Entries By jason thompson

Alaska Seminar: Training at Kahiltna Base Camp

Posted by: Jason Thompson, Eric Frank | May 16, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,300'

Well hello all.

Last week temperatures were frigid. I am happy to say today was downright balmy. We’ll take it.

We spent our entire day today going over some critical information. Laying the ground work for crevasse rescue. A lot of information was downloaded and everyone seemed to grasp the concepts. Knots, anchors, rappelling into a crevasse, self extrication from a crevasse were some of our topics on this beautiful day.

Kahiltna Base Camp is getting busier by the day. More and more climbers are showing up to head up Denali, other friends are finding success on various routes on the Mini Moon Flower and the North Buttress of Mt Hunter with this current stretch of superb weather.

Word on the street is temperatures are about to get really hot the next few days. We will let you know how that plays out.
Everyone is doing great and says hello.

RMI Guide Jason Thompson

On The Map

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Alaska Seminar: Team flies to Base Camp

Posted by: Eric Frank, Jason Thompson | May 15, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,200'

Hello from the Alaska Range,

We departed Talkeetna this afternoon and the flight onto the glacier was spectacular, no one was disappointed. We quickly set up our camp on the SE fork of the Kahiltna Glacier and are beginning to adjust to glacier living. The weather is splendid.

We are looking forward to beginning our training tomorrow and will let you know how it goes.

RMI Guide Jason Thompson

On The Map

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Alaska Seminar: Program Recap

Posted by: Jason Thompson | May 14, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 358'

Our time in the Alaska Range finished wrapped up just a couple of days ago. We had an extra 2 bonus days in the mountains. Our fly off date was set, but the weather determines our true fly off date. The snow began to fall the night before our scheduled departure date, it kept snowing for the following 2 days. Veteran climbers stated that this had been one of the biggest snowstorms, at Base Camp, that they could remember in the past
7 years. Over 3 ft of snow fell in a little more than a 36 hr period. We woke up on Saturday morning to crystal clear skies, soon the planes began to fill the skies. Everyone at base camp looking for a flight out spent the previous evening stomping out the run way for the planes. Still, when the planes landed it was obvious how deep the snow was for the planes. I think the pilots were getting faceshots, as the snow was hitting the windshields of the planes. We all arrived back in Talkeetna in the early afternoon, on Saturday.

The week consisted of lots of information being uploaded and downloaded to a very enthusiastic group of climbers. Us guides were very impressed with how much information this group of climbers soaked up. Topics covered a wide variety of mountain tactics, how to simply live comfortably in an environment that was cold and snowy, how to set up a camp, crevasse rescue, snow and ice anchors, climber responsibilities, avalanches and rescue, ice climbing and the list continues.

Everyone had a great time experiencing the Alaska range. Ideas have already been hatched for future trips to visit Little Switzerland, the Ruth Gorge or other objectives around the base camp area, from members of this group. Climbing around the Kahiltna base camp area offers a great experience for your first time to Alaska. Hopefully we will see you up here soon.

Everyone is on their way home now but memories will last a long time of this very special place.

Thanks again from Jason, Andres, Anne Gilbert and RMI

14,573' Mt. Hunter in sunlight The team on Mt. Frances

Alaska Seminar: Return to Talkeetna

Posted by: Jason Thompson | May 12, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 358'

After a great training seminar in the Alaska Range and a few days waiting out the weather at Base Camp, RMI Guide Jason Thompson and team have returned to Talkeetna.

The team awoke to clear skies and anxiously awaited the sound of aircraft over head.  They weren’t disappointed.  Everyone is back in Talkeetna looking forward to warm showers and a meal they don’t have to make themselves.  They will be transferring to Anchorage later this afternoon.

Congratulations on a safe and successful week!


Alaska Seminar: Lots of New Snow at Base Camp

Posted by: Jason Thompson | May 11, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,300'

Well the snow continues to pile up. Our storm board is reading 68 cm of snow in the past 36-hour period. The wind has been picking up, intensifying the storm. Turns out, this storm is a little bigger then they first thought.

We spent three hours this morning digging out our tents and the cook tent. We’re all staying busy here on the glacier, experiencing the other part of Alaska, the weather.

Well not too much else to report, hopefully we’ll be off the glacier sooner then later.

RMI Guide Jason Thompson

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Alaska Seminar: Waiting for a Weather Window

Posted by: Jason Thompson | May 10, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,300'

There was about two feet of new snow last night at Kahiltna Base Camp.  It is currently snowing and visibility is low.  We are in standby mode and playing cards with our one set of 48 cards. 

It turns out the little snow storm from yesterday is lasting into today. We are waiting for some clear weather and our flight off the glacier. The thunderous vibrations of avalanches somewhere off into the thick clouds are pretty cool canceling out the wind and the snow battering the tent. Everyone has had a great time, but most are ready for some beers.

Signing out from the land of positive vibrations.

RMI Guide Jason Thompson

On The Map


Alaska Seminar: Climb of Mt. Frances

Posted by: Jason Thompson | May 10, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,200'

Hello once again. We went out to play today in the Alaska range. Our objective was Mt Frances which sits just north of the base camp. We are camping at 7,200 ft, Mt Frances sits at 10,450 ft. We left camp at 8 am in the cold morning air, the sun was just coming around the south buttress of Denali to touch the north buttress of Mt Hunter.
Our climbing involved a glacier approach via what some people refer to as rackets or otherwise snowshoes. We then transitioned into our crampons and went climbing up a super fun 1,200 ft chute. We climbed up steep snow surrounded by beautiful Alaskan granite and pitched things out a few times, where we gained the East ridge.
The views from the ridge and summit offered glimpses of some amazing features in the range. Masioli’s tower sticks out in plain site as does the south face of Denali.
Our problem today was that the views quickly disappeared. Some weather came in and it began to snow.  We began our descent and five rappels later we were back on the glacier. Everyone did great and had a super fun time.
The plan is to fly off tomorrow back into Talkeetna.

A very successful trip up here in Alaska.
RMI Guide Jason Thompson

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Alaska Seminar: Training Continues

Posted by: Jason Thompson | May 09, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,300

Today was a good day.
Folks keep commenting on how this place keeps getting more stunning. With the new snow we have had recently, the contrast of the Alaskan Range with its freshly painted steep spines, flutes that glow in the alpine light and bright blue glacial ice glistening in the sun. I have to agree.

We have been waking up around seven each morning to some very chilly temperatures.  Today camp was busy since some stable weather moved in and people took advantage of being out in it.  We spent our entire day putting our skills to use. Everyone set up 6:1 crevasse rescue system simulating an actual crevasse fall of their climbing partner. We took a turn catching a fall, being lowered into the crevasse, and being the climber responsible for running the show. Everyone did very well and we were impressed. 

After that we still had plenty of time left so we fixed some lines - ropes - and rappelled down into the crevasse where we transitioned into icicle climbing mode. I think a couple folks might have just acquired a new but expensive sport.

Now we are all chilling, making some pretty amazing quesadillas - the group contributions has allowed for some creative visions.
We’ll see what we get into tomorrow.

Good night from the land of the six hour sunset.
RMI Guide Jason Thompson

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Alaska Seminar: New Snow Fitting for Today’s Training Session

Posted by: Jason Thompson | May 08, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,300'

This morning we woke to more snow on the Kahiltna Glacier. Over 7 inches of snow fell over night and the snow continued throughout the day. The beauty of the Alaskan Range continues to impress us all.

Today’s training session involved the fitting topic of avalanches. We had avalanche rescue scenarios where we learned how to manage the scene of an accident, how to come up with a plan and how to execute that plan. During our time here on the glacier we have seen some very exciting and impressive Alaskan-sized avalanches, from a safe distance. We continued with our crevasse rescue technical skills training this afternoon. Everyone is grasping these concepts very well with an eagerness and excitement to learn.

We shall see what the weather brings us as that dictates so much of life in the mountains.

Ciao,
RMI Guide Jason Thompson

7,200' on the Kahiltna Glacier
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Alaska Seminar: Great Day for Training

Posted by: Jason Thompson | May 07, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,300'

Once again we woke to a beautiful morning today at the base of Mt. McKinley. Our day has been filled with technical information. We have thoroughly covered rappelling, fixed line travel, self extrication from a crevasse, and reviewed our knots and anchor systems. We will continue to put these skills to good use when we implement them into crevasse rescue scenarios.  The planes have been buzzing around basecamp today dropping climbers on the glacier. The climbing season is getting underway here in the Alaskan Range. It is super fun to be right in the middle of it all. 

Until next time. The Alaskan Seminar is signing off.

RMI Guide Jason Thompson

K2 Aviation plane on the Kahiltna Glacier
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