Mt. McKinley: Okita & Team Rest at 17,200’

Posted by: Brent Okita, Leah Fisher | June 04, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

Monday, June 3, 2013
Our first encounter with snow and wind came after we hit the sack last night. Comfortably tucked away in our well anchored tents, and snug in our mounds of down that encapsulate us each night, we knew we weren’t in any danger, and by Denali standards our visit with foul weather was fairly mild. But the winds still kept many of us up more than we would have liked.
So, when I checked the weather at 7:30 and didn’t like what I saw, I don’t think there was a one of us that missed hearing my wake up call for a summit bid. An hour later the winds calmed and things did look better, but not perfect, so I let the team sleep in.
At breakfast we all confided that we were happy that the day did not turn out good for the summit. Even some of our studs of the trip admitted to feeling the altitude and having some fatigue left over from yesterday’s efforts.
Our morning was spent building up walls to protect us from the annoying wind, then by lunch we were back in the tents enjoying the incredible warmth that the suns rays produce at this elevation. Even though outside it was chilly, inside our watch thermometer got as high as 113 degrees. OK, it was measured at the ceiling and we had all the doors closed, but though a little excessive, the heat felt wonderful soaking through our bodies.
Right now the weather looks good. The ominous cloud cap that had settled on the mountain for most of the day has disappeared and I am more optimistic than I have been. The forecast remains the same, for whatever that’s worth.
I think we’re all thinking that it might just happen tomorrow, but who knows. All I really know is that we’re all ready if the day dawns fair. Which means that I too should probably get some sleep.
Goodnight from 17,200’ camp.

RMI Guides Brent, Logan and Leah

An RMI Team building walls at high camp.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Hey Virg, Did you see my time capsule when you were on the summit? Isn’t it the most indescribable, unique feeling to reach the top?!! Your feelings run amuck as you slowly comprehend “oh my god, I made it!!” It was your dream, your goal for so long and now it’s a memory to cherish forever! Remember seeing my photos of us eating lunch on the summit! Best lunch ever!! On to Aconcagua!! Why not! I’m very happy for you and relieved for your mom and dad! Big HIGH FIVE buddy! Linda

Posted by: Linda Foss on 6/6/2013 at 7:19 am

Hi Monica—
All the news is very exciting and we send everyone our warmest wishes.
A poem by Rene Daumal:
You cannot stay on the summit forever,
you have to comedown again.
So why bother in the first place?
Just this; what is above knows what is below,
but what is below does not know what is above.
One climbs, one sees. One descends,
one sees no longer but has seen.
There is an art of conducting oneself
in the lower regions
by memory of what one saw higher up.
When one can no longer see, one can
at least still know.

Much love and good weather,

Posted by: Marianne and john on 6/4/2013 at 6:56 pm

Rest up and hit it hard Monica!!

Posted by: Paul Stanford on 6/4/2013 at 5:28 pm

Awesome progress with the good weather. Way to go Gerald and Team. With continued luck with the weather, we’ll see you in a few days at Hunter Mtn! LOL. Hey, wait a minute, frozen poo at Zebra Rocks! Was that a left turn or right at the poo? Climb Strong and Conquer That Beast!

Posted by: Chuck on 6/4/2013 at 2:38 pm

Make it happen, Monica!!  And watch out for my frozen poo at Zebra Rocks!

Posted by: Chris on 6/4/2013 at 11:21 am

“This right here makes us stronger. Let’s understand who we are as a team, lets understand who we are as men, and lets make somebody smile when we walk out of here.” -Ray Lewis

Go Gerald and Team!  I know tomorrow is the day!  Praying for you!


Posted by: Rob Carrizzo on 6/4/2013 at 11:02 am

The mountain sat upon the plain
In his eternal chair,
His observation omnifold,
His inquest everywhere.

The seasons prayed around his knees,
Like children round a sire:
Grandfather of the days is he,
Of dawn the ancestor.

- Emily Dickinson

Enjoy chilling pre-peak. hugs

Posted by: eva on 6/4/2013 at 10:18 am

Sounds like you guys are climbing hard. Good luck on your submit bid!

Posted by: Jase on 6/4/2013 at 9:09 am

Brent, Logan, Leah -

I sure hope this is just a mild weather front that will pass through quickly.  I don’t want to see you guys to get stuck up there again like last year.

-Larry Seaton

Posted by: Larry Seaton on 6/4/2013 at 9:04 am

Monica and Team…an extra day in high camp is a great thing to help your body adjust…  Rest, then rest a little more, then rest for real…you are so close and you have such a strong team…one step at a time gets you to the top…

Posted by: Fletch on 6/4/2013 at 8:59 am

Hey Erich! I’ve been anxiously awaiting this blog post today! I’m hoping today provided you with the weather y’all needed to make your summit bid and you got the rest you needed to do it safely! Can’t wait for tomorrow’s post! Stay safe and warm! You’re almost there! YAY!! Love you!

Posted by: Amberly on 6/4/2013 at 8:57 am

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