Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team in a Holding Pattern at 14,200’

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Billy Haas | May 24, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

Well, there’s not much new to report today. We’re still waiting out the weather here at 14,200’ on Denali. Last night was windy and snowy, with gusts up to 52 mph here in camp. There is lots of deep drifted snow around camp, so even just walking around is an exercise in trail breaking. The winds have let up this afternoon and it is still snowing lightly. Moderate snowfall is expected tonight and tomorrow, and with any luck it will let up by midweek.

We’re all safe and comfortable, waiting for the weather to improve. When (if) it does, we’ll have our work cut out for us; as a result of the new snow and wind loading, we’ll be faced with trail breaking and evaluating the avalanche hazard of the steeper slopes above us. In the mean time, we’re passing the time by reading books, chewing the fat, and the continual work of maintaining our camp’s condition throughout the storm.

We’ll keep you up to date with any changes in our current holding pattern.

RMI Guide Mike Walter and Team

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Alaska Seminar: Leon Davis & Team Send Final Dispatch

Posted by: Leon Davis, Lindsay Fixmer, Bridget Belliveau | May 24, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley

Hello friends and family,

Apologies for the absent dispatches these last few days; Apparently clouds and Sat phones do not get along.  We had a few eventful days on the Kahiltna so here is a quick wrap up. Our attempt on Kahiltna Dome was thwarted by Avalanche conditions so we made a full retreat from camp II back to Base Camp under a blanket of clouds.  The team set up a quick camp by the airstrip and started celebrating the trip with a few beers we stashed in a hole and some margarita’s from a friendly neighbor.  With some time to kill, a few folks wanted to know what the inside of a crevasse looked like so we set some anchors and lowered a few into the deep blue black holes that reach down under our feet.  Doug perched himself at the lip for a photo session of folks climbing out of the abyss.  Everyone flew off yesterday just before the weather shut base camp down and we enjoyed a fine dinner in Talkeetna and some drinks at the Fairview.  A great trip with some of the finest people I’ve shared a rope with.  Thank you all for tuning in and look forward to the pictures and stories headed your way!

RMI Guide Leon Davis & Team

Crevasse Rescue on the Alaska Mountaineering Seminar. RMI Chris Villar

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Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Waiting at 14,200 ft Camp

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Robby Young, Josh Maggard | May 24, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

May 24, 2015 - 9:32 am PT

Winter has come to Denali. We spent the night listening to snowflakes pelt the tent walls, interspersed with frequent tent shaking blasts of wind. As we stretched breakfast into a long brunch, the story didn’t change, so we decided to focus our energy on building up our walls a bit more and solidifying camp rather than going to get our cache. The evening brought stronger snow, and a fresh forecast of more snow tomorrow and wind, so we’ll see how the plan for tomorrow shakes out. From the wintry white north,

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

A snowy camp at 14,200 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: Brent Okita

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2

Hey all you Elves in winter wonderland. Looks like Santa Claus back yard.  Looks like few teams set up their camp there too.
Hope to hear you can… read more

Posted by: Lori on 5/24/2015 at 3:42 pm

Glad Team Pete made it in time before the weather turn wintry good idea to stay put. Sorry to hear weather has not been cooperating hopefully it will be better… read more

Posted by: Terri on 5/24/2015 at 3:41 pm


Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team Move to 11,200 ft Camp

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Nick Hunt, Andy Hildebrand | May 24, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

May 23, 2015 - 11:00 pm PT

In the real world the saying goes"the early bird gets the worm”.  This season on Denali, the early bird gets the weather window.  Now I’ve never been a bird before so I’m not gonna judge on how good a worm must taste, but I have been here before and I can tell you that moving camp in clear weather is much tastier than moving in a storm.  So, with a clear but windy morning we scarfed down a warm granola breakfast cached some unneeded gear and quickly broke camp.  Our team is getting very proficient at this skill so we were rolling by 9:15.  Nick led the team out and in 2.5 hours of sustained up hill travel had us all sitting at 11,200 feet.  It wasn’t long after we began building a fresh camp that the weather had enough of being nice and took a quick turn for the worst.  It held out just long enough to get camp built and then really started snowing and blowing.  The forecast is calling for up to a foot of snow by the end of tomorrow so we feel blessed to be in a good spot to wait things out.  Everyone sends big hugs to those following the blog and little hugs to those who aren’t. 
From from Camp three. 
RMI Guide Adam Knoff and team saying goodnight. 

An RM Team climbing towards 11,200 ft Camp on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: Lindsay Mann

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3

“In life there are no shortcuts to joy. Anything that is worth pursuing requires us to suffer just a little bit” ~Chris Burkard~

read more

Posted by: Shana on 5/24/2015 at 12:44 pm

Good luck! Good job, Dad!

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Posted by: Henry & Nathan on 5/24/2015 at 9:57 am


Mt. Rainier: May 24th Teams Summit

Posted by: Elias de Andres Martos, Kel Rossiter | May 24, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 14,410'

The Four Day Summit Climb led by RMI Guide Elías de Andrés Martos and the Five Day Summit Climb led by RMI Guide Kel Rossiter reached the summit of Mt. Rainier this morning. On the summit the team enjoyed clear, blue skies. The teams have left the summit and are making their way back to Camp Muir. We will see them back in Ashford this afternoon.

Congratulations to today’s teams!

The Mt. Rainier summit crater. Photo: Linden Mallory
2

If this is indeed the climb my Johnson boys are on, hooray. Glad it was clear for whomever it was.

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Posted by: Barb Garner on 5/24/2015 at 10:19 am

Excellent!!  Clear skies and great memories

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Posted by: Diane O'Connor on 5/24/2015 at 9:06 am


Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Wait Out the Weather

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Billy Haas | May 23, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

May 23, 2015 - 2:37pm PST

We’re still comfortably camped in Genet Basin waiting for better weather in order to move up to high camp. Today it is snowing and windy here in camp, and you can hear the winds howling thousands of feet above us on the West Buttress. We’re still living quite comfortably in our tent compound at 14,200’. We’re hopeful that the weather pattern will change after this weekend and we will have a shot to move to high camp and try for the summit. We’ll check back tomorrow to keep everyone up to date.

RMI Guide Mike Walter and Team

Tent at 14,000' Camp on Mt. McKinley. RMI Photo Collection

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RMI Guide Alex Barber Wraps Up His Trip to Annapurna

Posted by: Alex Barber | May 23, 2015
Categories: *Guide News

Thank you to everyone who followed the climb. I deeply appreciate all the support I felt from this community!

You can view photos of my trip to Nepal in my Dropbox gallery. Included are a few from working with the local people after the quake. As for what the immediate future holds for me, today I’m packing for my yearly pilgrimage to guide on Mt. Rainier for RMI. I am psyched to get back up to the Pacific Northwest, share the experience of mountaineering with others, and see my many good friends there. Again, thank you all for your support.

RMI Guide Alex Barber

Annapurna Base Camp. Photo: Alex Barber RMI Guide Alex Barber looking towards the higher slopes of Annapurna. Photo: Alex Barber RMI Guide Alex Barber trekking through devastated villages after the Nepal Earthquake. Photo: Alex Barber

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1

Hi Greg, great start,buddy! I hope you have found a nice hairy guy to keep you company this time - we feel guilty that we are not there looking after… read more

Posted by: Bruce Tocher on 5/23/2015 at 12:04 pm


Mt. McKinley: Knoff and Team Move Up to 9,800’

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Nick Hunt, Andy Hildebrand | May 23, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 9,800'

Saturday, May 23rd 12:44 am PDT

I would like to dedicate this dispatch (one of many I’m sure) to my six year old son, Liam, who’s kindergarten class will be following the blog as our adventure unfolds. Hi kiddo! Daddy misses you a lot!

Up here on the mountain, day two was again a well executed day. We packed up camp at 7,800 feet and made a single carry of all of our things up to 9,800 feet were we are camped for night. We each moved well over one hundred pounds divided between our sleds and packs. From here on up we begin to split the loads, taking some up the mountain in one carry and then returning the next day to retrieve the rest. The weather here is well below freezing at night and we have strong gusty winds that are blowing snow around. We got lucky to move into a camp that already had big snow block walls built to protect us a bit from the heavy gusts. Tomorrow we will decide what the plan is after we have breakfast and check the weather. So far so good.

RMI Guides Adam Knoff, Nick Hunt, and Andy Hildebrand

An RMI team ascending Ski Hill towards 9,800 Camp on Mt. McKinley, AK. Photo: RMI Collection

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6

Thanks for the great update—everyone in STL wants to know how you all are doing! George and Margaret have been telling everyone they see that Daddy is in Alaska climbing… read more

Posted by: Heather on 5/24/2015 at 5:45 am

Enjoying your newsy blog.  What a team,  Sending an abundance of well wishes for continued success and cooperative weather. Stay warm and enjoy your adventure.

read more

Posted by: Carolyn Wallgren on 5/24/2015 at 4:37 am


Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer and Team Set Up Camp at 14,200’

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Robby Young, Josh Maggard | May 23, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

Friday, May 22nd 5:52 pm PDT

The day dawned (that is, the sun rose since it’s always some shade of dawn or dusk but never night) with blue skies and calm air in camp, so we hit the rally button, gobbled breakfast and set about breaking camp to head to 14,200 ft. As we climbed, clouds started to appear and stream over our heads and we knew that winds were building. Windy Corner lived up to its name, but it was really only unpleasant for a short while, with wind whipping snow and ice pellets into our face. As soon as we passed the Windy Corner, the winds died and the oven turned on. It’s a long move to 14k Camp, and once we arrived the work wasn’t over. We set about building walls, a new kitchen, and getting everything bomb proofed. Now we’re settled into our new digs, happy, warm, and content. 14k Camp really is the cat’s meow. Tomorrow we’ll retrieve our cache, and it will be great to be fully settled.

Until then,
RMI Guides Pete, Robby, Josh, and team

14k Camp on Mt. McKinley, AK surrounded by fortified walls. Photo: RMI Collection

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6

Keep up the good work, Matt! Here’s a terrible pun for your trouble: ‘I have kleptomania, so when it gets really bad, I take something for it.’ Stay warm and… read more

Posted by: Scott on 5/24/2015 at 8:52 am

Jon and Team,
Congratulations on hiking up to 14,200 base camp!  In spite of the snow and ice pellets you all persevered and succeeded.  Thank you guides for your… read more

Posted by: Kemai on 5/23/2015 at 9:52 pm


Mt. Rainier: May 23rd Update

Posted by: Brent Okita | May 23, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 13,200'

The Four Day Summit Climb team led by RMI Guide Brent Okita was unable to reach the summit of Mt. Rainier this morning. Low visibility and windy conditions prevented the team from climbing above 13,200 ft. The team will descend back to Camp Muir before continuing on to Ashford this afternoon.

RMI climbers ascending the upper slopes of Mt. Rainier in poor visibility. Photo: Ed Viesturs
1

Sorry to hear of the news, but thankful you guys will be coming home safely. Sure wish the weather would have opened up for your summit push. Great job getting… read more

Posted by: RC on 5/23/2015 at 1:15 pm


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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
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
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Four Day Summit Climb
5/21 - 5/24/2015
14,410' - Summit

Recent Images

  • Crevasse Rescue on the Alaska Mountaineering Seminar. RMI Chris Villar
  • A snowy camp at 14,200 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: Brent Okita
  • An RM Team climbing towards 11,200 ft Camp on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: Lindsay Mann
  • The Mt. Rainier summit crater. Photo: Linden Mallory
  • Tent at 14,000' Camp on Mt. McKinley. RMI Photo Collection
  • Annapurna Base Camp. Photo: Alex Barber
  • RMI Guide Alex Barber looking towards the higher slopes of Annapurna. Photo: Alex Barber
  • RMI Guide Alex Barber trekking through devastated villages after the Nepal Earthquake. Photo: Alex Barber
  • An RMI team ascending Ski Hill towards 9,800 Camp on Mt. McKinley, AK. Photo: RMI Collection
  • 14k Camp on Mt. McKinley, AK surrounded by fortified walls. Photo: RMI Collection
  • RMI climbers ascending the upper slopes of Mt. Rainier in poor visibility. Photo: Ed Viesturs
  • An RMI Team camped at 14,200 ft on Mt. McKinley, Mt. Foraker in the background.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • An RMI Team taking a weather day at 11,200 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • An RMI Team pulling sled from from Base Camp en route to Camp 1 on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: Chris Villar
  • 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