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RMI Expeditions Blog

Denali Custom Expedition: Hahn & Team Arrive in Talkeetna

Wednesday, June 19, 2019 - 7:22 AM PT

Our expedition has begun and the hard part is done.  We managed to come together in the Anchorage airport from throughout North America.  As a bonus, all of our gear made it through as well.  We loaded up in the traditional Denali Overland van and trailer and got out of rush hour Anchorage traffic for the three hour push to the North.  We couldn’t see much of the mountains as clouds were down pretty low, so we focused on enjoying the many shades of green on the valley floor.  A stop for groceries in Wasilla broke up the ride nicely and we arrived in Talkeetna by 8PM.  There was a brief tour of town before the team settled for the night in the comfort of the Swiss Alaska Inn.  The work begins in the morning-packing and permitting. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Denali Expedition: Walter & Team Rest Day at 11,200’

Tuesday, June 18, 2019 - 9:21 PM PT

Our team enjoyed a rest day today, sleeping in and indulging in a cheesy breakfast scramble brunch. The day started out sunny and we were able to dry gear and charge electronics, but by the afternoon it was snowing lightly.
Tomorrow we plan to carry a cache of food and fuel to ~13,600’ around Windy Corner and then return to our current camp. That’s the plan at least. Stay tuned.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Thank you for the daily updates.  It’s really neat to read about your progress…I feel part of the journey! :)  Hi to Casey.  Enjoy your experience!

Posted by: Amanda Day on 6/19/2019 at 6:50 am

Hugs to Casey and the rest of the team hope you’re all doing well thinking of you every minute

Posted by: Brian and janet on 6/19/2019 at 4:53 am

Denali Expedition: Haugen & Team Make It on the Mountain

Tuesday, June 18, 2019 - 9:01 PM PT

Today started out much the same as yesterday. We hurried through breakfast and headed to the airstrip to see what the flying conditions were for the morning. We received an optimistic thumbs down due to fog in basecamp. The pilots told us to be on standby because the weather was on an improving trend. After hanging out for a couple of hours we got the word that we could fly.
After an amazing flight over the lush green Alaska terrain and into the stark mountians of the Alaska Range, we were delivered to basecamp safe and sound. We spent the day getting everything organized and ready to move to our next camp tonight. We travel at night in the lower glacier because the crevasse bridges are more firm and the sleds drag much easier when things are frozen. Let’s hope the weather keeps improving.

RMI Guide Mike Haugen

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Yeah! Now the real adventure begins! Good climbing !

Posted by: Denise Dahm on 6/19/2019 at 7:21 am

Glad you made it to the mountain! The anticipation of getting started must be difficult. Wishing you improved weather, daily.

Posted by: Kristi and Zeppelin on 6/19/2019 at 6:47 am

Denali Expedition: King & Team Move Up to 17,200’

Tuesday, June 18, 2019 - 8:55 PM PT

Well, today we finally got out of 14 Camp. We had spent eight nights there and by an early season Denali trip that’s nothing but for us and the weather we have had, it felt like an eternity. Today proved to be no cooler temperature wise, HOT going up the fixed lines and once we gained the West Buttress proper it was some of the figurative coolest ridge walking this group has done. We didn’t get great views due to thin clouds but that’s ok, our entire trip has been good views.

We don’t know what tomorrow holds and we could take a rest day if needed. High pressure is building over Denali and we are hopeful to summit tomorrow. Getting to 17 Camp can be a chore, but once you’re there Camp must be built, 6 XGK stoves must be managed to make drinking water and hot water for meals. Camp is situated in a glacial depression and we can see the Autobahn which plagues climbers for the first two hours on summit day. This section gets its name from how fast you can get going if you fall and are not clipped into the running belays. Other than a long day, the Team is doing mostly well. It’s normal to not feel 100% here at 17,200’. None of us are living our best lives physiologically, but we are really excited to have a crack at 20,320’. Thanks for the support and blog comments, I’ve been saving them for an alternative pep talk tonight instead of my traditional surly high school gym coach style motivational speech.

RMI Guide Mike King

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Is so amazing what you are doing!!! Keep up the good work!!!
Please send my regards to Boris! We miss him!

Posted by: Laurent Villa on 6/19/2019 at 5:59 am

Great job team!  It has been exciting following your adventure.  Stay safe and good luck.  You all have this.  I’m rooting for you!  Keep up the good work-you got this- Alan Cifelli

Posted by: Alan Cifelli on 6/19/2019 at 5:51 am

Mt. Rainier: Expedition Skills Seminar - Kautz Summit!

The Expedition Skills Seminar - Kautz reached the summit of Mt. Rainier via the Kautz route today. The seminar team has spent this last week on the mountain training on snow and ice climbing techniques as well as crevasse rescue. They have enjoyed lectures from their guides, and demonstrations and practice in the techniques of American mountaineering. They are heading back to their camp where they will spend the night on the glacier before returning to RMI Basecamp tomorrow.

Congratulations to today’s team!

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Congratulations!  So excited for each of you. Especially Alek! 
What an achievement

Posted by: maureen carroll on 6/18/2019 at 1:31 pm

Congrats team! So wish I could’ve been there! Can’t wait to hear about it!

Posted by: Parker Pavlicek on 6/18/2019 at 1:00 pm

Mt. Elbrus Ski: Reid & Team Arrive at Base of Mt. Elbrus

Today our senses were greeted with cool, fresh, clean mountain air as we stepped out of the van. It was a successful journey today from the big city to the Caucasus Mountains. This morning we had an alpine start followed by numerous airport cappuccinos, a tranquil flight to Mineralnye Vody, and three hours of driving through the Russian countryside. After four days of travel it’s great to finally be here at the base of the mountain.

RMI Guide Tyler Reid

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Mt. Rainier: June 18th Summit!

The Five Day Summit climb led by RMI Guides Walter Hailes and Josh McDowell took advantage of the weather and reached the summit of Mt. Rainier at 9:30 am today. Josh reported warm temperature with winds of about 35 mph. The team will descend to Camp Muir where they will spend another day on the mountain and descend to Paradise tomorrow.

Congratulations to today’s team!

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Congratulations Tony B on your 1st climb and reaching the summit!  So proud of you and happy for you!

Posted by: Dianne Davis on 6/19/2019 at 8:16 am

Lewis… Congratulations on an awesome accomplishment!  I hope you enjoyed the Dr. Pepper!  Looking forward to hearing all about it

Posted by: Dan on 6/18/2019 at 5:43 pm

Denali Expedition: Haugen & Team in Holding Pattern in Talkeetna

Monday, June 17, 2019 - 11:43 PM PT

We were excited to fly up to Denali Basecamp this morning. We hurried through breakfast and headed to the hangar where our gear was organized and ready to go. Even when we got the word that there was too much fog in basecamp to fly, we were optimistic that it would happen today. We waited into the afternoon when we finally got our chance to fly on. We got everyone and all the gear loaded up and headed to the mountain. About halfway there, the pilots could not find a way through the clouds and were not about to poke around in the big mountains without visibility. We thank them for trying and for using good judgment.
We are currently in a holding pattern and definitely not flying today. Hopefully tomorrow will be our day! Fingers crossed.

RMI Guide Mike Haugen & Team Siete

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Bummer about the weather. Stay safe and tell our side salad we miss her. Who’s side salad, you ask? Ask around the mess tent for her to reveal herself!

Posted by: The henhouse on 6/18/2019 at 9:55 pm

50 Years of Climbing: Rue Beyer and Mt. Rainier

RMI climber Rue Beyer on her way to Camp Muir for her summit climb of Mt. Rainier in 2014.


In honor of our 50th Anniversary, we are featuring stories of first climbs. Stories from guides and stories from climbers. Today, we are excited to share Rue Beyer’s story of her first climb - Mt. Rainier in 2014. Since Rue’s first climb, she has continued to climb around the world - Denali in Alaska, Ecuador’s Volcanoes, and Peru. Her next adventure is Kilimanjaro in August! Find out more about having your first climb featured on our blog!


My first climb was with RMI on Mt. Rainier back in 2014 on a team led by RMI Guides Tyler Jones, Katie Bono, and JM Gorum. This may sound corny or clichéd, but I always had a calling to the outdoors. However, it was during one of the most difficult times in my life, that I picked up a book on mountaineering and set a goal for myself to one day go climb mountains. It was that goal I set for myself that helped get me through depression and one of the worst times of my life. 

It took some years to get around to calling RMI, but after a visit to Mt. Rainier in 2013 where I trudged up the Muir Snowfield to Camp Muir, I knew I had to come back and climb this thing all the way. It all happened during a particularly turbulent time at my place of work where there were massive layoffs happening plus the mine site I work at (I’m a mine geologist) was being bought out. I couldn’t keep putting life on hold so I made the call to RMI and booked a trip for late July 2014. Shortly afterwards, my (now) husband, Mike, and I moved from Winnemucca to Elko, Nevada and settled into new jobs.

In the chaos of moving and starting a new job, I managed to keep my focus on preparing for this trip. I had no idea what mountaineering really entailed other than what I read in the stories. Whenever I asked other climbers how they got into climbing, they never gave much of answer and acted almost secretive about it as though it were some special club. I didn’t know where to start, but I was determined to not let that perceived attitude get to me.

I told my brother from another, Chris Franco, that I was going to climb Mt. Rainier that summer and he was so excited for me. He was a major in the US Army that had done multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and when he got out, he got into mountaineering and was the one who had initially challenged me to try Rainier. He had recently been diagnosed with a rare, aggressive cancer that attacks the spine and shortly before the climb, he became paralyzed. I wanted to do something for him on this climb so I decided to record a little film for him that would hopefully bring a smile to his face.

The day before I had to be in Ashford for the team check-in, I was about to board a flight out of Elko on a little regional jet to Seattle. It was the second of two flights that are flown each day. At the time, Mike and I were only dating and he had zero interest in climbing so one of his college buddies flew in so they could hang out. He was flying in on the plane that I was supposed to fly out on. Upon arrival, I said my goodbyes and was prepared to board the plane but the pilot walked in and said there were mechanical issues and the flight would have to be cancelled. I was devastated. I thought, “Great, it’s nearly 6:00 PM and I have to be in Ashford tomorrow at 3:00 PM.” 

I walked out of the gate and told Mike what had happened. He could see how upset I was and we realized I wouldn’t be able to fly that night even if we had driven to Salt Lake City. He thought about it for a second and then said, “Hold on. Seattle isn’t that far. It’s a 12-hour drive and if we leave soon, we can get you there by morning.” 

So we loaded up and he and his friend took turns driving all night. We got into Seattle around 7:30 AM, had a quick breakfast at Pike Place Market, and then headed to Ashford. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is and certainly made for an adventurous start to the climb.

I met the team that afternoon and they were all wonderful people. I was surprised to have met a father and two sons from my home state of Georgia on my team. It was great! The Mountaineering Day School session the next day was enlightening for me since practicing something is very different than just reading about it.

On the climb to Camp Muir, I was in heaven. I had to remind myself that it was all one step at a time. So I concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other and breathing. Every now and then, I’d try to take in the views and end up nearly tripping over myself. It couldn’t have been better weather that day. The views were out of this world and I was feeling good. 

Once we got to Muir and the guides sat a bunch of us down to discuss the logistics of summit day, I felt the butterflies kick in my stomach. I was excited, nervous, scared, and everything in between. I couldn’t believe I was actually here doing this, the thing I had dreamed about for years, never thinking it would become a reality. 

I wasn’t very smart on that trip when it came to food and sunscreen. I took the pre-made food bags that Whittaker Mountaineering offered in Ashford and didn’t really listen to them when they said to swap out foods I didn’t like with ones that I did. I learned there was very little in my bag that was appetizing to me. I also had no clue on the proper way to eat a Mountain House meal as I poured the bag’s contents into a mug, which later meant, I couldn’t eat breakfast out of it because I couldn’t finish the meal.

I didn’t really sleep when we were at Camp Muir. Mostly I just laid there trying not to get in my head about it. When the wake-up call came, I was a bit dazed at first and anxious with all the rapid moving around and getting ready. I scrambled myself together and before I knew it, I was roped up and our team was on our way. It was weird hiking in the dark, I hadn’t done it very often but there was something oddly peaceful about it. It was quiet and I found myself mesmerized by the crevasses we had to step over. 

As we kept going, the sun started to come up and I could see more of the surroundings. It was incredible, but then I started feeling really nauseated. I couldn’t really eat anything since dinner several hours earlier and I suddenly felt the hunger pains surge. I kept putting one foot in front of the other and telling myself to just keep moving and breathing.

The weather started to turn and I wasn’t sure we’d make it. I was sure we’d end up turning around, but as we ascended into a cloud cap, it became clear we were going all the way. The visibility wasn’t great and I thought we were just coming into a break when Katie ran up to me and gave me a big hug saying, “You made it!”

Rue Beyer on the summit of Mt. Rainier in July 2014.

I looked at her, confused, not realizing we were standing on the summit or at least a few hundred yards away from it. I lagged behind the team getting to the summit and was walking with Tyler when I turned and started puking on the side of the trail. He laughed and said I wasn’t pressure breathing. It could’ve been that or the lack of calorie intake, but I felt much better afterwards even though I looked awful!

After photos and signing the Summit Registry, I asked Tyler if he would film a video for me. So I sat down and started speaking to the camera as though I was talking to Franco, trying to rally his sprit the way he’d done for me for years. It was an emotional moment for me and even Tyler was getting excited from how charged up I was.

We made our descent and I was even more in awe of what I saw coming down that I couldn’t see in the dark going up. It was breathtaking! We made it back down to Paradise and my face had horrendous sun/wind burn. I was pissed that the sunscreen I used didn’t work very well. I got back to my hotel that night and really felt it: the sunburn and the euphoria of my first mountain climb. I was hooked! I knew right then this was something I loved and wanted to keep doing.

All smiles as Rue Beyer descends the Muir Snowfield after reaching the summit of Mt. Rainier.

Six years later and I’m still climbing. I’ve traveled to places I never thought I’d go, met some of the most amazing people who are now lifelong friends, grown and healed as a person, learned many lessons through many mistakes, and found that I’m at my best when I’m in the mountains. Thank you, RMI and the guides I’ve climbed with, for providing all these amazing opportunities and experiences! 

Rue Beyer

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Denali Expedition: Walter & Team Set up at 11,200’ Camp

Monday, June 17, 2019 - 10:15 PM PT

Today was very productive for our team. We woke at 1am, packed up camp, and hit the trail at 3am. By 8:30 am we had made it to the 11,200’ Camp, colloquially known as Camp Three. We set our tents up, had breakfast and coffee, and a few hours of rest, and by 1 pm we were back on the trail headed back down to pick up our cache at 10,000’. By 3:30 pm we were back at camp with all of our supplies. But there was still work to do flattening tent platforms, building a kitchen, and fine tuning camp. Dinner by 6 pm and bed by 7:30 seemed appropriate for today.
And tomorrow we earned a rest day. Snow is in the forecast for tomorrow, so we won’t be missing anything.

We’ll touch base again tomorrow.
RMI Guide Mike Walter

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

I hope I’m leaving this on the correct blog…..Go Casey!!!!!  We’re rooting for you and your team!!

Posted by: Mindy Fleming on 6/18/2019 at 8:58 pm

Sounds like a good day.  Enjoy the rest day.

Posted by: Shad Slaughter on 6/18/2019 at 8:40 am

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