Entries By adam knoff

Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team Ready for Some Exercise

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Lindsay Mann, Andy Hildebrand | June 29, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

June 29, 2014 - 12:16 am PT

I believe the saying goes “when the sun shines, make some hay!”  Well metaphors are going to have to do because Toto, we ain’t in Kansas anymore and nothing grows up here except foot fungus and beards.  So, with the sun finally shining brightly and the snow settled to what seems a safe consistency,  the team is ready to make some hay and move to 14,000 camp tomorrow!  This morning we didn’t crawl out of tents until the sun warmed them up at 9 am.  After that, massive coffee presses, eggs, bacon and hash browns followed.  Yup, we do it right up here.  It was Andy’s birthday today so he got to be served all morning and surprised after breakfast to a tent full of balloons thanks to Lindsay’s pre-trip preparations.  After breakfast the team read, sun bathed, still sunk waist deep in snow when not on the trail and prepared gear to bring up the mountain.  We are all excited to move our rested legs and make our way up hill.  It will indeed be a doozy of a day, breaking trail, dealing with the sun and carrying heavy loads.  I know we are all up to the task. 

Wish us luck. 

RMI Guide Adam Knoff signing off

11,200' on McKinley, Kahiltna Dome in the the distance. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team Digging Out from “Epic” Storm

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Lindsay Mann, Andy Hildebrand | June 28, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

June 27, 2014 - 11:11 pm PT

At 8 PM this evening we were blessed with the first glimmer of sun in two and a half days.  This isn’t completely out of the ordinary for this neck of the woods but more surprising, even to me with eight Denali expeditions, was the amount of snow that fell during that sunless stretch.  Four feet would about do this storm justice but when you are living in a nylon house that can collapse under a moderate burial of drifting snow it felt more like ten feet.  This morning at breakfast while in the posh house, a one pole pyramid cook tent set up to fit the entire team, shook and sagged under the constant loading of falling flakes, Jay Lampas asked if this snow storm qualified as “epic” yet? I didn’t want to sound too fragile and make him believe this was the “storm of the century” but I did have to concede that four feet in two days was a touch “epic”.  Of course the main worry of the team is how this massive blanketing will effect our upward progress.  I didn’t have an exact answer but I do know we will be sitting still on Saturday no matter how brilliant the weather because of the avalanche hazard that awaits above us.  Safety is always the number one priority so we will move to 14,000 feet only when we know it is safe to do so.  Hopefully our dwindling lunch food and Cosmo magazines can hold us out until we can get to the cache of food we left at Windy Corner.  We are all looking forward to a night with no 2 am wake up calls for shoveling duty.  Maybe full dreams will be of the upper mountain.  All the best from McKinley Team Knoff

Mt. McKinley's 11K Camp of snow forts. Photo: Rob Lindner

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Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team - Snow Apocalypse

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Lindsay Mann, Andy Hildebrand | June 27, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

June 26, 2014 - 6:37 pm PT

The entire team woke up at 2 am to a winter wonderland. With wind blowing and snow stacking the team had to wake up, strap on their boots and grab our shovels.  What was a nice camp with all tents visible to each other some 30 feet distance, is now a maze of deep trenches leading blindly to six-foot deep pits, each holding a team member’s house.  Approximately 40 inches of snow fell by morning in camp, completely covering our posh tent.

Currently the snow continues to fall.  A call on the satellite phone to the rangers at advanced base camp at 14,000 ft told us that five feet of snow had fallen there.  Some loose snow avalanches were observed on south facing slopes around camp—a reminder that winter is still upon us on Denali. We have had mixed results with the accuracy of the weather forecast, however in the extended outlook a high pressure system may be headed our way later this weekend and early next week.  It is times like these that test the will and patience of any Denali climber.  Thank God for Lindsay’s Cosmopolitan magazine. 

RMI Guides Adam Knoff, Lindsay Mann and Andy Hildebrand

A snowstorm hits Mt. McKinley's 11,200' Camp. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team Send Poetry from 11,000’ Camp

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Lindsay Mann, Andy Hildebrand | June 26, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

June 25, 2014 - 10:42pm PT

Here I sit in my tent
Wondering where the day went
A rest day at eleven camp for the team
With people in and out of their dreams
Mike Haugen and troupe passed through
Delivering a pee bottle to Adam—woohoo!

For breakfast we had chocolate and pb pancakes (booya!) While we watched the snow flakes. For now the wind is pretty strong, and hopefully we won’t have to shovel all night long.

RMI Guides Adam Knoff,  Lindsay Mann and Andy Hildebrand

11,200 Foot Camp on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: Seth Waterfall

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Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team Making Progress

Posted by: Adam Knoff | June 24, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,000'

June 24, 2014 - 8:12 pm PT

Today we encountered the second oxymoron of the trip. The first, albeit not mountain related was not seeing the sun in the longest day in the norther hemisphere, hence the sunless solstice.  Today’s oxymoron was more exciting, helpful and might I say unexpected.  At 13,500 feet there is a crucial feature of Mt. McKinley’s West Buttress Route that one must pass to gain access to Advanced Base Camp at 14,200 feet.  This storied gateway is called Windy Corner.  There have been many a harrowing epic here where sleds have been known to take flight like kites, ropes bend outward like giant crescent moons and rumor has it a climber was even flash frozen like a walking tuna when hit by a fridges gust.  For us the corner was breathless! 
Last night I had decided to make a carry of unneeded equipment and food up around windy corner because a snow storm is projected to pay a visit for the next few days.  Despite having put our bodies to the test for the last four days without rest, this move seemed wise as to prepare the team to move up given our next nice weather day.  Everyone’s training has proven adequate and we are now in a great position for the days to come.  We expect one or two more days here at 11,000 ft.  Before making our next move.  Everyone is happy and healthy. 
Climb on. 
RMI Guide Adam Knoff & Team

Ascending Windy Corner on Mt. McKinleys West Buttress Route.  Photo: Lindsay Mann

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Mt. McKinley: Knoff and Team Move to 11 Camp

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Lindsay Mann, Andy Hildebrand | June 24, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

June 23, 2014 - 11:54 pm PT
We woke up to a beautiful day at 9,500 on Mt. McKinley enjoyed breakfast and broke down camp in record time.  We had a smooth carry to 11,000 and conveniently found some old tent platforms that needed minimal work to make hospitable. A major highlight to our new camp is an unbelievable toilet with a real lid donated by Tyler Jones and his crew on their way off the mountain, it’s the simple things in life. We are hunkering down for the night looking forward to a rest day tomorrow, however with a potential weather system coming in we might delay our rest day and make our carry to windy corner early before the weather changes. We will make our final decision in the morning when Adam can communicate with the mountain.

Hasta mañana,
RMI Guides Adam Knoff, Lindsay Mann and Andy Hildebrand

An RMI Team moving to camp at 11,000ft on Mt. McKinley, Alaska.  Photo: Lindsay Mann

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Mt. McKinley: Knoff and Team Carry to 11,000’

Posted by: Adam Knoff | June 23, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 9,300'

These are the McKinley moments that tend to recharge the batteries and make the hard days tolerable.  Inside the tent, wrapped in a mountain of down, fed by the culinary expertise of Lindsay and Andy with views straight down the Kahiltna Glacier that knock your boots off.  The simplicity of this entire process creates an appreciation for simple rest not realized in other facets of ordinary life.  Get up, work yur’ arse off, get real tired and hungry, eat and go to bed.  No technology distractions, no depressing news feeds, simply us and the mountain. 
Having just completed day three, we are all pleased with our current position.  We awoke this morning to chilly temps, blowing snow and low visibility.  Because of our lower elevation of 9,300 feet another move day seemed a bit much so we opted for a carry that landed a majority of our team’s unneeded gear at the 11,000 ft camp which we plan to move to tomorrow.  These first four or five days can be some of the climb’s hardest but everyone has handled it with grace and competence.  We anticipate another strong team performance tomorrow.  Big hugs go out to friends and family who are taking the time to follow along. 
Hasta mañana,

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

An RMI Team camped at 9,500 ft on Mt. McKinley, Alaska.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team’s Sunless Solstice

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Lindsay Mann, Andy Hildebrand | June 22, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 9,600'

June 21, 2014 - 11:38 pm PT

This morning the team woke to some clouds in the sky and a lenticular on the top of the Mt. McKinley. We got ready for the day while we waited for Adam to get the final words from the mountain gods on our next move. If only we knew what the mountain gods had in store for us…

Heavy loads up Ski Hill came first, followed by snow falling in a microwave followed by setting up camp in a serious snowstorm. The team made such impressive camp walls that a solo climber decided to use them as protection also for the night.

The best news of the day though is that today marked our last uphill single carry of the trip.

Happy solstice!

RMI Guides Adam Knoff, Andy Hildebrand and Lindsay Mann

Pulling sleds up Ski Hill on Mt. McKinley. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team - Kahiltna Dreams

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Lindsay Mann, Andy Hildebrand | June 21, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,800'

June 21, 2014 - 8:11 am PT

The transition from the sweet smell of blooming cotton woods, green grass, the easy access to showers to a life of arctic surroundings, grinding work and confined tent living comes abruptly!  This morning that reality was as large as the towering mountains around us but the team motivated quickly and with resolve to get our grand adventure underway.  The mental weight of shouldering a 60-pound pack connected to a 50-pound sled and then hauling it into an arena like the Kahiltna Glacier can be far more intimidating than the actual physical load.  Faced with this challenge our team shined!  We were thrilled to walk out of Base Camp at 9:30 this morning onto the smoothest most user-friendly trail I have seen in all my nine trips to this glacier.  Not only was the trail superb, we had the weather to match.  Five hours after leaving BC we arrived at Camp One.  At only 7,800 feet the vertical gain was not all that much but the distance was enough under monster loads to assure us this journey will not be an easy one.  Tomorrow we will attempt to move again.  Stay tuned.

RMI Guide Adam Knoff signing off

Climbing teams leaving Mt. McKinley's Basecamp. Photo: Chris Villar

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Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team - Murphy’s Law

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Lindsay Mann, Andy Hildebrand | June 20, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,300'

June 20, 2014 - 7:14 am PT

Three O Clock PM Talkeetna time.  The kids in orange vests that load and unload the planes we were to fly in asked if it was okay to unload the 2,700 pounds of gear weighing down the aircrafts still grounded by ugly mountain weather near Mt. McKinley.  Sure we all said.  By this time the thought of messing around with gear just to pass the time seemed like a safe plan. The flying conditions were reported to be bad all day so the perceived notion that we would fly at all was dwindling.  The forecast for the next few days looked worse so I knew unloading those planes was the best move we could have made.  Not more than 20 minutes after our climbing outfits came off and we were literally heading into town for a beer, base camp called, said conditions looked good and if anyone was ready, load ‘em up ASAP and get them in!  So, off with the jeans and tennies, on with boots and a mild-hurried panic and onto the plane.  Forty-five minutes later we were on the glacier!  Yeeee haaaa.

Everyone is buzzing with good energy and the days to come. Wish us luck on our move to Camp One. 

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

A view from the flight into Mt. McKinley's Basecamp. Photo: RMI Collection

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