Mid-Season Update from Mountain Madness

Outdoor, United States
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Our guiding partners at Mountain Madness have sent over a 2011 mid-season update with a number of very technical and remote climbs already checked off their list.  Check out what they've been up to:

Mountain Madness 2011 trips started off with a busy South American Season in Ecuador and Argentina. Climbers reached the Seven Summit objective of 22,841 feet Aconcagua, while, to the north in Ecuador, groups received formal training on skills needed to ascend the country’s high altitude volcanoes. In between great climbs, Ecuador participants enjoyed great cuisine, charming haciendas, and an intriguing culture, all of which make this one of our best destinations!

In addition to a wide array of avalanche training courses offered during the winter, the season is marked by preparation for the spring season in Nepal.  This year MM Client Suzanne Al’Houby became the first Arab woman to successfully summit Mount Everest! Congratulations- only two of the Seven Summits to go!

This year our Everest Base Camp trekkers kept us apprised on their progress to the base of the top of the world with dispatches and photos of their journey. It was great to hear firsthand from the trekkers what intrigued them and their reflections of the whole trip. Our clients even witnessed the guides and porters refreshing the paint of Scott Fischer’s memorial at Lobuche Pass on the trekking trail.

Elsewhere in the Everest region our teams ascended Ama Dablam, one of the world’s most beautiful mountains, Island Peak, and Mera Peak. “Mountain Madness is a first class act all the way. Would travel with you anytime and anyplace” Doug W. on the Mera Peak trip. Next up- a fall Ama Dablam and Everest Base Camp trek.

Spring in North America: What a season in the Great White North! The excitement began with an Expedition Training Course in one of the planet’s deepest canyons – the Ruth Gorge. Next up client Mark H. and MM guide Dave Ahrens climbed the coveted Peak 11,300 and encountered amazing mixed terrain in the wild Alaska Range. Meanwhile, on the neighboring Denali, Italian client Giuseppe R. reached the summit of North America’s highest peak and his fifth of the Seven Summits.

And if that’s not enough, we placed a team on Canada’s highest peak to the south, 19,545-foot Mount Logan. Michael M., who has set his sights on the Second Seven Summits, reaching among others, Mount Kenya with MM President Mark Gunlogson, added another to his list along with four other team members. Michael had this to say about Logan,” The trip was awesome! The isolation, the mountain, the scale, everything made it feel like I was in Antarctica.” Next year on Logan we’re off to climb the East Ridge and King Trench routes.

As spring gives way to summer here in the North Cascades of Washington State our climbers head for the area's glaciers and rocks. Here they join us on courses, rock climbs, and summit ascents in this spectacular range. An intensely cold and wet winter though left a lingering snowpack throughout the Northwest this year. This has allowed for some great late-season ski trips and favorable conditions on many of our summit climbs.

MM Guides have summited Mount Baker, Forbidden Peak, Mount Adams, Sahale Peak, Mount Olympus and Mount Shuksan. Relatively easy access, incredible objectives, and challenging terrain all provide the needed ingredients for life changing experiences. “Thank you MM for opening a new world to me! I felt I was in the best hands and taken great care of during this new challenge,” says Moira S. of her Mount Baker climb.

Breaks of sunshine in Eastern Washington accompanied great rock climbing in Leavenworth and mixed climbing in Washington Pass. Students of our Glacier Mountaineering School and Rock Courses are excited to venture into the alpine with a greater set of skills as they work towards their goals. We are looking forward to more great summit climbs and rock climbing as the weather continues to improve.

In the Alps, Mountain Madness IFMGA certified guides got after it with clients on trips to the Eiger, the Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, and a mountaineering school based out of Chamonix.

The arrival of summer in the Northern Hemisphere heralds in winter south of the equator, but also the best time to climb in Peru and Bolivia. In addition to trips on the nearly 21,000-foot Nevado Chopakalki, we’re proud to say a MM team reached the summit of the amazing Artensonraju. Recently IFMGA certified guide Joshua Jarrin, along with MM regular Jonathan W., who, after several trips to the Cordillera Blanca with MM, has become an aficionado of some of the area's classics, like Alpamayo. Both reached the summit in late June- congrats to both!

And in Bolivia, our Mountaineering School is busy as usual and will graduate more than 20 participants with a chance to reach Huayna Potosi, one of the country’s most beautiful peaks, and the more than 21,000-foot Illimani – who said going back to school is no fun? “Amazing trip! I didn’t want it to end! The guides, the places, the culture, the mountains, the new friends, the scenery, all top notch and unforgettable!” Jesse K. Bolivia Mountaineering School.

Mount Kilimanjaro, a client favorite and MM classic for over 25 years, attracts travellers of all kinds. This year we are proud to have joined forces with two non-profit organizations, Climb For A Cause, which raised over $80K for families battling cancer, and Around-N-Over , which raised money towards building a school in Tanzania. Our groups are enjoying the luxuries of a Safari through the Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara and the Serengeti to celebrate their accomplishments. We are also excited to be one of the first companies to offer a Walking Safari through the Serengeti National Park!

Socially responsible travel: Along with having a lot of fun and taking on challenges and adventures, Mountain Madness continues with the traditions of Scott Fischer and Christine Boskoff by giving back to the places we travel. Along with building schools in Africa, donating part of our Nepal revenues to an orphanage outside of Kathmandu, and working with youth organizations in the Seattle area we continue to grow relationships with various non-profit organizations intent on making the world a better place.

And the amazing thing is the year is only half over - more adventures to come!

For more info on these trips, visit them at www.mountainmadness.com

Published August 11

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