Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Hoping for Clear Skies at Base Camp

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal, Pepper Dee | June 27, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,300'

Friday, June 26, 2015 - 11:40 pm PT

We made it… almost. We left our camp at 11,200 feet around 4 am this morning.  The group was traveling quickly in spite of heavy packs and sleds. All was well until we encountered a wet, snowy drizzle around 7,800 feet. We trudged on knowing the end was just a few hours away. When we finally reached base camp, the snow stopped, but the clouds did not permit planes to come and pick us up. The rest of the day consisted of napping, to compensate for the lack of sleep over the past few days, and hoping for clear skies tomorrow. RMI Guides Pepper and Uchal are working on their clear skies interpretive dance in the event that we wake up to clouds tomorrow.

RMI 7 “El Siete”

Tents covered in snow at McKinley Base Camp. Photo: RMI Collection

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2

Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Settle in Below Ski Hill

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Steve Gately, JM Gorum | June 26, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 8,000'

Friday June 26th 9:13 pm PT

Our weather took a dive.  But our timing and luck have been pretty good anyway.  We were up at 1 AM this morning and on the trail by 4 AM (getting breakfast and gearing up while tearing down camp takes a while the first time).  The clouds were getting lower and lower until about 7 AM when we were swallowed up by the murk.  Wet snow was falling by 8:30, but luckily we were pulling into our intended camp at 8,000 feet by 9:15.  So we were indeed lucky to get flown on before the weather deteriorated and happy we were able to make use of what otherwise might have been considered a storm day today. 

Just as the snow began to fall, we met up with Mike Haugen’s victorious team on their way out.  Nice to see them, even if just in passing.  Once our new camp at the base of “Ski Hill” was built, we climbed in to rest away the late morning and afternoon.  Dinner was under the shelter of our POSH tent in a well-dug dining/kitchen snow pit. 

Aside from the weather, glacier conditions were quite good for traveling today and we had very few issues with the multitude of crevasse bridges that needed crossing. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Pulling sleds up Ski Hill on Mt. McKinley, Alaska. Photo: RMI Collection

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3

Ecuador Seminar: Walter & Team Prepare for Cotopaxi

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 26, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,953'

We’re up at the Jose Ribas Refugio on Cotopaxi at 15,953 ft. Tomorrow is climb day on Cotopaxi so we’re hitting the sack early tonight in preparation for our alpine start. We’ll check in again tomorrow and let you know how things go.

RMI Guide Mike Walter and Team

The Jose Ribas Refugio on Cotopaxi, Ecuador. Photo: RMI Collection

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2

Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Take A Snow Day

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Mike King, Sean Collon | June 26, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

Friday, June 26, 2015 - 2:47 pm PT

It is a snowy day here at Camp 4…The gang is currently chilling in the tents and posh on our first scheduled rest day that just happened to coincide with a change in the weather. Spirits are high and we are keeping our fingers crossed for marginally better weather tomorrow and a hopeful carry up to high camp.

Quotes of the day:

“Don’t tell me how to eat my Oreos!” - Sean

“How are geriatrics and RMI guides alike? It depends…” - Art and Doug

“The wise man chooses nachos.” - Mike

“I gotta save Canada from those gosh darn moose…” - Marc

“I love pico de gallo!” - Billy

RMI Guide Billy Nugent and Team

A stormy day at 14,000 ft on Mt. McKinley, AK for an RMI Team. Photo: Dave Hahn

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5

Mt. Rainier: June 26th Summit!

Posted by: Seth Waterfall, Mike Soucy | June 26, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 14,410'

The Mount Rainier Four-Day Summit Climb, led by Seth Waterfall and Mike Soucy, reached the summit this morning.  Seth reported a nice day and 10-15 mph winds from the North.  As of 7:38 a.m. the teams began their descent from the crater rim.

Congratulations to today’s summit climbers!

Traversing off Disappointment Cleaver on Mount Rainier. Photo: RMI Collection
8

Ecuador Seminar: Walter & Team Acclimate on Illiniza Norte

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 26, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Our climbing team had a great morning climbing to within a few hundred feet (16,500’) of Iliniza Norte’s summit (16,818’), before the wind was too intense and we had to turn around. Climbing up the rocky, exposed ridge from the climbing hut, the clouds would momentarily part, affording us intermittent views of Iliniza Norte’s austere summit, covered in rime ice. The climbing was a very enjoyable 3rd class rock scramble and everyone did great. The wind was literally making it hard to stand up, much less climb a high altitude mountain. So we retreated back to the safety of the climber’s hut. After a bowl of soup and a cup of tea, we descended back down the trail to our vehicles. Now we’re at the beautiful hacienda Chilcabamba, outside of Cotopaxi National Park, where we’re resting before heading out to climb our final objective, Cotopaxi. We’ll keep you in the loop…

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Ecuador Seminar enjoys a rainbow seen from Illiniza Norte, Ecuador, acclimating climb. Photo: Mike Walter

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Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Decent Descent to 11K Camp

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Mike Uchal, Pepper Dee | June 26, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

Friday June 26th 12:30 am PT

We are on our way down!! After waking up when the sun hit our tents at 17,000, we packed up and headed downhill. Although sore and tired from a long summit day, we made good time down to 14,000 feet. We met up with Billy Nugent’s group and had a healthy round of hugs and high fives. We picked up some cached gear and partook in the time honored tradition of fitting twice as much gear into a pack than should be possible and carrying said pack down another 3,000 feet to 11k Camp and our awaiting sleds. We are currently in a holding/napping pattern at 11k. We are going to walk early in the morning towards base camp and the landing strip in hopes of an early flight to Talkeetna. That is weather dependent of course!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen

An RMI team traveling across the Polo Fields, Mount McKinley, back to 11K Camp. Photo: RMI Collection

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2

Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Retrieve Cache at Windy Corner

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Mike King, Sean Collon | June 26, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

Thursday June 25th 10:16 pm PT

Hola from a sunny day up here at 14k. We enjoyed a lazy morning with a good coffee session in the posh before getting down to the business of retrieving our cache down near Windy Corner. A couple of hours was all it took and we were back in camp up in the Genet Basin in time to greet Mike Haugen’s crew on their descent from high camp after their successful summit bid yesterday. Tomorrow’s plans call for our first complete rest day of the trip that will hopefully set us up for a strong performance as we venture onto the upper mountain in the coming days. The weather may get a bit funky but hopefully it’ll be nothing that will slow us down. More on our story as it develops…

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

Cache at Windy Corner, Mount McKinley, with climbers in the background. Photo: Lindsay Mann

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Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Smooth Sailing to Kahiltna Base

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Steve Gately, JM Gorum | June 26, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,200'

Thursday June 25th 10:15 pm PT

Our exit from Talkeetna was nearly as smooth and easy as our arrival in the Alaska Range turned out to be.  We had our traditional Roadhouse breakfast and then headed for the hangar.  By 10:00 AM we were loading onto K2 Aviation’s ski planes and taking off for the mountains.  We had a couple of good views of Denali and Foraker, the giants of the range, despite a fair amount of cloud and forest fire smoke in the air. 
Basecamp at 7,200 feet on the Southeast fork of the Kahiltna Glacier was nearly deserted when we came in… just the way we like it.  We set camp, reviewed glacier travel techniques and got used to fabulous views when the clouds lifted.  By early evening a few other guided teams flew in and we chatted with the leaders, since we’ll likely be seeing each other a bit in the weeks to come.  There was a lot to get done on this day- there always is at the start of a big climb.  But we got it done and the team is now resting.  We were early to bed and we’ll be early to rise tomorrow in the hopes of catching easier and safer conditions for travel in the cold part of the day.  From what we could see from the airplane, the first part of our climb will be made easier by excellent snow coverage on the glacier surface. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Views of the Cassin Ridge on Mt. McKinley as an RMI team flies into Kahiltna Base. Photo: Dave Hahn K2 lands at Kahiltna Base on Mount McKinley, Alaska. Photo: Katy Reid

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Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Ready to Fly

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Steve Gately, JM Gorum | June 25, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley

Thursday June 25th 10:00 a.m. PT

RMI Guide Dave Hahn sent us a couple photos as they were embarking on their flight to Kahiltna Base. Once the team is situated on the glacier and moved into their first mountain camp, Dave will check in with us again.

Dave Hahn and team pose for a photo at the K2 Aviation Hangar. Photo: Dave Hahn The June 23rd McKinley Expedition ready to board the plane. Photo: Dave Hahn

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Previous Page More Entries

Expedition Stats

Expedition Skills Seminar - Winter
4/12 - 4/17/2015
Mt. Rainier - 12,400'
Everest Base Camp - Island Peak
3/18 - 4/12/2015
Everest Base Camp - Summit / Island Peak - Summit
Mount Everest Base Camp Trek
3/18 - 4/7/2015
Everest Base Camp - Summit
Mount Everest Base Camp Trek
3/21 - 4/12/2015
Everest Base Camp - Summit
Alaska Mountaineering Seminar - Expedition
5/2 - 5/12/2015
Radio Control Tower - Summit
Five Day Summit Climb
5/9 - 5/13/2015
Mt. Rainier - 12,300'
Five Day Summit Climb
5/11 - 5/15/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
5/13 - 5/16/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
5/14 - 5/17/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Five Day Summit Climb
5/13 - 5/17/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
5/15 - 5/18/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
5/20 - 5/23/2015
Mt. Rainier - 13,200'
Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir
5/17 - 5/22/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Alaska Mountaineering Seminar - Alpine
5/8 - 5/18/2015
The Munchkin - Summit / The Throne - Lost Marsupial - Summit / Big Arapiles - Summit
Five Day Summit Climb
5/20 - 5/24/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
5/21 - 5/24/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
5/22 - 5/25/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Alaska Mountaineering Seminar - Expedition
5/14 - 5/24/2015
Radio Control Tower - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir
5/24 - 5/29/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
5/27 - 5/30/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
5/28 - 5/31/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Five Day Summit Climb
5/27 - 5/31/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
5/29 - 6/1/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Mount McKinley Expedition
5/5 - 6/2/2015
Mt. McKinley - Summit
Mount McKinley Expedition
5/12 - 6/2/2015
Mt. McKinley - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir
5/31 - 6/5/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/3 - 6/6/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/4 - 6/7/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/5 - 6/8/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Five Day Summit Climb
6/4 - 6/8/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/6 - 6/9/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Mount McKinley Expedition
5/19 - 6/7/2015
Mt. McKinley - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Kautz
6/5 - 6/10/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/7 - 6/10/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/8 - 6/11/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/9 - 6/12/2015
Mt. Rainier - 14,410'
Four Day Summit Climb
6/10 - 6/13/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/11 - 6/14/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Five Day Summit Climb
6/11 - 6/15/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/12 - 6/15/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/13 - 6/16/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Emmons
6/12 - 6/17/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Five Day Summit Climb
6/13 - 6/17/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/14 - 6/17/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/15 - 6/18/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Kautz
6/14 - 6/19/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/16 - 6/19/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/17 - 6/20/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/18 - 6/21/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Mount McKinley Expedition
5/26 - 6/18/2015
Mt. McKinley - Summit
Mt. McKinley Upper West Rib Expedition
5/28 - 6/18/2015
Mt. McKinley - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/19 - 6/22/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Five Day Summit Climb
6/19 - 6/23/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/20 - 6/23/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/21 - 6/24/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/22 - 6/25/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Emmons
6/20 - 6/25/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Mount McKinley Expedition
6/2 - 6/21/2015
Mt. McKinley - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/23 - 6/26/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/24 - 6/27/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Mt. Baker - North Ridge
6/22 - 6/23/2015
Mt. Baker - Summit
Forbidden Peak - West Ridge
6/22 - 6/27/2015
Forbidden Peak - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/25 - 6/28/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/26 - 6/29/2015
Mt. Rainier - 11,300'
Five Day Summit Climb
6/25 - 6/29/2015
Mt. Rainier - 11,400'
Four Day Summit Climb
6/27 - 6/30/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/28 - 7/1/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Kautz
6/26 - 7/1/2015
Mt. Rainier - Summit

Recent Images

  • Stormy conditions at 11,200 ft Camp on Mt. McKinley, Alaska.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • Climber ascending the Autobahn on Mt. McKinley, Alaska.  Photo: Lindsay Mann
  • An RMI Team at Base Camp in the Ishinca Valley, Peru.  Photo: Elias de Andres Martos
  • Mike Walter and Team checking out the Equator. Photo: Mike Walter
  • The Peru Seminar team before leaving Huaraz. Photo: Elias de Andres Martos
  • RMI Camp at 17,200' on Mount McKinley, Alaska. Photo: Lindsay Mann
  • Fresh Snow at 11,200' on Mt. McKinley. RMI Photo Collection
  • An RMI team on Squirrel Hill, Mount McKinley, Alaska. Photo: Brent Okita
  • The Peru Seminar team from the hills above Huaraz. Photo: Robby Young
  • Huaraz, Peru, as seen from the RMI team's acclimating hike. Photo: Robby Young
  • Climbers on the ridge en route to Camp 5 at 17,000 ft on Mt. McKinley.
  • RMI Guides Elias & Robby arrive at the Lima Airport. Photo: Elias de Andres Martos
  • Huaraz City in Cordillera Blanca, Peru. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Moving to 11,000' Camp on Mount McKinley, Alaska. Photo: Lindsay Mann
  • The RMI Dining tent at 14,200' on Mt. McKinley. RMI Photo Collection
  • The RMI El Siete team on the summit of Mt. McKinley, AK. Photo: Mike Haugen
  • Climbers ascending the fixed lines on Mt. McKinley en route to High Camp.  Photo: Brent Okita
  • Climbers pulling sleds up Mt. McKinleys Ski Hill to 9.500 ft Camp.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • Cotopaxi as seen from the Jose Ribas Refugio. Photo: Mike Walter
  • The RMI Ecuador Seminar team with Cotopaxi in the background. Photo: Mike Walter
  • An RMI climber ascending the North Ridge of Mt. Baker, WA. Photo: Eric Frank
  • Tents covered in snow at McKinley Base Camp. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Pulling sleds up Ski Hill on Mt. McKinley, Alaska. Photo: RMI Collection