Mt. Rainier: The Winter Seminar Tries for the Summit

Posted by: Brent Okita, Zeb Blais, Ben Liken, Robby Young | April 16, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 10,060'

We left Camp Muir this morning at 4: There was a cap over the summit from the outset of our climb but we were thankful the winds from yesterday evening had abated and hoped the cap would follow suit.45 a.m. in reasonable winds.  The team took to heart the lessons learned at yesterday’s climbing school and climbed strong on the upper mountain in deteriorating conditions.
 
I began the route finding effort up the Ingraham Direct but gave way to RMI Guide Zeb Blais as he led the team up to a break at 12,800’.  As we switchbacked our way up the mountain, we encountered increasing wind speeds and steadily decreasing visibility.  We made the smart and safe choice to call 13,400’ our high point for the day.  On our descent to Camp Muir, clouds would billow up from below causing white out conditions followed by periods of visibility.  This process repeated continually until we returned to Camp Muir.

We’re back at Camp Muir safe and sound.  We are looking forward to a low-key afternoon at camp with a siesta and some easy training on the schedule.

Signing off for now,
RMI Guide Brent Okita

The Mt. Rainier winter seminar's high point today. Photo: Robby Young Winter seminar training with avalanche transceivers. Photo: Brent Okita The winter seminar traversing the Cowlitz Glacier. Photo: Brent Okita

Sounds like an awesome day.  Reading between the lines though, sounds intense.  We’re doing our weather dance down here for all-y’all, hoping for some leniency by Mother Nature. Great update!… read more

Posted by: JK on 4/16/2014 at 5:48 pm


Mt. Everest: The Team Prepares for the Next Phase of the Expedition

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Dave Hahn, J.J. Justman, Mark Tucker | April 16, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575'

Hello out there. Billy here checking in for the rest of the gang after another day deep in the Khumbu. Not much to report on another rest day here, other than the fact that the NCell tower began sporadically working today after nearly a ten-day outage. Our team was starting to go crazy… I mean it was like camping back in the 90’s where you were in a deep black hole.

Anyway, clear skies this morning meant more helicopters buzzing basecamp as a film production crew has been ferrying tons of equipment up valley. The rumor is that they’ll need more than fifty flights to get all of their gear in, we’re all looking forward to it! Regardless, we’re rested and ready for the next phase of our climb which involves an early wakeup dress rehearsal for tomorrow. It’s the last step before we begin our first true rotation up the mountain.

All for now, will check in again tomorrow after another romp through the icefall…

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

B3 Helicopter Leaving Everest BC Helipad. Photo: Dave Hahn

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7

Billy,

Da bulls da bulls da bulls da bulls.  Da bears.  Climb strong, man.  I think those loads are for google (we outfitted them at moosejaw).  Google maps needs a… read more

Posted by: Dan pingree on 4/16/2014 at 5:36 pm

Hi team
Greeting from NZ.  Sure sounds exciting over there.  Glad to hear things are coming along well. 
Fred K

read more

Posted by: Fred Klingbeil on 4/16/2014 at 4:02 pm


Mt. Everest: Mark Tucker and the Climbing Team Summit Kalapathar

Posted by: Mark Tucker, Dave Hahn, J.J. Justman, Billy Nugent | April 15, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575'

Summit… of Kalapathar!  The team took on Kalapathar, and had a great payday of views galore.  Nice weather for most of the day.  The Sherpa team also benefited from weather as they are nearly done with all the makings of Camp 2.  One comment from a Sherpa that it was very hot in the Khumbu Icefall. Seems ironic.

The climbing team is gearing up for a possible early morning test run in the Icefall.  We’ll keep you posted.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

Mt. Everest from the Kalapathar summit. Photo: RMI Collection

On The Map

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3

Nicole Lobiondo: Awesome news!!! Conquering the ice fall! Mountain Goddess prevails yet again. Stay safe and hope it is warm enough for now. Miss you. It just snowed in NYC… read more

Posted by: Nicole Howard on 4/16/2014 at 7:16 am

Dave & Team - safe travels in the ice falls and on up to C2.

read more

Posted by: Mary C. on 4/16/2014 at 3:07 am


Mt. Rainier: RMI Guide Brent Okita Checks In as the Seminar Ascends to Camp Muir

Posted by: Brent Okita, Zeb Blais, Ben Liken, Robby Young | April 15, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 10,060'

We had a great day for making our way to Camp Muir yesterday. Blue skies and just enough wind to keep us from over heating. Everyone did well! 

Camp Muir will be home through Friday.  The next few days we’ll be training around Camp Muir.  It’s going to be a fantastic week!

RMI Guide Brent Okita

Taking a break on our way up the Muir Snowfield. Photo: Brent Okita Mt. Rainier seminar ascending to Camp Muir. Photo: Brent Okita Beautiful vast views on Mt. Rainier seminar. Photo: Brent Okita
1

Thank you for the update.  Great job, y’all!  Just getting to Camp Muir is an accomplishment in and of itself, not to mention while carrying all that weight!! But every… read more

Posted by: JK on 4/15/2014 at 6:39 pm


RMI Guide Geoff Schellens Looks Back On AMGA Ice Instructor Course

Posted by: Geoff Schellens | April 15, 2014
Categories: *Guide News

With support from the Eddie Bauer - RMI Guide Grant, RMI Guide Geoff Schellens took part in an American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) Ice Instructor Course this winter near Ouray, Colorado. Afterward, Geoff sat down and shared some stories from the course.

Ice climbing is a unique discipline of climbing, which poses specific challenges for the climber: ice fall, rock fall, specific equipment needs, over heating, becoming too cold, and avalanche hazards, just to name a few.  Guiding ice climbing requires quite a bit of preparation, awareness, and technique to mitigate these challenges. 

Ice Climbing on Dexter Falls (Geoff Schellens)

On the third day of my five-day AMGA Ice Instructor Course, we had planned to take two groups to Eureka, Colorado, to climb long multi-pitch ice routes.  Avalanches from large snow bowls above threaten many of these routes, like the classic Stairway to Heaven.  On this cold, crisp morning we encountered six inches of new snow, and after driving up to Red Mountain Pass we decided that the avalanche risk was too high and opted to go with our back up plan: climbing at Dexter Falls. 

Dexter is just north of Ouray, Colorado, and offers excellent multi-pitch ice routes that are exposed to less avalanche hazard.  Climbing Dexter Falls with two teams of three climbers posed new guiding challenges.  Namely, avoiding knocking ice onto the climbers below.  We chose to climb with both teams parallel to each other to protect against this.  Parallel rope technique requires that the lead climber is thoughtful about where both following climbers will be ascending.  The goal to keep them on slightly separate routes, allowing any loose ice to fall without risking injury to either climber. 

Ice Climbing (Geoff Schellens)

The climbing was fun and we topped out having done it in a safe manner. Climbing ice in Ouray, Colorado, or anywhere for that matter, is easy and enjoyable after acquiring a relatively straightforward skill set.

I hope you enjoy the photos!
____
Geoff Schellens is a senior guide for RMI Expeditions, leading trips in Argentina, the North Cascades, Alaska, and Colorado. Geoff is currently climbing Dhaulagiri, an 8,000 meter peak in the Himalayas. See more of Geoff’s mountain photography on his website The Exposed Edge.


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Expedition Stats

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11/19 - 12/11/2013
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12,300'
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8/15 - 8/18/2013
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Expedition Skills Seminar - Kautz
8/11 - 8/16/2013
11,200'
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Mt. Shuksan Fisher Chimneys
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8/18 - 8/21/2013
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Expedition Skills Seminar - Emmons
8/16 - 8/21/2013
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Four Day Summit Climb
8/20 - 8/23/2013
Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Paradise
8/18/ - 8/23/2013
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
8/21 - 8/24/2013
Summit
Kilimanjaro
8/17 - 8/31/2013
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
8/22 - 8/25/2013
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
8/23 - 8/26/2013
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
8/24 - 8/27/2013
10,080'
Four Day Summit Climb
8/25 - 8/28/2013
10,800'
Four Day Summit Climb
8/26 - 8/29/13
10,200'
Four Day Summit Climb
8/27 - 8/30/2013
11,200'
Four Day Summit Climb
8/28 - 8/31/2013
11,800'
Mt. Shuksan
8/25 - 8/30/2013
7,200'
Four Day Summit Climb
8/29 - 9/1/2013
11,200'
Mt. Shuksan Fisher Chimneys
8/30 - 9/2/2013
Summit
Mt. Shuksan Fisher Chimneys
8/30 - 9/1/13
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
8/30 - 9/2/2013
12,700'
Four Day Summit Climb
8/31 - 9/3/2013
12,300'
Four Day Summit Climb
9/1 - 9/4/2013
12,300'
Four Day Summit Climb
9/2 - 9/5/2013
10,080'
Four Day Summit Climb
9/3 - 9/6/2013
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Mt. Shuksan Sulphide Glacier
9/2 - 9/6/2013
Summit
Everest Base Camp Trek
10/28 - 11/21/2013
Reached Base Camp
Four Day Summit Climb
9/4 - 9/7/13
11,600'
Four Day Summit Climb
9/5 - 9/8/2013
12,900'
Mt. Elbrus - Northside
8/22 - 9/7/13
14,000'
Four Day Summit Climb
9/6 - 9/9/2013
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Kilimanjaro
9/2 - 9/16/2013
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Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir
9/8 - 9/13/2013
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
9/11 - 9/14/2013
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
9/12 - 9/15/2013
Summit
Five Day Summit Climb
9/11 - 9/15/2013
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Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir
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9/20 - 9/23/2013
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9/16 - 9/18/2013
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9/22 - 9/27/2013
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9/25 - 9/29/2013
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10/5 - 10/19/2013
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Mexico's Volcanoes
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12/20 - 1/12/2014
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10,080'
Aconcagua
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Expedition Skills Seminar - Ecuador
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Mexico's Volcanoes
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21,500'
Kilimanjaro
1/25 - 2/8/2014
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2/9 - 2/14/2014
7,100'
Kilimanjaro
2/8 - 2/22/2014
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2/11 - 2/21/2014
Cayambe - Summit / Cotopaxi - Summit
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2/2 - 2/25/2014
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Mexico's Volcanoes
2/15 - 2/23/2014
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Expedition Skills Seminar - Ecuador
2/14 - 2/26/2014
Illiniza Sur - Summit / Cotopaxi - Summit
Mexico's Volcanoes
3/1 - 3/9/2014
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  • The Mt. Rainier winter seminar's high point today. Photo: Robby Young
  • Winter seminar training with avalanche transceivers. Photo: Brent Okita
  • The winter seminar traversing the Cowlitz Glacier. Photo: Brent Okita
  • B3 Helicopter Leaving Everest BC Helipad. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Mt. Everest from the Kalapathar summit. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Taking a break on our way up the Muir Snowfield. Photo: Brent Okita
  • Mt. Rainier seminar ascending to Camp Muir. Photo: Brent Okita
  • Beautiful vast views on Mt. Rainier seminar. Photo: Brent Okita
  • View from above Everest Basecamp. Photo: Jake Norton
  • Everest Base Camp and the Lower Khumbu Icefall.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • Prayer flags below Pumori. Photo: Jeff Martin
  • View from Pumori C1. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Dave Hahn descending the Khumbu Icefall. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Join RMI for classes on how to prepare for Mt. Rainier at your local REI store!
  • Everest BC - Puja ceremony. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Raising the mast at a puja ceremony. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Puja lamas and drum. Photo: RMI Collection
  • RMI's Everest Base Camp at night. Photo: RMI Collection
  • The sun setting on the peaks surrounding Everest Base Camp.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • Kathmandu, Nepal.  Photo: Linden Mallory
  • Touring the Khumbu close to Everest BC. Photo: RMI Collection
  • The moon over Everest's West Shoulder and Base Camp. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Surrounding views from Everest BC. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Casey Grom's team back in Namche. Photo: Casey Grom
  • RMI Everest Basecamp Communications Tent. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • RMI tents with views of the Khumbu Icefall. Photo: Seth Waterfall
  • Island Peak's Headwall. Photo: Casey Grom
  • Hiking above the Tengboche Monastery. Photo: Linden Mallory
  • Team shopping in Namche at the end of the trek. Photo: Mark Tucker
  • Team posing in front of a blossoming tree near Namche. Photo: Mark Tucker
  • Namaste. Photo: Mark Tucker
  • Nuptse from Lobuche. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Walking through the rocks at dawn. Photo: Casey Grom
  • Fixed line to summit of Island Peak. Photo: Casey Grom