Climbers on the Lhotse face

Normally, at this time, our Everest climbing team would have just finished two nights at Namche Bazaar and trekked on to the village of Deboche where they would be spending the evening with our friends at the Rivendell Lodge and looking forward to six more days on the trail towards Everest Base Camp.

But as you know, this terrible COVID-19 pandemic has changed just about everything for all of us.  Our thoughts are with everyone impacted from the dire to the inconvenienced.  Included in that are all of our Nepal staff, including Sherpa and other mountain workers who depend on the spring climbing season for such a large percentage of their annual income.  Income that is used to support their families, buy food, pay school costs, maintain their homes, and more.  This year’s loss of income will be a considerable hardship for many of them.

While Madison Mountaineering will be doing what we can to lessen the loss, we need your help!  Please consider making a generous donation to the GoFundMe campaign we have established to assist our impacted Nepal staff.  All proceeds will be distributed directly to them.

Also, friend of Madison Mountaineering, Alan Arnette, who for many years has been providing excellent daily coverage of the Everest climbing season (and other climbing expeditions year-round) has this year created a wonderfully entertaining fictional day-by-day ‘coverage’ – Virtual Everest 2020 – that we hope you will follow and enjoy!

We will get through this together and be climbing again soon!

Climber on Mount Everest

Late last week amid all of the rapidly evolving global cancelations and shutdowns to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the government of Nepal officially announced the cancellation of all Spring expeditions along with additional changes to their tourist visa requirements.

While we are saddened that all of the hard work and preparations of our team members, our guides, Sherpa, and staff won’t allow us to enjoy the challenge and beauty of Himalayas this spring, we applaud and respect Nepal’s decision.  The health and wellbeing of all of us global citizens is top priority.

The mountain will always be there — let’s go climb Everest next season together!

The Everest summit ridge on May 23rd

Welcome to Everest 2020! Our annual spring Mount Everest expedition begins in just 30 days. Our strong team of international climbers will gather at the Hotel Yak and Yeti, our Kathmandu home-base and the launching point of countless Mount Everest expeditions over the years. Here in Seattle, we are now gathering expedition equipment, food and supplies, making logistical arrangements with our Nepal support staff, and ensuring that all of our climbing team members and trekkers have everything ready to go. Busy times at Madison Mountaineering HQ! We are looking forward to our continued best-in-class rate of success and safety on Everest. Leaders in setting the fixed ropes, we have put the first team on top in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.

We are excited by the upcoming season and hope that you will all follow along with our expedition dispatches as the team makes their way to base camp and then up the mountain!

If climbing Mount Everest 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


Expedition leader, Conan Bliss, and the team have returned to Ama Dablam base camp and Conan provides the happy news:

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)

Ama Dablan

Conan Bliss, expedition leader, checked-in today with an update on the Ama Dablam expedition:

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.

Training around Ama Dablam base camp

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.

Ama Dablam base camp

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.

Ama Dablam base camp

Ama Dablam base camp

Ama Dablam

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.

Team arrives Lukla

Brook and Rick at the hanging bridges below Namche

Brook and Rick at the hanging bridges below Namche

Having a great trek and now are on the Namche cappuchino tour

Ama Dablam team - Brook, Conan, Rick

Ama Dablam team – Brook, Conan, Rick

Ama Dablam

First glimpse of the Ama Dablam

Ama Dablam team checking out the Tengboche Monastery en route to Pangboche

Also follow the team on Instagram:  @MadisonMtng

Kristin on Ama Dablam

First Ama Dablam summit of the season! Big Congratulations to Kristin Bennett, Aang Phurba Sherpa and the rest of our Sherpa team on Ama Dablam!  They pushed through tough snow conditions and fixed ropes to get to the top on October 10th around 6:00PM local time! 20 hour summit day. Way to go team!!

Kristin on Ama Dablam

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:

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