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Climber with island roots attempts Mount Everest feat

With Mount Everest behind him, Garrett Madison stands on top of Mount Lhotse on his way to summit the highest peak on Earth in 2011. Madison is taking the same trip this year while also attempting a third peak — Nuptse. - Garrett Madison photo
With Mount Everest behind him, Garrett Madison stands on top of Mount Lhotse on his way to summit the highest peak on Earth in 2011. Madison is taking the same trip this year while also attempting a third peak — Nuptse.
— image credit: Garrett Madison photo

Garrett Madison has been hard at work scaling mountains and reaching peaks that few others in the world can boast.

But this year, Madison, a 1997 graduate of Bainbridge High School, plans to further achieve impressive feats by taking on three of the most challenging mountains in the world including, and surrounding, Mount Everest.

“Climbing for me is about sharing the experience of being immersed in a beautiful yet natural mountain environment, but also pushing one’s physical and mental limits,” Madison said.

Madison is an avid and talented mountain climber, and works for Alpine Ascents International in Seattle. The company leads climbing courses and guides mountain climbing expeditions around the globe.

Last year Madison led a group to both the peaks of Mount Everest and neighboring Lhotse in less than a day.

He is attempting the same trip this climbing season as he leads another group sometime this month. He won’t stop there, however.

Madison plans to continue on to another mountain, Nuptse, where only 18 other climbers have ever managed to reach its peak.

Only one person has successfully achieved scaling all three peaks before, Ralf Dujmovits, a German who tackled the mountains separately throughout his lifetime.

This year, Madison will attempt to take them all on in one season — one right after the other.

His plan is to lead his group to Everest and Lhotse as he has done before, and return to base camp where he will say goodbye to his team, and get some much needed rest from the arduous feat. Then he will make the trek to the base camp on Nuptse, rest again, before beginning yet another journey to the top of that mountain.

“Once here (at Nuptse base camp) if I am feeling strong, I plan to leave that night and climb to the summit and back to camp the next day,” Madison said.

The cliche “easier said than done” may not apply here, as the mere impression of the trip sounds exhausting.

But the reality of the venture is even more difficult than many may assume. Every trip up the peaks depends heavily upon route conditions and favorable weather. Not to mention Madison’s own physical state.

Madison knows this all too well.

“I attempted Nuptse last year after summiting both Everest and Lhotse, and it was immensely difficult,” Madison said. “As a less popular and thus less traveled peak, Nuptse does not have the established route as does Everest.”

Last year when he attempted the same three-peak challenge, he had to turn back when he attempted Nuptse.

The route-finding effort was dangerous and combined with snowy weather, avalanches and Madison and his team facing illness, they had to turn around midway up the mountain.

Madison plans to climb Nuptse solo this time, and hopes to be the first to stand atop all mountains in one climbing season.

While Madison plans to take on the last leg of this trip alone, he won’t be alone in the effort to climb all three peaks this season. Another skilled  climber, Adrian Ballanger, has also obtained climbing permits for the three mountains for the 2012 season, according to Madison.

A little competition may be at play.

“I am attempting this to see what body and mind are capable of achieving with singular focus and motivation; what the human body and mind can achieve,” he said.

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