Tag Archive for: Summit Success

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

Our new transport
A happy team at the end of the climb

Our Kilimanjaro team has returned to Arusha after coming all the way down from a great summit climb and is getting ready for their safari.  Here’s lead guide, Rob Smith, with the details of the day:

After our summit yesterday we returned to Kosovo Camp (4870m/15,978ft) and had a couple of hours to rest, eat and drink, and then pack up. We hiked downhill for 3 hours to reach Millennium Camp (3820m/12,530ft) and were glad to reach it. Another early start this morning at 5 am, though practically a lie-in compared to our summit bid, saw us on our final day of Kilimanjaro. We dropped altitude and made our way from Alpine Desert to Moorland to Rainforest.

 

We were lucky enough to see Black and White Colobus Monkeys leaping from branch to branch high in the tree canopy. When we reached Mweka Gate (1638m/5,375ft), our exit point, we received a welcome that had everyone there looking on. The singing and dancing were well worth the effort that the team made over the last 7 days, and was a fitting end to our Kilimanjaro climb. So now we are back in Arusha before driving West tomorrow to Tarangire National Park, to begin the Safari.

 

Today’s Swahili:  Congratulations. Hongera  —  Brother. Kaka — Sister. Dada

Descending into the tree line

Our welcome at Mweka Gate

A happy team at the end of the climb

Kilimanjaro Summit!

From Kilimanjaro, lead guide Rob Smith shares the happy news:

The sunrise was beautiful and gave respite from the previous hours of climbing in the darkness. Each of us in a pool of light from our headlamps, steadily climbing up the loose rock and scree. The faintest of light on the horizon, grew larger and brighter, transforming through a range of orange, red and pink hues. We reached Stella Point on the edge of the crater rim at 18,800′, and stopped for a hot drink and some shelter from the wind. From there the slope was less steep and dawn made the route finding easier. As the sun rose higher it cast a huge shadow of Kilimanjaro onto the clouds below. It put our presence on the side of the mountain, nearing its summit, into perspective. We reached the top at 6.45am, after a harder than expected climb for some. Kilimanjaro might often be referred to as a to trek, but its 19,341′ should not be underestimated.

 

Kilimanjaro, Uhuru Peak, is a beautiful mountain that allowed us to step on her summit a few hours ago, giving us memories to last a lifetime.

The shadow of Kilimanjaro at dawn

Kilimanjaro Summit!

Climbers nearing the summit on May 23rd

Congratulations to our Everest 2019 spring team in successfully climbing the world’s highest peak, but more importantly making it down safely! In contrast to what the media has portrayed, our experience on summit day was a pleasant one, due to a strong and experienced team. Our guides and Sherpas not only installed the fixed lines to the summit, which ‘opened’ the route on May 14th for all climbers on the south side of the mountain but also supported our climbers in a seamless climb of Mount Everest. The challenge of climbing Everest, coupled with the added uncertainty of the weather and other climbers on the route, can create adverse conditions. However, our team of professionals orchestrated a perfect expedition under the circumstances.

 

Climbers celebrating at the summit

Climbers celebrating at the summit

The Everest summit ridge on May 23rd

The Everest summit ridge on May 23rd

In my 12 expeditions to Everest, this was one of the finest teams of hard working, competent, positive, and pleasant Nepal “Sherpas”, many of who I have climbed with for the last 5 years. Big thanks for these incredible guys who helped us make our extraordinary success possible!

Madison Mountaineering rope fixing team on Everest summit day

MM rope team on summit day

Now our attention turns to the world’s second highest peak, K2. Today, our advance team of 100 porters and 2 Pakistan high altitude climbers left the village of Askole to begin the 100 km trek to K2 base camp.

K2 supplies headed to base camp

K2 supplies headed to base camp

Over 100 porters and staff leaving Askoli for K2

Over 100 porters and staff leaving Askoli for K2

We are excited to meet our climbing team in Islamabad in mid-June and make our way to ‘Chogori’, the savage mountain.

Our autumn Himalayan season following K2 will be action-packed, with our first ever Expedition to Everest in the fall!  We also have expeditions attempting Ama Dablam, as well as an unclimbed peak! Previously, we have had very high success on these peaks in the autumn. For climbers looking to climb the highest peak in Oceania, we also have a Carstensz Pyramid climb. We invite you to join us if climbing in the Himalaya or Oceania is on your ‘to do’ list this autumn!

Our Mount Vinson expeditions also have some availability, if climbing in Antarctica is on your mind, contact us for details!

A toast to a safe climb at our base camp with the Khumbu Icefall behind

With the Everest season quickly wrapping up, here’s expedition leader, Garrett Madison, with a final dispatch from the 2019 Mount Everest base camp:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Everest team.  Today most of our crew helicoptered down to Kathmandu and they are at the Yak & Yeti hotel, relaxing and enjoying a nice comfortable stay and a great dinner.  Myself, Conan and Stuart along with Joyce are still here in base camp with our Sherpa team – just packing up the camp and we are hoping to head out tomorrow down to Kathmandu.

 

But, it’s been a great season for us.  We have a very high success and safely all around with our team.  It was a challenging season, very windy on the mountain and cold this year with a narrow summit window.  And unfortunetly, there was a notable loss of life with climbers the last week on the mountain.  But we are happy to be down safe and looking forward to heading home soon.  All’s well here at base camp.  Thanks for following along!

Descending down from C2 with the Sun about to rise over Everest

Descending down from C2 with the Sun about to rise over Everest

Walking down the Western Cwm between C2 and C1

Walking down the Western Cwm between C2 and C1

Climbers descending the icefall

Climbers descending the icefall

A toast to a safe climb at our base camp with the Khumbu Icefall behind

A toast to a safe climb at our base camp with the Khumbu Icefall behind

All climbers, guides, and Sherpa from the 2019 Madison Mountaineering Everest expedition have safely returned to base camp.  More details and recap of the climb coming soon…

The Everest team has safely descended down the Lhotse face from the South Col to advanced base camp (ABC), Camp 2.  Here’s Garrett with the sat phone dispatch from 6500m Camp 2:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Everest climbing team.  Today is May 24th.  We all made it down to Camp 2, our advanced base camp here on Mount Everest.  We has a very good day coming down from the South Col high camp.  We climbed down past Camp 3 on our way to Camp 2.  We all made it safe, all the climbers, guides, and Sherpa.

 

So, we are here and we just had a nice dinner and we’re tucked into our tents now for a good night’s rest.  And tomorrow our plan is to depart Camp 2 at 6:00 AM and head down through the Khumbu Icefall to Everest base camp.  So, all’s well here and we’re looking forward to checking in from base camp tomorrow.  Thanks!

(photo:  Madison Mountaineering archives)

Congratulations to our Everest team for reaching the top of the world! All of the team is now safely back at Camp 4 on the South Col.  Expedition leader, Garrett Madison, provides the happy news:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Everest team.  Today is May 23rd and today we summitted Mount Everest!  [garbled] We left about 9:30 PM from our high camp here at the South Col near 26,000 ft. and climbed through the night up the Triangular face to The Balcony and then up the South East ridge over the rock bands to the South Summit and then crossed the summit ridge, up the Hillary Step and then the summit!  We reached the summit just after 5:00 AM with the last of our members reaching the summit about 8:00 AM.

 

So, it was a nice day – a little windy and a little chilly up there – but everybody did really good.  The most important thing is that everybody made it back down to high camp this afternoon.  So, we are all back in high camp, safe and sound.  We are looking forward to descending down to Camp 2 tomorrow night and then base camp the following day on May 25th.  All’s well here at high camp!  Thanks for checking in.

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 23, 2019, at approximately 6:30 AM NPT (local time).

# Name Country
1 Ms. Nadhira Alharthy Oman
2 Ms. Nelly Attar Lebanon
3 Ms. Joyce Azzam Lebanon
4 Mr. Sherief Elabd Egypt
5 Mr. Wojciech Falkowski Poland
6 Mr. Chad Gaston USA
7 Mr. Elia Saikaly Canada
8 Ms. Mona Shahab Saudi Arabia
9 Mr. Garrett Madison USA
10 Mr. Conan Bliss USA
11 Mr. Stuart Robertson United Kingdom
12 Mr. Aang Phurba Sherpa Nepal
13 Mr. Phurba Ridar Bhote Nepal
14 Mr. Pasdawa Sherpa Nepal
15 Mr. Lakpa Bhote Nepal
16 Mr. Siddhi Bahadur Tamang Nepal
17 Mr. Ming Dorchi Sherpa Nepal
18 Mr. Kul Bahadur Thapamagar Nepal
19 Mr. Phree Chhombi Sherpa Nepal
20 Mr. Sher Bahadur Thapamagar Nepal
21 Mr. Dorchi Bhote Nepal
22 Mr. Nima Lhaten Lama Nepal
23 Mr. Prem Magar Nepal
24 Mr. Tenzi Sherpa Nepal
25 Mr. Lenduk Lhomi Nepal
26 Mr. Dawa Nurbu Sherpa Nepal
27 Mr. Pasang Dawa Sherpa Nepal
28 Mr. Chhiring Bhote Nepal
29 Mr. Pasang Kaji Sherpa Nepal