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RMI Expeditions Blog

Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Waiting for Break

May 29, 2017
There isn’t a whole lot new to report today. The winds started to dissipate late last night into this morning. There were still some gusty bursts that swirled snow into the air, enveloping those unlucky enough to be caught out in them. But as the morning progressed, the air calmed down, and the sun started to break though. Our brief respite of sunshine was short lived, as a 20,000’ wall of cloud crept slowly towards us, finally enveloping us and triggering peaceful snowfall. It has snowed lightly for much of the day, but the wind seems to have relented for now, and the forecast seems to show our window appearing in the next couple of days. We’ll be excited when it does!

RMI Guides Pete, Jess, Jenny and team

On The Map

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Denali Expedition: Jones & Team Take a Weather Day at 7,800’

May 29, 2017

We woke up this morning to snow showers, moderate winds, and low visibility. Rather than do battle in a storm trying to move to 11,000 ft, we stayed in camp at 7,800 ft and enjoyed our first rest day. After yesterday’s successful carry, the team has earned some recovery.
We started the day with salmon, bagels, cream cheese, and some lively tunes. It seems like one of the team members has sealed his fate as the resident dj for the remainder of our trip. We followed breakfast with some lounging, napping, reading, and digging. Our kitchen tent is now the best looking one in camp, and maybe the whole mountain. For dinner, we will be dining on a delectable Mac and Cheese, with plenty of bacon thrown in for good measure. It has been snowing for most of the day, but accumulations have been moderate and the wind has bit of a bite. Everyone is feeling strong, and we are ready to move camp tomorrow….. Weather pending!

RMI Guide Tyler Jones

On The Map

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Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Wait out the Weather

May 28, 2017
Though the moisture and winds we’ve been sitting through were forecasted to dissipate today, Denali had other plans. We haven’t seen much all day due to blowing snow and gusty winds. For the brief period that we went over to the ranger tent for a visit,  the max gusts hit 42 mph. We made the best of it by inviting Mike’s team over for breakfast burritos. Tent fever spurred a lively and long lived game of “heads up.” The weather this evening explained our current situation: a low pressure center moving to the NW of the mountain, and frontal passage over the mountain. Things should settle out once the front passes, and once Denali gives the OK, we’re ready to take advantage. Until then, we’ll listen to the wind blow.

RMI Guides Pete, Jess, Jenny and Team

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Hello, thank you very much for regular updates!

We all hope for weather change in nearest future- we wish you a lot of sunshine with no snow and no wind.
Your creativity with meals and entertainment in such difficult conditions is amazing!

Jan- we are keeping you and the whole team (actually both teams) in our thoughts.

Stay safe and strong! Good luck!

Posted by: Ewa Grajkowska on 5/29/2017 at 6:02 pm

Denali Expedition: Okita & Team Rest at 11,200’

What a winter wonderland for May 28!  Over the past week at least three feet of snow has fallen and it is still coming down. Visions of power skiing, snowman building,and marshmallow roasting dance in our heads as we spend a day resting here at 11,200 camp.  The group is in good spirits and all set up to move when the mountain gives us our chance. There is quite a community building here at camp because no one has had the opportunity to move up recently. The RMI establishment is on the upper end of Main Street with 4 tents and a communal cook tent where we enjoy pancakes, hot chocolate, and tortellini. Our latrine had a nice makeover today now has three tall walls with a chicane entrance. We are all very happy about the improvements. As for the rest of Main Street there are no Starbucks but a constant view of people shoveling out their tents. 

Signing off from the little city with a population of 60 people here on the side of Denali.

RMI Guides Christina, Brent, JT & Team

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So fun being on the other end this year and reading these updates!(of course I’d rather be there with you!) I’m remembering that igloo at 11k camp…I hope no one had to use it if it’s still there! Steve and Lindsay, I’m so happy to hear you are doing great! I had no doubt you would be rockstars! Brent and Christina I’m remembering all the hard work you put in and how amazing you guys are! Thanks for the updates! Rooting for you guys and for a stretch of good (enough) weather!

Posted by: Dawn Golding on 5/29/2017 at 10:44 am

Mt. Rainier: Four Day Summit Climbs on Top!

Today’s Four Day Summit Climb led by RMI Guides Elias de Andres Martos and Solveig Waterfall reached the summit of Mt. Rainier early this morning.  Elias reported colder and windier temperatures than expected on their ascent.  The team enjoyed some time on the summit before beginning their descent to Camp Muir.

Congratulations to today’s climbers!

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Denali Expedition: Walter & Team Wait out the Storm

May 28, 2017

Today is very stormy on Denali. Poor visibility, gusty winds and cold temps keep us in our tents today. This morning we had a great joint breakfast with the RMI #2 team’s guides and climbers. Other than that, not much new to report. Camp is quiet as no one is venturing out in this weather.
There hasn’t been a summit in nearly two weeks, and only a few teams have ventured up to high camp (17,200’, where we cached 12 days ago), and most of those that have returned with frostbite. It has been cold and windy for a while now. It has to change, right? It’s coming down to the wire for our team as our food supply dwindles. We still have hope though…

RMI Guide Mike Walter

On The Map

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Hang in there Rue and team!!! I’m doing the good weather dance for you guys here in San Franciso for you.


Posted by: Cindee on 5/29/2017 at 4:14 pm

Denali Expedition: Jones & Team Fly Onto Denali

May 28, 2017 1:32 am PST

Hi from Denali!

The team got a break in the weather around noon today! Big day indeed for flying! We unloaded our gear from the planes, repacked our duffel bags, loaded our sleds and heavy packs and got on the move to our first camp at 7,800ft. The trip to the mountains is finally underway. We made great time in the light cloud cover keeping the air cool in the often blistering heat of the lower Kahiltna glacier. We set up camp had a quick dinner and are now resting our bones!

RMI Guide Tyler Jones & Team

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Sam and Mike, good luck to you and the rest of the team. Represent Colorado well and unhook the plows! Stay safe.

Posted by: Chris Hoidal on 5/29/2017 at 4:37 pm

Good luck up there. Hopefully your type 2 fun is sprinkled with some type 1 fun too. Be safe.

Posted by: Colleen Kerr on 5/29/2017 at 3:24 pm

Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Practice Crevasse Rescue at 14,200’

May 27, 2017 11:51 pm PST

Denali loves to tease. We poked our heads out early this morning to frigid temps and a big, dark cap above us. It was enough to quickly convince us to bury our heads back in our sleeping bags for a bit. At our next check though, the cap was thin, the sky clear, and things looking decidedly in our favor. We jumped out, endured the -30 temps’ effects on our toes, and fired stoves for breakfast. The sun broke across camp and we were making moves to get ready to carry. We watched instead however as the cap built, winds started to blow along the West Buttress, and we weren’t so sure. All across camp, folks had taken down tents, were packed and ready to walk, and leaned on snow walls staring uphill, exchanging doubts with their neighbors. In short order, we pulled the plug on our carry, other teams’ tents went back up, and everyone settled in for another rest day. Such is the rhythm of Denali.

After a few rest days in a row, the tents aren’t quite as inviting, the novelty having worn off. So we spent a few hours this afternoon looking at crevasse haul systems, and comparing, exchanging ideas and broadening our skills.

We’re in the waiting game. We’ve got plenty of food and tonne, so we aren’t in a rush. We’re enjoying the beauty of where we are right now, sure that our chance will come soon.

RMI Guides Pete, Jess, Jenny, and Team

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Hello, Amazing Mountaineers!  So sorry that the only thing you have exercised the last few days is your patience.  Hoping and praying for good weather.  Pete, Jess and Jenny, we can’t thank you enough for keeping the team’s safety as your top priority.  We are impressed with your creative efforts to keep boredom and impatience at bay.  It seems you are all using this break to get to know one another and build comradery.  I doubt you had much time for this the first part of the trip as you practically sprinted up to the 14 camp!  Your meals sound good.  Hope Mark didn’t whine too much about the lentil, kale and quinoa stew! 

Rachel, is that you in the snow hole in the picture posted on May 20th?
Will the team ahead of you have to complete their summit and return to 14 or 17 before your team can start?


Posted by: Sue Shoemaker on 5/28/2017 at 10:29 pm

Denali Expedition: Okita & Team Cache Gear at 13,500’

May 27, 2017 10:15 pm PST

During our break on the Polo Field at 12,800’,someone asked if we could keep our big down parkas on. Good question. It was pretty darned cold and the wind was directly into our face. I’d never had to climb in my parka at that elevator before, but it sure sounded like a good idea to me. Our attempt yesterday really set us up for success today. The team learned how to keep their faces protected while not fogging up their glasses or goggles. And that allowed us to travel in some chilly conditions today. A great skill to have before we get to the higher, colder parts of the mountain. Our time thus far has been particularly cold and unsettled. I’m just glad we haven’t been hanging up at 14,200’ this whole time like our other two groups. With luck, we’ll get there just as this predicted high pressure system comes through, hopefully with the expected rise in temperatures too. We wore those parkas all the way around Windy Corner to our cache site at 13,500’, where we were finally sheltered from the wind and could bask in some sunny, warm weather. Amazingly, we all opted to keep those big coats on all the way back to camp. With the wind at our backs and nothing much in our packs, we could gloat just a bit as we passed by the madding crowds on the uphill slog into the cold wind. Our hard work was done, and we were headed back to camp. There’s something to be said about being up early and back early even at the cost of breaking trail each morning.

If we get another break with the weather tomorrow, we might just make the move to 14,200’ camp. That would be fantastic, especially how everyone is doing so well.
That’s it from 11,200’. It’s been a big day.

RMI Guides Brent, Christina, JT & Team

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MT. Rainier: May 28th Summit!

The Four Day Summit Climb team led by RMI Guides Casey Grom and Chase Nelson reached the summit of Mt. Rainier early this morning. Casey reported that the team is enjoying clear, calm and peaceful skies. The team was leaving the Crater Rim at 6:50 am and are now en route to Camp Muir.

Congratulations to today’s team!

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