Mt. McKinley: Okita & Team - War and Peace

Posted by: Brent Okita, Leon Davis, Lindsay Mann | June 12, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

Held hostage by the fickle nature of the weather for ten (or is it eleven now?) days at 17,200’ my brain is in hardly any shape to draw all the parallels to that epic saga and our own story here. But some stand out:

Ours has become a very long story of the challenges we face when not all elements in our world are in our control. And in our struggle to deal with these challenges, we face a bit of an emotional roller coaster as optimism fades when a new reality asserts itself.

This morning the hope of a nice summit day came crashing down as we received heavy snow and high winds starting in the wee hours of the morning.  Tyler Jones at 14,200’ camp reported over two feet of new snow and 50 mph winds.

So, once again we dug out camp with face protection, heavy gloves or mittens, and ski goggles on before breakfast. It was here that, given what we’ve been through up here, and the reality of just how long a human being can actually live at this altitude and harsh environment, we chose Thursday as our ‘up or down’ day.  But, this still gives us a chance to summit. Tomorrow might not be perfect, but, Thursday has been forecasted to offer ‘light and variable’ winds.

I’m generally an optimist, but at this point even I can succumb to a heaviness in my outlook after having so many of my summit plans thwarted.  But, as we discover in Tolstoy’s classic, sometimes what matters most is not some obvious achievement, but rather a deeper sense of accomplishment or understanding that comes with living life well, and to the fullest.

Let’s hope tomorrow our dispatch will be a bit more succinct. Like just one word.

Love, kisses and heavy thoughts from your team at 17,200’.

RMI Guide Brent Okita

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Comments

Nice work Kristen, we’re all excited for you here in Norwich. Put some rocks in Brent’s pack and tell him Stu says hello.

Posted by: Stuart Close on 6/15/2012 at 4:52 pm

I am the mother of one of the climbers from Alpine Ascents who made the summit on Saturday, June 2—I think the last team to summit.  He has been back home for a week now and you guys/gals are still up there (we hope). Just want you to know that we have all (son, father, mother, neighbors for goodness sake!) been following and cheering for your team and checking on you every day. You have provided immense entertainment—and inspiration. We think if you make the summit you are the team of the season. Our very best wishes…

Posted by: Sue Seitz on 6/14/2012 at 3:15 am

Good Luck Brent, Leon and Team!

Wishing ya all Safety, Light wind, Blue sky and Gods Speed.

All the best,

Tom P.

Posted by: Thomas Parker on 6/13/2012 at 9:09 pm

Best wishes to Kristen and the whole team. Thinking of you constantly (of course). Love Mom, Bill & your 3 brothers

Posted by: Mary Bender on 6/13/2012 at 5:11 pm

Go bro’ go!  The whole family and everybody at work is hoping you guys make it.  If not you still will have the best story at any party.  I think it’s more amazing to spend that much time up there, than just a quick summit and leave - that’s easy.  11 days?  That’s hard.  BTW - what is the temperature up there?  Wind chill and all?

Posted by: Rob Rennie on 6/13/2012 at 2:20 pm

YA YA I know “it i the journey, not the destination!”

But why not both?  Luck to you all!!

But first, be safe, you can always have another day!!

I get excited just reading your blog

Posted by: John P Stsssi on 6/13/2012 at 9:59 am

Larry and team - be patient and strong.  All is well as long as you are all safe. Love, Mom

Posted by: Gerri Seaton on 6/13/2012 at 9:50 am

OMG! This is so tough on all of you. I cant believe the weather has been so bad for so long!!!! I think if you sacrifice Kristen to the GODS the weather will improve… no seriously! She was less than happy about Maune Kea and the Rainier misses I can only imagine how disappointed she will be as will you all. PRAYING for the best of luck!!! Please be safe.

Posted by: Timothy R Kelliher MD on 6/13/2012 at 9:45 am

Go Larry Go…Godspeed…Waltero

Posted by: Waltero Glover on 6/13/2012 at 9:15 am

Use your good sense, Brent, and do be safe.
Good luck, Mom and Malcolm, too.

Posted by: Marjorie Okita on 6/13/2012 at 6:15 am

We’re all pulling for you & your team, Brent, hang in there!

Posted by: Kristian on 6/13/2012 at 5:47 am

Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.  ~Vista M. Kelly

Still sending positive thoughts and love your way.  Be safe.

Posted by: Angela Rennie on 6/13/2012 at 5:19 am

Stay strong. We’re pulling for your success!!

Posted by: Tom Senn on 6/13/2012 at 4:53 am

Good luck and be safe!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Carin Parella on 6/13/2012 at 2:21 am

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