Tag: International

Mountain Hardwear Backpacks to Summit!

For our 2018 expedition we are using these backpack from Mountain Hardwear. Also, our Mountain Hardwear ‘South Col’ backpacks are utilized by our climbing Sherpa to transport the essential equipment in harsh environment . Furthermore, these backpacks  are used for rope fixing all the way to the summit.

Resting in Camp 2

Resting in Camp 2!

Today we are resting in Camp 2 and just got back from an acclimatization hike up the west shoulder of Mount Everest. We had stunning views of the Lhotse Face, Nuptse, and the Western CWM. This is our second night in Camp 2. Tomorrow we plan to descend to base camp for a rest.

Kilimanjaro weather can be great, weather on mountains can also not be great. As we tried to sleep in our tents in preparation of our 11pm wake up for our summit bid, our tents folded like tacos in the wind and sounded like chip bags with snow and hail. Needless to say, I don’t think anybody slept. We got up, ate a light breakfast and started our ascent. About 5 inches of new snow had fallen overnight and the wind had increased, we climbed higher and higher in the dark bucking a serious wind, steady and unrelenting. By around 5:15AM we stood at Stella Point, the bulk of the climbing below us the sun rose and illuminated Africa and the clouds below. We made the final stroll to the summit and at 6:40AM we all celebrated. The descent was straightforward if not muddy due to the melting snow and the wind had abated. We were in high spirits as we strolled back into camp until we saw what remained of much of our camp. The winds throughout the night had taken their toll on our cook tent, our dining tent and our porters sleeping tent leaving them destroyed. What would generally be a celebratory lunch turned into a rush to pack and head down the mountain. As the icy winds began again we hurriedly packed our gear and hightailed it down the mountain. After a 4 hour hike we finally got to relax at McKay high camp where we are, drank water and tea and slept like baby rhinos.
The last day of any trip is bitter sweet. On one handed we long for cold beer, new food and hot showers while on the other we have to leave a place we have given so much for. We came out here and climbed the mountain and the trip is over. Now we all go back to our lives and have the memories and pictures. This was on all of our minds as we hiked the 10 kilometer hike out to the gate, through the rain forest we saw more birds and monkeys than we could count. We arrived at the gate to our team singing and dancing and congratulating us on a great climb. We feasted on a fantastic buffet lunch, thanked our staff, said goodbye then loaded up in the van back to the hotel. We are all sad to be going home, but psyched for the pool.

Yesterday was a favorite so far for our Kilimanjaro team! The Baranco Wall can be an intimidating feature and as we woke up we could only see it for brief moments through the breaking fog. We stashed our trekking poles and steadily climbed. Mike, Todd and Cassey showed no signs of slowing as we crested the wall! As we bobbed and weaved our way around the mountain we were all in awe on the mountain to our left, and the beautiful countryside of Tanzania to our right. Karanga camp was a welcome sight!

Today we sit primed and ready for our climb tonight! The climb from Karanga to Kosovo camp at 15,500ft is a rewarding but demanding day. As usual Mike, Todd and Cassey floated it! As the scrub brush disappeared leaving only gravel and rocks, one starts to feel the change from hiking to climbing. Now we rest, drink water, eat and prepare for our late night start and our climb to the top of Africa!

Sid Pattison


.kili-1kili-2 kili-3 kili-4 kili1-1 kili1-2

There are few places like the beautiful Shira Camp sunrise on Mount Kilimanjaro. Looking out over the jungle, seeing Meru peaking up above the clouds watching the frost give way to sun warmth is fantastic. Today the team rocked our acclimatization day climbing up to 15,000ft to the Lava Tower! We moved confidently and steadily up, happy to see our lunch tent through the mist. We dined in luxury on chicken, pasta, sandwiches and fresh fruit while trying out best to master the Swahili phrases of gratitude we have been learning. After a good break we descended down through the Hidden Moorlands of indescribable beauty. Wandering past waterfalls, clumps of wild Dr. Suess trees we arrived at Baranco Camp at 12,750ft. Red blood cells freshly oxygenated, we rest before dinner.

Sid Pattison









Finally on Mount Kilimanjaro after our jungle trek! Sometimes in climbing, the toughest part is waiting to start. Like a runner in the starting blocks, we waited and prepared. Yesterday we set off and now have our first day under our belt. We steadily climbed through the jungle seeing monkeys and beautifully colored birds who’s names I wish I knew to Machame camp at 9500ft in elevation. The group is strong and psyched to be here. We ate, rested and sleep like babies.

This morning we were greeted to sun and our first views of Kilimanjaro! The team did great grinding up from 9000ft to our 12000ft Shira camp. As we climbed up out of the last of the jungle, past the majestic Erica trees we were treated with fleeting views of the jungle below. Dinner and rest was well earned now we shall all sleep like baby giraffes.

Sid Pattison












Under promising sky’s we load up the jeep, packed, ready and psyched to climb! Tonight we sleep in the jungle at the foot of the tallest mountain in Africa! We couldn’t be more ready! –Sid Pattison







After many hours of travel and several times zones we all made it to Tanzania! This morning we met up, excitedly talked about our climb and sorted gear. Stoke is high as we prepare for our climb! With gear packed we are off to Arusha to explore the city a bit and pick up some last minute items. Tomorrow we are off!

-Sid Pattison



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Aconcagua, the “Stone Sentinel”, is located in Argentina near the border of Chile, and is the highest mountain outside of Asia. We climb a less traveled route that allows for more acclimatization, and while we may use our ice axe and crampons occasionally, this climb does not require ‘roping up.’ Climbers have the option to hire porters to assist with load carrying, as Aconcagua can be a very demanding high altitude climb.

Madison Mountaineering offers the highest standard in climbing Aconcagua by combining expert guides, a well thought out strategy, and excellent support throughout the expedition. Our guides are very experienced leading expeditions on Aconcagua, and spend days before hand organizing the food and equipment for the climb. Although we do not rope up, Aconcagua is a very serious undertaking. Our approach is to properly acclimatize and then attempt the summit with enough extra days built in for bad weather, whereas many climbers try to rush the ascent and are turned around by altitude illness or high winds that prevent reaching the summit when time is limited. We have a very close relationship and daily communication with our Argentine outfitter who provides services such as the mules that transport our gear to base camp, our own private dining tent in base camp, and the porters who are available to assist us transporting gear to our high camps. We keep our teams small, and ensure that climbers have the best chance to reach the summit while remaining safe. Garrett Madison has reached the summit of Aconcagua on nearly each of his 11 expeditions, and has perfected what he believes is the optimum strategy for leading a team to reach the summit.

We begin on the eastern side of the mountain, by trekking along the Vacas River to Plaza Argentina base camp. From here we ascend the non technical false polish and then upper Guanacos route to our high camp. On summit day we climb to Independencia refuge, then traverse the western slope, ascend the Canaleta, and reach the summit ridge leading to the highest point in the Americas. We descend into the Horcones valley and exit out of the western side of Aconcagua, nearly circumnavigating the entire peak.

Prerequisites: Climbers should have trekking or back packing experience. Technical training in how to use ice axe and crampons is a plus, but not necessary as we will review these skills once on the mountain. Top physical conditioning is important as this is a strenuous climb at high altitude.

Photo Credit: Wenny Sánchez

We regularly organize custom programs for private groups. We are happy to accommodate your program dates, as well as other specific requests related to the itinerary, amenities, and group size. Please contact us if you would like to know more about custom programs.

Day 1: Arrive in Mendoza, transfer to Park Hyatt Hotel. Your guide will meet with you and conduct an orientation, equipment check, then gather the group for a welcome dinner in a nearby restaurant.

Day 2: After breakfast we visit the Aconcagua Park office and obtain our climbing permits, then drive to Penitentes, usually having lunch along the way. Upon arriving the Ayelen hotel we discuss the strategy for the climb before relaxing and enjoying another Argentine style dinner.

Day 3: We begin our trek not far from the hotel at Punta de Vaca, the entrance to the Vacas Valley (8,000’) and trek along the river stopping to enjoy a picnic style lunch. We arrive at Pampa de Lena camp (9,200’). Here we have a traditional open fire barbeque under the stars near the riverside.

Day 4: We awake early and continue the trek, marveling at the scenic landscape of the far away valley walls. After another picnic style lunch we finally have our first view of the summit, then arrive Casa de Piedra Camp (10,560’), another scenic riverside camp.

Day 5: After an early morning river crossing (with river shoes or by mule) we leave the Vacas Valley and begin the steep trek up the Relinchos Valley to Plaza Argentina base camp (13,900’). Upon arriving in base camp we are greeted by our friendly outfitter and a warm meal! The mules will deposit our gear and head out. We spend the first of our 3 nights at base camp.

Day 6: We rest in base camp and organize our loads for the higher camps. A short acclimatization hike up a nearby peak is optional.

Day 7: After breakfast we carry a load of equipment up to Camp 1 (16,100’) to deposit and then we return to base camp to spend the night.

Day 8: After breakfast we say good bye to our Argentine friends at base camp and climb up to Camp 1 (16,100’) to spend the night.

Day 9: We carry a load of gear, food, and clothing to our Camp 2 (18,000’), then return to Camp 1 to spend the night.

Day 10: Today we normally rest in Camp 1 to recover from the previous day’s climb and allow our bodies to generate more red blood cells.

Day 11: Move to Camp 2 (18,000’). From here we can see many snow capped peaks of the Andes.

Day 12: Rest in Camp 2, organize loads for carry to Camp 3.

Day 13: Carry to Camp 3 (19,600’) and return to Camp 2 to spend the night.

Day 14: Move to Camp 3 (19,600’). Upon reaching high camp we enjoy spectacular sunsets to the west over Chile.

Day 15: Rest in Camp 3.

Day 16: Summit day! We awake early and set off for the summit, usually arriving at the top around 2 PM. We savor the view from the highest peak in the Americas, then descend back to our high camp and spend the night.

Day 17: Extra day in case of bad weather, acclimatization, etc.

Day 18: Descend from our Camp 3 to Plaza de Mulas base camp (13,800’).

Day 19: Trek to Horcones trail head, transfer to the Ayelen hotel in Penitentes. Here we have a much deserved shower and celebration dinner!

Day 20: Transfer to Mendoza, check into park Hyatt hotel, and enjoy a fancy Argentine style meal. If we do not use our extra days we can relax in Mendoza or choose a day activity such as a wine tour, rafting trip, horseback ride, fly fishing, etc.

Day 21: Transfer to Mendoza airport, depart for country of residence.

Aconcagua Expedition
Cost: $5,100
Deposit: $2,000

2020 Departures:
February 7-March 1
December 5-27
December 12-January 3
December 19-January 10
December 28-January 19

Costs Include:
‌• Mountain guides
‌• All shared expedition gear (VHF radios, satellite phone, personal tents, large private dining tent in base camp, cooking equipment, etc.)‌
• Airport pick up upon arrival and transport to hotel
‌• Two nights accommodations with breakfast in Mendoza (double occupancy)
‌• Two nights accommodation with breakfast at the Ayelen hotel in Penitentes
‌• Welcome dinner‌
• Celebration dinner
‌• All food during the expedition
‌• All ground transport during the program
‌• Mules to transport gear and food

Costs Do Not Include:
‌• Airfare to Mendoza
‌• Aconcagua climbing permit fee
‌• Option to upgrade to single room‌
• Argentina reciprocity fee
‌• Porter fees
‌• Fees for early departure from program
‌• Personal items
‌• Medical and Evacuation insurance
‌• Trip cancellation insurance‌
• Wire transfer fees

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 a summit or progress towards a summit 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.

Print Gear List

Base Layers

  • Synthetic Short underwear: 2-3 pair of non-cotton style underwear
  • Lightweight Long Underwear: 1-2 pair lightweight long underwear pants and shirts
  • Heavyweight Long Underwear: 1 pair of heavy expedition weight long underwear
  • Short Sleeve Synthetic Shirt: 1-2 pair

Mid Layers

  • Soft Shell jacket: To be worn over other layers
  • Soft Shell pants: For trekking and climbing
  • Lightweight Nylon Pants: 1-2 pair

Windproof/Rain Layers

  • Hard Shell Jacket with hood: A waterproof and breathable shell jacket
  • Hard Shell Pants: Waterproof and breathable shell pants

Insulation Layers

  • Insulated Down Jacket with hood
  • Insulated synthetic Pants


  • Warm Hat: Synthetic or wool hat (ski hat).
  • Balaclava: to cover your face and neck on windy days
  • Sun hat: A baseball style sun cap
  • Buff: to wear around your neck & face to block the wind, UV rays, dust


  • Glacier glasses: Full protection with side covers or wrap around
  • Ski goggles: To be worn in the event of high winds


  • Lightweight synthetic liner gloves: For wearing on a hot day
  • Soft shell gloves: To wear for moderate cold / wind
  • Shell glove with insulated liner: To wear for severe cold / strong wind
  • Expedition Mitts: Large enough to fit a liner glove inside.


  • Liner socks: 3 pair
  • Wool or synthetic socks: 3 pair
  • Mountaineering boots: Olympus Mons, Millet, ect.
  • Hiking shoes/boots: For the trek to base camp, these can be worn at base camp and higher on the mountain depending on route conditions
  • Water shoes or sandals: For the stream and river crossings
  • Gaiters:To keep snow, rocks, and dust out of your boots. Gaiters also help keep your lower leg warm. Please make sure your gaiters fit over your boots.
  • Booties (optional): for wearing around camp
  • Water shoes or sandals: for stream and river crossings

Sleeping Equipment

  • Sleeping Bag: rated to at least -20°F.
  • Self inflating sleeping pad: Full length is preferred
  • Closed cell foam pad: To be used in conjunction with the inflating pad for warmth and comfort when sleeping
  • Earplugs

Mountaineering Gear

  • Expedition Backpack: approx. 65-liter internal frame backpack
  • Compression stuff sacks: for reducing volume for your sleeping bag and down jacket
  • Trash Compactor bags (3): To line stuff sacks and separate gear
  • Trekking Backpack: To carry on the trek to base camp. Simple and light
  • Trekking poles with optional snow baskets: Adjustable poles
  • Ice Axe: A general mountaineering ice axe 60-75 cm
  • Crampons: General mountaineering crampons
  • Headlamp: Bring a Spare set of batteries


  • Large Duffel Bag with lock: for transporting all personal gear to base camp on the mules
  • Small duffel bag with lock: to store items in the hotels
  • Travel Clothes: For days in town

Additional Food Items

  • Snack food: Please bring a few days of your favorite climbing snack food such as bars, gels, nuts, beef jerky, etc. A variety of salty and sweet is good:
    • 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.
    • Candy Bars: Snickers, Mars, Twix, Milky Way, etc.
    • Hard Candy: 1 cup
    • Crackers: 1 box

Other Equipment

  • Cup: 16oz. minimum
  • Bowl: ½ liter minimum capacity
  • Spoon: Plastic (Lexan)
  • Water bottles: 2 or 3 wide mouth bottles with 1-liter capacity
  • Water bottle parkas (2): fully insulated with zip opening
  • Water Purification System: Tablets or Steripen
  • Hand warmers & toe warmers: 3 sets of each
  • Sunscreen: 2 tubes, SPF 50 or stronger
  • Lip screen: 2 sticks, SPF 30 or stronger
  • Toiletry bag: include toilet paper, baby wipes, hand sanitizer and small towel
  • Pee bottle: 1 liter minimum bottle for convenience at night in the tent
  • Pee Funnel: For women
  • Knife: Optional
  • Small Personal First Aid Kit: Athletic tape, band-aids, Ibuprofen, Moleskin, blister care products, personal medications, cough drops
  • Medications and prescriptions:
    • 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

  • For Argentina: Plug adapters and transformers
  • Adventure Sports Watch: such as Garmin fēnix 6
  • GPS/Personal Satellite Communicator: such as Garmin inReach Mini
  • Personal power system: such as Goal Zero Nomad 28 Plus Solar Panel and Sherpa 100AC Power Bank
  • Digital Entertainment: movies, tv shows, music, books loaded on to smartphone, iPad, Kindle
  • Camera: bring extra batteries, charger, and memory cards

Other Optional Items

  • Lightweight journal, sketchbook, pencils, pen, e-reader
  • US cash: for currency exchange to purchase SIM cards or merchandise, etc.
  • Extra handkerchiefs/bandanas

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!

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