- Melissa Arnot
- Alex Barber
- Gabriel Barral
- Bridget Belliveau
- Jake Beren
- Zeb Blais
- Katrina Bloemsma
- Katie Bono
- Nick Brown
- Adam Butterfield
- Anne Gilbert Chase
- Lance Colley
- Sean Collon
- Leon Davis
- Elias de Andres Martos
- Cody Doolan
- Paul Edgren
- Mark Falender
- Leah Fisher
- Eric Frank
- Steve Gately
- Josh Gautreau
- Thomas Greene
- Casey Grom
- Dave Hahn
- Walter Hailes
- Tim Hardin
- Mike Haugen
- Bryan Hendrick
- Andy Hildebrand
- Mike Hinckley
- Joe Horiskey
- Nick Hunt
- Tyler Jones
- J.J. Justman
- Levi Kepsel
- Mike King
- Adam Knoff
- Katy Laveck
- Ben Liken
- Josh Maggard
- Paul Maier
- Linden Mallory
- Lindsay Mann
- Andres Marin
- Jeff Martin
- Robert Montague
- Erik Nelson
- Chase Nelson
- Billy Nugent
- Brent Okita
- Logan Randolph
- Tyler Reid
- Dave Reynolds
- Kel Rossiter
- Geoff Schellens
- Shaun Sears
- Garrett Stevens
- Jason Thompson
- Mike Tomlinson
- Mark Tucker
- Mike Uchal
- Pete Van Deventer
- Alex Van Steen
- Ed Viesturs
- Maile Wade
- Mike Walter
- Seth Waterfall
- Solveig Waterfall
- Peter Whittaker
- Win Whittaker
- Bryson Williams
- Dan Windham
- Robby Young
Entries By lindsay mann
We fared well on our first night at 17,200’. Any little headaches of the day before vanished come morning and everyone was in good spirits by the time I ‘woke’ them up at 10:30. Needless to say we didn’t go for the summit this morning. It was somewhat windy and cloudy all day with snow falling occasionally. Just another day at 17,200’ camp.
After rather prolonged brunch we got after building some respectable walls for our tents and Posh House. Unfortunately, we ran out of time to build a nice boudoir to house our CMC (clean mountain can). But, there’s always tomorrow should we not get a chance for the summit.
The weather forecast is not promising for the next couple of days, but considering that they are as often wrong as right up here, that doesn’t bother me. I’ll be getting up in the cold morning hours regardless to see for myself.
Everyone is feeling good and doing well up here in this rather inhospitable world of cold and high elevation. And when it came time to crank out the block cutting and wall building this team went after it. That said, we all sure appreciated getting out of the gusty winds and snow when the time came to finish for the day. Lunch in the Posh and some horizontal time in the tents never felt better.
Finally, we all want to shout out a big Happy Birthday to Phil. Phil. we miss you dearly and wish you were up here with us, cutting blocks and eating dehydrated meals. Now tell me, can you beat that down there? I didn’t think so.
Let’s hope for a change in the weather. It doesn’t seem quite so windy right now, so ...
Goodnight from 17,200’
RMI Guides Brent, Leon and Lindsay
Hi, this is Brent along with Leon and Lindsay calling from 17,000’ camp on the West Buttress here on Mt. McKinley.
We have just gotten up to our high camp here today after a grueling but a great climb in which everyone climbed super well. Right now it’s about 10 o’clock and the guides are just getting into their sleeping bags after getting dinner and filling up water bottles and all that good stuff.
Currently the conditions are pretty good, a little windy just 20 mph winds. We are in a bit of a white out, a little snow blowing but not too bad.
We are up here now, the forecast isn’t for horrible conditions but not bluebird, perfect conditions either. And that’s ok for us because we wouldn’t mind a rest day after our big climb up from the 14,000’ camp this morning.
We’ll be waking up early to check the weather just in case we have a perfect day. If that’s the case and there’s no wind then we are going to go for the summit tomorrow morning. So wish us luck on that. Otherwise we’ll be here and we have plenty of supplies to last us through any storm that might come our way.
That is all from 17,000 foot camp.
RMI Guide Brent Okita checks in from 17,000 ft on Mt. McKinley
On The Map
“Its a miracle, I lit the stoves!” Exclaimed Roberto as he woke up the team this morning. When we entered the cook tent Roberto and Brent had laid out a spread of bagels, cream cheese and smoked salmon. Roberto was quite the Italian gentlemen this morning running the stoves and serving hot water, while insisting everyone enjoy their morning coffee and cider, and even giving us a short Italian lesson. A big grazie to Roberto, our favorite Italian chef at 14,000 feet!
After a leisurely breakfast we took a walk out to the edge of the world. The edge of the world got its name because it drops away 6,000 feet below you. Allowing us to see our previous camp at 7,800 feet and giving us fantastic views of the Alaskan range.
That was our big event of the day, and now we are resting and preparing for our move to 17,000 foot camp.
Other exciting news was that RMI Guide Gilbert Chase on the McKinley May 15th Expedition checked in this morning as RMI Guide Billy Nugent and team were making their summit bid. We expect to hear from them later on tonight.
Sitting strong at 14,
RMI Guides Lindsay, Brent and Leon and team
On The Map
Today the team succeeded in getting our cache all the way up to 17,200’. What an achievement! Another early start had us beating the madding crowds up the fixed ropes and allowing us to enjoy our climb on the Buttress with a peaceful solitude.
At Washburn’s Thumb everyone was climbing well, but we decided to send one team on up to high camp while the rest of us conserved our strength and descended back to camp from 16,600’. After all, we had reached the highest point many of us had ever climbed to and were doing well. Our team of go-getters who went on higher even carried some of our personal caches with them so that all our cache would be together at our next and final camp. I’m still so impressed by how this team pulls together and helps each other out in times like these. It should be noted that seldom do any teams make the effort or have the strength to carry all the way up to 17,200’ camp.
What we experience while climbing the terrain between the fixed ropes and 17,200’ is nothing short of awesome. And for most of us this is the most exciting climbing we have ever done. Steep, exposed and beautiful. What more could we want.
Back at camp now everyone is resting well and looking forward to a real rest day. We’ll sleep in and dine on smoked salmon, bagels and cream cheese. And maybe after that we’ll get into something else. It will be a well deserved day of rest!
Until next time…
RMI Guides Brent, Leon and Lindsay
On The Map
Breakfast was early this morning as the night was fairly warm and if we were to make a carry we wanted to not be caught up in the sometimes crowded scene that happens on the fixed ropes later in the day. But a quick survey of how everyone was doing at breakfast confirmed our suspicion that the day would be better spent resting and fortifying our camp from windy, nasty weather that can happen at any time. After all, we’d been going strong for six days straight. So, we enjoyed a leisurely meal of western omelette, bacon and bagels, followed by some warm pop tarts. And the best part of the morning was when Roberto Pellegrino took over and started turning out some killer pancakes leftover from another days breakfast. The morning amounted to a relaxed time just enjoying each others company. But of course my mind is always spinning and after my third hot drink I thought it might be worthwhile to at least get some food up to our high camp, and perhaps even see our friends Billy, Geoff and Gilbert. So, off Lindsay and I went. It was her first time actually on the Buttress itself, and it made for a fun trip. And visiting with our other team at 17,200’ was great too.
Tomorrow we plan on all climbing up the fixed ropes and on to the Buttress. How far we just don’t know. But, we’ll be sporting nice light packs, a very welcome change for us all.
We’ll be in touch tomorrow night as long as we get back early enough.
Brent, Leon and Lindsay
On The Map
What does normal feel like at 14,200’? Certainly not what it feels like at home. At least not at first. The headaches and weariness that some felt last night evaporated by morning and it was nice to see smiles on everyone’s faces at breakfast. Yet still, we are not fully adjusted to the elevation. This becomes obvious when some normally easy things like shoveling snow or even walking to the ‘bathroom’ cause our respirations and pulse to surge a bit. But, it’s getting better.
Today we retrieved our cache from 13,500’ and did some training in preparation for the most challenging climbing yet. Becoming comfortable with the mechanical ascenders that we will use for protection while ascending the steeps of the fixed ropes leading to the West Buttress is critical for our safe and efficient ascent. Next, being proficient in dealing with running belays used for protection on our climb up the exposed and most beautiful ridge of the Buttress is essential. And I’m happy to say that everyone is well prepared for tomorrows climbing.
Good news from our friends, RMI 2, led by Billy Nugent, who are now at 17,200’ camp, is that there are plenty of supplies at camp there, so our packs will be fairly light on our first foray up to 16,000’ or 17,000’.
Our climbing tomorrow serves two purposes. We do need to get food and fuel up to our next camp. But more importantly, tomorrow will serve to heighten our acclimatization greatly, allowing our bodies to feel even more normal up here. And the more ‘normal’ we start feeling here at 14,200’, the more prepared we will be for our eventual move to high camp at 17,200’.
But that’s jumping ahead a little. For now we’ll just concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other for a few hours and see if we can’t get a cache in somewhere above us.
Goodnight from 14,200’ camp where our expected low temp tonight will hover around 0 degrees.
RMI Guides Brent Okita, Leon Davis, and Lindsay Mann
On The Map
We awoke this morning early again, trying to take advantage of another windless day. With blue skies overhead we were optimistic of our chances of getting to camp at 14,100’
The crew had breakfast and struck camp as quickly and well as I’ve seen. Obviously they were some pretty motivated climbers.
A slight breeze kept us wrapped up in most of our layers, and we even put on face protection climbing through Windy Corner. But the team climbed even better today than yesterday. However, leaving our high point of yesterday and ascending the final 700’ to camp reminded us all of the big jump in elevation we were making. Although everyone climbed really well, even the strongest of the team struggled a bit with the last bit of elevation gain.
But all this is expected and a normal part of the acclimatization process. An easy day tomorrow will find the team feeling better as our bodies adjust to the altitude. We’re looking forward to it.
Getting into camp early today allowed us to establish a nice camp, dry out sleeping bags packed in haste this morning, and settle in to our new home before the sun disappeared behind the ridge. Our bags will be especially welcome tonight.
Talk with you again tomorrow.
On The Map
Awakening early this morning we were surprised at just how warm and windless it was. At first our views were obscured by thick clouds, but moments later we could recognize the faint outlines of the ridges above us and realized that in fact we were at the top edge of a thick cloud bank enveloping the Kahiltna below us.
Everyone was excited, and perhaps just a bit anxious about the climbing ahead. After all, we were to face our steepest terrain yet.
Now, in our tent after a wonderful meal of pasta followed by blueberry cheese cake, all I can say is how proud I am of how this team climbed today! Everyone handled the loads and the climbing really well. About as well as I’ve seen. This sure bodes well for later.
We really appreciated the early start being over an hour ahead of any other team. It felt like we had the mountain to ourselves, and we did. That is, until we descended and saw the throngs of humanity ascending the slopes we had passed long before. At dinner many in the group reflected on what they saw and asked, “Did we look like that?” referring to the hunched over postures of people battling altitude, steep terrain and a notable lack of technique and training. We were delighted to say, “no, you guys are climbers!”
On The Map
With packs lightened down after leaving a cache at 9500’, the team made easy work on the climb to 11,200’ camp today. Our three and a half hour jaunt was made all the nicer by bluebird skies and sunny warm temperatures. To top things off we moved into a nice campsite that required minimal work. Although its snowing lightly again, we are looking forward to another easier day tomorrow, where we will retrieve our cache from 9500’.
That’s all from 11,200 feet.
On The Map
Today marked our last day pulling full loads, and I think we’re all pretty psyched about that! Our five hour climb began after waking up to three inches of snow and white-out conditions. But such conditions are certainly not unusual on the Kahiltna, and so after a hearty breakfast of fried bagels, cream cheese and bacon we tackled Ski Hill.
Pulling huge sleds and shouldering monstrous packs is a given when climbing Denali, but is no small measure of character and sheer physical tenacity of the climber who accepts that challenge. And it is by meeting that challenge today that this team has really demonstrated a strength of will that will serve them well on this trip.
Tomorrow begins the time in the trip when we start splitting up our loads and ferrying them up the mountain in stages. We’re looking forward to this, but I know that these first two days have only made us stronger, and in the end, better prepared for the demands that lie ahead. We’ll move camp up to 11,200’ camp tomorrow and finally enjoy setting up a camp where we’ll be for at least three days. I think the crew is going to welcome finally being able to build a ‘proper’ mountain home, replete with protective walls around the tents and enclosed commodes. What an energetic and motivated team. I’m a lucky guide.
On The Map
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