Entries By pete van deventer

McKinley Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Head up the Fixed Lines

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Robby Young, Josh Gautreau | May 25, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,000'

May 25, 2014 - 1:57 am PT

After several days of winds up high, and cold conditions that turned several teams around, we hit the jackpot today. We walked out of camp just as the sun hit, turning a pretty chilly morning balmy. We stopped just below the fixed lines to get ready, then headed up for our first run at them. Despite pretty blue and icy conditions, the climber traffic over the last couple days left some nice buckets for our feet scratched into the surface of the ice. Once above the lines, we headed out the West Buttress proper, which offers some of the best climbing and views of the whole route. At the base if Washburn’s Thumb, we set our cache of food and fuel, then turned back the Buttress to descend. We rolled into camp just in time for dinner and to catch the weather report. It sounds like we’re going to have a proper snow storm tonight and tomorrow, with 1 to 2 feet forecast. With that news we spent some more time fortifying camp, then crawled into sleeping bags just as the snow started. We’ll give you an update tomorrow and let you know how we fared.

RMI Guides Pete, Robby, and Josh

Ascending the fixed lines above 14,000 ft camp on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: Katy Laveck

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Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Take a Rest Day

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Robby Young, Josh Maggard | May 24, 2014
Categories: *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,000'

May 23, 2014 - 10:19pm PT

We took today to acclimate and let our legs recover from a couple of good days and heavy packs. A late wake up once the sun hit the tents led into breakfast, then major architectural planning and construction of a new kitchen/dining area. Our new digs are 10 feet below the snow surface, giving us ample headroom. After an afternoon siesta, we rigged and practiced for the fixed lines, that we hope to ascend for the first time tomorrow.

The plan is to try to get our high cache of gear in tomorrow, and hopefully the weather will cooperate. We’ll check back in tomorrow, but send us wishes for fair weather.

RMI Guides Pete, Robby, Josh and Team

Dining tent on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: C.Villar

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Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Check in from 14,000’

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Robby Young, Josh Gautreau | May 22, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,000'

May 22, 2014 - 6:51 pm PT
We’ve been in and out of the clouds all day here at our 14,000’ camp on Mt. McKinley. Despite the clouds and requisite light snow, the solar is pumping, and it feels like we’re in a greenhouse. We woke on the later side, giving the sun time to make it to us, and ate another big breakfast of hash browns, eggs, and bacon. Anything to get calories in. After a bit of camp tending, we set out for a quick jaunt to our cache at 13,500’. We retrieved all of our food and personal gear, then turned and headed back for camp. The afternoon was for relaxing, drying sleeping bags and clothes, wet wipe bathes, and general self care and rest. More than likely we’ll be resting tomorrow and training for the fixed lines.

Thanks for reading,

RMI Guides Pete, Robby, and Josh

An RMI Team in and out of the cloud at 14,200' Camp on Mt. McKinley, Alaska.  Photo: Dave Hahn

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Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Move to 14,000’

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Robby Young, Josh Gautreau | May 22, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

May 22, 2014 - 1:55 am

We are tucked in tight at 14,200’!

It was a beautiful, clear morning, so we crashed our camp along with a few other groups, cached our sleds and snowshoes (no one was sorry to leave them behind), and once more pointed our feet towards Motorcycle Hill. The going was a lot easier today with the trail that we put in yesterday having had a fair amount of traffic. We passed through a once more windless Windy Corner, and headed for 14,000’ with everyone moving well under heavy packs. Mike Walter and team were at 14,000’ to greet us, and made our move in easy, helping with water, tent platforms, and a kitchen. We definitely owe them a big thanks. We lose the sun a bit earlier here, and the extra three thousand feet definitely makes itself evident in the temperature. No one needed coaxing to crawl into the sleeping bags and call it a day.

We are psyched to finally be here, in position to set ourselves up for a summit bid. It’s nice to check off another milestone too. We’ll let you know what adventures tomorrow brings.

RMI Guides Pete, Robby, and Josh

An RMI Team ascending Motorcycle Hill en route to 14,000 ft Camp.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Carry to 13,500’

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Josh Maggard, Robby Young | May 21, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,000'

May 21, 2014 - 12:28am PT

After yesterday’s blustery winds, snow, and ground blizzards, we woke up to silence. No shaking tents, no rumble from the ridge above, just a clear blue sky. Excited to move, we were the first team out of camp, cramponing up perfect styrofoam snow on Motorcycle and Squirrel Hill, then breaking trail through 5 or 6 inches of fluff on the Polo Field. The sun grew strong and bouncing off the fresh white snow, we were soon stripping layers. We cached 10 days worth of food and several gallons of fuel at 13,5k that we’ll retrieve in a couple days after we move to 14 camp. It was a perfect day in the Alaska range, and everyone was excited to keep pushing forward. We were back in camp with several hours of sunshine left to dry sleeping bags and clothes. Hopefully tomorrow we ‘ll be packing up camp and making our way to 14.

We’ll let you know how it goes.

RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer,  Josh Maggard, Robby Young & Team

The top of Motorcycle Hill, Mt. McKinley, Alaska. RMI Photo Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Take a Weather Day

Posted by: Josh Gautreau, Robby Young, Pete Van Deventer | May 19, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,000'

May 19, 2014 5:34 pm
The winds started to blow last night, and the temps dropped. The winds weren’t steady, but periods of calm were punctuated by gusts that slapped and rattled the tents. All morning we watched huge plumes of snow stream off the West Buttress, indicating steadier strong winds up high. Needless to say, it wasn’t a day to head around Windy Corner. We spent the morning moving and fortifying our walls, as the wind has conveniently switched directions by 180 degrees. A long siesta in the afternoon should have everyone well rested and ready to go for a carry tomorrow. We’re hoping hard for the weather to improve, to continue our progress, but the day of acclimatization can only help us at this point. Until then we are well dug in and will tuck in for a cozy night here at 11,000’. We’ll be in touch tomorrow!

Hasta maƱana,

RMI Guides Pete, Robby, and Josh

From 11,000 ft camp on Mt. McKinley, watching winds and weather above.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Enjoy Rest Day

Posted by: Josh Maggard, Pete Van Deventer, Robby Young | May 19, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

May 18, 2014 10:57 pm PT
Today was a glorious day for a rest day. The sun was shining, and the winds stayed calm though we could tell they were blowing elsewhere. We spent the day watching clouds pour over the ridge of Kahiltna dome, rolling down the backside and dissipating. It was beautiful to watch, and we were glad to be protected from the gusts. After a big breakfast of quesadillas, we sorted some food and gear for our carry past windy corner tomorrow. A quick review of cramponing and self arrest was as much activity as we needed this afternoon. We finished up the day with a big pasta meal and called an early night. We’ll be heading uphill tomorrow to put in our 13,500’ cache, which will set us up to move to 14,000’ camp! The rest day was a great opportunity to recover from the last few days, and we’ll be ready to go tomorrow! 

All for now,

RMI Guides Pete, Robby, and Josh

An RMI Team camped at 11,000' on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer and Team Settle in at 11k Camp

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Robby Young, Josh Maggard | May 18, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

May 17, 11:50 pm PT

Despite the forecasts that we have been getting the last few days, we woke to sunny skies and calm conditions. Everybody was excited to get the move to 11k done. Now that we are here, the first part of the challenge of McKinley is wrapped up. From here on out, we’ll be done with the sleds and snowshoes until we head back for the airstrip.

The move only took a few hours, but we spent several more hours building snow walls and digging in. Right around dinner time the clouds moved in and it started to snow, about an inch in the last two hours. It looks like we’ll wake to several more in the morning. The weather dovetails well with our overall plan however; we’ve had three hard days with big loads and tomorrow is the perfect time for our first full rest day. Our plan is to eat a fat breakfast, read some books, practice cramponing, prepare for a carry to 13k, and then eat a big dinner. Everybody is psyched with our progress even more so with the prospect of a mellow day. We’ll let you know how it goes!

RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Robby Young, and Josh Maggard

Tents and snow walls at 11,000'. Photo: RMI Collection Fresh snow at 11,000'. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Move to 9,700’

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Robby Young, Josh Maggard | May 17, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 9,700'

Another beautiful and successful day. We woke this morning to sunny skies and a cool, fresh breeze blowing. We put away breakfast and coffee, and then packed camp. The first stretch up ski hill is a steady, consistent grind, and in many ways we were happy for the breeze. Several other teams were moving around us as well, so we were trading leads with a handful of them. One of the great parts of climbing McKinley is meeting other climbers from all over the world. The camaraderie of the mountains is pretty special.

Once we reached our camp, we spent several hours setting up tents and building some burly snow walls. We aren’t sure if the winds will ramp up as forecast, but we’ll be ready if they do. We are going to play tomorrow by ear, but for now everyone is settled into tents with full bellies.

RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Robby Young, Josh Maggard

9,700' Camp on Denali. RMI Photo Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Charging to 7,800’

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Robby Young, Josh Maggard | May 16, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,800'

Hi all,
Today started on the early side and ended late, but we got so much accomplished today. We started with a last hearty breakfast of bacon, eggs, potatoes, and toast with plenty of coffee, before heading to the H2 hangar to catch the first flight off the runway. The flight into Kahiltna Base Camp is always stunning, and today was no exception. The turn over the West Ridge of Mt. Hunter brought Base Camp into view, and we banked for the runway.

With all of our team on the glacier, we started preparing everything to walk. We weren’t sure the surface conditions would be firm enough by midday, but we prepared nonetheless. We rigged sleds, packed duffels and packs, sorted group gear, and at last decided it was time. Some thin, high clouds had moved in, helping to keep the heat from making things too sloppy, so we decided to go for it. We descended Heartbreak Hill, and made the turn up the main Kahiltna, walking to 7,800 feet, at the base of Ski Hill. Here we spent the evening setting our first camp.

Tomorrow the plan is to move with all of our gear to 9600’. There is word of some weather coming in, so we’ll see how that impacts our plan, but we are psyched to have made our first moves towards the mountain. All for now, we’ll be in touch tomorrow.

RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer

Mt. Hunter and Mt. Francis from the Kahiltna Glacier. Photo: RMI Collection

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