Mt. McKinley: Okita & Team Descend to 11,200’

Posted by: Brent Okita, Leah Fisher | June 07, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

Thursday, June 6, 2013
If our good luck holds out, this is our last night on Denali. It’s just a little bitter sweet. This place has been on our thoughts and in our dreams for so long, and has given us an experience that will forever hold a special place in our hearts.
But now our thoughts turn to home, family and loved ones. Oh, and perhaps to a great meal and beer too.
To get to where we are now, back at our 11,200’ camp, we’ve just descended 6000’ feet of steep terrain with heavy loads. Everyone did well getting down the technical part of the Buttress and fixed ropes, then came time to tether the sleds and load up the stuff we cached at 14,200’ camp.
And now, finally, we’re back at 11,200’ camp. A hastily set up camp followed by a quick dinner and we’re horizontal. The chores have all been done and even the guides are in bed by 10:00pm. And just as well because we’ll be up at 1:30am to get on a night time schedule to travel on snow that’s hard and frozen, thereby insuring us safe travels over the crevassed glacier of the lower Kahiltna that warm and melt incredibly fast in the Alaskan summer.
But the best part of the trip is yet to come. Walking down the Kahiltna while the sun is just below the horizon has given me some of the most beautiful vistas I’ve ever witnessed, with the rosy tint of dawn hitting these hugely majestic Alaskan peaks all around us.
We’re hoping to get to the airstrip by mid morning, so with luck we’ll be back in Takkeetna tomorrow.
A little closer to you, but a world away from the mountain that has been our focus and challenge for the past couple of weeks. We’ll miss her, but will carry with us a treasure of fond memories of our life spent here.

Your guides,

RMI Guides Brent, Logan and Leah

An RMI Team camped at 11,200 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection

On The Map

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Welcome home and thanks are given for your safe journey!

Posted by: Meredith on 6/7/2013 at 7:10 pm

Congratulations to you all for your wonderful accomplishment!Erich, I can’t wait to talk to you, maybe tonight for the first time in awhile! In the meantime, enjoy a good meal and some brews. LOVE YOU! Happy safe travels the rest of the way!

Posted by: Amberly on 6/7/2013 at 11:43 am

A and B-
What a journey!!!—bravo to you both!
Stay steady on the last leg of this descent.
Mom / Doni

Posted by: doni on 6/7/2013 at 10:14 am

Brent, Leah, and Logan-
There is no way to thank you for your guiding! You have had the lives of those we love in your hands. We wish you safety on the last leg of the trek down. Please know that our gratitude runs deep!
Doni and crew

Posted by: Doni on 6/7/2013 at 10:10 am

Congratulations again.  I assume you passed some high fives to the Tyler Jones team as they were coming up to 14k camp.  I hope you’ll be enjoying some beers and shots of Makers Mark at the Fairview soon.

-Larry Seaton

Posted by: Larry Seaton on 6/7/2013 at 9:13 am

Congratulations to all. Superb team. Thanks to Brent, Leah, and Logan. Fabulous blogs and phone call from the top. Enjoy the showers, steak, and beer. Safe travels home.

Posted by: Marianne and John on 6/7/2013 at 8:53 am

Congratulations to all. Superbly done. Thanks to Brent (fabulous blogs, enjoyed the phone call from the top), Leah, and Logan. Enjoy the showers, steak, and beer. Safe trips home.

Posted by: Marianne and John on 6/7/2013 at 8:50 am

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