Entries By geoff schellens

Mt. Rainier: Teams on the Summit!

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Geoff Schellens | July 11, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 14,410'

The Four Day Summit Climb led by RMI Guide Mike Haugen along with the Expedition Skills Seminar - Paradise led by Geoff Schellens reached the summit of Mt. Rainier early this morning.  As of 7 am both teams were on their descent and approaching the top of Disappointment Cleaver en route back to Camp Muir.
Conditions are beautiful this morning with warm temperatures and light winds reported from Camp Muir (10,080’).

Congratulations to today’s climbing teams!


Congratulations team. I was so intent on getting my post climb comma sleep I did not get to say a proper good by to you all. It was a pleasure… read more

Posted by: David Fruin on 7/12/2014 at 6:58 am

Helen and Roger, I hope you are having the time of your life. I’ve been thinking about you and praying for your safety. Stay warm and I am sure you… read more

Posted by: Vickie Davis on 7/12/2014 at 4:50 am

Mt. Rainier: Summit Teams and Emmons Seminar on Top!

Posted by: Tyler Jones, Geoff Schellens, Pete Van Deventer | July 02, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 14,410'

RMI Guide Tyler Jones radioed at 7 am with his Four Day Summit Climb on their descent after reaching the summit of Mt. Rainier earlier this morning.  Tyler reported moderate winds and a cloud cap on the summit.  As the teams descended they were reaching the base of the clouds.  The second Four Day Summit Climb team led by Geoff Schellens was also descending with Tyler. 

The Expedition Skills Seminar - Emmons led by RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer reached the crater rim around 7:30 am.  The team was going to spend to a few minutes on top before starting their descent.  They will return to Camp Schurman for their final night on the mountain.

Congratulations to today’s teams!

Looking down on Camp Schurman from the Emmons Glacier Route on Mt. Rainier.  Photo: Mike Walter

Fantastic! So proud of you. Gave a safe descent.

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Posted by: Lydia on 7/3/2014 at 1:20 pm

Congrats! So proud of you guys.

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Posted by: Ellen Seib on 7/2/2014 at 12:59 pm

Mt. McKinley: Jones and Team Wrap it Up

Posted by: Tyler Jones, Garrett Stevens, Geoff Schellens | June 23, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley

June 23, 2014 - 2:10 PM PT

The day, yesterday, dawned cold and windy again, seemingly the weather theme for the entire trip. We decided to launch out of 11k camp anyway, with the siren song of airplane rides motivating our packing. When all the kits were loaded into duffels, we started the Kahiltna Shuffle in whiteout conditions, a stiff breeze keeping the temps cool despite the hard work of dragging big sleds downhill.

Soon we passed our friends who were camped at 9500’, and stopped in for a quick hello as the weather got just a little better. We continued down the glacier under improving skies, with only one or two minor freak-outs over the cumbersome sleds that threatened to take us out at the knees.

Finally the sun broke through, and the last grind up Heartbreak Hill was about as hot as anywhere on earth. But with the blue skies, we knew that the planes were flying - and that kept us moving right into base camp. Within about 10 minutes, our K2 Aviation Otter had landed, and we loaded up the kit and let internal combustion take over.

The evening wrap-up by the Susitna River was a special event, and Denali even came out from behind the clouds to give us full closure. It has been an incredible adventure from the very beginning, and while the actual climbing is over, the memories and experiences we’ve shared will remain. Thanks for following along and for all the support along the way!

RMI Guide Tyler Jones and team

RMI Guide Tyler Jones and team wrap up their trip along the banks of the Susitna River in Talkeetna, Alaska. Photo: Tyler Jones

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Congrats to the team! I can’t wait to hear more about the trip and see more pictures. Love you Jake and hope to see you soon

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Posted by: Bonnie Garfield on 6/24/2014 at 7:33 am

Tyler, Garrett and Geoff….well done and thank you from all of the John Stenderup family.  The RMI experience for John included weather adversity and other circumstances that will be life… read more

Posted by: Kent Stenderup on 6/23/2014 at 9:13 pm

Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team Take it to 11K Camp

Posted by: Tyler Jones, Garrett Stevens, Geoff Schellens | June 22, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

June 22, 2014 - 12:49 am PT

Today we woke to a cold, windy morning at high camp after yesterday’s amazing summit. The blowing snow and frigid temperatures kept us tent-bound until mid-day, when the allure of thicker air and warmer temperatures finally got us motivated to pack up and get moving.

The first stretch down the buttress was windy and cold, but by the time we reached Washburn’s Thumb it was much warmer and calmer. We made quick work of the last stretch to the lines, and then shot down the fixed ropes like it was our job. Soon we were dropping packs back in 14k camp, saying hey to Billy Nugent and Mike Haugen and their respective teams, picking up our cache and getting ready to move further down.

Soon enough, we got past Squirrel and Motorcycle Hills, revisiting our old stomping grounds at 11k. We pulled out all the cheese, meat, tortillas, and bagels we had, and commenced to put them all onto the griddle for the annual tradition of the “11,000’ Cheese Fry”. Basically we just cook all the goodness until folks are full, and then it’s off to bed for the early am launch.

We’re definitely missing the team members who had to head home early, and hope that everyone is warm and dry. Lots of walking left, but we should be at the airstrip tomorrow if all goes according to plan. We’ll check back then!

RMI Guides Garrett Stevens, Tyler Jones, Geoff Schellens and the No Troubles team

RMI Climbers descending above Washburn's Thumb on Mt. McKinley. Photo: RMI Collection

On The Map

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I can’t begin to know how you feel about what you’ve accomplished! Can’t wait to see you and hear it all through your eyes. Besides we need you…Tristan… read more

Posted by: Suzanne on 6/23/2014 at 1:34 am

John, so proud of you and the rest of the team, have been helping you along, knew you could do it!  See you soon here in the nice hot valley.… read more

Posted by: Farmor on 6/22/2014 at 6:14 pm

Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team - Patience Delivers the Summit

Posted by: Tyler Jones, Garrett Stevens, Geoff Schellens | June 21, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

June 21, 2014 - 2:56 am PT

Well, you probably heard our summit phone call from earlier today, so this is just the follow-up to that. We had a heck of a day here in the high altitudes of North America, rising from the tents early this morning to cold temperatures, light winds, and high clouds. We decided that it was going to be a day for an attempt, and once we had basked in the sun for a bit we headed over to the shade of the Autobahn. Two hours later we had passed the difficulties of the pickets and the exposure below, and we stepped out around Denali Pass.

The weather was still a bit in and out, but the No Troubles crew was moving well so we kept at it. Up steep rolls, over undulating terrain, and higher and higher we climbed. We passed familiar landmarks as the day went on, like Zebra Rocks, Archdeacon’s Tower, the Football Field, and finally crested onto the summit ridge in cold wind and clear blue skies. Late this afternoon, we reached the highest point on this continent, and emotions ran high as we hugged, high-fived, and snapped photos. Jake’s team came up onto the top just as we were getting ready to head down, and we were thrilled to share that special moment with them.

This team has had a full value experience, especially with all the uncertainty and waiting that we’ve endured. Now it’s time for one last hot drink and then into the bag for a much-deserved rest. Down tomorrow, hopefully the weather holds for a flight soon!


RMI Guides Tyler, Geoff, Garrett and the No Troubles team

Descending the West Buttress on Mt. McKinley. Photo: RMI Collection

On The Map

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Congratulations!!  We were there in ‘96 with RMI in total whiteout.  Enjoy the views!!!

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Posted by: Keith on 6/22/2014 at 7:55 am

Jennifer - Congrats on your successful climb. Jacob

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Posted by: Jacob on 6/22/2014 at 7:21 am

Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team Summit!

Posted by: Tyler Jones, Garrett Stevens, Geoff Schellens | June 20, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 20,320'

June 20, 2014 - 8:56 pm PT

Hi there, it’s Tyler and team. We are standing on the summit of North America currently with our team. A little bit in the evening around 8 o’clock [Alaska time]. We are out of the wind on our side and it’s sunny, beautiful, and everything is going well. We’ll give you a shout and a little dispatch when we get back to safe and sound to our high camp. Hope everyone’s well. We’re doing great. Thanks for all of the support. Take care you guys. Talk to you soon.

RMI Guide Tyler Jones

The Autobahn from Denali Pass on Mt. McKinley. Photo: Brent Okita The view from the top of Mt. McKinley. Photo: RMI Collection

RMI Guide Tyler Jones call from the Mt. McKinley summit.

On The Map

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Wow! Wow! Wow!  How exciting and what an amazing accomplishment!  I cannot imagine the thrill you must have felt at the summit!  I will keep all in my prayers for… read more

Posted by: Karen Pratte on 6/21/2014 at 8:11 am

Wow! Wow! Wow!  I can’t imagine the thrill that you experienced reaching the summit!  I am so very proud of you…I think you should write a book!!! Be safe on… read more

Posted by: Karen Pratte on 6/21/2014 at 8:00 am

Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team Sitting Sassy at Seventeen

Posted by: Tyler Jones, Garrett Stevens, Geoff Schellens | June 20, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

June 19, 2014 - 6:43 pm PT

Today on our next to last day for up hill travel we got the window we needed! The no troubles crew had no trouble with our move, reaching our high camp at 17,200ft! An early departure from our 14K camp meant cold hands and feet as we approached the fixed lines, but by the time we reached our first break the sun had crested the ridge to our south. We basked in the most welcome UV, and continued up to the base of the fixed lines without feeling the bite of the -5F temperatures.

We dispatched the fixed lines without incident, and were soon taking a break in a crisp little nook on the buttress proper. High, wispy clouds took the heat right out of the sun, and the constant winds reminded us of our arctic location. The last little bit of steep fixed line at Washburn’s Thumb posed no issues, and we climbed into some of the most spectacular terrain of the West Buttress.

Steep walls fell away on both sides as we climbed the last stretch into camp, and soon we had reclaimed a couple of tent platforms, set up our shelter and had stoves running for water. The constant burn is a reminder of our high location and is helping to drown out the stiff northeast breeze currently moving through camp.

Tomorrow looks like it’ll be our window for a summit attempt, provided the winds die down and the temperatures stay reasonable. We’re psyched for the camaraderie of sharing camp with Jake Beren’s team, and look forward to being on the route with them tomorrow. Wish us luck!!

RMI Guide Tyler Jones and The No Troubles Team

An RMI team at the top of the Mt. McKinley's fixed lines. Photo: Linden Mallory

On The Map

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Hi Dad!  I really miss you. I have been having trouble sleeping, thinking of you on that cold mountain in an igloo, when I am here in my warm dogloo. … read more

Posted by: Boone Stenderup on 6/20/2014 at 8:18 pm

Hi David J. and the great No Troubles Team! I was so excited today when I saw that you got to 17,000 ft.!!!!! I can’t wait to hear of your… read more

Posted by: Pam Johnson on 6/20/2014 at 7:33 pm

Mt. McKinley: RMI Guide Eric Frank’s Final Thoughts

Posted by: Eric Frank, Geoff Schellens | June 19, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 348'

June 19, 2014 - 9:34 am PT

As the wheels of our bush plane touched down in Talkeetna last night, my mind breathed a bittersweet sigh of relief. On one hand, we were back in civilization with amazing conveniences, such as flush toilets and food with expiration dates, but the trip had not turned out the way I hoped in previous months of dreaming about it. After taxiing through the airfield, we unpacked the plane and I cataloged the 36 hours of frenzied activity leading up to that point.

The weather throughout this trip was challenging. Aside from the first few days traveling up the lower Kahiltna Glacier, we battled ominous and unpredictable forecasts, and lots of marginal weather. The team did a great job of staying positive, always assuming that after the snow ended we would get our break. Day followed day, but the snow didn’t stop. It wasn’t a blizzard by any means, but just bad enough to not be able to move up high and make a summit attempt. Every morning we would get up and either watch snow fall, or see wind howling across the summit plateau. 

After nine nights at 14,200’ camp we were in a difficult position. We had managed to get a food cache up on the route, just below 16,000’, but the snow was presenting avalanche danger, the forecast hadn’t improved and the days were counting down. The group had a long discussion about schedules and desires, eventually coming to the conclusion that we would split ways. Part of the team would stay, join another RMI team for support and wait for better weather. The other half of us would pack up most of the gear and move downhill toward the runway. Family, friends and work obligations were calling our names. After a 15-hour, 14-mile walk through the night, we made it to the landing strip, caught a plane and found ourselves on terra firma Tuesday night around dinner time.

As a guide, these trips are some of the most difficult to manage. The puzzle was one piece from coming together, but it wasn’t meant to be. The frustration was not solely ours. This has been a rough year in the Alaska Range weather-wise. When we flew onto the glacier, the summit success percentage was a depressingly low 16%. It has hardly risen since then.  It would seem as though this season has been one of failure, but I prefer to view it differently. As a team, we did everything we could to be ready, the mountain simply said “no.” That doesn’t mean that we didn’t have an enjoyable trip with lots of good memories. Quite the contrary, we had several good weeks together filled with learning and bonding. I am reminded of the very applicable mountain phrase, “The summit is for the ego, but the journey is for the soul.”

Final thoughts-

To our three climbers- Andy, Jesse, and John. Thanks for arriving fit, ready to climb and with great senses of humor. You guys were a riot to hang out with in the cook tent, and on the rope. I have every confidence that given a decent weather window, you guys could tag the top.  Unfortunately, not getting a chance to summit is sometimes part of big mountain climbing. You guys handled it with class and smiles. I hope our paths in the mountains cross many times in the future.

To my fellow RMI guide, Geoff Schellens, it is always a pleasure to work with you. Good times, buddy. You are smart, patient and ridiculously strong at altitude. I felt lucky to be up there with you.

To all the family, friends, armchair mountaineers and acquaintances who followed along in the last few weeks; thank you for the support. Your comments on the blog and daily positive vibes were the fuel that pushed us along up there. We thought of you in every decision, and with each picture we took.

Until next time, keep warm and enjoy every moment of life.

RMI Guide Eric Frank

Talkeetna, Alaska - Sunset at 1:49 a.m. Photo: Eric Frank

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Eric,  Thank you for taking such good care of ‘Patty’s little boy’.  The RMI blog posts that you provided were beneficial to both excited and worried family members.  We even… read more

Posted by: Kent Stenderup on 6/23/2014 at 10:19 am

Eric——  Thank you for the beautifully written “final thoughts”.  It provided positive closure on the “Upper West Rib” expedition.  I have great respect for your focus on safety and appreciate… read more

Posted by: Patty Stenderup on 6/23/2014 at 9:44 am

Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team Make Final Preparations

Posted by: Tyler Jones, Garrett Stevens, Geoff Schellens | June 18, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

June 18, 2014 - 4:51pm PT

Well, it’s time to light this candle. We’re getting ready to vacate the premises at 14K and head up for the thin air of 17K camp, after our extended stay here in advanced base camp.

Yesterday we put the final pieces in place, as a group of guides took on an afternoon mission to move some group gear from a cache at 16,700 up to our future high camp. The afternoon was a perfect day for fast movement and by 6pm we were comfortably situated with the food, fuel, hardware and kit that we’ll need to launch for the top. Team No Troubles gets to reap the benefit of yesterday’s work, as the normally heavy group load is now up high, and folks will get to move with their bad selves and a little bit of personal gear. Woot!

It’s been a bit of an emotional roller coaster these last few days, wishing for good weather and then having forecasts dash our hopes. But this latest round of prognostication seems to give us the glimmer of goodness we need, opening the window just enough for us to make a tactical strike. Stoke and energy is at an all time high, and we’ll channel that energy into upward movement as soon as we can in the morning.

We really appreciate the love and support - keep it coming the next few days!

Until tomorrow,

RMI Guides Tyler, Garrett, Geoff and Team No Troubles

Climbers on the Ridge to 17,000' on Mt. McKinley

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Best of luck Dave J and the rest of the team! I’m so happy that you guys are on the way up! So excited for you all!

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Posted by: Patti Templeton on 6/20/2014 at 5:23 am

So very excited for you Jen. Proud of your patience and courage. Hang tough until the end.  Love you.

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Posted by: Aunt Marie on 6/20/2014 at 2:57 am

Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team Hope for a Good Weather Window

Posted by: Tyler Jones, Garrett Stevens, Geoff Schellens | June 18, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

June 18, 2014 - 12:24am PT

Today we got some news that a window may come our way in the next few days! We woke with the sun warming us. Granola and coffee got our day started at 14k camp. We saw fairly good weather throughout the day, yet a forecast for another big pulse of heavy snow for the near hours! Our equipment, attitudes, and stoke for the future are high and our methods of getting there are well calculated.

We wait another day hanging in there for the final push up the mountain. This season has not given many opportunities for a summit push but if we try and give it our whole effort we may just succeed! Tomorrow we will make our final preparation to stay or plan our departure Keep your eye on us and think high pressure weather.


RMI Guides Garrett, Tyler, Geoff and the No Troubles Team

Storm on Mt. McKinley at 14,200'. Photo: Dave Hahn

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Climb strong, we are all praying for you!! Love you, Dave Johnson!

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Posted by: Sandi on 6/20/2014 at 6:25 am

D.G. and team.
Wishing you luck and a good weather window. Love you little brother, Climb strong!

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Posted by: Lori Bartek on 6/18/2014 at 3:01 pm

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