Tag: Mountain Hardwear

Autumn Everest expedition leader, Garrett Madison, provides this update on the new data regarding the Khumbu Icefall route and subsequent decisions made:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering / Mountain Hardwear Autumn Everest Expedition.  Today is September 22nd.  To recap yesterday:  we had a great day, our sherpa team reached Camp 1.  But, on the way down they noticed a large serac about 3,000 ft. or 1,000m up off of the Khumbu Icefall on the west shoulder of Mount Everest.


We were studying that late last night and again today with some drone footage (shared by the Polish Lhotse team) and, uh, it doesn’t look very safe.  So the Mountain Hardwear team has decided to conclude their expedition on Everest and decouple from the Madison Mountaineering expedition.  That means Joe Vernachio and Tim Emmett are going to be heading out tomorrow by helicopter, weather pending.  [see the @mhweverest2019 Instagram post for their firsthand conciderations]


Myself and the other climbers here with Madison Mountaineering, Zac and Kristin, are going to stay and evaluate conditions on a day-by-day basis.  So, we’ll have to keep an eye on the serac and also the weather, of course, to see how things progress.  But, everyone’s doing well here in base camp.


Today our sherpas decided not to move up look for a route from Camp 1 to Camp 2 because the weather was bad.  It was very cloudy with little to no visibility up in the Western Cwm between Camp 1 and Camp 2, which would make route finding very difficult with the deep snow.


Everyone’s here doing well, but we’re sad to have things turn out this way, but we’ll keep our hopes up that perhaps the serac will may come down tonight when no one’s on the route and clear out for the rest of the expedition.

Photo of serac above, with 3 climbers below...

Photo of serac above, with 3 climbers below… (📸: Tim Emmett)

Zoomed view of detatched section of hanging serac

Zoomed view (upper red circle in above image) of detached section of hanging serac (📸: Andrzej 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


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

Autumn Everest expedition leader, Garrett Madison, report on the exciting progress today:

Hello!  This is Garrett calling in for the Mountain Hardwear Autumn Everest Expedition with Madison Mountaineering.  Today is September 21st and we had a GREAT day!


Exciting news:  our sherpa team was able to find the route through the icefall and reached Camp 1! So, the route is open to Camp 1!  The other climbers had a great day in base camp, relaxing and doing a little training out in the icefall.  Beautiful day here.


Tomorrow we are looking forward to another good weather day and further process on the route and planning for our first rotation up to the high camps.


All’s well here at base camp and we’ll check-in soon.  Thanks!

The awesome Garmin MARQ Expedtion at Everest base camp

Garrett rocks the new Garmin MARQ Expedition at 17,701 ft. elevation Everest Base Camp.  Keeping everything running on time.

Enjoying the comforts of the new Mountain Hardwear Space Station at EBC

Enjoying the comforts of the awesome, new Mountain Hardwear Space Station at 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


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

Garrett reports, while the team is returning up to base camp from their drop back phase, Kenton Cool and climbing member, Michael, are heading up to Camp 2 to start their summit rotation:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for Everest team update.  Today we had a restful day in Everest base camp.  A couple of our members returned back from Namche, Chad and Wojciech.  And the other members are planning on returning to base camp tomorrow.  We will have at least a few days here before we think about heading up on our summit rotation.  Tonight, Kenton and Michael are going to head up to Camp 2 in preperation for a potential summit attempt somewhere in the next few days, weather pending.  All’s well here on Mount Everest!

Things are starting to wind up for the summit push!  Most of our climbing team will be heading back up to base camp tomorrow from Namche.  And as soon as the winds die down up high, preparations for the summit attempt will continue.  The next two weeks are what it’s all about!!  Here’s Garrett’s audio dispatch from base camp:

Hello, this is Garrett checking in for the Everest team.  All’s well here in Everest base camp.  Our Sherpa team is up at Camp 2, resting currently, waiting for the winds to die down and they are planning to make a carry up to the South Col on May 12th.  Our climbers are all resting down in Namche at the moment.  And everyone’s doing okay!  So all’s well here in base camp and we’ll check in again soon!  Thanks.

The view of Everest Camp 1

Camp 1

Our Mountain Hardwear tents at EBC

Our Mountain Hardwear tents at EBC

I am very happy that our team experienced a high level of success and safety with all climbers who embarked on the summit attempt from Everest base camp reaching the top between May 14th and May 18th. Our small private teams (Kenton Cool’s group and the team of Ant Middleton & Ed Wardle) along and our main team of climbers are back in Kathmandu and heading home, some are home already.

We also had climbers complete the Everest and Lhotse combination climb, going from the summit of Mount Everest to the summit of Mount Lhotse the next day, altogether 36 climbers and Sherpas reached the summit of Everest plus another 6 from our rope fixing team. As in previous Everest seasons there were no injuries among our climbing team. We were supported by our incredible team of Sherpas who are an integral part of our success.

This season on Mount Everest is likely the most successful ever, given the number of collective summits versus permits issued and taking into account overall accidents / fatalities. The reason for this very high level of success all around I believe is due to 2 factors, the fact that our rope fixing team opened the route earlier than in previous Everest seasons and because a period of very good weather then manifest which allowed climbers to take advantage of the open route and good mountain conditions to climb. Because our rope fixing project was on time and well communicated to teams in Everest base camp, climbers were able to plan and prepare for summit attempts in advance of the good weather that materialized May 13th onward.

Our rope fixing team had to work hard, despite unfavorable conditions in April and early May such as a very icy Lhotse Face combined with high winds, our team was still able to fix the ropes to the summit of Mount Everest by May 13th, with double lines in places to ease congestion such as on the Lhotse Face up to Camp 3, the Yellow Band, and on the Geneva Spur. The rope used was 10.5 mm static rope, a very strong and durable rope, the anchors (primarily Black Diamond 22 cm ice screws) were placed appropriately to support large numbers of climbers.

The small number of accidents / fatalities this season were unfortunate, but on average less than what we normally see on Everest. Generally there are some accidents / fatalities related to climbers getting stuck up high on Everest in bad weather or on a very crowded summit day and then running out of oxygen (I was witness to this in 2012 when 4 climbers perished up high on Everest because the rope fixing was delayed to May 18th and few good weather days were available). Because the weather window has been favorable, climbers were able to spread out summit attempts over a week long period, so that no single day was problematic from a congestion standpoint.

Additionally, because our rope fixing project was well planned and executed on schedule, climbers were able to take advantage of the good weather window by making plans in advance of the arrival of this stable weather period.

The rope fixing project this year was coordinated by my team, with support from Adventure Consultants and our local operator in Nepal, Himalayan Guides. Initially there was some contention from other teams that this was a good idea, as traditionally the rope fixing project was managed by the ‘old guard’ on Everest and the work shared by many teams. However, the challenge of managing members from many teams often led to some confusion regarding work days, and lost efficiency when Sherpas from different teams worked together for the first time.

Our approach, keeping the project contained within essentially one team, provided us the opportunity to utilize our most capable high altitude Sherpas to complete this difficult project in an efficient and safe manner. Myself and Guy Cotter (CEO of Adventure Consultants) both climbed Mount Everest & Mount Lhotse this season, so we were able to actually be on the mountain to oversee various aspects of the rope fixing project in person rather than manage from Everest base camp as was traditionally the case by the managing teams.

I believe this “hands on” approach by the leadership influenced the rope fixing project in a very positive manner, as is evident by the outcome. We hope this example of project management, where the end result is safer and more successful climbing on the world’s highest mountain, can be carried forward to future seasons on Mount Everest!

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.

Garrett Madison checks in with the Polar Explorers Mount Vinson expedition team. Our team climbed up to high camp in a single push and had a nice dinner before bunkering down for the night. The weather is holding good and the team will probably take rest day tomorrow before their summit attempt the following day. The team is doing well and everyone is enjoying their time in magical Antarctica.

Madison Mountaineering is a partner with Polar Explorer’s for this expedition.



Explorers Mount Vinson


After completing a ski trip to the South Pole, our second Vinson team departed Union Glacier Camp for the Ellsworth Mountains. After arriving at Vinson the team quickly moved up to low camp. Tomorrow our team will enjoy a rest day while reviewing technical climbing skills for the upper mountain ascent. All is well on Vinson and fingers crossed for the beautiful weather to continue!


Audio dispatch by Garrett Madison


Second Vinson team

After a quick Twin Otter flight back to Union Glacier Camp, the Mount Vinson team took off on the Russian Ilushyn 76 for Punta Arenas, Chile. Congratulations to our climbers for reaching the highest point in Antarctica at 4,892m / 16,050ft!

Garrett will remain at Union Glacier Camp until the following team arrives from a ski trip to the South Pole. All is well on the ice and we will check in soon!


Audio dispatch from Garrett Madison


punta arenas


punta arenas

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