Entries By dave hahn

Mt. McKinley: Hahn and Team Settle in at 11 Camp

Posted by: Ben Liken, Dave Hahn, Sean Collon, Zach Lovell | July 03, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,000'

Hello everyone!

Today has been a day of a little work and a lot of rest.  We woke up to a delightful breakfast of bagels with cream cheese and bacon and after some casual conversation it was time to go retrieve our 10,000’ cache.  All was well except for a minor raven attack…...thankfully the only casualty was a bag of ramen noodles.  It was a 3 hour round trip and before long folks were back to relaxing and drinking glacier fresh water.  Our plan for the rest of the day is to keep hydrating and get ready to carry a load to 13,500 ft tomorrow.  Stay tuned as we continue our slow but steady climb up this giant pile of rock and ice.

RMI Guide Ben Liken

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

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Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Enjoy an Easy Day

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Ben Liken, Sean Collon, Zach Lovell | July 02, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,000'

July 1, 2014 - 11:13 pm PT

Today was a relatively easy move for the team.  We were walking out of our 9,000’ camp at 7 AM when things were crisp and cold.  The track was in pretty good condition due to the number of teams that had been over it in the preceding 24 hours and our loads were light.  We began in clear conditions but by the time we reached the big right hand turn at Kahiltna Pass, we were in cloud.  Passing our cached gear at 10,000’, we began the more serious hills leading to 11 camp.  The team rolled into camp at around 11:30 AM and set to smoothing out tent platforms.  Right about then it began to snow, just as had been predicted.  There are at least a half dozen other guided teams in camp, a few more than we expected to see, but most are staffed by friends and acquaintances.  The team took a well-earned rest for the afternoon. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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

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Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Make Carry to 10,000’

Posted by: Ben Liken, Dave Hahn, Sean Collon, Zach Lovell | July 01, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 9,000'

June 30, 2014 - 9:44pm PT

Hey Everybody!

Last night we got our first taste of Denali weather as a wet snow fell, dusting our camp with six fresh inches.  The little storm began to lift after a leisurely breakfast of bacon, eggs, and hash browns and we were soon able to pack our bags for a carry to 10,000’ feet.  Along the hike we witness spectacular views down the Kahiltna Glacier and up to the start of the West Buttress.  We are now back in camp resting and awaiting a tasty dinner of tortellini prepared by Zach.  All is well here in the great north as the sun splashes some light into our dinning tent. 

Thanks for following along!

RMI Guide Ben Liken

View of 11,000' camp on Mt. McKinley. Photo: Chris Villar

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Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Moving in the Right Direction

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Ben Liken, Sean Collon, Zach Lovell | June 29, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,000'

June 28, 2014 - 10:07 pm PT

So good to be on Denali.  So good to be on the move again.  With our late flight onto the mountain yesterday evening, there wasn’t so much time to be ready for the late season tradition of walking out of basecamp at 4 AM this morning.  We built our camp and put priority on getting good rest instead.  Our thinking was that with so much snow (30 inches from the last storm) that we might get by just fine without the early start.  We’d plainly seen the lower Kahiltna Glacier during our flight and it certainly didn’t look like crevasse bridges were going to be a problem.  So we got up at a civilized 7:30 AM and did our organizational work and set out for a daytime Denali departure.  As we’d allowed ourselves to hope, crevasses were no problem.  In fact the glacier was in better condition than it had been for late season in decades.  We made three hour-long pulls with some fifteen-minute restbreaks in between.  But in the end we decided not to push on to our normal first day camp goal of 8,000 feet.  Despite our snowshoes, the walk was getting strenuous due to the great amount of unconsolidated new snow softening with the heat of the day.  We camped at 7,000 ft where the East Fork meets the main glacier and we’ll happily begin earlier tomorrow to get ideal surface conditions.  Nice to see a few of the other late season guides on the move today as well, a bit of a reunion.  Especially nice to hear from Adam Knoff at 11K on the radio and Billy Nugent on top.

RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Dave Hahn's June 24th, 2014, Denali Expedition team. Photo: Dave Hahn RMI's June 24th, 2014, Denali Expedition guides. Photo: Dave Hahn Flying above Denali Basecamp. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Train in Talkeetna on a Rainy Day

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Ben Liken, Sean Collon, Zach Lovell | June 27, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 348'

June 27, 2014 - 12:00 am PT

We were up and hustling to get ready this morning, anxious for the chance to get on Mount McKinley.  But it turned out, after breakfast and a walk in the rain to the airstrip, that there wasn’t too great a chance for flying today.  The word was that several feet of new snow had fallen overnight at Basecamp.  The snow, cloud and wind were predicted to continue up there for the day, but we were put on standby just in case things broke.  We made good use of the day in the K2 Aviation hangar, reviewing rope techniques for glacier travel.  The rain and low cloud persisted, but we stayed dry enough.  We had one more “last” dinner in town and turned in to be ready for another day and another try.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

RMI Guide Sean Collon prepping the McKinley team on a rainy day in Talkeetna. Photo: Dave Hahn Team Hahn's gear ready for Mt. McKinley. Photo: Dave Hahn

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McKinley: Hahn & Team Make Final Preparations

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Ben Liken, Sean Collon, Zach Lovell | June 26, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley

June 25, 2014 - 11:35pm PT

A rainy and grey morning in Talkeetna didn’t stop our team from a seven o’clock breakfast meeting at Talkeetna’s great Roadhouse.  We were primed and ready for our important orientation at the Talkeetna Ranger Station at 8:30.  Our climbers were honored to have Roger Robinson himself give the presentation.  Roger has been climbing Denali and rescuing Denali climbers for close to four decades now.  Then it was out to the K2 Aviation hangar where we spread out our gear and got down to the nuts and bolts of figuring out exactly what to bring on the climb and what to leave behind.  It took much of the afternoon to sort gear and to get it all weighed, inventoried and ready for flying.  So it became an “indoors” day, which was just fine.  Rain kept falling and there was precious little flying going on out at the normally bustling Talkeetna Airport.  The team got together finally for what we hope will be our last dinner in town for some time.  It was a fine feast, but we’d just as soon be on climbing rations when supper time rolls around tomorrow.

Best Regards,

RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Dave Hahn and team at the Road House in Talkeetna.  Photo: Ben Liken

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Mt. McKinley: Dave Hahn & Team Arrive in Alaska

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Ben Liken, Sean Collon, Zach Lovell | June 25, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 248'

June 25, 2014 - 12:26 am PT

And so it begins…  The last RMI Denali team of 2014 took shape today in the Anchorage airport.  We assembled, seven climbers and four guides from around the world lugging about 23 or 24 giant duffel bags of cold weather gear.  The team took a ride with Denali Overland, our shuttle service to Talkeetna.  The three hour trip was broken by a stop for provisions in Wasilla, but then we powered on up the Parks highway to our Talkeetna turnoff.  We had pretty good views of the Chugach Range as we left Anchorage but the Alaska Range stayed mostly hidden under cloud.  There were some scattered rain showers to see, and a Bald Eagle or two, but no moose this time.  We were in Talkeetna by 8:30 PM and getting settled into the comfortable Talkeetna Motel not much later.  The big work of preparing to fly onto Denali begins in the morning.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Talkeetna Alaska, the starting point for the Mt McKinley Expeditions.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. Everest: Dave Hahn and Team Return to Kathmandu

Posted by: Billy Nugent, JJ Justman, Dave Hahn | April 29, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 4,383'

In Lukla, roughly eight thousand vertical feet below our Everest Basecamp home of the past three weeks, we were pretty comfortable.  But just for one night.  The team was awake by five am yesterday, eating by 5:30 and walking over to the airport check-in at six.  We watched -partly in awe, partly in horror- as Twin Otters, Dorniers and A-Stars roared in and out of the compact one acre loading and unloading zone, pirouetting into place, revving engines, disgorging trekkers, cases of beer and heavy bags of rice at a frenetic pace.  When summoned by frantic hand gestures, we shouldered our packs, walked out onto the tarmac and took over the seats in a Twin.
A few minutes later, we were in the air, over a few craggy passes and cruising toward Kathmandu.  Upon landing, we were no-longer climbers, or even would-be climbers, we were happily transformed to overdressed tourists.  As such we took off a few layers and began showering, shaving and eating eating eating. 
Although we are still far from home, the program is finished.  We continue to enjoy each other’s company, we still rely on one another to make sense of the sad events and unexpected turns our trip has taken.  The team is grateful that so many have followed our journey on the blog and offered up kind words and support.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Views from the airplane flight between Kathmandu and Lukla.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. Everest: Hahn and team finish their trek

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Billy Nugent, JJ Justman | April 27, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest

Billy Nugent led the way out of Namche, down the big hill and into the valley of a thousand farms and small villages.  We made it in six hours to a comfy tea house next to the airstrip in Lukla.  The rain caught us for the last hour or so, but didn’t actually bother anybody enough to make them put a raincoat on.  We ate the afternoon away in our new low-altitude home.  Mark Tucker made a surprise appearance for dinner, having finished up his duties at Basecamp today and figured out a way to heli-hike in minutes what had filled up three days for the rest of us.  We are now poised for an early wake-up and some airport hustle that may or may not get us to Kathmandu by fixed-wing aircraft.  All depends on the weather.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Mt. Everest: Dave Hahn & Team Back to Namche Bazaar

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman, Billy Nugent, Mark Tucker | April 26, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 11,300'

Today was a big walking day, up and down the hills of the Khumbu Valley from Pheriche to Namche.  Right out of Pheriche, where we started hiking at 8 AM, we crossed the river, climbed a hill and turned into the inhabited portions of the Khumbu.  We turned our backs on rocks and ice and walked down into rhododendrons, pine trees and villages.  JJ led the way as we rolled through Shomare, Pangboche, Deboche, Thyangboche, and Phunky Tonga.  We got hot enough to sweat a bit, which was a novelty, we passed a million trekkers and heard about a million helicopter laps as the B2’s and B3’s flew over us on their way back and forth to Everest Base.  Finally, at midday, we got working our way up the giant dusty hill that would put us on level with Namche.  It took us about six hours to reach Namche -still quite familiar to us since we spent three days acclimating in town on the way in.  This time… no acclimatization needed… so fine to be below 12,000 ft for the first time in close to a month.  The team enjoyed a fine evening at comfortable Camp De Base.

One more big day of hiking to go before Lukla International.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Descending views of Everest. Photo:  Casey Grom

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