Entries By billy nugent

Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Have a Snow/Rest Day

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Levi Kepsel, Chase Nelson | June 22, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

June 22, 2014 - 12:04 am PT

A snowy day here at 14K…

Howdy all. Our team enjoyed a weather/rest day after our back-carry yesterday. Winds up on the West Buttress and steady snow through most of the day kept us from making an attempt at a carry up to 17K Camp. Tomorrow’s weather outlook is a bit more promising and we are hoping to capitalize.

On a brighter note, the two successful RMI teams came down from the summit and spent some time with us on their descent to the airstrip. It was a fun reunion for everyone and I congratulated those guys on their success and wish them safe passage down the Kahiltna.

Wurd.

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

An RMI team at Mt. McKinley's 14K Camp in a storm. Photo: Dave Hahn

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Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team are at 14K, Fully Stocked

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Levi Kepsel, Chase Nelson | June 21, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

June 20, 2014 - 10:08 pm PT

Back-carry from Windy Corner to 14K Camp? Mission accomplished.

We enjoyed the best weather of the trip today. Morning snow flurries gave way to sapphire skies and gorgeous views of the entire range. Our back-carry only took us a couple of hours to complete so we spent the rest of the day soaking in the grandeur of the Alaska Range.

They’re calling for over a foot of snow tomorrow so we may end up taking a weather day but the trend is supposedly clearing Sunday through Tuesday. Could be our window? We’ll see…

RMI Guide Billy Nugent from 14K Camp

Cache at Windy Corner with climbers in the background. Photo: Lindsay Mann

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Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Establish Camp at 14,200’

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Levi Kepsel, Chase Nelson | June 20, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

June 19, 2014 - 10:41 pm PT

We have arrived at 14,200’! The weather today was marginal with moderate winds, occasionally heavy snow, and sometimes even hot sunbreaks. A little bit of everything made for an interesting move. McKinley’s 14K camp is uncharacteristically empty; lots of snowed in abandoned camps to choose from but they were all pretty crummy. We ended up digging out some old platforms and quarrying new blocks to rebuild some delapidated walls to protect our tents from the wind. We did find a great pre-dug posh that must have been abandoned by Jake or Tyler’s crew as they moved up to 17K today. Thanks guys! Our team is racked out already after our big day and eating a hot meal. Tomorrow’s plans call for an easy back carry and hopefully some rest in the afternoon.

Talk soon…

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

Looking through camp walls at Mt. McKinley's 14,200' Camp. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Cached Around Windy Corner

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Levi Kepsel, Chase Nelson | June 19, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

June 18, 2014 - 9:00 pm PT

We went around Windy Corner! We dug a hole (or chipped one out of extremely hard snow)! We buried some stuff (food, fuel, overboots, etc.)! And then we came back down to our camp at 11k’. All in all, we had a great day; the team is moving well and getting more and more psyched as we make our way up the mountain. The weather is gradually improving and we enjoyed blue skies and beautiful views of the Messner Couloir and the Orient Express on the upper mountain from the cache site. We filled up with an early dinner tonight and are racked out in anticipation of a big day tomorrow on our move to 14k’ camp.

Check in again tomorrow…

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

Windy Corner on Mt. McKinley, Alaska. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Take a Rest Day at 11,000’

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Levi Kepsel, Chase Nelson | June 18, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

June 17, 2014 - 11:00 pm PT

A rest day on Mt. McKinley! And well earned. The weather has been kinda funky; we woke this morning to around a foot of new snow but things steadily improved over the course of the day. Eventually, the sun broke and we enjoyed some turbo-tanning for much of the afternoon. But now the flurries are back and the flow has shifted from southeast to westerly. We briefly got a view of the tundra over Kahiltna Pass with a wall of large cumulus clouds headed our way. We are now in those clouds but they haven’t hit with much wind so camp is still pretty pleasant. The gang is packing up for tomorrow’s forward carry where we are hoping to get a cache in around Windy Corner, setting us up for a move to 14,000’ if the weather cooperates.

We will talk to you later,

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

An RMI Team camped at 11,000ft on Mt. McKinley, Alaska.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Nugent and Team Experience Not So Perfect Weather

Posted by: Billy Nugent | June 16, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

June 16, 2015 - 6:07 pm PT

Snow, wind, sun… Repeat. That’s been the story of our day today with rapidly changing weather that seems to change every twenty or so minutes. Despite the moderate weather our team was able to descend to the cache at 9,600’ in a total whiteout, retrieve it, and climb our way by Braille back to our camp at 11. For a lot of our guys it was their first experience in not so perfect weather so it served as good training for the inevitably bad weather we’ll endure higher up. Even though it was a little crummy, we made short work of the back-carry and are settling back in with a planned rest day on the docket for tomorrow.

Also wanted to make a brief shout out to all the dads out there… Sorry I forgot to mention it yesterday but out here you lose track of what day it is at all. Happy belated Father’s Day!

More news as our saga unfolds,

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

An RMI Team settled in at 11,200 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Move to 11,000’ Camp

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Levi Kepsel, Chase Nelson | June 16, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

June 15, 2014 - 10:31 pm PT

Greetings from Camp 3 at 11,000’... We enjoyed a sunny and warm wake up today while we packed for a quick move up to 11,000 ft on Mt. McKinley. After a few hours on the trail in mostly whiteout conditions we arrived and set to work digging and building platforms and walls to protect our tents and posh (dining tent). The weather has been coming in and out all day with sun breaks punctuating a generally cloudy day. It’s actually begun snowing moderately as I write this… Anyway, we left a sizable cache of food and fuel buried down at 9,600’ that we hope to retrieve tomorrow morning after sleeping in and enjoying a more substantial breakfast. Breaking camp every morning for the last 3 days has meant quickie breakfasts like oatmeal or granola. We also got to enjoy a visit with some of our comrades from higher on the mountain as they came through camp. Good vibes all around.

All for now,

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

Camp life at 11,000 ft on Mt. McKinley, Alaska.  Photo: Rob Lindner

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Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Grooving on in to 9,600’

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Levi Kepsel, Chase Nelson | June 15, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 9,600'

June 14, 2014 - 10:44 pm PT

Checking in from 9,600’! All is well up here, despite a very hot day cooking in the microwave. A breezy and chilly morning made for a brisk break of camp this morning but it eventually gave way to stillness and a low level cloud clinging to the glacier. With full humidity and scorching temperatures we poured sweat despite stripping down to just our base layers. By the end of the day, a nice breeze greeted us as we neared Kahiltna Pass and put in our camp. We enjoyed the evening with a good meal outside and are all crawled in waiting for tomorrow and our planned move up to 11,000’.

More as the situation develops,

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

An RMI team at the 9,600' Camp on Mt. McKinley. Photo: John Lucia

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Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Reach Camp 1

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Levi Kepsel, Chase Nelson | June 13, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,800'

June 13, 2014 - 9:40 pm PT

Welcome! To the first of many blog installments for the June 10, 2014, RMI expedition to Denali. Our team first met a couple days ago in Anchorage and enjoyed a cramped van ride up to Talkeetna. There, we spent the following day packing and prepping for our bush flight in the midst of a shaky weather forecast. We went to bed on Wednesday night locked and loaded with our fingers crossed for blue skies in the a.m… As luck would have it our good friends at K2 Aviation were able to drop us off at Kahiltna Basecamp in a pair of Otter ski planes first thing in the morning! After building and moving in to our camp we spent the rest of the day making our final preparations for the trip.

Today was the first real day of the expedition. We woke early and broke camp and packed up for our single-carry to Camp 1 at 7,800’. A single-carry means we are loaded down with all of the equipment, food, and fuel to sustain our expedition for 22 days… It rounds out to about 100lbs of gear per climber split between a sled and backpack. We had a couple of occasional breaks of clear skies but spent most of the day sheltered from the blazing sun by a thin layer of clouds and light snow flurries. While it might sound inclement, it actually kept temperatures from getting too warm and made for nice walking. We are all settled in at 7,800’ for the night and are hoping to continue up tomorrow with another single-carry to 9,600’ and Camp 2.

We’ll check in again and let ya’ll know how it went…

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

The Mt. McKinley Expedition starting June 10th, 2014, led by Billy Nugent ready to fly! An RMI climbing team hauls sleds to Mt. McKinley's Camp 1. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. Rainier: Camp Muir Seminar Summits!

Posted by: Seth Waterfall, Adam Knoff, Billy Nugent | May 29, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 14,410'

Hi there, we are having a great summit day!  We left Camp Muir at 4 am and reached the summit at 9:15.  The weather has been very nice.  We are making our way down the mountain now.  We’ll check in when we get back to Camp Muir.

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall

May 29, 2014 - Camp Muir Seminar on the Mt. Rainier summit! Photo: Seth Waterfall
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