Entries By robby young

Mt. Rainier: The Winter Seminar Tries for the Summit

Posted by: Brent Okita, Zeb Blais, Ben Liken, Robby Young | April 16, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 10,060'

We left Camp Muir this morning at 4: There was a cap over the summit from the outset of our climb but we were thankful the winds from yesterday evening had abated and hoped the cap would follow suit.45 a.m. in reasonable winds.  The team took to heart the lessons learned at yesterday’s climbing school and climbed strong on the upper mountain in deteriorating conditions.
I began the route finding effort up the Ingraham Direct but gave way to RMI Guide Zeb Blais as he led the team up to a break at 12,800’.  As we switchbacked our way up the mountain, we encountered increasing wind speeds and steadily decreasing visibility.  We made the smart and safe choice to call 13,400’ our high point for the day.  On our descent to Camp Muir, clouds would billow up from below causing white out conditions followed by periods of visibility.  This process repeated continually until we returned to Camp Muir.

We’re back at Camp Muir safe and sound.  We are looking forward to a low-key afternoon at camp with a siesta and some easy training on the schedule.

Signing off for now,
RMI Guide Brent Okita

The Mt. Rainier winter seminar's high point today. Photo: Robby Young Winter seminar training with avalanche transceivers. Photo: Brent Okita The winter seminar traversing the Cowlitz Glacier. Photo: Brent Okita

Thanks for keeping my guys safe and sound!  Think warm thoughts!  Hugs to Mike and Steve

read more

Posted by: cathy on 4/16/2014 at 6:59 pm

Sounds like an awesome day.  Reading between the lines though, sounds intense.  We’re doing our weather dance down here for all-y’all, hoping for some leniency by Mother Nature. Great update!… read more

Posted by: JK on 4/16/2014 at 5:48 pm

Mt. Rainier: RMI Guide Brent Okita Checks In as the Seminar Ascends to Camp Muir

Posted by: Brent Okita, Zeb Blais, Ben Liken, Robby Young | April 15, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 10,060'

We had a great day for making our way to Camp Muir yesterday. Blue skies and just enough wind to keep us from over heating. Everyone did well! 

Camp Muir will be home through Friday.  The next few days we’ll be training around Camp Muir.  It’s going to be a fantastic week!

RMI Guide Brent Okita

Taking a break on our way up the Muir Snowfield. Photo: Brent Okita Mt. Rainier seminar ascending to Camp Muir. Photo: Brent Okita Beautiful vast views on Mt. Rainier seminar. Photo: Brent Okita

Thank you for the update.  Great job, y’all!  Just getting to Camp Muir is an accomplishment in and of itself, not to mention while carrying all that weight!! But every… read more

Posted by: JK on 4/15/2014 at 6:39 pm

Life at The Creek: RMI guides check in from Indian Creek, UT

Posted by: Robby Young, Sean Collon, Steve Gately | December 05, 2013
Categories: *Guide News

October marks the end of the guiding season on Rainier, and the beginning of some of the best rock climbing weather and conditions throughout the Rocky Mountain West. RMI guides Steve Gately, Robby Young and Sean Collon celebrated “Rocktober” this year by spending their time down in Indian Creek near Moab, Utah. “The Creek” is home to some of the best pure crack climbing in the world, with fissures ranging from too small for fingers up to chimneys large enough for your entire body; running a hundred feet up otherwise featureless sandstone walls. It attracts climbers from around the world and is a popular hangout for guides in the October off-season. Sean, Steve and Robby documented their time in The Creek through film, and recount their experiences:

Robby Young:  There is no place like Indian Creek.  The abundance of stunning cracks splitting through vertical sandstone walls appear otherworldly amongst the beautiful desert landscape of Southern Utah, located just a few hours from my home in Park City, UT.  I was very excited to have the opportunity to spend some time in this wonderful place with some good friends, and fellow RMI guides.  The vibrancy of the red rock offers a dramatic contrast to the snow and glacier covered landscape of Mt. Rainier in which we spend much of our summer.  I was also lucky to be able shoot photographs and capture film of some of friends as they pushed their climbing skills in the never-ending pursuit to become better climbers and alpinists.

Sean Collong climbing in Indian Creek (Robby Young).

Sean Collon:  Rock climbing and mountaineering have a large number of common skills, techniques and physical requirements. Approaching rock climbs with heavy packs full of gear builds stamina, and the climbing itself requires total body strength; all of which contributes to success in the big mountains. When guiding, or on personal mountaineering trips, I rely heavily on the rope skills I have developed largely in the vertical world of rock climbing. But more than all of this, rock climbing, in and of itself, is fun. Like any type of climbing, it is physically and mentally demanding.  It can be pure enjoyment, often scary and painful, but always tremendously rewarding.

Steve Gately: After a busy Rainier season, trips like this provide us with some welcomed vacation time, while also allowing us a great opportunity for continued training. With back-to-back trips to Aconcagua coming up this winter, keeping my skills sharp is important to me. One aspect that goes consistently overlooked is not only the mental capacity but also the situational awareness needed for such long expeditions. For me, rock climbing is a way to keep my assessment skills sharp. There is some inherent risk in rock climbing, similarly to anytime that we step out into the mountains. This requires you to be constantly assessing situations, risk, hazards, terrain etc. This level of awareness is invaluable. You can be as strong as the best climbers out there, but without that ability to constantly assess your surroundings and problem solve when needed, well, you won’t last very long in the mountains. For me, as a guide, this is one of the most important contributions I can bring to my trips and rock climbing provides an excellent way to stay strong, keep my skills sharp, and have a ton of fun while doing it!

Robby Young is as talented on rock as he is on glaciers and skis. He is spending the winter ski patrolling and teaching several avalanche courses in Utah and planning on a ski trip to Iceland this spring before his Denali expedition. See more of Robby’s photography at www.robbyyoungphotography.com.

Sean Collon is an RMI guide, originally from Michigan, spending this winter season in Utah ski instructing at Canyons Resort and training for the AMGA Rock and Ski Instructor Courses. He has climbed rock and alpine routes all around the Pacific Northwest and throughout the country, and guiding with Dave Hahn next summer on Mt. McKinley.

Steve Gately is heading to the southern hemisphere this winter to guide on Aconcagua. Returning to Park City, UT, he will be found skiing, ice climbing and working on another short film about backcountry skiing in Utah’s Wasatch Range before heading north to Alaska next summer.


Great clip! I had the honor of attending a fundraiser last night (Golden,CO) for Jeff Lowe’s “Metanoia” movie.  One of the items they were auctioning off was a 3 day… read more

Posted by: Lori Stewart on 12/18/2013 at 7:30 pm

RMI Guide Robby Young Recaps Climbing The North Ridge of Forbidden Peak

Posted by: Robby Young | September 11, 2013
Categories: *Guide News

When the summer climbing season is in full swing, RMI guides look for every opportunity to get into the mountains. RMI Guide Robby Young took advantage of a few days off from guiding recently to climb the North Ridge of Forbidden Peak in the North Cascades.

RMI Guide Robby Young navigating through the crevasses on the North Ridge of Forbidden.

With the summer climbing season on Mt. Rainier in full swing, it has become a bit more difficult to sneak away and enjoy the classic alpine routes in the North Cascades. My climbing partner, Mike, recently came to town and I wanted him to experience the beauty of the North Cascade Alpine Rock. Given that it was Mike’s first time in the range, we instinctively set our sights on the classic pinnacle summit of Forbidden Peak. 

Climbing the North Ridge of Forbidden in the North Cascades.

The beautifully long and committing North Ridge fit the bill for a true alpine adventure.  Unlike its prestigious West Ridge neighbor, the north ridge route involved a more indirect approach, which required climbing up and over the Sharkfin Col and across the remote and broken Boston Glacier. It gave the route a more remote alpine feel.  Once on the ridge proper, the climbing soon became uninterrupted and classic as we made “quick” work of the never-ending knife ridge and vertical gendarmes.  As anticipated, the summit of Forbidden did not disappoint, gifting us with views of some neighboring North Cascade summits like Eldorado, Torment, Boston, Sahale, and Buckner.  Our descent down the West Ridge and back into Boston Basin ended as often long North Cascade routes do, in the dark; leaving us exhausted but eagerly anticipating future adventures in this beautiful range.

RMI Guide Robby Young and his climbing partner enjoy the knife edge ridge on Forbidden.

RMI Guide Robby Young leads climbs in Washington’s Cascades and the Alaska Range. Robby is an an accomplished ski mountaineer, ski patroller and photographer.

Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team’s Expedition Comes to an End

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Geoff Schellens, Robby Young | July 11, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley

Wow! The close to expeditions happen so quickly.  After spending two weeks working our way into position, and then waiting for our summit window, the descent flew by.  After a day of waiting for winds to die to leave 17k, we left camp in much more moderate winds, but with moderate snowfall added to the mix.  The group did a great job of working down the exposed sections of the West Buttress and down the fixed lines to 14k.  We ran into Dave Hahn’s group there, and traded stories while sorting and organizing our cache, and then continued on our way down to 11k for the evening.  Once again the weather moved in, and we arrived at 11k with a chilly wind and snowfall.  We set a hasty camp, dug our cache, and ate a hot dinner, before heading to bed.  With snow in the forecast for the next day, and hoping to have some visibility, we opted to wake in the dawn hours of morning.  The day turned out to be perfectly clear and calm, and we walked out under warming conditions, arriving at Basecamp just in time to see five K2 airplanes land to take out 24 climbers that had been waiting to leave for several days.  We were next in line, but spent the day on standby, as K2 launched plane after plane to come get us, only to have to turn around due to clouds and obscured visibility in the passes that allow access to the Alaska Range.  Finally, at 8 pm, we got word that the last flight for that evening had turned around and that we would spend another night on the glacier.  We set a hasty camp, and cooked up a big dinner out of all of the tasty looking ingredients we could pull from our remaining meals.  The next morning dawned clear, calm, and warm, but again, clouds hung in the passes, preventing planes from making it to us, until later in the afternoon.  Finally, we had planes on the runway, but the pilots hurried us along, saying it wasn’t going to last, and sure enough, as we headed out, pass after pass had shutdown with big white banks of clouds.  As we rounded the corner of the Pica Glacier towards Pica Pass, we say the hole we needed and scooted through, with gray rock and white glaciers giving way suddenly to bright green forest and bog lands.  Landing in Talkeetna is always a shock to the senses, as smells of grass, trees, pavement, jet fuel, and everything else come flooding in.  We stepped off of the planes Tuesday evening to a warm, bright, scented scene, excited to be off the glacier, and gratitude to K2 for trying so hard to get us off. 

This trip brought together seven climbers who previously had never met to attempt and test themselves on the tallest peak in North America.  The group did an amazing job quickly coalescing into a very functional team.  We moved over the mountain efficiently (critical for the weather we would see in the second half of the trip), set camp quickly and solidly, and everyone supported everyone else.  It was a pleasure for the three of us guides to work with the group, and their dedication showed as the conditions became more challenging, and everyone persevered despite. 

Thanks for tuning in and watching our adventure progress. Until next time,

RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Geoff Schellens, Robby Young, and team signing out!

Mt. McKinley, 20,320'. Highest Point in North America. Photo: Bradford Washburn

Sign Up For Mount McKinley 2013 Email Alerts

Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Descend to 11,000’

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Geoff Schellens, Robby Young | July 08, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

Sunday, July 7, 2013
We are down in the thick air of 11k feet! We woke this morning to some snowfall, and generally wintry conditions, but nothing that we couldn’t deal with, and in short order we had camp packed and were rolling down the buttress. We made a short stop at 14 to visit with Dave Hahn’s team ( who were gracious enough to invite is into their posh and make us hot water) and pick up our cache. Another few hours brought us to the 11k camp, where we made our beds for the night. We plan to wake early and continue our descent down the Kahiltna, with the aim of being at the airstrip by mid morning! With luck, there will be a break in the clouds, and we will see the red planes of K2 dropping in to bring us back to Talkeetna! We’ll let you know how that goes, but for now, it’s early to bed for us!

RMI Guides Pete, Geoff, Robby, and team

An RMI Team camped at 11,200ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection

On The Map

Sign Up For Mount McKinley 2013 Email Alerts


Hi team: My stepson is with Dave Hahn on the way up, and I’ve been reading your team’s posts also. Hope you got down, and got to fly out.

read more

Posted by: Vicki on 7/10/2013 at 2:25 pm

Hola Guapo,
Viola just called me to tell me you were stuck” IN a glacier?”  I HOPE NOT!....I’m hoping you meant : “stuck ON the glacier i.e.:mountain”.  Did you… read more

Posted by: marion and maya on 7/9/2013 at 3:09 pm

Mt.McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Wait Out the Winds

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Geoff Schellens, Robby Young | July 07, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,000'

Saturday, July 6, 2013
It was a beautiful though somewhat blustery summit day yesterday and everyone did great! We woke this morning with the intention of moving downhill, but as we prepared, several other groups returned reporting high winds along the buttress. After assessing, we decided that it would behoove us to rest the day and recover from yesterday, and move down tomorrow in lesser winds. So we’ll be in touch tomorrow, hopefully from significantly lower on the mountain! All for now,

RMI Guides Pete, Geoff, Robby, and team

The West Buttress on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection

On The Map

Sign Up For Mount McKinley 2013 Email Alerts


Hello Guapo,
Everyone is asking me how long the trip down is, but I honestly don’t remember.
On the 9th it will be three weeks…..seems like forever.
read more

Posted by: marion and maya on 7/7/2013 at 2:54 pm

Good morning, Tommy! I am grateful you are well and resting. I miss you, but I am happy ya’ll are using caution as you come down. More than anything, I… read more

Posted by: Rhonda Kitchen on 7/7/2013 at 7:21 am

Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Summit!

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Geoff Schellens, Robby Young | July 06, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 20,320'

Saturday, July 6th, 2013 1:39 a.m. PST
Hi all. This is Pete, Geoff, Robby and team from Mt. McKinley.  We are happy to report that we stood on top of North America today!  Had our weather window show up and went for it. The whole team stood on top.  It was a little bit blustery, but everybody did a great job.  We were on top about 6:30 this evening.  Now we are all back at 17K Camp safe and sound enjoying a Ramen dinner and getting ready to sack out before we start looking at moving down the mountain tomorrow. So hope everybody is well and glad to be able to give good news. Will talk later, bye.

RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer

An RMI team descending from the summit. Photo: Seth Waterfall

RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer calls in after summit success!

On The Map

Sign Up For Mount McKinley 2013 Email Alerts


Derek, Congrats on your climb! I’m in North Pole AK and have been looking at the mountain from the fire. ICP is at elem. school stop by if possible.
read more

Posted by: Kim Lemke on 7/10/2013 at 1:20 pm

Way to go!!! Can’t wait to hear the tales, Wy.  What an awesome accomplishment.  It’s almost like being able to say, “I walked on the moon!” :)  Love you!

read more

Posted by: Donna Evenson on 7/7/2013 at 8:01 pm

Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Move to 17,000’!

Posted by: Geoff Schellens, Pete Van Deventer, Robby Young | July 04, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Hello all from 17 thousand feet! We made our move today through a whole mix of weather, though overall, it was a really pleasant day on the West Buttress. We left later than most groups, waiting to have some sun and warmth before we launched. As luck would have it we missed all the crowds on the fixed lines, and cruised to our cache at the base of Washburns Thumb. With our cache on board, it was one more mellow stretch, and we were rolling into camp at the perfect hour. A big dinner and hot drinks, and now we’re tucking in for the night, hoping to wake up and see our summit day tomorrow! Keep your fingers crossed for good weather! Best from here,

RMI Guides Pete, Geoff, Robby, and team

Climbers at 16,500 ft on the West Buttress of Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection Climbers on the ridge to 17,000 ft.  Photo: RMI Collection

On The Map

Sign Up For Mount McKinley 2013 Email Alerts


Derek - I hope you and the team are safe and will finally make summit in honor of the 4th of July!! 
Love, Aunt Rita

read more

Posted by: Rita DeCamp on 7/4/2013 at 3:02 pm

So excited for you to reach the summit!
We are roasting to death in this humidity…you are far better off there!
I told you that you could make… read more

Posted by: marion and maya on 7/4/2013 at 1:37 pm

Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Start toward 17, Then Return

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Robby Young, Geoff Schellens | July 02, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

Tuesday, July 2, 2013
We had a little bit of a false start here this morning. We woke at 5.30 to clear conditions, and lower winds up above. Altogether, it was a great looking scene, albeit cold; the coldest temps we have seen all trip. We ate a hasty breakfast, and packed camp to move to 17,000’. As we started to walk, clouds began to build, and the winds on the Buttress were rising too. At the base of the fixed lines, we decided that today wasn’t the day to make our move, and we retreated back to 14,200’ to reset camp. A day like today is tough, but we made the right decision, and everyone is in good spirits. We’re hoping that tomorrow morning provides a better opportunity!

Until then, best from Alaska.
RMI Guides Pete, Geoff, Robby, and team

The fixed lines on Mt. McKinley above 14,000 ft.  Photo: Katy Laveck

On The Map

Sign Up For Mount McKinley 2013 Email Alerts


sorry to hear you didn’t get to 17,000 today, but it makes me comfortable knowing that your team guides care about your welfare and safety,and won’t take unnecessary… read more

Posted by: marion and maya on 7/3/2013 at 9:22 pm

Hey Gail good to hear you guys are getting some exercise up there…I was beginning to worry you were getting lazy.  Ha…kidding of course!  Sounds like yesterday was a long… read more

Posted by: Becky on 7/3/2013 at 1:06 pm

More Entries