Posts

The Madison Mountaineering climbing team nearly summited and reached a distance within a few hundred feet of the summit. There was a rock face that was impassable and would have presented a significant risk of collapsing. The team made the smart and safe decision. They have traversed unchartered territory and went where no man has gone before. We are extremely proud of our team. It is in the morning hours and the team has a beautiful sunrise to enjoy after this incredible accomplishment. Photos to be posted shortly!!

 

Yesterday Garrett & Sid, along with four of our climbing Sherpas went up from Camp 1 to work on fixing lines to the summit ridge. This was a slow and important step as we prepare the route for our climbing teams ascent. The route from Camp 1 follows the ridge line to the right, hard climbing but without the objective hazard (icefall, avalanches) that the less steep ‘climbers left’ potential route offers. We accomplished a lot, the lines are now just a few hours from the summit. Today Bill, Sid, and Phurba Rita Sherpa are heading up from Camp 1 to put in a small Camp 2, just below the summit ridge. Our plan is for the climbers here in Camp 1 to wake up and leave around 2 AM, an ‘alpine start’ and to climb up and join the three climbers who are in Camp 2 around 6 AM, then continue together towards the summit. We still have a bit of route setting work ahead, hopefully just a few hours along the summit ridge to the top! The climbing team is ready for this ascent and our group is in good health.

 

Here we go everyone, this is what we have been waiting for! News from the mountain will be released as soon as it is received here on the dispatch page.

.

View of climbing route & Burke Khang summit from Camp 1:

BK1

The Burke Khang summit is in sight! Our climbing team has reached an altitude of 20,371 feet. Unfortunately our team mate Kathy flew out with one of our Sherpas. She was dealing with a respiratory cold and is back in Kathmandu now. She is feeling better and we are thankful that all is well. Camp One has a beautiful view and the team is preparing for the final push for the summit. Weather has been great these past few days with blue skies. Check out the photos below and stay tuned for the summit push. Updates from expedition leader Garrett Madison will be uploaded here first. Will post dispatches as quickly as possible for this final push.

.

For those interested in Nepal’s new Constitution and the developing political environment, read this NY Times article.

.

Check out this Youtube video for a live chat with King5 news here in Seattle, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ST5M4XnBmRI

.

Bill Burke Climbing to Camp One from Advanced Base Camp:

BK1

.

Bill Burke Climbing to Camp One from Advanced Base Camp:

BK2

.

Burke Khang Camp One at 20,371 feet:

BK3

.

Beautiful photo taken by Garrett Madison while climbing!

BK4

.

Climbing toward Camp one from Advanced Base Camp:

BK6

.

Climbing toward Camp one from Advanced Base Camp:

BK7

.

Expedition Leader Garrett Madison staying warm!

BK10

Burke Khang Expedition Update – November 5th, 2015:

Our climbing team has made it to Burke Khang Advanced Base Camp! The team is currently sleeping at an elevation of 17,713 feet. Yesterday the team made another acclimatization hike with views of giants Cho Oyu, Everest, Lhotse, & Nuptse, we also spied more unclimbed peaks for next year! Check out our Facebook page for additional photos and beautiful panoramas!! Tomorrow the climbing team will head onward to our Camp 1 and up the very technical route of rock, snow, and ice towards the summit of Burke Khang!

For family and friends who want to watch the summit push check out this link, it will show you a basic map view of the climbing groups location as they push toward the summit. The data is refreshed every 10 minutes. My personal suggestion for watching this historic summit push would be to download Google Earth on your device. Once you have this software downloaded shoot me an email at: andrew@madisonmountaineering.com. I will send you an email with instructions on how to view the climbing team’s progress on Google Earth. We have been working hard to develop this technology and will hopefully have this available in a mobile application in the near future.

Team before rappel practice. Left to right: Paul and Denise Fejtek, Bill Burke,                                                          Kathy Meyers, Garrett Madison , Nick Logic

BK3

.

Rappel onto glacier practice:

BK5

.

View of our route to advanced base camp, towards Everest:

BK3

.

View from our hike yesterday, the Ngonzoma glacier:

BK5

.

Pics from our hike to advanced base camp:

BK3

Hope everyone had a great Halloween weekend! We said good bye to our trekking team that accompanied us all the way from our start in Kathmandu to our base camp here at Gokyo’s fifth lake. It was hard to say goodbye after the last ten days of trekking together in the Khumbu region of Nepal. They are now heading towards Cho La Pass and then onwards to Mount Everest base camp before returning to Lukla and then Kathmandu.
.
Our climbing team organized equipment at base camp today and took a walkabout around camp, scouting the glacier we will cross when we make our move towards our advanced base camp on our summit push. Our base camp is a very beautiful setting, with a nearby lake, and high peaks on all sides. A team of our Sherpa guides along with Madison Mountaineering guide Sid Pattison left today to head to advanced base camp. Tomorrow they will work on establishing the route to camp 1, at the top of the rock buttress, the first major technical section of the climb. This climbing involves around two thousand feet of steep snow and an ice arête (description and imagery here), after which we can establish our first high camp. Everyone is doing well and we look forward to our next acclimatization hike tomorrow.
.
View of glacier above camp:
BK1
.
Acclimatization hike:
BK2
.
View of Mount Everest from our base camp:
BK3
.
Burke Khang Base Camp:
BK1102
.
Team exploring near base camp:
IMG_4282
The Madison Mountaineering expedition has safely trekked from Gokyo to our base camp near the 5th lake. Bud Allen of our climbing team elected to take a helicopter down to Lukla, as he was a little under the weather. One of our Trekkers (Jenna) went with his helicopter. It is hard that a team member returned home, but for the best as we did not want Bud’s cold to worsen and further risk his well being. Our prayers are with Bud for a quick recovery.
As the team arrived at the 5th lake and set up base camp it continued to snow.  In the festive spirit, the team gathered together for a high altitude Halloween celebration! Check out the pictures below for a glimpse of these entertaining costumes, Captain America continues to bring high spirits to the team. It has been snowing and we are preparing our gear for the first ascent. It is harder to send digital content out and we will most likely begin to post audio dispatches. As the team begins the first ascent of Burke Khang, the most up to date news will be coming out right here on our dispatch page!
Team yoga in the lodge:
BK2
Helicopter arrival into Gokyo:
BK 4
Map of the team’s current location. Burke Khang is in the very middle.
BK1
Team photo at Gokyo before our trek to base camp:
BK3
Team members departing:
BK5
Foggy morning in Gokyo before our trek to base camp:
BK6
Burke Khang 2015 Base Camp:
BK7
Burke Khang 2015 Base Camp:
BK9
Burke Khang 2015 Base Camp:
BK10
Halloween at Burke Khang!
BK11

Well, we’ve begun! The first leg of our journey to climb Burke-Khang is done. This morning we awoke around 4:30AM to catch our flight into the infamous Lukla airport, the portal the the Himalaya. Stoke was high as we filed into the small twin prop Dornier aircraft and soon we were in the sky, flying over deep, lush valleys, a stark contrast to the environment we are heading into just a short week away. The 45 minute flight deposited us into the unlikely hanging town of Lukla. Here we further sorted gear, helped (as much as we could) the porters pack the Yaks and before long we were off down the trail to the village of Phakding. The wonderful trail meanders through small villages and past tea houses with beautiful views the entire way. While wondering through the small villages we spoke with the locals and received best wishes for the journey ahead.

Here in Phakding, Garrett, Sid and the crew are resting, eating and preparing for the longer trek to Namche Bazaar in the morning where they will take an acclimatization day and prepare to head up to the Gokyo Valley and ultimately Burke-Khang.

image-2 image-5 image-6 image-7 image

With the team just about complete the day was spent putting final touches on packing, eating good food and everybody getting reacquainted. The weather today was in the 70’s with a low at night in the mid 50’s. The team has a great energy and can not wait to begin this historic climb. Today the expedition finally started to feel real, people were here, people were packed and people were psyched to head out! While Garrett finalized some logistical tasks at the office Sid helped the crew find minor pieces of gear they needed in Kathmandu. We all regrouped in the evening and went out for out first team dinner at Kilroys, a wonderful roof top restaurant known to serve up delicious fare. We laughed, ate and told stories of past climbs. Stuffed and happy we all made it back to the Yak and Yeti to zip up the zippers on our duffles for the 5am wake up to fly to Lukla to begin our 9 day trek to the very remote Gokyo Valley and eventually to our base camp. The team is gearing up for liftoff!!

Keep your browser set to this page because the expedition we are about to embark on is incredible!

BurkeKhang3 BurkeKhang4

Guides Garrett Madison & Sid Pattison are in Kathmandu, preparing for the expedition as the climbing team members trickle in from the USA. The Kathmandu Metropolitan City has a population level of over three million people and is Nepal’s largest city. We spent most of today organizing gear and food for our expedition. We received awesome gear from our good Seattle friends at Filson. We also received Truth Bars made by our friends at Forte. Thank you for your support!! The streets of Kathmandu feel very empty, compared to what is normal. The fuel shortage in Nepal has resulted in not many vehicles on the roads, however the Nepalese people are out and going about life as normal. International airlines have cancelled many of  their flights into the country. Thousands of locals have formed mile-long lines with the hope of receiving fuel in the coming days. The country’s unrest increased nearly two weeks ago, when India’s authorities refused to refuel Nepalese oil tankers. This comes at a hard time as the country is still recovering from the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck April 25th, 2015. This nation will continue to come together as a resilient people and overcome these obstacles.

Today we received our expedition permit, as tomorrow the Nepalese holiday of Dashein begins and the ministry of tourism office will be closed for a week. The temperature is in the 60’s and is very pleasant. We are quickly adjusting to the nearly 13 hour time difference between Seattle and Nepal. Team picture and pre-expedition announcement will be shared soon!

BurkeKhang1 BurkeKhang2