Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Weather Day at 11K Camp

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Billy Haas | May 14, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

May 14, 2015, 6:20 pm PT

Checking in here from 11,200 ft:  Today we awoke to less than desirable weather for a potential carry.  Gusty winds and snow prompted a welcomed rest day.  The team slept in and once awake began the process of fixing up camp and repairing the cook tent.  A multiple hour breakfast of eggs, meats, and hashbrowns gave way to some socializing around camp, and on and off napping.  The team is in good spirits and hoping to begin the eventual process of moving to 14,000 camp as soon as the weather improves.

RMI Guide Billy Haas and the team

11,200' on McKinley, Kahiltna Dome in the the distance. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Pete Van Deventer & Team are Rigged & Ready to Roll

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Robby Young, Josh Maggard | May 14, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley

Our team is assembled, or bags are packed, and we are ready to climb onboard the airplanes and take off! We spent today going through all of our gear, packing and repacking our bags, and sorting lunch food. With all of the details dialed in, we’re going to eat what is hopefully our last dinner in town for a few weeks, and catch some zzz’s. Tomorrow with any luck, we’ll board the planes first thing for one of the highlights of the trip: the stunning flight into Kahiltna Base Camp. We’ll be in touch!

RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Robby Young, Josh Maggard, and team

The May 12th Denali Expedition at the NPS meeting. Photo: Josh Maggard The May 12th Denali team stroll through downtown Talkeetna, Alaska. Photo: Josh Maggard Pete Van Deventer and team checking gear prior to flying onto Mt. McKinley. Photo: Josh Maggard

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13

Alaska Alpine Seminar: Elias & Team Climb Lost Marsupial

Posted by: Elias de Andres Martos, Sean Collon | May 14, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley

May 14, 2015, 1:45 am PT

Greetings from Little Swiss camp!

We’re “off rappel” for the day… and what a day! Full alpine experience. We climbed the route “Lost Marsupial” on The Throne, one of the MEGA CLASSICS in the area. We had A BLAST and everybody did a great job, but also had the opportunity to experience what alpine climbing is all about. Splitter granite on the crux pitches, snow over the upward traverses in between, and getting out of our comfort zones by climbing with a pack and mountaineering boots. Big dinner followed upon arrival to camp, following the eight full length rappels that took us off the wall, and allowed us to beat the storm that now we are under. We will keep you posted on our upcoming objectives. Best that’s from the promised land of climbing that is Alaska.

RMI Guides Elias de Andres Martos, Sean Collon and team

RMI Guides Elias and Sean getting ready to belay on Lost Marsupial.  Photo: Bridget Schletty

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Mt. McKinley: Walter and Team Settle in at 11,200’ Camp

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Billy Haas | May 14, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

May 13, 2015, 10:49 pm

The weather today was a bit squirrelly, but we were able to make it back down to our cached gear at 9,600’ and haul it back up to our camp at 11,200’. We’re all doing well out here and sitting pretty on the mountain. Our next mission will be to take a cache of food and fuel up around Windy Corner at around 13,600’. We plan on tackling that tomorrow if the weather allows us. Today would have been too windy for a foray to higher altitudes.
We’re all excited for the next stages of the climb, where we exchange snowshoes for crampons, and trekking poles for ice axes. We’re also psyched at climbing steeper terrain and enjoying the ever ever impressive views.
That’s the news from this end. We’ll keep you up to date with our progress.

RMI Guide Mike Walter and team.

Enjoying the views from camp at 11,200 ft on Mt.McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Climber Scott Anderson Recaps March’s Mexico’s Volcanoes Climb

Posted by: | May 14, 2015
Categories: *Mexico

The RMI family and the mountaineering community are quite something to witness and to be a part of, if only for a trip here and there. The Mexico volcano trip this last March was exactly what I had hoped it would be, and as usual it turned out to be infinitely more. My two previous Rainier summits with RMI had made a believer out of me. Telling my family that I would be in the absolute best hands while in Mexico wasn’t some shading of the truth. With the mythical creatures known as guides — Jake, Christina and Alfredo — watching out for us, we set out on a most excellent adventure to climb Ixtaccihuatl and El Pico de Orizaba.

The money, the time and the physical preparation to get the privilege of attempting to summit these glorious peaks seemed to be my primary focus prior to leaving but that was not my greatest takeaway from this adventure. The very best part of this trip, for so many of us, was the friendships that were formed as we came together as a team. From a train engineer to pilots and financial analysts to company presidents, everyone came together to embrace the experience. There aren’t many venues these days where people of such different backgrounds and ages are put together to achieve a difficult goal like mountaineering.  The immediate concern for one another was astounding. All of us trading what small bits of information we had that might help a teammate, sharing best practices or a piece of gear, and acts of kindness that you never see coming were happening from our first meeting in Mexico City. On Orizaba, our only summit possibility, when one of the team was going to turn back with just the guide another member offered to keep him company. What an act of selfless kindness.

The fantastic cultural experience was also something I hadn’t really thought about until my arrival. Throughout our travels in Mexico we were met with tremendous hospitality.  Dr. Reyes’ staff at the historic climbing hostel Servimont in Tlachichuca provided us with incredible food, entertainment and service. It was a unique experience to be welcomed into that legendary place. The city of Puebla is a real gem. The architecture, the restaurants, the people; I could have spent a week entertaining myself there. To experience this place with my fellow climbers was truly a lot of fun.

Oh yes, the mountain part. Sketchy weather was stalking us the whole trip with an early arrival of Spring. The guides got us prepped and in position but no one doubted the decision to retreat off Ixta after a night at 15,400 feet. It was a night to be nice and cozy. Orizaba had wicked winds and a good snowfall prior to our arrival. Our train engineer offered his four wheeling skills and whipped that beast of a vehicle up the mountain road shaving hours off our hike to the Piedra Grande Hut. What a hoot! Of course it was a classic challenging RMI mission; methodical, focused, safe. We didn’t have the best visibility until our descent but summiting was another incredible event to share with my new climbing family! The experience was a thing of beauty; the mountain, but more so the excitement and spiritual moment for each of us being up there. A huge thanks to RMI, my fellow climbers, our guides, and all the folks who supported us. I will continue to practice my rest stepping in Kentucky and very much look forward to my next adventure.

Nearing the summit of Orizaba.   Photo: courtesy Chris Villar

Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Settling in at 11,200’ Camp

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Billy Haas | May 13, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

May 12, 2015 11:00 pm PT

Hello everyone!
We tackled our third day of Mt. McKinley climbing today, which brought us to camp at 11,200’.
The team did exceptionally well and we made great time, rolling into camp before it became uncomfortably hot on the glacier.
Once here we had a big task ahead of us, constructing tent platforms and a kitchen and bathroom. Thankfully we were able to make use of some old walls and platforms that only required minor adjustment to make them workable for our tents, saving us at least an hour of hard labor. The bathroom and kitchen required the most effort, but the team rotated through the shoveling and we now have a luxurious Posh House dining area which we enjoyed over a filling dinner of mac and cheese with bacon and broccoli.
We are all tucked in now, enjoying the last few minutes of sunlight in camp in the comfort of our sleeping bags, looking forward to a nice rest and short day tomorrow. Our plan is to sleep in a bit later than the last few mornings, and then return to our last camp to retrieve our remaining food.
We’ll check in again tomorrow!
RMI Guide Solveig Waterfall and the team!

An RMI 11,200' Camp on Mt. McKinley, Alaska. Photo: RMI Collection

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Alaska Alpine Seminar: Elias & Team on Belay!

Posted by: Elias de Andres Martos, Sean Collon, Andy Hildebrand | May 13, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley

May 12, 2015 10:15 pm PT

Team is ready for our first objective: tomorrow morning we will be switching to multi-pitch mode and conquer our first big route. We had a great day training on (and summiting) “the Munchkin.”  We spent the day on its south ridge and east face rehearsing for steep snow and technical rock. Everyone is doing great and we all look forward to checking in with more accounts from the outstanding routes we are about to tackle.

Good evening!
RMI Guides Elías, Sean, Andy and the team.

Looking toward Base Camp and the Munchkin.  Photo: Bridget Schletty

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Mt. Rainier: May 13th Update

Posted by: Brent Okita, Zeb Blais | May 13, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 12,300'

The Five-Day Muir Summit Climbs, led by Brent Okita and Zeb Blais, turned at the top of Disappointment Cleaver this morning due to weather. Cloud deck is currently at 8,700’.  Both teams left Camp Muir just after 9:00 a.m. PT.  Brent sent some photos as they descended this morning (shown below).

The RMI Mt. Rainier May 13th team crossing a crevasse on the upper mountain. Photo: Brent Okita The Mt. Rainier May 13th team descending from Disappointment Cleaver. Photo: Brent Okita The RMI Mt. Rainier May 13th team take a rest break at Ingraham Flats on their descent. Photo: Brent Okita

Alaska Alpine Seminar: Elias & Team First Full Day on the Pika Glacier

Posted by: Elias de Andres Martos, Sean Collon, Andy Hildebrand | May 12, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 5,600'

May 11, 2015 11:00 pm PT

Greetings!

Warm temperatures, clear skies and pristine snow is what we enjoyed today. Our first full day in the Pika entailed a thorough review of our different anchors, crevasse rescue systems and scenarios, and a tour of the glacier to check the approach to our upcoming routes. Keeping a close eye on the ravens, whom are after our kitchen and tents, we enjoyed a massive production of tortellini at dinner. This will fuel us for our first objective tomorrow, when we’ll try our first summit while mastering transitions, protection and descents on rock and snow.

Best regards,
RMI Guides Elias, Andy, and Sean

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Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Tackle Ski Hill

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Billy Haas | May 12, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 9,600'

May 11, 2015 9:10 pm PT

Greetings from the Kahiltna Glacier! Our team is making steady progress, and we’re currently at our camp at 9,600’. The weather has been beautiful since we were able to land on the glacier on Sunday. The climbing is strenuous, as always, as we carry heavy backpacks and pull full sleds. This morning we tackled “Ski Hill”, our first real significant incline, followed by rolling glacial terrain until we reached camp. Camp is all set up and we are busy cooking dinner. We’ll try to rack out early tonight for some well-earned rest. Tomorrow we plan to make a cache of equipment here, at our current camp, in order to lighten our expedition loads. Then the plan is to then move up to the 11,200’ camp; we’ll come back for the cached gear the following day. That’s the plan at least. Our plans are always at the mercy of the weather in the mountains.
That’s it for now. Everyone is healthy and in good spirits. We’ll touch base again tomorrow, hopefully from 11k camp.

RMI Guide Mike Walter and the team

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

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Previous Page More Entries

Expedition Stats

Mexico's Volcanoes
2/14 - 2/22/2015
Ixtaccihuatl - Summit / Pico de Orizaba - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Winter
3/8 - 3/13/2015
Mt. Rainier - 11,200'
Mexico's Volcanoes
3/7 - 3/15/2015
Ixtaccihuatl - 15,300' / Pico de Orizaba - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Winter
3/22 - 3/27/2015
Mt. Rainier - 10,080'
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
14,410' - 12300
Five Day Summit Climb
5/11 - 5/15/2015
14,410' - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
5/13 - 5/16/2015
14,410' - 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

Recent Images

  • An RMI team fortifies snow walls for protection from the wind at 14,000 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • An RMI team ascending Motorcycle Hill with 11k Camp of Mt. McKinley, AK in the background. Photo: RMI Collection
  • An RMI team ascending the fixed lines outside of 14k Camp on Mt. McKinley, AK. Photo: Brent Okita
  • The May 19th McKinley team preparing for the climb in Talkeetna, AK. Photo: Adam Knoff
  • The May 19th McKinley team ready to fly in Talkeetna, AK. Photo: Adam Knoff
  • An RMI Team camped at 11,200 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: Rob Lindner
  • An RMI Alaska Seminar Team navigating the glacier.  Photo: Kel Rossiter
  • Prayer flags fly at Everest Base Camp with Pumori summit behind.  Photo: Jeff Martin
  • Camp at 11,200 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • The view from Kahiltna Base Camp.  Photo: Seth Waterfall
  • The RMI Posh tent set up at 14,000 ft Camp.  Photo: Lindsay Mann
  • Climbing Windy Corner on Mt. McKinley. RMI Photo Collection
  • The Summit Ridge of Radio Tower. RMI Photo Collection
  • View from Ski Hill on Mt. McKinley.  RMI Photo Collection
  • An RMI Camp on the Kahiltna Glacier. RMI Photo Collection
  • The May 17th RMI Team ascending the Emmons Shoulder at 13,000 ft en route to the summit.  Photo: Zeb Blais
  • The RMI Four Day Summit Climb Team on the summit of Mt. Rainier May 17th.  Photo: Brent Okita
  • RMI Guide Elias de Andres Martos ascends Big Arapiles in Little Switzerland, Alaska. Photo: Bridget Schletty
  • RMI Guide Elias de Andres Martos looks across the Pika Glacier towards the Trolls, from the summit of Big Arapiles. Photo: Bridget Schletty
  • An RMI team ascending the upper slopes of Mt. Rainier. Photo: Brent Okita
  • An RMI team's 11K Camp on Mt. McKinley, Alaska. Photo: RMI Collection
  • The May 14th Alaska Seminar team poses for a photo while taking a break from packing. Photo: Leon Davis