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Entries from Alaska

Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Move to 14k

May 17, 2024 11:54PM PT

Today was super successful. Things were quite warm at camp and looked enticing enough to rouse everyone and start making preparations to leave.
Excitement was in the air as everyone in camp had similar thoughts - whether they were carrying or moving. Teams filtered out of camp uphill, and we made final adjustments, and then shouldered packs and headed up Motorcycle Hill. 
We moved really well - caught a little breeze over the top of squirrel, then kept swinging along the polo field. It was a bit chilly again around Windy Corner, but the wind died on the other side and the oven turned on and we started pulling off layers. 
We cruised into camp and set about building our home for the next several days tough work at 14,200’. Everybody is now recovering horizontally. 
Tomorrow should be a much easier day, dropping back down to grab our cache and returning to camp with all our treasures. 


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Denali Expedition: Champion and Team Embrace Blue Skies on the Kahiltna

May 17, 2024 11:22PM PT

First mountain day in the books. After a pretty grim weather forecast, we had planned to sleep in a bit and have a later breakfast. To our surprise, K2 Aviation called us at 7:30 AM to tell us the weather looked great and to make our way over to the hangar.

By 9 AM, we had changed into our mountain boots and loaded into the plane. After a beautiful flight, we landed at basecamp - unloaded, organized, and rigged up the sleds, buried a basecamp cache for our return, and made our way out onto the lower Kahiltna.

It was a long heavy day - the one day of the trip we carry everything we brought.

Under blue skies, we rolled onto the base of the Ski Hill, built camp, and settled in.

We had a dinner of mac and cheese with bacon and got gear ready to cache tomorrow.

Hoping for another beautiful day, but just glad to be moving.

Check in tomorrow!

RMI Guides Nikki Champion, Leif Bergstrom and Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Thank you for the updates! You guys are all doing great! Sending you well wishes for a safe climb!

Posted by: Abby Roberts on 5/19/2024 at 9:21 am

Great start. Keep the good weather coming and climb safe

Posted by: Doc Peters on 5/18/2024 at 5:28 pm

Denali Expedition: Wittmier and Team Turn it Up to Eleven

May 17, 2024 9:53PM PT

Well, I can't speak for the rest of my team, but my pictures are definitely not doing this place justice. I keep thinking about my sister, who's a professional photographer. She'd lose her mind over the views. (shameless plug - check her out at Alaska Light Photography). So far, the team has participated in some excellent bonding. We've covered important topics like the merits of various dinner bowls, pros and cons of carrying frozen carrots up 2,000 vertical feet, and what types of rare Pokémon would live up here. (Or is it Pokémen? Pokémon’s? Unknowable at 11,000 feet). Time and distance are different up here.  15 minutes can feel like 2 hours. The vastness of the terrain tricks the eye and a camp "just around the corner" is still an hour away. So, we take one step at a time, one breath at a time, and trust that every step is one step closer to the goal we’ve been working towards for months.
We’ll do it all over again tomorrow.

- Sarah and the Team 

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Climb Strong , Climb High Dustin and Team!!!
Farmer Dave

Posted by: Dave Kestel on 5/19/2024 at 3:29 am

Denali Expedition: Walter & Team Enjoy First Rest Day

We're resting and acclimating at 11k today. After a chilly night, the team enjoyed a leisurely morning and brunch with ample amounts of eggs, hashbrowns, and reindeer sausage.

Lounging, reading, and small talk make up the bulk of today's activities.

We'll also be sorting our gear in preparation for our carry up around Windy Corner, which, weather permitting, is on tap for tomorrow.

But for right now, we're enjoying the hang.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

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Denali Expedition: Walter & Team Hunker In at 9400

We woke to 6-8" of snow at the base of Ski Hill. Light snow was still falling as we ate breakfast, but the trend was improving so we started packing up camp.

By the time we started climbing it was mostly sunny and quite warm. Climbing up Ski Hill in base layers was a treat. Clouds increased and winds ramped up during our climb. By the time we got to our second break, visibility was down to near zero, winds were steadily increasing, and temps had dropped enough to remind us we're in Alaska. It was obvious that conditions would continue to deteriorate, so we put our camp in at 9,400'. It's pretty nasty outside but we're all safe and cozy in our tents. We guides are suiting up to go set up our cook tent so we can fire up stoves and get everyone fed. Hopefully this weather passes overnight, and we can push camp up to 11,200' tomorrow. Time will tell, but 9400' will be our home for tonight. We'll check in again tomorrow with an update.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

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Denali Expedition: Bond & Team Enjoy Pancakes while Resting

Thursday, June 8, 2023, 9:52 pm PDT

This morning we woke up to Joey the Guide’s scrumptious pancakes.  Does he moonlight at Benihana’s?  Conditions weren’t favorable so we made it a rest day.  We ended the day with dinner and optimism for a move to Camp Two tomorrow.  And now, a poem:

All day we were stuck at Camp One
Blueberry chocolate chip pancakes are fun 
Tomorrow we’ll try for 10 And if this happens again
Call our team the cloistered nuns 

- Lenhardt Stevens and the June 4 Denali Expedition Team


Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Scott, hopefully the weather clears quickly so your third attempt proceeds safely!

Posted by: Roger Coffey on 6/10/2023 at 11:28 am

Hopefully today the weather is more favorable. We are all rooting for you Mikayla and your team! One may walk over the highest mountain one step at a time. -Barbara Walters

Posted by: Larisa Corbett on 6/9/2023 at 9:37 am

Denali Expedition: Champion & Team Waiting to Fly

June 2, 2023, 11:39 am PDT

Yesterday we woke up to clear skies, but the clouds and snow quickly made their way in. A few planes snuck in, but we were unable to make our way back to Talkeetna. So we sit, and continue to wait for our weather window to get off the Kahiltna Glacier and return to Talkeetna, beds, and showers. Until then we keep eating our snacks and watching movies.

RMI Guide Nikki Champion and team

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Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Eagerly Await Blue Skies to Fly

June 1, 2023, 10:30 pm PDT


We had hopes this morning as the base camp manager said to ready everything and that planes were on the way. By 8:30 several planes hit the runway and stayed to load climbers. They departed and as the clouds edged closer, we were told they were launching planes for us and they were trying to get in. But the snow started and visibility shut down and the planes stopped landing. We kept waiting for the snow to stop and a hole to open, but it didn't come. It is now calm, but snowing prolifically. Midwinter, we would be going to sleep excited about the powder day to come. Here, we beg for it to stop so we can make our way home. But we are in a beautiful place, and we count ourselves warm, dry, and lucky to experience the power of the Alaska Range. 

RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer and team

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Denali Expedition: Smith & Team Crossing Fingers to Fly

June 1, 2023, 9:14 pm PDT

Hello all!

After a a quick nap of a couple hours we woke at 10:00 pm and packed up our camp. Just before midnight we began our walk out. During our nap the clouds faded away and gave us a beautiful view out. The air was crisp and so were the views. The moon light the dusk sky and hues of pink and purple faded in and out. We were the only team walking on the Kahiltna. As we took our final steps uphill on Heartbreak Hill we were greeted by a sea of tents at basecamp. Many hopefuls waited to check in and try to fly out. We had a couple hours before check in so we grabbed our sleeping bags and took another quick nap. As teams awoke you could feel the anxious and desperate energy of teams wanting to get off the glacier. Unfortunately, none of the RMI teams were able to fly. One plane even got stuck here at basecamp unable to fly out with the clouds engulfing camp so quickly. Our once clear morning turned into a wet afternoon. We are now curled up in our tents trying our best to stay dry and optimistic as we wait for weather to improve to we can off. A celebratory beer cached at basecamp has helped the mood. If we close our eyes we can pretend we are showered and sitting at the brewery. Weather is suppose to improve by Saturday so fingers crossed for clear skies both here and in Talkeetna. As for now, after only some naps we are pretty sleepy from our walk out. 

So goodnight all,
RMI Guides Hannah Smith, Devin Guffey, and Erika Birkeland, and Team

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Denali Expedition: Walter & Team at Basecamp Waiting to Fly

June 1, 2023, 5:13 pm PDT

After a successful summit day we descended from high camp to 14k Camp for the night. After a hearty burrito breakfast we descended to base camp, a 10-hour trek. We had excellent weather and perfect snow conditions for our lengthy descent. Unfortunately, snow returned in the morning and we were unable to fly off the glacier. K2 Aviation has pilots and planes on standby to come pick us up when the weather breaks. Who knows when that will be, but until then our climbers are dreaming of hot showers, cold beers, real food, and flush toilets. Nothing is easy about climbing Denali, and this final hurdle is testing our climbers'mettle. Hopefully we'll see the skies soon and the dreams will come to fruition. Fingers crossed. 

RMI Guide Mike Walter and team

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Excellent everyone! Hang in there!!

Posted by: Jamie on 6/3/2023 at 11:51 am

I’m so proud of you Scott! I can’t wait to hear all about it!

Posted by: Debbie Eldridge on 6/3/2023 at 4:13 am

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