Entries By mark tucker

Kilimanjaro: Tucker and Team Reach New Altitude Record for Many

Posted by: Mark Tucker | July 18, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro
Elevation: 14,900'

RMI Guide Mark Tucker checking in from Camp 3 Barranco camp on Kilimanjaro. Yet another beautiful day of hiking and climbing for the group, lucky, lucky, us. We are at about 12,800 feet now. We did get up to almost 15,000 feet today and broke a lot of people’s altitude records. Everyone did just fine.  We are staring up at the Barranco Wall which we will tackle in the morning. It’s actually a very fun part of the climb, a little bit of scrambling.  For tactical beat we are going to drag our feet a little bit in the morning.  There are a few other teams up here so we will let them get a head start and hopefully have the wall pretty much to ourselves which will be great photos and just a bit more fun.  It will be a little bit of a shorter day tomorrow getting to our next camp.  Some of the folks on a six day climb will push all the way to high camp tomorrow. But we’ll go ahead and split that into two days.  It really helps out for the success ahead. So, its a beautiful night outside.  I am staring up at the glaciers, what’s left of them - they have been dwindling, but who knows that could change.  I can’t ask for a better group of folks, we are having a fun time and everyone is just doing really well.  So fingers crossed, couple of more days of this and we will be heading for the summit.  Can’t wait.

Looking up toward the summit of Kilimanjaro from Barranco Camp at 12,800 ft.  Photo: RMI Collection


RMI Guide Mark Tucker checks in from Barranco Camp at 12,800 ft on Kilimanjaro,

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Kilimanjaro: Tucker & Team from Shira Camp

Posted by: Mark Tucker | July 17, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro
Elevation: 12,200'

Mark Tucker checking in from Camp 2, the Shira Plateau, about 12,200 feet.  We had a nice breakfast and a leisurely pace. A bit of an ascent from our Machame Camp. But a step at a time, a break at a time, and a traverse through a very mystical-kind of environment in and out of some riverbeds.  A pretty enchanting walk and everybody’s doing very well. I’m very pleased with the performance of the team. We’re all happy and healthy. We just finished a fabulous 3-course meal and people are crawling into the tents. We’re having this moon interrupt a little bit of our star gazing. It’s a little bright because no clouds, clear skies. There was a bit of marine layer type sea of muck below us, but not a cloud in the sky today, perfect conditions. A little bit dusty on the trail but a little handkerchief over the nose at times worked out just fine. We’re having a gas. One of our team members, Alberto, wanted do a shout out to his Pops. So, “Hey to you.” He’s having a good time doing really well. It will be another 6:30 up, and hopefully breakfast at 7:15, hitting the trail by around 8:00. Great day tomorrow, break some altitude records. We are hoping to go just over 15,000 feet and then back down to 12,800’ for the night. Very great opportunity for acclimatization. Climb high, sleep low.  It is just setting us up for success. So all is well. We’ll check in tomorrow.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

Ascending above the forest on the second day of the climb. Photo: Jeff Martin Our second night's camp overlooking neighboring Mt. Meru and the lower slopes of the Kilimanjaro. Photo: Jeff Martin


RMI Guide Mark Tucker checking in from Shira Camp.

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Kilimanjaro: Tucker & Team at Machame Camp

Posted by: Mark Tucker | July 16, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro
Elevation: 9,800'

Mark Tucker calling from camp number one on Kilimanjaro, Machame Camp, about 10,000 feet. What a great day. Got out of our low lands, slick-slick. Team was already, packed, started our hike at the gate under perfect conditions. A little bit overcast, kind of cool in the canopy of the lower flanks of Kilimanjaro.  What a group. So thrilled with performances today. Everybody did fantastic. And right towards the end of the hike coming into camp, the mountain started to show the upper reaches. That just thrilled one and all and gave us that last little boost to come into camp. Bit chilly right now. It’s 9 or 10 in the evening and we’re all bedded down after real nice meal. Everybody’s got a good appetite. I have quite the international crew: three Norwegians, a Puerto Rican, a guy from Mexico and a few US on the team. Really fun getting to know them; we are all having a gas and will check in tomorrow.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

Team ready for Kilimanjaro! Photo: Mark Tucker Our first night's camp located at 10,000' in the Giant Heather of Kilimanjaro. Photo: Jeff Martin


RMI Guide Mark Tucker calls in from Machame Camp.

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Kilimanjaro: Mark Tucker & Team Arrive in Africa!

Posted by: Mark Tucker | July 15, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

The team, as well as our luggage, is here at the Dik Dik Hotel.  We caught up on some jet lag with one member saying, “Best sleep ever.”  After a nice breakfast, we had an orientation meeting then went straight into equipment checks.  So important to take the time to start a climb with what you need for any mountain. The team came well prepared as very little was missing.

Once the team was organized for the climb, we had time to check out the local sights.  Some of the team made a trip to Arusha, a nearby city, while others hiked around our neighborhood visiting shops, schools and an orphanage.  We are all doing well and looking forward to the start of the climb tomorrow.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

Kilimanjaro, The Roof of Africa. Photo: RMI Collection Our rooms at the Dik Dik Hotel, near the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Photo: Jeff Martin

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Mt. Elbrus: Tucker & Team Experience the St. Petersburg Sights

Posted by: Mark Tucker | July 12, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Southside

New team member! We now have a second man on the team. Carter is his name and is husband of Lucy. We put him right to the test by climbing the 218 steps up to the colonnade at St. Isaac’s Cathedral. No crampons, nor ice axe needed, but we did put on at least another six miles touring around and he handled it no problem. Super nice guy and loads of fun to be with, guess I need to make him a summit certificate. So much to see, what a great job they do here to make it user friendly. The rich history and the sights we visit, accompanied by a local guide, are overwhelming to say the least. Can’t forget the multitude of food options with the group making some great choices. Definitely not cheap to get some calories on board, but if you do a little research the taste buds are well rewarded. I have been on the Borscht taste testing program when possible, this kind of beet-type soup can take on many identities. So far the smoked pear version has been the most far out in flavor.  Being at the end of the Bay of Finland and part of the Baltic Sea,they say that they get about fifty sunny days here a year.  The usual maritime climate prevails. We have been fortunate with the glorious days we have been so lucky to experience. Better get here quick before the nice days are gone for this year. That said, could not of had a nicer evening boat cruise to top off such a wonderful day.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

Top of St. Isaac's Cathedral, St. Petersburg, Russia. Photo: Mark Tucker Church on the Savior of Spilled Blood. Photo: Mark Tucker The Team on the St. Petersburg Canal tour. Photo: Mark Tucker

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Mt. Elbrus: Tucker & Team Leave the Mountains for St. Petersburg

Posted by: Mark Tucker | July 11, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Southside

It is tough to leave the Baksan Valley, what a gorgeous range of mountains. After another wholesome breakfast we loaded up the van and made the three-hour drive to Mineralnye Vody. Once there we said good bye to Jonny, our local guide, who shared the adventure on the mountain with us. He will be going back up the mountain very soon and we wish him all the best.

We arrived in St. Petersburg with all our bags and a van ready to take us to the center of town. We are all pretty good at packing and unpacking,so a quick stop at the hotel and we were off to start exploring this city of so many sights. After another very nice meal, we enjoyed wandering around the neighborhood. Since we are so far north, at this time of year we had a beautiful sunset over St. Isaac’s Cathedral at around 10 PM. This is a town surrounded by water with many canals running through it. There were many people taking boat rides late into the night. Tomorrow we will explore some of the historical sights topped off with an evening canal boat ride.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

Canals throughout the city of St. Petersburg. Photo: Linden Mallory Night view of the Church on the Savior of the Spilled Blood. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. Elbrus: Tucker & Team Enjoy Time in Cheget

Posted by: Mark Tucker | July 10, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Southside
Elevation: 7,500'

The team checked in from the Baksan Valley today.  They are taking a well-deserved rest day after their successful summit climb of Mt. Elbrus yesterday.  We hope they enjoy their time in Cheget shopping and site-seeing.
They will spend their final night in Cheget this evening.  Tomorrow they will transfer to Mineralnye Vody and take a flight to St. Petersburg, the final stop on their tour of Russia and one of the highlights of the trip.

The sun setting on the hills above Cheget, near Mt. Elbrus.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. Elbrus: Tucker & Team Summit Mt. Elbrus!

Posted by: Mark Tucker | July 09, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Southside
Elevation: 18,510'

Yeehaw!  We did it!
The team took full advantage of perfect weather and great route conditions on Mt. Elbrus today. We could not help but stand on top this morning.

We returned to the Garabashi Hut, our home for the last few nights, packed our gear and continued our descent.  We are back down in the Baksan valley at the base of Mt. Elbrus. Let the celebration begin!

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

An RMI Team en route to the summit of Mt. Elbrus (18,510ft).  Photo: Linden Mallory On top of Mt. Elbrus (18,510 ft), the highest peak in Russia and one of the Seven Summits.  Photo: Dana Marie Buchanan The RMI July 1st Team on the summit of Mt. Elbrus, July 9, 2013.  Photo: Dana Marie Buchanan

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Mt. Elbrus: Tucker & Team Prepare for Summit Climb

Posted by: Mark Tucker | July 08, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 12,000'

The mountain might as well surrender right now. It has no chance against this intrepid group of climbers. Ok, kind of kidding. But we are summit bound early tomorrow morning.

We topped off our preparation for our summit climb of Mt. Elbrus with a bit of training early this morning. Focus was on the use of the mountain climbers best friend, the ice axe, used primarily while ascending steep snow covered slopes. The team practiced with care and enthusiasm ,confidence in this arena will help immensely when confronted with some challenging terrain. And yes, that is what the near future holds for us.

Honestly we go at this climb like all climbs, humble and hopeful. If this beautiful hunk of Mother Earth allows us to stand on the summit, we will be grateful and thrilled. Nature is the boss and we will give it the utmost respect.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

The Garabashi Hut (12,000') on Mt. Elbrus.  Photo: Linden Mallory

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Mt. Elbrus: Tucker & Team Train on Mt. Elbrus

Posted by: Mark Tucker | July 07, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Southside
Elevation: 15,000'

Our night’s stay in the Garabashi Hut (12,000’) on Mt. Elbrus went well. We were up early for a quick breakfast and then headed out onto the mountain with our crampons and ice axes to do some training and review while the snow was still firm.  The team did well and we climbed up 15,000’ which also helped with our acclimatization. Around noon we started our descent and after a few hours arrived back to our camp.  We enjoyed soft snow on our way down and perfect weather.

Once back at the hut we gathered for a nice lunch. We have spent the afternoon resting and drying out our gear.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

An RMI Team training on the slopes of Mt. Elbrus. Photo: RMI Collection The Garabashi Hut (12,000 ft) on Mt. Elbrus.  Also know as The Barrels.  Photo: Linden Mallory

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