Posts for Mount McKinley

Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Weather the Storm at 14,000’

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Ben Liken, Sean Collon, Zach Lovell | July 08, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

It snowed through the night and into the morning here at 14,200 ft.  Not heavily, and there wasn’t much wind finding our camp, so it wasn’t like it was an awful or epic storm.  But it was enough of a storm to keep us from going climbing today.  We caught the odd view of the mountainside through occasional cloud breaks in the morning and saw dramatic avalanche scars in the Messner Couloir and Orient Express that matched the rumbling we’d heard.  After a long breakfast, we turned the day into a rest day to shore up our acclimatization.  By evening, the clouds were breaking up and it seemed that weather was improving again.  We’ll try again tomorrow.

Best Regards,

RMI Guide Dave Hahn & Team

14,000' Camp on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: Brent Okita

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Mt. McKinley: Knoff and Team Experience Deja Vu

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Lindsay Mann, Andy Hildebrand | July 07, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

Monday, July 7, 2014 - 12:05 PM PT

Well, the team is currently experiencing deja vu here at 11,200’ camp on Mt. McKinley.  Before arriving here in deja vu land, the team did an AWESOME job packing up high camp and descending to 14,200’ camp.  At 14,200’ we were met by Dave Hahn and his team who treated us to lots of hot water and quesadillas.  Delicious and just what we needed!

Descending to 11 camp required all of our attention as we re-acquainted ourselves with sleds, experienced some post-holing, and walked (as best we could) through less than exciting weather.  Now to the deja vu part of the story…a snow storm at 11,200’.  We thought the weather gods had released all of the snow on us already but we were wrong.  We are doing a weather dance right now so we can continue our descent and make our dreams of warm showers, cold beers, and loved ones a reality.  Until then, we will keep you posted.

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

An RMI team experiencing a snow storm at 11,200' on Mt. McKinley, Alaska.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Back Carry to 13,500’

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Ben Liken, Sean Collon, Zach Lovell | July 06, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

July 6, 2014 - 10:18 pm PT

Today, our first day at 14K, wasn’t very difficult.  We got up just slightly ahead of the sun, which made it past Denali’s West Rib at 9:20 AM.  We had a big breakfast and then geared up to go rescue our cache from the ravens.  It only took a few minutes to walk down to 13,500 feet.  And then a bit longer to dig up our food and gear -which, thankfully, hadn’t been attacked by birds.  Then it was just about an hour in the hot sun to get back to camp.  We had a short training session in the afternoon to review techniques that we’ll employ on the fixed rope section between 15,000 and 16,000 feet.  And around dinner time, we were happy to welcome Adam Knoff’s victorious team back into 14 camp.  They drank water and repacked while telling us stories of the upper mountain.  Then they eased out of camp on their way to 11K while we dined, chatted, and headed for bed.  The sky has clouded up again and light snow is falling, but we’ll hope that tomorrow’s weather stays good enough for us to carry up to 16K. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

An RMI team's 14K camp on Mt. McKinley. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team Reach the Summit!

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Lindsay Mann, Andy Hildebrand | July 06, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 20,320'

July 6, 2014 - 11:00 am PT

Adam Knoff called the office with great news: The team reached the summit of Mount McKinley at 7:00pm last night!  Everyone is doing great and very happy.  They are packing up high camp and plan to head down to 14K camp to visit with Dave Hahn and team, then may continue on to 11,000’.  Their plan is to be at Basecamp tomorrow.

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

An RMI climber on McKinley's Summit Ridge. Photo: RMI Collection

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21

Great news on my BD!! Congrats to all of the team members. Travel down safely, enjoy the first beer!

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Posted by: Jane on 7/6/2014 at 5:07 pm

Dave!  I am proud of you Come down safe.
-Marie

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Posted by: Marie on 7/6/2014 at 4:32 pm


Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team are Fourteeners

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Ben Liken, Sean Collon, Zach Lovell | July 06, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

July 5, 2014 - 10:18 pm PT

We gladly used another perfect day to move up from 11,000 to 14,000 ft.  We managed to get as far as Windy Corner enjoying cool, morning conditions, but there is no way to sugarcoat the walking weather for the final ninety minutes into camp, the sun was intense, the air was still and the climbers were plain old hot.  That said, it was tough for anybody to complain too much at the combination of great weather and sweet route conditions.  We’ve kept our streak alive, nine days and half a mountain without having to step over an open crevasse.  All were interested and a touch apprehensive to see a raven hopping around our 13,500 ft cache as we approached.  He or she hadn’t had any luck in getting to this one though, and we took a moment to pack down the five foot deep snow covering the buried treasure -one more time.  We’ll retrieve that food and gear tomorrow if all goes well.

It was fun “catching up” to the other climbing teams at 14K, although we haven’t really as they are a day or two ahead of us now and are closer to moving up than we are.  Also great to follow the progress of the only other RMI team on the mountain via radio today as Adam Knoff and crew hit the jackpot for stable weather for a summit bid. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Cache at Windy Corner with climbers in the background. Photo: Lindsay Mann

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Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team Doing Well on Their Summit Bid

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Lindsay Mann, Andy Hildebrand | July 05, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

July 5, 2014 - 5:05 pm PT

Adam called and reported that they were on their way up to the summit, just below the Football Field with all climbers doing well. Yesterday was a great move day for them, and they continue to enjoy good weather, with blue skies and 20mph winds.

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

An RMI team above Denali Pass on Mt. McKinley. Photo: Brent Okita

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Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Celebrate the 4th of July at 11K Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Ben Liken, Sean Collon, Zach Lovell | July 04, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

July 4, 2014 - 11:34 pm PT

In observance of Independence Day, we rested at 11,000 feet.  Having put in a pretty full seven days of work and in the hopes of maximizing our acclimatization before making the big jump to 14,000’, it seemed smart to take it easy in this beautiful place on a magnificent day.  So breakfast was at a leisurely pace once the sun made it around the West Buttress at 9:15.  We put a bunch of meat into fry pans over camp stoves for a-mid afternoon simulated barbecue.  For fireworks, we watched the sun blaze brilliantly in the Alaskan summer sky.  The team is excited for the move to 14K tomorrow.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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

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Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team Move to 17K Camp

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Lindsay Mann, Andy Hildebrand | July 04, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

July 4, 2014 - 9:44 pm PT

The move to Mt. McKinley’s high camp is like stepping into the ring with a heavy weight larger than King Kong.  Thing is, he really likes to throw things at you in one long grueling round.  That round our team won.  It could not have been a more perfect day to come to high camp.  Now the question becomes how much strength does the team have for round two which comes in the form of Godzilla.  Tomorrow we will attempt to climb to the summit, weather permitting.  Wish us well.

RMI Guide Adam Knoff and team signing off from high camp.

An RMI Guide breaks trail on the Autobahn, Mt. McKinley. Photo: Lindsay Mann

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Mt. McKinley: Hahn and Team Don Crampons Instead of Snowshoes

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Ben Liken, Sean Collon, Zach Lovell | July 04, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,000'

July 3, 2014 - 11:19 p.m. PT

The forecasts had us optimistic that today would work out well for a carry to 13,500 ft.  At seven AM though, it didn’t seem that Denali’s clouds had read the forecast.  It was socked in above, below and to the West of us.  Even so, there was a mass exodus from 11,000’ camp underway.  The five other guided groups that we’ve been playing leap-frog with for the past week were all busting down their camps and getting early starts at moving up.  By the time we’d finished breakfast, we had the place pretty much to ourselves (to our knowledge, no other climbers have come onto the mountain behind us).  The weather, although a little murky and more threatening than we’d expected, seemed stable enough for our mission.  We put crampons on our boots today instead of snowshoes, an ice axe in our hands instead of two ski poles, and we elected to give our sleds the day off, loading all food and gear for the carry onto our backs.  At just after 9 AM we started up the steep “Motorcycle Hill” above camp.  We made steady progress onto “Squirrel Hill” and then into the “Polo Field” laid out below the end of the West Buttress.  By the time we reached Windy Corner at 13,300 we were thankful for the cloudcover which was keeping things just cool enough for comfortable climbing.  And significantly, Windy Corner wasn’t windy.  We cruised up and around it to our intended cache site at 13,500 ft.  Digging a raven-proof cache occupied us for long enough that the clouds began to clear while we were at it.  This meant we were treated to some spectacular views during our descent.  With lightened packs, we got down without difficulty.  The route was in fabulous condition due to so much recent snow.  We haven’t crossed an open crevasse since leaving basecamp whereas in other years we might well have stepped over a hundred at this stage of the climb.  The forecasted fair weather arrived and made our afternoon and evening resting back at 11,000 camp sunny and easy.

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

An RMI Team ascending from 11,000 ft on Mt. McKinley, Alaska.  Photo: RMI Collection Climbers approaching Windy Corner, Mt. McKinley, Alaska.  Photo: Brent Okita

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Mt. McKinley: Knoff and Team Ready to Move Up

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Lindsay Mann, Andy Hildebrand | July 03, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

Thursday, July 2, 2014 – 4:43 PM PT

Yesterday our team experienced the unparalleled vistas of a clear sky at 16,200’ on Denali as we were finally handed a nearly perfect day. We loaded up three days of lunch and snack food plus a few personal items for our carry to the top of the fixed lines which crest Washburn’s Ridge—the most stimulating section of Denali’s West Buttress Route. The team did great learning how to jumar. All members of the St. Angelo family and Jay and Mary Lampas hit personal altitude records. Fatima did a great job breaking trail down the lines, literally paving the way for thirty other climbers on the same program as us. 

The population of 14k camp has increased dramatically. What once was a camp that resembled a wide cow pasture with wandering wildlife now resembles a city with distinct neighborhoods on main thoroughfares.  Just like a city, this can create traffic jams when multiple teams, all roped together, try to move around at the same time. This sudden influx of guided teams means we will need to wake up at 4 am, while the temperature here sits around 5 below, just to beat the crowds and avoid a bottleneck.

This afternoon we had a lengthy breakfast which leaned more along the lines of a leisurely brunch. We then took a beautiful stroll to an incredible precipice called the Edge of the World. Great weather allowed us more breathtaking views and inspired us for the hard days to come. Hopefully our next contact will be from high camp.

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

The view from the Edge of the World at 14,200' on Mt. McKinley, Alaska.  Photo: Lindsay Mann The view from the Edge of the World at 14,200' on Mt. McKinley, Alaska.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Happy July 4, thanks for the great report from yesterday, hoping the warmth and sun stay strong. Climb on and hoping the summit is as beautiful.

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Posted by: Jane on 7/4/2014 at 4:22 am

So glad to hear you guys finally got some well deserved improvement in your weather and it sounds like you are really going strong. Looks like Fatima’s spirits must be… read more

Posted by: peter williamson on 7/3/2014 at 5:22 pm


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Recent Images From Mount McKinley

  • Flying into Kahiltna Base Camp on Mt. McKinley. Photo: Lindsay Mann
  • The Talkeetna Airstrip in view. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Sunset in Talkeetna. Photo: Linden Mallory
  • An RMI Team camped at 11,000 ft on Mt. McKinley, Alaska.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • Sunset from Mt. McKinley's 17,200' Camp. Photo: Katy Reid
  • An RMI Guide breaks trail on the Autobahn, Mt. McKinley. Photo: Lindsay Mann
  • 16,500' on the West Buttress, Mt. McKinley. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Tents at 17 camp on Mt. McKinley, Alaska. Photo: Lindsay Mann
  • A populated 14,000 ft Camp on Mt. McKinley, Alaska. Photo: Brent Okita
  • The RMI Posh Tent at 14,000 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: LIndsay Mann
  • View from the Edge of the World from Mt. McKinley's 14,200' Camp. Photo: LIndsay Mann
  • Expansive views from the Edge of the World, Mt. McKinley. Photo: RMI Collection
  • A view up the fixed lines on Mt. McKinley. Photo: Katy Reid
  • 14,000' Camp on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: Brent Okita
  • An RMI team experiencing a snow storm at 11,200' on Mt. McKinley, Alaska.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • An RMI team's 14K camp on Mt. McKinley. Photo: RMI Collection
  • An RMI climber on McKinley's Summit Ridge. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Cache at Windy Corner with climbers in the background. Photo: Lindsay Mann
  • An RMI team above Denali Pass on Mt. McKinley. Photo: Brent Okita
  • Looking up from Mt. McKinley's 11K Camp. Photo: Katy Reid
  • An RMI Guide breaks trail on the Autobahn, Mt. McKinley. Photo: Lindsay Mann
  • An RMI Team ascending from 11,000 ft on Mt. McKinley, Alaska.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • Climbers approaching Windy Corner, Mt. McKinley, Alaska.  Photo: Brent Okita
  • The view from the Edge of the World at 14,200' on Mt. McKinley, Alaska.  Photo: Lindsay Mann
  • The view from the Edge of the World at 14,200' on Mt. McKinley, Alaska.  Photo: RMI Collection