Entries By solveig waterfall

Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Training and Enjoying Time

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Steve Gately | May 19, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,000'

May 18, 2014 10:50 pm PT
Shortly after finishing dinner last night some light clouds sauntered into camp and began lightly snowing on us. Soon thereafter the winds kicked up and we had a moderately noisy nights rest with the wind sending our forecasted 6” of snow into outer space. This morning we awoke to clear cold skies and virtually no wind. Foraker stood to the Southwest with a few stacked lenticular clouds and the normal sprawl of Alaskan tundra was replaced by a sea of clouds. Today was another scheduled rest day for our team and we spent it reviewing fixed line and running belay techniques which we’ll utilize on the upper mountain. We also took a short stroll across the glacier to check out a feature known as “The Edge of the World”. This is the point at which the glacial plateau at which 14 camp resides on abruptly drops 6,000-7,000 ft to the Northeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier. The team enjoyed the exposure and enormous views of Denali’s “West Rib” and Mount Hunter. We also enjoyed our first sense of scale as we had a clear view down to our first camp at 7,800 ft and could finally get a sense of how far we’ve come. The weather stayed great for us today despite a forecasted low pressure system said to be moving through. Tomorrow we plan to tackle the fixed lines and move a cache of gear to just over 16,000 ft which puts us in great shape to wait for a weather window and ultimately our summit bid. All in all the team is doing fantastic, moral is high and folks are excited!

Best regards from Denali

RMI Guide Steve Gately

The view from the Edge of the World.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Walter and Team Rest at 14,000’ Camp

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Steve Gately | May 18, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

May 17, 10:31 pm PT

The team spent today resting and acclimating at 14k Camp. Winds up high were strong today and about a half a foot of snow is forecast for tomorrow. We’re all healthy and happy in our well-built camp. Hopefully the weather will break soon and we can put a cache in up high.

During the day, RMI Guide Solveig Waterfall and I teamed up with some other guides and climbed up above camp to establish the fixed lines on the headwall that go from about 15,500’ to 16,200’. The previously existing lines were buried in ice and damaged to the point of being unsafe and unusable. Now that we have good fixed ropes up there we all feel better about the prospects of safely climbing higher with our team.

With the weather forecast as it is, we plan to take another rest/acclimatization day tomorrow. We’ll be in touch and keep you up to date with our progress.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Sun break during a storm at 14,000'.  Photo: Dave Hahn

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Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Settle into 14,000’ Camp

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Steve Gately | May 17, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,000'

We woke this morning to pretty robust winds at our 14,000’ camp. After breakfast and hot drinks we headed back down to retrieve the cache we left a few days ago at Windy Corner (13,700’). The winds subsided and we had a busy day between the back-carry, building stout walls for our camp, and digging out a kitchen tent. Everyone worked hard today and is doing well with the altitude.

The weather forecast is calling for some pretty strong winds for tomorrow, so we’re just planning on resting until conditions improve and we can put a cache in up high. Hopefully the winds will subside sooner rather than later.

That’s it for now. We’ll check in again tomorrow.

RMI Guide Mike Walter and Team

Climber digging out Cache. RMI Photo Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Movin’ On Up

Posted by: Solveig Waterfall, Mike Walter, Steve Gately | May 16, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,000'

It’s a bit colder up here at 14,000’ than it was at 11K Camp this morning, but we are all excited to be moving uphill again and enjoying new surroundings.  We left a an hour earlier than our usual time in anticipation of the extensive work of building a solid camp once we arrived at our destination.

It took us just over five hours to get here, and as is normal this time of the season, there were no established camps that had been vacated and available for us to move into.  Everyone fueled up and we spent the next four and a half hours building tent platforms and cutting and stacking blocks of snow to build walls and protect us from the wind.

It’s been breezy and snowing on and off throughout the day, and after a quick dinner of potatoes, gravy, and Hormel Retorts, we have all jumped into the warmth and shelter of our nylon chateaus.  Tomorrow we plan to return to our cache at Windy Corner and retrieve our additional food, gas, and personal snacks.  Everyone is excited about this!

All the best from RMI Guides Solveig, Mike, Steve and the team here at 14K!

An RMI team building a block arch on Denali. Photo: RMI Collection Looking through Camp Walls at 14,200' Camp. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Stay in 11K Camp as Winds Pick Up

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Steve Gately | May 14, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

Our team is still at the 11k Camp, as winds picked up around midnight last night and continued through this morning. We decided that the winds were too high for our liking, and we took another rest day here at 11k. The winds abated this afternoon and we’re optimistic we’ll be able to move to the 14k Camp tomorrow. In the mean time, we enjoyed a relaxing day around camp. Extra rest days like these are beneficial for acclimatization and getting strong for the hard work ahead of us.

Everyone is doing well, and we’re all looking forward to moving camp up higher. We’ll keep you posted as always.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

An RMI Team's 11,200' Camp. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team’s Rest Day at 11K Camp

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Steve Gately | May 13, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

Today we saw the first real clouds of the trip, accompanied by a dusting of snow. The clouds cleared out in the afternoon and it turned into a beautiful, but breezy evening.

We weren’t terribly concerned with what the weather did today, as we took a complete rest day in order to have more time to acclimate to the altitude and recover from the past five days of hard work in the mountains.

Everyone is doing well and, if the weather lets us, we’ll move up to the 14,200’ Camp in Genet Basin tomorrow. The weather forecast for tomorrow is calling for clear skies and moderate winds, so we’ll just have to see how things play out.

We’ll keep you posted with our progress.

Caio for now,
RMI Guide Mike Walter

RMI Tents at 11K Camp. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Take Advantage of the Good Weather to Cache Gear

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Steve Gately | May 13, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

Today we awoke yet again to a beautiful morning, but tomorrow that changes. With a brief disturbance blowing in from the Bering Sea tomorrow we took advantage of the good weather to make a carry to 13,500ft. There we cached gear and food that we will later retrieve and haul to 14,000ft Camp. Everyone was excited to finally strap the spikes on and go climbing and the team did fantastic navigating the new terrain and altitude. With the sun out and clear skies we enjoyed warm temperatures and fantastic views of the West Buttress proper and major features such as the Messner and Japanese couloirs. Tomorrow the team will enjoy their first rest day of the trip as we wait out the weather. All the best from Denali!

RMI Guide Steve Gately

Looking up from 11K Camp. Photo: Katy Reid

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Mt. McKinley Expedition: Walter & Team Back Carry and Plan for Tomorrow

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Steve Gately | May 11, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

Once again the weather has been nothing less than spectacular for us up here on Denali. After a breakfast of smoked salmon, cream cheese, and bagels to start the day, we headed back downhill to retrieve our cache of gear at 9,500’. We arrived back at the 11k camp a few minutes after 2pm, with plenty of time to rest in the afternoon. As well as resting, eating, and drinking, we had a couple of chores to accomplish, namely building snow walls to fortify our camp and sorting our gear to cache up higher, which we anticipate doing tomorrow. The weather forecast looks good for tomorrow, so if it verifies we’ll take advantage and get a cache in up high, likely at Windy Corner, around 13,500’.

All of us on the first RMI Denali expedition would like to wish a very happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers in our lives.

Thanks for keeping track of our progress. We’ll keep you posted with updates as we continue this awesome adventure.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Cutting blocks for the camp's snow wall. Photo: RMI Collection Camp at 11,000' on Mt. McKinley. Photo: RMI Collection

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McKinley Expedition: Walter and Team Move to 11,200’

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Steve Gately | May 11, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

May 10, 10:50 pm PT
Well, the weather continues to treat us well up here on the Kahiltna Glacier. We moved from Camp 2 to Camp 3 (11,200’) in beautiful, sunny weather; a light breeze kept us from over heating as we climbed up towards Kahiltna Pass. Once at camp we spent a few hours digging in and establishing a comfortable living situation. A well-earned dinner of quesadillas with fresh vegetables filled our stomachs before we crawled into our sleeping bags for the evening.
The weather forecast remains good, and tomorrow we will go down to 9500’ to make a “back carry” and retrieve the extra equipment we left there in order to make our loads more manageable for the journey to camp 3. We’ll be in touch again tomorrow.
Cheers,
RMI Guide Mike Walter

An RMI Team en route to 11,000 ft Camp on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: Lindsay Mann An RMI Team camped at 11,200 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley Expedition: Walter and Team Climb Ski Hill

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Steve Gately | May 10, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 9,400'

It’s another splitter evening on the Kahiltna Glacier.  Our team worked hard this afternoon and it all paid off when we rolled into camp here at 9400’ and enjoyed a few hours basking in the sunshine and casually building camp. Our group is becoming skilled in campsite construction, and we are sitting quite comfortably here in our massive snow fort. With Ski Hill out of the way and in the past, we are all looking forward to our move to 11,000’ tomorrow.

The team is doing well, spirits are high, the weather forecast looks promising, and we are all excited about the progress we’ve made and the climbing still ahead!

RMI Guide Mike Walter & Team

Pulling Sleds up Ski Hill. RMI Photo Collection

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