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Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Focus Changes

Another night, another snow storm.  This morning as we got the stoves fired and the POSH pit dug out once again, it was clear that our summit chances had slipped away.  That was all that was clear… the day was much like the night, clagged in and snowing.  We had a team meeting at breakfast and a retreat from 14,200 ft was proposed.  Rather than merely waiting for a break in the weather to head up onto the West Buttress, we are now back in the uncomfortable position of having loaded avalanche slopes blocking our ascent.  They’d need that tedious and time-consuming process of cooking in the (seldom seen) sun and stabilization and careful evaluation… all over again.  And we won’t have resources for that if we are to devote a little food and fuel to getting safely down and off the mountain.  Folks expressed their disappointment at not getting to see the mountaintop, but also their recognition that we simply hadn’t gotten a break from sloppy weather.  Something had to give.  We are going down, but we aren’t exactly finished climbing yet.  We still need an easing of the current snowstorm and then we’ll need a strong and focused team to negotiate the terrain that took a week of careful climbing on the way in.

Perhaps the night will pass without a new storm and we’ll be able to begin working toward the airstrip tomorrow. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Comments (16)

Cathy: we know that you are disappointed not been able to go all the way!!!! We know you could have made it. But, we are happy that you had a great adventure!!!! Your little soon to be niece/nephew is excited too!!!!!!

Love, Kae and Caroline

Posted by: Kae on

Brian and team, I can only imagine how disappointed y’all must be, but you accomplished far more than most people will ever get a chance at. The experiences and memories of your time on McKinley will last a life time.  Plant the flag and take the picture (still a great shot). We are looking forward to your safe return and beautiful pictures. We love you , RB, TB & CB

Posted by: Robin, Tristan and Connor on

Mark, I’m sure you’re disappointed not being able to summit but bet you’ll still say it was an amazing adventure! Looking forward to seeing your pics someday. Finish well.

Posted by: Merl & Lynn on

Will—-Safe trip down, my friend.  Can’t wait to hear the whole story.

Posted by: Darryl Schimeck on

Cathy, I’m sorry the weather didn’t cooperate. I know you would have made it. Be careful on the way down.

Posted by: Joe Frisch on

Dave and team - being turned back can oddly be a dissapointment and a relief at the same time - dissapointing that your expedition will end soon and a relief that you now know which way you are headed and will be home soon.  Summit day is but a small part of your whole experience and you’ll forever carry with you the experiences of being on Mckinley - something few people ever enjoy.  Good luck on your descent.  Shades of 2007 Dave? - I know you will navigate the lower Kahiltna safely.
Tim Jones
Team Hahn 07’ & 09’

Posted by: Tim Jones on

Will, know that each of you gave it your all.  Expect that it was well worth the experience, training and comraderie. You excelled in what you had control over, so have a safe trip down and we’ll look forward to hearing of your safe arrival back home.  By the way everyone here was excited about seeing the northern lights last night; do you see them while up on the mountain?
Love ya much, Mom

Posted by: Carolyn on

I am sorry the weather means you will not get
the cherry atop the banana split of your dreams.
A Santa Barbara banana split is in your future.
Prayers are with you all for safe, smooth descent
and sweet homecomings.
SOUL, Denise:.

Posted by: denise:. on

Mark and team, we’ve been monitoring your progress and hoping for a break in the weather that would have allowed you to get up to 17 at least, but you have made the right call at this point.  Definitely plan on giving it another try next year—it’s worth it!  Enjoy the views on the way down, and have a safe descent.

Posted by: John Martersteck on

Sorry to hear this news, Team…actually this very weekend, the NYT ran a profile on how Denali is becoming even more unpredictable than usual in its weather patterns!  Stay focused & get down safely, that’s the most important thing.

Posted by: Kristian on

Cathy I am so sorry to hear that you will not be summiting.  But I am so happy that I will be seeing you again soon :)  I hope you at least get to do some glissading on the way down :)

Posted by: Monica on

Uncle D, I hope you aren’t too sad, you are lucky you could make a snowman in July. Be careful on the way down, can’t wait to hear your stories. I love you and miss you, Tasha (mommy and daddy send their love too!)

Posted by: Tasha pressler on

Mark: I am so sorry to hear that you were not able to reach the top. You must be very disappointed. Stay safe as you head down and I will see you soon.

Love Mary

Posted by: Mary McDonald on

Mark, so sorry you will be unable to reach the top and your dream but wow what an experience.  We wish you only the best on the way down.  Stay safe!

Posted by: Vi , Don and Audrey on

Mark,even though you will not be able to continue your ascent you have had a spetacular experience.  I admire your efforts - the desire, commitment, training, and patience.  Stay safe in your descent and enjoy the magnificent beauty around you.  I look forward to seeing you and listen to your story - and see your photos too.

Posted by: Bob B on

Dang it!  So sorry you guys didn’t make it any higher.is kinder on the way back down. Here’s to a safe and beautiful journey.

Posted by: DO'C on

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