Entries By mike uchal

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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12

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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16

Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team Say Hello from 14K Camp

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

This is the June 19th Denali expedition sending love from 14,000 foot camp.  We received a foot of fresh snow last night distracting us from our scheduled plan of carrying loads to the top of the fixed lines at 16,200 feet.  Because of this unexpected delay we are resting today fending off climbers soliciting food to lighten their loads for the descent. 
We have decided to pass the phone to let each team member send a personal hey to friends and family. 
This one goes out to my wife Birgen and son Liam.  I have only tried to spoon Uchal twice thinking of you.  He elbowed me both times.  I miss you as much as ever and can’ t wait to get home to you both…..
DG here. Miss and love you all. Doing great up here and everything is rock steady.  Hugs Oz and see you soon. Can’t wait for you to join me.
It’s Chris. Special thanks to all of you who posted messages and words of encouragement on the blog. It means a lot and gives me some extra fuel for the push up the peak. Nickie - I love you so much and can’t wait to see you again after a successful trip. Cheers!
This is Michael U. I hope all is well back home and abroad! I miss and love you all so much. O Sorry for leaving you to care for the new K-9. Grace, HB, Samer, Charlotte, Lulu, and the rest of the family - I can’t wait to see you when I get home.
Greetings from JJ, amazing group of guys, amazing mounting and truly an experience of a lifetime to be here.  Priorities change when life is stripped to the essentials. Peace, joy and love of friends and family take in a new and heightened priority. Please know I am very safe and that my love for you is growing with each step.  I miss you all and have many big hugs in store for all upon my return, especially the new love of my life.  See you at the wedding if not sooner.  Love, John
Hello fam & friends—Tim here. It’s hard to explain what the top of our continent looks like—truly amazing! Thx for all of your posts, luv sharing them in the “posh”  (a funky community eating/gathering area). Great guides & climbing team, we’re all looking up at the top now.
Love & miss you all—literally dreaming of you nightly—altitude makes for some strange dreams BTW.
Thx for covering me during cherry harvest & all the other “stuff.”  See you in a couple of weeks!!!

 

 

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5

Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team at 14K Camp

Posted by: Mike Uchal, Adam Knoff, Zeb Blais | June 28, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

After a few snowy days at our 11K camp, we hoped for some kinder weather for our move to 14,000’. We all agree we got too much of a good thing. Yesterday’s move validated the old mountaineering saying that “you either freeze or fry.” Wednesday morning was clear, but quite cold at 11K. We ate our warm breakfast, anxiously awaiting the sun to warm our tents before we packed up to move. The cool morning climb up Motorcycle Hill quickly turned into a sweltering overly sunny slog through the Polo Fields and around Windy Corner which lacked the then desired wind of which it got its name. After refueling and rehydrating the well-oiled machine we pulled into camp 4 (14,000’)  at 5 pm. We were welcomed by our other RMI team, light snow, and many other climbers at this small makeshift alpine village.

Today (Thursday), we returned to Windy Corner to retrieve our cache of food and equipment in much of the same weather conditions as the day before.  We are now resting back at 14,000’ awaiting our possible carry up the fixed lines to 16,000’ tomorrow.

To our many fans out there who are leaving messages on our blog, rest assured they have reached us!

Tuesday night over dinner we passed the iPhone around for all to read the kind words from friends and family. Keep them coming!

Until tomorrow,
RMI Guides Mike Uchal, Adam Knoff, Zeb Blais, and our team at 14,000’

Stay classy lower 48!

Motorcycle Hill Climbing on Windy Corner

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22

Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team Resting

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Mike Uchal, Zeb Blais | June 26, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

Today is number six on the mountain and the first solely designated to rest.  As discovered on day one of our long journey together, having fun is as necessary as being organized, fit and compatible. 

This morning the gang was allowed to sleep until their natural alarm clock pulled them from dreams of family, beer and showers.  Six inches of fresh snow blanketed our camp here at 11,000 feet so we were all pleased to be staying put.  Once all gathered in our perfectly designed cook tent, two hours were killed flipping flap jacks and drinking coffee.  Now we have moved on to lunch where singing every song to Michael Jackson’s Thriller album has trumped all else.  There is not an unhappy soul in the group.  Mike would like to wish mamma and papa Uchal safe travels on their adventure to Russia and beyond.

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

Looking up from 11K Camp on McKinley

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22

Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team March Up Ski Hill

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Mike Uchal, Zeb Blais | June 22, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 9,800'

Hello to all from the June 19 Denali expedition.  If the saying “make hay while the sun shines” applies to mountaineering, this team could feed a lot of cows.

I am thrilled with our team dynamic and progress. Yesterday we ate breakfast, got ready and were blessed with clear conditions at base camp.  K2 Aviation worked hard to get us all on the glacier which allowed us to pack up and move out.  We arrived at the base of Ski Hill by dinner.

Today we woke to perfect weather and the team again showed great enthusiasm to get moving.  By 6:45 a.m. we were marching up Ski Hill with full loads.  We arrived at 9,800 feet by 11:30 and are now enjoying a steamy afternoon sun bathing.  Stay tuned for tomorrow’s next episode.  This is Adam Knoff signing off.

Ski Hill. Mt. Hunter in the background

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Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team - Hangin’ in the Hangar

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Mike Uchal, Zeb Blais | June 20, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 348'

After a delicious Roadhouse breakfast and stories from the world famous Fairview Inn pre-party, the team has been busy sorting gear for the trip. The weather is beautiful right now and we’re prepping to fly onto the mighty Kahiltna tomorrow morning. Until then we’re enjoying solid earth under our feet, the smells of lush green plants in our noses and hearty meals in our bellies. Cheers from the RMI Knoff, Uchal and Blais team.

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

June 19, 2012, Mt. McKinley Expedition Team K2 Aviation Headquarters

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14

Mt. Rainier: Expedition Skills Seminar - Kautz

Posted by: Solveig Waterfall, Seth Waterfall, Mike Uchal | June 07, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 9,200'

Seth here, checking in from inside my tent.  We’re currently dug in at 9,200 feet at a spot we call “The Castle.”  We’ve had a rough spell of weather on this trip with mostly white out conditions but the group is still having a good time.  Yesterday we had good weather for a bit while we climbed up to our camp but over night a big storm came in and now we are just waiting it out in the safety of camp.

Tomorrow we will make our way back to civilization.

Kautz Team making way to The Castle.  Photo Seth Waterfall Team Waiting it out at The Castle. Photo Seth Waterfall
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