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Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team at 14K Camp

After a few snowy days at our 11K camp, we hoped for some kinder weather for our move to 14,000’. We all agree we got too much of a good thing. Yesterday’s move validated the old mountaineering saying that “you either freeze or fry.” Wednesday morning was clear, but quite cold at 11K. We ate our warm breakfast, anxiously awaiting the sun to warm our tents before we packed up to move. The cool morning climb up Motorcycle Hill quickly turned into a sweltering overly sunny slog through the Polo Fields and around Windy Corner which lacked the then desired wind of which it got its name. After refueling and rehydrating the well-oiled machine we pulled into camp 4 (14,000’)  at 5 pm. We were welcomed by our other RMI team, light snow, and many other climbers at this small makeshift alpine village.

Today (Thursday), we returned to Windy Corner to retrieve our cache of food and equipment in much of the same weather conditions as the day before.  We are now resting back at 14,000’ awaiting our possible carry up the fixed lines to 16,000’ tomorrow.

To our many fans out there who are leaving messages on our blog, rest assured they have reached us!

Tuesday night over dinner we passed the iPhone around for all to read the kind words from friends and family. Keep them coming!

Until tomorrow,
RMI Guides Mike Uchal, Adam Knoff, Zeb Blais, and our team at 14,000’

Stay classy lower 48!

On The Map

Comments (22)

Hi to Mike R and fellow climbers. I am soo amazed by your courage, strength, and perseverance, you should be very proud of yourselves as I am of you Mike!I luv reading all the messages including the other teams as well, Its absolutely unimaginable to me, what you must be experiencing. Enjoy what you can. Thinking about you. Love Cheri

Posted by: Cheri on

Greetings John!

We are all so excited about your amazing adventure!  Deann is on the phone with me right now and we are still talking about you!  Enjoy your travels!

ONE of you biggest fans! Jo

Posted by: Jo on

Hi Honey!  Read the post today and tried to catch you in a photo, but, knowing how you love to not rush, I figure you might be the caboos on that train!  I was thinking today…how lucky you are that your whole team is so great.  Then I thought, “I wonder if they all realize how lucky they are to get to know Tim.  He has trained so hard!  If I climbed, I would want that Ox on my team!”  I love you, Honey, and I am so happy to hear of your progress.  I know you would want to know this…send out prayers and good thoughts to the Thornsberry Family.  They found out that Mary now has cancer on her brain.  I’m sure it has been a horrible couple of days for them.  I will think of you on the mountain and her climbing her own along with Jim.

Sending you love and luck!  Had lunch with Mary and Lori, Lori’s Dad and sister, and Gavin, Monica and Lauren.  Mary can hardly stand how long it’s going to be until you get home!  She said, “How are you handling this, Deb?  I said, “I am of pioneer stock, and I know that he is living his dreams.”  She can’t wait for the honorary ______to get home and have a crown royal with her.

Writing you from “Cherry Hill Manor.”  It all starts Monday if we can hold off the rain.  The cherries look beautiful!  Wish I could send some to you and the guys.

Love, A & F, Deb

Posted by: Deb McLaughlin on

I’m watching a National Geographic video on Denali.  To much information. Eager to see a photo of your big smile of success at the summit.
Be safe
P.S.  Ice worms??

Posted by: Caroline on

Your dog is tearin’ it up on Wisner, he really learned some bad habits recently. Nothing we can’t handle.

All good here…everyone says hi…be careful and safe.

I left your Subaru unlocked last night by accident. I found a note in there this morning from “dirty mike and the boys”. They must’ve had a good ‘ol fashioned soup kitchen in there late last night.


Posted by: John on

I’ll be on the road most of next week, so won’t be able to check in as much. I hope you make the summit on the 4th and have the best independence day celebration yet. Your in my thoughts and prayers. Jill

Posted by: Jill on

Hi honey, wanted to let you know I got the bread making machine the other day. I think I will have that cinamon-raisin bread recipe you were excited about perfected by the time you get home!
Do you think the park rangers will let you bring an iceberg back with you? We need it down here!

Posted by: Geoff on

Nice Work Team KUB!!  Sue - Wheat,  Way to Go John J !! 

Posted by: mark Skinner on

Hellish temps here in Dixie.  Heat index slated to be 112 in Raleigh today.  Glad we are still at the beach… ocean breezes are helping with the heat.  Lots of folks are following you guys!

Climb safe!

Posted by: Stephanie on

“Mind what you have learned. Save you it can.”

Posted by: yeti on

Nice work Knoff and team - Keep up the good work!  Hot and sunny here in Bozeman with lots of fires.  It makes 14 camp sound appealing.  Best of luck on the upper mountain. 

Posted by: Eric Knoff on

Hey Mike R   Looks like all that training is paying off!  I’m enjoying the updates.  Looking forward to seeing you pics when you return.  Dexter

Posted by: Dexter Robinson on

Wish I was up there with you buddy!  Checking the blog everyday.  Keep ‘em laughing up there my friend.

Slow is smooth and smooth is fast!


Posted by: Rob Faw on

Way to go! We arrived at Arch Cape this afternoon, staying until July 9. We follow your progress daily and think you are part of a fantastic team. Keep on climbing.

Posted by: Mom & Pops on

way to go Nelson!

Posted by: julia, jack & jay on

Congrats to Mike R and all!  YaY!  14200!  Enjoy and stay warm! Can’t wait to see the pics…..xoxo -s, m, +h

Posted by: Susan on

Hi Puppa!  I’m busy sleeping under the pines in the warm weather and even getting to swim in the pool.  Wish I was climbing with you! Mel and Mom are tanned and having fun. Miss you lots!  -HG!

Posted by: Hannah on


So fun to know you are actually reading comments:)  Great update on your progress, I can imagine being there with you! Very hot here today-spent the day in the pool with Jillian and Jocelyn (after playing tennis in am). Talked to Jo today - she is coming July 11/12! We spent an hour on the phone talking about you…:) such a topic! Enjoy 14,000, be safe, and know you are loved.


Posted by: Deann on

Thinking of you.  Here in STW with all the Vines’ for Kevin’s Grad Party.  We all wish you a safe trip. Jane / The Vines

Posted by: Jane Nelson on

“Stay classy lower 48”

Posted by: Adam on

Love hearing about your progress. It may have been hot moving from 11,000 to 14,00, but it was 103 here today! Beat that. Have a photo of your brother on the steps of SCOTUS today. He said it was quite the scene after the announcement of the decision. Between your progress and life in DC, it sounds like a good day to be a Collet guy!

Posted by: Jennifer Collet on

Yay!  Thanks for keeping us posted.  Love you, Chris - glad you are all doing well.  Abby and Syd arrive this weekend for some fun in the L.A. sun.  Good luck on the next steps. xo, Nickie

Posted by: Nickie on

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