Garrett Madison, founder of Madison Mountaineering has now summited K2 three times. This is his sixth expedition to K2 making him the most experienced western operator to run regular trips to the Northern Terrorities of Pakistan. He was the leader for the 21 person team who submitted on July 28, 2018, at approximately 6:07 AM PKT (local time):
We discussed his team summit plus the latest on finding the bodies of the 3 missing winter climbers, and an update on the West Ridge effort – it’s not over.
In Garret’s own words:
Yesterday our whole team stood atop the world’s 2nd highest peak, today we all reached base camp safely. We were very lucky with not even a breath of wind at the summit, clear views in all directions, and excellent route conditions. It was spectacular!
In a season where most teams cancelled their K2 expedition plans due to Covid travel restrictions we found a way to make it happen thanks to great partners, persistence and a positive attitude. We had the mountain and route nearly all to ourselves compared to the last time I was here during a ‘normal’ season in 2019.
Things went so smoothly and ahead of schedule once we arrived in Pakistan just over a month ago that I was nervous something unanticipated would stop us dead in our tracks…or worse. But the mountain opened its arms and welcomed us to the top, granting us a 5 day weather window to make our summit bid. Our @madisonmtng Sherpa / Pakistani team worked tirelessly with the other Sherpa team here and got the route fixing done, a major component of our success on K2.
K2 is likely the world’s most deadly mountain with a ~25% death rate (deaths on attempt vs summits). K2 and Annapurna have traded places as the world’s most deadly peak in recent years…Currently only myself and 2 other climbers have reached the top of K2 three times (a Pakistani and a Nepalese Sherpa). I’ve never lost a client or staff member on K2, but I’ve seen others perish here. It’s a lot more rugged and dangerous than climbing Mount Everest to say the least. We’ve had a few ‘near misses’ with rockfall and avalanches but all okay so far.
I’m grateful we are all down safe from our climb on the ‘Savage Mountain’!
Memories are Everything
The Podcast on alanarnette.com
You can listen to #everest2021 podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, Anchor, and more. Just search for “alan arnette” on your favorite podcast platform.
Teams and Trackers (partial list)
- Broad Peak, K2
- Madison Mountaineering: 9 climbers (USA, UK & Ukrain), 10 Nepal Sherpas, 4 Pakistani high altitude porters, and 10 Pakistani base camp staff. TrackerKenton Cool with a client. TrackerJon Gupta with a client
- Karakorum Expeditions: 11 members supported by 22 Pakistani climbers. Trackers: Fotis Theocharis and Carlos Garranzo
- Graham Zimmerman and Ian Welsted: West Ridge – No Public Tracker Known
- K2 Only
- Ukrainian-Nepalese K2 Expedition 2021: 3 Ukrainians and 3 Nepal’s Pioneer Adventure Sherpas
- Ukraine team Alpomania supported by 6 Sherpas from Nepal’s Pioneer Adventure
- Sajid Ali Sadpara: searching for evidence of his father, Muhammad Ali Sadpara. Team of 3 with BC support. Tracker
- Jeff Spelman and Niels Jespers Tracker
- Broad Peak only
- Gasherbrum I
- Blue Sky Czech Republic & Slovakia
- Lluis Cortadellas
- Gasherbrum II
- Poland’s Beskid Expedition with Piotr Krzyzowski’s tracker
- Czech-Slovak tracker
- The Altitude Team with Lluis Cortadellas’ tracker
- Pakistan’s Sirbaz Khan’s tracker
- Broad Peak, GI, and GII
- Serge Hardy
- Nanga Parbat – Over
- 5 person Spanish Team lead by Manuel ‘Lolo’ González. tracker
Memories are Everything
Great interview Alan. Amazing technology we have now to be able to talk this way and so far away.
Hi Alan, thanks for the interview. One clarification, Fazal Ali couldn’t summit this time. He had done three times, he went upto C4 but couldn’t summit.
Thank you very much. Just started watching the interview.
“Only one other person has more.”
That “one other person” is Fazali Ali from Shimshal, Pakistan. Fazal Ali has summited K2 four times.
Please see this article about this unsung hero of mountaineering.
He is known there as the “The K2 King”. would love for you to recognize him in one of your articles.
As always, thanks always for covering Karakorum.
Yes we say his name in the interview. Thanks.
Nice article Jahan.
Apparently, Ali didn’t summit. He reached C4 and turned back.