Posts for Mount McKinley

Mt. Elbrus: Tucker & Team Prepare for Summit Climb

Posted by: Mark Tucker | July 08, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 12,000'

The mountain might as well surrender right now. It has no chance against this intrepid group of climbers. Ok, kind of kidding. But we are summit bound early tomorrow morning.

We topped off our preparation for our summit climb of Mt. Elbrus with a bit of training early this morning. Focus was on the use of the mountain climbers best friend, the ice axe, used primarily while ascending steep snow covered slopes. The team practiced with care and enthusiasm ,confidence in this arena will help immensely when confronted with some challenging terrain. And yes, that is what the near future holds for us.

Honestly we go at this climb like all climbs, humble and hopeful. If this beautiful hunk of Mother Earth allows us to stand on the summit, we will be grateful and thrilled. Nature is the boss and we will give it the utmost respect.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

The Garabashi Hut (12,000') on Mt. Elbrus.  Photo: Linden Mallory

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Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Retrieve Gear

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Zeb Blais | July 08, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

This morning was the first in a while that we weren’t getting up early, desperate for conditions to be favorable.  We got the stoves started around nine, which sounds late and lazy, except in these parts, the sun doesn’t get around the mountain until 9:30.  It was socked in and cloudy for our breakfast, and then snowing again, but without any wind.  We were set to do our “back carry” -dropping down to pick up our cache from the other day, but we’d also been in touch with Pete VanDeventer and knew his team was descending and would pop out of the clouds any minute.  It made sense to greet his gang and to exchange notes at 14,200 before going to get our carry done.  It was fun to see their team, flush with success and excited to nearly be done with their climb.  In the early afternoon, although it was still snowing, we set off into the murk to find our 13,600 ft cache.  The cache was undisturbed, which was a relief.  Guess we’d buried it all too deeply for the Ravens.  It took just over an hour to make it back up to camp with the cargo.  People retreated to their tents for a snooze while a few of us built a new kitchen-dining complex.  The clouds began to drop and the sun got shining brightly for dinner and the few remaining hours of the day -it ducks behind the West Buttress at 9 PM and the temperature seems to drop about fifty degrees in a few minutes at that point.  But we were treated to great views of Mounts Foraker and Hunter sticking out from the solid base of clouds spread below us.  The forecasts still call for snow, but luckily they aren’t always right in just how much snow we’ll get and at which elevation it will fall.  A calm day tomorrow for our carry to 16,200 ft would be greatly appreciated. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

An RMI Team camped at 14,200 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Mt. Foraker is in the background.  Photo: RMI Collection

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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

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Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team On The Move

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Zeb Blais | July 07, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

Saturday, July 6, 2013
14 K at last!  But we had to fight our way up here, it didn’t come easy.
Back down at 11,000 ft in the early hours of the day, it looked as though we might get decent weather.  At least, if one was looking up at the West Buttress, there was good visibility and not much sign of wind, if one turned and looked West, however, there was still a massive flow of cloud, as there had been all week, often overflowing and engulfing camp.
We ate breakfast and packed, it seemed especially difficult to get going after having become so deeply dug in for the best part of a week, but we managed.  Naturally, as we roped up and and got ready to walk, the clouds swept in and the wind came up.  We came full on into strong, steady winds as we topped motorcycle hill and it seemed we found even stronger winds at the crest of squirrel hill.  All of this was while inside a big white freezing cloud, so we were getting rimed up and frosty as we leaned straight into the storm to climb higher.  On the polo field, we still had wind but we were getting occasional sun breaks.  Windy Corner lived up to its name today.  Getting past it was the key battle of the day, but we knew if we could pass the corner we could leave the wind and cloud behind.  Sure enough, as we reached our cache from yesterday, we’d found a calm and sunny glacier.  It took another ninety minutes to get into “Genet Basin” which we reached at 3:30 PM.  We were happy to rejoin the teams we’d shared 11 camp with.  There were plenty of empty camp sites with good walls, so building our nest at 14,200 ft was made slightly easier.  The team was a little weary after pushing through such harsh conditions, but all were excited to be back in the game, to have new and awesome views and to have beat the forecasted “next storm”.  Yes, that is right, we are in for another one.  The western sky was full of wind sculpted wave clouds, as if a fleet of flying saucers were attacking Mount Foraker.  By the time we finished dinner, Denali was cloud capped as well and the snow was starting to fall at 14,200.

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Camp walls at 14,200' on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection An RMI Team ascending Squirrel Hill on Mt.McKinley.  Photo: Brent Okita

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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

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Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Back in Talkeetna!

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal, Katie Bono | July 06, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 346'

Saturday, July 6th, 2013 at 1:50 a.m. PST
We made it!
We stomped a runway.
Ate breakfast.
Went like Vikings to raid a cache (unsuccessfully).
Made two hours of quesadillas.
Packed up camp for incoming airplane.
Listened as incoming airplane went away.
Made camp again.
Made dinner.
Packed up camp as planes came back.
Flew back to civilization!!
Pizza.
Welcome home!

RMI Guides Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal, Katie Bono and the RMI Summit Team 6

The RMI June 11, 2013 team celebrating their return to Talkeetna! Photo: Mike Haugen

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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!

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Tommy, congratulations again!!!! Champagne and chocolate cake for you when you get home! Enjoy your victory, and be safe coming down! I love you!!!!!
Rhonda

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Posted by: Rhonda Kitchen on 7/6/2013 at 9:05 am

Wyatt,
Oh my goodness! Congratulations to you and your team! I am so happy and exited for you! And so very proud of you! You made it to the… read more

Posted by: Lindsey Porter on 7/6/2013 at 8:52 am


Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Carry to 13,600’

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Zeb Blais, Mike King | July 06, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

Friday, July 5th, 2013 10:57 p.m. PST
Finally a break in the weather.  Things calmed down during the night and the upper layer of clouds began to dissipate.  As we watched for an hour or two beginning at 5 AM, the weather went back and forth for a while, but once we committed to getting the team up and getting going, it all began to go our way.  We dealt with slightly cooler temperatures and steady breezes as we left camp at 9 AM for our carry, but we had big blue skies overhead which was great for everybody’s morale.  Snow conditions were perfect for walking, which was a little surprising after so many days of falling snow.  It seems that it had been such a long dry spell previously, that the surface had gotten firm from wind and sun.  When new snow landed on that surface, it just blew clean.  At any rate, it was perfect for our crampons today.  We got up Motorcycle Hill and halfway up Squirrel Hill in the first hour, which entitled us to enjoy grand views of The Northwest Buttress and the Peter’s Glacier.  The second hour took us into the “Polo Field” as folks now call the basin which the end of the West Buttress towers over.  We moved through this area without much visibility as another cloud had found us.  By the time we reached Windy Corner, we were walking out of the cloud and getting big views again.  Windy Corner has been a concern for several weeks now as the June heat wave had produced a rockfall hazard in the area.  But there had to be some benefit to the storm that was keeping us down, it froze things up nicely above the corner and our passage was fast and safe.  We cached food and fuel at 13,600’, just past the corner.  It had taken four and a half hours to reach our destination.  We buried things deep to thwart the cache robbing ravens, and then began an easy descent with light packs.  By 3:45, we were back in camp, basking in sunshine.  There is still plenty of cloud around, but for the moment it is below us.  We hope it stays that way as we want to move to 14,200’ tomorrow.  All were excited and energized to finally see beyond the corner.  Denali’s South Peak was no longer far away or on some horizon, it was front and center… and gigantic. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Motorcycle Hill on Mt. McKinley. Photo: RMI Collection An RMI team traveling across the Polo Fields back to 11K Camp. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Waiting It Out at 11,200’

Posted by: Dave Hahn | July 04, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

Thursday, July 4, 2013
Groundhog Day at 11,000 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Another storm day from start to finish.  Moderate winds, light but steady snow falling, poor visibility.  Our POSH tent is a well dug-in fortress; essentially a covered pit in which we’ve cut benches for people and shelves for stoves.  It provided excellent shelter today.  Obviously, we drag out the meals for several hours, eating and talking and talking some more so as to avoid going back into our sleeping tents too soon and for too long.  We each put in a few sessions of digging out the tents during the day, which is good for the tents, but also for our muscles and our brains.  In late afternoon, the team assembled for a lesson in how we’ll climb the “fixed ropes” section of the route between 15,000 and 16,000 ft.  Then it was time for dinner, more talking in the POSH, and finally bed once again. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

An RMI Team weathering a storm at 11,200 ft camp.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Still Chillin at Basecamp

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal, Katie Bono | July 04, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,300'

Thursday, July 4, 2013
It has been like a sunny beach vacation…except if it were sunny we would have flown far away from this particular snowy beach days ago. The snow keeps coming a bit harder and the forecast says through Sunday now. Could be worse; we have plenty of food, fuel, and great conversations!
RMI Guide Mike Uchal made almost five hours worth of pancakes in a continuous stream for most of the camp. We have a small backlog of climbers around us. There are not many new climbers in basecamp since the weather has prohibited much movement on the mountain from any of the different camps.

RMI Mt. McKinley Summit Team 6

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Recent Images From Mount McKinley

  • RMI Guide Dave Hahn snaps a photo of Mt. McKinley as the last RMI 2013 Expeditions flies from the Kahiltna Glacier.  Photo: Dave Hahn
  • RMI Guides Erik Nelson & Dave Hahn return to Talkeetna on July 16th after a successful Mt. McKinley Expedition.  Photo: Suzanne Ruse
  • RMI climber traveling on lower Kahiltna Glacier. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Climbing Teams on Windy Corner. Photo: Lindsay Mann
  • The view from the top of Mt. McKinley. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Summit ridge of Mt. McKinley. Photo: Seth Waterfall
  • An RMI team descending from the summit. Photo: Seth Waterfall
  • Making a Call from 17,200'. Photo: RMI Collection
  • An RMI Expeditions tent at 14,000 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • Mt. McKinley, 20,320'. Highest Point in North America. Photo: Bradford Washburn
  • RMI Guide Dave Hahn in deep snow at 14,200 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • RMI Teams enjoy meals in the cozy POSH tent at 14,000 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: Lindsay Mann
  • Ascending the fixed lines on Mt. McKinley above 14,000ft camp.  Photo: Katy Laveck
  • Looking down to camp at 14,000 ft on Mt. McKinley. Photo: RMI Collection
  • The Garabashi Hut (12,000') on Mt. Elbrus.  Photo: Linden Mallory
  • An RMI Team camped at 14,200 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Mt. Foraker is in the background.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • An RMI Team camped at 11,200ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • Camp walls at 14,200' on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • An RMI Team ascending Squirrel Hill on Mt.McKinley.  Photo: Brent Okita
  • The West Buttress on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • The RMI June 11, 2013 team celebrating their return to Talkeetna! Photo: Mike Haugen
  • An RMI team descending from the summit. Photo: Seth Waterfall
  • Motorcycle Hill on Mt. McKinley. Photo: RMI Collection
  • An RMI team traveling across the Polo Fields back to 11K Camp. Photo: RMI Collection
  • An RMI Team weathering a storm at 11,200 ft camp.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • Camp at 17,200 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: Seth Waterfall