Entries From McKinley W. Buttress 5-29-12

Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team - Fields of Green at 350ft

Posted by: Tyler Jones, Eric Frank | June 18, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 348'

The day is coming to a close and things are back the way they were at the start of the trip. Our tents are laying here and our sleeping bags in the thick, moist air. It’s tough to imagine that we were at 20,320 feet just the day before yesterday.

Thank you for all of your continued support as we took on Denali successfully. I realize how much it took both on the mountain and at home. Again, thank you. The amateur summiteer.

Thanks to all who continue to support my crazy adventures!! Your positive vibes and supportive thoughts mean more than you’ll ever know! I return from the highest peak in North America simultaneously proud and humbled!! Michael C

Thanks to my family and friends and especially my wonderful wife Megan for supporting me in this adventure.  It is difficult to describe the feeling of humbleness inspired by the the grandeur, majesty and (not least of all) weather of the Alaska Range.  The seasoned judgment of TJ, Eric and Logan truly kept us alive and (mostly) comfortable.  I cannot thank them enough.  MJB

Thanks to all the friends and family for the awesome support! Despite the fact I was unable to make the summit the trip was amazing and will certainly be unforgettable. Much appreciation goes to the best guides anywhere for their judgement. “climbing mountains ain’t easy”... The mountain won this time but I’ll be back again! CPL

Thanks to all my family, friends, and business associate for supporting my ” habit”.  The summit of North America is an amazing place. Our RMI guides are the best - Tyler, Eric and Logan !!!!
LWS

Belle expedition. Merci RMI. Merci a tous pour vos blog.
N

Now that the day is coming to a close, things are looking eerily similar to the way they did before we left. Tents and gear have been dried. Gear is slightly dirtier, but once again prepared for air travel. It would seem to the unknowing observer, that nothing has happened other than a few mild sunburns.

As the warm rain arrives in Talkeetna, the group runs for cover indoors. It’s nice to be dry when it rains and warm when it’s cold outside without to much effort. That said, there was something nice about even the coldest days on the mountain. As guides, we hope out clients feel the same way. Like proud parents, we have enjoyed the time we spent with the team as they grew. We have seen the group grow together and grow as individuals. We hope that this growth will have some relevance even in the dry and warm front country.

Thanks to our clients for their time, energy, patience and passion. The guide team hopes to work together and with members of our 2012 Denali trip soon. Weather this trip was the first big expedition or the last, we hope team members will keep trying new things, keep climbing mountains, or at least stay in touch.

The summit was great, but the team was better. Thanks guys,

RMI Guides Tyler Jones, Eric Frank and Logan Randolph

On The Map

2

Well Done Tyler & Team ! Congratulations!

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Posted by: mark skinner on 6/20/2012 at 3:18 pm

Great job Tyler, Larry, and team!!

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Posted by: Paul Kinneberg on 6/19/2012 at 9:03 am


Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team - Basecamp is the Spot

Posted by: Tyler Jones, Eric Frank | June 18, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,300'

The word “team” is what we are; the confidence and style this team has possessed has been outstanding. Team Jones/Frank/Randolph is excited to be in base camp on the Southeast fork of the Kahiltna Glacier.

We woke up a number of times through last night to gusty winds and white-out conditions at 11k camp. The guides choice was to wait the weather out.  Denali was again giving our group another challenge. The team solved this one with some rest and a long pancake breakfast.

An afternoon clearing provided motivation for an evening walk, our final walk that provided everything from blowing snow to pristine clear skies. The sunset reeled us in toward the north face of Mt. Hunter lit in the soft evening light completing our final push to Kahiltna Basecamp at 7,800 ft.

While conditions look prime at base camp and it looks like we will fly out tomorrow, we don’t want to count our chickens before they hatch. You never know what Denali, or as we have called her “De-Gnarly,” has in store for us.

Laying here in our sleeping bags in the thick, moist air, it’s tough to imagine that we were at 20,320 feet just the day before yesterday.

The crew is ready to celebrate our safe and successful summit with the loved ones that allowed us to be in Alaska for this journey. Thank you family and friends for the support. This journey to the top of North America and back has been a long and never to be forgotten experience. We look forward to recalling our time spent in the mountains with a dinner out wearing sandals and shorts along with being back on turf with trees, rivers, and just plain dirt in Talkeetna.

RMI Guide Tyler Jones

The airstrip at Kahiltna Basecamp

On The Map

2

Congratulations JB and team for the strong and safe summit of Denali! Your friends here at AMC are anxious to here the details and wish you good weather for the… read more

Posted by: Rick on 6/19/2012 at 11:42 am

That was a fast descent.Thank you Tyler, Eric and Logan for bringing everybody back down Denali in good spirit and shape!
À bientôt Nicolas!

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Posted by: louise on 6/18/2012 at 12:40 pm


Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team - Down We Go

Posted by: Tyler Jones, Eric Frank | June 17, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

We awoke today to subzero temperatures at 17k camp and are now enjoying the thick air at 11k camp. After a quick breakfast, the team packed their belongings and headed downward. Despite some fatigue from our successful summit bid yesterday, the team safely negotiated the descent to 14k camp. There, the team was met by another RMI team. Jake Beren and team topped off our bottles with water and our stomachs with warm quesadillas. After this hour long break we headed down to 11k camp.

While the air was thick and warm, Denali was quick to remind us that we aren’t out of the woods yet. While snow fell and wind blew around us we consolidated our left over meats and cheeses for a quesadilla smorgasbord. We enjoyed these tasty morsels until we were full, then ate some more. Then we had dessert.

We are now snuggled into our sleeping bags, staying warm and hoping to fly out tomorrow. While we are all set to walk to the runway, the weather is not ripe for a speedy flight to Talkeetna. We are still at the mercy of the big one, Denali.

RMI Guide Tyler Jones

On The Map

7

Congratulations to JB and the whole team for a strong and safe climb!  Your friends here at AMC looking forward to hearing all about.

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Posted by: Rick on 6/19/2012 at 8:52 am

Hope you had a long and profound sleep for a significant recuperation. It should help for the descent. Wishing you a smooth return. Hélène

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Posted by: Hélène Larocque-Nolin on 6/17/2012 at 6:45 pm


Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team - Good Style to the Top and Back

Posted by: Eric Frank, Tyler Jones | June 16, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

Today was our time to shine; it was our 16th day on the glaciers of Denali and our opportunity to take a shot at the top of North America. Early sun on the tent at high camp, coupled with the solstice less than a week away had the guides up starting the stoves by 7:30am. With the winds moderate and temps near -15F we stalled our departure for the summit bid until 9:45am with the thought of summiting during Alaska’s peak heat of late afternoon. The wind and cold had us in full equipment. We wore face masks, goggles, mittens and climbed in our heavy weight parkas a good portion of the climb.

The guides stressed many times of the importance of self care and the critical nature of getting frostnip or frostbite. All of us had cold hands, feet, and faces a number of times throughout the day, but all of us took responsibility for keeping close eyes on each other and managed to keep the cold injuries at bay.

The climb took our team 7 1/2 hours to reach the summit. Our time plan was perfect as the summit provided some the the lightest winds of the day allowing us to spend just over thirty minutes on the summit expressing emotion, embracing our team mates, and snapping photos of an unforgettable 360 degree view of central Alaska. Given the conditions our team made great time, though we all had to dig deep in our reserves to make an uneventful descent back in our high camp- 11 hours after our departure. Hot drinks, a warm meal and memories from our summit push ended the evening with high stoke and excitement to get down and reunite with our friend, families and loved ones. Every member of the team would like to thank all of you for your support, love, and compassion in letting us fulfill a dream.

Tomorrow we plan to disassemble our high camp and move down the picturesque West Buttress. We will be recovering our cache at 14k and, if weather and energy allow, a descent to 11k for a well deserved rest in what now has become the low country. We look forward to the thick air.

RMI Guides Tyler Jones, Eric Frank & Logan Randolph

On The Map

12

Congratulations Team!!!  i know it must feel terrific to view 360 degrees from the summit!  Can’t imagine the rush!  Michael, we look forward to hearing all about it.  Mom &… read more

Posted by: Eual/Paula Conditt on 6/17/2012 at 3:45 pm

I am super psyched for you guys.  You kick ass Larry!

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Posted by: Justin Halls on 6/17/2012 at 11:00 am


Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team On Top!

Posted by: Tyler Jones, Eric Frank | June 15, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 20,320"

Hey everyone,
It’s Tyler and team on the summit of Denali.  Pretty nice weather, little bit of breeze and quite a cold day.  Everybody is in good shape.  We are going to spend a few minutes on top taking some pictures and then we will be headed back down to high camp and we’ll let you know when we get back.

Thanks for all your support.  Talk to you soon.

RMI Guide Tyler Jones


RMI Guide Tyler Jones calls from the summit of Denali.

On The Map

12

Congratulations! Woot! Way to go! Wishing a safe descent to everyone!

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Posted by: Jenn on 6/16/2012 at 6:12 am

Yay! Now come home!

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Posted by: Megan Berge on 6/16/2012 at 6:09 am


Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team Ready for Summit Push

Posted by: Tyler Jones, Eric Frank | June 14, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

This morning provided blue bird skies and little to no wind. Though the air was cold at around -5F, the team broke camp, dug a cache and loaded our packs for our summit push.

With Okita’s team reaching the summit yesterday we once again shared the burden of equipment transportation by swapping some equipment to lighten the load. Okita’s team saved some weight for their long descent to the bottom, and more importantly our load was lightened up to high camp. We are thankful for the established camp with wind walls and a ready to go kitchen. The stroke of luck rarely happens as teams do not often come up and down from high camp on the same day. As we have been saying throughout the entire trip “Patience pays” and today it most certainly did.

Water boils at a fairly low temperature at this elevation. In fact, you can drink a hot cup of your favorite flavor right out of the boiling pot - a wild first for many team members. A hot dinner and soup re-energized our spirits and warmed our souls.

The team is climbing strong and with a little more luck from the weather tomorrow we will make a push for the top of North America to Denali/Mount McKinley’s summit at 20,320’. Wish us well for our final push!

RMI Guide Tyler Jones

On The Map

15

Keep it tight and enjoy the views!
We are proud of you! M&T

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Posted by: sHARON on 6/15/2012 at 4:44 pm

Nice work Tyler, Larry and all - I hope by now you are savoring the summit experience!
The summit is for the ego - the journey is for the… read more

Posted by: Tim Halls on 6/15/2012 at 11:50 am


Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team Hold on at 14K Camp

Posted by: Tyler Jones, Eric Frank | June 12, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

Last night dropped over a foot of new snow and the morning dumped close to six more inches. As we hide in the midday heat of the tents, the wind blows 50+mph in gusts. One minute it is calm, the next minute we brace against the walls of the tent as the wind tries to push them flat. After a few rounds of shoveling, we break for a toasted bagel breakfast, then more shoveling, building snow walls and hiding from the gusts. The sky has cleared as we watch enormous plumes blow off the Buttress above us as well as enormous avalanches coming down from the upper slopes. Other climbers and our team our able to enjoy the show, knowing that we are a safe distance from the action. The snow currently continues to patter our tents. We are hopeful that better weather is coming on the horizon.

RMI Guide Tyler Jones

On The Map

23

From the beautiful island of Zakynthos,and a girl that knows what it means to fulfil a dream. May god watch over you and your team and bring you to the… read more

Posted by: Janet Mastromauro on 6/15/2012 at 11:51 am

Hi Chris !!!

Hope the weather is cooperating for you and your team.
Take care and keep safe.

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Posted by: Debbie Gaudette on 6/14/2012 at 6:47 pm


Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team Receive A Big Helping Hand

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

Today we awoke to 6 inches of new snow at 14k camp. We have continued to eat well.  Today our breakfast consisted of egg, cheese and bacon burritos. Over the course of the morning the clouds dissipated and the wind calmed down a little. Eric and I decided to head up and move the cache we previously left at 16k, up to our high camp. We also added an extra food bag and fuel can to our supplies up high.

With Brent Okita and team up at high camp for the last several days, waiting for their window to summit, they offered a big helping hand. Thanks Brent, Leon, and Lindsay! Due to high winds in the morning, they volunteered to walk down from high camp and help Eric and me carry our whole cache from 16k to 17k. We can not thank them enough for their help! Our efforts were somewhat tiering, but will allow the team to move more smoothly to 17k when weather allows. Rather than stopping at 16k and schlepping our cache and our full camp kit to 17k, now the team will be able to conserve energy by smoothly moving to 17k.

Upon our return to the team at 14k, we discovered that our third guide, Logan, had rebuilt our snow kitchen and cooked up a nice dinner. What a pleasant surprise.

The crew is in high spirits and getting anxious to move to higher ground and make a summit attempt in the next few days. The ground work and logistics are in order. We just need a few nice days to execute our plan. We look forward to moving into more inhospitable environments and nearing the top of North America. Our careful planning has paid off and all our ducks are in a row. The team had a nice moral boost with an afternoon reading of all the positive vibes from the blog comments. Thank you all!

RMI Guide Tyler Jones

On The Map

10

We certainly enjoy the blog updates.  Hope the weather cooperates soon!  Michael, our thoughts are with you and all the others.  Love, Mom & Dad

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Posted by: Eual/Paula Conditt on 6/13/2012 at 7:56 pm

We are enjoying the blog. It makes us feel like we can almost talk to you. Wishing you a successful trip Jeff/dad/team. We are cheering you on. Love Debbie, Andrew,… read more

Posted by: Debbie Boskind on 6/12/2012 at 1:14 pm


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


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


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