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Entries from Denali

Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Wait out the Weather

May 25, 2017

We had the sun this morning, but a large cloud cap over the summit convinced us to wait another day to carry. It was a great day to let the tents bake, dry wet items, and people watch around camp. We capped it with a dinner of quinoa, lentils, kale, and squash in a red wine, bouillon, and Dijon reduction. It was a nice to have some fresher tasting food after 12 days on the mountain. Hopefully we wake to clear skies tomorrow and get our cache on above!

RMI Guides Pete, Jess, Jenny and team

On The Map

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Denali Expedition: Okita & Team Rest Day at 11K Camp

Clear skies were a very welcome sight as I peeked out the vestibule on this frigid, frosty morning. Definitely our coldest morning yet! But, we had a cache to put in so the wheels were set in motion for our climb.
Unfortunately, the weather deteriorated to the point where we pulled the plug and took a well deserved rest day instead.
What a treat. Lounging about in the tents, eating, listening to tunes, reading, sleeping, eating some more. Our bodies sucked in the energy from the calories eaten and the warmth provided by the radiation getting through the clouds and snow showers. Tents and sleeping bags dried as our bodies got the recharge we all needed.
The smell of fried onions, red peppers, chicken and chilies greeted us when the dinner bell rang, and no doubt made the rest of camp salivate with envy. Chefs JT and Christina put on yet another fine spread.
It’s these simple pleasures that we tend to value so much in the mountains.
After our dress rehearsal this morning and rest day I think we’ll be ready to rock tomorrow. The forecast hasn’t changed any, but the winds aren’t bad. It’s just a bit irritating to climb in the occasional snow showers and cloudy weather. But, I guess we’ve been doing it all week. This team has demonstrated the capacity to climb well, so hopefully we’ll get our cache established at 13,500’ and be primed to move to 14,200’ camp when we can.
Not that I’m a great believer in the weather forecasts around here, but they say high pressure is coming our way by Monday. We’re due!
Good night from 11,200’, where I’m in our tent at the very reasonable hour of 9:00p after camp chores, and not freezing my fingers in the frigid cold of these Alaskan nights.
Oh, and by the way, your loved ones are all happy and doing exceptionally well. The guides included. If you all have any messages for the team, our office staff will send them our way sometime. Hopefully coinciding with our next rest day where I’ll have time to share them with everyone. Just don’t get carried away with the heartfelt mushy stuff. I hate choking up in front of the group.

Your messengers of news from above,

RMI Guides Brent Okita, Christina Dale and JT Schmitt

On The Map

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Oops - posted birthday wishes to Patty on the wrong blog - sorry!  Still wishing you all clear skies!

Posted by: Ruth on 5/26/2017 at 7:02 am

It’s Friday morning Joel we’re saving your spot in class.  We’re all cheering you on and everyone’s asking and thinking about you!!  You’re our inspiration for sure!!  xx

Sue and the HiLo Gang

Posted by: Sue on 5/26/2017 at 7:01 am

Denali Expedition: Walter & Team Weather Window In Sight?

Last night’s winds abated in camp, but up high that was not the case. A large, menacing lenticular cloud covered the upper portion of the mountain and wind could be seen blowing plumes of snow off of the West Buttress. But, the storm seems to be on its way out. We are hoping to move to high camp tomorrow or the next day and have a go at the summit. We’ll see what the weather has in store, but at least it is improving.
From Robbie:
Happy birthday Vanessa!

RMI Guide Mike Walter

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Denali Expedition: Okita & Team Experience Squirrely Weather

May 24, 2017

Well, the weather has changed, and not for the best. Wind and snow intensified this morning, so much so that we postponed our departure to retrieve our cache from 10,000’ for a bit to make sure a big storm didn’t move in.
But the weather held off enough for us to bring our cache back to camp. Now we’re set.
This continually amazes me. When we got back I thought we all deserved a break, figuring an hour or two of tent time to rest up would be most welcome, 20-30 minutes later I hear most everyone out cutting blocks to beef up the walls we already had. Impressive!
We’re sitting pretty now, ready for anything. Should tomorrow’s weather preclude a carry to cache at 13,500’, that would be just fine. Everyone has been working so hard and so well that some tent time is probably in order. Even, I am looking forward to a rest day soon.
And we’re all looking forward to some better weather. Our peek at the mountains surrounding us last night just made us want more.
Oh, and in case you were wondering what was on the menu today. Scrambled eggs, hash browns and bacon for breakfast. An assortment of Indian food, served on a bed of rice and chicken, followed by a nice pudding for dessert. Mmm.
That’s it from 11,200’ camp. Good night.

RMI Guides
Brent, Christina and JT

On The Map

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I did this route in Juky 1970 with Ray Genet. Good luck and be safe!

Posted by: William Dailey on 5/25/2017 at 5:18 pm

Keep up the good work, I am simply “blown away” by your accomplishment so far,  with love,
NeeNee, JT’s grandma

Posted by: carol m smith on 5/25/2017 at 12:36 pm

Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Take a Weather Day

May 24, 2017

Well, the Denali storm has arrived (we are calling it the Horiskey storm). We woke to snow this morning, and as the day had progressed, the winds have strengthened. Lots of snow is moving around camp, and being out of a tent is really unpleasant. So we’ve stayed in the tents. Our cook tent is nice and tight, and our individual tents were occupied with napping, music, and reading. The storm is supposed to peak tomorrow, so probably more of the same in store. Our walls are strong, our sleeping bags warm, and our bellies full, so all in all, life is good.

RMI Guides Pete, Jess, Jenny and team

On The Map

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Denali Expedition: Walter & Team Wait Out the Storm

We’re hunkered down in camp today as a strong storm is producing snow and wind over Denali. We can hear the winds howling a few thousand feet above us, sounding like waves crashing on a rocky shore. Here at camp it is windy but not nearly that extreme. Winds here are gusting in 20 mph range, which is not too bad at all. We have big walls built to protect our camp, so our tents are just barely shaking. We expect this storm to persist through tomorrow and hopefully we’ll have better weather in its wake with which to make a summit push.

Our fingers are crossed!

RMI Guide Mike Walter & Team

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Like the warmth of the sun
And the light of the day,
May the luck of the Irish
Shine bright on your way

Best wishes for Saturday’s push to the summit, Love Mom

Posted by: Cynthia Chitwood on 5/25/2017 at 7:34 pm

Well, the water heater has been replaced, the leaking toilet has been repaired, the weather has cooled off so no need for air conditioners or screens, the lawn is freshly mowed, and the sun is shining for the first time in days. Hope that portends good weather on Denali as well. Thinking of all of you hunkering down in your tents. Hope everyone has good reading material!

Posted by: Nancy Hines on 5/25/2017 at 5:23 pm

Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Enjoy First Full Rest Day

May 23, 2017

We took our first full rest day at 14. The winds were moving snow up high, but it was a pretty glorious day here in Genet Basin. We spent the day improving our walls for winds that are forecasted to huff and puff, and also practiced for our eventual trip up the fixed lines. Mike Walter’s team challenged us to a jeopardy game this evening, and we’re happy to report that we took the prize, with a score of 200 to 0 (though both teams spent a long time in the negative area). We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Jess Matthews, Jenny Konway and team

On The Map

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Looks like you and the team are doing well, hope you had a good rest day. Seriously though stop being lazy and get to the top of the mountain! Miss seeing you, stay safe, and don’t worry the sky isn’t falling around here without you.



Posted by: TJ Burns on 5/24/2017 at 7:38 pm

Such an amazing experience for you all. I am a friend of Joel Broder’s friend, Susie Okun. She was talking about your hike today and hooked me up with your blog. The pictures are beautiful. You must be having an incredible time!  Enjoy and be safe. XO

Posted by: Jackie Mossman on 5/24/2017 at 2:59 pm

Denali Expedition: Okita & Team Arrive at 11,200’ Camp

Another cloudy, snowy day greeted us this morning but didn’t stop us from pushing on. Typical of weather on the Kahiltna Glacier, there was enough new snow and poor visibility to make the going difficult, but certainly not enough to call it a storm day and relax in the tents.
Upon reaching camp at 11,200’ the sun broke through and we were treated to our first sunshine of the trip. What a nice welcome.
The sun sticks around late here, and we’ve enjoyed every bit of it, hanging out in the Posh for a couple hot drinks and sharing stories.
Tomorrow we look forward to our easiest day when we just need to retrieve the cache we buried at 10,000’.
The forecast calls for a little storm to brush by us tomorrow or the next day, but I don’t see any sign of that yet. If it does, we’ll just dig in and enjoy a rest day I guess.
Everyone’s climbing super well and in good spirits.
Good night from 11,200’.

RMI Guides Brent Okita, Christina Dale and JT Schmitt

On The Map

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Denali Expedition: Walter & Team Fortify Camp at 14,000’

Tuesday May 23, 2017 3:32pm

We got a little snow overnight, and it’s relatively pleasant outside today. The summit is still wearing a lenticular cap today and major storm with snow and extreme wind is forecast to hit us tomorrow. We’ve fortified camp and we’re ready for what it brings. Our hope is that in its wake we will have a shot at the summit.

We’ll let you know how it plays out.

RMI Guide Mike Walter & Team

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Mike and Gang:  I remember hunkering down for a week at that very same location just five years ago - stay patient and optimistic.  Mike, I wish I were climbing with you again.  However, I leave in two months with Pete to take on Elbrus.  Stay in touch and keep your team focused and motivated!  Prayers and positive vibes your way, team - you’ve got this!

Peace, Lee Hoedl, Fellow RMI Climber (Denali, Aconcagua, Cotopaxi, etc…)

Posted by: Lee Hoedl on 5/24/2017 at 3:03 pm

Following you, Mike. Glad you are all hunkered down - hoping you get your weather break soon. Sure is beautiful there!!

Posted by: Ann Douglass on 5/24/2017 at 5:07 am

Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Sitting Comfortably at 14,000’ Camp

Yesterday’s hard day of work left everyone tired, and nearly everyone slept really hard last night. We woke up late, lingered over a breakfast of pancakes, and then set to work improving our camp. We put up some big walls to keep out the wind, and built a nice covered toilet to keep things comfortable. With the project finished, we ate a quick lunch, then strolled downhill to retrieve our cache. We’re in really good shape now, with a well fortified camp and all of our belongings here with us. Now, we wait for our opportunity.

We’ll be in touch,

RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Jess Matthews, Jenny Konway, and team

On The Map

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Greetings from South Carolina.  You can do this…. Think of some place warm.  No seriously proud of you and glad your getting the chance to have this great experience.  Happy hiking. And to quote the Hunger Games “May the odds be ever in your favor”

Posted by: Crystal's mom :) on 5/24/2017 at 7:47 pm


The next days will be extreme in every way but I know you will get to the top of that hill. May the force be with you!


Posted by: Edward Foss on 5/24/2017 at 6:10 pm

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