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Entries from Expedition Dispatches

Denali Expedition: Walter & Team Push to 14,000ft to Cache Gear

Monday, May 16, 2022 - 9:47 am PT

Yesterday (Sunday) we awoke to beautiful blue skies and light winds. After a nice breakfast of bagels with cream cheese and salmon we packed up gear and food to cache around Windy Corner. This was the first day of the expedition in crampons without sleds which felt awesome as we made our way up Motorcycle Hill. We had excellent views of the surrounding mountains and could even see all the way down to the tundra below the Peter's Glacier! After rounding Windy Corner the weather was holding and everyone was climbing strong so we decided to keep pushing all the way to 14,000' camp! As soon as we finished burying our cache winds picked up and we got our first taste of some nasty Alaska Range weather. By the time we got back to the Polo Fields the winds had abated and we enjoyed a nice walk back to 11,000' Camp. Winds picked back up overnight and this morning has been a bit frigid and blustery in camp today are taking a well earned rest day to recover from the previous five days of hard effort. We're looking forward to moving to 14,000' Camp in the coming days.

RMI Guide Henry Coppolillo

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Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Enjoy First Night on the Glacier

Monday, May 16, 2022 - 6:54 am PT

We spent our first night in the Alaska range cozy in our -20 bags and woke to clear skis and a stunning view all around. The peak of Denali above had a small cloud hat, but otherwise the mountains jutted up into the blue and the sky promised another gorgeous day. We fired the stoves for breakfast and as the sun got closer to camp, woke everyone.

After bagel bacon sandwiches, we set to the task of organizing what gear we were going to move uphill to cache. A fair bit of our food and fuel made up the bulk of it. We departed, loads considerably lighter than yesterday and worked our way up Ski Hill. Several hours of steady uphill work brought us to 9700', where we opted to dig a deep hole in the snow and hide our treasure, to be retrieved in a few days. Moving light and downhill, we made quick work of the descent back to camp and a dinner of burritos. And so goes the rhythm of Denali - wake, eat, walk, eat, sleep. We'll touch base tomorrow.

RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer, Leif Bergstrom, Erika Birkeland, and team

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Great!  Hope the weather continues to be good.

Posted by: Larry Ellis on 5/16/2022 at 10:19 am

Ruth Glacier Seminar: Parrinello & Team Travel Back to Mountain House Airstrip

Sunday, May 15, 2022 - 10:19 pm PT

We waited for the sun to rise this morning before packing up camp and heading back to our cache. We cooked burgers for lunch while repacking our sleds for the long haul back out of the Ruth Gorge. After some difficult hours of travel we arrived at the Mountain House airstrip. We made a quick camp and enjoyed our last evening in the gorge. All is looking well to fly out tomorrow morning.

RMI Guide Avery Parrinello

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Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Land on the Kahiltna, Establish First Camp

Sunday, May 15, 2022 - 1:10 am PT

It was an auspicious start to our May 12 Denali Expedition today. When we called K2 in the morning to ask how things looked they replied "unlimited visibility and perfect". We rallied a hasty breakfast and headed for the hanger. We had gotten all of our bags set yesterday, so it didn't take much to get the planes loaded and launched. The pilots were taken with how clear and gorgeous the day was too, taking several detours to show us stunning corners of the Alaska Range on the way.

We landed and hit the ground running. Fully loaded sleds and packs were an indication of the magnitude of our undertaking, but the team cruised through the 5.5 miles of mellow glacier travel, and we rolled in to our first camp looking fresh. Everyone is fed and tucked into warm sleeping bags and as we write, a stunning full moon is rising over Mt. Hunter.

We plan to carry a load up towards Kahiltna pass tomorrow and then return to camp. We'll be in touch.

RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Leif Bergstrom, Erika Birkeland, and team

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Denali Expedition: Walter & Team Enjoying Good Weather & Geese flying

Saturday, May 14, 2022 - 10:08 pm PT

We enjoyed some pretty amazing weather today. We had a relatively easy day retrieving our cache and returning to 11k camp. On our journey we were treated to a unique wildlife viewing, with snow geese flying in formation above us. They landed on the glacier up around Kahiltna Pass, something I have never seen before. Back in camp, the good weather continued and we relaxed and shuffled gear for the next stage of the game. Tomorrow, weather permitting, we will establish a camp up above Windy Corner. The forecast looks good and we're climbing strong, so we're optimistic that will happen tomorrow. I'll let you know  how it shakes out. Either way, it's good to be in the mountains and we're enjoying our time here.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

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Great to hear the weather is holding up for the team, sounds like smooth climbing so far. Keep up the hard work! 

Go Mike K, Go!!!

Posted by: Tina on 5/15/2022 at 8:57 pm

Ruth Glacier Seminar: Parrinello & Team Attempt Mt. Dickey

Saturday, May 14, 2022 - 10:21 pm PT

Today was full of highs and lows, ups and downs, success and failures, proud moments and embarrassing ones. It started with warm sunshine hitting our camp by 7am, and we soon after headed up towards 747 Pass. After some glacial navigation and steep climbs we crested the saddle. We quickly gained the west ridge of Mt. Dickey and began ascending upwards. After a couple hundred feet it became apparent that the snow pack had changed dramatically. After seeing some red flags and investigating further, it was concluded that we shouldn’t continue. Considering the terrain and remoteness of the climb meant we had little margin for error and the unstable conditions pushed us past our safety margin. The entire team was disappointed but only momentarily as we all decided the summit was not worth it and the view from up high was down right spectacular. We had a safe and enjoyable descent back to camp where we ate snacks, told stories and laughed a great deal. Tomorrow we shall start migrating back to the airstrip for our departure on Monday.

RMI Guide Avery Parrinello

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Denali Expedition: Walter & Team settle into 11K camp, plan to pick up Cached gear

May 14, 2022 - 10:04 am PT

It was a bit breezy and chilly yesterday, but it made for great climbing weather.

We packed up camp and headed up Ski Hill, continuing up around Kahiltna Pass and into the 11k camp. Glacier conditions were perfect, and the winds abated as we climbed higher. Everyone is climbing strong and doing well. The plan for today is to go back downhill to retrieve our cache at ~9600'. We're sitting in a good position to start pushing higher on the upper mountain. So far, the weather is cooperating with us and allowing for steady progress. We'll definitely spend a few nights here at 11k to acclimate before moving camp higher, but we may try to get a cache in around Windy Corner tomorrow, as the weather is forecast to be pretty nice.

We'll keep you posted on our progress.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

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Glad to hear you continue to enjoy good weather. Thanks for the updates, they are really appreciated.

Posted by: Maria Alexandra Velez on 5/14/2022 at 6:18 pm

Mt. Rainier: Weather Keeps May 14th Team at Camp Muir

Strong winds and about a foot of fresh snow prevent the Four Day Climb led by RMI Guides JT Schmitt and Alex Halliday from leaving Camp Muir. Big spring storms and winter like weather are keeping all climbing teams from reaching the summit. 

The team will enjoy the stormy morning with a leisurely breakfast before starting their descent. We expect them to return to Rainier Basecamp in the early afternoon.

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Glad you’re staying safe! Enjoy the rest of your adventure, mountaineers! We look forward to hearing about the trip and seeing photos!

Posted by: Jane and Doug Green on 5/14/2022 at 9:48 am

So excited to watch your progress!  Stay safe and have a fabulous adventure!  Love from Michigan!

Posted by: Charlene Hatfield on 5/14/2022 at 8:34 am

Ruth Glacier Seminar: Team Practices Crevasse Rescue Skills

We awoke to a chilly morning and more clear skies. After enjoying blueberry pancakes we geared up in camp for a dry run through of crevasse rescue. After nailing the flat ground rescue we roped up and headed towards the saddle between Mt. Dickey and Barrill. We headed into the maze of lateral crevasses looking for one that would be ideal for practicing our new skills and trying out some ice climbing. We ended up finding a bottomless abyss surrounded by a beautiful cathedral of ice formations. We finished up climbing just as clouds rolled in a snow began to drift down.

A hearty meal of andouille sausages was had, some stories were swapped and then it was off to bed.

Tomorrow we plan to move camp to 747 pass to begin our summit cycle up Mt. Dickey!

RMI Guides Avery, Jack and Team

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Thank you for this blog.  I look forward to peeking in on the training.  Michelle—Mikayla’s Mom

Posted by: Michelle DeMers on 5/13/2022 at 6:12 pm

Denali Expedition: Walter & Team Cache Gear at 9,600’

Thursday, May 12, 2022 - 7:10 pm PT

Today was nearly a mirror image of yesterday's weather: mostly sunny, then partly cloudy, then mostly cloudy. It made for great travel as we ascended Ski Hill. As we gained the 9500' plateau, mostly cloudy changed to light snow and moderate winds coming through Kahiltna Pass. We had another good day, and decided to cache at ~9650' rather than press further into deteriorating weather. After leaving our gear deep in the hole we dug, we descended back down Ski Hill to camp in time for a little siesta. We'll hope for good weather tomorrow so we can bump camp up to 11,200'. We'll let you know how it goes. 

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Thanks for the posts.  It is fun to keep up-to-date with the climb!!

Posted by: Deb Beaudway on 5/13/2022 at 3:16 pm

Thanks for updates. Basic weather forecast looks very good starting Saturday.

Posted by: Paul Kent on 5/13/2022 at 11:16 am

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