Entries By logan randolph

Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team - Good Style to the Top and Back

Posted by: Eric Frank, Tyler Jones | June 16, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

Today was our time to shine; it was our 16th day on the glaciers of Denali and our opportunity to take a shot at the top of North America. Early sun on the tent at high camp, coupled with the solstice less than a week away had the guides up starting the stoves by 7:30am. With the winds moderate and temps near -15F we stalled our departure for the summit bid until 9:45am with the thought of summiting during Alaska’s peak heat of late afternoon. The wind and cold had us in full equipment. We wore face masks, goggles, mittens and climbed in our heavy weight parkas a good portion of the climb.

The guides stressed many times of the importance of self care and the critical nature of getting frostnip or frostbite. All of us had cold hands, feet, and faces a number of times throughout the day, but all of us took responsibility for keeping close eyes on each other and managed to keep the cold injuries at bay.

The climb took our team 7 1/2 hours to reach the summit. Our time plan was perfect as the summit provided some the the lightest winds of the day allowing us to spend just over thirty minutes on the summit expressing emotion, embracing our team mates, and snapping photos of an unforgettable 360 degree view of central Alaska. Given the conditions our team made great time, though we all had to dig deep in our reserves to make an uneventful descent back in our high camp- 11 hours after our departure. Hot drinks, a warm meal and memories from our summit push ended the evening with high stoke and excitement to get down and reunite with our friend, families and loved ones. Every member of the team would like to thank all of you for your support, love, and compassion in letting us fulfill a dream.

Tomorrow we plan to disassemble our high camp and move down the picturesque West Buttress. We will be recovering our cache at 14k and, if weather and energy allow, a descent to 11k for a well deserved rest in what now has become the low country. We look forward to the thick air.

RMI Guides Tyler Jones, Eric Frank & Logan Randolph

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Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team On Top!

Posted by: Tyler Jones, Eric Frank | June 15, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 20,320"

Hey everyone,
It’s Tyler and team on the summit of Denali.  Pretty nice weather, little bit of breeze and quite a cold day.  Everybody is in good shape.  We are going to spend a few minutes on top taking some pictures and then we will be headed back down to high camp and we’ll let you know when we get back.

Thanks for all your support.  Talk to you soon.

RMI Guide Tyler Jones


RMI Guide Tyler Jones calls from the summit of Denali.

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Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team Ready for Summit Push

Posted by: Tyler Jones, Eric Frank | June 14, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

This morning provided blue bird skies and little to no wind. Though the air was cold at around -5F, the team broke camp, dug a cache and loaded our packs for our summit push.

With Okita’s team reaching the summit yesterday we once again shared the burden of equipment transportation by swapping some equipment to lighten the load. Okita’s team saved some weight for their long descent to the bottom, and more importantly our load was lightened up to high camp. We are thankful for the established camp with wind walls and a ready to go kitchen. The stroke of luck rarely happens as teams do not often come up and down from high camp on the same day. As we have been saying throughout the entire trip “Patience pays” and today it most certainly did.

Water boils at a fairly low temperature at this elevation. In fact, you can drink a hot cup of your favorite flavor right out of the boiling pot - a wild first for many team members. A hot dinner and soup re-energized our spirits and warmed our souls.

The team is climbing strong and with a little more luck from the weather tomorrow we will make a push for the top of North America to Denali/Mount McKinley’s summit at 20,320’. Wish us well for our final push!

RMI Guide Tyler Jones

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Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team Hold on at 14K Camp

Posted by: Tyler Jones, Eric Frank | June 12, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

Last night dropped over a foot of new snow and the morning dumped close to six more inches. As we hide in the midday heat of the tents, the wind blows 50+mph in gusts. One minute it is calm, the next minute we brace against the walls of the tent as the wind tries to push them flat. After a few rounds of shoveling, we break for a toasted bagel breakfast, then more shoveling, building snow walls and hiding from the gusts. The sky has cleared as we watch enormous plumes blow off the Buttress above us as well as enormous avalanches coming down from the upper slopes. Other climbers and our team our able to enjoy the show, knowing that we are a safe distance from the action. The snow currently continues to patter our tents. We are hopeful that better weather is coming on the horizon.

RMI Guide Tyler Jones

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So glad to hear everyone is doing ok!  Thank you Tyler and the rest of the team for taking care of one another.  Anxiously awaiting your safe return.  Miss you… read more

Posted by: Christine on 6/12/2012 at 6:47 pm

Love and miss you Rolf. Have fun, stay safe. Hope the weather clears tomorrow!

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Posted by: Julie Snyder on 6/12/2012 at 5:21 pm


Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team Receive A Big Helping Hand

Posted by: Tyler Jones, Eric Frank | June 11, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

Today we awoke to 6 inches of new snow at 14k camp. We have continued to eat well.  Today our breakfast consisted of egg, cheese and bacon burritos. Over the course of the morning the clouds dissipated and the wind calmed down a little. Eric and I decided to head up and move the cache we previously left at 16k, up to our high camp. We also added an extra food bag and fuel can to our supplies up high.

With Brent Okita and team up at high camp for the last several days, waiting for their window to summit, they offered a big helping hand. Thanks Brent, Leon, and Lindsay! Due to high winds in the morning, they volunteered to walk down from high camp and help Eric and me carry our whole cache from 16k to 17k. We can not thank them enough for their help! Our efforts were somewhat tiering, but will allow the team to move more smoothly to 17k when weather allows. Rather than stopping at 16k and schlepping our cache and our full camp kit to 17k, now the team will be able to conserve energy by smoothly moving to 17k.

Upon our return to the team at 14k, we discovered that our third guide, Logan, had rebuilt our snow kitchen and cooked up a nice dinner. What a pleasant surprise.

The crew is in high spirits and getting anxious to move to higher ground and make a summit attempt in the next few days. The ground work and logistics are in order. We just need a few nice days to execute our plan. We look forward to moving into more inhospitable environments and nearing the top of North America. Our careful planning has paid off and all our ducks are in a row. The team had a nice moral boost with an afternoon reading of all the positive vibes from the blog comments. Thank you all!

RMI Guide Tyler Jones

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Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team Visit the Edge of the World

Posted by: Eric Frank, Tyler Jones | June 11, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

From 14k camp on Denali’s West Buttress, it is only a short walk to one of the best views in the entire range. The perch is called “The Edge of the World”. The plateau on which camp sits falls away dramatically. Nearly 5,000 vertical feet below lies the infamous Valley of Death. This afternoon our team walked to the edge of the world and took turns getting belayed out to the edge to take in the view. This afternoon the valley floor was obstructed by clouds which would sporadically rise to engulf us, but several times we were able to glimpse parts of the wall thousands of feet below us.

The weather in camp has continued to be squirrelly. Last night we were buffeted by winds up to 50mph from various directions. Thankfully, we had already built a few snow walls to protect the tents, but the incessant flapping on nylon all night has convinced us to build more. The snow is falling fast now as we settle in for the night when we rise we will just see what the day brings.

RMI Guides Tyler Jones, Eric Frank and Logan Randolph

The view from The Edge of the World on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team Make Carry Towards High Camp

Posted by: Eric Frank, Tyler Jones | June 10, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,000'

This morning we were prepared for a day in camp as visibility was poor and the winds raged off the ridge of the West Buttress. We enjoyed a long and delicious breakfast of eggs, bacon and three cheeses on a bagel accompanied by fresh coffee. Our meandering discussion spanned many topics and ended with a break in the snow and wind.

Ten minuets later we sprung into action, prepping our packs for a carry up onto the West Buttress proper to 16,200’. We dropped our food, fuel and other supplies for our summit push. We are now set for a move up to high camp in a few days or whenever we get a break in the winds and unstable weather.

With an evening arrival back at 14k camp, we plan to recover and rest in hopes of going upward soon.

RMI Guide Eric Frank

Looking up at the summit of Mt. McKinley from 11,000 ft camp.  Photo: RMI Collection

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

Posted by: Tyler Jones, Eric Frank | June 01, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,800'

This morning we awoke to 6 to 8 inches of light fresh powder. We didn’t allow this to stop our momentum. With calm winds and overcast skies we decided on a carry for today. We cached a portion of our gear at 10,000 feet with the intention of lightening our load when we move to 11,000 feet.

We are now back at our camp at 7,800 feet hiding from the sun, rehydrating and relaxing. For the past two days we have seen many climbing teams from all over the world. This trip of a lifetime is well underway and the team is climbing strong. As the winds pick up here at Camp 1, we are headed out to tighten up our camp and build some wind walls. Cheers for the team.

RMI Guide Tyler Jones

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Mt. McKinley: Tyler Jones & Team Ready for Flight

Posted by: Eric Frank, Tyler Jones | May 30, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 348'

Hello! It’s Tyler,Eric and Logan checking in after a long day of work in Talkeetna.

Yesterday we had a sunny drive through the Alaskan scenery before arriving in Talkeetna in late evening. This completed a long day of travel from our various home bases to our soon to be new home on the “Great One”- Denali.

This morning the team met for breakfast at the Roadhouse Restaurant to officially start the program. After chatting about the day, we walked across the small town of Talkeetna to K2 Aviation. As planes took off and landed around us, the team spread out clothing and equipment in the airport hanger and consulted endless checklists. As we made our final gear selections, the hanger was buzzing with excitement.

After an afternoon break for pizza and salad, we all headed to the National Park Service headquarters for an orientation meeting.  We chatted about the importance of keeping our impact low as we climb and live in the park for the next few weeks. After the orientation, we spent some time working on rigging sleds, setting up tents and building other skills.

At noon the hanger looked like a yard sale; clothing and gear scattered everywhere. By the time we left for dinner, all of our ducks were in a row. We now have duffels and packs neatly stacked in the front of the hanger. We are ready to go and eager to get on the glacier.

A view of the Alaska Range from Talkeetna. Photo:Eric Frank

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