Mt. McKinley: Okita & Team Recap Summit Day

Posted by: Brent Okita, Leah Fisher | June 06, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Leah awoke just before me and the first words out of her mouth when she went outside were: It’s beautiful out. The sky is blue, there’s no wind. I think it’s the nicest day yet. And so the wheels were set in motion: firing up the reluctant stoves from their below zero degree slumber to get breakfast and hots going for the team, then waking everybody up to let them know that we were going for it again.

Even with yesterday’s aborted attempt that certainly burned a bit of energy, the crew was excited and ready. This time, we didn’t have to break trail up to Denali Pass. At first we were nervous about the colder temps, but these concerns proved unfounded as the sun shone brightly and warmed things up.  As we ascended, things just got better and better, and our climbers responded well. In fact, they climbed flawlessly today. To say that I am particularly proud of everybody would be an understatement. No slips or oops or loss of focus that seem just an inevitable thing when a large group of folks climb for twelve hours.  We reached the summit at about 4:00, the first team to summit today. After the hero pictures and summit hugs, we made our way back to camp well before the sun slid over the ridge.

Enjoying another dinner together was the finishing touch to a great day. We even got some singing out of one of our favorites, tired of body though he might have been, his spirit was obviously on a high.  Now our thoughts go to the descent from this lofty camp. A couple of hard days and, with a little more luck, we might be seeing our loved ones soon. But for now, the cold of night is chasing me into my bed of down.

Goodnight from RMI Guides Brent, Logan and Leah, 17,200’ on Denali.

View from the summit of Mt. McKinley, 20,320 ft, looking down on the summit ridge.  Photo: RMI Collection An RMI Team descending from the summit of Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection The RMI Mt. McKinley May 21st Team on the summit.  Not pictured: Logan Randolph.  Photo courtesy: Brent Okita

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Hey Jo congrats again my friend , well done . What do you think , Harriman Sunday ?


Posted by: mike weber on 6/7/2013 at 2:08 pm

Great news…congratulations all! Monica is a stud-ess!!! Make the descent epic with your snowboards (tobaggans). Yeehaw!

Posted by: Aaron Knox on 6/7/2013 at 7:04 am

Well done Virg!  Look forward to hearing all about it when you get back.
Safe descent!

64 Crew

Posted by: John Stomberg on 6/7/2013 at 6:37 am

Monica!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU GO GIRL!!  So proud of you!!

Posted by: Paul Stanford on 6/7/2013 at 4:31 am

Derek and Team, well done on your massive achievement so far, it’s great to be able to read about you adventure…poolside in Portugal at Emma/Kenno’s wedding sunning oursleves, bet you would love some of that sunshine now… are all doing great.  Enjoy the rest of the climb and be SAFE!! Car

Posted by: Caroline Cleere on 6/7/2013 at 2:39 am

DEREK….. Well done!!! Hope you’re having a blast.
Ill be thinking of you next week temple hopping! Congrats to all involved!

Jean x

Posted by: Jean on 6/7/2013 at 1:39 am

Fantastic! Well done

Posted by: Mike Fox on 6/6/2013 at 5:23 pm

Stay focused Virgil.  It’ll be work getting out but the thick air and pizza await in Talkeetna.

Posted by: david zeps on 6/6/2013 at 4:43 pm


Now get your ass safely down, the Lions matches have started back downunder.


Posted by: huw on 6/6/2013 at 11:54 am

WOW!!!  That is such an awesome feat! CONGRATULATIONS!

Posted by: Linda Allen Clifton on 6/6/2013 at 11:06 am

Congratulations Virgil!  You did it!  So proud of you and your team.  See you when you get home.

Posted by: Rachel on 6/6/2013 at 10:24 am


Holy crow, that view is stunning! I CANNOT wait to talk to you! I’m so very proud of your accomplishment! Sounds like a great group to climb with and great guides to lead you! Congratulations to you ALL! Have a safe trip back down the mountain, remember, descent is mandatory! (Feel free to double time it,too!) Love, love, love!

Posted by: Amberly on 6/6/2013 at 10:01 am

Monica and team,

You are way too cool! Congratulations. Can’t wait to hear the details

Love, Elliot

Posted by: Elliot Marseille on 6/6/2013 at 9:11 am

In case you were wondering how invested we are in your climb, we have a group text set up so whoever sees a new blog post up first quickly alerts the masses. A mad dash to the closest computer/phone ensues followed by group text debates of reading between the lines and trying to decide on how smelly you guys currently are. So proud and happy! Climb on!

Posted by: eva on 6/6/2013 at 8:19 am

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