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Entries from Denali

Mt. McKinley: Hahn and Team Practicing Patience

Tuesday, July 7, 2015 - 10:56 pm PT

Not surprisingly, this morning wasn’t quite right for moving higher. It was socked in, snowing and a little blustery through the night. By morning, the blustery part was finished at 14 Camp, but we could hear the big winds still raking the crest of the West Buttress, a few thousand feet overhead. The team met for pancakes in the POSH and then dispersed to do camp chores and more wall building. In the afternoon, as the storm seemed to be losing a little energy, RMI Guides Steve Gately and JM Gorum raced up to 16,200’ to fetch back some of our cached food. With the extended forecast being a little sloppy, we want more supplies at 14,000’ just in case avalanche conditions should develop between here and the cache site. They were up and down again in less than two hours. As we ate dinner, the upper mountain weather continued to improve. By bedtime, there was plenty of optimism that despite the forecasts, we’d get the break we need for moving to high camp.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Every extra day waiting for safe conditions to ascend is another day to spend soaking up the wisdom of Master Hahn.  And pretty soon you’ll all be snow masons with the great walls you’ve been building.  Good luck all on the next stage of the journey!

Posted by: Charlie Thomas on 7/8/2015 at 7:40 pm

we anxiously await the climax to the summit but happy to hear of the precautions taken by the team leaders…thinking about you Pat!

Posted by: mom and dad grengs on 7/8/2015 at 12:36 pm

Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Return Home

Hi all!
Billy here checking in for the last time from this year’s Denali expedition. Our team showed tremendous poise after our butt kicking on our first summit attempt and rested through another marginal day on the way to our eventual summit day that was absolutely beautiful.  We encountered some moderate winds in the 30 mph range but generally enjoyed clear skies and decently warm temps. It took us just over 12 hours of solid work to make the round trip mission from our high camp at 17,000’ and the whole team was pretty worked by the end. The next morning we awoke at a leisurely hour, packed up camp and descended the West Buttress back to Camp 4 at 14,000’ where we were greeted by Dave Hahn’s expedition with cheesy bacon quesadillas! Quite the treat… After picking up our cache at 14 we continued down through extremely deep snow to 11,000’ where we ended up camping again because the team was pretty wasted yet again. Our final day on the mountain was surprisingly clear with only occasional sections of whiteout as we marched down the Kahiltna towards Basecamp. Except for a little excitement involving a crevasse fall the trip was mostly a slog. And as we arrived at the lower airstrip around 6 pm we could see the runway markers of the upper airstrip but were relieved to hear from Lisa that we wouldn’t need to travel any further. K2 was already on the way and going to land right next to us. And just like that we were in the land of the living slamming burgers and downing beers with all of the tourists in Talkeetna. Talk about a culture shock! Needless to say, the gang went big rocking the Fairview and ended up closing down the Teepee (and nearly getting kicked out!). A proper way to end a successful Denali expedition. Too much fun!

I’d like to thank both Mike King and Sean Collon for their hard work and the good times and the rest of the team members for persevering despite crummy weather forecasts and tough odds. It’s a trip I won’t forget for a while.

See ya next year!

RMI Guide Billy Nugent.

Congratulations RMI and my ole buddy Doug. Glad to hear you guys had a great trip. One more notch in the belt.

Mother Goose

Posted by: John Newland on 7/8/2015 at 5:51 am

Great going what a trip ! Congrats Kevin , sober up & come home to get ready for another party.

Posted by: Irma on 7/8/2015 at 4:01 am

Mt. McKinley: Hahn’s Team Ventures Out to the Edge of the World

Monday July 6th 11:23 pm PT

Our rest day at 14,200 ft was jam packed with naps and meals in the POSH tent.  It wouldn’t have been a great day for moving higher anyway since we watched a storm take over the upper mountain.  Steve Gately led the team out to the “Edge of the World” before the clouds came around and each climber got the thrill of looking down thousands of feet to the Northeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier.  In the late afternoon, we all put in a work session to improve the snow walls protecting our tents.  By dinner, the storm had arrived at 14K Camp and snow and wind took over outside.  We’d love to move up tomorrow so we’ll hope this weather moves on through. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Peter Thomas - your Simpson Thacher DC team is cheering you on!  Way to go!

Posted by: Ally Meringoff on 7/7/2015 at 10:09 am

Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Cache Supplies at 16,200’

Sunday July 5th 10:26 pm PT

We started walking uphill at 10 this morning.  There was a mean-looking cloudcap on Denali when we first looked up, but things mellowed as we ate breakfast and geared up.  We made excellent time, climbing up the fixed line section to 16,200 ft on the West Buttress, and in the process, we shattered altitude records for Gary, Peter and Pat.  It took a few minutes to cache food in a raven-proof snow hole up there and then we cruised down with light packs.  It turned out to be a sunny and warm day down at 14K Camp and we were happy to rack out for a few hours in warm tents before dinner.  We’ve earned a rest and acclimatization day tomorrow.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Peter, your a monster!

Posted by: Jordan Friedson on 7/7/2015 at 7:40 am

Super news!  Congrats Peter for crushing previous heights, and for bravely climbing to new ones.  We are all pulling for you down here at sea level with kayaks and paddle boards as our adventure travel.  Be safe and keep warm.

Posted by: Laura Taft Paulsen on 7/7/2015 at 7:30 am

Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Leave 11K Camp Headed for Base Camp

Sunday July 5th 10:45 am PT

RMI Guide Billy Nugent just called the office to check in.  The team had a long, tough day yesterday breaking trail through the new snow that had fallen on the route. After sleeping in this morning, they are getting ready to depart Denali’s 11K Camp.  They are hoping to be at Kahiltna Base by late afternoon/early evening.

On The Map

Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Backcarry Gear to 14K Camp

Saturday July 4th 11:00 pm PT

Our first morning at 14K camp was calm and easy.  We slept in until the sun peaked over Denali’s West Rib at 9:15 AM.  We had a leisurely breakfast in our new POSH dining tent (stolen from Billy Nugent’s RMI Team) and then we geared up for retrieving our cached food, fuel and equipment from 13,500 ft.  That just took us about two hours, round trip, and then the team took it easy for the afternoon.  Billy Nugent’s team made the top yesterday and we were happy to share camp with them for a couple of hours as they passed through on their descent to 11,000 ft.  After dinner, we had a short refresher training session on climbing fixed ropes as of course that is our next goal, to climb the fixed ropes to 16,200 ft.  As usual, we’ll need to see what the weather does… it started snowing again this afternoon. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Gary Ross/Team Hahn:  USA Women win the World Cup 5-2….now its time for Team Hahn to go on strong and scale Denali in championship fashion!!!!!!!

Keep Charging…Score the big Goal!!!!!!!

Sherpa Executive Director

Posted by: Chip Sniffin on 7/5/2015 at 6:15 pm

Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Summit!

Hey, it is Billy here just checking in after a safe and successful summit bid.  We got up, kind of stalled a little bit because it was a cold morning.  We left around 10 pm, it took us about 12 1/2 hours round trip.  We were super psyched. So we’re back in camp, and like I said before everyone is safe and sound. Now we’re just hoping for good weather to beat feet for the airport.  That’s all I have for now.  We are going to eat dinner and get some sleep.

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

RMI Guide Billy Nugent calls from High Camp on Denali after a successful summit bid.

On The Map

Congrats to All and especially my friend Jim Latorre! What an incredible achievement!

Posted by: Matt McKittrick on 7/7/2015 at 5:36 am

Way to go Rhonda…you’re awesome! Can’t wait to hear about it - AFTER you thaw out:)

Posted by: Sue Mamer on 7/6/2015 at 3:28 pm

Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Move to 14,000 Camp

July 4, 2015 1:11 am PST

This was the day.  The weather was a whole lot better than the last few days, but it wasn’t perfect.  A little blustery.  We needed to take advantage though to get out of 11,000’  and up to 14,000’ Camp.  Even having had a handful of teams break trail on the route before we made our effort today, we still anticipated a tough haul with knee deep snow on such steep hills.  Motorcycle took longer than normal, Squirrel took longer, the Polo Fields went on forever, Windy Corner was windy (and it took longer).  It was all pretty tough going until we got around the corner and reached our cache location from the other day.  Finally there was less new snow, less wind and a decent track to follow.  It was still uphill though.  It took us 8.5 hours to cover what should have taken 6 hours, but what a wonderful feeling to roll into 14 Camp after thinking of it so much when we were stuck down below.  We’ve got different and magnificent views now, of Denali, but also of Mount Foraker and Mount Hunter and about a thousand other peaks when the clouds allow.  We did a late dinner after camp was built and then hurried in to the tents for the night.  It is colder up here, and colder still when the sun goes behind the mountain.  Everybody deserves good rest after such a big day. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Gary Ross, You really are going to great lengths to prove that happiness is found in being “cold, wet, tired and hungry”.  I am following the RMI blog everyday and from the sound of things, you must be positively joyful!
Here at 465’ I am thinking of you and wishing you plenty of happiness along your journey up and down that magnificent mountain. 

Posted by: Mary R on 7/4/2015 at 11:19 pm

We’re all rooting for you!! Happy 4th, miss you!! xoxo

Posted by: Anne Thomas on 7/4/2015 at 6:42 pm

Mt. McKinley: Smoke & Snow for Hahn & Team at 11,200’

The wind and snow conspired to make for a tough and noisy night in the tents last night.  A few intrepid souls got out in the storm to dig away the encroaching drifts.  Morning brought less wind, but the snow continued as the guides served breakfast in bed.  It was slightly surreal to have the strong smell of forest fire smoke mixed in with heavily falling snow while camped so far from trees.  Eventually the snow slowed and then stopped, but by that point, several feet of it had accumulated.  The clouds stayed right in on us until about 8 in the evening.  We were enjoying an open air dinner when the mist fell away, the sun came out and everything got beautiful.  The team stayed out well into the evening, staring at Kahiltna Dome, Mount Foraker and Denali’s West Buttress.  Our prospects for going up in the morning were improved as we watched several teams come down Motorcycle Hill, plowing a trail and cutting whatever tension the otherwise suspect snow-pack was under.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn and Team

On The Map

Hey, Rob,

Aunt Carol & Uncle Richard got your postcard.  Their thoughts and prayers are with you and your team.  Stay Safe.  Love Aunt Carol and Uncle Richard.

Posted by: Mary Ahlbrand on 7/3/2015 at 6:31 pm

Go Team Hahn!  Safe travels and hoping your weather turns.  Mine certainly hasn’t.  Can’t fly anywhere north of here without serious thunder.  We are cheering every second that you get up that mountain.  Keep Living the Dream.

Posted by: Mike Gorum on 7/3/2015 at 1:12 pm

Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Take a Snow Day at High Camp

Thursday, July 2, 2015 - 3:15 pm PT

RMI Guide Mike King called the RMI Office from high camp at 17,200 ft on Mt. McKinley. The team spend a snowy and windy night at camp last night. Today they spent the day resting and drying their gear. The team has received the forecast for tomorrow and are hoping the weather will allow them to make a summit attempt. If the weather permits, they will be heading up hill.

We wish the team luck!

On The Map

Doug! We are following your journey. Love from us! Mom n Lar

Posted by: Blythe on 7/3/2015 at 8:25 am

May the odds be ever in your favor team!

Doug - you know the drill…be safe, be great, move with grace.

Posted by: Belladonna on 7/3/2015 at 3:29 am

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