand ascender (Petzl is best)
• Prussik Cord: 20’ or 7 meters of 6mm cord.
• Headlamp: Bring a spare set of batteries

Luggage
• Large Duffel Bag with lock: for transporting all personal gear to base camp.
• Small duffel bag: to store items in the hotel
• Travel Clothes: For days in Kathmandu

Additional Food Items
• Climbing Snacks:
‣ Electrolyte Replacement Drink Mix: Bring a supply for 12 days such as Nuun.
‣ Energy Gel: Single serving gel packs such as GU, Clifshot, Powergel, etc.)
‣ Energy Bars: Power bar, Cliff bar, etc.

Other Equipment
• Water bottles: 2 bottles with 1-liter capacity each
• Water Bottle Parkas: To keep your water from freezing
• Thermos: 1-liter capacity
• Water Purification System: Tablets or Steripen
• Sunscreen: 2 tubes, SPF 40 or stronger
• Lip screen: 2 sticks, SPF 50 or stronger
• Toiletry Bag: Toothpaste, Toothbrush, baby wipes, etc.
• Pee Bottle: 1-liter capacity minimum
• Hand Sanitizer: 2 small bottles
• Hand warmers / Toe warmers: 3 sets of each
• Knife: Optional
• Small Personal First Aid Kit: Athletic tape, band-aids, Ibuprofen, Moleskin, blister care products, personal medications, cough drops
• Medications:
  ‣ Acetazolamide (Diamox) for altitude illness
  ‣ Antibiotics such as Ciprofloxin or Azithromycin for gastrointestinal or respiratory illness
  ‣ Ibuprofen for muscle soreness
  ‣ Pepto Bismol for loose stool
  ‣ Excedrin for headaches
  ‣ Anti-nausea medications

Optional Electronics
• Camera: lightweight with extra batteries

Other Optional Items
• Female urination device (FUD)

Madison Mountaineering is recognized for well thought out strategy in high altitude climbing expeditions, as well as high-quality service throughout. Because we have two decades of experience in the planning and coordination of mountaineering expeditions, our reputation is excellent. We strive to make each expedition the best possible experience for our climbers and focus on our 3 primary goals of success in reaching the summit, returning safely, and having fun!

Our guides are some of the best and most experienced in the industry, having a strong grasp of technical climbing, expedition, and high altitude experience, along with strong interpersonal skills. Our teams are small and equipped with the best support available to ensure the highest chance of success. We are renowned for our comfortable base camps, high-quality food, first-rate communications, and medical support services, all of which are overseen by a professional member of our team.

Most of our climbers have either climbed with us before, been referred by a friend who has climbed with us, or met one of our teams while attempting another peak and decided to join us for their next expedition. We work hard to facilitate safe, successful, and enjoyable expeditions for all of our climbers. Our track record and past climber testimonials prove we are not only experts in our field, but we also love what we do!

More Climbs

Finally today there was some sunny weather at Everest Base Camp.  Expedition leader, Garrett Madison, reports on the weather, the route, and the team member status in today’s expedition dispatch:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering Mount Everest Expedtion – Autumn Season 2019.  Today was a sunny day!  Finally the sun came out – it was beautiful.

 

Kristin is doing well; she’s in Pheriche on her way to Pangboche tomorrow, heading towards Ama Dablam for an attempt on Ama Dablam with our team.  Zac is back in Kathmandu.  Our friend Kilian Jornet is up at Camp 1. He is spending a couple of nights up there.  We’ll see what his plans are, but he’s doing well.

 

We’re still waiting and watching the serac hoping it’s gonna come down and clear the way for a safe route up through the icefall.  Meanwhile, we are looking forward to more sunny weather, hopefully in the future.  All’s well here at Everest Base Camp!

Our Sherpa team in EBC today - we had some sunshine!

Our Sherpa team in EBC today – we had some sunshine! (and a little bit of thumb 😀).  Everybody decked out in their Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer/2 Down Hoody jackets.

Our Nepal team in their Mountain Hardwear down suits

Our Nepal team in their Mountain Hardwear down suits


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:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates

Instagram:

– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking map:

Expedition leader, Garrett Madison, and the climbing team headed down to Gorak Shep for lunch today under the continuing snowy conditions.  Here’s Garrett’s update:

Hello!  This is Garrett calling in for Madison Mountaineering Autumn Everest Expedition.  Today is September 29th.

 

Another snowy, cloudy day in base camp.  Woke up to a few inches of snow and it kept snowing throughout the day.  Myself, Kristin, and Zac hiked down to Gorak Shep this afternoon where we saw some friends – Kilian and company – and then Zac and Kristin along with one of our sherpas and porters headed down to Pheriche for the night.

 

I’m back in Everest base camp and hopefully we’ll have some good weather tomorrow.  All’s well here!

With Kilian and team at Gorak Shep

With Kilian and team at Gorak Shep


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:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates

Instagram:

– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking map:

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)]

Recent photo of the serac approximately 1 kilometer above the central portion of the Khumbu Icefall (📸: Andrezj Bargiel)

Recent photo of the serac approximately 1 kilometer above the central portion of the Khumbu Icefall (📸: Andrezj Bargiel)


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:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates

Instagram:

– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking map:

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