Ama Dablam Expedition Summary: At 7:40 am on November 4th, the Madison Mountaineering team stood alone on the summit of Ama Dablam. The sky was cloudless, offering amazing 360-degree views including Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu. This was the culmination of weeks of effort, patience, and perseverance and we were fortunate with an excellent weather window. The team is back at base camp today resting and will trek out tomorrow and the following day. We would like to say special thanks to our amazing Nepali crew, both climbing Sherpas as well as our outstanding base camp crew. Thanks for following us on this epic adventure; we hope to see you in the mountains soon!
(photo: Madison Mountaineering archives)
The Ama Dablam team arrived back at BC after a successful acclimatization rotation. We stayed 2 nights at C1 and made a climb up to C2, ascending the famous Yellow Tower yesterday. Tomorrow we’ll have a rest day then plan our summit push on the 2nd, weather permitting.
Expedition leader, Conan Bliss, checks in with today’s update:
The Ama Dablam team is enjoying another training session this morning at BC. We’ll relax this afternoon and get packed for our two-night acclimatization rotation starting tomorrow (29th/30th). We’ll stay both nights at C1 and plan to climb to touch C2 on the 30th. We’ll check back in on the 31st when we are back in BC.
Expedition leader, Conan Bliss, checks in with today’s update on the Ama Dablam expedition:
The Ama Dablam team arrived at BC yesterday (October 25 – local). It was a snowy evening but clouds are breaking today. We had a fun and productive morning doing rope training. Tomorrow we’re planning an acclimatization hike to Yak Camp and will spend the next 2 nights in BC. Weather permitting we aim to climb to C1 on the 28th or 29th for two nights. Thanks for checking in.
Our autumn Ama Dablam expedition kicked off earlier this week and the team has been trekking their way up to base camp from the mountain airport village of Lukla (2860m / 9,380ft.). The first stop was the village of Monjo where they entered the Sagarmatha National Park. and from there up to Namche Bazaar where a couple of days were spent resting. On their acclimatization hikes above Namche, the team caught the first glimpses of their objective: Ama Dablam. Great hiking weather with dramatic clouds unveiling the summit. From Namche, the team pressed on to Deboche and were able to spend some time enjoying the Tengboche Monastery on their way.
Today they are now at the last village before Ama Dablam base camp, Pangboche and should be crossing the river and finishing up the trek to BC tomorrow.
Also follow the team on Instagram: @MadisonMtng
We are pleased to offer a new program that combines the majesty of Mount Everest with world-class ice climbing for participants of all levels. By basing out of Madison Mountaineering’s signature Everest base camp, participants get to live at the foot of Mount Everest, while enjoying the luxuries and comforts of the most professionally managed camp on the mountain. We have individual ‘box’ tents where members can stand up & have a cot with a thick mattress, we have hot showers, a first-rate dining tent with fresh meat and vegetables flown in regularly from Kathmandu, and a leisure tent to stretch out in, do yoga, etc. The camp is positioned adjacent to the famous Khumbu glacier ice pinnacles where we do the majority of our climbing.
Day 1: Arrive Kathmandu. We pick you up at the airport and go to the iconic Yak & Yeti hotel where we do an equipment check, then see some of the famous sights in Kathmandu such as Buddhist and Hindu temples, then we have a team dinner before heading off to bed.
Day 2: Helicopter flight to Namche Bazaar. We depart the Yak & Yeti hotel early and fly into the Khumbu valley to the village of Namche Bazaar, where we stay in the lovely Panorama lodge. We tour the ‘capital of the Khumbu’ village and have a restful night at 10,500 ft.
Day 3: Acclimatization hike above Namche. We hike to the Everest View Hotel and have tea overlooking the iconic peaks of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, and Ama Dablam. We return to our lodge and spend the night.
Day 4: Trek to Debuche. We trek through the beautiful Khumbu valley to the Tengboche monastery, then descend into the rhododendron forest to our lodge for the night.
Day 5: Trek to Pheriche. We continue trekking up the Khumbu valley with magnificent views of Ama Dablam. We stop in Pangboche for a blessing by the ‘high lama’ of the Buddhist monastery, then continue onward to the Edelweiss lodge for the night.
Day 6: Acclimatization hike above Pheriche. We hike up a nearby ridge to gain a spectacular view of many famous Himalayan peaks such as Makalu, Cho Oyu, Cholatse, and Ama Dablam. We return to Pheriche and visit the Himalayan Rescue Association medical post for a talk on altitude issues with the human body. We have a restful night in our lodge.
Day 7: Trek to Lobuche. We trek upwards and visit the Everest memorials, taking in this heavy yet important legacy to climbers that have perished on the mountain. We continue to the village of Lobuche where we stay for the night. We visit the ‘world’s highest bakery’ for coffee and pastries before dinner.
Day 8: Arrive in Everest base camp! We trek past the village of Gorak Shep, then hike up nearby Kala Pattar (18,250) for a magnificent view of Mount Everest, then continue to base camp. We arrive in base camp and have a hot meal, then tour the camp and move into our personal tents for the duration of our stay. We do an ice climbing info session and prepare for our first day out climbing!
Days 9-12: Climb on! After a hearty breakfast we head out onto the Khumbu ice pinnacles! Our staff has already set up a course with several routes we can climb and practice our techniques on. Tim Emmett instructs climbers as we gradually tackle more difficult ice routes and pinnacles during the program. In addition to ice climbing on top rope & lead climbing, we discuss and practice fixed line ascension, tyrolean traverses, zip-lining, and free soloing, all from one of Ice Climbing’s pioneering and top climbers in the world. Each day climbers are provided with 3 hot meals in Madison Mountaineering’s luxury base camp, and climbers have access to the camp’s hot showers, leisure tent, WiFi, and laundry service.
Day 13: Climbers depart Everest base camp by helicopter and fly to Kathmandu. This helicopter flight is truly one of the most spectacular helicopter flights in the world, as we first have a scenic tour of Everest base camp and the surrounding peaks, then descend around and have birds-eye views of the peaks that we came to know from our trek in such as Ama Dablam and Cholatse. We have a celebratory team dinner in Kathmandu then sleep in the Yak & Yeti hotel in preparation for our departure from Nepal.
Day 14: We head to the airport to board our flights for home.
March 27 – April 09
• Accommodations at the Yak & Yeti hotel for one night before and one night after travel into the Khumbu
• Airport pick up upon arrival
• Welcome dinner in Kathmandu
• All in-country flights
• All lodging while in the Khumbu
• All meals while in the Khumbu
• Permits and Park entrance fees
• Guide, Sherpa guides, Nepali staff to carry loads, etc.
Costs Do Not Include:
• Personal items (see Equipment list)
• Bank wire transfer fees, if applicable
• Meals in Kathmandu
• Alcoholic beverages
• Bottled or canned beverages
• Specialty coffee or espresso drinks
• Option to upgrade to single room
• Any costs as the result of an early departure from the program
• There are no refunds for the deposit or balance payments for this expedition. This includes but is not limited to, expeditions that conclude without reaching objectives or progress towards objectives 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.
• Short Underwear: 2-3 pair of synthetic short underwear
• Long Underwear: 2-3 pair lightweight long underwear pants and shirts. 1 pair of heavy expedition weight long underwear.
• Soft Shell Jacket: A hooded jacket
• Soft Shell pants: For trekking and climbing
• Hard Shell Jacket: To be worn in wet conditions
• Hard Shell Pants: To be worn in wet conditions, these pants should have full side zippers.
• Insulated Jacket: PrimaLoft or Down
• Expedition Down Parka: A hooded down jacket with 800 minimum down fill.
• Insulated Pants: PrimaLoft or Down, these should have full side zippers.
• Warm Hat: A warm fleece or wool hat.
• Balaclava: to cover your face and neck on windy days.
• Sun hat: A baseball style sun camp.
• Buff: 1-3 of these to wear around your neck & face to block the wind, UV rays, dust.
• Glacier Glasses: wrap around style sunglasses with dark lenses
• Waterproof Shell gloves with insulated liner: 2 pair’s for ice climbing
• Soft Shell Gloves: 1 pair
• Shell mittens with insulated liner: 1 pair
• Socks: Minimum 3 pair thick mountaineering socks and 3 pair liner socks
• Light hiking boots or trekking shoes: For the trek to base camp, these can be worn at base camp
• Ice climbing Boots: A boot with a built-in gaiter such as the Scarpa Phantom Tech, or Phantom 6000
• Sleeping Bag: Rated to at least -20 °F. Down is preferable over synthetic.
• Self Inflating pad: A full-length air mattress
• Closed Cell foam pad: Full length is best
• Ice climbing Backpack: A 45-liter internal frame backpack.
• Compression stuff sacks: for reducing volume for your sleeping bag and down jacket.
• Trash Compactor bags (4): To line stuff sacks and separate gear
• Trekking Backpack: Optional. A small pack for the trek in.
• Trekking Poles: Adjustable poles for the trek to base camp
• Ice Axes: 2 technical tools for ice climbing (Less than 60cm)
• Crampons: Ice climbing
• Helmet: Must fit over a thick hat
• Climbing harness/Alpine
• Carabineers: 4 locking and 2 non-locking
• Belay / Rappel device: For rappelling or belaying climbers
• Ascender: One right or left-hand ascender (Petzl is best)
• Prussik Cord: 20’ or 7 meters of 6mm cord.
• Headlamp: Bring a spare set of batteries
• Large Duffel Bag with lock: for transporting all personal gear to base camp.
• Small duffel bag: to store items in the hotel
• Travel Clothes: For days in Kathmandu
Additional Food Items
• Climbing Snacks:
‣ 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.
• Water bottles: 2 bottles with 1-liter capacity each
• Water Bottle Parkas: To keep your water from freezing
• Thermos: 1-liter capacity
• Water Purification System: Tablets or Steripen
• Sunscreen: 2 tubes, SPF 40 or stronger
• Lip screen: 2 sticks, SPF 50 or stronger
• Toiletry Bag: Toothpaste, Toothbrush, baby wipes, etc.
• Pee Bottle: 1-liter capacity minimum
• Hand Sanitizer: 2 small bottles
• Hand warmers / Toe warmers: 3 sets of each
• Knife: Optional
• Small Personal First Aid Kit: Athletic tape, band-aids, Ibuprofen, Moleskin, blister care products, personal medications, cough drops
‣ 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
• Camera: lightweight with extra batteries
Other Optional Items
• Female urination device (FUD)
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!
Trekking day 1: Lukla to Phakding – Distance: 8.30 km – Elev Gain/Loss: 394m/-639m
Expedition leader, Garrett Madison, provides the recap of today’s exciting flight to the trailhead mountain village of Lukla and the first day of trekking towards Everest Base Camp:
Hello! This is Garrett calling in for the Mountain Hardwear Everest expedition and base camp trek. Today is September 8th. We were very lucky this morning to have an early flight at 6:00 AM out of Kathmandu and landed in Lukla. But not after a fun, unplanned stop in the small village of Phaplu on the way. The clouds rolled in and the Lukla airport was closed en route on our flight so the pilot diverted and landed at a small airstrip on the way. Then when the clouds parted our pilot took off and landed us in Lukla.
From Lukla we made our way up the start of the Khumbu Valley. It’s amazingly green here right now! It’s been raining so much at the end of the monsoon season. Everything is just incredibly green and vibrant. A lot of growth here – the vegetation, the trees, the forest… So, we’ve got it really good here! We are at Phakding in the Sunrise lodge. We just finished a good dinner and are heading off to bed.
Tomorrow we are going to head up to Namche. Everybody’s feeling great. It’s surprisingly quite here in the Khumbu. We have the lodge all to ourselves and we didn’t see many people on the trail today because it’s not quite the trekking season which starts up in October. We are feeling great and looking forward to a great day trekking up to Namche tomorrow.
(photo: Lukla airport from the Madison Mountaineering Everest archives)
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:
– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking map:
All of us at Madison Mountaineering are very excited that after many months of planning, the Mountain Hardwear Everest Expedition kicks-off today! Expedition leader, Garrett Madison, is now in Kathmandu with the entire trekking team and just provided this update to start off this exciting and rare Autumn season attempt on Mount Everest:
Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Mountain Hardwear Autumn 2019 Everest Expedition! The team is in Kathmandu (the trekking team) and we went out for a wonderful team dinner yesterday evening. Folks are getting ready to head out on a city tour of Kathmandu today and we are planning on flying to Lukla tomorrow morning, weather pending. It’s been a very wet monsoon here the last few months in Nepal. We are hoping for some dry weather coming up shortly here to start our trek into base camp. So, we are very excited to be here and to be launching the expedition and heading up into the Khumbu Valley and making our way towards Everest Base Camp!
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 Instagram:
– on our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking map:
Congratulations to our Everest 2019 spring team in successfully climbing the world’s highest peak, but more importantly making it down safely! In contrast to what the media has portrayed, our experience on summit day was a pleasant one, due to a strong and experienced team. Our guides and Sherpas not only installed the fixed lines to the summit, which ‘opened’ the route on May 14th for all climbers on the south side of the mountain but also supported our climbers in a seamless climb of Mount Everest. The challenge of climbing Everest, coupled with the added uncertainty of the weather and other climbers on the route, can create adverse conditions. However, our team of professionals orchestrated a perfect expedition under the circumstances.
In my 12 expeditions to Everest, this was one of the finest teams of hard working, competent, positive, and pleasant Nepal “Sherpas”, many of who I have climbed with for the last 5 years. Big thanks for these incredible guys who helped us make our extraordinary success possible!
Now our attention turns to the world’s second highest peak, K2. Today, our advance team of 100 porters and 2 Pakistan high altitude climbers left the village of Askole to begin the 100 km trek to K2 base camp.
We are excited to meet our climbing team in Islamabad in mid-June and make our way to ‘Chogori’, the savage mountain.
Our autumn Himalayan season following K2 will be action-packed, with our first ever Expedition to Everest in the fall! We also have expeditions attempting Ama Dablam, as well as an unclimbed peak! Previously, we have had very high success on these peaks in the autumn. For climbers looking to climb the highest peak in Oceania, we also have a Carstensz Pyramid climb. We invite you to join us if climbing in the Himalaya or Oceania is on your ‘to do’ list this autumn!