Log In

Need an RMI account? Create an account

Register With Us

Already have an account?

*required fields

The password must meet the following criteria:

  • At least 8 characters
  • At least 1 lowercase letter
  • At least 1 uppercase letter
  • At least 1 number
  • At least 1 symbol (allowed symbols: !?@#$%^&/*()[]{}><,.+-=;)

Keep up to date with information about our latest climbs by joining our mailing list. Sign up and we'll keep you informed about new adventures, special offers, competitions, and news.
Privacy Policy


Check Availability

RMI Logo

Denali Expedition: Cifelli & Team Enjoy an Active Rest Day

Thursday June 20th (day 10 on the mountain)

We woke up to a chilly morning in camp 3 at 14,200 feet elevation. My tent mate Dave and I were lingering in our warm sleeping bags, listening to the crunchy steps of our teammates who had gathered enough courage to step outside.  Everything in the tent that could freeze had done so unless it was tucked inside our sleeping bags, including water bottles, sunscreen and even pee bottles…. The inside of the tent was crusted with a thin layer of frost that would rub off or drop down on us whenever we touched it.

I have to admit that the early mornings in the tent are my least favorite part of mountaineering. Just the thought of unzipping the comfortable sleeping bag and pulling on stiff, frozen pants, forcing my feet into rock hard, ice-cold mountaineering boots and crawling out of the tent into the outside winter land makes me shiver. Still, I know that only a few minutes later life is much better after taking care of the morning routine and sitting in the kitchen tent with a hot cup of coffee, courtesy of our guides. Today was an “active rest day” which mostly meant hanging around camp and doing some ascender training, but also entailed a back carry trip down the slope from our camp to retrieve the cache we left a few days ago at 13,500 feet elevation. By the time we left camp just before 10am the below zero morning had turned into a blisteringly sunny day, and coming up the hill back to camp with heavy backpacks we were sweating through our single base-layers. Otherwise, it was a pretty uneventful round trip if it wasn’t for the fact that I did a complete face plant going down the hill while fiddling with my phone and tripping over my crampons. What a rookie mistake…

Coming back to camp we were treated to an amazing brunch consisting of burritos hot from the camp stove served by our bad ass guides Seth and Nicole. They had been granted a day off from carrying loads thanks to their super human efforts the last couple of days, accompanying our team mates Tait and Sophia who decided to abort this climb, all the way from camp 2 to base camp and then back again (a 20 miles round trip with 5,000 feet elevation gain!), only to rejoin the rest of our team on the 3,000+ feet ascent with heavy packs & sleds to camp 3 the next day. Truly impressive!

Given that today was mostly a rest day I had an opportunity to reflect on the experience thus far. I’ve been on a number of guided climbs in different corners of the world over the years, including some that have been expedition style like this one. They’ve all been great experiences and my guides have generally been top notch. However, I do think there is an RMI Difference based on what I’ve seen so far.  Not only has the guiding been outstanding thanks to our world class guides Dom, Seth and Nicole, but the overall logistics, route planning and camp facilities have been flawless. Climbing mountains is hard as it is, so having delicious cooked meals (not freeze dried), 3-person tents between 2 of us, and a few extra rest days in the itinerary has made this experience as enjoyable as possible and will hopefully allow us all the best odds possible to summit the mountain. A special shoutout to our lead guide Dom who is expertly masterminding the giant chess game that it is to climb Denali while at the same time fostering a genuinely positive and supportive team environment.

Just a quick note on the team before I wrap. We’re all from very different backgrounds as highlighted in Rossi’s blog a couple of days ago, and with a variety of mountaineering experience. However, 10 days into the trip I’m really impressed by how we have bonded into a cohesive team that helps and supports each other. We’re now all seasoned Denali mess tent small talk, being an introverted Swede, I do enjoy listening to it! �� fantastic experience so far! And a gentle request to the Gunnarsson family to leave some comments - we can’t have Dave get all the attention!

RMI Climber Mattias Gunnarsson

Comments (11)

The genuine camaraderie and respect you have for each other as individuals and as a united, strong team is evident in these fantastic blogs. I am continually amazed and inspired by you all

Posted by: Kim C on

Hey Thomas, Onward and upward to you and team. Keeping you in our prayers❣️

Posted by: Paul and Valorie on

Congratulations Kris! You’re living at 14,000 feet like those miners above quartzville!

Posted by: Nick Reitz on

Nice work, Mattias!  Very well-written post. Is my sister there? Best of luck from a lowly 6,752 feet.

Posted by: Erik on

Hey David!
Love reading about your adventures. We are so proud of you and praying for safety. Hope you are enjoying your cold trek up the mountain!! Keep up the good work!

Posted by: Debbie and Steve Franzen on

Love this blog - feels like I’m there! Thanks for the details. Stay safe and warm.  Praying for good weather and a successful ascent.

Posted by: Lynda and Walt on

Great going, Matt….certainly not for the weak hearted. Enjoy but be careful!

Posted by: Faisal Rahman on

A true rookie mistake indeed, seems like it would’ve been a walk in the park for me. Keep it up, we’re proud of you, next time I’ll teach you how to do it properly!

Posted by: Eric Gunnarsson on

So proud of all the hard work you are doing. The blog is such a nice way to allow us to follow along this journey. Stay safe and have fun!

Posted by: Tina Gunnarsson on

It is so amazing to read about what you all are doing. I work with Dave and I get to hear about climbing and mountaineering throughout most of the year and it always sounds amazing. Reading this blog brings what I’ve been hearing about completely to life. Be safe and enjoy your climbing community. So proud of everyone.

Posted by: Sonja Rom on

Team Goossen here (Marv & Cheryl and the extended fam!) (from Brandon Manitoba, Canada …cheering for you all on Team Cifelli !!!  (For all the teams too!!) Absolutely love the daily posts!! I must check my phone a 100 times a day in anticipation! You guys are all rock stars! As a reader we can sure feel the shift in the definition of the team- how you’re all working for the greater good, same dream and learning a whole lot about yourselves in the process. Sending warmth

Posted by: Cheryl Goossen on

Leave a comment for the team

* required fields

More to Explore

Denali: Hahn & Team Cache Gear on the Upper Mountain

June 21, 2024

Mt. Rainier: Four Day Team Reached 13,200’

June 22, 2024

Filter By:

Sign up for Expedition Dispatches

check the Summit Registry try our Adventure Finder alerts for 2025 RAINIER DATES
Back to Top

Sign up for our Newsletter

Image of Mt Rainier
    *required fields
    • Keep up to date with information about our latest climbs by joining our mailing list. Sign up and we'll keep you informed about new adventures, special offers, competitions, and news.
      privacy policy

Thank you for subscribing to the RMI Expeditions Newsletter!

While you're at it, you can sign up some of our other mailings as well:

Please choose the programs you'd like updates on: