Tag Archive for: Summit Success

Mount Vinson base camp

The team is now safely down to Vinson base camp and Conrad Anker reports on the day in this expedition dispatch:

Greetings sports fans!  This is Conrad calling from Vinson base camp.  It’s the 8th of January 2020.  What a way to start this fresh, new decade.  We’re all back here after a wonderful and adventurious and trying expedition to the summit of Antarctica, Vinson Massif.

 

We had bad weather and a couple clear windows and today we started out at about 6am in a blizzard and we had to pack up camp, and head down to Low Camp, and then all the way back to Vinson base camp.  The team was really excited for everything that went on.

 

What we have now at Vinson base camp is probably about 45 climbers that are all backlogged hoping to get out on a flight tomorrow.  But it’s been foggy and no flights here for the last week to get to Union Glacier, all be it with weather in the mountains.  But our team was happy to have spent six nights at High Camp inside a small tent that turned into a Top Raman sauna everytime we cooked.

 

Taking our changes on less then optimal weather and getting shut down and then coming back to wake up on a beatiful crystal clear day and getting the summit.  So that’s what you come to expeditons for is to challange yourself, to make new friends, to be in scene places, and maybe have a laugh along the way.

 

For all of us here a big shout out especialliy to Roxy – yup that’s her – for her Seven Summits success and everyone else on the team.  So wishing you all the best.  Take care and stay tuned.  Bye

 

By the way, it’s not too early to start making your plans to join us on Mount Vinson for the 2020/2021 season next December!  Contact our office for details.


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow the teams as they make their attempts to summit the highest mountain in Antarctica 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

Instagram:

Today the Vinson team bided their time at High Camp waiting for the weather to clear.  Conrad Anker provides a recap of the day and the plan for tomorrow in this sat phone dispatch:

Greetings folks, this is Conrad Anker from Vinson High Camp.  It’s the 7th of January, 2020.

 

Well, the weather gods, we like them, we honor them, we respect them. After our 15-hour window of good weather where we had the majority of our team make the summit, it came in fast and furious. It was blowing wet snow coming in off the Amundsen Sea. So, we did the right thing, which was to hibernate, sit in our tents, and not go down the ropes, seeing as it was, we could barely see across camp.

 

It’s about 9 o’clock in the evening here local and it’s calm and clear.  Well, it’s clear – it’s still blowing. But relatively calm after these last few days of a steady 20 knots to 25 knots of wind coming from the east. So, it’s looking good.

 

The team is out breaking their tents out of the snow that has kind of cemented them in and getting them ready. We are going to wake up early tomorrow and get down to advanced camp, the Low Camp and then from there head to Vinson base camp.  And, weather permitting, we’ll catch our Twin Otter flights to Union Glacier.

 

And for the team of V4, we’ve had a wonderful time, we’ve made new friends, we’ve experienced the highs and lows that Antarctica has to offer. Pretty much the consensus over our humble fare this evening as we had dinner was that the trying and challenging trips are the ones that leave a lasting memory. So, we’re coming home with lots of memories and we’re thankful to all of you out there in the far reaches of the world that tune in and listen to us.

 

So, this is Garrett and Conrad signing off.  Be well.  Talk to you tomorrow.

(photo: Madison Mountaineering December 2019 Team #1)

By the way, it’s not too early to start making your plans to join us on Mount Vinson for the 2020/2021 season next December!  Contact our office for details.


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow the teams as they make their attempts to summit the highest mountain in Antarctica 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

Instagram:

2019.12.16 Vinson Summit

We encourage you to listen to the audio of Conrad Anker’s entertaining sat phone dispatch about today’s activities high on Antarctica’s Mount Vinson:

Greetings folks, it’s the 6th of January 2020 and this is your intrepid journalist/mountaineering Conrad Anker calling from Vinson High Camp.

 

Well, if you listened to yesterday’s dispatch, you kinda got the news that we got hammered by some fierce winds, turned around at the rescue cache, came back to camp with our tails between our legs.  We were humbled – properly.  And the weather forecast was calling for today, the 6th, to be even more fierce and even more big stormy weather with a low coming in from the Amundsen Sea.

 

But then strange things happen in the mountains.  At 6am it was calm, the sound of our tents flapping was replaced with silence.  We poked out – it was a bluebird day.  Nary a gust of wind or anything like that.  We squeaked around camp and Garrett and I look at each other with ear-to-ear smiles and we said, “Let’s go!”

 

The weather forecast, well, never trust electronics, go with your mountaineer sense.  Both Garrett and I felt that we had 12 hours of good weather and that’s what we had.  So our team coalesced and we headed up and we all made it to the summit.  Especially proud of Roxy on the culmination of her Seven Summits.

 

Now we’re here back at camp.  The 12-hour window closed back up and we’re sitting on the anvil as the hammer descends upon us.  But tomorrow we slide down the fixed ropes and ski back to Vinson base content knowing that we set out to do what we came to do, which was climb Vinson.  We’ll keep you posted as more news happens.

 

Thanks for listening in.  Take care!

(photo: Madison Mountaineering 2019 Team #1 summit on 12/27/2019)

By the way, it’s not too early to start making your plans to join us on Mount Vinson for the 2020/2021 season next December!  Contact our office for details.


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow the teams as they make their attempts to summit the highest mountain in Antarctica 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

Instagram:

Union Glacier Camp

Our Mount Vinson team #1 is now back at Union Glacier camp and getting ready to return to South America tomorrow.  Expedition leader, Garrett Madison, calls in from camp with a recap of the busy day:

Hello. This is Garrett calling for the Mount Vinson expedition team #1. Today is Saturday, December 28th and myself, Bartek, Aga and Motoki have all return back to Union Glacier camp from Mount Vinson.

 

We had a wonderful day. We woke up this morning at Mount Vinson High Camp after our successful summit yesterday. We descended from High Camp all the way down the fixed ropes past Low Camp and down to Vinson base camp. And then a couple of hours later we were met by a Twin Otter aircraft where we boarded and flew back to Union Glacier camp. It was a very scenic flight, great views all around.

 

We had a nice dinner here at Union Glacier camp, and a shower and the climbers are looking forward to the flight out on the Ilyushin 76 jet tomorrow from the Blue Ice Runway back to Punta Arenas. Hopefully, the weather is good and our three climbers will be flying back to Chile and our next group of Mount Vinson climbers, along with guest guide Conrad Anker, will be flying into Union Glacier camp and heading to Mount Vinson.

 

All’s well here in Antarctica.  We will check-in again soon!  Thanks!

(photo:  Madison Mountaineering archive)

By the way, it’s not too early to start making your plans to join us on Mount Vinson for the 2020/2021 season next December!  Contact our office for details.


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow the teams as they make their attempts to summit the highest mountain in Antarctica 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

Instagram:

Best Christmas

Great news from Antarctica where 100% of our first team reached the summit of the continent’s highest peak, Mount Vinson!  Here’s Garrett’s report from High Camp:

Hello, this is Garrett Madison calling in for the Mount Vinson expedition team #1. Today’s December 27th and we reached the summit of Mount Vinson today, the highest peak in Antarctica! The team did great.

 

We left at about 9:30 AM from High Camp after a quick breakfast and climbed all day, had some windy conditions and a bit of a cold on the way up, and then the weather got a little bit nicer and we got up to the summit ridge.  Got up to the summit, had it all to ourselves for a bit, took some photos and then made our way back down to High Camp.

 

We got back to High Camp around 6:00 PM and just finished up some dinner.  So, heading to bed early tonight and looking forward to heading down to Vinson base camp tomorrow and onward back to Union Glacier camp.

 

So it’s been a great climb here on Mount Vinson with the first team, very successful.  We were lucky with good weather and good route conditions and great climbers.

 

We’ll check-in soon.  Thanks!

(photo:  Garrett Madison’s overused Vinson summit pic from the Madison Mountaineering archive)

By the way, it’s not too early to start making your plans to join us on Mount Vinson for the 2020/2021 season next December!  Contact our office for details.


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow the teams as they make their attempts to summit the highest mountain in Antarctica 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

Instagram:

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)

We are excited to report that our Climb for Conservation charity climb of Mt. Rainier enjoyed a 100% team success in reaching the summit this week.  The group had a beautiful sunset climb with perfect conditions.  Way to go team!

The team arriving in Arusha

With Kilimanjaro conquered and the safari complete, a very memorable Tanzanian expedition draws to a close and our team bids farewell to Africa as they head home. Lead guide, Rob Smith, provides the final words on the trip:

Many people have heard of ‘the big five‘ when it comes to African wildlife. The term originated from hunters, for the five most difficult animals to hunt on foot. These are lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino. It is heartening that the term associated with hunting these animals is now synonymous with wildlife tourism and conservation.

 

We did not see the full set of five, but that matters little as we did see so much. It is the diversity and abundance of wildlife that made our safari so memorable.

 

Of course the safari was after our main event, the Kilimanjaro climb. The hardships of that are beginning to fade, and the good times are becoming more memorable. Standing on the roof of Africa is not so easy, and John, Jaclyn and Kristin all managed to get there. It has been a safe, successful and enjoyable trip which has packed a lot into a relatively short time. Definitely not your average two week vacation. Thanks for following our journey!

 

Today’s Swahili: Kwaheri – goodbye; Karibu – you are welcome

Sunrise at our Serengeti camp

A final Safari

The team arriving in Arusha

Ready for safari

Lead guide, Rob Smith, tells the story of the Kilimanjaro team’s final full day on safari in the mightly Serengeti:

Today exceeded all our expectations, as Jaclyn said on returning to camp.

 

Shortly after leaving this morning we saw several vehicles parked at the trailside. This usually means there is something of interest nearby. We pulled up and sure enough, a cheetah was sitting on top of a termite mound near the track. The fastest land animal in the world sat in front of us, just like that. It was sleek with beautiful markings. Black ‘teardrops’ noticeable on its alert and watchful face. The cheetah moved to a closer mound, rested and then crossed the track between the vehicles. It sat on another mound before dropping off, looking right but moving in a leftward arc. We could not see what the cheetah had seen until soon a Thomson’s gazelle bounded through the grass towards the cheetah. A pounce, a flurry of dust, a kicking of legs and it was all over. We were amazed to have witnessed the spectacle. Whatever your views on animals killing each other, this is the circle of life in the Serengeti.

 

We continued on to a rest stop, where maybe 50 tourists were gathered. 500′ away a tree stood with a rock by its base. The rock turned out to be the head of a male lion, its large mane bulking its head size. At one point, the lion stood up before lying down, now completely unseen. It made us wonder how many animals lay in the long grass out of sight nearby. The day continued, we saw a leopard perched on top of a Kopje, rock outcrop, much larger and muscular than the cheetah. We wondered what was coming next.

 

Two large lions chasing gazelles across the plain before stopping at a carcass surrounded by vultures. Hippos, crocodiles, elephants, giraffes, a jackal, hyenas, so many birds. A mother and young cheetah sitting in the shade eyeing up ostrich and warthogs in front of them. Two lionesses squabbled and the winner dragged a Thomson’s gazelle into cover and sat virtually unseen as it feasted on the catch. This is some of what we have seen today. It is no wonder it far exceeded our expectations.

 

We have another night in the Serengeti Osupuko Camp with the birds calling and wind rustling the tree branches. Tomorrow we leave the Serengeti to drive back to Arusha. Fortunately for us, we get to view more wildlife on the first part of the drive until we leave the National Park.

 

Today’s Swahili:  Kiboko – Hippo; Chui – Leopard; Duma – Cheetah; Serengeti – Endless plain

A hungry giraffe

A “bloat” of hippos

Ready for safari

Serengeti plains

The Kilimanjaro team is now deep into their multiday safari and having a great time.  Lead guide, Rob Smith, provides the details of their day in two of the most amazing game parks in the world:

This morning we visited the Ngorongoro Crater, an area more than 180 square miles bounded on all sides by steep crater walls of a former volcano. The fertile base of the crater provides a haven for wildlife, and today it did not disappoint. Despite a misty start limiting views at the top of the crater, conditions were much clearer when we reached the base after a rough, steep descent. Buffalos and ostrich were seen on the drive down. A pool was filled with hippos, most of their bulk underwater with their backs and snouts visible. They shared the pool with pelicans while egrets, sacred ibis, and Egyptian geese sat on the banks. Two elephants stood in foliage nearby.

 

In the dry season, many animals are attracted to water sources, and it can be a great place to view them. Along the trails secretary birds with their snake stamping legs strutted back and forth. A jackal paced in front of our vehicle for several hundred meters before it cut off the track. Hyenas slinked around in the long grass, looking menacing. We crested a rise, and two lionesses were just off the track, focussed on a group of buffalo. They blended in perfectly with the grass and moved stealthily. With more ground to cover, we left them to it.

 

Leaving the Ngorongoro, we bumped and shook along the road to Serengeti National Park. Wide-open plains had us wondering if we would see any wildlife, as the area is vast. But after 5 minutes of entering the park, we spotted two more lions. Two became three which became four, and when a half-eaten leg was seen sticking up through the grass, it was clear we had come across the site of a recent kill. A pile of feathers nearby told us an ostrich had been the unlucky catch. It is disconcerting when a lion with a bloody face stares at you from not so far away. Content with their meal, they all lay down in the sun and slept, and we moved on.

 

So our adventure continues. Tonight we are staying in a tented camp in the Serengeti amongst this amazing habitat. Tomorrow we have another full day of safari. Let’s see what is in store for us.

 

Today’s Swahili:  Lion – Simba — Buffalo – Nyati

A lioness blending into the landscape

A wildebeest poses for the camera

Serengeti plains