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Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team on the Summit!

Saturday, June 15th, 2013
Today was a busy day at the roof of North America! Our team was first out of the gates from 17,200’ camp, with a warm, windless departure at 8:00am. The first stretch of the route above camp is also one of the most technical and time consuming; it’s called the “Autobahn” and takes a strong, committed team to single push across the steeply rising traverse to Denali Pass.

Our group crushed it, and we were enjoying the sun on the east side of the pass soon enough. The next few stretches went by relatively quickly, although nothing is lightning fast at 19,000’. By the time we reached the Football Field, a flat saddle just below the summit ridge, we were down to base layers and light gloves. Considering the fierce reputation that Denali has for arctic temperatures and raging wind, we consider ourselves incredibly lucky to have had a such an incredible day.

The last climb up Pig Hill was taxing our legs and our lungs, and just when folks had had enough we reached the final summit ridge. Forty minutes later, our team put the highest point of the continent under their crampons, amid much hugging and celebration.

The trip back down was uneventful, albeit hot. The sun roasted our tired crew all the way back to camp. But as soon as we got back, folks were out of boots and into tents, resting and relaxing as we brought hot water and heaping helpings of ramen with bacon and chicken. We’re ready for the long trip back to base camp, but that’s for another day. Right now, we’re savoring the day’s events and getting ready for some well earned sleep. Thanks again and we’ll check back in soon!

RMI Guide Tyler Jones

RMI Guide Tyler Jones and the team from the Mount McKinley summit!

On The Map

Comments (13)

Congratulations Lori and team members.  Great job to the guides who encouraged and fed you and got you to your goal.  Dad and I haven’t had internet service for days and have had to rely on Dad’s cell phone.  Thus, I wasn’t sending you encouragement in words, but you were never far from our thoughts.  SO LOOKING FORWARD TO HEARING YOUR VOICE.  Love you, mom and dad.

Posted by: Fern Hansen on

Nice work Chickie and team.  Congrats to you all.


Posted by: Don on


We are all so proud of you!  I knew you could do it:) I can’t wait to see the pictures, hear the stories and give you a huge hug!  See you soon.


Posted by: wendy kolosar on


YOU DID IT!!!!!!!  I am so happy for you all!!! And very proud of my aunt Lori!!! :D PICTURES!!!! :D What an accomplishment!!! You all are truly amazing!!! Awesome role models. If you set your mind to it you CAN achieve anything. What is the expected day to be fly home? Good luck on the decent!

Casey and Maggie

P.S. Grandma doesn’t have internet right now, otherwise she would have wrote something.

Posted by: Casey Hansen on

Great job Lori - we knew you could do it!!!!!!  Have a safe descent.

Posted by: Blakemans on

SUMMIT BABY!!! Way to be patient, keep believing, and keep putting one foot in front of the other right to the top of North America!!! Check Check Check and a Job Well Done! Great Work to the Amazing Guides on creating such a safe dream trip!!! So proud of you, Lori-you inspire all of us!!! See you at the reunion in S.D at 2200 ft this wknd…looking forward to all of the stories :)!

Posted by: Sue Lopez on

Justin, congrats on the summit. The girls and I are doing fine and we look forward to being able to talk to you. Love, Shell, Aidynn and Kallie.

Posted by: Michelle Hersh on

Justin——Holy cow, you made it!!!!!  What a life accomplishment!!!!  Can’t wait to hear your reaction and thoughts at the moment of the summit!!!  We are so proud of you !!!!  Be safe!!!
Love you—-Mom and Dad

Posted by: Vicki Hersh on

To the team:  Absolutely awesome journey!!  And a job very well done!  Thank you for sharing the adventure with all of us back home.  To Jessie Annie:  Your entire family has been following your daily adventure and we are so very proud of you! Know you are loved. Have fun and be safe:)

Posted by: Len and Cathy on

Jess and team,

Congratulations!!! Job well done!

Sweetie, I am so proud!! Now be safe on the way back.

Love, hubbie

Posted by: Hector Valle on

Hey Pal, Nice message! Great to hear your summit stars!

Posted by: Sharon on

Way to go team!!! Congratulations!!!
Be safe going back down to High Camp - No running :-)

-Larry Seaton

Posted by: Larry Seaton on

Bravo… you guys are super strong! James, you have done it nicely with good will. Make descent safe and pleasant.
See you soon. mom and dad.

Posted by: Soonja Choo on

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More Updates


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Mt. McKinley: Haugen’s Team Caches Supplies and Returns to Camp

June 18, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Haugen’s Team Caches Supplies and Returns to Camp

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