Entries from Denali
July 9, 2021
Friday, July 9, 2021 - 12:04 am
It did not seem like it was going to happen today. We woke up groggily to find ourselves in the middle of a small tent village. The remaining teams on the mountain -six guided groups- were now all collected at Kahiltna Base Camp, waiting to fly out. None of us had made the top -the season end was just a nonstop progression of storms. Including the one that cloaked us in cloud and light snow for much of the day. We had already eaten a mountain dinner and were getting ready for another night in tents when airplanes started coming in through holes in the clouds. We packed sleeping bags, tents, pots, and pans… all in an instant and loaded into K2 Aviation’s beautiful Otters. And at 9:30PM we lifted off the glacier and caught the red eye into Talkeetna. Eventually we were out of the snow and ice and rock and flying effortlessly over impossibly green landscapes.
We have got a day left of drying and sorting gear and traveling, but tonight we shower and sleep in beds!
RMI Guide Dave Hahn & Team
Great going and thanks for the daily updates -wow, what a journey. There’s always 2022! Way to go Matt!
Posted by: Margie McEttrick-Maloney on 7/11/2021 at 5:49 pm
Thanks & best to Dave , team leaders for everything & to ur whole team —-Sanjeev felt safe & had loads of fun w/ y’all !!! Even tho he cant wait to share lots of wonderful stories , I know he will miss y’all lots !!!
A thankyou to the lord for bringing y’all down safely , so y’all can return to beds, etc :) !!!
& Cheers to many more climbs & to reaching summits in the future years !!! Godbless & Keep smiling !!!
Rohan, Courtney, Nora , Niki & Anjalika
Posted by: Anjalika Nagrath on 7/9/2021 at 10:46 pm
July 7, 2021
Wednesday, July 7, 2021 - 3:24 pm PT
The winds are calm and it's snowing lightly at Denali 14K Camp. Our plan is to pack up camp this afternoon and journey down into the thicker clouds, hopefully making it to Basecamp sometime in the middle of the night. We're not overly optimistic that we'll be able to fly tomorrow...the pilots at K2 Aviation tell us that this weather is supposed to stick around until Saturday. If all goes well we'll at least be in position to fly off the glacier if a clearing presents itself.
We'll let you know how it goes.
Looking forward to you getting back and hearing about your adventure.
Your friends at Modern.
Posted by: Dave Brown on 7/8/2021 at 11:14 am
July 7, 2021
Elevation: 14, 200'
Tuesday, July 6, 2021 - 9:30 pm PT
The winds trailed off during the night -at our level, at least- but we got steady snow for most of the day. We sat in place at 14,200 ft. With the continued poor forecast, we are now just looking for a reasonable break in the storms to start moving downward. While it is a tough thing to give up our summit dreams for 2021, it is at least something of an easy call… the mountain simply has not given us an opening. We are still in an amazingly beautiful place, which we remember each time the clouds thin. And we have still got plenty of mountain climbing -albeit of the downward variety- to do before we’re done.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn & Team
Get down safe, team! Tell Matt it’s 107 at home, so he won’t have to worry about being cold. First beer back is on me.
Posted by: Amanda Heidt on 7/8/2021 at 9:27 pm
Thinking of the team all the way from New Jersey. Have a safe and uneventful descent. Staying strong Dom!
Posted by: Art Cifelli on 7/8/2021 at 6:55 pm
July 6, 2021
Tuesday, July 6, 2021 - 1:00 pm PT
There's not much new to report today. We're still at 14,000' Camp, waiting for an opportunity to head downhill to the airstrip. Unfortunately we're also still in a snow globe. Apparently it's totally socked in all the way to Talkeetna, with rain in town, so all of the planes are grounded a well. We've got plenty of food and fuel, and we're warm and dry in our camp. The forecast is grim, but we're not desperate, and we'll patiently await a change in the weather.
July 6, 2021
Monday, July 5, 2021 - 9:50 pm PT
Score one for the weathermen. They weren’t kidding about this storm. It is real. Came in during the night and by morning it was snowing and blowing and we couldn’t see much. There wasn’t any question of moving camp up to 17,000 ft. In fact, we retreated somewhat. Just after breakfast, RMI Guides Dominic and Matt geared up for the toughest of missions. They trudged out into the teeth of the storm to climb up to retrieve our food cache on the West Buttress. Yes, we were proud to have just placed it there two days ago, but now we can’t afford to be separated from those supplies should avalanche conditions set up in the coming days… which seems likely. The guys had hard going, breaking trail in rapidly accumulating snow. At the 16,000 ft ridge crest they were dealing with winds easily in the 50 mph range, the kind that sound like jet engines even from way down here at 14k. We had plenty strong winds in camp, but of course we were in shelter and comfy, warm and dry. Dom and Matt grabbed the cache and bolted safely back to camp in a total of four very difficult hours. But their work significantly eased our ability to meet our new primary goal: riding out the storm.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
On the edge of my seat awaiting your next update. Stay safe, all!
Posted by: Susie Lambert on 7/7/2021 at 3:59 am
Kudos to Dom and Matt for their sprint to recover the cache on the West Buttress!
Hope that the storm abates and progress continues toward 17K.
Posted by: Joseph P McEttrick on 7/6/2021 at 9:44 am
July 5, 2021
Sunday, July 4, 2021 - 10:09 pm PT
The weather has not been cooperating with us lately, and the forecast doesn't look good either. Today was the best day in the forecast period and there were still strong winds up high and a huge lenticular cloud on the summit all day. We took advantage of the "best day" to climb up to 16,400' and retrieve our cache; there's a good chance that we would not be able to retrieve it over the next few days. Tomorrow is day 19 of our trip, and our time is running out. With no potential summit day in the foreseeable future we will likely start our descent tomorrow morning. The weather will determine our descent strategy and timing.
Hello to all and special one to Daryl, prayers to all for a one day out of there without any unstable stuff. Tomorrow maybe only 2 or 3 cm of snow, am following you all safely to the bottom. Stop the snow dance.
Posted by: Pat Everett on 7/7/2021 at 10:17 am
July 5, 2021
Sunday, July 4, 2021 - 9:47 pm PT
Our team took a holiday today! We slept in and breakfasted slowly as the sun washed over camp at 9:30AM. As predicted, conditions at 14,000 were calm today while winds appeared to work over the summit. We enjoyed our rest but it was a bit of a tough day for morale. A number of the remaining teams on the mountain are in the process of quitting and going down without the summit. The forecasts are calling for a progression of storms to roll through in the coming week. We’re hoping the forecasts are wrong… but clouds are building up again this evening. It was already going to be tough to see the fireworks with twentyfour hour daylight.
Happy Independence Day from the highest mountain in the land.
July 4, 2021
Saturday, July 3, 2021 - 9:15 pm PT
There was still a big cloud cap on Denali this morning, but at 6AM the winds didn’t seem too bad. There were clouds in every other direction as well, but we were mostly looking up at the West Buttress as we ate breakfast and pondered a carry. It seemed worth a shot. We pulled the trigger and left camp just after 8 AM. It was colder this morning than it had been… not extremely cold, but colder than we’ve yet experienced on the trip. Our tracks -and anyone else’s- from yesterday were gone, so we had the added challenge of trail breaking in a few inches of new snow. Even so, we made steady progress upward. But the cloud cap made steady progress downward, so we were bound to come together. We were in murk and light but cold winds by the base of the fixed ropes. Which all made for a cold intro to climbing the steep, icy rope section. Thankfully, the winds were blowing from behind us and so we stepped into much needed calm at our destination, which was just perfectly in the lee and sheltered by the crest of the West Buttress. It was wonderful to hit our 16,200 ft target, but the clouds hid the grand views. We quickly cached supplies and geared up for a descent facing into the cool wind. A careful descent got us to 14,200 ft camp just as the sun came out there at 2:30 PM. The afternoon and evening were calm and easy with occasional snow showers. The storm is definitely easing, but of course they are predicting that another will follow. We’ll rest tomorrow in any case.
Happy Fourth of July, Hahn team!
Did you bring a few fireworks?
Marion & I hope your weather conditions cooperate.
Marion and Joe McEttrick
Posted by: Joseph P McEttrick on 7/4/2021 at 7:47 am
July 3, 2021
Saturday, July 3, 2021 - 1:04 pm PT
We are stationary once again, waiting for any sign in the weather forecast that would indicate a potential good-weather window to move up to high camp and get in place for a summit bid. Today is overcast above us with light wind in camp, but we can still hear the wind up high. It's hard to complain about R & R time, but we're certainly ready for some weather that's more conducive for climbing.
We will check in again soon.
RMI Guide Mike Walter & Team
How are you d ? We miss you ❤️
Posted by: Richard Arnold on 7/4/2021 at 6:32 pm
July 2, 2021
Friday, July 2, 2021 - 1:16 pm PT
Just as forecasted, a storm has settled in on Denali. At 14K Camp it is snowing with some moderate gusts of wind and very little visibility. Up above us on the mountain we can hear the winds crashing over the West Buttress like waves in the ocean.
We're protected and safe, though, with a well-built camp. After a hash brown, egg, and cheese scramble for breakfast, we're just relaxing in our tents or in the cook tent, reading, napping, and sharing conversations, a thin piece of nylon the difference between comfort and suffering.
This storm is forecasted to last into tomorrow, and we're in no hurry to stick our noses in it. Hopefully we'll get some nicer weather in its wake.
Go go Aaron!! Keep on goiiiiiiiing. Love, Em
Posted by: Emilee on 7/2/2021 at 2:33 pm