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Entries from Alaska

Denali Expediton: Rest Day for Bond and Team

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

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Denali Expedition: Hahn and Team Move to 11K Camp

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. 

Best Regards,

RMI Guide Dave Hahn & Team

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Denali Expedition: Smith and Team Move to 17k Camp

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

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Good luck to you all!  You are almost there!  Sending positive energy your way!!!
IngaLisa’s Mom

Posted by: Irene Wickstrom on 6/24/2022 at 6:44 pm

Good luck Nick!  We’re all rooting for you!

Posted by: Elizabeth Hood on 6/24/2022 at 5:43 pm

Denali Expedition: Smith and Team Walk to the Edge of the World, Prep for Move to 17k

Wednesday June 22nd - 5:34pm PT

To the edge and back. Not a lot of excitement today, given it was a rest day.

Breakfast burritos started our day and led into a walk to the Edge of the World. The Edge of the World is a cool rock feature one can stand on, a lot like pride rock on Lion King but this one had a relief of 7,000 feet. The view will give you chills from the beauty and the sheer height of it. The walk is short but is nice to stretch the legs. Our legs are about to have a handful of large days coming their way. More napping and snacking have wrapped our day, along with a visit from another RMI team who did their carry to 14k camp.

Tomorrow we are hoping to move to 17k camp and be in position to summit this beast. It's all so close and yet, so far away. Send all the good weather vibes our way.

All the best,

Hannah and Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Yvonne and Nathan, I hope you all stay safe and strong. When you summit make sure to take in the view an extra few seconds for Rainier. Good luck, I love you both and I can’t wait to see you home in two weeks

Posted by: Linda Radsmikham on 6/23/2022 at 8:21 pm

Nathan and Yvonne, Rainier is cheering you guys and the team on so make sure you all stay safe. Btw, Mom is obsessed with reading the updates

Posted by: Kyle on 6/23/2022 at 8:15 pm

Denali Expedition: Parrinello and Team At Base Camp Waiting to Fly

Monday, June 20, 2022 - 8:39 a.m. PDT

So we did it, well almost. We’re right back where we began our journey but this time we are stuck here. I’m of course talking about Kahiltna International Airport. How did this happen? Let’s start at the beginning of our day.

BEEP BEEP BEEP. The 1:00 a.mm alarm goes off, the guides rub the sleep / snow out of their eyes. Oh wait, did you say snow? Yes, yes I did because the guides decided to roll the dice and open bivy instead of set up a tent for our “last” night out. Anyways not a big deal, snow brushes off and sleeping bags dry eventually.

The rest of the team quickly rallied and broke down camp and we headed out on the mushy trail. Slightly less mushy though thanks to a slight refreeze from the night. Thank goodness for that because we crossed a lot of snow bridges over crevasses. The walking was easy and the team was traveling well, until Heartbreak Hill, the final slope up to the airstrip. It’s just steep enough to be terrible and just shallow enough grade to last for what feels like forever.

Finally, finally we made it to the airstrip. Our time to get back to civilization was here! Except not, because we didn’t fly out. Now here’s how we got stuck. Clouds. Clouds everywhere. First clouds at the airstrip prevented them from flying, then clouds in Talkeetna, then more clouds at the airstrip, then clouds both places.

So as I write this we’ve missed our window for flying out today and await patiently for a break in the weather tomorrow. Let’s hope the next dispatch is a picture of us clinking glasses and celebrating in Talkeetna!

To be continued….

RMI Guides Avery Parrinello, Jack Delaney, Liam Weed and the team

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” Everyone wants to reach the top of the mountain. But all the success and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.”
-Andy Rooney

Posted by: Ellis Richman on 6/20/2022 at 7:15 pm

I know you all can do it. You’ve come this far and the glasses will clink!
Weather can be a problem whether cold or hot - it was close to 98 degrees today in
Wayzata, MN - high humidity too so not a day to be outside!
Safe travels for the rest of the trip - look forward to a photo of the team!
You all have accomplished what you set out to do and should be proud of that!
Thank you for sharing your adventure with us.

Posted by: mary pagnucco on 6/20/2022 at 7:02 pm

Denali Expedition: Hahn and Team Sort Gear in Talkeetna

Sunday, June 19, 2022 - 11:29 p.m. PDT

We got a lot done today! Lots and lots of work to get gear checked and ready for loading on airplanes, but it was the kind of labor that -- when you get it behind you -- makes you realize that fun is just about to start. It was rainy and drizzling in Talkeetna today, and there wasn’t any airplane traffic to and from Kahiltna Base Camp. The pilots we spoke to said it was only their fourth “down day” of the season -- which is a pretty remarkable testament to the good and stable weather that climbers have enjoyed. 

We got started with a fine breakfast “meeting” at the hotel, introducing ourselves to one another. But then we moved out to the hangar to give gear checks and get sorted. We received our briefing from the National Park Service and caught up with current events on the mountain. Finally we weighed and labeled all the loads and with everything ready to go we quit for the day and had a nice relaxing outdoor dinner at the brewery in town.

Forecasts suggest we’ll get lucky in the morning. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn and team

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Denali Expedition: Smith and Team Retrieve Cache at 13,400’

Sunday, June 19, 2022 - 8:32 p.m. PDT

It's us again!

It's day 10 on the glacier. So far we are right on schedule. Every day we have accomplished what we set out to do. Today we did our back carry down to 13,400' to dig up our gear and bring it back to camp. We left early enough in the morning to beat any heat and turns out we beat the snowfall as well. The snow has been falling all day today. It's light and fluffy and we are all wondering why we didnt bring skis. At this point we are situated to rest, make our carry to 17k Camp, and then wait for our weather window to move and summit. In theory, in a perfect world, we are on schedule to summit on Friday. But on Denali anything can happen and our perfect world could turn into multiple days waiting out stroms...who knows?! Fingers crossed we have luck and good karma on our side. Tomorrow is a rest day and hopefully the snow will stop and settle on the slopes above. It's off to bed to escape the snow.

Goodnight all!

RMI Guide Hannah Smith and Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Love the photos and your daily reports!  You all are doing so great!!  Sending positive vibes for a Friday summit.  Stay safe and have FUN!!! 
IngaLisa’s Mom

Posted by: Irene Wickstrom on 6/20/2022 at 1:36 pm

Love the blog -checking in several times a day to watch for blog and CJ’s incredible progress on the mountain by Garmin.  Love the technology - truly!!  Best to you all & so proud!  Tante Eloise xx

Posted by: Eloise-Marie Loeffler on 6/20/2022 at 11:16 am

Denali Expedition: Parrinello and Team Descend to base of Ski Hill

Sunday, June 18, 2022

Dun-dunana-dun-dun-dunnn (Imperial March music...please use your imagination)

We continued our migration down glacier from 14 Camp to the airstrip. Instead of a Flying V, we are in a Tromping I, roped together as always but this time it is very obvious as to why. The Kahiltna Glacier has melted down and broken up significantly since our last crossing. Weaving left and right, searching high and low for snow bridges that looked like they would support our weight. We finally make it the base of Ski Hill and decide to call it a day. The heat of the day has started to weaken the already soft snow and low and behold who do we see on the horizon??! It’s an RMI team headed uphill! Andy Bond and crew have just arrived at Camp 1. So we decide to spend the night with them to both let the snow and our bonds of friendship strengthen! Ends up there are mutual friends not only amongst the guides but also the teams! Let us rejoice! Tomorrow in the wee early hours of the morning we shall resume our march with refrozen snow and renewed strength in our quads.

We have the downhill mentality and the end is in sight (figuratively)!


RMI Guides Avery Parrinello, Jack Delaney, Liam Weed and the team

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Denali Expedition: Bond and Team Cache Gear at 10,200’

Sunday, June 19, 2022 - 4:37 PDT

The dispatch takeover continues!

We woke today to overcast skies and a light dusting of snow. Luckily RMI Guide Andy Bond coached us well, and told us we had to have the most pristine camp of any of the teams here at 7,800'. We had pulled all of our gear inside before we went to bed so no one woke up to soggy clothes. Unlike RMI Guide Avery Parinello’s guide team who slept out in the snow.

There was a luxurious breakfast of bagels with cream cheese and lox before our daily exercise. By 6:30 a.m. we were leaving camp with full packs.

We cruised up Ski Hill and cached our gear at Kahiltna Pass, roughly 10,200’. It was a delight to have empty packs on the stroll back to 7,800’ Camp.

Camp was warming in the early afternoon sun as we arrived around 12:30 p.m. We spent a leisurely afternoon enjoying the comforts of our home and the luxury items we brought on the trip.

There were tea tree oil foot rubs, beard combing, using our sleds as lounge chairs to catch some rays, eating charcuterie over some riveting conversations - and my personal favorite, hula hooping!

We will have an early dinner in a few hours and climb into our turtle shells for an early evening. Tomorrow we make the move to 11,200'.

-- Another mystery writer from the Denali Expedition led by RMI Guides Andy Bond, Grayson Swingle, and Ben Luedtke

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Definitely Steve Marker is the author, and definitely Steve Marker with the most ridiculous luxury item.  I wont spoil it but stay tuned

Posted by: Joseph Palumbo on 6/21/2022 at 5:06 am

Who brought the most ridiculous luxury item? Lol

Keep it up the good work!

Posted by: Will on 6/20/2022 at 7:07 pm

Denali Expedition: Bond and Team Camped at the Base of Ski Hill

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Well there’s been a blog takeover, a special thanks to RMI Guide Andy Bond allowing us to take turns writing it for the team. First a huge shout out to our guides Andy, Grayson and Ben who have already proven themselves to be super human.

We have settled into camp at the base of Ski Hill after a long day of hauling heavy things uphill. Tomorrow we are hoping to cache at 11,000’. We are learning all new kinds of new skills like how not to face plant on snowshoes and fall into crevasses, which we avoided due to stellar guidesmanship. Also, how to keep a tidy camp and perhaps most importantly, how to keep Ben telling awful guide jokes when he isn’t Macgyvering a fix for a snowshoe.

Also here at camp, we have been graced by the presence of RMI Guide Jack Delaney, the illustrious writer, and will do a group dinner with Avery Parrinello’s team here at camp as they are on their way down. Fun fact: it has been three days since a clean mountain can (CMC) disaster, which means there has been no CMC disasters. Another fun fact: we are having quesadillas for dinner! We leave you with a trivia question: which team member authored this blog post?

-- A mystery member of the Denali Expedition led by RMI Guides Andy Bond, Grayson Swingle, and Ben Luedtke

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That sounds like Holly!

Posted by: Garrett on 6/23/2022 at 3:46 am

Sounds like the writings of renowned author Donnie Rouse

Posted by: Josh Wimberley on 6/20/2022 at 7:53 pm

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