Entries From McKinley W. Buttress 5-29-12

Mt. McKinley: Tyler Jones & Team Ready for Flight

Posted by: Eric Frank, Tyler Jones | May 30, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 348'

Hello! It’s Tyler,Eric and Logan checking in after a long day of work in Talkeetna.

Yesterday we had a sunny drive through the Alaskan scenery before arriving in Talkeetna in late evening. This completed a long day of travel from our various home bases to our soon to be new home on the “Great One”- Denali.

This morning the team met for breakfast at the Roadhouse Restaurant to officially start the program. After chatting about the day, we walked across the small town of Talkeetna to K2 Aviation. As planes took off and landed around us, the team spread out clothing and equipment in the airport hanger and consulted endless checklists. As we made our final gear selections, the hanger was buzzing with excitement.

After an afternoon break for pizza and salad, we all headed to the National Park Service headquarters for an orientation meeting.  We chatted about the importance of keeping our impact low as we climb and live in the park for the next few weeks. After the orientation, we spent some time working on rigging sleds, setting up tents and building other skills.

At noon the hanger looked like a yard sale; clothing and gear scattered everywhere. By the time we left for dinner, all of our ducks were in a row. We now have duffels and packs neatly stacked in the front of the hanger. We are ready to go and eager to get on the glacier.

A view of the Alaska Range from Talkeetna. Photo:Eric Frank
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Have an AMAZING and AWESOME experience, Logan!!!  Thinking of you and the rest of the team….  Can’t wait to follow the expedition!

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Posted by: Lindsay Randolph on 6/16/2012 at 12:51 pm

have a great time
billy k

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Posted by: billy and mary on 6/3/2012 at 3:04 pm


Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team Carry to 10,000’

Posted by: Tyler Jones, Eric Frank | June 01, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,800'

This morning we awoke to 6 to 8 inches of light fresh powder. We didn’t allow this to stop our momentum. With calm winds and overcast skies we decided on a carry for today. We cached a portion of our gear at 10,000 feet with the intention of lightening our load when we move to 11,000 feet.

We are now back at our camp at 7,800 feet hiding from the sun, rehydrating and relaxing. For the past two days we have seen many climbing teams from all over the world. This trip of a lifetime is well underway and the team is climbing strong. As the winds pick up here at Camp 1, we are headed out to tighten up our camp and build some wind walls. Cheers for the team.

RMI Guide Tyler Jones

On The Map


Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team Enjoyed a Rest Day

Posted by: Tyler Jones | June 02, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 9,600'

Once we decided not to move for the day, the team slept late and gorged ourselves on a breakfast of toasted bagels with cream cheese and lockes. The rest of the morning was spent getting camp in order and digging out our walls.

Expedition life is a funny mixture of hard days of climbing and long days of sitting in the tents trying to avoid boredom. Today was the latter. We spent the afternoon avoiding the sun while we napped, read books and told stories. Being able to entertain yourself in the tent is a crucial skill on big expeditions.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, we plan to make a push up towards the 11k camp for more acclimatization and rest before we push higher on this magical massif, Denali.

RMI Guide Tyler Jones

On The Map

10

Good luck guys. Hope you got lots of rest.

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Posted by: Megan Berge on 6/5/2012 at 11:14 am

Chris and all the team….Happy trecking, and safe return . We are all thinking about your adventure and you.

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Posted by: Voula Likourgiotis on 6/5/2012 at 10:58 am


Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team Build a Deluxe Camp @ 11,000’

Posted by: Tyler Jones | June 03, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

A well deserved rest day yesterday paid dividends today. The team moved efficiently to 11,000 feet where we set up a deluxe camp. The weather greeted us with a nice cold headwind with some fresh snow in the track, but that was not too much of an obstacle for our team.

We worked hard to furnish camp after arriving this afternoon. Our cook tent is especially posh and our tent platforms are perfectly flat with a 5-star covered rest area. We plan on enjoying the camp we have crafted for the next few days as we rest and shuttle loads.

We look forward to retrieving our cache at 10,000 feet tomorrow, a relatively short day, then rest and indulging on the treats in our currently cashed goodie bags. Eating well means feeling well in the mountains and this is something this crew knows well! Till tomorrow, the whole team says hi to all.

RMI Guide Tyler Jones

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Rolf, Grandpa John celebrated his 92nd birthday this week by buying a new bike. Says he wished he had taken a trip like this and would have joined you if… read more

Posted by: Martha Snyder on 6/7/2012 at 7:17 pm

Go Rolf Go!! We are thinking about you and following these blog updates with excitement. Up, up and away! Best of luck!

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Posted by: Erin Buckley on 6/5/2012 at 8:15 pm


Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team Carry Toward 14 Camp

Posted by: Tyler Jones | June 05, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,000'

Today we experienced superb climbing conditions as we bumped equipment and food to our cache at 14,000’ camp.

We began with a steep climb out of 11,000’ camp, up “Motorcycle Hill” and “Squirrel Hill” then enjoyed a mellow walk across a part of the route called the “Polo Field.” We stopped just shy of the infamous “Windy Corner” at 13,200’. Guides and clients prepared to battle the harsh winds by dawning wind layers and face protection. We even made sure to have goggles readily accessible. When we rounded the corner however, we were greeted with only a light breeze. As a team we are constantly preparing for the worst and hoping for the best; the wind today turned out to be the best.

With our cache stocked, we headed downhill back to our camp. Despite some clouds, we were still greeted with a view of the Peters Glacier, the Direct West Buttress and Father and Son Wall. We were reminded how truly huge this place is, and satisfied to see that we are making steady progress. The entire crew had their strongest day yet.

We are currently back in camp hold up in our tents. It seems that in this place we are either working our tails off, or comatose and resting. Now we are the latter.

We look forward to seeing what kind of weather greets us tomorrow. We hope to move up to 14,000’ at some point in the next few days if the group feels strong and weather permits. Well keep you posted. For now, it’s back to food and rest.

RMI Guide Tyler Jones

On The Map

10

Stay safe…..and enjoy the majesty of the mountain…..God bless you all…..

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Posted by: barbara perry on 6/7/2012 at 1:01 am

Thanks to Tyler for the reports. Exciting to follow your progress, the ascent and down again. Best thoughts to Nico and team. - Helene

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Posted by: Helene L. Nolin on 6/6/2012 at 7:41 pm


Mt. McKinley: Jones and Team Move to 14,000 Camp

Posted by: Tyler Jones | June 06, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

This morning we awoke to mostly clear skies, calm winds,and great climbing temps. Bagels and bacon filled our tanks for an early breakfast. We loaded our packs with our camp and started the 3,000 foot climb back to our cache at 14,000’. The team climbed in better style than ever, cutting 15 minutes off our previous time to the 14,000’  Advanced Base Camp (ABC). The guides have some very tasty food in store for the next few meals as we rest, rehydrate, acclimate, and create tighter bonds with our new climbing partners.

RMI Guide Tyler Jones

On The Map

10

“Go daddy go”, says Team Snyder back in Texas!

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Posted by: Julie Snyder on 6/7/2012 at 5:04 pm

Good breakfast good team and good guide, and your faith is an importand tool to get higher safely.
We are proud of you, go team go.
Thank you… read more

Posted by: voula likourgiotis on 6/7/2012 at 2:19 pm


Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team Enjoy Rest at 14,000’

Posted by: Tyler Jones | June 07, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

Today was our second day of sleeping in on the trip; it proved to be just as enjoyable as the first. Here in Ganet Basin at 14k, the looming upper mountain of Denali blocks the sun from hitting camp until mid morning. Our group stayed in sleeping bags until the sun’s first rays hit our tents. This place is like a desert, when the sun is behind the mountain it’s freezing and when the sun is out, it’s miserably hot. Once we were up, we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast that lasted nearly until lunch.

Here at 14 camp, we are situated in the outskirts of a village of tents. While we are content resting in the shade, others are not. People can be seen and heard at nearly all hours of the day. We see snowball fights as well as people playing hacky-sack and making elaborate castles of snow blocks.

High winds and low visibility have plagued the upper mountain for the last few days, keeping many teams from moving uphill. The result is a large group of restless people around camp.  While others sit crossing their fingers and rationing food, we are sitting pretty.

Because our team has moved efficiently thus far, we are simply enjoying the rest, acclimatizing and getting stronger every day. We are in a great position and look forward to carrying to 17k when we get a chance. We remain optimistic that the weather and wind on the upper mountain will subside.

The team says hello to all our friends and family following along on the blog.

RMI Guide Tyler Jones

On The Map

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Chris and friends I am sure you are enjoying the expiriance up there as always. Best wishes for good weather ahead and safe climbing, mean while enjoy the
rest.… read more

Posted by: voula likourgiotis on 6/8/2012 at 5:42 pm

Thank you so much for the updates Tyler!
Go Nicolas Go!
Hope you are all having a wonderful time.
Keep safe.
 

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Posted by: Louise on 6/8/2012 at 10:57 am


Mt. McKinley Expedition: Jones and Team Wait Out Weather

Posted by: Tyler Jones | June 09, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,100'

Howdy from 14k. Today we got up and planned to carry food and equipment up toward high camp at 17k. We woke up early and the air was warm with patches of blue sky showing through. While we got our morning chow the snow and wind started slowly picking up. As we walked the first hour to 15k and the base of the classic headwall of the West Buttress, the wind and snow intensity increased and visibility dropped to just a few feet.

With these conditions and the risk of avalanches increasing, we opted to descend in hopes of better weather in the next days. The team spent the majority of the day lounging in tents. Our decision to turn around was verified as we heard the constant roar of avalanches in the distance and saw 8 new inches of snow accumulate throughout the day.

Dinner tonight will bring a nice meal and psych to the team. In the mountains we must have patience and wait until we have an opportunity for safe passage. For now we gain strength and acclimatization through rest and light exercise. When Denali allows us an opportunity to go higher, we will be ready.

- RMI Guide Tyler Jones

On The Map

12

So good to hear you are all safe and living your dream. Thinking of you Nicolas and may you and the Team reach the summit in good time. Stay safe.

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Posted by: Claudette (Louise's sister) on 6/10/2012 at 2:42 pm

It is reassuring to hear of your decision to wait out for better weather.
Thinking of you Nicolas!
Good luck to all of you.

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Posted by: louise on 6/10/2012 at 7:09 am


Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team Make Carry Towards High Camp

Posted by: Eric Frank, Tyler Jones | June 10, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,000'

This morning we were prepared for a day in camp as visibility was poor and the winds raged off the ridge of the West Buttress. We enjoyed a long and delicious breakfast of eggs, bacon and three cheeses on a bagel accompanied by fresh coffee. Our meandering discussion spanned many topics and ended with a break in the snow and wind.

Ten minuets later we sprung into action, prepping our packs for a carry up onto the West Buttress proper to 16,200’. We dropped our food, fuel and other supplies for our summit push. We are now set for a move up to high camp in a few days or whenever we get a break in the winds and unstable weather.

With an evening arrival back at 14k camp, we plan to recover and rest in hopes of going upward soon.

RMI Guide Eric Frank

Looking up at the summit of Mt. McKinley from 11,000 ft camp.  Photo: RMI Collection

On The Map

10

Michael,
So good to hear about you fellows so far.  Hope the weather clears so yu can finish.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Mom & Dad

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Posted by: Eual Conditt on 6/11/2012 at 9:21 am

Keep it going, Larry!  Also, please take a picture of the icefall below 11k camp when you’re there.  Last year there was a wicked triangular shaped serac that was about… read more

Posted by: Doinidis on 6/11/2012 at 6:49 am


Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team Visit the Edge of the World

Posted by: Eric Frank, Tyler Jones | June 11, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

From 14k camp on Denali’s West Buttress, it is only a short walk to one of the best views in the entire range. The perch is called “The Edge of the World”. The plateau on which camp sits falls away dramatically. Nearly 5,000 vertical feet below lies the infamous Valley of Death. This afternoon our team walked to the edge of the world and took turns getting belayed out to the edge to take in the view. This afternoon the valley floor was obstructed by clouds which would sporadically rise to engulf us, but several times we were able to glimpse parts of the wall thousands of feet below us.

The weather in camp has continued to be squirrelly. Last night we were buffeted by winds up to 50mph from various directions. Thankfully, we had already built a few snow walls to protect the tents, but the incessant flapping on nylon all night has convinced us to build more. The snow is falling fast now as we settle in for the night when we rise we will just see what the day brings.

RMI Guides Tyler Jones, Eric Frank and Logan Randolph

The view from The Edge of the World on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection

On The Map

10

Reading your experience gives me confort because I know you’re being secure, and I envy the stunning views you have from that elevation. Bonne nuit Nicô!- Hélène

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Posted by: Hélène Larocque-Nolin on 6/11/2012 at 6:06 pm

Thanks for the updates!  Hopefully the weather will be in your favor in the days ahead!  Michael stay warm and strong and I can’t wait to see the pictures from… read more

Posted by: Scott on 6/11/2012 at 5:39 pm


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