Entries By tyler jones

Mt. McKinley: Team Jones- Freeze or Fry! Carry to 16,400’

Posted by: Tyler Jones, Garrett Stevens | June 08, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

Saturday, June 8, 2013
Bonjour, from the fryer at 14 camp. The essence of climbing the great big mountains is that in the shade we freeze and in the sun we fry. Our carry to 16,400 ft went well and we are now ready for some more rest time.

Today was a long hard effort getting out of the tents around 6:45 with not a breath of wind and clear skies; the not so fuzzy part was -10 F air temp. This had us all moving quickly to eat another bowl of oatmeal and down a cup of coffee before departing camp and wiggling vigorously to keep the fingers and toes warm.

When we reached the half way mark in our second leg of the carry, the sun popped up over the West Rib route and the rays warmed us to our core. It took just a half hour for us to be climbing in our base layer, welcoming the fry portion of our day.

The fixed lines on the West Buttress Head Wall were in great condition with fabulous cramponing - the teeth biting in the snow as if we were on steep green grass. I envy green grass as the only natural colors we have observed are white, blue and the light brown of the granite ridges rising thousands of feet above.

We chopped in firm snow to create a cache hole just big enough to drop food, fuel and supplies. The team then descended down the buttress a short way before a hot and relatively easy and smooth decent off the fixed lines and a short stroll back to our 14 advanced base camp!

In the tents yet again hiding from the magnificent orange ball in the sky! The future of the day and for tomorrow is to chill, eat, drink, and rest up for our summit push hopefully next week! We miss you all! The guides are currently craving an ice cold coke, some one please have one for us! Till tomorrow be happy be chill all is well!

Ciao,
RMI Guides Tyler Jones & Garrett Stevens

Ascending the fixed lines on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: Katy Laveck Climbers at 16,000' on the West Buttress of Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Team Jones - The Job of Chilling

Posted by: Garrett Stevens, Tyler Jones | June 07, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

Friday, June 7, 2013
Today, we are chilling out around camp like it’s our job; in fact, it IS our job after yesterday’s move up to 14,200’. The trial of moving with big packs in the relentless sun is behind us, and now we are enjoying our well earned rest.

The morning started when the sun crept around the ridge, taking the bite out of last night’s sub-zero temperatures. The crystal blue skies above were inviting folks to grab sleeping bags and drape them over tents to dry out, as well as let the UV rays kill a week of accumulated funk.

As hot water came to a boil and the smells of frying bacon and eggs wafted over our tents, the crew came circling in like sharks sensing prey in the water. Our breakfast quesadillas lasted about as long as an injured fish in a feeding frenzy, too - but you know what they say: you have to eat your way right to the top of this mountain.

After the group appetite was satiated, team members waddled back to their tents in down booties, looking for more respite from the intense power if the sun. The route is easily visible from our tents, and we’ve seen plenty of teams heading up the route we’ll follow tomorrow on our carry. The group morale is high and folks are climbing strong, although the new altitude is definitely noticeable.

Our afternoon today will include a review of fixed line travel techniques, in preparation for the carry tomorrow. But for now, we are simply enjoying being in one of the world’s most beautiful places, with excellent weather and the bulk of Denali reminding us of what’s to come. Thanks for all the kind wishes and keep sending the good vibes! Stay tuned…

RMI Guides Tyler Jones, Garrett Stevens, and the Crew

The RMI Posh Tent at 14,000 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: LIndsay Mann

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

Posted by: Garrett Stevens, Tyler Jones | June 07, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

Thursday, June 6, 2013
Awh ya! We are all moved in at 14,200’ in the Genet Basin! Last evening we were put to bed by the clearing of the clouds and spectacular views of Kahiltna Dome, Mt. Foraker from the 11,000’ camp. We had a windless night and woke to a brisk yet blue bird morning. We had a quick bite of oatmeal and a coffee, and like blades in a blender we whipped up our kit and saddled our packs to ride.

Our trip was smooth with a chance to further take in the unbelievable view of the entire Southern Alaska range. We rounded Windy Corner with a rest stop in zero wind. Our freckles could tell by late morning that the sun’s inferno would take a toll on our energy. Regardless, we made great steady progress arriving in 14 camp in a little over 5 hours. 

Arriving at camp is just part of the move day’s work! We established camp quickly thanks to a previously occupied camp. Yet, making water, retrieving the cache, moving our belongings back in the tent coupled with new altitude is hard work.

This all pays off at the end of the day when you’re snuggling with your big cached food bag and other piles of feathers We are reunited with! Laying in the tent as i write with a full belly of soup, tortellini, and cookies!

It is good to be moving up with sprits high, climbers enjoying the mountain and a rest day for tomorrow! Did I say Awhh ya?

RMI Guides Tyler Jones & Garrett Stevens & The team

Rounding Windy Corner en route to 14,000 ft Camp. Photo: RMI Collection An RMI Team camped at 14,000 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team Rest and Relax at 11,000’

Posted by: Garrett Stevens, Tyler Jones | June 05, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

Yesterday’s carry to 14,000’ left many members of the team knackered, so today is a very relaxing rest day in our well-appointed camp at 11,000’.  A leisurely morning was the main agenda, with coffee, bagels, cream cheese and smoked salmon on the breakfast menu. A pan of hash browns and cheese is on deck for the afternoon snack. 

The posh house, our group meeting location, kitchen, and dining room is in heavy use today, with its many panel seams radiating out from the center pole like the legs of an octopus. Under its protective canopy we’ve been solving the various problems of the world and making sure we stay hydrated. Team members drift in and out, while conversation and laughter drifts across camp.

Fortunately the light snow we have had the past couple of days is tapering off, and the sun is working to dry out our moist sleeping bags and tents. We are conserving our energy for tomorrow’s move to 14K camp, which will put us over the halfway mark and in good position for the higher reaches of the mountain.

Climbing a mountain like Denali is a long process, and taking time to get to know one another is a big part of that. Today’s rest is allowing the team to strengthen our group dynamic, and get to know each other more intimately. What started as a group of strangers more than a week ago is quickly morphing into a solid team of friends, ready to tackle the rest of the “Great One.”

But we’ll leave the hard work for tomorrow, and enjoy the down time today. Stay tuned for more!

Dan, Robin, Jess, James, Lori, Justin, Tyler and Garrett

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

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Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team Carry to 14,000’

Posted by: Garrett Stevens, Tyler Jones | June 04, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Today we woke to a calm, warm and partly cloudy morning at our 11,000’ camp! A 7am wake up had us working our triceps downing a cup of coffee and a bowl of oatmeal. Then the hard work with the legs began for our 3,000’ climb. Starting with the grind of Motorcycle hill where the ridge provides amazing views of the Washburn wall and Father and Sons wall. Both walls are enormous, sporting 8,000’ of vertical relief. With strong efforts by all the team we continued up through Squirrel Hill, across the Polo Fields with the magnificent end of the direct West Buttress looming above. Our ascent around the infamous Windy Corner was just a cool light breeze, a welcome reward. The crew arrived to the 14,000’ camp in good shape and we dropped our supplies for the coming days. It was the longest and most work of our trip putting in 7 hours on our feet. The descent was smooth with new blown powder covering the trail, making for soft crampon walking back to the rest and relaxation of the tents for a while before we move in to the disco circus tent we call our living room and kitchen for a very well earned quesadilla extravaganza. We plan to take a day of rest tomorrow and count on our recovery at this lower altitude with continued acclimatization to be hugely beneficial to our success up higher on the mountain. That’s all - got to go now, catch you all on our rest day tomorrow!
RMI Guides Tyler Jones & Garrett Stevens

An RMI Team ascending the Polo Fields of Denali.  Photo: RMI Collection An RMI Team ascends Motorcycle Hill.  Photo: Seth Waterfall

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Mt. McKinley: Team Jones enjoying camp life at 11,200’

Posted by: Garrett Stevens, Tyler Jones | June 03, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

Monday, June 3, 2013
Today was a day of light work and much chilling. We were able to sleep in later than any other day so far, which is always a nice treat in the mountains. We did get some fresh snow overnight, so we spent the first few minutes of the day clearing off tents and backpacks. But by 9:30 we were all feasting on righteous breakfast quesadillas filled with fluffy eggs, crispy bacon, melted cheese and topped with hot sauce, which fueled the crew for our back-carry.

We headed back down to our cache and retrieved all our gear, and began the grind back to camp. While the oblong sleds dragged a little in the new snow, we were still able to complete the trip quickly, and before 1 o’clock we were back in camp. Now we are enjoying all the delicious lunch food we had cached, gorging on tasty morsels.

The team is currently resting and getting ready for a hard day of work tomorrow. We’re planning to carry a load up to 14K’ camp, and the stretch of mountain between here and there will be the most difficult terrain so far. While it may seem like mountain climbers have some strange fetish for being cold, smelly and sore, there is no substitute for the reward you feel at the end of hard day of climbing. We’ll check back in tomorrow with an update, so until then keep sending positive energy and wishes for high pressure!

RMI Guides Tyler, Garrett, and the Crew

Looking toward the summit of Denali from camp at 11,200 ft.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Jones and team move to 11 camp

Posted by: Garrett Stevens, Tyler Jones | June 02, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

Sunday, June 2, 2013
Today we woke to a splitter red sky, the most beautiful morning of our trip. As the saying goes, though: red sky in morning, climbers take warning! The weather continues to cloud up and a few snow flakes have fallen between breaks in the clouds. This change is rather abstract compared to the last few week of very high pressure over the region. With an early start the team climbed well for 5 hrs. We now find ourselves enjoying some well earned down time back in the tents eating, drinking, sleeping and chatting. Most importantly hiding from the seemingly gorilla strength sun rays in our new home at 11k. Tomorrow we plan to sleep in, have a deluxe breakfast, and retrieve our luggage just a short way down the hill. Each of our team members want to say hi to family and friends; we are doing great and love you all! We’ll check in after our grocery shoppe and petrol refill.

RMI Guides Tyler Jones and Garrett Stevens

Am RMI Team moving to 11,000 ft Camp.  Photo: Lindsay Mann

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Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team Carry to 10,000’

Posted by: Garrett Stevens, Tyler Jones | June 01, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,800'

Saturday, June 1, 2013
This morning we got up at 4 am as planned to carry our first load of luggage up towards 11,000’. Breakfast was a quick affair of granola cereal and bars, and by 5:30 the team was underway. Our slow, steady pace helped us gain elevation, while the moderate breeze blowing down the glacier kept anyone from overheating. The peaks of the Alaska range glowed at the tops as the sun crept higher in the east, lighting the summit ridges of Mt. Crosson and Kahiltna Dome. Looking back down the main Kahiltna Glacier at our breaks, we were treated to a morning view few people get to enjoy: snow, ice and rock in every direction, sculpted by nature into a cathedral worthy of reverence.

All too soon we arrived at our cache location, but we enjoyed the acclimatization benefits of working a little bit at 10,000’. The crew all worked well and within minutes we had safely buried all our gear and turned back towards our warm tents at 7,800’. The pace was quicker as we dropped back down, and we were soon dropping our packs and crawling back into our tents to avoid the ruthless solar radiation. The team is now focused on rest and rehydration, preparing for our move to camp at 11,000’ tomorrow.

We’ll keep you posted as we continue to climb higher, stay tuned!

RMI Guides Tyler, Garrett and the Crew

The view from the Kahiltna Glacier - Mt. Hunter and Mt. Francis

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Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team Great Success with First Move

Posted by: Tyler Jones, Garrett Stevens | May 31, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,800'

Friday, May 31, 2013 at 1:30 pm PT
We have made our first move up the mountain to the base of Ski Hill at 7,800’ on the main Kahiltna Glacier.

Since our arrival yesterday we enjoyed a great first feast of totally loaded quesadillas and snoozed up just a few hours of rest before the 2am wake up. We organized our literal mountain of equipment and food in to individual group loads for what will hopefully be our only single carry. This mean we won’t have to carry all our equipment at once but rather double carry, stashing equipment high and gaining fitness through mileage with manageable packs. Mileage is what we will need as the days grow harder and longer the higher we climb.

The arduous loads were all near 100 pounds each. Every climber on our team did a fabulous job getting the heaviest day of the trip over with. We are now truly underway and five miles closer to our goal of reaching “The High One” Denali.

We hope to carry equipment to around 10,000’ tomorrow and return to recently renovated camp at 7,800’. We are going to catch some midday ZZZs and hide from the sun!

Will check in tomorrow,
RMI Guide Tyler Jones

Climbing Teams Leaving Basecamp. Photo: Chris Villar

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Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team Fly on the Mountain

Posted by: Tyler Jones, Garrett Stevens | May 30, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,300'

Thursday, May 30, 2013
Tyler and Garrett checking in from RMI Denali Expedition Number 4. Yesterday afternoon found us in the ranger station getting some good details about the route, our responsibilities on the mountain, and what we can expect to see as we climb higher. Interestingly, we also were reminded that this year is the 100-year anniversary of the first ascent. While we have the benefit of fancy new gear and a century of knowledge, the actual climb of Denali remains as challenging as it was in 1913, and our team is ready to tackle that challenge.

We landed on the glacier today, and we’re currently camped out in Basecamp. The mostly clear skies and warm temperatures make it hard to believe we’re almost at the Arctic Circle! Because it’s so warm here, we won’t be heading out for our first camp until later tonight (more like early in the morning) so that the snow will freeze up and make our walking a little smoother.

Everyone is excited to have gotten a smooth start to the trip, and we’re hoping the weather continues to hold. We’ll check back in tomorrow, keep it dialed in for more!

RMI Guides Tyler Jones and Garrett Stevens

Denali's Kahiltna Basecamp in Alaska. Photo: RMI Collection

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