Entries By ben liken

Mt. Rainier: Winter Seminar Train in Some Tough Weather

Posted by: Brent Okita, Zeb Blais, Ben Liken, Robby Young | April 17, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 10,060'

A little wind and snow couldn’t keep this intrepid group of aspiring alpinists from training on our last full day of the seminar. What most impressed the guides was the 100% participation of the group given the 50 mph winds and heavy snowfall.

We look forward to a last evening together going over a couple more topics and sharing a war story or two.

RMI Guide Brent Okita

The winter seminar training in tough conditions at Camp Muir. Photo: Brent Okita
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Mt. Rainier: The Winter Seminar Tries for the Summit

Posted by: Brent Okita, Zeb Blais, Ben Liken, Robby Young | April 16, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 10,060'

We left Camp Muir this morning at 4: There was a cap over the summit from the outset of our climb but we were thankful the winds from yesterday evening had abated and hoped the cap would follow suit.45 a.m. in reasonable winds.  The team took to heart the lessons learned at yesterday’s climbing school and climbed strong on the upper mountain in deteriorating conditions.
 
I began the route finding effort up the Ingraham Direct but gave way to RMI Guide Zeb Blais as he led the team up to a break at 12,800’.  As we switchbacked our way up the mountain, we encountered increasing wind speeds and steadily decreasing visibility.  We made the smart and safe choice to call 13,400’ our high point for the day.  On our descent to Camp Muir, clouds would billow up from below causing white out conditions followed by periods of visibility.  This process repeated continually until we returned to Camp Muir.

We’re back at Camp Muir safe and sound.  We are looking forward to a low-key afternoon at camp with a siesta and some easy training on the schedule.

Signing off for now,
RMI Guide Brent Okita

The Mt. Rainier winter seminar's high point today. Photo: Robby Young Winter seminar training with avalanche transceivers. Photo: Brent Okita The winter seminar traversing the Cowlitz Glacier. Photo: Brent Okita
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Mt. Rainier: RMI Guide Brent Okita Checks In as the Seminar Ascends to Camp Muir

Posted by: Brent Okita, Zeb Blais, Ben Liken, Robby Young | April 15, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 10,060'

We had a great day for making our way to Camp Muir yesterday. Blue skies and just enough wind to keep us from over heating. Everyone did well! 

Camp Muir will be home through Friday.  The next few days we’ll be training around Camp Muir.  It’s going to be a fantastic week!

RMI Guide Brent Okita

Taking a break on our way up the Muir Snowfield. Photo: Brent Okita Mt. Rainier seminar ascending to Camp Muir. Photo: Brent Okita Beautiful vast views on Mt. Rainier seminar. Photo: Brent Okita
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RMI Hosts Prep for Rainier Classes at REI

Posted by: Ben Liken, Paul Maier | April 11, 2014
Categories: *Guide News

RMI is hosting several Prep for Rainier classes over the months of February, March, and April at local REI stores in the Puget Sound area. Join RMI’s experienced guides to discuss everything that is needed to prepare for Mt. Rainier, including conditioning, trip planning, route selection, and equipment selection to climb Washington State’s highest point!

Come out to your local REI store to hear stories and answer your questions about Mt. Rainier!

Tuesday 4/15/2014 7:00pm REI Redmond with RMI Guide Paul Maier More info…

Join RMI for classes on how to prepare for Mt. Rainier at your local REI store!

Aconcagua: Stevens & Team Heading Down the Mountain

Posted by: Garrett Stevens, Ben Liken, Nick Brown | January 14, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 9,000'

Today was a big day for the team. Our 9 a.m. launch saw us cruising down the Relinchos Valley in good style and at a good pace, with a little bit of swagger in our step. The first river crossing was enough to wake up the feet, and by the time we hit the bottom and started across the Vacas River we were in full stride.

After a nice foot/leg bath in the cold and swift Vacas River, we were on the good track that runs down and out the valley. It was a long hike, and while the scenery helped occupy some of the time, by the 9th hour most folks were ready for the welcome sight of Pampa de Leñas, our campsite for the night.

We arrived and promptly set up tents. Good thing, too, as a rain squall passed up the valley and forced our crew into the small stone shelter next to the guardaparque hut. The rain couldn’t dampen our spirits or our appetites, though, and we feasted on fresh asado (beef grilled over wood coals) and vegetable salad, washed down with delicious red wine.

The expedition is almost over, and the laughter drifting out of the cramped little shelter told the tale of new friends made, challenging experiences shared, and a bond that has turned this group of strangers into a strong, cohesive team. We’ll finish the last little hike tomorrow, head into town, and rejoin the ranks of the civilized folks. Thanks for watching our progress, and keep it tuned in for the last of our updates.

RMI Guide Garrett Stevens

Looking down the Vacas Valley. Photo: RMI Collection

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Aconcagua: Stevens & Team Summit!

Posted by: Garrett Stevens, Ben Liken, Nick Brown | January 12, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 22,841'

Well hopefully you got the voice dispatch as well…today was a successful summit day for the crew here on Aconcagua! We woke to clear, dark skies and cool temperatures, for moving well before the sun was up, and were underway with a fairly large cadre of other summit hopefuls.

The sun cracked the horizon as we passed 20,000’, casting Aconcagua’s immense shadow towards the west and creating some sublime photo opportunities. Steady climbing up through cold winds gave way to still air and a soft-shell summit push, and the crew stepped onto the summit plateau around 1:30pm local time.  We sat on top for about an hour, then began the long descent back to camp.

Now the team is fed, has full water bottles, and is tucked into tents for good long night of sleep. Tomorrow we’ll start the long descent back into thick air, chasing down dreams of Malbec and beef. Thanks for all the positive wishes!

RMI Guide Garrett Stevens

Looking up towards the Canaleta, just below Aconcagua's summit. Photo: RMI Collection An RMI Team taking a break on Summit Day on Aconcagua. Photo: RMI Collection


RMI Guide Garrett Stevens calls from the Aconcagua summit!

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Aconcagua: Stevens & Team Ready for the Summit Push!

Posted by: Garrett Stevens, Ben Liken, Nick Brown | January 12, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 19,600'

Well here we are, settled into our camp at 19,600’. We arrived earlier today and spent the afternoon getting our tents anchored, water going, hots made and dinner into our bellies. Ben cranked out a huge pot of ramen and mashed potatoes, which should provide ample fuel for tomorrow’s push towards the summit.

The team is psyched and ready for the final leg of this incredible journey. We’ll be up early and out for our summit attempt well before the sun comes up, so it’s off to bed early. The patter of light snow on our tent walls is going to be tonight’s lullaby, and hopefully the winds remain light. Keep sending the good wishes and stay tuned for tomorrow’s update!

RMI Guide Garrett Stevens

Views of the Andes while approaching High Camp on Aconcagua. Photo: RMI Collection

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Aconcagua: Stevens and Team Rest at Camp 2

Posted by: Garrett Stevens, Ben Liken, Nick Brown | January 10, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 18,000'

We went to bed last night hoping for lighter winds than the previous night, and thankfully the weather gods delivered the goods. The team enjoyed uninterrupted slumber, and woke today to more blue skies.

The weather has definitely gotten a little colder than it was down below, so our morning was a slow roll through hot coffee and cereal. As the sun climbed higher, the temps warmed and the crew enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere of cards and conversation in our tents.

We continued resting throughout the day, conserving energy for tomorrow’s move to Camp 3. If all goes well and the weather continues to hold, we’ll be checking in from the highest reaches of this beautiful mountain over the next couple of days. Keep it dialed in for more updates!

RMI Guide Garrett Stevens & Team

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Aconcagua: Stevens & Team Carry to High Camp

Posted by: Garrett Stevens, Ben Liken, Nick Brown | January 09, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 18,000'

Today started early for the team when a wind storm kicked up through camp in the middle of the night, snapping anchor lines and making sleep quite difficult. We did manage to grab a few zzzz’s, however, in between resetting anchors. But the nighttime fun ensured we were all up with the sun, ready for hot drinks and a hot breakfast.

We spent a couple of hours after breakfast reinforcing the rock walls around the tent platforms, and then packed up personal climbing gear for a carry to Camp 3 at 19,600’. The team moved well as we got higher and higher, with the thin air forcing each of us to concentrate on good rest stepping and being as efficient as possible.  The wind stayed with us all day, making our down layers feel nice despite the bright sun.

We dropped our cache at high camp and headed back down.  Many personal altitude records were set today, as the team remains strong. An early dinner was in order and now we’re tucked into sleeping bags, hoping for calmer weather and a more restful night.

Now it’s just a waiting game; waiting for the right forecast and good weather for our launch towards high camp and the summit bid. Thanks for your support and we’ll follow up tomorrow!

RMI Guide Garrett Stevens

An RMI Team carrying gear to High Camp on Aconcagua. Photo: Pete Van Deventer

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Aconcagua: Stevens & Team Push to Camp 2

Posted by: Garrett Stevens, Ben Liken, Nick Brown | January 08, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 18,000'

The team has now trekked into the thin air of Camp 2.  With an elevation of 18,000’ nothing proves to be easy up here.  Even the simple tasks like setting up tents, inflating a sleeping pad, or heading to the bathroom take twice as long, but the team is handling it perfectly!

After a relatively short hike up and now having camp established, the goal is to breathe, sip water, and feel good.  With the views of this proudly positioned camp it can at least aid in the task of feeling 100%.  It looks in one direction northward over the impressive crest of the Andes Mountains, with glaciers pouring out of the high valleys.  In another direction, is our next goal, Camp 3, 1,600’ above our current location.  And in yet another, the top of Aconcagua, around 4,800’ above us.

As the summit draws closer, it is tough to just lay in the tent and let our bodies adjust to this unforgiving environment, but very key to our success.  The team is strong, positive, and amped to be in one of the highest places in the world. 

RMI Guide Garrett Stevens

Aconcagua Camp 2, also know as Guanacos Camp. Photo: RMI Collection

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