Posts for Mount McKinley

Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Moving in the Right Direction

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Ben Liken, Sean Collon, Zach Lovell | June 29, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,000'

June 28, 2014 - 10:07 pm PT

So good to be on Denali.  So good to be on the move again.  With our late flight onto the mountain yesterday evening, there wasn’t so much time to be ready for the late season tradition of walking out of basecamp at 4 AM this morning.  We built our camp and put priority on getting good rest instead.  Our thinking was that with so much snow (30 inches from the last storm) that we might get by just fine without the early start.  We’d plainly seen the lower Kahiltna Glacier during our flight and it certainly didn’t look like crevasse bridges were going to be a problem.  So we got up at a civilized 7:30 AM and did our organizational work and set out for a daytime Denali departure.  As we’d allowed ourselves to hope, crevasses were no problem.  In fact the glacier was in better condition than it had been for late season in decades.  We made three hour-long pulls with some fifteen-minute restbreaks in between.  But in the end we decided not to push on to our normal first day camp goal of 8,000 feet.  Despite our snowshoes, the walk was getting strenuous due to the great amount of unconsolidated new snow softening with the heat of the day.  We camped at 7,000 ft where the East Fork meets the main glacier and we’ll happily begin earlier tomorrow to get ideal surface conditions.  Nice to see a few of the other late season guides on the move today as well, a bit of a reunion.  Especially nice to hear from Adam Knoff at 11K on the radio and Billy Nugent on top.

RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Dave Hahn's June 24th, 2014, Denali Expedition team. Photo: Dave Hahn RMI's June 24th, 2014, Denali Expedition guides. Photo: Dave Hahn Flying above Denali Basecamp. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Summit!

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Levi Kepsel, Chase Nelson | June 29, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

June 29, 2014 - 4:07 am PT

Hey it’s Billy here with a late-night check in. I just finished up making dinner and filling water bottles for folks after a successful summit bid today. Everybody’s pretty much racked out and exhausted, laying in their tents right now. But their spirits are definitely high. Everyone made it to the summit. We enjoyed an awesome day. Clear blue skies. It was very, very cold, but there was no wind and we were able to make it happen. So, that’s all for now. We’ll check in again on our way out. Ciao.

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

Billy Nugent on top of Mt. McKinley. Photo: RMI Collection Descending from the summit of McKinley. Photo: RMI Collection


RMI Guide Billy Nugent calls in after successful summit.

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Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team Digging Out from “Epic” Storm

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Lindsay Mann, Andy Hildebrand | June 28, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

June 27, 2014 - 11:11 pm PT

At 8 PM this evening we were blessed with the first glimmer of sun in two and a half days.  This isn’t completely out of the ordinary for this neck of the woods but more surprising, even to me with eight Denali expeditions, was the amount of snow that fell during that sunless stretch.  Four feet would about do this storm justice but when you are living in a nylon house that can collapse under a moderate burial of drifting snow it felt more like ten feet.  This morning at breakfast while in the posh house, a one pole pyramid cook tent set up to fit the entire team, shook and sagged under the constant loading of falling flakes, Jay Lampas asked if this snow storm qualified as “epic” yet? I didn’t want to sound too fragile and make him believe this was the “storm of the century” but I did have to concede that four feet in two days was a touch “epic”.  Of course the main worry of the team is how this massive blanketing will effect our upward progress.  I didn’t have an exact answer but I do know we will be sitting still on Saturday no matter how brilliant the weather because of the avalanche hazard that awaits above us.  Safety is always the number one priority so we will move to 14,000 feet only when we know it is safe to do so.  Hopefully our dwindling lunch food and Cosmo magazines can hold us out until we can get to the cache of food we left at Windy Corner.  We are all looking forward to a night with no 2 am wake up calls for shoveling duty.  Maybe full dreams will be of the upper mountain.  All the best from McKinley Team Knoff

Mt. McKinley's 11K Camp of snow forts. Photo: Rob Lindner

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Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Spend Another Day at 17K Camp

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Levi Kepsel, Chase Nelson | June 28, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

June 27, 2014 - 5:17 pm

Hey this is Billy. I’m calling in from 17,000 feet again. We’re still here. And we’re still pin down by the weather. But things are starting to look like they maybe improving so keep your fingers crossed for us. We will check in again tomorrow. Nothing new to report.

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

An RMI team building ice walls at 17K Camp, Denali. Photo: RMI Collection


Billy Nugent calls in from 17K Camp.

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Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Train in Talkeetna on a Rainy Day

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Ben Liken, Sean Collon, Zach Lovell | June 27, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 348'

June 27, 2014 - 12:00 am PT

We were up and hustling to get ready this morning, anxious for the chance to get on Mount McKinley.  But it turned out, after breakfast and a walk in the rain to the airstrip, that there wasn’t too great a chance for flying today.  The word was that several feet of new snow had fallen overnight at Basecamp.  The snow, cloud and wind were predicted to continue up there for the day, but we were put on standby just in case things broke.  We made good use of the day in the K2 Aviation hangar, reviewing rope techniques for glacier travel.  The rain and low cloud persisted, but we stayed dry enough.  We had one more “last” dinner in town and turned in to be ready for another day and another try.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

RMI Guide Sean Collon prepping the McKinley team on a rainy day in Talkeetna. Photo: Dave Hahn Team Hahn's gear ready for Mt. McKinley. Photo: Dave Hahn

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Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team’s Adventure Continues

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Josh Gautreau | June 27, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,300'

June 26, 2014 - 9:40 pm PT

We set out Tuesday morning to move up to 17k when circumstances both unfortunate and out of our control forced us back down to 14k camp. We made the wise mountaineering decision to forgo the summit for another time and begin the arduous trek back to Denali’s Basecamp.  We made it back to Basecamp around ten yesterday morning and were disheartened to hear that although clear here, the planes were not flying because of weather between here and Talkeetna. We set up camp and made the best of being stuck in the Alaska range.

Although we thought our adventure was winding down, we woke up last night to over a foot and a half of snow threatening our tent. We shoveled around camp for over two hours helping other teams that had tents collapse. When the snow finally slowed down this morning, we had collected well over three feet!  Although it was fun to see that much snow, it also meant we needed to put on our snowshoes to stomp down an entire runway filled with nearly waste deep, wet snow. The weather never really cleared today, but we are hoping that we will not receive as much snow tonight and the weather will be clear for flight activity to resume tomorrow.

RMI Guide Mike Haugen and Team “The Ocho”

Snowstormed tents on Mt. McKinley. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Weather a Ferocious Snowstorm at 17K Camp

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Levi Kepsel, Chase Nelson | June 27, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

June 26, 2014 - 9:33 pm PT

Hey this is Billy checking in from 17K on Denali, again, where we are still pinned down by the weather. Today is our second storm day. We actually had some sort of blue skies and clearing and some hope on the horizon but things closed back in here. They are calling for high pressure to build over the mountain this weekend. If we get up tomorrow and it looks promising, we might take a crack at it or we might be sitting tight until Saturday. Last night was definitely one of the most ferocious storms I have had to battle up here in Alaska. We were definitely up all night digging out tents with feet and feet of snow and very, very strong winds- 70 miles an hour. For our chance for it, we have tons of food and fuel, and we just need the weather to cooperate. And that’s all for now.

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

Snow drifts inside the tent vestibule on Mt. McKinley. Photo: RMI Collection


RMI Guide Billy Nugent calls in from 17K Camp.

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Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team - Snow Apocalypse

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Lindsay Mann, Andy Hildebrand | June 27, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

June 26, 2014 - 6:37 pm PT

The entire team woke up at 2 am to a winter wonderland. With wind blowing and snow stacking the team had to wake up, strap on their boots and grab our shovels.  What was a nice camp with all tents visible to each other some 30 feet distance, is now a maze of deep trenches leading blindly to six-foot deep pits, each holding a team member’s house.  Approximately 40 inches of snow fell by morning in camp, completely covering our posh tent.

Currently the snow continues to fall.  A call on the satellite phone to the rangers at advanced base camp at 14,000 ft told us that five feet of snow had fallen there.  Some loose snow avalanches were observed on south facing slopes around camp—a reminder that winter is still upon us on Denali. We have had mixed results with the accuracy of the weather forecast, however in the extended outlook a high pressure system may be headed our way later this weekend and early next week.  It is times like these that test the will and patience of any Denali climber.  Thank God for Lindsay’s Cosmopolitan magazine. 

RMI Guides Adam Knoff, Lindsay Mann and Andy Hildebrand

A snowstorm hits Mt. McKinley's 11,200' Camp. Photo: RMI Collection

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McKinley: Hahn & Team Make Final Preparations

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Ben Liken, Sean Collon, Zach Lovell | June 26, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley

June 25, 2014 - 11:35pm PT

A rainy and grey morning in Talkeetna didn’t stop our team from a seven o’clock breakfast meeting at Talkeetna’s great Roadhouse.  We were primed and ready for our important orientation at the Talkeetna Ranger Station at 8:30.  Our climbers were honored to have Roger Robinson himself give the presentation.  Roger has been climbing Denali and rescuing Denali climbers for close to four decades now.  Then it was out to the K2 Aviation hangar where we spread out our gear and got down to the nuts and bolts of figuring out exactly what to bring on the climb and what to leave behind.  It took much of the afternoon to sort gear and to get it all weighed, inventoried and ready for flying.  So it became an “indoors” day, which was just fine.  Rain kept falling and there was precious little flying going on out at the normally bustling Talkeetna Airport.  The team got together finally for what we hope will be our last dinner in town for some time.  It was a fine feast, but we’d just as soon be on climbing rations when supper time rolls around tomorrow.

Best Regards,

RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Dave Hahn and team at the Road House in Talkeetna.  Photo: Ben Liken

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Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team Send Poetry from 11,000’ Camp

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Lindsay Mann, Andy Hildebrand | June 26, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

June 25, 2014 - 10:42pm PT

Here I sit in my tent
Wondering where the day went
A rest day at eleven camp for the team
With people in and out of their dreams
Mike Haugen and troupe passed through
Delivering a pee bottle to Adam—woohoo!

For breakfast we had chocolate and pb pancakes (booya!) While we watched the snow flakes. For now the wind is pretty strong, and hopefully we won’t have to shovel all night long.

RMI Guides Adam Knoff,  Lindsay Mann and Andy Hildebrand

11,200 Foot Camp on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: Seth Waterfall

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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