Tag Archive for: Karakoram

Prayer flags hanging in base camp far below the summit of K2 (📸: @terray_s)

The team is ready to start the first rotation and begin making their way higher up on K2! This week, they plan to spend nights at advanced base camp, Camp 1, and Camp 2.  Here’s expedition lead, Garrett Madison, with today’s expedition dispatch from base camp on K2:

Hello! This is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering K2 expedition team – today is June 30th.

We had a good day here in base camp (4968m/16,300ft) getting organized sorting gear for our first rotation. We’re planning to head up tomorrow to advanced base camp (5303m/17,400ft) and the following day up to Camp 1 (6065m/19,900ft) for a couple of nights and then up to Camp 2 (6700m/21,980ft) for a few nights.

Everything’s looking good here – the mountain’s in great shape, the weather’s good, the team’s doing really well. We did some training and everybody’s feeling solid, so we’re looking forward to getting up higher on the mountain, having some good views, and then back here in base camp about a week from today.

All is well here on K2, check in soon.

Our climbing team posing for a photo during an acclimatization hike on June 29, with the spectacular icefalls of K2 behind them. (📸: @terray_s)

Our climbing team posing for a photo during an acclimatization hike on June 29, with the spectacular icefalls of K2 behind them. (📸: @terray_s)

Expedition Leader Garrett Madison working with climber Piers B. during a skills refresher session on June 28. The ice pinnacles on the Godwin Austen Glacier next to base camp are a great venue for reviewing fixed line climbing techniques. (📸: @terray_s)

Expedition Leader Garrett Madison working with climber Piers B. during a skills refresher session on June 28. The ice pinnacles on the Godwin Austen Glacier next to base camp are a great venue for reviewing fixed line climbing techniques. (📸: @terray_s)

Our climbers on an acclimatization hike above the Godwin Austen Glacier near K2 base camp on June 29. (📸: @terray_s)

Our climbers on an acclimatization hike above the Godwin Austen Glacier near K2 base camp on June 29. (📸: @terray_s)


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 our daily audio expedition updates on select expeditions.  Just say, “Alexa, play my flash briefing.

Instagram:

The team at base camp!

The team has said “goodbye” to the trekkers and looks forward to the days ahead leading up to their first rotation.

Hello! This is Garrett checking in for the K2 expedition team.

We are at K2 base camp (4968m/16,300ft) – it’s another beautiful day here and today we saw the last of our trekkers off. They were headed down valley with Fred Alldredge to trek down the Baltoro Glacier back to Jhola Camp (3151m/10,338ft), and then by Jeep to Skardu (2220m/7283ft). It’ll be a few days before they reach Skardu. Our other trekkers helicoptered out yesterday and made it all the way back to Islamabad just in a few hours time – amazing logistics that worked out!

The rest of us are here settling into base camp. We’re happy to be here, we’re going to do some training today and an acclimatization hike tomorrow. Everyone’s doing well and the weather’s just perfect at the moment – sunny and not a cloud in the sky! Our Sherpa team just reached Camp 2 (6700m/21,980ft) – first team of the season to make it up to Camp 2. They set up 5 tents for us and we’re looking forward to doing a first rotation here in a few days time.

All is well here at K2 base camp! We’ll check in soon.

Enjoying the evening light at camp

Enjoying the evening light at camp

Piers cutting the ham for an afternoon snack

Piers cutting the ham for an afternoon snack

Training on the ice today near base camp with K2 behind

Training on the ice today near base camp with K2 behind

Nelly enjoying the nice weather here in the Madison Mountaineering base camp

Nelly enjoying the nice weather here in the Madison Mountaineering base camp


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 our daily audio expedition updates on select expeditions.  Just say, “Alexa, play my flash briefing.

Instagram:

Basecamp is coming along!

The team has reached K2 base camp and will spend the next few days dialing things in, encouraged by more good weather ahead!

Hello! This is Garrett calling in for the K2 climbing team.

We reached K2 base camp today and it was a beautiful day. We had views of K2, Broad Peak, and other surrounding mountains. We got to base camp and we’ve been setting up our camp ever since. We’ve got things mostly set up for the time being, but it will take us a couple of days to get everything totally dialed in the way we want it. Everyone’s doing well. We had a mini Puja with some our Sherpa’s – they’re going to head up to Camp 1 tomorrow and we’re going to take a rest day here. Some of our trekkers are going to try and helicopter out tomorrow morning and the rest of the trekkers will take a rest day here, and then head down the following day to start their trek back to Skardu.

So, everyone’s doing well, excited to be up here, and looking forward to more good weather ahead.

Basecamp tent illuminated at dusk

Base camp tent illuminated at dusk

Garrett and porter/Sherpa team happy to be in basecamp!

Everyone’s happy to be in base camp!


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 our daily audio expedition updates on select expeditions.  Just say, “Alexa, play my flash briefing.

Instagram:

First views of K2 from Concordia

The team has reached Concordia Camp and has spectacular views of the Karakoram Range, including their first views of K2! Garrett checks in with todays expedition dispatch:

Hello, this is Garrett checking in for the Madison Mountaineering K2 Expedition Team.

Today is June 25th and we have arrived in Concordia Camp. This is where the Baltoro Glacier splits and goes up to K2Broad Peak or the other direction towards the Gasherbrums. We’re happy to be here. We had another beautiful day – sunny and not a cloud in the sky. We had our first view of K2 today – beautiful peak!

The team’s doing well. It’s a beautiful day here, everyone’s doing well, we’re looking forward to a good dinner and a good night’s rest. Up to K2 base camp tomorrow!

We’ll check in soon.


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 our daily audio expedition updates on select expeditions.  Just say, “Alexa, play my flash briefing.

Instagram:

Trekking towards Urdukas Camp

The team had a beautiful day trekking up the Baltoro Glacier to Urdukas Camp. Expedition leader, Garrett Madison provides todays dispatch via sat-phone:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering K2 Expedition Team. Today is June 23rd.

We’ve reached Urdukas Camp (4034m/13,235ft) on the way to K2 Basecamp. It was a long day trekking from Paiju up the Baltoro Glacier. We had a beautiful day that started off cool, but then warmed up. It got very warm for a while during mid-day on the glacier, then cooled off in the afternoon. We’re just about to settle down and have dinner. Everyone’s doing well, but we’re a little tired.

We’re looking forward to a shorter day tomorrow, trekking up the glacier towards Goro 2 Camp. It’s great to be here, we’re having a good time. We saw a lot of beautiful peaks today; Great Trango Towers, Broad Peak, and a lot of other mountains.

We’re really enjoying the trek so far, we’ll check in soon.

Team trekking along the Braldo River

Team trekking along the Braldo River


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 our daily audio expedition updates on select expeditions.  Just say, “Alexa, play my flash briefing.

Instagram:

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 camp:

Hello!  This is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering K2 2022 expedtion team.  Today is Wednesday, June 22nd.

Today we started our trek!  First day trekking up towards base camp.  We started off at Jhola camp (3151m/10,338ft), where we arrived last night by jeep from Skardu (2220m/7,283ft).  We trekked all the way up to Paiju camp (3400m/11,155ft) today.  Everyone’s doing great, we had some cool cloudy weather which made it nice for the trek, not too hot.

Now we’re all settled in here at Paiju camp and looking forward to a nice dinner tonight.  Tomorrow we’ll either take a rest day or we’ll make our way up the valley onto the Baltoro Glacier – up to Urdukas camp (4034m/13,235ft).  We’ll make that decision tomorrow morning – see how the weather is, see how we’re feeling.

All’s well here.  Everyone’s doing great and we’re excited to be on our way!  We’ll check in soon, thanks.

(photo: Madison Mountaineering archives)


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 our daily audio expedition updates on select expeditions.  Just say, “Alexa, play my flash briefing.

Instagram:

Big boulder blocking the Karakoram Highway!

Our 2022 K2 expedition has started!!  The team arrived in Islamabad on June 18th and drove by motor coach to the staging city of Skardu enjoying a small adventure along the way.  Here’s expedition leader, Garrett Madison, with the expedition’s initial dispatch:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering K2 2022 expedition team.  Today is June 19th and we arrived in Skardu today after a drive from Islamabad.  The weather’s been bad the last few days, so all the flights from Islamabad to Skardu have been canceled.  So, we took buses and drove yesterday on the Karakoram Highway and reached Skardu around midnight.

There was a big boulder that came down over the road at one point and we actually had to walk across by foot and have new vehicles met us on the other side to transport us to Skardu.  It was an adventure to say the least!  A fun way to start the trip.

We’re just waiting on clearance here in Skardu, then we’ll head off tomorrow, hopefully by jeep, drive all the way to Jhola Camp (3151m/10,338ft), spend the night, and then start trekking the next day towards K2 base camp.

Everyone’s doing well, we’re excited to be here and looking forward to the journey ahead.

K2 team traveled by bus from Islamabad to Skardu

K2 team traveled by bus from Islamabad to Skardu

Climber Nelly and Ang Purba enjoy reaching Diamer, Pakastan

Climber Nelly and Ang Purba enjoy reaching Diamer, Pakistan


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 our daily audio expedition updates on select expeditions.  Just say, “Alexa, play my flash briefing.

Instagram:

Heading off to begin the final rotation

Our 2021 K2 expedition is now concluded with just Garrett and our crew preparing to fly home.  Expedition leader, Garrett Madison, calls in from Skardu, Pakistan with this final expedition dispatch:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering K2 expedition which now has concluded!

We’re back in Skardu and all of our members from the UK, the USA, and Ukraine have flown out and are back home now. Just myself and the Nepal Sherpa team and the Pakastani team are here in Skardu. We arrived last night from the trek out from base camp to Skardu. It took us four days.

Today we did some gear organizing, and some sight-seeing around Skardu. We are hoping tomorrow that we have good weather to fly to Islamabad. All’s well here in Skardu. Nice weather and we are looking forward to getting back to Islamabad and on our way home.

It’s been a wonderful expedition here. We had 100% summit success with 21 summits of K2 on our team in total and everyone made it down safely and is on their way home healthy, which is the most important.

So, we had a wonderful expedition. Thanks for following along. Looking forward to our next expeditions out there on the horizon.

Starry skies above K2

Starry skies above K2

The day we set off from base camp for the K2 summit push. Serious faces..

The day we set off from base camp for the K2 summit push. Serious faces..

A very happy 3-time K2 summiteer at base camp

A very happy 3-time K2 summiteer at base camp

After getting down from the successful K2 summit rotation, happy face!

After getting down from the successful K2 summit rotation, happy face!

Garrett with Sherpa and Pakistani crew departing K2 base camp

Garrett with Sherpa and Pakistani crew departing K2 base camp

Cutting the celebratory K2 cake in Skardu

Cutting the celebratory K2 cake in Skardu

Post K2 celebration in Skardu

Post-K2 celebration in Skardu

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:

Flying down the Baltoro Glacier at the conclusion of the K2 expedition

Well how do we sum up our Madison Mountaineering K2 2021 expedition?

Today Chase, Becks, Jon and Rob flew from K2 Base Camp to Skardu on 2 helicopters with the Pakistan Army. The flight was spectacular, skimming low down the rugged Baltoro Glacier, where we had trekked up several weeks before. Leaving the cloud capped K2 behind us, we sped past the 3 summits of Broad Peak, before swooping right at Concordia. We strained our necks out the side windows as the soaring granite bulks of Cathedral, Trango and Uili Biaho zipped past. Sights we had taken days to approach and march past on the way in to Base Camp, as we each personally contemplated what lay ahead.

Now we were completing the return journey, content with our efforts and the conclusion we all hoped for but knew was unlikely. Our entire team had safely and successfully climbed K2 to its summit and returned to Base Camp. Rarely are expeditions harmonious, safe and successful in their objective. However K2 2021 was just that. A small team of dedicated climbers were happy to commit despite uncertainty and no guaranteed outcome. The odds of summiting K2 in any year are low. At times in the lead up, the odds of this trip simply running seemed low. But problems were overcome, and the team assembled a week behind the original schedule.

We acclimatized, ropes were fixed in stages and our Sherpa team worked hard. We had an extended wait of 12 days waiting for the right weather window. Patience was tested as other teams attempted Broad Peak while we waited.

On 28 July all decisions were vindicated as we climbed steadily in the darkness, under a starlit sky. The sunrise lit the horizon like a band of gold as the sky lightened to reveal a sea of cloud over China. We reached the summit in windless conditions, and it was hard to believe the top of K2 could feel so benign. Relief was palpable and the whole team spent as much time on the summit as they desired in this unique place. Congratulations were exchanged, embraces given, prayer flags were strung out, photographs taken and quiet moments of contemplation had.

The descent was as testing as the summit was benign. It felt that K2 wanted to remind us that attempting a climb was as serious an undertaking as ever, though we needed no reminder. Snow had been stripped off the lower slopes, removing the frozen bond that held the mass of rocks safely in place. It was a relief to get everyone to the base of the mountain the following day, and we walked down the glacier knowing we had been allowed to leave the clutches of K2.

It is somewhat of a shock to find ourselves suddenly in Skardu, in the presence of strangers and unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells. Such are the ends of expeditions where intense shared experience and close communal living comes to an end, replaced by new encounters with those who have little idea of what has been invested or endured to reach a point meaningless to the majority, but absolutely worthwhile and so memorable to those who stand there. We have set foot on top of K2 and shall remember that for the rest of our lives.

Rob Smith and the Madison Mountaineering K2 2021 team.

Helis at K2 Base Camp

Helis at K2 Base Camp

Chase, Jon, and Becks back in Skardu after flying from K2 base camp

Chase, Jon, and Becks back in Skardu after flying from K2 base camp

Remainder of our K2 team preparing to depart base camp

We’re packing up base camp and our expedition team is heading home after an incredibly successful and safe K2 climb. Here’s the latest from Garrett Madison:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering K2 expedition team. Today is August 3rd.

Today the remainder of our members flew out of K2 base camp by helicopter and it’s just me left with our Pakistani and Nepal Sherpa team here in base camp. We’re going to pack up and head out the day after tomorrow with our mule train back to Skardu.

Nice weather today but we decided not to go for Broad Peak due to the snow fall and high winds that had made the route seemingly very challenging and a very low probability of success. But we’re very happy with our K2 summit success and everyone getting down safely.

Everyone is heading home now. We had a great expedition! We’ll be packing up here and heading down the

in the next few days, back towards Skardu.

All’s well here in Pakistan. Thanks!

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: