Posts for Mount McKinley

Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Retrieve Cache at Windy Corner

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Mike King, Sean Collon | June 26, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

Thursday June 25th 10:16 pm PT

Hola from a sunny day up here at 14k. We enjoyed a lazy morning with a good coffee session in the posh before getting down to the business of retrieving our cache down near Windy Corner. A couple of hours was all it took and we were back in camp up in the Genet Basin in time to greet Mike Haugen’s crew on their descent from high camp after their successful summit bid yesterday. Tomorrow’s plans call for our first complete rest day of the trip that will hopefully set us up for a strong performance as we venture onto the upper mountain in the coming days. The weather may get a bit funky but hopefully it’ll be nothing that will slow us down. More on our story as it develops…

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

Cache at Windy Corner, Mount McKinley, with climbers in the background. Photo: Lindsay Mann

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Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Smooth Sailing to Kahiltna Base

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Steve Gately, JM Gorum | June 26, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,200'

Thursday June 25th 10:15 pm PT

Our exit from Talkeetna was nearly as smooth and easy as our arrival in the Alaska Range turned out to be.  We had our traditional Roadhouse breakfast and then headed for the hangar.  By 10:00 AM we were loading onto K2 Aviation’s ski planes and taking off for the mountains.  We had a couple of good views of Denali and Foraker, the giants of the range, despite a fair amount of cloud and forest fire smoke in the air. 
Basecamp at 7,200 feet on the Southeast fork of the Kahiltna Glacier was nearly deserted when we came in… just the way we like it.  We set camp, reviewed glacier travel techniques and got used to fabulous views when the clouds lifted.  By early evening a few other guided teams flew in and we chatted with the leaders, since we’ll likely be seeing each other a bit in the weeks to come.  There was a lot to get done on this day- there always is at the start of a big climb.  But we got it done and the team is now resting.  We were early to bed and we’ll be early to rise tomorrow in the hopes of catching easier and safer conditions for travel in the cold part of the day.  From what we could see from the airplane, the first part of our climb will be made easier by excellent snow coverage on the glacier surface. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Views of the Cassin Ridge on Mt. McKinley as an RMI team flies into Kahiltna Base. Photo: Dave Hahn K2 lands at Kahiltna Base on Mount McKinley, Alaska. Photo: Katy Reid

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Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Ready to Fly

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Steve Gately, JM Gorum | June 25, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley

Thursday June 25th 10:00 a.m. PT

RMI Guide Dave Hahn sent us a couple photos as they were embarking on their flight to Kahiltna Base. Once the team is situated on the glacier and moved into their first mountain camp, Dave will check in with us again.

Dave Hahn and team pose for a photo at the K2 Aviation Hangar. Photo: Dave Hahn The June 23rd McKinley Expedition ready to board the plane. Photo: Dave Hahn

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Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team a Shaky Start in Alaska

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Steve Gately, JM Gorum | June 24, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley

Wednesday June 24th 11:15 pm PT

This was a typically full and busy prep day for Denali in many ways… And a little atypical as well.  We had plenty to do, a big and delicious breakfast meeting at the Roadhouse, our informative orientation slideshow with the National Park Service at the Talkeetna Ranger Station and an afternoon of checking and sorting climbing equipment and supplies out at the K2 Aviation hangar.  It was during the gear sorting that the atypical event transpired.  We were working outside, enjoying the summer sunshine.  Airplanes were taxiing and revving their props, trains were going back and forth with blaring horns and mild rumbling… When real rumbling began.  An earthquake struck a little before 2:30 in the afternoon.  It was unmistakable, but also fairly mild where we were standing… even if it was surreal.  We heard reports that it was a magnitude 5.8 quake centered about sixty miles west of Talkeetna, which must mean that our climber-friends and co-workers probably felt it more than we did.  We sure hope that none were in delicate circumstances for the event and that all were ok.  Our team went back to packing and prepping for flying onto the Kahiltna Glacier tomorrow morning.  The afternoon finished with a weigh-in of food and fuel, clothing, tents, ropes, stoves, sleds, shovels, people and a small mountain of miscellaneous ballast for the climb.
We sat outside for dinner, talking over the details of tomorrow and the start of a big adventure, but also simply relaxing and enjoying a memorable summer day before we commit to snow and ice.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Talkeetna Ranger Station mountain stats. Photo: Dave Hahn Dave Hahn's team pre-trip meeting with the National Park Service. Photo: Dave Hahn Weighing and sorting gear at the K2 Aviation Hangar. Photo: Dave Hahn

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Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Move to 14K Camp

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Mike King, Sean Collon | June 24, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

Wulp, your intrepid team has made it smoothly and safely into Camp 4 at over 14K! Forecasts were calling for an end to our decent weather on Thursday or Friday so we decided to push up and forego a rest day at 11. The climbers have been motivated and moving strongly throughout the trip, which made the decision to move up a relatively easy one. We were greeted by RMI Guide Pepper Dee with a great looking posh and nice camp to move into.  Pepper also had plenty of cold water for us which really hit the spot after our first really hot day on the move. Not much else to report other than pretty marginal weather forecasts and a happy team sitting pretty at 14.

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

An RMI team ascending from Denali's 11,000' Camp. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Summit!

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal, Pepper Dee | June 24, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 20,320'

Wednesday June 24th 11:45 pm PT

We woke up around seven this morning to one of the warmest mornings I have ever experienced at 17,000 feet camp. We got ready slowly and departed for the top just after nine. The weather was perfect for us pretty much the entire climb. There was a little bit of cold, a little bit of hot, but mostly perfect all day. The El Siete crew walked to the summit in style a little after five this afternoon and spent a good deal of time taking pictures from the top. We had a smooth descent and pulled into camp just after 9:00 p.m. Alaska time for a twelve-hour round trip. We are getting the boys fed and put to bed so we can get up early to start our way out to basecamp and eventually back to you!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen

Audio transcription - Wednesday June 24th 6:30 pm PT
Hi, it’s Mike Haugen. I am standing with the RMI el Siete on the summit of Denali. Beautiful weather. We topped out about 5:15 in the evening and are miles above the clouds. We are saying our congratulations to the team and head on back to high camp and send the blog from there.  Hope all of our families are doing well. Thank you for your support.

Summit ridge of Mt. McKinley, Alaska. Photo: Seth Waterfall


RMI Guide Mike Haugen calls in from the Denali summit!

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Mt. McKinley: Dave Hahn & Team Arrive in Talkeetna

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Steve Gately, JM Gorum | June 24, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 348'

June 24, 2015 12:35 am PST

The final RMI Denali team of 2015 came together today.  Six climbers and three guides met up in Anchorage this afternoon, some having come in one or two days previously and some just arriving today after exceedingly long airline extravaganzas.  Luckily, the all-important mountain of baggage that will allow us to safely challenge the real mountain made it onto the Anchorage carousels intact.  We didn’t waste much time at all before boarding our Denali Overland shuttle for Talkeetna.  It was a warm and dry day, as has apparently been the pattern in these parts this season.  Haze obscured the views we might otherwise have enjoyed of the Alaska Range.  Our journey to Talkeetna was broken up by a stop at the big supermarkets of Wasilla to put finishing touches on group and personal food supplies for the trip.  We made good time up through the fresh forest fire scars of Willow, AK that have been making national news in recent weeks and rolled into Talkeetna around 8 PM.  It didn’t take long before we were settled into our comfortable hotel and venturing out together for a relaxing beverage while basking in the strong evening sunshine. 

Tomorrow we’ll get down to the business of climbing North America’s highest mountain.

Best Regards,

RMI Guide Dave Hahn & Team

Dave Hahn & Team en route to Talkeetna. Photo: Dave Hahn

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Mt. McKinley: Haugen and Team Move to 14,000’ Ready For Summit Attempt

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal, Pepper Dee | June 24, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,000'

June 23, 2015 9:51 pm PST

We had a successful move up to 17,000 foot camp on Mt. McKinley. The weather was perfect for traveling on the fixed lines and above. Climbing on the amazing ridge that crests the West Buttress of Denali is always one of my favorite parts of the climb because of the beautiful rock an the exposure. I think all of the El Siete boys had a good time weaving through the rocks and snow that provide the natural protection on the ridge. As of now, we are planning to try to summit tomorrow. The forecast looks good and the crew is ready. Wish us luck!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen

Climbers on the fixed lines above 11 Camp on Mt. McKinley,Alaska.  Photo: Brent Okita

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Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Cache Gear Higher on the Mountain

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Mike King, Sean Collon | June 23, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

Tuesday June 23rd 6:48 pm PT

Greetings from another partly cloudy day here on Denali. Great weather and calm winds enabled us to push a cache up the mountain today around Windy Corner just shy of Camp 4. We were afforded glimpses of blue skies and the upper mountain through the clouds while we were preparing and covering up our supplies. We actually stumbled upon a perfectly sized cache hole abandoned by another party so little digging was necessary. Between that and the weather we’ve been making out pretty easy thus far. No matter, our team is gelling well and ready for the challenges that lie ahead.

Sitting pretty back at 11…

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

Windy Corner on Mt. McKinley, Alaska. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Gear Up for Move to High Camp

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal, Pepper Dee | June 23, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,000'

June 22, 2015 11:30 pm PST

We spent what is hopefully our last day at 14,000 feet resting and getting geared up to move to our High Camp at 17,000 feet. It started out very sunny, but soon the clouds climbed up and whited us out. The clouds gave us a dusting of snow as well as some reprieve from the brutal solar radiation that can come with the sunny skies high on a mountain. The weather is looking good for us to move up and make a push to the top over the next couple of days. Wish us luck and do your good weather jigs for us.

RMI Guide Mike Haugen

The posh tent at 14,000 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: Lindsay Mann

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Recent Images From Mount McKinley

  • Climbers on the ridge en route to Camp 5 at 17,000 ft on Mt. McKinley.
  • Moving to 11,000' Camp on Mount McKinley, Alaska. Photo: Lindsay Mann
  • The RMI Dining tent at 14,200' on Mt. McKinley. RMI Photo Collection
  • The RMI El Siete team on the summit of Mt. McKinley, AK. Photo: Mike Haugen
  • Climbers ascending the fixed lines on Mt. McKinley en route to High Camp.  Photo: Brent Okita
  • Climbers pulling sleds up Mt. McKinleys Ski Hill to 9.500 ft Camp.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • Tents covered in snow at McKinley Base Camp. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Pulling sleds up Ski Hill on Mt. McKinley, Alaska. Photo: RMI Collection
  • A stormy day at 14,000 ft on Mt. McKinley, AK for an RMI Team. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • An RMI team traveling across the Polo Fields, Mount McKinley, back to 11K Camp. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Cache at Windy Corner, Mount McKinley, with climbers in the background. Photo: Lindsay Mann
  • Views of the Cassin Ridge on Mt. McKinley as an RMI team flies into Kahiltna Base. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • K2 lands at Kahiltna Base on Mount McKinley, Alaska. Photo: Katy Reid
  • Dave Hahn and team pose for a photo at the K2 Aviation Hangar. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • The June 23rd McKinley Expedition ready to board the plane. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Talkeetna Ranger Station mountain stats. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Dave Hahn's team pre-trip meeting with the National Park Service. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Weighing and sorting gear at the K2 Aviation Hangar. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • An RMI team ascending from Denali's 11,000' Camp. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Summit ridge of Mt. McKinley, Alaska. Photo: Seth Waterfall
  • Dave Hahn & Team en route to Talkeetna. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Climbers on the fixed lines above 11 Camp on Mt. McKinley,Alaska.  Photo: Brent Okita
  • Windy Corner on Mt. McKinley, Alaska. Photo: RMI Collection
  • The posh tent at 14,000 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: Lindsay Mann