RMI Expeditions Blog
May 25, 2016
May 24, 2016 - 10:15 pm PT
At 6:00am the guides were just wrestling with the thought of unzipping from warm cocoon of down that so wonderfully keeps the cold outside at bay. A cold front had come thru and the winds had picked up as well. At that hour we didn’t know what to expect from the weather. Frost was sticking to the ceiling and walls of the tent, making any attempt to get up unpleasant. This was our first cold morning of the trip.
As it turned out, the sun had finally come out in all its glory, quite contrary to the forecast. For the first time the Alaska range was out in all its glory. We had a great walk down to pick up our cache, and unlike yesterday, had some relatively light packs to shoulder. We were actually able to put a new cache in above us at 10,000’, which will make our back carry in two days pretty easy.
Back at camp, with the tortellini dinner behind us, we’re back in our down cocoons as the sun has dropped over the mountains to our west and a chill has returned to camp.
Tomorrow, 11,200’ camp!
Cheers from the team at 9600’. We’re all doing well.
RMI Guide Brent Okita
On The Map
May 25, 2016
The May 3rd Denali Expedition led by RMI Guides Mike Walter, Billy Haas and Blake Votilla made the difficult decision to end their waiting game at 14,000’ on Denali and start their descent. On Monday they packed up camp and began heading for Kahiltna Base Camp. On Tuesday afternoon K2 Aviation was able to land on the glacier and load up the team. Mike checked in from Talkeetna yesterday afternoon. We are glad they are back safely and hope they all enjoyed their Denali adventure.
The weather was not with you, but your energy and spirit to summit was. Well done team!
Congratulations brother Dave - Love Jules
Posted by: Julie Beckner on 5/26/2016 at 8:18 am
Well Rogan is back home, I’m so sorry that you guys were not able to continue. But what you did, was not to be sneezed at, so congrats for getting so far up anyway. What a unique experience you all had never to be forgotten. Best wishes, Rogans Mom.
Posted by: Daphne carew on 5/26/2016 at 3:35 am
May 24, 2016
May, 23, 2016 - 10:05 p.m. PDT
Fully prepared for Denali Storm Daryl overnight, we were pleasantly surprised to enjoy a quiet night and an even more beautiful morning. While cold and calm here at 14 Camp this morning, the upper mountain continued to impress with strong winds and an impressive lenticular cloud covering the summit. Our sights turned from climbing and caching, to rest and rejuvenation. We said goodbye to our friends Mike Walter and crew as they began their long descent back to civilization, and headed out to the famous “Edge of the World,” a must see for any climber lucky enough to call 14 camp home. The views were ‘out of this world,’ as always, looking out over the cloud-filled lower Kahiltna Glacier, 7,000’ below. Quesadilla Supremes nourished our rested bodies this evening before the setting sun coaxed us back into the warmth of our tents. Tomorrow, our waiting game continues as we look toward a weather window that will allow us entrance to the upper slopes of the tallest mountain in North America.
Goodnight from RMI Guides Robby Young, Pete Van Deventer, and Jess Matthews and team.
On The Map
Hi Lisa& team VanDemventer wow unbelievable picturesque breathtaking views, hope ur window of opportunity happens today to take u to the top, it’s been a good tough journey I’m sure be safe to all and climb on. Xo the BOLOMEY’S ⛷
Posted by: Joe&Patty; on 5/25/2016 at 3:14 am
Great break in the weather for all as you acclimatize and get those red blood cell numbers up there.
Hitesh. Thinking about you and all goes well at SCH
Posted by: Rod Duboid on 5/24/2016 at 9:06 pm
May 24, 2016
May 23, 2016 - 9:39 p.m. PDT
The fickle nature of the weather on the mountain lately was again evident as the wet snowfall of yesterday had passed leaving us with cooler temps and a bit better visibility. Today we even got some nice views of this wonderful part of the Alaska range. Our big challenge this morning was Ski Hill, our steepest hill yet. Leaving a cache of food and fuel buried at our camp here at 7,800’, our loads were a little more reasonable today, but Ski Hill still proved to be a bear. Hips and shoulders certainly got worked today, but I’m excited that everyone was up to the task and we arrived at our next camp with plenty enough spare energy to build a good camp.
I’m continually impressed with the crew. Their tenacity during the tough stretches and enthusiasm upon reaching camp bodes well for our having a great trip.
On The Map
Hey Dawn! Tell Brent to post more pictures! :) I am pulling for you and the team from back here in Illinois!!!
Posted by: Dave on 5/25/2016 at 3:23 am
Hopefully all the evenings you spent wandering around Chicago with Izzy’s 50 lb dog food bag prepped you for this! Mike, hope you are having a blast as well. Love you and miss you!
Posted by: Stephanie on 5/24/2016 at 8:18 pm
May 23, 2016
The Mt. Rainier Four Day Summit Climb teams led by RMI Guides Jake Beren and Geoff Schellens reached the summit crater around 7:45 a.m. Jake reported light winds and pleasant conditions. The teams spent about an hour on the summit before beginning their descent just after 9:00 a.m.
We look forward to seeing all of the climbers back in Ashford later today.
May 23, 2016
May 22, 2016 - 11:34 p.m. PDT
We climbed out of the tents this morning hopeful that we would head uphill to cache. Though there was a cap on the summit, the ridge of the West Buttress looked doable. As we fired the stoves though that situation began to change as the cap lowered and the winds over the Buttress picked up. By the end of breakfast we had changed our minds and decided to stay put. That was further reinforced when a climbing ranger stopped by to let us know that NOAA had called with a special weather advisory with high winds and snow. The rangers have taken to naming the storms; this one is Denali storm Daryl. We spent the day resting and hibernating in tents, though so far Daryl has been pretty gentle with us. Tomorrow sounds like it will be another rest day, but if we wake up to something unexpected, we’ll rally and get our cache in.
Fra Tomas: Gratulerer med dagen Sinnekka! Jeg elsker deg, din Tomas.
RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Jess Matthews, and Robby Young, and team
On The Map
Nobody messes with Daryl on TWD; so, I’m glad to hear that you are paying storm Daryl some respect.
Stay low and ride this out. Mother Nature is always in charge.
Posted by: leanne on 5/23/2016 at 3:48 pm
Stay safe .. No guts and glory stuff!!!
Posted by: Peter on 5/23/2016 at 9:45 am
May 23, 2016
May 22, 2016 - 9:43 p.m. PDT
Our first day of climbing as a complete team went really well. Although clouds obscured our views of the incredible scenery around us, we had much better visibly than we had yesterday. Plus, our efforts yesterday lightened our loads just enough that today’s climbing was quite manageable. Our camp here at 7,800’ is nice, but the snow that’s been falling since we got here has made our kitchen/dining tent a most popular place. Our Posh House is always the center of community here; it’s the place we can eat and share a hot drink or two and be out of the elements. The conversations that come out of that place…
With luck, we’ll move camp to 9,600’ tomorrow, but we sure would like some improvement in the weather! Everyone is doing great and looking forward to moving up the mountain. Hopefully we’ll be talking from 9,600’ tomorrow.
RMI Guides Brent Okita, Christina Dale, and Chris Ebeling and the crew
On The Map
Mike - Mark Winter says he is not concerned about you as long as you stay away from bicycles.
Your scuba family is watching each day and sharing your adventure - although vicariously.
Posted by: Jim Pearson on 5/25/2016 at 10:08 am
Hey Paul, SO incredibly proud AND jealous of you! Just know that I am living every step vicariously through you and you make your journey to the top! You make training for Whitney seem like a walk in the park - at sea level! Be safe and ENJOY!!
Posted by: Virginia on 5/24/2016 at 7:19 pm
May 22, 2016
May 22, 2016 - 4:02 pm PT
So things were looking pretty grim for flying out yesterday morning. We woke to more snow and a complete whiteout, keeping us locked in camp. We kept ourselves occupied with some games of trivial pursuit, stories and eating. As the day wore on a bit of sun shone thru the clouds and after dinner we heard the unmistakable drone of a DeHaviland Otter. Things were a blur after that. We broke camp in record time and moved our gear to the airstrip and loaded the planes before the weather moved back in. Once in the air we witnessed the skills that make these glacier pilots some of the best around. The clouds were heavy and thick all around us and once Patrick found a hole with some ground below, a few 360 degree diving turns put us under the cloud deck so he could navigate back to Talkeetna by sight, flying just a few hundred feet above the Alaskan tundra. So here we are back in town among the green trees and mosquitoes. A great time in the Alaska range with a fantastic group of people!
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May 22, 2016
May 22, 2016 - 1:54 pm PT
Once again we’re checking in from 14k on Denali. There is not much new to report here. The winds up high remain strong, and the National Weather Service has issued a special high wind warning for this storm.
We are all comfortable and safe at camp and we’ll just have to see how this one plays out. Today is day 18 on the the mountain for our team, and high winds are forecast through at least Thursday. We’ll keep you up to date with the latest news.
On The Map
Thinking alot about you Blake !!
Love you !!
Posted by: Maria Votilla on 5/24/2016 at 12:58 pm
Team Walter, you guys are already my heroes coming so close to the summit. Respect storm Daryl! No gut or glory stuff! Come home in one piece, Lei. Love you. Hao
Posted by: Hao on 5/23/2016 at 7:31 pm
The Four Day Summit Climb teams were approaching Mt. Rainier’s crater rim at 7:30 am. RMI Guide Casey Grom reported clear skies, cold temperatures and very little wind on their summit climb today. The cloud deck is around 9,500’ and its beautiful above. The teams left the crater rim just before 9 am to return to Camp Muir. They will continue down to Paradise later today.
Congratulations to today’s climbing teams!
Just wanted to follow-up on what Paul said above…Nick, Steve, & Eric - You guys were awesome. Thank you for an awesome experience. Same to you as well Casey, Paul, and Walt. I’ve included all six of you in a Dropbox account should you wish to see the pictures from this awesome adventure!
I also want to say thanks to an amazing team…both A and B. I know I didn’t get to know everyone, but I consider myself grateful to have been able to share this experience with all of you. Thanks to each of you for making this trip that much enjoyable. Please upload your photos to the Dropbox! (Let me know if you didn’t receive the invite…check your junk folders) Between all of us, there should be some pretty amazing pics.
Again thanks to each of you, guides and teammates alike! Much love and All the Best!! - Beau Jackson
Posted by: Beau Jackson on 5/23/2016 at 6:53 pm
A huge thanks again to Casey Grom, Paul Rachele, and Walter Hailes for safely guiding our group to the summit and back. Your level of professionalism, knowledge, enthusiasm, and concern for our safety completely blew me away. It was very obvious to me that each of you are extremely passionate about guiding. I learned so much over the past few days and very much appreciate the enormous effort that each of you contributed to make it a fun, educational, and thoroughly enjoyable four days. I look forward to climbing the next peak with you and RMI…... after I recover from this trip of course :-) Paul.
Posted by: Paul Moran on 5/23/2016 at 3:45 pm