Entries By mike uchal

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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Mt. McKinley Expedition: Knoff and Team at 17,000’ Waiting

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Mike Uchal, Zeb Blais | July 04, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

Greetings everyone!  This is Mike Uchal from the June 19th Denali Expedition with Adam Knoff, Zeb Blais, and team.  We are celebrating the 4th of July here at 17,000’ with fresh coffee and great group stories.  We are being proactive at fighting an impossible tent-bound fever with short jaunts outside and hot meals in our group tent, when the weather allows.  We’ll continue to play this now mental game as we continue to wait for our weather window for our summit attempt.  Please stay tuned Lower 48 and happy 4th of July to all of our friends and family from our team here at 17000’.  Good bye.

RMI Guide Mike Uchal

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Mt. McKinley Expedition: Knoff and Team Check in from High Camp

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Mike Uchal, Zeb Blais | July 03, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

This is RMI Guide Adam Knoff, checking in from high camp on Denali at 17,000’.  We had a sweet climb from 14,000’, up the fixed lines and along the crest of the West Buttress, eventually dropping into the basin where camp is placed.  What an absolutely spectacular day of climbing!  Unfortunately, the predicted nice weather did not materialize and in fact, has deteriorated.  Such is life on Denali, where all movement is dictated by weather.  We are securely entrenched in camp, with sturdy walls and a posh cook tent.  We have plenty of supplies, and now it becomes a waiting game.  We will keep you updated.

Looking down on 14,000 ft Camp on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team Part 2 Saying Hello

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Mike Uchal, Zeb Blais | June 29, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

We apologize to Mike and Nelson’s family’s for missing their hellos.  Here they are saying hi to their followers. 

Nelson: Mom, Dad, I’m having an absolute blast. I love it up here. Thank you so much for making this happen. I’m feeling great and getting excited for the imminent summit push. Tomorrow (weather permitting) we’ll get to the top of the fixed lines and up onto the famed West Buttress. Long story short, I’m having a great time. Thank you so much. To everyone else who I told to follow the blog (probably a good 3 people or so) this place is way sweet. Wicked fun. Big Rik—you need to get up here sometime, it’s fantastic. Lynn—of course I’m winning and writing lots. I’ll have plenty of stories for you all. It’s cold, fun, and badass. Love, Nels

Hi Susan, Mel, Hannah, family and friends!  Thanks to everyone for your posts.  Your thoughts mean so much. I’m having a great time, staying warm, and the guides make sure we eat very well.  After being snowed in today, we’ll hopefully move to high camp in the next few days where we stage our attempt for the summit.  Miss you all!  Love Mike

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