Entries From AK Seminar 5-4-14

Alaska Seminar: Davis & Team Back in Talkeetna

Posted by: Leon Davis, Eric Frank | May 13, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley

Greetings from Talkeetna!

So we made it off the glacier just in time!  This morning we woke at 3:30 am to start the 5.5-mile walk back to basecamp. The forecasted storm was slowly creeping in from the southwest and as we walked down glacier in the twilight, clouds came spilling over Mt. Foraker, threatening to shut down visibility. At 11:30 we could hear the mosquito hum of K2’s Otter as Randy flew in just below the cloud ceiling and set the plane down on the runway. Forty-five minutes later we were in sandals and t-shirts in downtown Talkeetna enjoying the warm air and flowering fauna. It has been an excellent experience for our folks. As we dry our gear on the lawn, everyone is quietly reflecting on the last six days spent in the Alaska range.

RMI Guide Leon Davis

After six days on the glacier, the team dries out their gear in the K2 lawn. Photo: Leon Davis

Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Take Advantage of the Good Weather to Cache Gear

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Steve Gately | May 13, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

Today we awoke yet again to a beautiful morning, but tomorrow that changes. With a brief disturbance blowing in from the Bering Sea tomorrow we took advantage of the good weather to make a carry to 13,500ft. There we cached gear and food that we will later retrieve and haul to 14,000ft Camp. Everyone was excited to finally strap the spikes on and go climbing and the team did fantastic navigating the new terrain and altitude. With the sun out and clear skies we enjoyed warm temperatures and fantastic views of the West Buttress proper and major features such as the Messner and Japanese couloirs. Tomorrow the team will enjoy their first rest day of the trip as we wait out the weather. All the best from Denali!

RMI Guide Steve Gately

Looking up from 11K Camp. Photo: Katy Reid

On The Map


Right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot…

Check that device of yours for responses from me.  I’ve sent ‘em.


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Posted by: K2 on 5/13/2014 at 9:17 pm

Alaska Seminar: Davis & Team Attempt Kahiltna Dome

Posted by: Leon Davis, Eric Frank | May 13, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 8,700'

Hi everyone!

Well today we went for Kahiltna Dome and we got higher than any other RMI seminar in recent history. Soft snow and punchy crevasse bridges put a halt on our upward progress close to 11,000 feet. Despite the early start, temperatures never allowed the snow to freeze solid enough to prevent us from dropping into the many cracks that guard the ridge.  The guides put the question to our seminar participants about whether it was safe to continue and the entire team made some very rational common sense arguments on the decision to turn back.  We do believe these folks are starting to understand their limits while making good decisions, as we hoped this seminar would help impart!

We are safe and happy back at 8700’ camp hoping to fly off tomorrow if the forecasted snow does not interfere.

Good night and see you all soon!

RMI Guides Leon Davis and Eric Frank

An RMI Alaska Seminar traveling the glacier. Photo: Kel Rossiter An RMI Alaska Seminar headed uphill on a beautiful day. Photo: Kel Rossiter

Alaska Seminar: Davis & Team Alone on the Upper Kahiltna

Posted by: Leon Davis, Eric Frank | May 11, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 8,800'

Good evening friends & family,
The team is here at 8,800’ camp on the Kahiltna, 5.5 miles from base camp. Today we walked with a few days of food and fuel up glacier under clear skies and later a blazing sun. It seems to be unseasonably warm here for early May, but we can hardly complain about great weather!

Early tomorrow morning we will leave camp and make an attempt on Kahiltna Dome and we are all excited to see what the mighty Kahiltna looks like from 12,200’!

Until tomorrow, good night from us all.

RMI Guides Leon Davis and Eric Frank

Alaska Seminar: Team continues training in the Alaska Range

Posted by: | May 11, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley

May 10, 2014 10:37 pm PT
The good weather persists in the Alaska Range!  We were fortunate to spend a big chunk of time today training under clear skies and bright rays. By the end of the afternoon, everyone was dialed on crevasse rescue and amped to move camp up the glacier tomorrow. Aside from our attempt in Radio Tower most of our time so far has been focused on training and lectures on mountain related topics. Now it is time to put our training into action and see if the mountains let us get a summit.

RMI Guides Leon Davis & Eric Frank

The views from Kahiltna Basecamp.  Photo: RMI Collection

Alaska Seminar: Davis and Team work on Glacier Travel

Posted by: Leon Davis, Eric Frank | May 10, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,300'

We can’t complain about the two days of bad weather that prevented us from flying on when it is this beautiful at base camp. The weather here is stellar and watching the sun track across the greater Alaska range has the team in awe.  Distant Avalanches off Mt. Hunter and Foraker provide awesome viewing in between skills training. Today we traveled up the SE fork of the Kahiltna for an attempt on Horiskey’s Hump (Radio Tower) but poor slope conditions turned us back.  Not as much snow sticking to the slopes here this year and firm conditions on steep terrain forced us to make a conservative decision. The team is very thankful for the chance and they learned a great deal about themselves.

Tomorrow we train and prepare for an attempt on Kahiltna Dome!

RMI Guide Leon Davis and Team

The Kahiltna Glacier. RMI Photo Collection

Alaska Seminar: Davis and Team Enjoy Sunny Training Day

Posted by: Leon Davis, Eric Frank | May 09, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,300'

May 8, 2014 10:20 p.m. PST
The team took advantage of bluebird weather today by training on various mountaineering techniques near Kahiltna Base. We did this in anticipation of an attempt on the Radio Control Tower tomorrow. Now that the group has all of the necessary skills under their belt, we can safely travel up the glacier and, hopefully, climb to our first summit!

RMI Guide Leon Davis

An RMI team camped at Kahiltna Base Camp.  Photo: RMI Collection

Alaska Seminar: Davis & Team’s Unexpected Good Fortune

Posted by: Leon Davis, Eric Frank | May 08, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,300'

May 8, 2014 1:54 a.m. PST
The team woke this morning to the sounds of birds chirping in the trees, which meant that yesterday’s rain had passed. The sky was still overcast, but as we assembled for breakfast at the Talkeetna Roadhouse spirits were high and conversation about our chances of flying onto the glacier carried a positive tone.

By late afternoon, it looked like another night might find us sleeping in Talkeetna and dreaming of glaciers, but luck fell our way. We were instructed to “suit up” and get loaded on the plane. Our flight service, K2 Aviation, was going to put us in the air and see if they could punch through.

Six hours later, we were nestled into our camp on the southeast flow of the Kahiltna Glacier. We established a camp and had a phenomenal dinner. Everyone is in awe of the surroundings and the group’s cameras are getting quite the workout.

RMI Guides Eric Frank, Leon Davis and the Alaska Mountaineering Seminar crew

K2 lands at Kahiltna Base. Photo: Katy Reid

On The Map

Alaska Seminar: Davis and Team Hold for Weather

Posted by: Leon Davis, Eric Frank | May 07, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley

Good morning friends and family! 

Well we are still in Talkeetna after a long day yesterday of rain. The skies this morning, while not raining, remain a canvas of clouds. Today we will continue ground training with mechanical advantage systems, remaining close to the planes if we get a break.

Weather looks good on Thursday and honestly, we are having a great time here!

RMI Guide Leon Davis & Team

Main Street in Talkeetna, early May. RMI Photo Collection

Alaska Seminar: Davis & Team Wait and Train in Talkeetna

Posted by: Leon Davis, Eric Frank | May 05, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley

It is often said that to be an expedition climber, you must learn patience. Today was an exercise in just that. Early this morning as we walked empty streets from the roadhouse to the K2 Hangar, clouds hung in what was once clear skies. On the southeast fork of the Kahiltna, those clouds would prevent pilots from landing at base camp. Still, we worked hard at packing for an early afternoon flight and as our departure time came and went, we spent the day training on the K2 front lawn. Knots were learned exhaustively, tents set up and tonight we will gather for another night of stories and laughter. Spirits are strong and tomorrow is another day!

RMI Guide Leon Davis

An RMI team at K2 Headquarters. Photo: RMI Collection

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