Posts for Mount McKinley

Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Waiting for Flight to Talkeetna

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal, Katie Bono | July 01, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,300'

Sunday, June 30, 2013
After waking up at 2 in the morning and making a massive push to get to the landing strip, we are stuck in freezing rain with no hope for a flight today.

Peter- Cannot wait to see my loving wife and daughter Maggie. Had a great trip!

Grasshopper- Dream realized. Love to everyone!

Cindy- Thanks for all of the great comments!  Maija, the Internet code is Zootrubie :)

Sandra- Cant wait for Thanksgiving in Hawaii!

Quinn- Save my seat on the couch. Give everyone a hug! See you all soon.

Lance- Cannot wait to see my three girls! Kisses to all.

Steve- To Bill and Lisa, where are the gluten free Pop Tarts? Tania, can’t wait to see you as soon as possible my darling!

Uchal- family : I love you all so much and thank you for the understanding and support. I can’t wait to see everyone when I get back. I have decided to leave NC this winter so I can spend more time in Roc City. Keep the couches open - I am coming home.

Katie- To Mom and Dad, love you and miss you.  See you soon!

Haugen- Love you Amber, Paris, Paige, Brigitte, Jack, Alex! I love you mom and dad and I for sure owe you a Halibut dinner!! Thank you all for the blog comments!

A view of the NE Fork Kahiltna Glacier.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Take a Rest Day

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Geoff Schellens, Robby Young | July 01, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

Sunday, June 30, 2013
What a perfect day for a rest day! The day dawned calm, but with frequent clouds blotting out the sun. We had a nice, leisurely breakfast, with lots of story telling, chatting, and coffee, and a great afternoon siesta. Then, right on que, the winds and snow that were forecasted to start, rolled into camp. All the work on our snow walls paid off, and we are happily sitting in our protected tents, listening to the freight train roar on the buttress above. It wouldn’t be Alaska without some weather, and we are happy to be sitting at 14k rather than 17k! With all our preparations made, we’ll sit here and patiently wait this out until the mountain and weather say it’s our turn to go.

Best from here,

RMI Guides Pete, Geoff, Robby, and crew

The block walls built by RMI teams to protect their camp at 14,000 ft.  Photo: RMI collection

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Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Move to 11,000’ Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Zeb Blais | July 01, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,000'

Sunday, June 30, 2013
Another Denali day, another camp built.  We slept in until three this morning and then sprang into action.  It doesn’t get dark in this part of Alaska in late June, but it gets shadowy, which can be a beautiful thing, even with a storm moving in.  It was pretty plain, as we ate breakfast and then knocked down our tents at 9500 ft, that the forecasts were correct and that it wouldn’t be long before weather deteriorated.  But we felt we still had a little time.  As we were getting ready, we enjoyed seeing Mike Haugen’s victorious climbing team passing through on their descent.  We exchanged handshakes, hugs, route information and then wished each other well.  We were out of the old camp and on the site of our new one at 11,000 ft in just over three hours, which meant that we were sitting pretty a few hours after that when things began to get nasty.  It rained a bit through the afternoon, which is not so typical this high up Denali, but by evening it was the more typical onslaught of wind and snow.  By then we were well dug in and ready for it.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

An RMI Team moving up to 11,000 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: Lindsay Mann An RMI Team camped at 11,000 ft camp on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Cache Gear at Washburn’s Thumb

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Geoff Schellens, Robby Young | June 30, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

Sunday, June 30th, 2013
Greetings!
After spending some time resting and recuperating at 14K Camp, we jumped on the tiger today, aka the fixed lines, and climbed to 16,700’ to cache gear and food at Washburn’s Thumb. The steep and often exposed climbing was some of first of the expedition, and the team performed exceptionally. The hard work of the day was rewarded with a team favorite meal consisting of Annie’s Mac and Cheese with bacon. Tomorrow will be spent resting back in the comfort of 14K Camp while we wait on a favorable weather forecast to begin our final move up to Denali’s high camp. 

Best,
RMI Guides Robby, Pete, Geoff and Team

An RMI team near Washburn's Thumb. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team To Thicker Air

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal, Katie Bono | June 30, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

Saturday, June 29th, 2013
After a good sleep, we woke up and started packing. The goal for the day was to get as low and as far as possible to set us up for flying off the mountain tomorrow. The crux of the walk out is timing the walk out on the lower Kahiltna Glacier. We have to walk across this part while the snow bridges over the crevasses are frozen. This means a late night/early morning walk to the air strip. We made it all the way to 11k Camp so we are set up to walk the glacier at the right time…as long as we only sleep for two hours!
Wish us luck and good weather so we can fly tomorrow!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen and the RMI Summit Team 6

P.S. Grasshopper wants to thank Annie and Rose for the support and sacrifices!

An RMI 11,200' Camp on Mt. McKinley. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Slightly Elevated at 9,600’

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Zeb Blais, Mike King | June 30, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 9,600'

Saturday, June 29th, 2013
Conditions at 4:45 AM were perfect for moving from 8,000’ on the Kahiltna Glacier to 9,600 ft.  So we did.  We’d gotten up at 2:00 a.m. to have a hot breakfast and we could see scattered clouds overhead and a cap above Denali’s summit but there was no wind.  Our route up Ski Hill was blissfully free of dicey crevasse crossings and the snow surface had frozen up enough to make walking and sled pulling a bit easier than yesterday.  Even so, Ski Hill was long, slow, and uphill.  We were up to 9,600’ in just over three and a half hours.  Already by this point, digging in and building a new camp in a beautiful place was becoming routine.  Clouds cleared down valley so that we had unobstructed views of nearly the entire length of the Kahiltna while we worked.  The sun became brutally intense by midday, but by then we were sheltered in the tents, napping, drinking water and reading.

We got together for dinner in the evening as things cooled down.  We talked strategy for our move to 11,000’, secured camp for the night and turned in early once again. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Ski Hill with Mt. Hunter in the background. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Summit!

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal, Katie Bono | June 28, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 20,320'

Friday, June 28th, 2013
Summit Team 6 finally hit the summit! Second time is a charm.

We left camp around 8:45 this morning with perfect weather. As we got higher, Denali decided to challenge us again; this time with some wind. The wind was blowing very hard as we approached the summit ridge. We were all bundled up ready to get pummeled by wind on the ridge, but the ridge actually blocked the wind making the summit really nice! We stayed on top for quite some time before we headed back down into the wind for a safe descent back to 17,000 feet.

Time to get some well-deserved sleep!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen and RMI Summit Team 6

Mt. McKinley summit looking down on summit ridge. Photo: RMI Collection


RMI Guide Mike Haugen calls from the Mount McKinley summit.

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Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Getting Started

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Zeb Blais, Mike King | June 28, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 8,000'

Friday, June 28th, 2013
As planned, we fired up the stoves shortly after our 1 AM wake up.  The plan in getting up so early, was to be moving during the coldest part of the day when we could hope that the glacial surface would be frozen solid.  That would make sled hauling and walking in general a lot easier than pulling through slush, but more importantly, a freeze would make things safer, bridging the crevasses we’d need to cross.  It was apparent this morning, as we ate breakfast and took down tents, that we weren’t going to get a hard freeze.  Temperatures hadn’t dipped low enough, and there was cloud overhead that seemed to act as a warm, damp blanket, insulating the glacier and messing with our plans.  But things had firmed up a little anyway, and by 4:15 AM when we hit the trail, snowshoes were doing the job in preventing “post-holing”.  Rigging up properly for such travel is far more complicated when sleds are in the mix, so the fact that it took some time to get organized was not unexpected.  That extra time paid off when we were able to move good and steady without any gear glitches or malfunctions.  The first hour took us down about 500 feet in elevation to the main Kahiltna Glacier where we turned North.  We began to meet a few rope teams on their way out and it was great to meet an old friend or two in passing and to hear of their adventures on the mountain.  Our second and third hour-long pulls took us past Mount Francis (hiding in cloud) and the junction with the East Fork of the Kahiltna.  By the fourth and fifth sections of the climb we passed the Kahiltna Peaks and made it to the NE Fork junction… about where we wanted to be at the base of Ski Hill.  By this point we were thankful to have cloud cover giving us relief from the sun as we built camp and crawled into tents for an afternoon snooze. 

After a quiet and easy afternoon in the tents, we met for dinner in the deluxe POSH dining complex dug by Zeb, Erik and Mike King.  We turned in early once again anticipating another early start tomorrow. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

An RMI climbing team heads for Camp 1. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Rest Day at 14K

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Geoff Schellens, Robby Young | June 28, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

Friday, June 28th, 2013
We had a great rest day here at 14k! We spent most of the day in the clouds, but it was warm and calm. We took the opportunity to prepare for the fixed lines and running belays that we will encounter on the West Buttress, and to fortify the snow walls surrounding our tents. All in all, a great day! Congrats to Mike Haugen’s team for standing on top today!

Tomorrow, we plan to make our first foray onto the West Buttress proper, to cache a load of food, fuel, and supplies at the base of Washburn’s Thumb. Once that is done, all the pieces are in place and we’ll be waiting for our summit window! We’ll let you know how it goes.

Best from everybody here,

RMI Guides Pete, Geoff, Robby, and the team

Post tent at 14,200' Camp with the fixed lines in the background. Photo: Lindsay Mann

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Mt. McKinley: Haugen’s Team Resting and Hoping

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal, Katie Bono | June 27, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

Thursday, June 27th, 2013
After our almost summit yesterday, we took today to rest up for another hopeful shot tomorrow. RMI Summit Team 6 is really a great group of folks. We got sooooo close to the summit yesterday and got shut down by terrible weather. We did not hear any complaining or what ifs… instead we heard about what an adventure the day was and started to plan for another attempt.

Keep your fingers crossed, say a prayer, or do some kind of a weather dance to help us get some good weather and another chance to summit tomorrow!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen and Summit Team 6

Making a Call from Mt. McKinley 17,200'. Photo: RMI Collection

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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