Tag Archive for: summit

100% team summit success on Izataccihuatl in Mexico

Lead guide, Terray Sylvester, provides this detailed recap of our very successful Mexico Volcanoes expedition – the first of two this month!

Hello, this is Terray calling in for the Madison Mountaineering Mexico Volcanoes expedition that is just ending today, October 12th. Over the last 10 days we had a great trip!

It started out with a day in Mexico City. We visited the Teotihuacan pyramids on the outskirts of town – those are the biggest pyramids in Latin America.  And then we drove to Iztaccihuatl, which is the third highest volcano in Mexico and the third highest volcano in North America – it’s 17,160 ft. tall.  We spent three days climbing that and on our summit day, we had absolutely beautiful weather.  Right now the rainy season is starting to taper off, so weather can be a little wet but we had sunny skies all day and we also had fantastic views of Popocatépetl erupting just to the south.  Some of the eruptions were big enough that they made the local news.

From Izta we traveled down to Puebla where we spent two nights and took a rest day.  Puebla is a beautiful, historic city so we had time to visit museums and enjoy some great food.  And then we drove to the little town of San Miguel Zoapan, which is where our lodge is located at the base of el Pico de Orizaba, which is the third highest peak in North America and the highest volcano on the continent.

We piled all of our gear into 4WD vehicles and then we drove up the rough dirt roads to our base camp at about 14,000 ft., spent the next day acclimatizing, and then we climbed to the summit of Orizaba the following day.  Yet again we had just perfect weather – beautiful sunny, cool, fall day.  The mountain had recently recieved some snow, so climbing conditions were about as good as they get on Orizaba – not too icy, excellent path all the way to the top.  At the top, you look down into a circular, deep, dramatic, summit crater.  You can look out toward the Gulf of Mexico to the east.  While you are climbing, you see the lights of Puebla down to the west and lights of Vera Cruz and smaller towns near that city, also down to the east.  There’s also a big telescope array on Sierra Negra, which is a smaller volcano just to the south.

After the climb we were back down in our lodge in Zoapan by about 2 PM.  We had a steak lunch and then we drove back to Mexico City.  And now, today, our guests have time to visit museums – we’re going to the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City and the Frida Kahlo Museum.  We’ll have a farewell dinner this evening and then everyone will head home.

We have another Mexico Volcanoes itinerary starting on October 17th, so check back here – we’ll post regular updates as that trip progresses.

Visiting the Teotihuacan Pyramids in Mexico

Visiting the Teotihuacan Pyramids in Mexico

Our climbers watching Popocatépetl erupt while climbing to the summit of Iztaccihuatl in Mexico

Our climbers watching Popocatépetl erupt while climbing to the summit of Iztaccihuatl in Mexico

Sunrise on Iztaccihuatl in Mexico

Sunrise on Iztaccihuatl in Mexico

Success on Pico de Orizaba! Our Mexico Volcanoes climbers topped out on the third highest peak in North America in great weather

Success on Pico de Orizaba! Our Mexico Volcanoes climbers topped out on the third highest peak in North America in great weather

Success on Pico de Orizaba! Our Mexico Volcanoes climbers topped out on the third highest peak in North America in great weather

Success on Pico de Orizaba! Our Mexico Volcanoes climbers topped out on the third highest peak in North America in great weather

Izta summit

Within the past hour, our Mexico Volcanoes expedition team reached the summit of the third highest peak in Mexico, Iztacihuatl (5230m / 17,160 ft)!  They are on their way down now.  Their track to the summit left the La Joyita trailhead and gained over 1310m (4,300 ft) of elevation gain over 5.67km to reach the summit in just about 8 hours.  Whew!

We will have some pictures to share when they are back down.  Meanwhile, here are a few shots from yesterday to enjoy.

Next up:  Pico de Orizaba (5636m/18,490ft), Mexico’s highest mountain and the third highest in North America.

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

We are pleased to announce the following members of the 2019 Madison Mountaineering Everest expedition successfully reached the summit of Mount Everest (8,848 m / 29,029 ft) on May 16, 2019, at approximately 3:15 AM NPT (local time) and have returned safely to Camp 4 on the South Col.

# Name Country
1 Mr. Kenton Cool United Kingdom
2 Mr. Michael Lavelle United Kingdom
3 Mr. Dorji Gyaljen Sherpa Nepal
4 Mr. Kam Dorchi Sherpa Nepal
5 Mr. Tenji Sherpa Nepal

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Everest team.  Today is a great day!  Our advanced team of rope fixing Sherpa, eight guys, all reached the summit today at 1:45 PM Nepal time and they are on their way down to high camp now.  So, the lines are in place, the route is open, and the first summits of 2019 on Everest have commenced!  Now we’ll start thinking about our summit strategy with our main team.  Kenton Cool and climber Michael are up in Camp 3 today on their way for a potential summit on the 16th of May.  Everyone else is doing great here in base camp.  We’ll check in soon.

(photo: Madison Mountaineering archives)

We are pleased to announce the following members of the rope fixing team of the 2019 Madison Mountaineering Everest expedition successfully reached the summit of Mount Everest (8,848 m / 29,029 ft) on May 14, 2019, at approximately 1:45 PM NPT (local time).

# Name Country
1 Mr. Siddhi Bahadur Tamang – group leader Nepal
2 Mr. Pasdawa Sherpa Nepal
3 Mr. Dorji Gyalgen Sherpa Nepal
4 Mr. Pasang Dawa Sherpa Nepal
5 Mr. Dawa Nurbu Sherpa Nepal
6 Mr. Ming Dorje Sherpa Nepal
7 Mr. Aang Phurba Sherpa Nepal
8 Mr. Sangbu Bhote Lama Nepal

Local expedition organization by Himalayan Guides Nepal, Treks and Expeditions Pvt. Ltd, Chandol, Kathmandu.

Reporting from High Camp on Mount Vinson, expedition leader Garrett Madison provides this update:

Hi, this is Garrett calling for the Madison Mountaineering Mount Vinson expedition.  Today on New Year’s Day, our team the Adventure Guides and Madison Mountaineering team made the summit of Mount Vinson (4892 m / 16,050 ft) [garbled].  We had a beautiful day with perfect weather.  We had the summit all to ourselves.  Now we are back in Vinson High Camp.  We are planning to head down towards Vinson Base Camp tomorrow.  All is good here and we look forward to getting down to base camp the next day!

(photo:  Madison Mountaineering archives)

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!

Lhotse summits by our three members – Garrett, Josh & Mingmar Sherpa climbed Mount Lhotse, next to Mount Everest. Its the 4th highest mountain in the world. They climbed today at 9:15 am. And , now  are on their way down the Lhotse Face with the other Mount Everest climbers  to Camp 2.

All our Sherpas and climbers team are healthy and coming down to camp 2 . Some are in Everest Basecamp, the others will descend tomorrow from Camp 2  .

Lhotse Summits

Our main team of climbers has reached the summit of Mount Everest at 5:00 am (1st Group) & 6:35 am (2nd Group) today (18th March)!
Team Members: Mr. Garrett Madison, Mr. Joshua Joseph Miller, Mr. Randolph Kidder Luskey (1st Group)

Mr. Conan Tundra Bliss, Mr. Matthew David Kernan, Mr. Tym Douglas Blanchard, Mr. David Scott Landman, Mr. Sidney McCord Pattinson (2nd Group)

Nepali Sherpas: Mr. Siddhi Bahadur Tamang, Mr. Mingma Sherpa, Mr. Ang Phurba Sherpa (1st Group)
Mr. Pasang Tenzing Sherpa, Mr. Pas-Dawa Sherpa , Mr. Lakpa-Dendi Sherpa, Mr. Sher-Bahadur Thapa Magar, Mr. Mingma Shona Sherpa (2nd Group)

They reported good conditions and are on their way down to the South Col high camp , if possible then to the Camp 2 ,where they will spend the night.

Kenton & the team fly to Kathmandu this morning .