Posts for Expedition Dispatches

Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team Carry to 13,500’

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Andy Hildebrand, Nick Hunt | May 26, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

May 26, 2015 - 10:08 am PT

Today is Memorial Day.  With the simplicity of life on this mountain taking charge, many of us don’t even know what day it is.  The process of get up, get dressed in close quarters, make your way to the cook tent dug into the side of the mountain, eat breakfast, pack you bag and climb, come back to the tents, eat dinner and go to bed is a process where days don’t matter.  So if birthdays are missed, anniversaries are forgotten about, we are not to blame.  Despite having digital doohickeys with us,  looking at calendars and keeping track of days becomes arbitrary.  Today as it turns out wasn’t Memorial Day up here, it was Windy Corner day.  This legendary gateway to the upper mountain is famous for its heinous wind, scary rock fall and tricky crevasses.  We are happy to report our carry around the corner to 13,500 feet went as smooth as we could have asked for.  Again we lucked out with weather because as I wrote earlier our early morning wake up calls got us going into clear skies but as soon as we arrived back in camp seven hours later it was snowing as hard as it has all trip.  There is much to be said for walking into a camp that is waiting for you.  We will rest tomorrow and eat pancakes and drink fresh coffee until nap time.  We can’t wait. 
Hello to Mrs. Vradenburg’s class at Lamotte School   I hope Liam is behaving.  Stay tuned. 

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

Climbers below Windy Corner on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Retrieve Cache, Ready for Carry

Posted by: Robby Young, Pete Van Deventer, Josh Maggard | May 26, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

May 26, 2015 - 12:17 am PT

Just like Johnny Cash said, “that train keeps a rollin’.” The winds were down, a cloud of sparkling ice crystals hung around, reflecting the sunlight and solar baking everything, and we returned to a dead calm Windy Corner to retrieve our cash. We are one step closer now with all of our food up here with us. The next step is to take a run at the fixed lines and cache some food in the West Buttress. To prepare, we spent the afternoon practicing with our ascenders and getting prepped for that potential carry tomorrow. Mac and cheese with bacon for dinner to fuel us tomorrow. We’ll hope to wake up with a green light to head up. For now, good night!

RMI Guides Pete, Robby, Josh, and team

An RMI Team approaching 14,000 ft Camp on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Still Hoping for Better Weather

Posted by: Billy Haas, Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall | May 25, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

May 25, 2015 - 7:16 pm PT

Hello Everyone!
This morning, hopeful to move to high camp, we awoke early and had breakfast and coffee in the chilly pre-solar hours, watching through dissipating clouds, as the wind whipped along the top of the West Buttress leaving streaks of sublimated snow in its wake.
And so resumed another day of reading, sport eating, and exploring the tangled and winding pathways between the walls of surrounding camps.
We are all crossing our fingers today is our final rest and acclimatization day here at fabulous 14 camp. We are looking forward to getting some exercise of the physical kind…we have been taxing the mental reserves nightly by developing a now customary team activity of Riddles over Dinner, made possible by the greatest boredom banishing App ever, Brain Twister by Will Shortz. Tonight we’ll be starting with puzzle number 47 if you’d like to follow along…but trust us, they’re exponentially harder at 14,200’!
We are packed, prepped, and looking forward to making our move tomorrow morning, if the weather cooperates.
Hopefully instead of practicing patience and unscrambling anagrams, we’ll be establishing camp at 17,200’ and enjoying the ever impressive views from higher on the mountain.
Thanks for following along!
RMI Guide Solveig Waterfall and the team

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Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team Retrieve Cashe and return to 11,200’

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Andy Hildebrand, Nick Hunt | May 25, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

May 24, 2015 - 11:48 pm PT

Hello again from 11,000ft!

We woke up this morning to a fresh dumping of snow at camp, covering our tents and cook tent. First order of business this morning was getting everything dug out and reinforcing our snow walls.

The weather was still looking a little squirrelly afterwards, so we opted for a bit of a relaxed breakfast while we continued to watch what was going on outside. After a couple hours, our patience was rewarded and things cleared up enough for us to get organized and take off downhill to retrieve our cache at 9800’.  We made down, grabbed our cached goods, and jammed back uphill in good time. This is a strong team! Everyone just keeps going and is having fun!

Once back at 11,000’ with all our gear, the weather made a turn for the better. The skies cleared out, the winds died down, and the sun warmed us as we relaxed for the rest of the evening. If all goes well, we’ll push up to 13,500’ tomorrow to cache our gear around Windy Corner in preparation for our move to 14k.

Goodnight for now!
RMI Guide Nick Hunt and the rest of the team

An RM Team camped at 11,200 ft on Mt. McKinley with new snow.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Hoping for Better Weather

Posted by: Josh Maggard, Robby Young, Pete Van Deventer | May 25, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

May 24, 2015 - 9:30 pm PT

The wind and snow continued through the night and into today. We spent the night listening to the roar of a freight train of wind above us on the West Buttress. The max gust through camp, according to the NPS weather station was 52 mph. That wind and snow put a few holes in our posh tent, and knocked over a few walls, so we spent the morning stitching up holes and rebuilding walls. Otherwise we fared pretty well through the blizzard. This afternoon things started to subside, and by evening the sun was showing, sparkling off of the small snowflakes that are hanging in the air. Our hope is that that trend will carry through tomorrow, and we’ll have the visibility to head back down and retrieve our cache from Windy Corner. Fingers crossed. The change in weather has also caused a change in the general mood of camp, and we’re listening to laughing, joking, jovial voices all over camp. We’ll let you know how things go tomorrow.

RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Josh Maggard, Robby Young, and team

An RMI Team camped at 14,200 ft on Mt. McKinley fortifies snow walls and clears tents after new snow.  Photo: Dave Hahn

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Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team in a Holding Pattern at 14,200’

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Billy Haas | May 24, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

May 24, 2015 - 3:35 pm PT

Well, there is not much new to report today. We’re still waiting out the weather here at 14,200 ft on Denali. Last night was windy and snowy, with gusts up to 52 mph here in camp. There is lots of deep drifted snow around camp, so even just walking around is an exercise in trail breaking. The winds have let up this afternoon and it is still snowing lightly. Moderate snowfall is expected tonight and tomorrow, and with any luck it will let up by midweek.

We’re all safe and comfortable, waiting for the weather to improve. When (if) it does, we’ll have our work cut out for us; as a result of the new snow and wind loading, we’ll be faced with trail breaking and evaluating the avalanche hazard of the steeper slopes above us. In the mean time, we’re passing the time by reading books, chewing the fat, and the continual work of maintaining our camp’s condition throughout the storm.

We’ll keep you up to date with any changes in our current holding pattern.

RMI Guide Mike Walter and Team

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Alaska Seminar: Leon Davis & Team Send Final Dispatch

Posted by: Leon Davis, Lindsay Fixmer, Bridget Belliveau | May 24, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley

Hello friends and family,

Apologies for the absent dispatches these last few days; Apparently clouds and Sat phones do not get along.  We had a few eventful days on the Kahiltna so here is a quick wrap up. Our attempt on Kahiltna Dome was thwarted by Avalanche conditions so we made a full retreat from camp II back to Base Camp under a blanket of clouds.  The team set up a quick camp by the airstrip and started celebrating the trip with a few beers we stashed in a hole and some margarita’s from a friendly neighbor.  With some time to kill, a few folks wanted to know what the inside of a crevasse looked like so we set some anchors and lowered a few into the deep blue black holes that reach down under our feet.  Doug perched himself at the lip for a photo session of folks climbing out of the abyss.  Everyone flew off yesterday just before the weather shut base camp down and we enjoyed a fine dinner in Talkeetna and some drinks at the Fairview.  A great trip with some of the finest people I’ve shared a rope with.  Thank you all for tuning in and look forward to the pictures and stories headed your way!

RMI Guide Leon Davis & Team

Crevasse Rescue on the Alaska Mountaineering Seminar. RMI Chris Villar

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Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Waiting at 14,200 ft Camp

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Robby Young, Josh Maggard | May 24, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

May 24, 2015 - 9:32 am PT

Winter has come to Denali. We spent the night listening to snowflakes pelt the tent walls, interspersed with frequent tent shaking blasts of wind. As we stretched breakfast into a long brunch, the story didn’t change, so we decided to focus our energy on building up our walls a bit more and solidifying camp rather than going to get our cache. The evening brought stronger snow, and a fresh forecast of more snow tomorrow and wind, so we’ll see how the plan for tomorrow shakes out. From the wintry white north,

RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Robby Young, Josh Maggard, and team

A snowy camp at 14,200 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: Brent Okita

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Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team Move to 11,200 ft Camp

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Nick Hunt, Andy Hildebrand | May 24, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

May 23, 2015 - 11:00 pm PT

In the real world the saying goes"the early bird gets the worm”.  This season on Denali, the early bird gets the weather window.  Now I’ve never been a bird before so I’m not gonna judge on how good a worm must taste, but I have been here before and I can tell you that moving camp in clear weather is much tastier than moving in a storm.  So, with a clear but windy morning we scarfed down a warm granola breakfast cached some unneeded gear and quickly broke camp.  Our team is getting very proficient at this skill so we were rolling by 9:15.  Nick led the team out and in 2.5 hours of sustained up hill travel had us all sitting at 11,200 feet.  It wasn’t long after we began building a fresh camp that the weather had enough of being nice and took a quick turn for the worst.  It held out just long enough to get camp built and then really started snowing and blowing.  The forecast is calling for up to a foot of snow by the end of tomorrow so we feel blessed to be in a good spot to wait things out.  Everyone sends big hugs to those following the blog and little hugs to those who aren’t. 
From from Camp three. 
RMI Guide Adam Knoff and team saying goodnight. 

An RM Team climbing towards 11,200 ft Camp on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: Lindsay Mann

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Mt. Rainier: May 24th Teams Summit

Posted by: Elias de Andres Martos, Kel Rossiter | May 24, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 14,410'

The Four Day Summit Climb led by RMI Guide Elías de Andrés Martos and the Five Day Summit Climb led by RMI Guide Kel Rossiter reached the summit of Mt. Rainier this morning. On the summit the team enjoyed clear, blue skies. The teams have left the summit and are making their way back to Camp Muir. We will see them back in Ashford this afternoon.

Congratulations to today’s teams!

The Mt. Rainier summit crater. Photo: Linden Mallory
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Recent Images From Expedition Dispatches

  • The view of the Alaska Range from the summit of Mt. McKinley, AK. Photo: RMI Collection
  • View of Mount McKinley 11,200' Camp from lower on the mountain. Photo: Chris Villar
  • An RMI team on their Mount Rainier summit bid. Photo: JJ Justman
  • Expansive views from the Edge of the World, Mt. McKinley. Photo: RMI Collection
  • An RMI climbing team at the top of the fixed lines. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Climbers on the ridge to 17,200' Denali Camp. Photo: RMI Collection
  • The view of the Alaska Range from Talkeetna, AK. Photo: Eric Frank
  • RMI Guide Geoff Schellens with the May 28th McKinley Upper West Rib Team in Talkeetna, AK. Photo: Eric Frank
  • The RMI May 28th McKinley Upper West Rib Team sorting their gear in Talkeetna, AK. Photo: Eric Frank
  • The food is ready to load into duffels for the RMI May 28th McKinley Upper West Rib Team. Photo: Eric Frank
  • Windy Corner on Mt. McKinley. Photo: Brent Okita
  • An RMI Dining tent on Mt. McKinley. RMI Photo Collection
  • A view from the flight into Mt. McKinley's Basecamp. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Mt. McKinley, 20,320'. Highest Point in North America. Photo: Bradford Washburn
  • Looking through camp walls at Mt. McKinley's 14,200' Camp. Photo: RMI Collection
  • The RMI May 26th McKinley team sorting gear in Talkeetna, AK. Photo: Lindsay Mann
  • RMI Guide Tyler Jones sorting gear in Talkeetna, AK. Photo: Lindsay Mann
  • The RMI May 26th McKinley team ready to fly onto the Kahiltna Glacier. Photo: Lindsay Mann
  • Looking up at the West Buttress on Mt. McKinley, AK from 14 Camp. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Looking up toward Windy Corner en route to 14,000 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Colleciton
  • Seminar Climbers en route to Camp Muir on May 25.  Photo: Brent Okita
  • The Expeditions Skills Seminar - Muir team on the summit of Mt. Rainier May 28th.  Photo: Brent Okita
  • Enjoying the sunrise from Camp Muir during the Seminar.  Photo: Brent Okita
  • Looking out over the Edge of the World from 14,000 ft Camp on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: Lindsay Mann
  • The view from the Edge of the World.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • An RMI Team camped at 11,200 ft on Mt. McKinley, with Kahiltna Dome in the cloudy distance.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • Climbers below Windy Corner on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection