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Denali - West Buttress Expedition

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

Monday, May 27, 2013
At 6:00 am few climbers are stirring, preferring to crawl out of their tents when the sun is a little closer to chasing the cold shadows of the night away. But we had a big day ahead of us, and knew we would be comfortable having breakfast and hot drinks in our Posh tent.
A skiff of snow barely covered the tents and the gear we left outside, and a few more clouds lingered around for a short while after we lit the stoves, but the sun was also out and we knew it was going to be good enough to make our carry up to 13,500’.
The crew was super quick getting ready this morning, eager, and certainly a little anxious about the climbing to come. After all, it was to be the steepest terrain we’ve been on. And as I suspected, everyone climbed well. A very slight breeze kept us comfortable until the last fifteen minutes when the wind stopped and things got hot. We got to our cache site at 2:00, a very respectable time by any measure. Everyone was tired but smiling and happy. The descent was just as smooth, allowing us to enjoy a few hours of well deserved R&R before dinner.
Our plan for tomorrow is to move up to 14,200’ camp if we’re all feeling good in the morning. Otherwise we’ll take a rest day. If we do move up, we’ll definitely be taking a couple of rest days there, which are key to our acclimatization to the elevation of camp.
After dinner we read all your posts! Thanks so much for the kind words and well wishes. It was another bright spot to an already good day.
Until tomorrow!

RMI Guides Brent, Logan and Leah

On The Map

Comments (31)

Hey Derek,
Mate we are all following the climb here at DAL3, steamy Darwin,Australia. All those shuttle runs paying off now!! Good luck , be safe mate.

Posted by: Gareth on

Jeff (dad)
We love reading about your day.  Keep it up!
Love Kenny, Alex and Sophia
P.S.  I got a hit today dad - Alex :)

Posted by: Veronica Hooper on

Hi Leah, sounds like weather, food, and attitudes are great! Wishing you all a safe and memorable trip.
Love,  Mom

Posted by: Mike and Karen on

Thanks for the great commentary…..
Sounds like all are in good spirits and the weather is holding; very unsettled in the Cascades. Fun pictures - ‘Onward’

Posted by: Mike and Karen on

Hi daddy (aka Gerald) it’s ri looks like your doing great! Love and miss you lots and can’t wait to hear all the great stories you’ll have when you get back(: <3

Posted by: Riley on












Ayla and Company—-you can run but you cant hide!  Even at 13,200 feet.  I hope y’all are havin’ fun!  I’ll stick to wings.  I’ll be lookin’ over your shoulder again. 
Stay well and be careful!  “Z”




Posted by: Zaiidie Ben on

Hey Jo. Think about ya everyday buddy. Stay safe and go get em .

Posted by: Mike weber on

Hey Little “T”, Your photos are not any different from mine taken more than 20 years ago!! Enjoy every step of the way, as this is a once in a life time experience!! Love you, Linda

Posted by: Linda on

Hi Logan -

Sounds like Windy Corner was a non-issue and that things continue to go well for the team. 
Tyler and Garret are down below in Talkeetna so I’ll start following them soon.  They will have one of my Aconcagua climbing mates with them. 
I’m really feeling like I’m missing out on a Denali experience this year.

-Larry Seaton

Posted by: Larry Seaton on

Hi A and B—
I must keep you updated on the important happenings around home: we finally got a doggie door! Gigi is slowly getting the hang of it. Of course, Zoe is lagging behind adventuring through this “strange opening.” You would be laughing if you could see them trying.
I can’t stop thinking about all that you are learning…and (of course I would think this)
how you will understand “white” in ways that I will never comprehend.

Sending you tons of energy. You have what it takes!!!!
Loving you both more than you can imagine…

Posted by: Doni on

Erich!! I’m so proud of you but Cooking for one isn’t much fun. Take some notes on those fried bagels, that sounds right up my alley. :)  Stay strong, safe and warm! I love you!
P.s. Reptar says hi from the porch!

Posted by: Amberly on

Ayla, Betzalel, Virgil and Brent

It is so fun to hear how well your climb is progressing!  Best of success as you safely move up the mountain!!!


Posted by: Fred Klingbeil on

G! It’s cool to be able to follow your trip on here. fyi, I was looking for Denali, didn’t realize it was the same as McKinley!Have a great trip bro!

Posted by: Mike Arahill on

Gerald, Why haven’t you been returning my calls? Do you have that money you owe me?

Posted by: Bruce on

Virg - I think about you daily - the fried bagel in butter sounds like my kind of meal.  Be safe!!  Good luck to you and your team.  We are to get snow here tonight!  Love you your sister!!!

Posted by: Nora Hall on

Virgil, I am following your blog every day.  I know that you are strong and able - enjoy - good luck to you and the team!  Love Mom

Posted by: Barbara Hall on

Hey Jeff Hooper, thinking of you up on the top of the world! Daniel says hi, back from camp (had a great time). Stay safe!

Posted by: Jill Cathey on

Hi daddy we miss u so much we can’t wait to see u:)

P.S come home soon

Posted by: Charlotte on


You owe me $20.00 for furniture in our new house.



Posted by: michael graham on

Monica, you guys are doing great.  Keep up the outstanding work.  The weather looks better and better.  Eat, drink and sleep.  I can’t wait to hear you cheer when you get on top…go team…

Posted by: Fletch on

Hey Gerald!  Looks like a Blue Bird powder day.  I’m booking a helicopter to drop me off for some fresh tracks.  Need anything? LOL

So happy you are all having a great expedition!  It sounds so amazing!  Pictures are incredible.  Keep up the good work, all of us at sea level are so proud! 


Posted by: Rob Carrizzo on

Hey Derek, good luck mate I’m following you all the way to the top.  Wish I was there!!!
Climb hard and stay safe

Posted by: Huw on

Hi Jeff Pointer,
I’m watching the blogs and keeping up with the weather on Mt. Rainer.  Be safe, have the experience of your life and come home with lots of great stories and pictures.  Can’t wait to hear from you and see you when you get home.
Love, Mom

Posted by: Sandra Hurwitz on

I’m so excited for you to reach the summit, Erich Peschel. Take pictures!

Posted by: Danielle Bone on

Hi Loges!
Reading all these posts everyday - thinking of you a lot! It’s supposed to be 98 degrees here tomorrow so I actually wish I could be with you up there (surprised?). Have so much fun the rest of your time in Alaska. Can’t wait to talk to you! Love you.

Posted by: Carter Makin on

Dear Monica, there is now an official “Monica” workout, it is 120000 step ups, 500 push ups and 25 rope climbs with a pack or weighted vest on! We think about you every day!

Posted by: Meredith on

Cheering all of you on, especially my good friend Monica!

Posted by: Kate on

Monica and Okita Team, you all are amazing!!!! Keep it up, you guys got this!

Posted by: Melissa on

You go girl Monica, and the rest of you too!  We are all rooting for you!  Make a special wish for me when you make it to the top.

Posted by: Claudia Marseille on

Oooopp… I don’t expect to see the whole crew doing it… just Monica Gerhart!

Posted by: Kris on

I am expecting to see a beautiful arabesque or maybe an attitude at the summit!  Enjoy the views everyone and have a blast!

Posted by: Kris on

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