- Melissa Arnot
- Alex Barber
- Gabriel Barral
- Jake Beren
- Zeb Blais
- Katie Bono
- Anne Gilbert Chase
- Sean Collon
- Leon Davis
- Elias de Andres Martos
- Cody Doolan
- Paul Edgren
- Mark Falender
- Leah Fisher
- Eric Frank
- Steve Gately
- Josh Gautreau
- Thomas Greene
- Casey Grom
- Dave Hahn
- Walter Hailes
- Tim Hardin
- Mike Haugen
- Andy Hildebrand
- Mike Hinckley
- Joe Horiskey
- Nick Hunt
- Tyler Jones
- J.J. Justman
- Levi Kepsel
- Mike King
- Adam Knoff
- Katy Laveck
- Ben Liken
- Josh Maggard
- Paul Maier
- Linden Mallory
- Lindsay Mann
- Andres Marin
- Jeff Martin
- Erik Nelson
- Billy Nugent
- Brent Okita
- Logan Randolph
- Tyler Reid
- Dave Reynolds
- Kel Rossiter
- Geoff Schellens
- Shaun Sears
- Garrett Stevens
- Jason Thompson
- Mike Tomlinson
- Mark Tucker
- Mike Uchal
- Pete Van Deventer
- Alex Van Steen
- Ed Viesturs
- Maile Wade
- Mike Walter
- Seth Waterfall
- Solveig Waterfall
- Peter Whittaker
- Win Whittaker
- Bryson Williams
- Dan Windham
- Robby Young
Bags are packed and the Everest team is ready! We have been busy with last minute sewing and labeling of food and gear for each camp. Checked re-checked. All systems are go. Weather has been a bit tough right now, but the forecast is good for the planned summit day. A couple of showers to help with soon to be shared tents. All good.
Sad to report the Khumbu Country Club golf course is now closed for the season. The fairways are a bit to hollow and wet. We still have our horseshoe pit in great shape, and guess who had a double ringer to end the game today?
Up early tomorrow, let the summit bid begin!
On The Map
Update 10:34 am PST
Billy called from Talkeetna to give us an update: It is snowing in Talkeetna and the team will not be flying today.
Update from 5/16/13 at 11:00 pm PST
Checking in from a rainy Talkeetna… We woke up early this morning and headed over to the hangar after a quick breakfast at the Roadhouse hoping to finish up our last odds and ends and fly on to the glacier. While we were weighing the last of our luggage for the flight, the K2 staff told us the bad news: snowing at basecamp, flat light, and a low cloud ceiling. Translation: no go for us. So we hung out most of the day today eating food and worrying about what we forgot to pack while the rain gradually built up all day. Unfortunately, it’s not looking good for tomorrow either so we may have to organize a pingpong tournament in the hangar. Despite the crummy weather the team is in good spirits and looking forward to our big adventure. We’ll check in tomorrow, hopefully from Kahiltna Basecamp.
All for now,
RMI Guide Billy Nugent
On The Map
Casey Grom and the Five Day Mt. Rainier Summit Climb called in early this morning. Due to low visibility the team made the decision to turn at 13,300’. The team is en-route to Camp Muir, and expected back at Basecamp this afternoon.
As in all expeditions weather always play a big part. Today we experienced a pretty big storm that will be on the radar for the next three days. The forecast is calling for 4 feet of total snow fall with winds up to 40 mph.
We spent the day learning basic knots and learning to take care of camp during a storm. The weather was a big part of today’s lesson. It has snowed about a foot and is still snowing as I’m sending this dispatch.
We all are staying busy and dry and doing well. We’ll see what happens over night. Will keep you posted.
On The Map
On May 8-10th RMI Guides Zeb Blais and Tyler Jones took advantage of the good weather in the Pacific Northwest to do a multi-day ski mountaineering tour on Mt. Rainier. The duo spent three days on the mountain and skied an incredible total of 21,000 vertical feet!
We caught up with Zeb and Tyler before their next mountaineering adventure.
RMI: On the first day of your trip you left from Paradise and skinned to Camp Muir. What were the conditions like?
Zeb Blais: The conditions getting to [Camp] Muir were ideal with fast-gliding and supportable corn snow that made for quick travel.
Tyler Jones: The warm afternoon snow conditions gave us a chance to get in a nice ski run in on the Cowlitz Glacier after we reached Camp Muir. At the same time, it provided us with a good trail for the morning to climb the Gibraltar Ledges Route to the summit. From there, our plan was to traverse to Liberty Cap to get a view of the big runs!
RMI: That night you left Camp Muir with the intention of skiing Liberty Ridge. Were you able to ski that line?
Zeb Blais: The key to skiing big exposed lines is always the snow conditions. When you’re looking at skiing a line like Liberty [Ridge] you can only know what the conditions are like when you get there. We were hoping that the north and northeast facing snow would be chalky, smooth, and wind packed, but when we looked at the entrance to Liberty it was clear that it wasn’t going to be skiable. The Liberty Ridge Route looked like mid-summer, maybe good for ice climbing, but certainly not skiable. The Liberty Cap Glacier was down to blue ice with lumps of rime glued to it, which I imagine is fairly common since it is so steep, but the skiing below looked the same. Rappelling the Liberty Cap Glacier and skiing the rest of the line did not look like an inviting option.
RMI: What did you end up skiing instead?
Zeb Blais: After realizing that Liberty was not suitable, we turned our focus to the Mowich Face - an amazing, steep face on the northwest side of the mountain. This looked tempting at first, but it was heavily rimed with blobs of water ice. It was not a place to be on skis! We retreated back to the ridge above and decided we needed to focus on warmer, spring like-snow. We decided on the Sickle, a west-facing chute on the Tahoma Glacier. The snow in the Sickle was prime for skiing!
Tyler Jones: On our ski we had nice soft spring snow down to 8,500 feet. From there we were able traverse to our objective for the next day: Success Ridge between the South Tahoma Glacier and the Success Glacier. We spent the night on the ridge, getting some well-deserved sleep, with the magnificent 4,000-foot Success Glacier Couloir above us waiting to be skied. The conditions on the Success Glacier were superb. The snow was firm for climbing and soft for skiing. After the amazing fall line decent, we continued traversing to [the trailhead at] Paradise. As we hit the Nisqually Glacier we added more vertical to our trip and finished at the Nisqually Bridge. In total Zeb and I traveled 24 miles, gaining 19,000 feet and skiing 21,000 feet in 3 days.
RMI: How does being a Guide help prepare you for trips like this?
Tyler Jones: Being a guide helps to develop your intuitive mountain sense, which is very important for making good decisions in the mountains. It is that gut feeling that can make all the difference.
Zeb Blais: Guiding also gives me a good base-line fitness for doing long days in the mountains. Mountaineering is a unique sport that requires specific techniques and fitness to be efficient. The more you do it the better you get!
RMI: What was your favorite part of this ski trip?
Tyler Jones: My favorite part of this trip was seeing a few new places, skiing a new run, and enjoying the views of the Tahoma Glacier from Sunset Ridge.
Zeb Blais: A huge part of the trip was sharing it with Tyler. Moving in the mountains with a partner who you enjoy and trust makes all the difference. There are thousands of big and small decisions to be made when doing a trip like this, from what gear to bring to what line to ski to ‘do we go left here or right?’ Making these choices and learning from other experienced climbers or guides is always something I enjoy.
Can’t forget skiing! Maybe I should have said this first, but the skiing was awesome! Steep, exposed skiing with great snow is one of the most exhilarating things a person can do.
RMI: What adventures do you have planned next?
Zeb Blais: I am guiding a mountaineering trip on Shasta at the end of the month, and then I’ll be back on Rainier for the climbing season with a Denali West Buttress trip at the end of June.
Tyler Jones: I am guiding a Denali trip in June. After that I am planning on flying back onto the mountain for a ski trip with my fiancé Laura. After that I will return to guiding on Rainier and the Grand Teton. Then, I am getting married in September!
Our team is hunkered down at the 11,000’ camp still, as the weather has progressed to become a pretty significant storm. Snow is falling and winds are howling as we sit tent bound for the majority of the day. Save for breakfast and dinner, and some quick forays to the bathroom, there is really no reason to leave the relative comfort of our tents today.
We’re all doing well, albeit a bit eager to go climbing. Hopefully the weather breaks soon so we can get up the the 14k camp.
That’s all the news from this end…
On The Map
Casey Grom checked in after the team climbed up to Cathedral Gap on their rest day of the Five Day Summit Climb. The weather was beautiful! The team was preparing for their summit bid in the morning. Check out the photos Casey sent after returning to Camp Muir.
We held a strategy session this morning and we set the date for a try on the summit. Weather is expected to improve as the next week goes by, but that was little consolation for those who were at the South Col last night and trying for the top this morning. Our sources tell us it was a no-go day due to high winds.
We are looking for a shot on the top somewhere in the May 22 to May 23 range, which will mean that we have one more day down in Basecamp to pack, sleep and eat.
Each day at the bottom of the mountain has started out with plenty of sun, so it seemed a little unfair that we sipped coffee in a damp, cold cloud this morning. It burned off before long though and we were treated to warm and springlike conditions with ice melting everywhere.
Camp seems very quiet at the moment as many people are already up the mountain and getting in place for their attempts on the top.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
On The Map
Well, we’re still at the 11,000’ camp below the West Buttress. The temperatures dropped and the winds picked up considerably today as a cold storm system is affecting Alaska. Apparently, it’s snowing in Anchorage; that’s about 11,000’ lower altitude than our camp. So yeah, it’s cold here. But we’re all doing well. Most of the day found us either in our sleeping bags in our tents, or in the cook tent, staying out of the wind and passing the time by reading, playing scrabble, and telling stories. We’re hoping the winds abate tomorrow and we are able to move camp up to 14,200’. We’ll keep you posted.
On The Map
Today we woke up with a deep blue sky and a 360-degree view. The team slept well for our first night on the glacier. After some coffee and breakfast, we all had the experience to try the CMCs which is one of the biggest novelties of the trip.
Once we were well fueled and ready to head out of camp, we traveled over to a slope close to camp and completed our snow school. Lots of learning and reviewing made for a fun day on the glacier.
All and all a great day!
On The Map
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