Tag: summit

Puja Day:

 Yesterday was our Puja ceremony in base camp. Our whole team of climbers and Sherpas took part with a Buddhist lama. They ask  permission for the mountain to grant us safe passage. After the blessing was complete and our Puja ceremony finished, we commenced with some dancing and traditional Sherpa / Nepali music. Then, our whole team walked down to the helicopter pad in base camp to reconstruct the helipad. Our team of climbers & Sherpas, 40 men in total, worked for 2 hours to carry rocks and gravel to the helipad .They level the surface in preparation for the helicopter flights to transport the loads of equipment for the rope fixing project . i.e (ropes, carabiners, ice screws, etc.) from base camp to Camp 2 on Mount Everest.

Today at 6 AM we awoke to a cloudy sky in base camp. But, soon after the clouds burned off and the weather was suitable for flying. We transported all of the equipment for the rope fixing project (750 kg) from our base camp to the helipad . Until then waited for the AS 350 B3E helicopter to arrive. By 8:30 AM the helicopter arrived and the first load went up to Camp 2 where our climbing Sherpas had been waiting anxiously for the helicopter to land. And, unload the equipment.

They had arrived earlier in the day and already scouted a suitable landing zone for the helicopter . They were communicating with us in base camp by VHF radio regarding the weather conditions at Camp 2 . Additionally, the expected arrival time of the first helicopter load. In total 7 flights were made from the base camp helipad with equipment for the rope fixing project. This will be deposited in our Camp 2 where our Sherpas will collect the equipment. Afterwards, they will begin rope fixing up the Lhotse face towards Camp 3 on April 19th. As, Tomorrow April 18th is a ‘black day’ in memory of the 2014 Khumbu Icefall tragedy that took the lives of 16 Sherpas.

Icefall Training, and Rope Fixing Update

Our team of climbers is currently training in the lower Khumbu Icefall today practicing ascending vertical fixed ropes, rappelling, and crossing ladders. They are training for the preparation for our climb to Camp 1. The weather is nice and we are excited that everything is on track so far for Everest 2018!

Settled into EBC :

Today is our 4th day in Everest base camp, we are now settled here for this 2018 expedition. We have been training for the Khumbu Icefall by practicing various climbing techniques such as ascending fixed ropes, rappelling, and crossing ladders. We will continue training the next few days before we make our first ‘rotation’ to Camps 1 & 2. Tomorrow is our Puja ceremony. All is well here in base camp.

Settled In Dinning Room

                                                                                                                                                     Resting In Dinning Room

 

 

View of Mount Everest From Kalapatthar

View of Mount Everest From Kalapatthar

View of Mount Everest :

Today we trekked from Lobuche to Gorak Shep and then hiked up Kala Patthar (18,160 ft. /5550m) and had excellent views of Mount Everest, Mount Lhotse, and Mount Nuptse. We are about to go to bed after another great day, everyone is doing well and very excited to reach Everest base camp tomorrow!

Today we had breakfast at 7 AM in the sunrise lodge in the village of Phakding, then made our way through the lush valley and across suspension bridges to the village of Namche, the capital of t he khumbu. We just finished a marvelous dinner at the Panorama lodge and are ready to fall fast asleep! Another great day in the khumbu as we trek closer to Mount Everest!

 

 

 

The Madison Mountaineering Polar Explorer’s team reached the summit of Mount Vinson today! Climbers are now safely back at high camp after a wonderful summit day with hardly any wind and clouds beneath. Headed down to Vinson base camp tomorrow and will check in soon!

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Audio dispatch from Garrett Madison

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Mountaineering Polar Explorer

On January 7th at around 3pm our Antarctica expedition team summited Mount Vinson! Garrett reported clear skies, hardly any wind and nice temperatures. The whole team had the summit to themselves on this special summit day. Now our team will rest and recover at high camp before making the descent to base camp. Everyone is doing well and looking forward to their return flight back to Union Glacier Camp. Team photos and video will be shared soon!

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Audio dispatch from Garrett Madison

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Looking out over the Ellsworth Mountains 🙂

Team summited Mount Vinson

Garrett Madison checks in from high camp in Antarctica before our climbing team makes their Mount Vinson summit push! The plan is to leave high camp at around 9am and reach the summit by early afternoon. This final day to the top involves climbing the summit ridge with breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks as well as looking to the horizon of ice as far as the eye can see. Mount Vinson is the highest peak in Antarctica, at 4,892 meters (16,050 ft). Weather report is looking favorable with light cloud cover and low winds, stay tuned!

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Audio dispatch from Garrett Madison:

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Vinson summit push

Yesterday at 9:15 AM the Madison Mountaineering team reached the top of the Unclimbed Peak, Tharke Khang, located in the Nepal Himalayas near Mount Everest at over 22,000′ (6670m).  We began our summit day just after midnight on November 3rd, and departed our high camp (19,200′ / 5820m) on the Nup La glacier near the China – Nepal border at 2 AM.  This was the culmination of more than a year’s planning, we were anxiously anticipating what the route to the summit would entail, and wondering if we would be able to ascend to the top of a peak that no climbers had yet attempted before us.  Although seemingly doable in our eyes from google earth and helicopter reconnaissance, we expected the route would likely have some unexpected challenges in store for us, perhaps preventing us from reaching the summit.

From our high camp we traversed the Nup La glacier 45 minutes to the North Face of the peak, ascending a firm 45 degree snow slope about 500 ft. up to the ridge line, breaking through the corniced ridge, then ascending the ridge through varying degrees of steepness, sometimes vertical for sustained portions.  Over the previous 2 days our team had ascended about two thirds of the route and placed fixed ropes over the steep and exposed sections, however the remaining 1/3 of the route to the summit was still unclimbed and our plan was to find and establish this portion of the route as we climbed on our final summit push, in a ‘make or break’ style.  As our team ascended the route in the very cold and dark night, we were divided into two groups.  The first group was focused on climbing ahead and fixing (problem solving) the remaining portion of the route and the second group was making steady progress towards the goal of reaching the top.  I climbed with my friends Aang Phurba and Lakpa Dandi Sherpa, Aang Phurba led the final steep pitches to the ridge just before the highest point on the peak.  Aang Phurba and I have climbed together many times in recent years on Mount Everest, K2, Lhotse, etc. His brother was part of my team in 2014 on Mount Everest and perished tragically during the avalanche in the Khumbu Icefall on April 18th that ended the climbing season for us, Aang Phurba and I have a special bond that goes beyond the singular focus of climbing.

Before reaching the summit, Lakpa Dandi and I climbed up to join Aang Phurba just below the highest point on the peak, unfurled some prayer flags and silk Khata scarves, anchoring them near the top where they would float in the breeze, then together walked the final steps to the highest point and true summit of Tharke Khang.  We could not have had a better day for climbing in the Himalayas, there was not a cloud in the sky and only a small breath of wind.  We gazed upon Mount Everest, Mount Lhotse, Mount Cho Oyu, and many other of the surrounding Himalayan peaks.  Shortly thereafter, a few of our other climbers ascended to the summit and reveled in the majesty of this spectacular mountain range on such a glorious day.  After savoring our time at the summit, we began our descent down the ridge, a series of rappels over exposed terrain, where often both sides of the ridge dropped away into nothingness. After descending around 2800′ (910m) we traversed the Nup La glacier back to our high camp and settled in for the night. Today, we awoke at 6 AM and helicoptered down to our base camp located at the Gokyo 5th lake, then continued by helicopter to Kathmandu for a celebratory dinner this evening.  It’s been somewhat of a culture shock for us today, going from isolation in a high altitude alpine zone in a remote corner of the highest mountain range on Earth, to a bustling city. We all feel very blessed to have concluded a safe climbing expedition in a beautiful mountain environment, and to now be heading home to our friends and loved ones.  For me personally, yesterday was an extra special summit day, as it was my 39th birthday and I was able to share it with friends in a spectacular place never before visited by anyone.

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Unclimbed Peak

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Unclimbed Peak

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Unclimbed Peak

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Unclimbed Peak

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Unclimbed Peak

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On November 3rd our unclimbed peak expedition team reached the Tharke Khang summit! Garrett Madison checks in via satellite phone and reports beautiful conditions with views of surrounding peaks in the Himalayas. Our climbers will now descend to high camp to eat and rest up. Nice work team!

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Audio dispatch by Garrett Madison

On July 12th we were blessed with near perfect weather and climbing conditions when we reached Mount Elbrus North Summit in Russia, the highest peak in all of Europe at 18,506′, and one of the ‘seven summits’ on Earth.  David, Matthew, and myself began our climb from our high camp at 11 PM on July 11th, as the elevation gain from high camp to the summit of Mount Elbrus is 6,200′, a big summit day!  With a slight breeze we made our way up the glaciated slopes of Mount Elbrus in the dark using our headlamps, up to Lenz Rocks at 15,000′, then onward up the glacier to the saddle which is in between the East and West (highest) summits of Mount Elbrus.  We continued on up the West summit to the highest point in all of Europe at 9:30 AM, had unobstructed views as far as the eye can see, it was truly a magnificent day.  We then descended back down and reached our high camp in the early afternoon.  The following day we descended back down to base camp where we had a nice dinner and shower and slept in our comfortable cabin.  Yesterday we drove from the base camp on Mount Elbrus back to the town of Pyatigorsk and had a celebration dinner, now we are heading to St. Petersburg for some sightseeing and then home.  It has been a wonderful trip!

Note: This was a ‘North Side’ climb of Mount Elbrus, whereas our regular and other recent programs on are on the ‘South Side’ of Mount Elbrus.  Madison Mountaineering has led successful expeditions on both sides of Mount Elbrus, and as a boutique mountaineering guide service we strive to develop customer expeditions for intrepid climbers!

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Photos:

Garrett and Matthew gazing at Mount Elbrus from the hotel in Pyatigorsk

Mount Elbrus North Summit

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Summit selfie at the top of Mount Elbrus

Mount Elbrus North Summit

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Garrett and our driver Yuri enjoying dinner in base camp

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Matthew and David on the approach to high camp

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Matthew and David on the summit of Mount Elbrus

Mount Elbrus North Summit

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Watching the sun rise from up high on the glaciated slopes of Mount Elbrus

Mount Elbrus North Summit

 

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David and Matthew descending from high camp after a successful summit of Mount Elbrus!

Mount Elbrus North Summit

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