Entries By mike uchal

Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Summit!

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal, Katie Bono | June 28, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 20,320'

Friday, June 28th, 2013
Summit Team 6 finally hit the summit! Second time is a charm.

We left camp around 8:45 this morning with perfect weather. As we got higher, Denali decided to challenge us again; this time with some wind. The wind was blowing very hard as we approached the summit ridge. We were all bundled up ready to get pummeled by wind on the ridge, but the ridge actually blocked the wind making the summit really nice! We stayed on top for quite some time before we headed back down into the wind for a safe descent back to 17,000 feet.

Time to get some well-deserved sleep!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen and RMI Summit Team 6

Mt. McKinley summit looking down on summit ridge. Photo: RMI Collection


RMI Guide Mike Haugen calls from the Mount McKinley summit.

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CONGRATULATIONS Steve, Sandra and Kiwi, and everyone!  Glad you all made it safely. Now…...hurry home!  :)

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Posted by: Tania on 6/29/2013 at 4:29 am

Wonderful news!  Congratulations!  I’m so excited!  You are all amazing. I can’t wait to hear more stories.  Thanks again Mike for the audio.  KAC.

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Posted by: Kconstantine on 6/29/2013 at 4:26 am


Mt. McKinley: Haugen’s Team Resting and Hoping

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal, Katie Bono | June 27, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

Thursday, June 27th, 2013
After our almost summit yesterday, we took today to rest up for another hopeful shot tomorrow. RMI Summit Team 6 is really a great group of folks. We got sooooo close to the summit yesterday and got shut down by terrible weather. We did not hear any complaining or what ifs… instead we heard about what an adventure the day was and started to plan for another attempt.

Keep your fingers crossed, say a prayer, or do some kind of a weather dance to help us get some good weather and another chance to summit tomorrow!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen and Summit Team 6

Making a Call from Mt. McKinley 17,200'. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Turn Below the Summit

Posted by: Katie Bono, Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal | June 27, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 20,000'

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013
We woke up around 7:30 with clear skies and no winds. We set off towards the summit with all of the crew feeling great. We experienced a little bit of wind and clouds at Denali Pass, but that is pretty normal. The climb was going smoothly and the weather was about as perfect as you can get.  We were about 150 feet below the summit ridge when the clouds came in and blocked out our sun. All of a sudden we heard a crack of thunder and all of the metal around us began to buzz. We hightailed it down to a depression in a feature called the football field where things seemed to be calm. By calm, I mean a whiteout snowstorm came out of nowhere!  We hunkered down and waited to see if things would settle down. When we were certain they would not, we worked our way down the mountain with GPS and some wands that mark the trail. After a fourteen hour climbing day, our whole team is back in camp happy, healthy, and fed having come a few hundred feet short of the summit but without a permanent stutter from electrocution!
Our plan is to rest tomorrow and perhaps give the summit another go in the next few days. We will see.

Goodnight!

RMI McKinley Summit Team 6

An RMI Team descending toward 17,000 ft Camp.  Photo: RMI Collection


RMI Guide Mike Haugen calls in from 17 camp after their summit attempt.

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Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Crossing Their Fingers

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal, Katie Bono | June 25, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013
We are headed to the summit tomorrow… maybe! Our team is strong, healthy, and happy. We are positioned at 17,000’ camp and had frenetic weather all day. We have had sunny, cloudy, windy, cold, and warm weather. Welcome to Denali.

We are waiting for a good set of weather to go to the summit, which is predicted to be tomorrow. Cross your fingers for us!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen and RMI Summit Team 6

An RMI team's 17K Camp on Denali. Photo: Seth Waterfall

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Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Move to 17K Camp

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal, Katie Bono | June 24, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

Monday, June 24th, 2013
Only 3000 feet to go! 

We woke up around 4:30 this morning and packed up our 14k camp. We headed uphill towards the fixed lines and hit them as the sun began to beat down on us. It was a stark difference from the other day when it was ridiculously cold from the wind.

We worked our way up the fixed lines and gained the ridge on top of the West Buttress. We picked up our cache as we followed the ridge towards 17k camp. By the time we got to camp we were plenty tired. We dug in deep to protect us from the big winds that can happen at 17,000 feet on De-gnarly. Dehydrated meals and hot chocolate in the tent… bed time!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen and RMI Summit Team 6

Climbers on the ridge to 17,200' Denali Camp. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Rest Day at 14K Camp

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal, Katie Bono | June 23, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013
We woke up with a couple of inches of snow on the tents this morning. No storms or winds, just the friendly June kind of Denali snow.

We had a very pleasant rest day. We checked in with the camp gossip and watched a few teams head up the fixed line towards 17k.  Our plan is to head up to 17,000 ft and make a camp. We have really been doing a great job of sport eating and no one has had any problems with this altitude. We are all very excited because we do not drag any sleds up past this camp.

RMI Summit Team 6

P.S. Lance wants Penny to know that he is keeping up with his dental hygiene. (But the rest of him has not washed in ten days!

Also, Uchal says Happy 2nd Birthday Lulu!

Mt. McKinley's 14K Camp. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Cache Gear at 16,600’

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal, Katie Bono | June 23, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013
Movin’ on up! We woke up early and set out to cache some gear up high.  Even though the sun was not on us, we thought it was warm for 14k camp. We were wrong. As we set out towards the fixed ropes that allow us to climb the steep face up to 16,000 ft safely, a cold wind picked up and made us cold…like Denali cold! I think we needed it because we were getting a bit spoiled. Once we gained the ridge, we were out of the wind and in the sun and immediately life was better.

We decided to make a cache a around 16,600’ under a prominent rock feature called Washburn’s Thumb. We cached some food and fuel for when we head up to our last camp at 17,000’ in a couple of days.

I was really impressed at how everyone did at the altitude and on the fixed lines. Go team!

Rest day tomorrow.

RMI Guide Mike Haugen and the RMI Summit Team 6

Climbing the fixed lines. Photo: RMI Collection Washburn's Thumb in the background. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Haugen’s Team Has a Rest Day at 14K Camp

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal, Katie Bono | June 22, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

Friday, June 21st, 2013
Ahhhh a day of rest. We did not even move in our tents until the sun hit them at 9:30. We had a morning of slowly cooking pancakes for the group. We believe pancakes are the perfect acclimatization food.

We volunteered to be guinea pigs for a medical experiment having to do with high altitude. The test involved having a series of heart rate and oxygen saturation measurements taken and then walk around a track for 6 minutes to see how those measurements change. It was not a competition, but let’s just say our group crushed it!

If the weather is nice tomorrow, our plan is to move some gear up to 17,000’ Camp. On Denali, 60% of the time the weather is good all the time!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen and RMI Summit Team 6

Post tent at 14,200' Camp with the fixed lines in the background. Photo: Lindsay Mann

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Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Make Their Move to 14K Camp

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal, Katie Bono | June 20, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

Thursday, June 20th, 2013
We made the move. The wind was blowing most of the night last night. I set my alarm for 2:30 a.m. just to see if the weather was going to allow us to move up camps. Right when my alarm went off, it was as if someone hit a switch and turned the wind off.

We got up, packed up camp, and headed up another 3,000 feet. The move only took us about six hours to hike, but we had to work hard building snow walls once we arrived at Denali’s 14k camp. This camp, as much or more than the other camps we have been in this far, can receive huge winds that pick up at a moment’s notice. We used snow saws to quarry blocks of snow to make walls that surround our tents.

All of this hard work will pay off with a full rest day tomorrow. The sun does not hit this camp until around nine in the morning. I am pretty sure that none of us will be out of our tents until he sun warms us up!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen and the RMI Summit Team 6

An RMI team's 14K camp on Mt. McKinley. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Haugen’s Team Makes a Carry Up to 14K Camp

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal, Katie Bono | June 19, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013
We moved a cache all the way up to 14,000 ft camp today. It is a big day to gain that much altitude with a big load, but our crew did great. In fact, several people commented on how good we looked as we pulled in.

We made great time getting back down to 11k. Jake Beren and crew stopped by for a visit as they are relaxing in 11k camp on there way out to Basecamp and the landing strip. Our plan is to move up to fourteen tomorrow, but only if the weather is as perfect as it has been.

Steve says hi to Tania!
Cindee says hi to dad and wants him to know she is safe and happy!
Quinn says hi to Liz!
Lance says hi to the girls! I hope Penny’s school play went well.
Haugen says hi to Amber and the girls!
Peter says hi to Bob and Perk! Trust the puppies are doing well.  Love to Ivonne.
Grasshopper says hi to Annie, Rose, and kin!
Katie says hi to Cody!
Uchal says hi to all his people in Rock City!
Sandra says hi to mom, dad, and Hikari!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen

Looking back at 11,000' Camp. Photo: RMI Collection

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