Entries By logan randolph

Mt. McKinley: Okita & Team Move to 14,000’ Camp

Posted by: Brent Okita, Leah Fisher | May 29, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

Update: 5/29/13
For the last 20 minutes, the shadow of the upper mountain has been creeping across 14,000ft camp. While its never dark here, the temperature drops significantly when the sun slides out of sight. We are now warm and safe in our sleeping bags, and ready to rest after a long day in the sun.

This morning we awoke at 11,000 ft to a crisp clear morning. After only three days at 11k, the place felt like home. All our team members sat in their preferred (and now regular) locations in our dinning shelter. And after an oatmeal breakfast everyone returned to their respective tents on well worn paths.

We then disassembled camp. What had been a home, dissolved into a series of tools and pieces of fabric. After an hour, we were ready to leave. Snow walls proudly protected our empty camp as we headed to 14,000 ft.

The route was familiar - we took the same route to cash gear yesterday. The team climbed even stronger today. Moral was high and the views were spectacular. As we neared 14,000ft, the sun was directly overhead. While Denali can be a harsh wintery environment, it can also feel like a solar oven. The glaciers act like mirrors and there is no shade. We left camp bundled up and arrived dropping with sweat.

We made our way to an old campsite at 14k and refurbished it. We leveled existing tent platforms, dug out a cook shelter and made ourselves at home. From our new home, we have a clear view of the upper mountain. All afternoon we watched climbers and skiers high above us.

We are all excited to get up high. But we also know that there is work to be done. We must train, collect our gear from 13,500 and bring more gear up high. For now, sleep is a priority. We’ve earned it.

RMI Guides Logan, Leah and Brent

Ascending Squirrel Hill en route to 14,000 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: Brent Okita Building walls at 14,000 ft to protect our camp.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Hi Ayla and Betzalel and team,

A short while ago Yirme and Rechie had a beautiful baby girl!!!  We all thrilled and can’t wait to see her.  Unfortunately we will… read more

Posted by: Nancy on 5/29/2013 at 4:03 pm

Gerald!!! It’s so cool to be able to follow you guys on here. Btw, I didn’t know Denali and Mt McKinley were the same. Was a little confused but got… read more

Posted by: Mike Arahill on 5/29/2013 at 4:03 pm

Mt. McKinley: Okita & Team Carry to 13,500’

Posted by: Brent Okita, Leah Fisher | May 28, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

Monday, May 27, 2013
At 6:00 am few climbers are stirring, preferring to crawl out of their tents when the sun is a little closer to chasing the cold shadows of the night away. But we had a big day ahead of us, and knew we would be comfortable having breakfast and hot drinks in our Posh tent.
A skiff of snow barely covered the tents and the gear we left outside, and a few more clouds lingered around for a short while after we lit the stoves, but the sun was also out and we knew it was going to be good enough to make our carry up to 13,500’.
The crew was super quick getting ready this morning, eager, and certainly a little anxious about the climbing to come. After all, it was to be the steepest terrain we’ve been on. And as I suspected, everyone climbed well. A very slight breeze kept us comfortable until the last fifteen minutes when the wind stopped and things got hot. We got to our cache site at 2:00, a very respectable time by any measure. Everyone was tired but smiling and happy. The descent was just as smooth, allowing us to enjoy a few hours of well deserved R&R before dinner.
Our plan for tomorrow is to move up to 14,200’ camp if we’re all feeling good in the morning. Otherwise we’ll take a rest day. If we do move up, we’ll definitely be taking a couple of rest days there, which are key to our acclimatization to the elevation of camp.
After dinner we read all your posts! Thanks so much for the kind words and well wishes. It was another bright spot to an already good day.
Until tomorrow!

RMI Guides Brent, Logan and Leah

An RMI Team makes a carry toward 14,000' on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Erich!! I’m so proud of you but Cooking for one isn’t much fun. Take some notes on those fried bagels, that sounds right up my alley. :)  Stay strong, safe… read more

Posted by: Amberly on 5/28/2013 at 5:41 pm

Ayla, Betzalel, Virgil and Brent

It is so fun to hear how well your climb is progressing!  Best of success as you safely move up the mountain!!!


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Posted by: Fred Klingbeil on 5/28/2013 at 4:35 pm

Mt. McKinley: Okita & Team Carry and Rest

Posted by: Brent Okita, Leah Fisher | May 26, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

Sunday, May 26, 2013
Bagels fried in butter, slathered in cream cheese and accompanied with smoked salmon and bacon. It was the perfect fuel to start us out on the perfect day. Clear, calm skies prevailed over the Alaska Range once again and shortly after 9:30 we were hoofing it down to pick up our cache at 9500’. Everyone cruised up and down, allowing us a quasi rest day upon our return to camp around 1:00.
A little afternoon training with our crampons and ice axes will serve us well as we start climbing some steeper terrain tomorrow. Motorcycle Hill, Squirrel Hill, the Polo Field and Windy Corner will be some of the areas we’ll climb through on our way to caching a bunch of food and supplies at 13,500’. We’re looking forward to an exciting and challenging day.
As we were preparing to settle in for our dinner of burritos we got a pleasant surprise when the first RMI trip arrived in camp after summiting on a perfect day yesterday. It is exciting to see our friends, and certainly gets us stoked for the climbing to come. We’re hoping for some similar conditions when it comes our turn to go for the summit. But for now, we’ll just concentrate on the matter at hand. Getting our cache to 13,500’.
We’ll be getting up fairly early in order to get back to camp with time to relax and prepare for the next day.
Until then ...

RMI Guides Brent, Logan, Leah

An RMI Team camped at 11,200 ft on Mt.McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Okita & Team Move Into 11K Camp

Posted by: Brent Okita, Leah Fisher | May 25, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

The sun doesn’t set at 11,200’ camp until after 9:30 sometime.  Then it just passes behind a mountain to cast shadows on this place that we’re now calling home.  And we’re soaking it all up after another nice day of climbing.

Today we made it to camp in under four hours, and for the first time had pretty reasonable sized packs. A cool down-glacier breeze offered us a change of pace from the sweat fest of the lower glacier, and I think most of the team welcomed the drop in temperature.

Pulling into camp in the early afternoon allowed us to walk into a vacated camp spot and relieved us of the tough work of building walls and excavating tent platforms. Most of us relaxed and enjoyed a well deserved break from our toils.

Another first for the trip: we enjoyed a fine meal from the comfort of our Posh House. This is a tent like thing that allows us all to sit, cook and eat, protected from the elements like the wind, cold, snow or even sun. It’s cozy and makes it fun to just linger over a couple of hot drinks and enjoy each others company.

Tomorrow we’ll be doing a back carry to pick up the cache we left there this morning. We’re looking forward to a fairly easy day, and hopefully another great day of weather.
Before we sign off, Ayla wants to give a big shout out to her sister. Happy Birthday Eva! (By the way, your sister Ayla is a rock star - she’s doing great.)

Until tomorrow ...

RMI Guide Brent Okita

11,200' on McKinley, Kahiltna Dome in the the distance. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Okita & Team Establish Camp at 9,500’

Posted by: Brent Okita, Leah Fisher | May 24, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 9,500'

Weary though we were last night, everyone bounced back after a good nights sleep. Looking up at Ski Hill and knowing we needed to haul these loads up it had us a little anxious in the morning, but we all found the strength and spirit and we made it up to camp at 9,500’ by 3:00 p.m.. We were pretty happy and relieved to get here, and it was wonderful to have another perfect day for it.
We’ve been enjoying the warmth of the afternoon to make camp, and perhaps more importantly, to relax a bit and even get out of our boots.

Tomorrow we start ferrying loads up the mountain, moving only half our gear at a time. This means that we’ll be spending at least two days at a time at each camp. Tomorrows plan is to pack up camp and bring just a few days of food and fuel with us, caching the rest here in a deep hole and away from the ravens who have developed a taste for candy and ramen. We’ll make camp at 11,200’, then come back the next day with empty packs to bring up what we left. What does all this mean? Light packs! Ok, perhaps I should be realistic and call them ‘lighter pack.’
Anyways, we’re firing on all cylinders here and things couldn’t be much better. What a treat it is to climb with a fun, strong team.
We’ll talk again tomorrow.

RMI Guides Brent Okita, Logan Randolph and Leah Fisher

An RMI Team pulling sleds up Ski HIll on the Lower Kahiltna Glacier.  Photo: RMI Collection An RMI Team Camped at 9,500 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Okita & Team Ready in Talkeetna

Posted by: Brent Okita, Leah Fisher | May 24, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley

Hello from Talkeetna, Alaska
The result of a day of hard work sorting and packing stuff we’ll live with for the next two or three weeks. With a little luck we might be flying onto the glacier in a couple of hours or so. The weather looks promising here, but of course it could be completely different on the mountain.
We’re all set and doing great. But first, breakfast at the Roadhouse ...

RMI Guide Brent Okita

Packed and ready to fly.  Photo: Brent Okita The RMI Mt. McKinley May 21, 2013 Team ready to fly onto the Kahiltna Glacier.  Photo: Brent Okita

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Mt. McKinley: Brent Okita’s Team Begins Their Expedition in Alaska

Posted by: Brent Okita, Leah Fisher | May 22, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 346'

Everybody made it to Alaska just fine with just one not-so-minor hiccup. One duffel never showed up and had one of us spending the afternoon at REI replacing missing items. As luck would have it, we got a call from a climber in Talkeetna who had picked it up at the airport by mistake.  With that behind us we were ready for a beer and turned in after our big travel day.

Today we were busy getting the incredible amount of gear needed for this adventure ready for our flight in the morning.  Everyone is excited about getting started.  Me too, even after all these years.

More to come soon…

RMI Guide Brent Okita

The McKinley May 21, 2013, Expedition after breakfast in Talkeetna. Photo: Brent Okita Meeting of Friends in Talkeetna. Photo: Brent Okita

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Good luck Dennis and the whole team! We are thinking of you and wishing for perfect weather!lots of love, Shelly, Jon and Tasha

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Posted by: Shelly on 5/23/2013 at 12:53 pm

Good luck Brent & team!  I look forward to following the trip through the blog and hopefully making the climb next year!

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Posted by: Nick Grant on 5/23/2013 at 9:57 am

Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team - Fields of Green at 350ft

Posted by: Tyler Jones, Eric Frank | June 18, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 348'

The day is coming to a close and things are back the way they were at the start of the trip. Our tents are laying here and our sleeping bags in the thick, moist air. It’s tough to imagine that we were at 20,320 feet just the day before yesterday.

Thank you for all of your continued support as we took on Denali successfully. I realize how much it took both on the mountain and at home. Again, thank you. The amateur summiteer.

Thanks to all who continue to support my crazy adventures!! Your positive vibes and supportive thoughts mean more than you’ll ever know! I return from the highest peak in North America simultaneously proud and humbled!! Michael C

Thanks to my family and friends and especially my wonderful wife Megan for supporting me in this adventure.  It is difficult to describe the feeling of humbleness inspired by the the grandeur, majesty and (not least of all) weather of the Alaska Range.  The seasoned judgment of TJ, Eric and Logan truly kept us alive and (mostly) comfortable.  I cannot thank them enough.  MJB

Thanks to all the friends and family for the awesome support! Despite the fact I was unable to make the summit the trip was amazing and will certainly be unforgettable. Much appreciation goes to the best guides anywhere for their judgement. “climbing mountains ain’t easy”... The mountain won this time but I’ll be back again! CPL

Thanks to all my family, friends, and business associate for supporting my ” habit”.  The summit of North America is an amazing place. Our RMI guides are the best - Tyler, Eric and Logan !!!!

Belle expedition. Merci RMI. Merci a tous pour vos blog.

Now that the day is coming to a close, things are looking eerily similar to the way they did before we left. Tents and gear have been dried. Gear is slightly dirtier, but once again prepared for air travel. It would seem to the unknowing observer, that nothing has happened other than a few mild sunburns.

As the warm rain arrives in Talkeetna, the group runs for cover indoors. It’s nice to be dry when it rains and warm when it’s cold outside without to much effort. That said, there was something nice about even the coldest days on the mountain. As guides, we hope out clients feel the same way. Like proud parents, we have enjoyed the time we spent with the team as they grew. We have seen the group grow together and grow as individuals. We hope that this growth will have some relevance even in the dry and warm front country.

Thanks to our clients for their time, energy, patience and passion. The guide team hopes to work together and with members of our 2012 Denali trip soon. Weather this trip was the first big expedition or the last, we hope team members will keep trying new things, keep climbing mountains, or at least stay in touch.

The summit was great, but the team was better. Thanks guys,

RMI Guides Tyler Jones, Eric Frank and Logan Randolph

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Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team - Basecamp is the Spot

Posted by: Tyler Jones, Eric Frank | June 18, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,300'

The word “team” is what we are; the confidence and style this team has possessed has been outstanding. Team Jones/Frank/Randolph is excited to be in base camp on the Southeast fork of the Kahiltna Glacier.

We woke up a number of times through last night to gusty winds and white-out conditions at 11k camp. The guides choice was to wait the weather out.  Denali was again giving our group another challenge. The team solved this one with some rest and a long pancake breakfast.

An afternoon clearing provided motivation for an evening walk, our final walk that provided everything from blowing snow to pristine clear skies. The sunset reeled us in toward the north face of Mt. Hunter lit in the soft evening light completing our final push to Kahiltna Basecamp at 7,800 ft.

While conditions look prime at base camp and it looks like we will fly out tomorrow, we don’t want to count our chickens before they hatch. You never know what Denali, or as we have called her “De-Gnarly,” has in store for us.

Laying here in our sleeping bags in the thick, moist air, it’s tough to imagine that we were at 20,320 feet just the day before yesterday.

The crew is ready to celebrate our safe and successful summit with the loved ones that allowed us to be in Alaska for this journey. Thank you family and friends for the support. This journey to the top of North America and back has been a long and never to be forgotten experience. We look forward to recalling our time spent in the mountains with a dinner out wearing sandals and shorts along with being back on turf with trees, rivers, and just plain dirt in Talkeetna.

RMI Guide Tyler Jones

The airstrip at Kahiltna Basecamp

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Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team - Down We Go

Posted by: Tyler Jones, Eric Frank | June 17, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

We awoke today to subzero temperatures at 17k camp and are now enjoying the thick air at 11k camp. After a quick breakfast, the team packed their belongings and headed downward. Despite some fatigue from our successful summit bid yesterday, the team safely negotiated the descent to 14k camp. There, the team was met by another RMI team. Jake Beren and team topped off our bottles with water and our stomachs with warm quesadillas. After this hour long break we headed down to 11k camp.

While the air was thick and warm, Denali was quick to remind us that we aren’t out of the woods yet. While snow fell and wind blew around us we consolidated our left over meats and cheeses for a quesadilla smorgasbord. We enjoyed these tasty morsels until we were full, then ate some more. Then we had dessert.

We are now snuggled into our sleeping bags, staying warm and hoping to fly out tomorrow. While we are all set to walk to the runway, the weather is not ripe for a speedy flight to Talkeetna. We are still at the mercy of the big one, Denali.

RMI Guide Tyler Jones

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