Entries By mike uchal

Mt. McKinley: Haugen’s Team Moves to 9,600’ Camp

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal, Katie Bono | June 16, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 9,600'

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Happy Father’s Day to all of our dads from Summit Team 6!

We bit off another chunk of the mountain this morning ascending to 9,600 feet. Only 10,600 feet to go! We arrived at our new camp around mid morning. Our team is quickly becoming McKinley camp experts, so it did not take us very long to dig in camp. We had some extra daylight (oh yeah, it is always daylight), so we decided to dig a monster posh house. A posh house is our version of a cook tent. It is like a snow cave where the cooking and seating area is dug into the snow below ground level. The roof is a big top-like tent that is held up by a pole that goes from the apex to the floor of the snow pit. Now we have room for company.

The weather forecast looks stellar so we should be able to move up to 11k Camp tomorrow.

RMI Guide Mike Haugen and Summit Team 6

P.S. Lance says thank you to his wife and girls for the Father’s Day card!

An RMI team's posh tent. Photo: Chris Villar

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Mt. McKinley: Haugen’s Team Caches Supplies and Returns to Camp

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal, Katie Bono | June 15, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,800'

Saturday, June 15th, 2013
After another early start, we made our way up to 10,000 feet and cached some of the food, fuel, and gear that we will not need until later. We started walking uphill around 4 a.m. this morning because even though we are camping and traveling on ice and snow, it can be quite hot with the sun beating down and reflecting upon us. We returned to camp just after 11 a.m. Katie and Uchal made some delicious breakfast burritos before we all turned in for our afternoon naps. Don’t judge, we worked hard!

The plan for tomorrow is to pack up camp early and head towards our next spot at around 9,600 feet. The mountain is pretty quiet since there are not many teams flying on the mountain right now.

Everyone is happy and healthy. Yvonne, Peter wanted me to let you know he is especially happy and healthy!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen

P.S. Congratulations to Tyler Jones and team for their summit!

An RMI climbing team hauls sleds to Camp 1. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Move Up to Camp 1

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal, Katie Bono | June 14, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 9,600'

Friday, June 14, 2013
Greetings from Summit Team 6! We bit off a huge chunk today with our move from Basecamp to Camp 1. We carried all of the food, fuel, equipment, and clothing that we will need for our expedition. Needless to say, we carried heavy! We made the trip up glacier in just under five hours.

Once in camp, we made a bombproof tent site sheltered from the wind.  It took us around an hour to get camp setup and organized. We took advantage of another beautifully warm and clear afternoon to take some siesta time. This was much needed since we woke up at 2:00 a.m. to pack up this morning.

We are just getting ready for a Dinty Moore and mashed potatoes dinner. I would imagine it will be another early evening since we have another early wake up time scheduled. Our plan is to carry gear up a bit higher and make a cache and then return to the same camp tomorrow.

RMI Guide Mike Haugen and McKinley Team 6

Mt. McKinley's Camp 1. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Team Haugen is on the Mountain!

Posted by: Katie Bono, Mike Uchal, Mike Haugen | June 13, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,300'

Thursday, June 13, 2013
We are all safely nestled in our tents just off the landing strip at basecamp. We had a magnificent flight from Talkeetna to basecamp at the flanks of Denali. The weather on the glacier is as warm as I have ever seen it. For this reason, we are not traveling today and instead used the warm weather during the day to organize our backpacks and sled loads. We worked on some crevasse rescue techniques as we are about to head out onto the Kahiltna Glacier; a glacier filled with giant cracks in the ice. We are going to travel up glacier tonight so we can travel on firm snow and solid snow bridges. Wish us a solid freeze!

RMI Summit Team 6 - RMI Guides Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal, Katie Bono & the team

Mt. McKinley as seen from the K2 planes flying to the Kahiltna Glacier.  Photo: Dave Hahn Base Camp of Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Flying to McKinley’s Kahiltna Glacier

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal, Katie Bono | June 13, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley

Thursday, June 13, 2013

RMI Guide Mike Haugen called from Talkeetna, Alaska this morning.  The weather is beautiful and the team is packed and ready.  They are loading their planes at the K2 Aviation Hanger and will be flying to the Kahiltna Glacier today.

We wish them a safe and successful expedition on Mt. McKinley!

The RMI Mt. McKinley June 11th team ready to fly to the Kahiltna Glacier.  Photo: Mike Haugen

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Mt. McKinley: June 11th - Team Haugen Arrives in Talkeetna

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal, Katie Bono | June 13, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 358'

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Hi All!

We are hanging out in beautiful Talkeetna, Alaska. We had a gorgeous day for organizing and packing our gear. the sun is shining and the mountain is visible in the distance. The team met up in Anchorage yesterday and have been slowly molding into Summit Assassin RMI Team 6!  They really are a great crew! 

Our gear is all bagged, weighed, and tagged.  We got the word that we are all supposed to fly to basecamp around 9 tomorrow morning so we are all scrambling to get in those last correspondences and last minute tasks before the morning. We are all set for an incredible expedition. Off to bed for an early start-

RMI Guide Mike Haugen

The RMI Mt. McKinley June 11, 2013 Team gathered in Talkeetna, Alaska.  Photo: Mike Haugen

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Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team Waiting at Basecamp

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Mike Uchal, Zeb Blais | July 08, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,300'

At 3:30 this morning I was startled awake by what I thought was the rumbling of a distant avalanche.  Perhaps my mountain senses have an automatic alertness to these deep thunderous roars that will pull me from the deepest sleep.  As I poked my head out of the tent door, I remembered where we are.

Two days ago I broke the news to the team that a serious storm was brewing and the risk of staying at high camp, in my opinion, outweighed the reward of a potential summit.  Going for the top on Monday or Tuesday would put our total time there at eight or nine days, well beyond anyone’s preference.  So we packed camp with heavy hearts and set off on our descent.

We moved efficiently down to eleven thousand feet where we rested for six hours.  The alarm went off at 5:00 am to no one’s delight and we headed toward basecamp at 7:30.  By 3:00 pm we were drinking MGD and relaxing in the sun.  K2 aviation was optimistic about flying us off so morale, all things considered, was high.  That was until one hour later the clouds moved in and it began to to snow.  That was more than 24 hours ago. 

Now as I write this at 4 pm on Sunday, we have received two feet of snow.  Welcome to Mt. McKinley!  We have all just come in for lunch after two solid hours stomping down the runway so if the storm does abate, planes might fly.  This is all we hope for now, the high pitch sound of propellers and don’t think twice about those avalanches in the distance. 

This is Adam Knoff signing out.

The airstrip at Kahiltna Basecamp

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Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team Beat Feet to Basecamp

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Mike Uchal, Zeb Blais | July 07, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,300'

Adam Knoff called into the office just before 6PM.  With a storm expected, the team was hoping to make it to basecamp in order to fly off in front of the storm. The weather didn’t quite hold and it began to snow in the last hour upon reaching basecamp.  The team’s plan to unwind in Talkeetna has been thwarted until further notice.

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Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team Descend to 14K Camp

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Mike Uchal, Zeb Blais | July 06, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley

This is Adam calling in from 17,000’ on Denali.  We woke this morning to continued snow and wind, with a major low pressure system forecast to dominate the region over the next several days.  We have endured this weather at high camp since Monday and have decided to descend back to 14K camp.  Even the approach route, between 14,000’ and basecamp, can be a bear to navigate in foul weather, and we need to stay strong and focused.  We’ll begin our descent of the West Buttress and the infamous fixed lines to reach Advanced Base at 14,200’ where Dave Hahn’s RMI party is encamped.  We’ll check in tomorrow and advise everyone of our plans and progress.

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

Looking down to the 14,200 Camp

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Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team As the Wind Blows

Posted by: Mike Uchal, Adam Knoff, Zeb Blais | July 05, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

This is the June 19th Denali Expedition welcoming you to the first episode, of the new hit saga, “As the Wind Blows.” Time flies when you’re having fun at 17,000 feet. We’re now going on our third full day at high camp. We’ve determined that the forecast provided by the National Park Service, is reliable as a politician in an election year. Despite the gale force winds and frigid temperatures, the team remains positive. We pass the time eating junk food and sharing iPods as our batteries last. Zeb and Adam ventured to 19,000 feet yesterday to check snow stability and rock conditions after high winds and snowfall. The avalanche danger a concern. They’ve deemed the route safe, which now leaves the ball in the court of Mother Nature. 17,000 feet is a harsh waiting room, which increases the longing for family, friends, and the creature comforts of our homes. We invite you to wait with us lower 48 as we pass the time here at 17K. Stay tune for the next episode of, “As the Wind Blows.”

RMI Guide Mike Uchal


RMI Guide Mike Uchal with the First Episode of As the Wind Blows

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