Tag Archive for: K2

Abruzzi Ridge on K2

The K2 team has completed the first acclimatization rotation up the mountain to Camp 2 and Garrett Madison, expedition leader, provides all the details in today’s expedition dispatch from K2 base camp:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering K2 and Broad Peak expedition.  Today is July 13 and yesterday we got down from our first rotation on the Abruzzi Ridge of K2.  We spent five nights in total above base camp: one night in Advanced Base Camp (ABC), two nights in Camp 1, and two nights in Camp 2 at about 22,200 ft.

We’re back in base camp and it’s stormin’!  It’s snowing, windy, and we’re hunkering down to stay warm.  Hopefully good weather’s on the way; we could use some sun and some warmth.  But everyone’s doing well here, we’re staying entertained with books, movies, board games, and just resting up and enjoying some GREAT food.  So, we’re very comfortable here and looking forward to some good weather in the days ahead.

We’ll check in soon, thanks!

Abruzzi Ridge on K2

Garrett Madison says “hello” from the Abruzzi Ridge on K2

The view from K2's Abruzzi Ridge

The view from K2’s Abruzzi Ridge

If climbing K2 or Broad Peak is in your future, please contact our office, we would love to have you climb with us!


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains 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 on select expeditions.  Just say, “Alexa, play my Madison Mountaineering flash briefing.

Instagram:

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

Climbing up K2 Abruzzi ridge!

Satellite comms are up again and Garrett and team check-in for K2’s Camp 2 on the Abruzzi Ridge with today’s dispatch:

Hello!  This is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering K2 and Broad Peak expedition team.  Today is July 10th, and today we climbed from Camp 1 up to Camp 2 on the Abruzzi Ridge – about 22,000 ft. or almost 6700m.

We had great weather – beautiful sunny day today, awesome views all around.  The team is doing great, and we’re really enjoying this first rotation to acclimatize, getting familiar with the climbing route, and spend a couple of nights up here at Camp 2, and then we’ll be heading down to rest in base camp.

The sherpa team is doing great – they pushed up to Camp 3 and above yesterday.  So they’ve made great progress on the route, and they’re gonna head down tomorrow and take a little rest.  Looks like we’re going to take some high winds coming in a few day’s time, so it will be good to go down to base camp and rest for a bit and then revisit the upper mountain.

So all’s well here on K2, we’re enjoying ourselves, and having a great time here in Pakistan.

Climbing up K2 Abruzzi with the Black Pyramid above

Climbing up K2 Abruzzi with the Black Pyramid above

If climbing K2 or Broad Peak is in your future, please contact our office, we would love to have you climb with us!


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains 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 on select expeditions.  Just say, “Alexa, play my Madison Mountaineering flash briefing.

Instagram:

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

We got a very garbled sat phone message from Garrett at K2 base camp today – audio below.  Garrett later added the following via inReach text messaging:

We had our puja ceremony today, it was a wonderful way to begin our climbing.

We will head up to ABC on our 1st rotation tomorrow and plan to climb to Camps 1 & 2, spending 2 nights in each camp. The weather looks good and everyone is doing well. Our Sherpas are also heading up to work on fixing the route.

The cell tower in Concordia is down so the Internet hasn’t been working the last couple days.

We’re excited to get up on the mountain and become familiar with the route and hopefully have some nice views!

(photo:  Madison Mountaineering K2 archives)

If climbing K2 or Broad Peak is in your future, please contact our office, we would love to have you climb with us!


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains 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 on select expeditions.  Just say, “Alexa, play my Madison Mountaineering flash briefing.

Instagram:

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

Happy American Independence Day (4th of July) from K2 base camp!

Our K2 and Broad Peak team sends their happy 4th of July from K2 base camp.  Expedition leader, Garrett Madison, checks in:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering K2 and Broad Peak expedition team.  Today is July 4th.  Happy American Indepdence Day – 4th of July – to all you Americans out there!

We arrived at K2 base camp yesterday and today just had a nice rest day settling in and finishing building our camp.  We took showers, had a nice breakfast, lunch and actually got some good Internet connection with the cell tower down at Concordia.

Our plan is to take a few more rest days here, do our Puja ceremony, and get ready for our first rotation up to Camps I and II.  Everybody’s doing well here, we’re just so happy and grateful that things worked out for us to come to Pakistan and go on this expedition.  We got to base camp in record time and things are going great.

All’s well here at base camp.  We’ll check in soon.

If climbing K2 or Broad Peak is in your future, please contact our office, we would love to have you climb with us!


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains 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 on select expeditions.  Just say, “Alexa, play my Madison Mountaineering flash briefing.

Instagram:

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

Conan admiring the view of K2 from Broad Peak base camp

The 2021 K2 and Broad Peak expedition arrived at base camp today and Madison Mountaineering guide, Rob Smith, provides a recap of the final days of trekking to reach base camp:

Hi folks, this is Rob checking in for the 2021 Madison Mountaineering K2 and Broad Peak expedition.

So yesterday we left Goro 2 camp on the Baltoro Glacier pretty early and made our way up to the head of the glacier, got our first views of K2, which was really exciting, and then we passed the Godwin-Austen Glacier, saw Broad Peak, Gasherbrum IV, and made our way all the way to Broad Peak base camp.  So, a long day yesterday, but well worth it!

Today we had a short hike it beautiful weather from Broad Peak base camp up to K2 base camp and that’s where we are tonight, which is really exciting to be here so soon, the 3rd of July.

Everyone’s feeling well and really excited for the upcoming expedition and we’ll check in again soon.  Thanks for listening!

If climbing K2 or Broad Peak is in your future, please contact our office, we would love to have you climb with us!


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains 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 on select expeditions.  Just say, “Alexa, play my Madison Mountaineering flash briefing.

Instagram:

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

Hiking up the Baltoro Glacier between Urdukas and Goro 2

The K2 base camp trek continues.  Today the team reached Goro 2 camp on the Baltoro Glacier and has their sights set on Concordia tomorrow where hopefully the skies will clear and provide the first views of K2.  Expedition leader Garrett Madison provides today’s expedition dispatch and some of the first photos of the trek via our Iridium GO! global connection device:

Hello!  This is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering K2/Broad Peak expedition team.

Today we trekked from Urdukas camp (4034m/13,235ft) to Goro 2 camp (4285m/14,058ft) on the Baltoro Glacier.  It was a rainy day; it started raining last night and cleared up a little bit during the day today.  It was cool and cloudy, which was actually really nice for trekking – not too hot.

We got into Goro 2 camp here and just had a nice dinner.  We can see some of the surrounding peaks: Masherbrum, G4 and we’re looking forward to trekking up through Concordia (4570m/14,993ft) tomorrow.  Hopefully, it will clear and we’ll get a nice view of K2.

Everyone’s doing well here.  The team’s excited to be working our way up the glacier towards base camp and hoping for some good weather!

2021 K2/Broad Peak team in Skardu

2021 K2/Broad Peak team in Skardu

Crossing a stream while trekking from Paiju to Urdukas

Crossing a stream while trekking from Paiju to Urdukas

If climbing K2 or Broad Peak is in your future, please contact our office, we would love to have you climb with us!


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains 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 on select expeditions.  Just say, “Alexa, play my Madison Mountaineering flash briefing.

Instagram:

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

Nameless Tower (Trango group) as seen from the trail to K2 base camp

Day two of trekking to K2 base camp is completed and expedition leader Garrett Madison provides the day’s expedition dispatch:

Hello, this is Garrett callling in for the Madison Mountaineering K2 and Broad Peak expedition team.

Today is June 30th and today we trekked from Paiju camp up to Urdukas camp on the Baltoro Glacier.  We had a wonderful day!  It was hot and we did find one glacier pond to jump in and cool off late morning.  Had lunch in Khoburtse and then made our way up to Urdukas camp here by the afternoon.

Great views today of the Trango Towers, Nameless Tower, … so many beautiful peaks here, just very spectacular!  Very special to be here.  We had a wonderful dinner of fresh chicken with rice and curry and fresh tomato cabbage onion salad.

Tomorrow our plan is to leave at 7:00 AM and head up to Goro 2 camp (4285m/14,058ft) out in the middle of the Baltoro Glacier.

Everyone’s doing well here, we’ve been having great weather so far – its a little bit hot until the clouds form in the afternoon.  But we’ve all doing well.  Looking forward to another great day trekking tomorrow on our way up to K2 base camp.

(photo:  The Nameless Tower from the Madison Mountaineering archives)

If climbing K2 or Broad Peak is in your future, please contact our office, we would love to have you climb with us!


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains 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 on select expeditions.  Just say, “Alexa, play my Madison Mountaineering flash briefing.

Instagram:

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

The first day of trekking is done and the team is now at Paiju camp along the Braldu River on their way to K2 base camp.  Expedition leader Garrett Madison checks in via satellite phone from their shady camp:

Hello!  This is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering K2 and Broad Peak expedition.

Today is Tuesday, June 29th and we had a great day trekking from Jhola camp to Paiju camp today along the Braldu River.  We had lunch, made it to camp, relaxed in the shade, and then had a nice dinner, watched the sun go down with the light changing on all the surrounding peaks.  Now we are just getting settled in for bed.

Everyone’s doing well and we’re excited to be on our way to K2 base camp.  We’ll probably arrive there in four or five days.  We are enjoying the trek, the scenery, and the good company with all of our Pakistani and sherpa friends.

We’ll check in soon.  Thanks!

(photo:  Madison Mountaineering archives)

If climbing K2 or Broad Peak is in your future, please contact our office, we would love to have you climb with us!


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains 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 on select expeditions.  Just say, “Alexa, play my Madison Mountaineering flash briefing.

Instagram:

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

Skardu Valley view from hotel

Our 2021 K2 / Broad Peak expedition is underway and the team has arrived in the town of Skardu, Pakistan.  Here’s expedition leader, Garrett Madison, with the initial dispatch:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering K2 and Broad Peak expedition team!  Today’s June 27th and we are in Skardu, Pakistan.  We flew from Islamabad this morning.  Had a beautiful flight – smooth and great views of mountains on both sides of the aircraft.

Landed in Skardu and we’ve been organizing equipment and getting all packed up for our journey by jeep tomorrow to Jhola camp (3151m/10,338ft).  The road has been improved since the last time we were here two years ago.  So instead of driving only to Askole, we should be able to drive further to Jhola camp, which is normally the first camp on the trek to base camp.

So, we are looking forward to an early breakfast tomorrow, starting the jeep drive by 07:00 AM.  Hopefully it will be good weather and we get to Jhola camp by the evening time, can set up camp, and start trekking the next day.

We’re happy to be here, our sherpa team is here, our Pakistani team is here, and all of our other climbers from America, Britain, and the Ukraine are all here.  We are excited to be in Pakistan and begin our expedition!

Departing Islamabad for Skardu

Departing Islamabad for Skardu (📸: @chase.merriam)

Nanga Parbat

Nanga Parbat (📸: @chase.merriam)

If climbing K2 or Broad Peak is in your future, please contact our office, we would love to have you climb with us!


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains 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 on select expeditions.  Just say, “Alexa, play my Madison Mountaineering flash briefing.

Instagram:

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

K2 expedition team returns to Skardu

Our K2 expedition team just arrived back in Islamabad, after the 100 km trek out from base camp to Askoli, 7-hour jeep ride from Askoli to Skardu, and a 34-hour epic drive from Skardu to Islamabad. All members of the team (climbers, Sherpas, Pakistan staff) are safely on their way home now.  (members Valerio, Gina, and Elizabeth had previously departed K2 base camp by helicopter)

It’s been a successful expedition in that we all returned safely, however, we didn’t achieve our secondary goal of reaching the summit. Although we reached Camps 3 / 4, and our Sherpas climbed higher to the Bottleneck area, we didn’t reach the top of the mountain.

This was a result of the snow conditions that were present during our summit attempt, as we learned from our Sherpas and from other teams who were above Camp 4 scouting the route below and above the Bottleneck. The conditions encountered during July 16-18 in this area were deep and unconsolidated snow, up to 2 meters in some places, resulting in 3 known avalanches in this area. Fortunately, no climbers were injured or killed in these avalanches, although some were carried down the mountain before stopping, and sections of the newly installed fixed-line were torn out during one slide. Clearly, this area of the route was very unsafe.

Given these dangerous conditions, we didn’t feel it was prudent to push another summit attempt since it would likely be many weeks or months before conditions would change enough to warrant a safe and reasonable attempt through this area.  A strong wind to blow this amount of snow off the slopes would likely not occur this season, or the alternative, a massive avalanche that would take the snow down the mountain leaving behind only hard pack snow or ice as we have climbed in the past.  Hence, we made the decision to conclude our expedition, along with other teams that arrived at the same conclusion, such as the Furtenbach, Imagine, Adventure Peaks, and smaller expedition teams such as Mike Horn’s team and the Czech team (approximately 80% of the climbers attempting K2 this season).  With these conditions, we felt this was the safest decision, shared by myself, co-guides Victor Saunders & Conan Bliss, and our Sirdar Aang Phurba Sherpa along with the other climbing Sherpas.

We later learned during our trek out that on July 24th several climbers reached the top of K2, led by a strong team of Sherpas and Nimral Purja (Nims). Adrian Ballanger’s private team was close behind them and also made the summit.  We were initially surprised by their success but also wanted to learn what allowed them to make the top.  Was it simply pushing hard through deep and unstable snow conditions (including the risk that posed) or did the conditions change in such a short time period to allow for safe and reasonable climbing?

I was able to have a WhatsApp conversation with Adrian after they got down to base camp, and he reported that essentially conditions had significantly changed since our attempt, allowing for safe and reasonable climbing.  In Adrian’s words “We sure were surprised…we could see it was stripped (the slope). Lots of signs of wind effect…some may have sluffed (avalanche). There was a big wind event on the morning of the 22nd…that may have stripped it. We fully recognize how lucky we got…I wouldn’t have guessed such a significant change was possible either, especially with no major weather change forecasted…know that your decision was absolutely the right one…with the available information.”  Our hearty congratulations to all those who reached the summit of K2 this season!  Well done!!

Hindsight is 20/20; if we were able to foresee the change in conditions from Camp 4 to the summit after the wind event on the 22nd that cleared the slope, and before the weather moved in on the 26th, then a short summit window would present itself. However, at the time we moved to Camp 3 (July 17th) and had to make a decision, we were acting on the best available information from our Sherpas and other climbers regarding the unsafe condition of the Bottleneck area, and our weather forecasting service which didn’t suggest any forthcoming weather activity to clear the slope.  It is likely that high winds the morning of the 22nd, in combination with an avalanche, cleared the slope. Fortunately, no climbers were on or above/below this area when it cleared, as it would not likely have been survivable. Luckily for Nims’ & Adrian’s teams, their timing was such that their scheduled summit attempts just happened to fall within the narrow weather window beginning on the 24th, whereas our team and most others that were slightly ahead of this schedule were attempting just a few days earlier when conditions were impossible.

It’s tough for us to come away without a summit, especially after putting in so much effort.  The training, time away from home, and the weeks spent on the expedition acclimatizing are all part of a monumental effort.  However, K2 is an extremely demanding mountain in good conditions by any measure, and with our primary dedication to safety, we are happy to have our entire team return in good health!

Conan, Victor, Rick, Brian and me are looking forward to a good rest here tonight in the Serena hotel after an “adventurous” drive from Skardu to Islamabad, but we’ll save that story for another time!