Jeff, José, and I have made a safe and successful ascent of Cayambe volcano! After we finished our acclimatization hikes near Quito we departed for Cayambe hut at an elevation of 15,250 feet. After a hour of driving from Hacienda Guachala we took our expedition vehicle across rocky and steep terrain toward Cayambe. The hut was beautifully located and provided spectacular views of the mountain. After three days of glacier training we prepared our gear and left at 11pm for the summit. After 7 hours of climbing we made it over the last crevasse and to the top on a crystal clear day just as the sun came up over the horizon. We were the first climbing team to reach the summit 🙂 We had an amazing adventure and thank our guide José Luis for his expert guidance and support! I will be posting additional photos from our expedition to the Madison Mountaineering Facebook page!
Photos taken below by Andrew Tierney using a GoPro Hero 4 Black and iPhone 6. Enjoy! 🙂
Dinner at Hacienda Guachala. The Hacienda Guachalá is known as the oldest hacienda in Ecuador, and the most important hacienda until the middle of the 20th century. The oldest buildings date from the year 1580!
Breakfast with a view at Hacienda Guachala.
Middle of the World!
Happy Birthday Jeff! 🙂 Mountain Birthday’s are the best!
Jeff with Cayambe in the background!
Glacier training on Cayambe.
Ladder training in preparation for Jeff’s upcoming Everest ascent!
Andrew enjoying the fixed ropes and ladders on Cayambe!
Jeff preparing to cross the ladder.
Andrew on the summit of Cayambe!
Jeff on the summit of Cayambe! Rise & Shine!
Spectacular sunrise across Ecuador!
Last sunset before we made our ascent!
100 % summit on Aconcagua!! Congratulations to the entire Madison Mountaineering climbing team as they made it to the summit of the highest point of the South American continent just minutes ago. Reaching an elevation of 6962 meters /22,841 Ft with blue skies gave the team a perfect break in the weather for this summit push. Woot!!! “Couldn’t ask for a better summit day!” Listen to expedition leader Garrett Madison‘s phone call from the summit:
Following this successful summit on Aconcagua, our team will descend from our Camp 3 to Plaza de Mulas base camp at(13,800′). After a days rest our team will then make the return trek to Horcones trail head, and transfer to the Ayelen hotel in Penitentes. Here the team will have a much deserved shower and celebration dinner!! Congratulations to all of our climbers and we look forward to seeing the beautiful pictures to come.
6962 meters /22,841 Ft on the Suunto! Go Team!!
Team members celebrating at the summit of Aconcagua!
Garrett, Mike, Sam, Iñaki, and Todd have taken-off from the blue ice runway and successfully bring to an end their Vinson Massif expedition. In three weeks our climbers have traversed the earth’s southernmost continent, scaled polar glaciers across the Sentinel Range, and summited one of the world’s 7 Summits. Our team was a part of aviation history the moment they touched down on the first Boeing 757 in Union Glacier Camp, Antarctica. In total, our tour team traveled the skies on a Boeing 757, Russian Ilyushin Il-76, DHC-6 Twin Otter, and a Douglas DC3. Pretty impressive!
Congratulations to Mike, Sam, Iñaki, and Todd for reaching new high’s, I hope the journey is onward and upward for all. Enjoy the photos taken by Garrett Madison below 🙂
“Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.”
― David McCullough Jr.
Thanks for following!
About to leave Antarctica on the Ilushin 76.
Building snow walls to fortify our tents, Todd carrying a big snow block.
Climbing the fixed ropes, Michael in front, Sam behind.
Climbing the fixed ropes.
Good times in the cook tent, Inaki & Mike.
Onboard the twin otter leaving Vinson Base Camp, MIchael, Sam, Todd, Inaki, Garrett.
Our MH Trango Tents holding up well in Antarctica!
Our MH Trango tents holding up well on the mountain.
Sam cooking french fries!
Team at base camp, Garrett, Mike, Todd, Sam, Inaki
Team at Vinson Base Camp.
Team on the summit, Garrett, Todd, Michael, Sam!
Today Garrett, Mike, Sam, Iñaki, and Todd reached the summit of Antarctica at 4,892 meters (16,050 ft). With clear skies our team enjoyed spectacular 360 degree views! A truly “magical” experience. Mount Vinson is more than 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) from the South Pole, making it the most remote of the Seven Summits. It was also the last discovered, last climbed, and last named of the Seven Summits. Mount Vinson is named for U.S. Representative Carl Vinson of Georgia, who served in Congress from 1935 to 1961 and was the former chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. He was a influential lobbyist for government funding of American exploration in Antarctica. After an early morning summit push, Garrett and team were able to make it to the summit and enjoy the stabilized weather conditions which the team took advantage of. Now resting at Camp 2 with moderate winds, the team is preparing for tomorrows continued descent toward Union Glacier Camp.
Great job team!!
Audio Dispatch from Garrett Madison ~ Sunday, December 6
Garrett and team approaching the highest peak in Antarctica, at 4,892 meters (16,050 ft)!
Summit of Mount Vinson!
Congratulations to our Ecuador Volcanoes team for their successful Whymper Peak Summit today at 6,268 m (20,564 ft)!! Luke, Zack and Estalin have reached the summit of Chimborazo, Ecuador’s highest peak! Chimborazo’s location along the earth’s equatorial bulge makes its summit the farthest point on the Earth’s surface from the Earth’s center (aka closest to the sun). This challenging climb with many technical challenges provided spectacular views across the many glaciated peaks in the Andes mountain range. Today on this crystal clear day, we could see Colombia in the north and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Our team is now back in Quito where they enjoyed their celebration dinner. Estalin, Luke and Zack are enjoying their last couple days in the capital city of Quito, experiencing the rich culture and beautiful Spanish colonial architecture.
Thank you Estalin Valladolid for the beautiful photos across Ecuador and great leadership throughout! Cheers team!
Luke and Zack starting to walk to Base Camp Stubel near Chimborazo.
Rise and shine! Alpine start on Chimborazo summit day.
Luke and Zack on their final push to the summit of Chimborazo!
Last steps to the summit of Chimborazo, in the background you can see Veintimilla Summit at 6,230 m (20,440 ft).
Whymper summit at 6,268 m (20,564 ft) In the back on the right you can see Cotopaxi!
Cloud layers rolling in over Luke and Zack.
Descending from Veintimilla Summit at 6,230 m (20,440 ft).
Descending from the summit of Whymper peak, the background Ilinizas, Cotopaxi, Cayambe and Antizana.
After the summit of Chimborazo, Luke Zack, and Estalin eating rabbit and guinea pig in Quito.
Congratulations to Luke, Zack and Estalin for successfully making it to the Summit of Cayambe Volcano at 5,790 m (19,000 ft)! Cayambe Volcano is located in the Cordillera Central, a gorgeous range of the Ecuadorian Andes in northern Ecuador. Our climbing team came together as a team and safely pushed through the clouds all the way to the top of this Holocene compound volcano! Prior to this exciting summit push our team was able to relax and enjoy the scenic city of Otavalo surrounded by the peaks of Imbabura 4,630 m (15,190 ft) and Cotacachi 4,995 m (16,388 ft).
Now back in the city of Hacienda Guachala, the team is resting before departing for Estrella del Chimborazo Lodge at 4,000 m (13,125 ft). Estalin, Luke and Zack will organize gear and prepare for the next day’s climb to our high camp. Stay tuned!
Estalin’s photos are shared below, enjoy!
We stopped at the monument called the Mitad del mundo (middle of the world) that is said to be the “only real” statue located right on the equator!
The indigenous Otavaleños are famous for weaving textiles, usually made of wool (that is sometimes as black as a raven), which are sold at this famous market in Otavalo city. Luke and Zack were able to find beautiful souvenirs here!
Luke and Zack enjoying the local cuisine in downtown Otavalo. They needed all the energy they could get before making the summit push to top of Cayambe!
Our team stayed safe and worked together as a team to make the successful push to the summit!
Luke, Zack and Estalin posing for a summit shot at 5,790 m (19,000 ft) on top of Cayambe!
After a good nights rest in the city of Hacienda Guachala, Luke, Zack and Estalin departed toward the mystical cloud forests of the Imbabura Volcano region. The team had a wonderful day exploring this inactive stratovolcano in northern Ecuador and successfully navigated their way to the summit at 4,630 m (15,190 ft). Imbabura Volcano has not erupted for at least 14,000 years and provides explorers a beautiful landscape to acclimatize and view the fields of ash from thousands of years ago. Luke and Zack practiced their glacier skills yesterday on the base of Cayambe and prepared for the summit push today. Stay tuned!
Estalin continues to share beautiful photos of the team’s journey through Ecuador. Enjoy! 🙂
Luke is very happy upon reaching the summit of Imbabura Volcano!
Quick photo as the team begins the trek toward the summit!
Luke putting his rock climbing skills to use, don’t look down!
Zack traversing his way through the rock formations on Imbabura Volcano:
Luke smiles for the camera as he makes the last few steps to the summit!
Summit of Imbabura at 4,630 m (15,190 ft):
Today the Madison Mountaineering team made another acclimatization climb to the summit of Ruku Pichincha Volcano at 4,698 metres (15,413 ft)! This was the teams third successful day trek as they continue to adapt to the elevation gain in the Andes. These peaks were visible from the nearby city of Quito where the expedition began. Weather today was partly cloudy with breaks in the clouds throughout the afternoon. The team is now in route to Hacienda Guachala near the town of Cayambe. This colonial town is known as the oldest hacienda (Spanish for estate) in Ecuador, with structures dating all the way back to 1580! Tomorrow the team will be making another day hike to Imbabura and continue this epic journey. Onward!
Interesting Fact about Pichincha Volcano: On May 24, 1822, General Sucre’s southern campaign in the Spanish-America war of independence, came to a climax when patriot forces defeated the Spanish colonial army on the south-east slopes of this volcano. The engagement, known as the Battle of Pichincha, secured the independence of the territories of present day Ecuador.
Beautiful photos from our expedition leader Estalin below! 🙂
Team starting the trek to Ruku Pichincha:
Lunch break with a pretty epic view!
Traversing rocky terrain:
Luke resting before the last step to the summit:
Last push before the summit!
Summit of Ruku Pichincha Volcano at 4,698 metres (15,413 ft):
Making our descent through the clouds:
Luke enjoying the moment! 🙂