Entries By mike walter

Ecuador Volcanoes:  Mike Walter & Team Meet in Quito

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 19, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 9,000'

Greetings from Ecuador! Our team all arrived in Quito, Ecuador yesterday, and we met for our first official team meal this morning. After introductions and reviewing trip logistics, we departed the hotel and spent the day on a city tour of Old Town Quito. We visited the Basilica, the presidential palace, and various other historically significant locales while learning about the foundation and history of Quito and Ecuador from our very knowledgeable local guide, Jorge.

After lunch we headed north to the Equator, and visited an ethnographic museum where we were able to straddle the Equator, as well as learn about various native cultures of Ecuador. A fun day of sight seeing was just what we needed, as we get used to the altitude of Quito (9,000’) and recover from a long day of travel yesterday.

Tomorrow we will venture out on our first acclimatization hike up the Volcano Rucu Pichincha. We’ll keep you posted with updates along the way.

Hasta luego!

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Team Mike Walter at the Equator in Ecuador. Photo: Mike Walter Visiting Quito's Basilica on the Ecuador Volcanoes expedition. Photo: RMI Collection Visiting the government buildings of Quito, Ecuador. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Remain at Base Camp

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Steve Gately | May 31, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley

May 31, 2014, 2:11 pm PT

We are still here at Kahiltna Base camp.
We received another foot of new snow overnight and it shows no sign of slowing or stopping.
We are all staying hopeful that the weather will break sometime in the next few days and we can finally get a big meal and that long awaited hot shower!

RMI Guide Mike Walter

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Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Wait for Flying Weather at Basecamp

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Steve Gately | May 30, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,300'

May 30, 2014 - 6:29 pm PT

Our team is still at Kahiltna Base Camp waiting for the weather to improve so that we can fly back to Talkeetna. This is day 23 of our trip and we’re all getting antsy in anticipation of a hot shower, food, and flush toilets.

We picked up another eight inches of snow over night, and the precipitation has continued pretty much all day. We’re hoping for a break in the weather in the next few days so that planes can get in to Base Camp.

That’s pretty much all the news from this end.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

An RMI team creates an arch at Denali's Kahiltna Basecamp. Photo: Andres Marin

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Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Socializing and Working on the Runway

Posted by: Mike Walter, Steve Gately, Solveig Waterfall | May 29, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,300'

May 29, 2014 - 3:55 pm PT

We awoke again to the faint patter of snow hitting our tents rainfly. Sticking our head out revealed slightly better visibility than when we tucked away in our sleeping bags last night. Looking east you could make out the lower features of Mount Hunter and looking west you could scarcely make out the lower flanks of Foraker. Sometime late morning the clouds began to break ever so slightly and the sun poked its head in through the clouds just enough to cause the many teams waiting here at camp to stir. Over 14” of new snow has fallen since we first arrived and that’s a concern for when our flights are able to pick us up. The accumulated snow makes it difficult for the small bush planes to take off from the glacier. So an effort was organized to gather the folks in camp to strap on there snowshoes and skis and go pack down the take off zone. Shortly after our task was finished the clouds descended and took over the southeast fork of the Kahiltna again. It’s early afternoon now and we’re still patiently waiting for conditions to improve, but with plenty of food and camp becoming busy with teams moving down from the upper mountain our team is biding their time making new friends and reacquainting with teams we shared time with at 14 camp. All is well here from the Kahiltna. Wish us luck!

RMI Guide Steve Gately and team

Mt. McKinley's Kahiltna Base. Photo: RMI Collection

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McKinley: Walter & Team Arrive at Basecamp

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Steve Gately | May 28, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,200'

May 28, 2014 - 10:18am PT
Good morning from Base Camp!

We are listening to the snow fall while we sit in our tents, and although it seems bright and cheery from inside the orange nylon walls, this weather system has settled in and the South East Fork is thick with clouds.
We made quick work of the walk down from 14 yesterday,  stopping in at 11 Camp to dig up our cache and say hello to Brent, Leah, Nick, and their team. 

It’s much warmer down here, but consequently the snow is wet, heavy, and saturating, so we are all enjoying more time sitting “indoors” of sorts. 
Hopefully we get a break in the storm soon and K2 Aviation can get us back to Talkeetna!

RMI Guide Mike Walter & Team.

Airstrip on Mt. McKinley. RMI Photo Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Pull into 11K Camp and Team Okita’s Hospitality

Posted by: Mike Walter, Brent Okita | May 27, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

May 27, 2014 - 7:21 pm PT

Update on Mike Walter’s team from Brent Okita:

While basking in the warmth and comfort of our tent this afternoon, Mike Walter and his team pulled in after spending an epic thirteen days at 14,200’ camp without getting a break in the weather suitable for a realistic summit bid. That no other guided group has summited the mountain attests to the particularly bad weather they’ve encountered.

The team joined us for some soup and are now walking down the Kahiltna Glacier headed for the airstrip and hopefully a plane back to Talkeetna tomorrow morning. We wish them well and praise their tenacity, fortitude and strong work on the upper mountain. They deserve huge kudos for their efforts! Nice job team.

Looking up from Mt. McKinley's 11K Camp. Photo: Katy Reid

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Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Will See What the Weather Brings in the Morning…

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Steve Gately | May 27, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

May 26, 2014 - 10:21 pm PT

Today is day 19 of our expedition, with twelve of those days spent at the 14k Camp. The weather forecast is not looking good for a summit attempt, as a significant weather system is supposed to hit Denali tonight, bringing snow and wind tomorrow. High winds are forecasted to persist for the next ten days. If this forecast verifies we will be headed downhill shortly, as we still have to make it back down the Kahiltna Glacier to Basecamp before waiting for good enough weather to fly back to Talkeetna. We will definitely wake up early tomorrow morning to see if we get lucky with a quick summit window, but none of us are holding our breaths. We will let you know how the weather treats us tomorrow.

Cheers,
RMI Guide Mike Walter

Looking through Camp Walls at Mt. McKinley's 14,200' Camp. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Spend Another Day at 14,000’

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Steve Gately | May 25, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,000'

May 25, 2014 - 6:27 pm PT

Our team is spending another day at the 14k Camp today, with strong winds apparent up high again. We’re hoping to take advantage of a brief window of calmer winds this week in order to take a crack at the summit. We’re hoping to move to high camp tomorrow if the weather allows. We’ve got our fingers crossed, as tomorrow will be day 19 of this expedition and the shot clock is winding down.

We’ll let you know how it all plays out.

Cheers,
RMI Guide Mike Walter

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Mt. McKinley Expedition: Walter & Team Staying Patient

Posted by: Mike Walter, Steve Gately, Solveig Waterfall | May 25, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,000'

May 24, 2014 - 11:24 pm

Patience. Climbers looking to come to the big mountains of the world often focus mostly on physical training. I need the strength to climb this steep section, the strength to get to the top. What about the strength to wait out weather for a few days, a week,12 days!? Patience is a crucial component of the mental strength needed to not only succeed in the worlds great ranges but stay safe and return home. Luckily we have a great team that seems to understand this model and is doing a fantastic job of staying patient.

Today was actually a gorgeous day, blue skies and variable wind. So you might be asking yourself why are we still at 14,000’?. The problem here is that one great day does us very little good. We need 2-3 days of good weather. One good day to get to 17,000’ camp, one good day to summit and one last good day to descend. With our forecast calling for extremely high winds and 1-2 feet of snow tomorrow, moving to a very exposed 17,000’ camp would be foolish. So Alas! We must stay patient, hopeful and in good spirits, and it would appear we have just the team for the job. Plus I hear building snowmen is great for acclimatization!

All the best from RMI Guides Steve, Mike, Solveig and team!

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McKinley: Walter & Team Wait out Weather in Good Company

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Steve Gately | May 24, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,000'

May 23, 2014

High winds aloft again thwarted our plans to move to high camp today.

The team enjoyed another rest day, and we have now joined forces with Pete VanDeventer and his team, who arrived a few days ago, and together have built ourselves quite the RMI compound here in the Genet Basin.
After breakfast, Mike, Steve, and I made a quick lap down to 11 Camp to dig up our cache and retrieve any usable food items, extra gas, and personal supplies to help us extend our stint on the mountain.

We were hoping to get some promising news from the weather forecast this evening, but it sounds like we are going to have to dig our heels in and hang on, as high winds and multiple feet if snow are predicted over the next few days.

On a positive note, we scored some brownies and oreo’s from a descending team, and thankfully Mike’s frozen Kindle came back to life.  We are now all happily entertained campers (and snackers) at 14,000’, prepared to ride out this weather system!

Small miracles….

RMI Guide Solveig Waterfall & Team

Deep Snow at 14,000' on Mt. McKinley, Alaska. RMI Photo Collection

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