Entries from Alaska
July 4, 2022
Monday, July 4, 2022 - 1:50 a.m. PDT
Briefly…Because it is 12:38 a.m. at 17,200 ft…we did it! Fabulous climb to the top of North America. The day started out a little more windy than predicted, so we pushed our start back to 10:15 a.m., by which time thinks were looking more promising. We went back and forth all day between a little cool and a little hot. Luckily, when we hit the top at 6:30 p.m., it was calm and easy. In fact we enjoyed it so much we spent 50 minutes on top! There was only one other team today and we will likely be some of the very last for the season. Beautiful views down into all the fascinating glaciers and valleys surrounding Denali. We picked our way carefully down, leaving the summit at 7:20 p.m. and arriving back at high camp at 11:00 p.m. Late night dinner and then crawling into sleeping bags for well earned rest.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn and team
Congratulations to Jim Karmozyn and the entire team on reaching the summit! I knew you could do it.
Posted by: Ted Wioncek on 7/7/2022 at 10:56 am
Congratulations to Yifei and the entire team! You’ve worked so hard for this and now you are literally on top of the world! Can’t wait to hear all the stories!
Posted by: VJ Ammar on 7/4/2022 at 7:36 pm
July 2, 2022
Posted by: Dave Hahn
Friday July 1, 2022 11:25pm PDT
We were repetitive today. “What a gorgeous day” was heard over and over. We were out of our sleeping bags and firing the stoves at 7 AM and … as usual… it was calm and clear and perfect at 14,000 ft. A little cool in the shadows, but by the time we’d eaten breakfast and done another big gear sort, it was 9:50 and the sun was coming on strong. We headed up the now-familiar terrain leading to the fixed ropes and the crest of Denali’s West Buttress. The work was certainly hard, carrying big packs on steep snow, ice, and rock at high altitude, but the scenery was magnificent. It was even more magnificent once we loaded up the supplies from our cache at 16,600 and pushed on to new ground. It was a thrill to walk along the ridge crest, balancing between the big drop down to Genet Basin on one side and the Peters Glacier on the other. We rolled into 17,200 ft at about 4 PM in calm and sunny conditions and began to build our high camp.
The decision was made, over dinner in our rather compact high camp dining tent, to take a rest day tomorrow (Saturday) and to focus on a summit bid Sunday. Conditions look good for Saturday, according to the forecast, but even better for Sunday and we’d like everybody to have their best shot at the top after so much hard work.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn & Team
On on everyone! You’ve all worked SO hard. You are ALL amazing! MASSIVE GOOD LUCK guys n gals!
Posted by: Margaret Nolan on 7/2/2022 at 9:23 am
So proud of everyone and with you in spirit!! You can do this!!! Cheering you all on!!! Go, Jim, go!!!!
Posted by: Deborah Karmozyn on 7/2/2022 at 8:49 am
July 1, 2022
Thursday, June 30, 2022 11:25 pm PDT
Another beautiful day, but this was an easy one. We just rested and solidified our acclimatization today. And ate and ate and ate. It was great to see Andy’s RMI team come back into the camp at 14,000 on their way lower. We congratulated them and wished them a safe journey out.
In between afternoon naps, the team roped up and walked to the “Edge of the World” overlooking the Kahiltna Glacier’s NE Fork. Camp at 14,000 is in a broad and mostly flat basin, but at the edge, there is a fairly breathtaking view straight down… seemingly for miles. The gang enjoyed watching clouds race up the face and catching glimpses of the Cassin and West Rib climbing routes. Back at camp we had dinner in calm sunshine and prepared for the big move up to 17,200 ft.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn & Team
June 30, 2022
Thursday, July 30, 2022 10:20 am PDT
I’m going to start with the spoiler-100% of our team made it to the summit! This was very special because of the excellent chemistry we developed on this trip. To get to the summit, we had to travel across the Autobahn-clipping in and out of over 50 pickets, climb past Zebra rocks, take in the views at Denali pass, do the 100 yard dash across the football field, tackle pig hill before finally arriving on the summit ridge all while changing layers of clothing throughout the day. The summit brought tears to many of our eyes. It took us just under 7 hours to reach the summit from 17,000 camp. At the summit, everyone exchanged hugs and laughter. Some commemorated with flags and special notes for loved ones. We took lots of pictures and celebrated our hard effort before we descended back to camp in 3 hours and were completely exhausted. Our celebration included watching Steve, who carried a hula hoop he found in Talkeetna to the summit, break the world record for completing over 30 seconds of hula hooping at the highest elevation recorded for the activity. We all videoed the event for the record book.
We were blessed with incredible weather; 1st rate guides-Andy, Grayson and Ben; interesting, accomplished, funny and caring team mates.
I want to also share my own personal story which motivated me to climb Denali- The highest mountain in North America. After hiking the Appalachian trail in 2018, I decided I needed a new challenge which was tackling the highest point in every state. I quickly realized this goal included Denali and Mt Rainier and that i better get working on those two mountains since I wasn’t getting any younger. Having no mountaineering experience, I did some research and decided to climb with RMI since they guided on both mountains and came with high reviews. To get some experience, I decided to take the kahiltna seminar followed by a climb of Rainier. Covid initially delayed my plans by a year but in May 2021, I completed the Kahiltna seminar only to find out a month later that I had stage 1C ovarian cancer. I had surgery in July and started 6 rounds of chemotherapy which ended in December. I wanted to have a goal to focus on during chemo, so I signed up for the June 15th climb of Denali. Knowing this was a daunting task, I went hiking everyday during the four months of chemo no matter how sick I felt. Amazingly, I continued to get stronger and fitter and climbed a 13,000 foot mountain in Colorado in November. I think I had this overwhelming desire to push myself because I didn’t want to let cancer interrupt my goals. Another part of me wanted to do something that was as close to mentally and physically demanding as combating cancer as I could find. I certainly believe climbing Denali fulfilled that objective! Standing on the summit was thrilling but at the same time I realized the yearlong journey was the meaningful part not the single destination.
Mary-Beth and Team
Late to the party but my congratulations are just as strong. You all rock! Steve and his hula hooping self and Mary Beth. MB for you I am just without words. I was diagnosed with Stage 2B breast cancer in 2018 and just getting through it all about broke me. Reading what you accomplished during your treatments and since is just so motivational. I’m so glad you were part of this team whose blog I followed because of Steve. The Universe sure is magical.
Posted by: Melanee Strootman on 7/5/2022 at 10:12 am
Congratulations to the whole team!! What an accomplishment for you all. Mary Beth you’re just amazing and I can’t wait to hear what your next adventure might be.
Posted by: Jan Sgroi on 7/2/2022 at 9:44 am
June 25, 2022
Saturday, June 25, 2022 12:27 pm PDT
Today, we waked up at 6:30 am with a blue sky and still a beautiful view over the mountains. We ´ve had a nice warm drink and breakfast with Bagel cheese and bacon. We took off our tents, made ready our backpack.
We have filled up our 11000 cache with duffels bags, snow shoes and some foods. We started moving from 11,000' camp at 9:30am and come to 14,000’ camp at 2 pm. We went through motorcycle hill, polo field, squirrel point, windy corner. We didn’t see horses at Polo Field, but we heard noises of horses couple of time from the group :-) Getting higher, we saw the valley with the rivers getting water from the glaciers. We have been lucky with a Moon walked above our head.
We saw the beautiful Mount Hunter and the difficulty to climb this mountain.
When we arrived, we set our camp and are ready for the rest day tomorrow.
Thanks to Yann and Sebastian for writing the last two dispatches in their 2nd and 3rd languages and giving our group a diverse and international feel.
Everyone is doing great, and we climb incredible strong. Rest days have been filled with dance parties, great conversations and lots of food.
As we sit at 14,000 camp we’re enjoying another much deserved rest day. Are hope is to carry up the fixed lines tomorrow than wait for a weather window.
RMI Guide Andy Bond & Team
June 25, 2022
Easy day today! We were up at 5 AM on another fine weather day at 11,000 ft. Shortly after 7 AM we started walking downhill to retrieve our cached food and fuel at 9700 ft. The low clouds had cleared out overnight and so as we came close to Kahiltna Pass at 10,000 ft we could see well out into the tundra and an endless series of lakes and ponds down in the lowland. It took just over a half hour to reach our cache. Thankfully the ravens hadn’t disturbed it (they’ve been known to end an expedition or two) and we dug it up and loaded up. We got back up the hills in about 2 hrs. During the day it was worth doing a little review and practice with avalanche beacons, some discussion of crampon and climbing techniques and a refresher on handling the ice axe.
Tomorrow, the game changes a little as we take on steeper and more serious terrain. Out of the snowshoes and into the crampons. With all of that training we managed to fit in some excellent naps as well. After dinner and storytelling, we got our packs and sleds ready for a carry tomorrow.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn & Team
Checking in on the blogs daily and cheering you all on!
Posted by: Diana Weiss on 6/25/2022 at 8:05 pm
WHAT AN ADVENTURE!!! Kudos to all…
Posted by: Ellis I. Richman on 6/25/2022 at 3:26 pm
June 25, 2022
Saturday, June 25, 2021 1:18 am PDT
Everything we worked for all came together today. We woke to nearly perfect weather conditions. It was game time. We packed and tied into the rope. A quick downhill gave away to steep terrain up the autobahn. Step by step we worked our way up the mountain. A breeze here and there kissed our cheeks, but all things considered was pretty calm until the summit ridge. One final steep uphill up pig hill brought us to the summit ridge. This is where the winds picked up. But we dug deep and pushed forward to the tippy top. What an accomplishment! The team trained hard, and it showed. They gave it their all and came out on top.
Tired legs and bodies brought us back to our camp where we are resting up for two more big days walking to the airstrip.
RMI Guides Hannah Smith, Kiira Antenucci, Daniel May and Team
Congratulations to all. Awesome experience. Love what I am seeing. I can only imagine what it looks like in your eyes. Rest up enjoy the descent and have a hot chocolate lol.
Posted by: John on 6/26/2022 at 7:07 am
Big congratulations That’s so awesome……. big kudos to Jason and Jason ❤️
Posted by: Jo Anne on 6/26/2022 at 5:08 am
June 24, 2022
Today was our first real rest day. The task was to do nothing, and we excelled at it.
After sleeping for about 12 hours, we got our aching bodies into the breakfast tent and were served several delicious courses to replenish as many calories as possible: bagels with bacon and salmon, cereals and breakfast burritos.
Happy and with full bellies, we dug comfortable resting places into the snow and spent most of the day out in the sun, listening to music, eating some more, chatting and just enjoying the amazing view over glaciers and clouds below us.
The day finishes with shredded beef burritos and the feeling that we are ready for another big day tomorrow, moving our camp to 14,000’ feet.
Sebastian and Team
June 24, 2022
Thursday, June 23, 2022 9:41 pm PDT
We made the big move from 8,000 to 11,000 ft today. This was on mostly familiar terrain for us, of course. But the unfamiliar parts brought us into a whole new world. We set out at 5:30 AM from the base of Ski Hill in perfect conditions for mountain climbing. It was cool, shady and calm and the snow surface was frozen up nicely. We cruised right on past our food and fuel cache from yesterday and reached the head of the 46-mile long Kahiltna Glacier. What remained was a little steeper terrain on a feeder glacier, but we managed that hard work without any trouble and pulled into camp at 11 AM. Things had clouded up a little, which was a good thing, keeping the sun off us as we did the hard pull into camp. It was nice to be greeted by Andy Bond and his RMI team, enjoying their rest day at 11K. We set into the hard work of building a new camp at a new elevation. The clouds began to fade, and we were stunned at the beauty of our surroundings. Whereas the scenery from within the valleys has been great, now that we are getting up a little, we can start to see out. The glacial ice surrounding us is endlessly fascinating with giant walls and towers pitched at impossible angles. We napped away the intense sun that came with the afternoon. Dinner in a new camp with a new view was excellent.
Tomorrow we’ll go back down for our supplies.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn & Team
June 24, 2022
Thursday, June 23, 2022 7:28 pm PDT
What a day, what a day!
The weather was a little up and down but all things considered allowed us to move to 17k camp. It is a burly move. The morning started we suspect clouds but they soon gave way to mostly clear skies. Of course by time we started to walking the clouds came back and made for some tough seeing. Buy we made it to the fix lines and were greeted by a snowy slope making for better walking. We cruised the fixed lines, dug up our cache at 16,400 and continues our journey up. More fix line bring us to Washburn's thumb and on the buttress ridge. It is an amazing walk with amazing exposure. One last snow slope dips us into our new home. Life isn't easy up here but we make strong work setting up camp and making water. Dinner is currently being served, scrumptious dehydrated Mountain House. We are working on relaxing and recovering for tomorrow. Tomorrow is going to be our big day. The weather looks good enough and is our opportunity before the winds pick up and shut the door on us.
Wish us luck!!
RMI Guide Hannah Smith and Team
Go team, go! Sending all the good vibes for a wonderful summit.
Posted by: Mama J on 6/24/2022 at 7:49 pm
Good luck to you all! You are almost there! Sending positive energy your way!!!
Posted by: Irene Wickstrom on 6/24/2022 at 6:44 pm