Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Wait at 14 Camp and Explore the Edge of the World

Posted by: Solveig Waterfall, Mike Walter, Billy Haas | May 27, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

May 26, 2015 - 10:33 pm PT

We woke early again today, hoping for good weather to move up to high camp. But it was not to be. A large lenticular cloud, indicating strong winds, had formed over the top of Denali, extending down beyond high camp. Winds were howling up high until a little afternoon today, when the cloud dissipated for a couple hours and then reformed in the afternoon. The winds were too strong for us to safely move camp to 17,200’, so we rested again at 14,200’.
We took advantage of clear skies on the lower mountain to take a walk out to the “Edge of the World”, a point south of our camp that looks down sheer cliffs about 5,000’ down the the Northeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier. The views from the Edge are surreal, and the scale is nearly incomprehensible.
We’re psyched to see what the weather brings tomorrow, and we’re ready to take advantage of good weather when it presents itself. We’ll keep you posted.

RMI Guide Mike Walter and team

The view from the Edge of the World.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team Enjoy Rest Day at 11,200’

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Andy Hildebrand, Nick Hunt | May 26, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

May 26, 2015 - 7:24 pm PT

I gave the team a general idea of when we might start breakfast this morning at dinner last night.  I bet we get hot water started at around 8, then start pancakes and coffee shortly after that I said.  I didn’t even open my eyes until almost nine.  While in the middle of working your way up this mountain day after day none of us realized how much we could use a rest.  Today it became clear.  We sat in the cook tent making fresh Pete’s coffee and watching Andy flip flap jacks until almost noon.  Then we took naps and soaked up the sun we haven’t really seen clearly this entire trip.  Now we are cooking quesadillas and packing up for our potential move to 14 Camp tomorrow.  Everyone is happy to be caching dirty underwear, smelly socks and unneeded stuff for the upper mountain.  It has been a beautiful rest day here at 11 Camp but after getting a great view of the upper mountain yesterday, the team feels super psyched to push this climb higher and see what unfolds. 
Check in tomorrow for the outcome of our hopeful move. 
Team Knoff saying goodnight.

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

An RMI Team camped at 11,200 ft on Mt. McKinley, with Kahiltna Dome in the cloudy distance.  Photo: RMI Collection

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3

Great job, Joe and Team!!  You all deserve a sleep-in day!  Looking forward to your report out tomorrow!  Hoping for good weather as you climb higher and higher.

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Posted by: Carrie, Brook, Reid and Finn on 5/26/2015 at 9:45 pm

Good night and good luck tomorrow! You all earned the rest day.

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Posted by: Jessie on 5/26/2015 at 9:04 pm


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

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Andy Hildebrand, Nick Hunt | May 26, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

May 26, 2015 - 10:08 am PT

Today is Memorial Day.  With the simplicity of life on this mountain taking charge, many of us don’t even know what day it is.  The process of get up, get dressed in close quarters, make your way to the cook tent dug into the side of the mountain, eat breakfast, pack you bag and climb, come back to the tents, eat dinner and go to bed is a process where days don’t matter.  So if birthdays are missed, anniversaries are forgotten about, we are not to blame.  Despite having digital doohickeys with us,  looking at calendars and keeping track of days becomes arbitrary.  Today as it turns out wasn’t Memorial Day up here, it was Windy Corner day.  This legendary gateway to the upper mountain is famous for its heinous wind, scary rock fall and tricky crevasses.  We are happy to report our carry around the corner to 13,500 feet went as smooth as we could have asked for.  Again we lucked out with weather because as I wrote earlier our early morning wake up calls got us going into clear skies but as soon as we arrived back in camp seven hours later it was snowing as hard as it has all trip.  There is much to be said for walking into a camp that is waiting for you.  We will rest tomorrow and eat pancakes and drink fresh coffee until nap time.  We can’t wait. 
Hello to Mrs. Vradenburg’s class at Lamotte School   I hope Liam is behaving.  Stay tuned. 

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

Climbers below Windy Corner on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Hi Greg… sooooo excited to hear the weather is cooperating this time around!  The HFI crew is wishing you and your group a safe summit & return.  We sort of… read more

Posted by: Shelly Davies on 5/27/2015 at 6:50 am

Sounds like weather and timing are working well for you climbers. wishing everyone a well deserved rest and careful climbing tomorrow.  Thinking of you often Greg.  Great to get the… read more

Posted by: Dawn on 5/26/2015 at 5:26 pm


Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Retrieve Cache, Ready for Carry

Posted by: Robby Young, Pete Van Deventer, Josh Maggard | May 26, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

May 26, 2015 - 12:17 am PT

Just like Johnny Cash said, “that train keeps a rollin’.” The winds were down, a cloud of sparkling ice crystals hung around, reflecting the sunlight and solar baking everything, and we returned to a dead calm Windy Corner to retrieve our cash. We are one step closer now with all of our food up here with us. The next step is to take a run at the fixed lines and cache some food in the West a Buttress. To prepare, we spent the afternoon practicing with our ascenders and getting prepped for that potential carry tomorrow. Mac and cheese with bacon for dinner to fuel us tomorrow. We’ll hope to wake up with a green light to head up. For now, good night!

RMI Guides Pete, Robby, Josh, and team

An RMI Team approaching 14,000 ft Camp on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Rennee you are doing not only us here at the VEC, but your family and more importantly yourself proud ! Everyone is 100% right behind you all the way my… read more

Posted by: Paul your GOD Webbyyyyy on 5/26/2015 at 8:23 pm

Hello there Renee and Team PRJ,
So glad to hear you retrieved your cache.  Yippee - Food for all now.
You are making headway so that’s awesome.
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Posted by: lori on 5/26/2015 at 7:45 pm


Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Still Hoping for Better Weather

Posted by: Billy Haas, Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall | May 25, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

May 25, 2015 - 7:16 pm PT

Hello Everyone!
This morning, hopeful to move to high camp, we awoke early and had breakfast and coffee in the chilly pre-solar hours, watching through dissipating clouds, as the wind whipped along the top of the West Buttress leaving streaks of sublimated snow in its wake.
And so resumed another day of reading, sport eating, and exploring the tangled and winding pathways between the walls of surrounding camps.
We are all crossing our fingers today is our final rest and acclimatization day here at fabulous 14 camp. We are looking forward to getting some exercise of the physical kind…we have been taxing the mental reserves nightly by developing a now customary team activity of Riddles over Dinner, made possible by the greatest boredom banishing App ever, Brain Twister by Will Shortz. Tonight we’ll be starting with puzzle number 47 if you’d like to follow along…but trust us, they’re exponentially harder at 14,200’!
We are packed, prepped, and looking forward to making our move tomorrow morning, if the weather cooperates.
Hopefully instead of practicing patience and unscrambling anagrams, we’ll be establishing camp at 17,200’ and enjoying the ever impressive views from higher on the mountain.
Thanks for following along!
RMI Guide Solveig Waterfall and the team

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Solveig, Your latest blog was very interesting, where you shared how you all preserve your sanity while waiting on the weather at 14,000 ft. Good luck on catching good weather… read more

Posted by: joe Griffith & Dianne Donovan on 5/26/2015 at 10:46 am

Still in Talkeetna rooting you all on to higher grounds…good luck!

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Posted by: Kearney Sagehorn on 5/25/2015 at 9:45 pm


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Expedition Stats

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2/14 - 2/22/2015
Ixtaccihuatl - Summit / Pico de Orizaba - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Winter
3/8 - 3/13/2015
Mt. Rainier - 11,200'
Mexico's Volcanoes
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Expedition Skills Seminar - Winter
3/22 - 3/27/2015
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4/12 - 4/17/2015
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3/18 - 4/12/2015
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Mount Everest Base Camp Trek
3/18 - 4/7/2015
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3/21 - 4/12/2015
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Alaska Mountaineering Seminar - Expedition
5/2 - 5/12/2015
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Five Day Summit Climb
5/9 - 5/13/2015
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Five Day Summit Climb
5/11 - 5/15/2015
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Four Day Summit Climb
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Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
5/14 - 5/17/2015
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Five Day Summit Climb
5/13 - 5/17/2015
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5/15 - 5/18/2015
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5/20 - 5/23/2015
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Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir
5/17 - 5/22/2015
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Alaska Mountaineering Seminar - Alpine
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14,410' - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
5/22 - 5/25/2015
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  • The view from the Edge of the World.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • An RMI Team camped at 11,200 ft on Mt. McKinley, with Kahiltna Dome in the cloudy distance.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • Climbers below Windy Corner on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • An RMI Team approaching 14,000 ft Camp on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • An RM Team camped at 11,200 ft on Mt. McKinley with new snow.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • An RMI Team camped at 14,200 ft on Mt. McKinley fortifies snow walls and clears tents after new snow.  Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Crevasse Rescue on the Alaska Mountaineering Seminar. RMI Chris Villar
  • A snowy camp at 14,200 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: Brent Okita
  • An RM Team climbing towards 11,200 ft Camp on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: Lindsay Mann
  • The Mt. Rainier summit crater. Photo: Linden Mallory
  • Tent at 14,000' Camp on Mt. McKinley. RMI Photo Collection
  • Annapurna Base Camp. Photo: Alex Barber
  • RMI Guide Alex Barber looking towards the higher slopes of Annapurna. Photo: Alex Barber
  • RMI Guide Alex Barber trekking through devastated villages after the Nepal Earthquake. Photo: Alex Barber
  • An RMI team ascending Ski Hill towards 9,800 Camp on Mt. McKinley, AK. Photo: RMI Collection
  • 14k Camp on Mt. McKinley, AK surrounded by fortified walls. Photo: RMI Collection
  • RMI climbers ascending the upper slopes of Mt. Rainier in poor visibility. Photo: Ed Viesturs
  • An RMI Team camped at 14,200 ft on Mt. McKinley, Mt. Foraker in the background.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • An RMI Team taking a weather day at 11,200 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • An RMI Team pulling sled from from Base Camp en route to Camp 1 on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: Chris Villar
  • An RMI team fortifies snow walls for protection from the wind at 14,000 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • An RMI team ascending Motorcycle Hill with 11k Camp of Mt. McKinley, AK in the background. Photo: RMI Collection