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Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Okita & Team Enjoy Christmas Duck in May

Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Today we awoke to another beautiful day at 14,000 camp on Denali. Feeling better about the altitude we cruised down to our cache and back in no time. A cloud rolled in and brought light snow this afternoon which has surprisingly been a welcome change to the hot temps and our sunburned lips from these past few days. We were able to do a little practice with fixed lines in preparation for the real deal in a couple days. Everyone did great, even with monster lobster gloves on! Tonight, Gerald treated us to duck burritos, with duck that came all the way from New Jersey, also a welcome change then to “chicken”, resembling tuna from a bag. A shout out to Emma Rose, happy birthday!

RMI Guides Leah, Logan, and Brent

On The Map

Comments (28)

Is that why you got such a big snow blower?

Posted by: Charles on

Gerald you continue to amaze us!  Stay safe and enjoy the climb

Posted by: eileen & mike meehan on

Monica and team, what a dream come true! You all are making incredible progress,your pics are breathtaking! Thinking of you all daily! Enjoy and know we are all rootingfor you! From monique, antonio and annabelle, and beautiful lucy!

Posted by: meredith on

Gerald - your influence and charm obviously increases with altitude :)

Posted by: Chris Shoolis on

Hey A&B!!
Sounds like things are going great! We’re all really proud of you. You are making faster progress then anticipated, which is great news, but Ayla, I have to confess that I took you at your word when you said the trip may take four weeks. I hope you understand - we rented your room out for a full month, so maybe you could spend a few extra days at the top, or a little side trip on your way home.
  I did think of the ultimate climbing accessory. It’s too late for this trip, but when you do get home, we can talk about my great business idea - temporary colostomies for climbers!! We can create a line of designer bags to go with them. Since the 1-800-GET THIN clinics had to close, we may be able to work out an arrangement with the physician assistants who were doing the surgeries. Please survey your comrades up there - maybe some wish to invest…

Posted by: Steven Simons on

Hey Gerald!

send the recipe, so i can submit to Jack’s Cafe in Westwood!

Keep on rockin’ and keep rollin’ those “burritos” fat and tight! ;)

so proud o you!

John @ NYSC

Posted by: john azua on

Monica, what a great story this will be for all of us living vicariously through you! You are amazingly stong and ready to tackle this to the end! Lucy sends you a polarbear kiss! Dogspeed to you all!

Posted by: meredith on

Dad (Jeff Hooper)
We love the picture of your new camp site.  Stay strong as you are almost at the top.  keep having fun!
We miss you.
Love Kenny, Alex and Sophia

Posted by: Veronica Hooper on

The team is learning what we already know, Gerald’s awesome!

Posted by: Mike Arahill on

Hey Virg,
Love this blog!  It is the first thing Mom and I talk about in the morning and the last thing we talk about at night.  The weather looks great!  We had snow for two days here and they had to shut down the highway this morning.  Last day of school for Jacob - they were all wearing shorts and no coats - even in the snow.  The green house is full of flowers just waiting for the weather to break.  Good luck to you and the team.  We all love you and miss and are excited to see you at the summit!!  Love Nora

Posted by: nora Hall on

Awesome job guys.  Snow walls look good and it must be nice to reuse a camp. Its good to hear everyone is adjusting to the altitude.


Posted by: Jase on

Joey Joey Joey.Glad everyone on the team is strong and doing well. I see the duck was a winner. Guess your keeping the salmon to yourself, hahaha. Mountain gold joey,mountain gold. I know I’m missing a great trip. luv ya and miss ya bro.

Posted by: Frantz on

Reasons climbing is better than sex:
1. Choice of novice or expert routes.
2. A climb can last all day.
3. Guidebooks tell you how many visitors have been there before you and when the first ascent was.
4. You can pick the length and diameter of your rope.
5. There is always someone backing you up.
6. It’s not considered kinky to wear a harness.
7. The only rubber you wear is on your feet.
8. There are still rocks that haven’t been touched.
9. You can reuse your protection, and someone else even cleans for you, provided you don’t put it in too deep.
10. There IS such a thing as being too overhung.

:) Eva

Posted by: eva on

Monica (and team),
Duck burritos? And I thought this was supposed to be tough. Jeez…I’m proud of you, following your progress and delighted that the weather is holding. You go! Love, Elliot

Posted by: Elliot Marseille on

That’s what happened to my son’s pet Duck! You ate Kenny, you Bastard! Hmm, smoked duck. Great pics.  Climb strong Gerald, it looks bigger than Hunter.

Posted by: Chuck on

Gerald, Unbelievable…
We are so proud to see you complete this amazing journey!! We cannot wait to see more pictures. LOL, Jocelyn & Frantz

Posted by: Frantz & Jocelyn on

Glad you found a creative way to clear up that duck problem in your yard.
Enjoy your trip. Looks AMAZING!

Posted by: Mike Paulison on

Hey Erich!
These pictures are AWESOME and I’m digging the half-igloo! I don’t think I’ve ever seen snow that would stick/pack together like that before. :)I can only imagine the experience you’re having up there! We’re going to see Austin’s show tonight in Atlanta, you can pretend you’re there all the way from Denali and sing along! On that note (no pun intended), here is our fav song, West Georgia: ” I miss the one I left behind, when you’re not here, you’re on my mind! And it won’t be long, til you’re coming home!” :)
Love and MISS you!

Oh, and a special thanks to the guides for posting these wonderful blogs! They help me keep my sanity!

Praying for the team and journey to come!

Posted by: Amberly on

GERALD IS KING OF THE WORLD!!!!!!! hee. hee. Get home safe bro!



Posted by: Anouk on

Only our Jerry can provide such gourmet food.  We miss you keep climbing.


Sounds like you are doing as you usually do at 14,000 making people smile~  ENJOY THE JOURNEY…donna

Posted by: donna on

Wow my boy Gerald cooking for people even at 14,000ft.  If you thought the duck was cook you should see him cook at his house! Pictures are amazing, that is one beautiful camp! Is that mountain creek behind you?  LOL!

Keep up the good work!


Posted by: Rob Carrizzo on

Way to go Monica and team!
Thinking of you and your adventure each day. Here’s to solid footing (and rest stepping!) and strong power breathing to get you to the top and safely back down again!

Posted by: Kelsey on

Hi A and B-
I love the photo of the snow wall! It looks like an Andy Goldsworthy piece.
Gray and Marianne are here—we’ve been pouring over the photos from the blog and sharing your travels - so impressive! I was surprised to find out that Marianne climbed Rainer years ago and loved it. (She wanted to know all about your gear and your training).
Sending tons and tons of love!!!!!!!!
Be safe, be smart, have fun.

Posted by: Doni on

Hello Monica and team,
It’s so exciting to see the pictures and watch your progress. It’s seems like we are right there with you.
Our team left for Regionals this morning so this will be a big weekend following both of your progress.
God speed to you all,

Posted by: Jim Gentle on

Monica and team, we are all thinking of you from Boise, Idaho! You have 31 followers in our Facebook group tracking your progress:-)Love the pictures and updates, keep them coming!

Posted by: Melissa Ritter on

Following you all the way, Logan, and team.  Hope your trip continues to go well.  Be safe.  Love,  elfe

Posted by: elfe on

Hey Gerald
Sounds like you’re all doing great and having an amazing journey!! So happy you’ve been having such nice weather, can’t wait to hear all about!  We love you! Jackie xoxo

Posted by: jackie on

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