Posts for Mount McKinley

Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Enjoy Fresh Snow and a Rest Day

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Steve Gately, JM Gorum | June 30, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

June 30, 2015 5:46pm PST

Today’s wake-up call was a quiet and windless fall of about six inches of light powder snow. It was our planned rest day, after five busy days getting on and up the approaches to Denali, so there wasn’t any early morning angst as to whether the snow would keep us from our goals for the day.  Today, those goals included a breakfast of bagels and smoked salmon in the POSH tent and a session of digging out camp as the snow continued to fall. We eventually climbed back in the tents for naps and reading.  A few teams came down the mountain today, resting near our camp as they prepared to march on toward the airstrip in the snowstorm. We’ll hope to move uphill tomorrow and we’ll be ready for that, but of course we’ll pay attention to the weather and see what it allows. 

Best Regards,

RMI Guide Dave Hahn and Team

Fresh Snow at 11,200' on Mt. McKinley. RMI Photo Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Cache Gear at 13,500’

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Steve Gately, JM Gorum | June 30, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

Monday June 29th 10:20 pm PT

We had a short break from the cloud and snow this morning.  When we got out of the tents, there were actually views to be had in most directions and blue skies above.  Being at 11,000 ft, it was slightly colder than what we’ve experienced so far, but a hot breakfast took care of the chills and got us ready for our carry.  We set out for “Motorcycle Hill” at 9:30.  It was good to be in crampons and carrying ice axes after days of snowshoes and ski poles. An hour put us in the middle of “Squirrel Hill” with great views of Denali’s Northwest Buttress and the Peter’s Glacier.  It began to cloud up as we reached the “Polo Field” off the end of the giant granite towers of the West Buttress.  By Windy Corner we were in light snow, but close to our destination. We dug a deep and raven-proof pit in the snow at 13,500 ft in which to cache the food and fuel we were carrying.  It was an easy climb down with light packs and we walked out of the snow showers and into sunny and warm camp at 11K again by 4:30 PM.  We’ll hope for a comfortable night of sleep tonight as we’ve followed the “climb high, sleep low” rule of acclimatization to altitude.  Tomorrow will be a rest day, as part of that same plan. 

Kryz wishes his dad a happy birthday from Mount McKinley

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

An RMI team on Squirrel Hill, Mount McKinley, Alaska. Photo: Brent Okita

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Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Move to 17,000’

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Mike King, Sean Collon | June 29, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

June 29, 2015 5:20 pm PST

Hey there, it’s Billy checking in from Camp 5 on Denali at over 17,000 ft.  Our crew made the move today.  We got up super early this morning and made great time moving up the West Buttress. We’re settled in now at High Camp.  We spent some time, improving one of the campsites and building some walls.  And now everybody’s snug up in their sleeping bag hanging out in their tents. We’re sort of chilling and filling with food and water. We are hoping for a good patch of weather in the next few days so we can maybe take a crack at the summit. Yeah, that’s all for now. Everyone is psyched and doing extremely well.  We will check in again tomorrow and let you know what happens.

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

Climbers on the ridge en route to Camp 5 at 17,000 ft on Mt. McKinley.


RMI Guide Billy Nugent calls in from Camp 5 on Denali.

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Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Settled into 11K Camp for an Extended Stay

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Steve Gately, JM Gorum | June 29, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

Sunday June 28th 10:22 pm PT

Once again, the weather was a little sloppy in the early hours, so we didn’t get out of the tents until the civilized hour of 7AM.  It was still pretty well socked in at 9,500 ft as we ate breakfast, but things seemed workable for moving up.  We were on the go by 10:00 and in our new camp at 11,000 ft by 1PM.  The clouds cleared from time to time, giving us some great views of the end of the West Buttress.  Luckily, clouds hung in there enough to keep the sun off the final steeper hills into camp.  We dug in and got settled in our new home.  It is a relief, after building four camps in four days, to know that we’ll get to stay in this one for a few days.  The afternoon and evening were spent resting and sorting food and gear.  If possible, we’ll do a carry to 13,500 ft tomorrow.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Moving to 11,000' Camp on Mount McKinley, Alaska. Photo: Lindsay Mann

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Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Take a Rest Day

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Mike King, Sean Collon | June 28, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

June 28, 2015 5:18pm PST

Resting here at 14 after a big day yesterday. Clouds and sunshine are in and out along with the occasional bout of flurries. Nothing major to report. Now that we are poised and ready we are just playing a chess match against the weather. Hoping to get that window that will take us to the summit...

RMI Guide Billy Nugent & Team

The RMI Dining tent at 14,200' on Mt. McKinley. RMI Photo Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Back In Talkeetna

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal, Pepper Dee | June 28, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley

Sunday, June 28, 2015 - 10:15 am PT

It was touch and go at base camp. We woke up to clouds and some very wet snow. As expected, as soon as we started to fire up the stoves to make breakfast and hot drinks, the skies started to open just a bit. I still didn’t think that the weather was flight worthy, but I was glad that the pilots did. We were told that we had 20 minutes to be packed and ready because the planes were already approaching. We were ready in 10! We got the first half of our team onto a plane and off the glacier before the weather started to sock back in. We had to wait for the first plane to go back to Talkeetna, drop off our first group of climbers, and then return. Luckily the weather cleared back up a bit and we squeaked out the rest of the climbers for the amazing flight back to the world of great food and pillows. After a couple of great meals and a series of showers, the now legendary “El Siete” crew is fresh, semi-recovered, and ready to be reintroduced into society. 

Thank you to the group for being such a great team and for all of the families and friends that have supported us.

RMI 7 “El Siete”

The RMI El Siete team on the summit of Mt. McKinley, AK. Photo: Mike Haugen

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Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Carry to High Camp

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Mike King, Sean Collon | June 28, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

June 28, 2015 12:20 am PST

Big day today… In spite of the forecast for 6-12” of new snow to fall today we awoke to partly cloudy skies, sun breaks, and only occasional flurries. Our long-shot plan to carry was a reality. We got rolling and packed up loads of supplies for High Camp and after a quick breakfast we made moves for the headwall and the fixed lines. After a few growing pains the team hit their stride and were able to put a cache in all the way up at high camp. The need for a back-carry could have hamstrung us on our move but since we cached at camp we are sitting pretty, waiting for our summit attempt weather window to open up. We’re planning on a rest day tomorrow and then it’s game on. We’re a tired bunch but we know that today’s hard work will pay off.

All for now!

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

Climbers ascending the fixed lines on Mt. McKinley en route to High Camp.  Photo: Brent Okita

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Mt. McKinley: Hahn and Team Move to 9,500’

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Steve Gately, JM Gorum | June 28, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 9,500'

June 27, 2015 10:32 pm PST

We intended to get stirring by about 2:30 this morning, but to no one’s disappointment, that didn’t happen.  It was socked-in and cloudy then with wettish snow in the air.  Likewise at 3 AM, not so good, and not at 3:30 either.  But then things started looking up.  We got up just after five and were climbing by 8:45.  Conditions were once again great for climbing.  With snowshoes on, we stayed right on the snow surface, as did our sleds.  Without too much trouble, we got up “Ski Hill” and hit our intended camp at 9,500 ft around noon.  By then we were in the clouds again and light snow was falling, but we’d gotten high enough to make things cold and so wetness was no longer a problem.  The team all pitched in admirably to build a new camp and then retreated for afternoon naps.  It was burrito night in the POSH tent where we were comfortably seated on snow benches out of the weather. 
We’ll see about moving up to 11,000’ tomorrow if folks are feeling good and the weather gives a break. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Climbers pulling sleds up Mt. McKinleys Ski Hill to 9.500 ft Camp.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Hoping for Clear Skies at Base Camp

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal, Pepper Dee | June 27, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,300'

Friday, June 26, 2015 - 11:40 pm PT

We made it… almost. We left our camp at 11,200 feet around 4 am this morning.  The group was traveling quickly in spite of heavy packs and sleds. All was well until we encountered a wet, snowy drizzle around 7,800 feet. We trudged on knowing the end was just a few hours away. When we finally reached base camp, the snow stopped, but the clouds did not permit planes to come and pick us up. The rest of the day consisted of napping, to compensate for the lack of sleep over the past few days, and hoping for clear skies tomorrow. RMI Guides Pepper and Uchal are working on their clear skies interpretive dance in the event that we wake up to clouds tomorrow.

RMI 7 “El Siete”

Tents covered in snow at McKinley Base Camp. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Settle in Below Ski Hill

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Steve Gately, JM Gorum | June 26, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 8,000'

Friday June 26th 9:13 pm PT

Our weather took a dive.  But our timing and luck have been pretty good anyway.  We were up at 1 AM this morning and on the trail by 4 AM (getting breakfast and gearing up while tearing down camp takes a while the first time).  The clouds were getting lower and lower until about 7 AM when we were swallowed up by the murk.  Wet snow was falling by 8:30, but luckily we were pulling into our intended camp at 8,000 feet by 9:15.  So we were indeed lucky to get flown on before the weather deteriorated and happy we were able to make use of what otherwise might have been considered a storm day today. 

Just as the snow began to fall, we met up with Mike Haugen’s victorious team on their way out.  Nice to see them, even if just in passing.  Once our new camp at the base of “Ski Hill” was built, we climbed in to rest away the late morning and afternoon.  Dinner was under the shelter of our POSH tent in a well-dug dining/kitchen snow pit. 

Aside from the weather, glacier conditions were quite good for traveling today and we had very few issues with the multitude of crevasse bridges that needed crossing. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Pulling sleds up Ski Hill on Mt. McKinley, Alaska. Photo: RMI Collection

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Recent Images From Mount McKinley

  • The favorite planes of Alaskan bush pilots, the Cessna 185 took a few trips to get a whole team and their gear to Base Camp.   RMI Collectio
  • Whether in 1970 or today, the feeling as you watch the plane take off and hear the engine roar fade to silence is the same.   John Lucia
  • It still takes a lot of gear to get a team to the summit Mt. McKinley and back again.   Brent Okita
  • Today there are a few more people on the route, as evidenced by the tent village at 11k camp.   Brent Okita
  • Pastuhkova Rocks at 15,100 ft on Mt. Elbrus, Russia.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • Looking up toward the summit of Mt. Elbrus from Pastuhkova Rocks.  Photo: Linden Mallory
  • The June 23, 2015, Mount McKinley team on the summit! Photo: Dave Hahn
  • K2 plane on the Kahiltna Glacier, Mt. McKinley, Alaska. Photo: Katy Reid
  • RMI climbers standing on top of Motorcycle Hill on Mt. McKinley, AK. Photo: RMI Collection
  • An RMI team ascending the summit ridge of Mt. McKinley. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • RMI climbers ascending the West Buttress of Mt. McKinley, AK. Photo: Solveig Waterfall
  • RMI Climbers building walls at 14 Camp on Mt. McKinley, AK. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • View from the Edge of the World on Mount McKinley, Alaska. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Mt. McKinley's 14K Camp. Photo: John Race
  • An RMI team leaving Denali's 11K Camp, descending to Base Camp. Photo: Lindsay Mann
  • Mt. Foraker from Mt. McKinley's 14,200' Camp. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Climbers on the summit ridge of Mt. McKinley.  Photo: Dave Hahn
  • The view from the summit of Mt. McKinley, Alaska.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • Climbers on the top of Motorcyle Hill at 11,600 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • 11,200 ft Camp on Mt. McKinley, AK with Kahiltna Dome in the distance. Photo: RMI Collection
  • An RMI team building walls at high camp on Mt. McKinley. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Stormy conditions at 11,200 ft Camp on Mt. McKinley, Alaska.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • Climber ascending the Autobahn on Mt. McKinley, Alaska.  Photo: Lindsay Mann
  • RMI Camp at 17,200' on Mount McKinley, Alaska. Photo: Lindsay Mann
  • Fresh Snow at 11,200' on Mt. McKinley. RMI Photo Collection
  • An RMI team on Squirrel Hill, Mount McKinley, Alaska. Photo: Brent Okita