Entries From McKinley 5-20-14

Mt. McKinley: Okita & Team Grounded

Posted by: Brent Okita, Leah Fisher, Nick Hunt | June 07, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley

June 7, 2014 - 7:23 pm PT

The past day and a half have been a whirlwind. Awakening early at 14,200’ the skies had cleared spectacularly, a very nice change from the snowy weather we had getting to camp. With new snow on the ground climbing back down to 11,200’ camp was easy.

We picked up our cache and visited with friends and some fellow guides before heading down glacier to Basecamp. Because the glacier was in great shape we could travel during the day without needing to get on to a nighttime schedule to walk when the snow is cold and crevasse bridges stronger and safer.

Six hours later we were at the airstrip on the southeast fork of the Kahiltna Glacier. An hour later the great pilots at K2 had landed and were whisking us back to civilization. It was a rush to get in a shower before the restaurants closed.

But we made it and gorged on some wonderful food and cold beverages.  A visit to the infamous Fairview Inn to celebrate our trip led some to hydrate to excess into the wee hours of the morning, but incredibly all made it to breakfast at 8:00.

And now we’ve split up and are going our own ways. Part of the team are going fishing and enjoying this great state some more, while the rest of us are flying home.

Leah, Nick and I are among those going home, opting out of fishing this time so we can see our loved ones, and take a well deserved rest.

Thanks for following along on our great adventure. See you next year!

RMI Guides Brent Okita, Leah Fisher and Nick Hunt

Photos on the Mt. McKinley summit. Photo: RMI Collection

Mt. McKinley: Okita & Team Down from 17,200’

Posted by: Brent Okita, Leah Fisher, Nick Hunt | June 06, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

June 5, 2014 - 11:00 pm PT

We broke camp early today given our usual plan for getting down towards Basecamp and hopefully off the mountain in another day or so, but today not all went to plan. Some equipment malfunctions and mostly general fatigue has us camped again at 14,200’, getting recharged for our walk back to the airstrip and closer to a burger, beer, and you.

The forecast looks good for walking down the Kahiltna so we’re all hopeful.

Hope to see you all soon.

RMI Guides Brent, Leah and Nick

An RMI team's 14K camp on Mt. McKinley. Photo: RMI Collection

On The Map

3

So excited that mission Denali is almost completed. Great Team and great Guides!!! Hope tonight will be your last night in the snow. Love to Daniel and the entire Team.

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Posted by: Lena Akerman on 6/6/2014 at 8:57 pm

Sitting between the dogs, drinking a martini while Blair cooks. We are very excited for you and the group! Take care and be safe.
Debbie and Blair

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Posted by: Debbie Okita on 6/6/2014 at 3:01 pm


Mt. McKinley: Okita & Team Back in Camp

Posted by: Brent Okita, Leah Fisher, Nick Hunt | June 05, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

June 5, 2014 - 1:44 am PT

We’re all safely back in camp, horizontal and happy at 17,200’ on Mt. McKinley. And to no small degree exhausted.
It was a perfect day: sunny and calm with never more than a 5-10 mph wind. But mostly calm. A lot of other climbers were taking advantage of the good weather too, but traffic was nicely spread out.
Tomorrow is another big day as we descend to 11,200’ camp to retrieve our cache and get on to a night time schedule.
All for now. It’s cold and I too am ready to get horizontal.

Goodnight from RMI Guide Brent Okita

An RMI Team securely protected at 17,200 ft Camp on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: Linden Mallory

On The Map

6

Hey Rick Popp!
Fantastic my friend!!  I buy the beer and you tell me all about the summit.  I talked to Dan on Wednesday and he was watching you… read more

Posted by: Scott DeWaard on 6/6/2014 at 5:49 am

Yay Steve!!! and team - congrats - Now come home and climb!!

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Posted by: Team Fairway on 6/6/2014 at 4:55 am


Mt. McKinley: Okita & Team Summit!

Posted by: Brent Okita, Leah Fisher, Nick Hunt | June 04, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 20,320'

June 4, 2014 - 7:43 pm PT

Hi, this is Brent from the RMI Okita McKinley Expedition. I am super psyched to report that we just summitted Denali about an hour ago, about 5:30 [Alaska time] this evening under perfect conditions. Minimal wind, hardly anything, and clear, blue skies. Everyone did a great job getting up to the summit. Was a fantastic effort by everybody. Right now, I’m calling down from the Football Field. We wanted to get off the summit, because there are a bunch of other climbers coming up and we wanted to get out of the crowds, as they say. Now we’re back on the Football Field, taking a little break before heading back to camp. And everyone’s doing super well.  I’ll give an update on our progress when we get back down to Camp 17 in a little while. All you friends and family who are listening, you guys should be awfully proud of these folks. They did a great job today. Alright, talk to you later. Bye Bye.

RMI Guide Brent Okita

RMI Guide Brent Okita and Team on the summit of Mt. McKinley, Alaska. Photo: Brent Okita Descending Mt. McKinley's summit ridge. Photo: Brent Okita


RMI Guide Brent Okita calls in from the descent of Mt. McKinley's summit.

On The Map

17

Leah, thank you for taking our picture on the summit.

Brent, as one of your former clients on a skills seminar I just wanted to say thank you for teaching… read more

Posted by: Dan Crouch on 6/10/2014 at 4:25 am

Congratulations to the entire team. JOB WELL DONE. Continued safe travels in your entire journey home. Godspeed to you all.

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Posted by: Mark DiLucca on 6/6/2014 at 7:45 am


Mt. McKinley: Okita & Team Going for the Summit

Posted by: Brent Okita, Leah Fisher, Nick Hunt | June 04, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

June 4, 2014 - 9:30 am PT

Just spoke with RMI Guide Brent Okita and they are leaving high camp for their summit bid. His words on the weather this morning: “Massively glorious day on Mt. McKinley!”

Good luck to the team as they ascend to the highest point in North America!

On Mt. McKinley's West Buttress just below Washburn's Thumb. Photo: Brent Okita

On The Map

12

Miss you Daddy Love you, cant wait to see you again

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Posted by: Kaylee on 6/4/2014 at 9:20 pm

Fantastic!! What a thrilling accomplishment for the team! Your sisters send y’all a salute from a view of the ‘teeners’ in Co

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Posted by: Deb on 6/4/2014 at 6:22 pm


Mt. McKinley: Okita & Team Reach 17,200’ Camp

Posted by: Brent Okita, Leah Fisher, Nick Hunt | June 04, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

June 4, 2014 - 12:53 am PT

The winds have finally abated now that we’re in our tents here at 17,200 ft Camp. For much of the day we we’re climbing head on into the breeze, making for an uncomfortable climb to camp. But we’re psyched now. Tomorrow promises to be a great day, and given the fact that we had to ascend less than 1000’ we should be in good shape.
It was unfortunate the Buttress was so windy because it was such a beautiful climb and day.
Wish us luck with the weather and perhaps our next chat will be from the summit.
Good night from chilly 17,200’ camp.

RMI Guides Brent, Leah and Nick

Climbers on the ridge toward 17,200 ft on Mt. McKinley, Alaska.  Photo: RMI Collection Camp at 17,200 ft on Mt. McKinley, Alaska.  Photo: Brent Okita

On The Map

2

God Speed and Good Luck to Brady O’Mara and his fellow adventurers. The Cheltenham Farrell’s

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Posted by: Farrell Family on 6/4/2014 at 9:03 am

Good stuff!  Hoping you awoke to a beautiful, windless, snowless day and are making your way (carefully)to the summit right now.  Lots of prayers and good karma are with each… read more

Posted by: Jane O'Mara on 6/4/2014 at 6:51 am


Mt. McKinley: Okita & Team Move Up the Fixed Lines to 16,400’

Posted by: | June 02, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 16,400'

June 2, 2014 - 9:30 pm PT

Comfortably nestled in our sleeping bags we’ve been listening to the winds flapping the fabric of our tents since we put them up.

Our morning started well with clear skies all around us, except for the cloud cap over the summit. But the entire camp at 14,200’ was stirring since this was one of the nicest days we’ve seen for a while.
The team did great breaking camp and we were the first guided group out of camp, a nice position to be in given the madding crowds that were right behind us. Everyone did well going up the fixed lines, though we could certainly feel the loads we were carrying. Unfortunately, the winds came up at the top of the ridge and didn’t relent further up the Buttress, so we decided to dig in for the night here at 16,400’ instead retreating all the way back to 14,200’, or pushing in a head wind up to 17,200’ camp. With a well secured camp here and dinner in our bellies we’re looking forward to some rest and an easy day up to 17,200’ camp tomorrow.

As I finish this post it seems like the winds might even be abating some. We’ll touch bases again tomorrow from 17,200’, hoping for some nice settled weather for a change.

Good night,

RMI Guides Brent, Leah and Nick

An RMI Team ascending the fixed lines on Mt. McKinley, Alaska.  Photo: Brent Okita
2

We are with you every inch of the way, willing you forward when you dont want to take another step. we know you will make it. god speed and good… read more

Posted by: Aida Hart on 6/3/2014 at 5:15 am

Outstanding job Daniel & Team! We are cheering you all the way to the top! We are so excited for you.

Lots of love/
Mom & Rob

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Posted by: Lena Akerman on 6/3/2014 at 3:51 am


Mt. McKinley: Okita and Team Visit the Edge of the World

Posted by: Brent Okita, Leah Fisher, Nick Hunt | June 02, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

June 1, 2014 11:47 pm PT

It has been a perfect rest day for us. Not perfect climbing weather, but plenty nice at camp to enjoy the day. Although many climbers took advantage of the relatively good weather to go for 17,200’ camp, many others were suspicious of the cloud cap over the summit that threatened winds on the Buttress. In fact, no guided groups went to 17,200’ today. But we had no such decisions to make. Instead, we slept in until 9:00 then, as we’ve done before, and feasted on a sumptuous brunch of smoked salmon, bagels and cream cheese. What decadence!

The guides had some chores and logistics to sort out, then we took the short tour east to the Edge of the World to take in the view from 14,000’ overlooking the Northeast fork of the Kahiltna Glacier, and affording views way down the glacier to where our very first camp of the expedition was.
We’ve done a lot of climbing since then, and have developed as a strong team caring for the well being of each other as much as ourselves. It’s nice seeing the kind of support these guys give each other.

Tomorrow brings us our biggest challenge of the trip, and everyone shares the mixed emotions of excitement and nervousness. We got through the headwall and fixed lines yesterday, but the Buttress itself is another beast. As is ascending the 3000’ to 17,200’, a new altitude record for many of us.
That this part of the route is the guides’ favorite part attests to the aesthetics of the climbing, and I think the team will get excited when they get on it.

We’re looking forward to a good, hard day. Because it will be a long day for us, which may even be followed by another even harder day (the summit?), this may be the last post of any length for a while.

Wish us luck!
RMI Guides Brent Okita, Leah Fisher, and Nick Hunt

RMI Guide Brent Okita preparing a smoked salmon, cream cheese, and bagel feast at 14,200' on Mt. McKinley, Alaska. Photo: Lindsay Mann Mt. Foraker as viewed from the Edge of the World at 14,000' on Mt. McKinley, Alaska. Photo: RMI Collection
6

Greg,
The girls and I are home from Alaska. We are thinking about you. Love You!!

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Posted by: Robin Wagner on 6/3/2014 at 10:05 pm

Dan - hope the weather cooperates so you and your team can continue with this climb/journey! I’m def. enjoying all the pics and updates thus far! Rooting for you all!… read more

Posted by: Patricia on 6/2/2014 at 5:17 pm


Mt. McKinley: Okita & Team Ascend the Fixed Lines

Posted by: Brent Okita, Leah Fisher, Nick Hunt | June 01, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

May 31, 2014 - 11:21 pm PT

The weather cooperated, sort of, for our big day climbing the infamous fixed lines to 16,200’. These are ropes fixed in place on a steep part of our route that offer security to our team as we climb it. As seen from camp this headwall is particularly impressive, and intimidating.

The winds had calmed down completely by the time we got up, and the day was looking good. However by the time we actually started walking clouds had rolled in obscuring our views and the route. But the sun could be seen through this layer giving us confidence that we’d climb out of it. And we did.

The headwall itself was challenging, but our training yesterday helped immeasurably. We all made it to 16,200’ where we cached the supplies we carried up and took a well-deserved break. Our descent was slow on the icy terrain, but we managed it fairly well.
By the time we got back to camp, the team was deservedly happy to have climbed this much anticipated part of the route.

And now it’s bed time. We’re all looking forward to sleeping in and being lazy tomorrow.

All for now from 14,200’,
RMI Guides Brent, Leah and Nick

An RMI team ascending the Mt. McKinley fixed lines. Photo: Brent Okita

On The Map

5

Hello Team! Soooo jealous! Brent, Leah, Nick and what I read so far about the rest of the team all I can say is I’m looking forward to your summit… read more

Posted by: Gerald Flynn on 6/2/2014 at 7:56 am

Dear Daniel and Team,

Sounds like you are making great progress and so is the weather forecast:)! With your positive team spirit and awesome strength you will be ready to… read more

Posted by: Lena Akerman on 6/2/2014 at 7:52 am


Mt. McKinley: Okita & Team’s Good Living at 14,200’

Posted by: Brent Okita, Leah Fisher, Nick Hunt | May 30, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

May 30, 2014 - 11:12 pm PT

The view from the vestibule this morning was not what I’d have called heartening. Clouds and snow dominated the picture, adding visual texture to the soft but incessant howl of the winds coming from the Buttress above. We could still see most of the landmarks around camp, but in the shadow of the early morning it didn’t look promising for our carry. So, after talking with Leah and Nick, I happily crawled back into my warm sack.

We later awoke at the more reasonable hour of 9:00 to get the stoves fired up and start our day. No one complained about not climbing. I think having a real rest day was welcome by all.

So what do we do on these days? First of all, we hang out in the Posh an extra hour or two, then we cut a few snow blocks to further reinforce the walls we built around our tents yesterday. It was impressive seeing the team rally and build some really good walls. I think everyone was feeling good and happy to be doing something. Twelve hours in a tent can do that to a person.
But a rest day is a rest day and some good tent time is a must. A group was playing an animated game of BS next door to us in the Posh. Others were catching up on things on the radio. Naps are never a bad thing, and in this tent a few games of cribbage were contested.  We even got in a bit of rope craft review and knot tying practice. 

Such is life for the climber hanging out at 14,200’ waiting for Mother Nature to offer us a little friendlier weather to continue our climb up the flanks of one of her most beautiful mountain creations.
We’re all doing well and happily waiting this little set back out.

Cheers,
RMI Guides Brent, Leah and Nick

Post tent at Denali's 14,200' Camp with the fixed lines in the background. Photo: Lindsay Mann
8

Proud of you dad, hope you make it all the way to the top. Make it count. Get ready for some seriously hot and humid weather back in Jupiter. read more

Posted by: Ali on 6/1/2014 at 9:25 am

Hope you are doing well.Love seeing the blogs and your progress. I Love& miss you.Girls are doing good.It’s been a good trip here so far. Who knew that the girls… read more

Posted by: Robin Wagner on 6/1/2014 at 1:28 am


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