Tag: Himalayas

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Today we received news that the summit Sherpa fixing team will be descending down to base camp due to weather delays. With this information, guides Brent and Geoff made the descent to base camp this afternoon with Anders and John. Arriving back into base camp early evening. It is now being discussed among the main expedition teams at base camp that summit fixing will commence on the 16th and 17th based on current weather forecasts. Our guides and expedition leaders are pushing for as early a fixing as possible.

Now that the majority of the team is back at base camp we will enjoy some rest and relaxation together. Tomorrow morning our team in Namche will be helicoptering back to base camp after spending 4 nights at the Paradise Lodge. Arriving back to base camp this afternoon, Conan John and Allan will be boarding the same helicopter from base camp and travel down to Namche for a few days.  All team members are going to take advantage of a few personal days before summit rotation. Right now it sounds like the team will move up on the night of the 13th toward the summit. Variables such as changing weather forecasts and the fixing of both Mount Everest and Lhotse will determine when the team takes off.

Over the next few days the weather forecasts are calling for snow and light winds. We have been watching movies and enjoying the company of the many fascinating people here on Everest this season. Life is good!

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Dinner was on fire!

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summit Sherpa fixing

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summit Sherpa fixing

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summit Sherpa fixing

 

 

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Mount Everest 2017 Guide Sidney Pattison: 35 year old

Hometown: Winthrop, WA

First started climbing in the North Cascades, first big peak was the west ridge of Forbidden Peak at the age of 16.  In 1997, became intern at the Northwest Mountain School, led climbs on Glacier Peak, rock instruction at Smith Rock, other mountaineering programs on Mount Baker, etc.

Notable ascents include ski decent of Denali, unclimbed peaks in the Himalayas (7000m), Mount Baker & Mount Shuksan combo in 1 day.

Favorite mountaineering equipment:

-ATC guide, due to the auto blocking abilities for both belaying and rappelling.  Can be used as a rope ascension device, for crevasse rescue, a simple device without any mechanical parts.

-Down Suit: Mountain Hardwear Absolute Zero Suit: A slim fitting one piece suit with deep hood, pockets in all the right places, and good length on the arms and legs, doesn’t bunch up in the middle.

Sid is very excited to be guiding Mount Lhotse with our team, the 4th highest peak in the world at 27,940’ (8516m).  The Lhotse couloir will be the final ascent route to the summit of Lhotse.  The couloir is the ‘corridor to the impossible’, allowing one to be in a place where without that ‘weakness’ the climb would be near impossible.  As Madison Mountaineering is the only guide company regularly offering the ‘Everest & Lhotse’ combination climb, this means that climbers will reach the summit of Mount Everest and then return to high camp at the south col (Camp 4), rest about 9 hours then depart high camp to climb to the summit of Lhotse, usually reaching the summit of Lhotse the next morning just after sunrise.  Sidney will be waiting for our team to return from the summit of Everest to high camp, and then he will be fresh to climb with us to the summit of Lhotse.  As the support person at high camp while we are on our Mount Everest summit attempt, Sid will also be supporting us by looking after the camp with our Sherpa staff that remain in high camp preparing water, food, and making sure the tents are secure as high winds regularly torment the South Col high camp, resulting in many tents blowing away.

Sidney is scheduled to guide our unclimbed peak expedition in the Gokyo region of Nepal (near Mount Everest) this autumn, a beautiful virgin peak over 6000m!  This will be an amazing experience with aesthetic ridge climbing on steep snow, ice, and rock!

In the late winter and early spring before our Mount Everest season Sidney works as a heli ski guide in the North Cascades of Washington State.  During the summer Sidney works as a mountain guide on Mount Rainer and other notable peaks in Washington State such as Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan, Mount Olumpus, and the North Cascades, etc.

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Everest 2017 Guide Sidney Pattison

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Our climbers are in good health and spirit on Mount Everest as a joint-effort Sherpa route fixing team makes their way to the summit. At base camp we received good news today, the line fixing to the summit will continue tomorrow and should be completed over the next 2-3 days on Everest. Tomorrow guides Brent and Geoff will move up to Camp 3 with Anders and John. If the weather conditions and fixing go as planned, they will move to Camp 4 the follow day.

Up at Camp 2, our Everest Express team (Conan, Allan and John) are on their first rotation and will be returning to base camp on the 9th. They then plan to fly to Namche by helicopter upon arriving back to base camp to rest and recover before their summit rotation.

A few members of our main climbing group are down in Namche now. Sangeeta, Drew, Alina and Billy will be resting and up at Paradise Lodge for the next few days before coming back for their summit rotation. We are hearing that they are enjoying the delicious bakeries and mountain luxuries in Namche.

The past couple days it has been quite at base camp, lots of reading and resting up with the remaining climbing team. We have been receiving steady snowfall in the afternoons, typically it clears up in the evening with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. The moon shines so bright you can see everything, it’s spectacular!

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Garrett and team moving up to touch Camp 3

Sherpa route fixing team

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High altitude rest break

Sherpa route fixing team

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On the ascent toward Camp 3

Sherpa route fixing team

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Happy climbers

Sherpa route fixing team

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Moving through the Khumbu Icefall

Sherpa route fixing team

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Everest 2017 Guide Conan Bliss :

Growing up in Colorado left an indelible imprint on Conan as a boy.  The mountains beckoned.  At an early age, he enjoyed sojourns in the Rocky Mountains with his father, Robert, being exposed to all sorts of inclement weather, steep pitches and exciting adventure.  Rather than turn to more docile pursuits, he carried forth in the hills as a young man, seeking more diverse and intriguing climbing, regardless of whether a route was a well known classic or an obscure piece of unknown rock.

As a climbing guide, his path has taken him around the globe, from the trade routes of the North Cascades, the cold reaches of Alaska, the airy peaks of the Andes, to the shimmering heights of the Himalayas and Karakoram.  He has no favorite peak, no favorite route, as every climb is different and unique in its own right.  To him, the essence of the climb is the the symbiotic energy of the climbers and the mountain, so the same peak will be a different climb each day, week, and season.

Outside of work, Conan enjoys traveling the world with his girlfriend, Gesine, as well as other more domestic pursuits such as cooking and woodworking.  They are looking forward to their new home base at the foot of the Alps this summer.

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Everest 2017 Guide Conan Bliss

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Today our main climbing group made a safe descent through the Khumbu icefall and back into base camp. This concluded their second rotation on Mount Everest. Some of our climbers are planning to helicopter down to Namche for 4 nights to rest and recoup at lower elevation before our summit rotation. We are planning to spend at least a week resting and preparing logistics before our main team will push toward the summit.

Guides Brent and Geoff are preparing to move up on their summit rotation with John and Anders in a few hours. They will climb to Camp 2 and wait for the green light from the summit route fixing team. The summit of Everest is expected to be fixed over the next 2-3 days followed shortly by Lhotse. If the weather forecasts are true, our four-man team will be among the first to reach the summit of Everest and Lhotse this year.

Conan Bliss and Everest Express climbers John and Allan are currently at Camp 1 and will make the ascent to Camp 2 tomorrow. They will return to base camp in 2 days time and then follow our main group for their summit rotation. Stay tuned!

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Hanging out between Camp 1 and 2

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Khumbu Icefall

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Khumbu Icefall

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Happy Birthday Alina!!

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Making the ascent through the Khumbu Icefall

Khumbu Icefall

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Khumbu Icefall

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Today at base camp a group of our team enjoyed a Pumori acclimatization hike on a perfect blue sky day. The views looking out toward the Himalayas were spectacular. We also had a great look down at Everest base camp, thousands of tents below us and we were pretty easily able to find our camp. After our return to base camp, Conan Allan and John geared up for their upcoming rotation tonight. They will leave base camp at 1:30am toward Camp 1. They will spend 4-5 days up high before returning back to base.

Our climbers at Camp 2 had a relaxing day today, continuing to acclimatize and prepare for tomorrow’s ascent to Camp 3. The plan is for our team to wake up at 6:30am and depart Camp 2 and begin the climb up the Lhotse face. By lunch time they will reach Camp 3, take a few pictures and then make the descent back to Camp 2. On Friday Garrett and our main team will be back to base camp.

Our private guides, Brent and Geoff, are preparing for their summit rotation with Anders and John. After an afternoon chat with the Everest and Lhotse route fixing team, it looks like both peaks will be up within a week. Weather depending of course, we are hoping for a clear and safe early summit window!

We also have some very exciting news from last year’s expedition. Our virtual reality project with Sports Illustrated and TIME released today! Check it out HERE. Enjoy your virtual journey to the top of the world 🙂

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Pumori

Pumori acclimatization hike

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Photo: Allan M.

Pumori acclimatization hike

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Photo: Allan M.

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Photo: Allan M.

Pumori acclimatization hike

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Photo: Allan M.

Pumori acclimatization hike

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Base camp city. Photo: Allan M.

 

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Pumori acclimatization hike

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Pumori acclimatization hike

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Photo: Allan M.

Pumori acclimatization hike

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Hanging out 🙂 

Pumori acclimatization hike

 

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Today at base camp our Everest Express climbers continued with icefall ladder training in the Khumbu icefall. Guide Conan Bliss took John and Allan out for this morning and returned ready to make their first ascent up to Camp 1 and 2. This afternoon we cleaned up camp and continued our base camp chores of keeping the ground flat. For context, at night we hear the loud cracking and popping of the ice underneath us and wake up to a slight shift in the ice. After leveling the ground many of us did our laundry and enjoyed hot showers today under the warm sun.

Our climbers at Camp 1 this morning moved up to Camp 2 and are now safe and sound acclimatizing on their second rotation. They will spend tomorrow at Camp 2 with a small day hike before returning to camp. The following day, weather permitting, our team will make the ascent to touch Camp 3 without oxygen. Our forecasts are calling for high winds up on the mountain that are predicted to settle over the next few days. At base camp we are hearing that the Sherpa summit route fixing team will push to the summit on May 6 and 7 if the winds allow a safe ascent.

Guides Brent and Geoff are planning to take advantage of the first summit window with climbers John and Anders. They will continue to rest up and enjoy delicious food here at base camp before heading up on their summit rotation. Based on current weather forecasts they are planning to move up in the next 3-4 days when the winds die down up high.

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Watching the sun go down over base camp

icefall ladder training

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Night shot looking up the icefall

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Descending through the Khumbu Icefall

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Anders coming down through the icefall

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Evening shot looking up at Pumori

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Brent, Geoff, Anders and John coming down from Camp 3

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Brent and Anders on the Lhotse face

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Ascending the Lhotse face

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Anders on the Lhotse face

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John and Anders at Camp 3

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We have two climber birthdays today. Happy birthday to our 2017 Everest climbers Anders C. and Alina Z! Our base camp chef Antony Dubber made a delicious chocolate birthday cake at 17,000ft (picture below). Earlier today we woke up to cloudy weather with light snowfall covering our camp. In the afternoon the sun was finally able to break through and we caught a glimpse of the sun. Guides Brent and Geoff returned to base camp early this afternoon with climbers Anders and John after a successful second rotation up to Camp 3. They enjoyed a nice lunch of roasted duck in cherry sauce and T-bone steaks for dinner.

Our main group of climbers with guides Garrett, Sid and Billy departed base camp at 1:30am this morning for Camp 1 and will spend 3-4 nights up high before returning down to EBC. Now tucked in for the night at Camp 1, our team will rest up and then move to Camp 2 tomorrow morning.

Back at base camp, Conan Bliss (guide) went through icefall training with our Everest Express climbers John and Allen. Tomorrow we will continue to train in the Khumbu icefall with ladder practice and difficult fixed line courses. Our strong Sherpa team have been moving gear up to the high camps in preparation for our upcoming summit rotation in the weeks ahead. With strong winds striking the upper mountain our fixed lines have yet to be set to the summit of Everest and Lhotse.

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Welcome to Mount Everest base camp Allan! 

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Sumo stance!

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Sangeeta and Phurba at base camp

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Steak dinner 🙂 

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Antony Dubber aka extreme high altitude chef 

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Khumbu Icefall

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Ladder crossing in the icefall

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Geoff Schellens with his talented mountain art! Check out his amazing portfolio HERE

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Mount Everest Birthday Cake!

climber birthdays

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Mount Everest 2017 guide Geoff Schellens was raised in Norwich, Vermont but spends most of his time traveling the world to satisfy his passion for climbing.  This passion is in his blood, inspired by his Mother, Beth, who has climbed Mt. Rainier and Mont Blanc. When little Geoff was 11, he decided that he was an adult and that it was time for him to face Mother Nature. He designed his first climbing harness out of backpack straps and set out to find some rock.  His Father, Dick, acted as an enabler and belayed him from his leather belt.  When he was 13, he tried to buy his first climbing rope but the salesperson said that he was too young.  Instead Geoff purchased climbing shoes, which in hindsight, was probably more dangerous than him buying a rope.

After some trial and error Geoff taught himself some of the basics.  He attended Prescott College where he pursued his passion for climbing and graduated with a degree in Adventure Education.  He took his love for climbing and and passion for sharing it with others and began his guiding career.  Geoff has worked and climbed all over the world from Patagonia to Tibet, Alaskan peaks to frozen waterfalls of Montana.

Everest has crossed every climbers mind and is often a controversial topic amongst climbers.  “I truly believe that any climber that say they don’t want to climb Everest is lying to themselves”. Given the perfect opportunity everyone would want to see how they do on the highest peak in the world. Geoff now has that perfect opportunity, to climb with his long time friend John, with the best guide company in the business.

“The key to expedition climbing is patience and having fun.”  Summiting Everest is the ultimate goal but I believe the journey is the most rewarding aspect of the adventure.

Geoff’s perfect evening would include puppies, burritos and scotch.  He is quite the catch but you will have to chase him!  And guess what… he loves to cook!

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Everest 2017 guide Geoff Schellens

 

Over the past two days here at base camp we have enjoyed some high altitude rest and relaxation between our first and second rotation. On the night of the 30th our main group of climbers will move up to Camp 2 and begin their second acclimatization rotation. They will spend 3-4 nights up at Camp 2 and touch Camp 3 before returning back to EBC. Our incredible Sherpa team is working very hard to move supplies and oxygen up the mountain. The Sherpa summit fixing team is expected to reach the summit in early May based on weather conditions with first climber summits soon after.

Our close base camp friend Randy Christofferson took off yesterday and we said our last goodbyes at the helicopter pad before he flew back to Kathmandu. His son, Anders, is being guided by Brent Bishop whom is currently up at Camp 2. Guides Brent and Geoff will be moving up to touch Camp 3 tomorrow and will return to EBC on May 1.

While relaxing at base camp we have enjoyed the company of Melissa Arnot and learned about her adventures both past and present. Her recent journey to climb the tallest mountains in all 50 states was very interesting. Tonight after dinner we had James Kerr join us, he is originally from New Zealand and spent a few years with the All Black New Zealand rugby team. He wrote and recently published a book called Legacy where he describes his experiences with ‘the most successful sports team in the world’.

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Trekking around base camp

high altitude rest

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Coming back down through the Khumbu Icefall

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Khumbu Icefall

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Base Camp Managers sharing provisions 

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Re-supply

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Goodbye RC!

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Beautiful views from Pumori Camp 1

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Looking down from Pumori Camp 1

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