Entries By dave hahn

Mt. Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Ascend Barranco Wall

Posted by: Dave Hahn | August 01, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro
Elevation: 13,160'

It was cold in Mt. Kilimanjaro’s Barranco Camp this morning, but very beautiful. We still couldn’t see the world below, due to clouds, but we could sure see the steep Southern walls of Kibo Peak above.  Giant icicles hung down from the glaciers and snowfields in the early morning shadows.  Just as the sun hit our camp at about 8:15 AM, we set off into the cool shadows again.  We didn’t stay cold though, since our first task was to climb the steep lava ledges of the Barranco Wall.  Our local guides, Eric and Charles, along with Eliapende and Vendelin, made sure that all felt confident in reaching up for the rough handholds and stepping from block to block to pass this imposing barrier. 
It took over an hour, as expected, to get up 800 vertical feet of relief, but we did it, earning even better views of Kilimanjaro’s central peak and glaciers hanging thousands of feet above.  Then it was relatively easy walking to reach the Karanga Valley, but by the time we made that combination steep descent and ascent -in and out of the narrow valley, we were in cloud.  We made it to Karanga Camp at 13,160 ft by 1:15 PM and began our now familiar and welcome pattern of resting, recuperating, eating and drinking through the afternoon. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

The RMI Kilimanjaro July 26th team on top of the Barranco Wall.  Photo: Dave Hahn

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6

Mt. Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Tucked in Below Barranco Wall

Posted by: Dave Hahn | July 31, 2014
Categories:
Elevation: 12,800'

Our morning started with crystal clear views of the peak of Kibo (which contains Kilimanjaro’s central crater).  We were just above a sea of clouds, as we’d gotten used to yesterday afternoon.  Our climb began just before 8 AM up the steady and gradual incline heading directly toward Kibo.  We spent the day above “timberline” getting close up views of smaller desert shrubs and flowers.  The upper sky began to cloud up, particularly as we approached our high point for the day at 15,200 ft.  At this point we came around the castle-like “lava tower” and had to use our imaginations to visualize the steep escarpments above, cloaked in cloud.  Those clouds let loose with snow showers as we began our descent toward the Barranco Valley.  We quickly put on the weatherproof shells and marched downward through a mild blizzard.  The showers let up as we reached the giant Senecios -the doctor Seuss themed trees that make Barranco so interesting.  The team was in camp by about 3:15 PM.  We were lucky enough to get some brief periods of sunshine as the afternoon progressed, allowing a chance to dry damp gear and as well to see the route for tomorrow up the Barranco Wall.  We anticipate a calm night with some good and much needed rest at 13,030 ft above sea level. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

The RMI July 26th Kilimanjaro Team enjoying the views en route to Barranco Camp.  Photo: Dave Hahn

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Kilimanjaro: Hahn and Team Climb Climb Through Rain to Shira Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn | July 30, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro
Elevation: 12,570'

The rains came in the wee hours at Machame Camp this morning.  We were all snug in our sleeping bags and dry in our tents, but each of the team heard the showers and wondered how things might be if it all didn’t quit by morning.  Well, it didn’t quit, but things weren’t too bad, as it turned out.  We geared up in waterproof clothing and got out into light showers and persistent mist.  We’d breakfasted and busted out of camp by eight AM, climbing a steep and slippery trail with big lava-block steps.  We climbed for several hours in the cloud, wondering just which grand views we were missing.  It never got unbearably wet and we were spared from the possibility of overheating from too much sun.  Most of our altitude for the day had been gained and we were beginning the leftward traverse which would bring us to the Shira Plateau when we climbed out of the clouds.  It seemed we were in a great garden of wildflowers as we proceeded around the corner to Shira.  And then we could see - for the first time - the upper slopes and glaciers of Kilimanjaro.  It was an exciting moment, made better by the realization that we only had some easy downhill walking left to go in order to reach camp at 12,570 ft above sea level.  We were looking out over an endless sea of cloud and enjoying the sunshine for a time…the clouds washed back over camp in the mid-afternoon.  By then though, we were well-fed and well-sheltered in our new and higher home. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

RMI climbers ascending to Shira Camp on Kilimanjaro with and endless sea of clouds below. Photo: Dave Hahn

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2

Mt. Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Begin Climb to the Roof of Africa

Posted by: Dave Hahn | July 29, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro
Elevation: 9,800'

Our team was up before daylight today, getting set to leave the Dik Dik Hotel.  We were piling into the expedition bus at 7 AM and driving out of the garden-like grounds we’d grown comfortable in these past few days.  As expected, it took about two hours to reach the Machame Gate of Kilimanjaro National Park, our starting point for the climb.  We traveled through corn fields for much of the way, but worked up into banana and coffee plantations as we gained elevation.  It took about two hours to register and organize porters and so we set out at 11 AM from the 5,900 ft road head.  Clouds protected us from the sun as we walked through gradually steepening terrain in the lush forest.  It took about six hours to reach the Machame Camp at close to 10,000 ft, about where the vegetation changed markedly from tall trees to more scrub like heather.  The team demonstrated a high level of fitness, but all were relieved to come into a well built camp at the end of the day.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

The RMI July 26th Kilimanjaro Team at the Machame Entrance to Kilimanjaro National Park.  Photo: Dave Hahn

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3

Mt. Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Arrive in Tanzania

Posted by: Dave Hahn | July 28, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

We’ve assembled in Tanzania for an ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro.  More importantly, our baggage has accompanied us.  All 10 climbers and their guide arrived safely at the tranquil Dik Dik Hotel on the outskirts of Arusha.  We spent today organizing gear for the climb, meeting with our expedition staff and catching up on jet-lag-lost sleep.  Starting early tomorrow, we’ll climb aboard the fully loaded tricked out off-road-ready expedition vehicle and head for the hills.  Conditions have been partly cloudy with comfortable temperatures and team members have been granted partial views of Kilimanjaro as reward for climbing the lofty water tower on the Dik Dik grounds. 

We’ll need to get walking tomorrow… The quality and quantity of excellent food served up in the dining room of the hotel will have us absolutely spoiled if we don’t make a break for it.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

The bungalows at the Dik Dik Hotel complete with hammocks on the front porch.  Photo: RMI Collection Preparing vehicles to take climbers to the Kilimanjaro Trail Head.  Photo: RMI Collection

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10

Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Powder Wading

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Ben Liken, Sean Collon, Zach Lovell | July 17, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 348'

July 17, 2014 - 8:45 pm PT
In just under 24 hours, our climbing team went from the 17,200 ft high camp to the 7,200 ft basecamp.  It wasn’t remotely easy.  Luckily, we had a calm start to the day which allowed us to balance carefully down the exposed and spectacular crest of the West Buttress.  Things got tougher at the base of the fixed lines when we needed to virtually swim through bottomless powder snow.  We reached easier terrain upon which one could walk laboriously in knee deep new snow and this ground got us to 14 camp.  We did a fry-up of a few quesadillas while reorganizing gear and then set off in cloud toward Windy Corner.  Plenty of snow kept us walking funny and breathing hard as we negotiated the side hills and corners of Squirrel Hill and then Motorcycle.

At 11 camp we threw up tents and downed dinner.  The team wanted to just sleep for a few hours before resuming the march to BC at 2:30 AM.  The early start would give our best chance at catching the lower glacier in a frozen (rather than slushy) state.  We pushed on through the night gloom, a few thick fog banks and miles of glacier.  It was great to see -as expected from conditions on the way in- that the lower Kahiltna was well put together.  Very few crevasse crossings troubled us.  Finally we got working, trudging and sweating up Heartbreak Hill.  As we progressed, the weather improved to the point that with our arrival at the former site of Basecamp (nothing remains so late in the season) it was good enough to dial up K2 Aviation on the Sat Phone and seek a pickup.  The K2 pilots did their normal exceptional job in whisking us out of winter and into the Talkeetna summer.

Day 21 of our climb will end with a victory dinner in town.  True, we stopped a couple thousand feet short of the summit, but victory is still ours.  It feels that good to have endured Denali together.

Best Regards and thanks for following,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Flying into Kahiltna Base Camp on Mt. McKinley. Photo: Lindsay Mann The Talkeetna Airstrip in view. Photo: RMI Collection Sunset in Talkeetna. Photo: Linden Mallory

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3

Mt. McKinley: Hahn and Team Descend to 11,000’

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Ben Liken, Zach Lovell, Sean Collon | July 17, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,000'

July 16, 2014 - 11:37 pm PT

Hey,  this is Dave Hahn with the last team on Denali.  We did make it out of 17,000’ today.  We woke up, the weather was stable and we started working our way down.  And sure enough, we found some deep snow, it was hard going, sometimes waist deep but we made it down to 14,000’ and then plowed through a bunch more new snow to get to 11,000’.  We are taking a rest here at 11,000’ and our hope, everybody is feeling pretty enthusiastic, about trying to get to the airstrip tomorrow morning.  We are just going to rest a few hours and get on the trail again.  We expect it to be a little bit easier now that we are down low and conditions will be a bit better than what we were dealing with.

All is well with us. 
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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


RMI Guide Dave Hahn calls from 11,000ft on Mt. McKinley, Alaska.

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Mt McKinley: Significant Snowstorm Keeps Hahn & Team at 17K Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Ben Liken, Sean Collon, Zach Lovell | July 15, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

July 15th, 2014 - 7:16 pm PT

Yesterday’s storm hit hard at 17,200 ft.  The heavy snow continued through dinner and the night, with plenty of wind to make things noisy.  The team took turns through the night, going out to dig snow in order to keep tents from being crushed.  The hard workers would come back into the tents coated head-to-toe in rime ice.  By morning, several things were clear.  Significantly, the sky wasn’t one of them.  Our climbers were wet and cold from the rough night and our summit ambitions were now going to take a back seat to getting down the mountain safely.  Even before we could see the Autobahn, we knew it couldn’t receive two plus feet of snow overnight without gaining a significant avalanche risk.  Sure enough, after the morning shovel session and breakfast we did get some clearing and couldn’t see any evidence of our track to Denali Pass.  The slope had dramatically wind sculpted snow slab from top to bottom.  We won’t mess with it.  Winds died in the afternoon, which made it a little easier for the team to dry out and get some rest.  We’ll give the slopes below us a day to cook in the sun and stabilize and we’ll hope the next storm pulse holds off long enough for us to get down from the ridiculously high West Buttress.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Sunset from Mt. McKinley's 17,200' Camp. Photo: Katy Reid

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Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team - A Heavy Fall of Snow

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Ben Liken, Sean Collon, Zach Lovell | July 14, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

July 14th, 2014 - 7:45 pm PT

At seven this morning, a good chunk of the sky was clear.  We could see way out into the tundra to the West and there were mountains visible in the South that we were seeing for the first time on this trip.  Our objective, Denali’s South Peak, was in the clear and there didn’t appear to be any wind blowing at Denali Pass.  We geared up to climb for the summit.  There was a bit of cloud to watch in the Northwest though.  As we broke trail toward the base of the Autobahn (the route to Denali Pass) we watched that cloud in the NW come a little closer.  We climbed some of the steeper terrain of the Autobahn while still in morning shadows.  It was cold and progress was slow due to our need to re-establish the snowed over route.  The clouds encroached on the North Peak.  Then they formed a cap on the South Peak.  We were still in relatively calm conditions, so we pushed on to about 17,900 feet, in order to give the clouds a chance to change their mind and flee.  This didn’t happen.  The clouds became a snowstorm and so we spun around and worked carefully back to high camp.  Since the storm showed no signs of abating, it seemed a good time to retrieve our emergency cache of food from 16,200 feet.  A few intrepid guides accomplished that mission just in time to avoid strengthening winds on the West Buttress.  We’re safe in our tents now at 17,200 feet, waiting for the storm to go elsewhere before we try once again to climb Denali.

RMI Guide Dave Hahn

An RMI Guide breaks trail on the Autobahn, Mt. McKinley. Photo: Lindsay Mann

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Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Higher Than Most

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Ben Liken, Sean Collon, Zach Lovell | July 14, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

July 13, 2014 - 10:58 pm PT

Yesterday was a tough climb to reach high camp at 17,200 ft.  Bad weather at the start of the day caused us to get on the trail later than we’d have liked and a couple inches of new snow on the route made the steep pitches a little more exhausting than they might otherwise be.  Even so, with heavy packs and tired legs, we were thrilled to balance along on the crest of the West Buttress, enjoying an endless sunset of golden light.  We pulled into camp at 9 PM, just as the sun got tangled in thick cloud.  It was a scramble to build camp and get stoves going before the real cold took hold.  We ran stoves until 2:30 AM in order to have enough water.  As we worked hard to get dug in, we watched a team of two guides and one climber make a late descent of the “Autobahn”.  They’d managed to thread the needle and hit the summit and as they neared camp, the weather came in again with clouds and wind.  Our tents stood up to a few good gusts in the night and the usual blowing snow but as tired as we were, it didn’t keep us awake.  Morning was calm and easy where we were but too windy and mean up above, so we finished getting our camp in order and took it easy instead of climbing.  The team of three has descended now and we are left alone in our quest… Likely the highest people in North America, even as we simply sit in camp on what has become a beautiful evening.  If the good weather lasts until morning, we’ll know how to use it.

RMI Guide Dave Hahn

16,500' on the West Buttress, Mt. McKinley. Photo: RMI Collection

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