Posts for Mount McKinley

Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Take A Snow Day

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

Friday, June 26, 2015 - 2:47 pm PT

It is a snowy day here at Camp 4…The gang is currently chilling in the tents and posh on our first scheduled rest day that just happened to coincide with a change in the weather. Spirits are high and we are keeping our fingers crossed for marginally better weather tomorrow and a hopeful carry up to high camp.

Quotes of the day:

“Don’t tell me how to eat my Oreos!” - Sean

“How are geriatrics and RMI guides alike? It depends…” - Art and Doug

“The wise man chooses nachos.” - Mike

“I gotta save Canada from those gosh darn moose…” - Marc

“I love pico de gallo!” - Billy

RMI Guide Billy Nugent and Team

A stormy day at 14,000 ft on Mt. McKinley, AK for an RMI Team. Photo: Dave Hahn

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Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Decent Descent to 11K Camp

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal, Pepper Dee | June 26, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

Friday June 26th 12:30 am PT

We are on our way down!! After waking up when the sun hit our tents at 17,000, we packed up and headed downhill. Although sore and tired from a long summit day, we made good time down to 14,000 feet. We met up with Billy Nugent’s group and had a healthy round of hugs and high fives. We picked up some cached gear and partook in the time honored tradition of fitting twice as much gear into a pack than should be possible and carrying said pack down another 3,000 feet to 11k Camp and our awaiting sleds. We are currently in a holding/napping pattern at 11k. We are going to walk early in the morning towards base camp and the landing strip in hopes of an early flight to Talkeetna. That is weather dependent of course!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen

An RMI team traveling across the Polo Fields, Mount McKinley, back to 11K Camp. Photo: RMI Collection

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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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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