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Denali Expedition: Smith & Team Retrieve Cache, Enjoy Day at 14,000 Camp

What a day,

Clear skies greeted us this morning creating a very brisk morning. Once again camp was quiet with the cold. As the sun broke over the mountain and warmed camp it became alive. Teams started moving around going various directions whether it was heading toward 17,000' Camp or going down to the 13,500' cache. For us it was going down to our 13,500' cache. We made fast work grabing our gear and getting back to camp. After a lunch break we went for a walk to the Edge of the World. You can see all the way down to our first camp at 7,800'. Its a long fall over the edge but makes for great hero shots. Everyone got belayed onto the rock (much like the rock from lion king) and got great photos, ice axe in hand, big smiles and thousands of feet of relief below them. As for tomorrow we are in a holding pattern with weather and logistics. No matter what we end up doing tomorrow it will be a good day and is all apart of our journey to the top.

All the best,

RMI Guide Hannah Smith and team

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Absolutely STUNNING! What an adventure for the memory bank this trip is! Thank you for sharing! Onward and upward!

Posted by: Judy and Dale collins on 6/19/2021 at 7:19 am

Denali Expedition: Smith & Team Snow Overnight Prompt Rest Day at 14,000 Camp

Thursday, June 17, 2021 - 10:02 pm PT

Howdy all,

The snow continued through the night and into the morning. A layer of frost coated the under side of the fly. Every time you hit the tent to knock the snow off, the frost fell down onto our sleeping bags. As the sun came out and warmed the tents, the ice melted and the frost turned into little water drops. Due to the snowfall and wet tents, we opted for a rest day to allow everything to get dry. Snow fell most of the day, sometimes while sunny others fully cloudy making for a very white scene. But later in the day the clouds cleared and the views were amazing. Having such great views makes being patient worth it. The temps bounced from chilly to very hot in the tents all day. One could swear it was 100 degrees inside. They say its freeze or fry out here and we can all feel why. Tomorrow's weather looks good, so we will be going to our cache at 13,500' to grab our stuff. Its exciting to be reunited with your snacks you parted ways with at 11,000' camp. Sleeping bags are calling our names.

Till tomorrow,

RMI Guide Hannah Smith

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Wishing you all the Best Hannah and Dustin!!!
Farmer Dave

Posted by: Dave Kestel on 6/19/2021 at 3:32 am

These updates are the highlight of my day, you truly give us perspective on the tremendous feat you have all undertaken and prepared for.  Putting it out to the universe for great weather to make the summit happen. The pictures are amazing, keep them coming! I love my Lu, what a golden birthday this is!!!!

Posted by: Daysi on 6/18/2021 at 3:58 pm

Denali Expedition: Smith & Team Break Camp and Move to 14,000ft Camp

Wednesday, June 16, 2021 - 9:49 pm PT

Good evening,

We woke today to snowflakes dancing their way to our tent making a pitter patter noise. It was a calm morning with fluffy snow. The clouds rolled in and out throughout breakfast making it a touch and go if we were going to pack up. But then as we finished our cereal and hot drinks, the snow dissipated and blue sky was showing. We broke down camp and hit the snowy trail. Heavy packs and heavy sleds weighed us down but we pushed forward. It was a tough day but we rolled into camp as more snow began to fall. Seeing the tents at 14,000' Camp as we crested the last hill was a marvelous sight. It might as well had been a cheeseburger and beer. Once the camp was established we all crawled into our new home and dried our gear. Some good ole Annie's Mac filled our tummies before we all went back to our sleeping bags for what we all hope to be a great night sleep. As the weather remains squirrely, we will decide what our agenda for tomorrow will be. Could be a back carry or could be a rest day.


RMI Guide Hannah Smith and team

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Denali Expedition: Hannah Smith & Team Prepare to Move Higher

Tuesday June 16,  2021 - 8:30 pm PT

Good evening,

Higher and higher we go! We continued moving gear uphill today. We left camp in the morning and made our way up motorcycle hill. It’s a rather steep hill, very much in your face. But with good cramponing and pressure breathing we made it to the top. Next, we cruised up squirrel hill, across the polo fields, around windy corner to our cache site. Some firm snow made digging our deep hole difficult but the effort is worth it so the ravens don't get at our food. The team is feeling good and looking great. We are all very excited to move to 14k camp tomorrow. There is a weather system possibly hitting the mountain Wednesday night so it will be nice to get out of 11k camp and up to 14k camp in case it produces a bunch of snow. Plus, a new scenery and home will be a fun change as well. It’s the little things that bring you joy on mountain.


RMI Guide Hannah Smith and Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

I’m so exited for the entire team and the tremendous progress you have already made. I wish I could have been there with you Julia and I think about it every day as the memories we shared together from Reiner are as vibrant as if it was yesterday. I love you to the end of the universe and back and the entire family are routing for a wonderful experience out there together with your team. Älskar dig för alltid!! Pappa.

Posted by: Stefan Johansson on 6/16/2021 at 12:40 pm

Happy Anniversary Hector! Lots of love from NY

Posted by: Anna Haring on 6/16/2021 at 11:35 am

Denali Expedition: Smith & Team Enjoy Well Deserved Rest Day


A day of rest and preparation was what we needed. We started the day with a casual breakfast of breakfast burritos and coffee followed by a lot of down time. If we weren't napping, eating, or reading we were going through our gear and food separating it into piles, one that would stay with us and one that we would cache higher up. It is always a hard decision trying to decide what food to part ways with but it is always a fun moment when you are reunited in a couple days. Later in the afternoon we reviewed some cramponing techniques before heading to dinner. One of the highlights of the day was the evening entertainment, watching skiers manage their sled down motorcycle hill...lets just say there were some wipeouts but the skiers were all good sports as they skied into camp knowing they were the reality TV show of the night. As the sun started to hide behind some swirling clouds the temps dropped and it is time for bed. Tomorrow we will carry to 13,500' to off load some of our gear to make our move to 14,000' Camp lighter.

Till tomorrow,

RMI Guide Hannah Smith and team

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Hey Sami/ Hector
Is nice to hear all is going well with the team. I hope you are enjoying all that beauty. I wish I could be there.. perhaps one day.
Devin and the kids went backpacking this weekend to the Adirondacks they were going to be thinking on you so they said.
Father’s Day is approaching so hopefully Sunday gets to be an awesome day for you up there. Stay strong and listen to your body.
Sending you a big hug of strength .
Your sister !
You know which one .
Love you !

Posted by: Priscila Hernandez on 6/18/2021 at 4:31 pm

Great work Team Smith! It’s so worth all of the suffering, keep your eye on the prize!

Best wishes for great weather!

Ron Richmeier

Posted by: Ron Richmeier on 6/18/2021 at 1:23 pm

Denali Expedition: Smith & Team Move to 11K Camp

Sunday, June 13, 2021 - 9:25 pm PT


Excitement is high as we made it to 11K Camp today. Before waking to break down camp and hit the snow highway, we got a chance to congratulate Mike King and team on their successful expedition as they made their way to the airstrip. Its easy to let your mind wander to what luxuries they will get while we pull heavy sleds with heavy packs. But we have to stay focus because our journey has just begun. Part of the excitment of today is knowing that this was our last day hauling all our gear at once. From here on out we will begin doing carries which will lessen the overall weight on our bodies. Today is also exciting because we get to settle in for a few days, which I like to call nesting, creating a cozy home. Tomorrow morning we won't have to wake early and break down camp but instead we will enjoy a well desereved rest day. Relaxing, recovering, eating and sleeping is the name of the game for tomorrow.

Talk to you all tomorrow,

RMI Guide Hannah Smith and team

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Looks amazing - well done to all the team !! Stay safe. These updates and pictures are just brilliant to see and get, thank you for sharing. We miss and love you loads Hollie and Shane. x x x
Looking forward to more pictures

Posted by: Kelly, David Kyla, Cameron & Cole on 6/15/2021 at 7:35 am

BJ - I am so impressed with your accomplishment and I wish you and your team the very best and safest trip going forward.  I miss you and I love you tremendously.  Take good care of yourself. Anna Geigle

Posted by: Anna Geigle on 6/14/2021 at 7:21 pm

Denali Expedition: Smith and Team Climb Ski Hill and Settle into Camp

Saturday, June 12, 2021 - 9:15 pm PT

Hello all,

The team has made it a day closer to the summit. Ski hill was a leg burner first thing this morning. It has been the most sustained uphill thus far, but the team walked strong and arrived to camp in good style. Clear skies and lots of sun made for a very toasty afternoon. It can be easy to forget how cold this mountain gets when you feel like you are sleeping on a tropical island, baking in these tents. As the evening progresses the temps will drop, and the cool brisk air will be a welcomed feeling as we cozy up in our sleeping bags.

Tomorrow we move to 11k camp. It is an exciting move because we will spend at least three days there. No more wake, move, sleep repeat. It’s always fun to settle into a camp and make it home for more than a day.

Goodnight all,

RMI Guide Hannah Smith and Team

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Denali Expedition: Smith & Team Travel to 7,800ft and Set up Camp

Friday, June 11, 2021 - 8:06 pm PT

Greetings from 7,800 Camp,

The early morning greeted us with views of all the surrounding peaks: Hunter, Foraker, and Francis. After filling our bellies with instant coffee and bacon bagel sandwiches we broke down camp, loaded the sleds, clipped into the ropes and hit the glacier. The day started with a gradual downhill to give us a nice warmup to the heavy sleds. Four miles later with achy hips, back and feet we arrived to our new home for the day. It was a hard, heavy day but the team handled it with flying colors. The rest of the day was filled with naps, munching on snacks, and a game of cards. Tomorrow's agenda is to move to 9,500 Camp. Ski hill will be our morning warmup, so an early night to rest up is a must.

Early to bed, early to rise,
RMI Guide Hannah Smith and team

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Denali Expedition: Smith & Team Load Planes, Arrive at Kahiltna Base Camp

Thursday, June 10, 2021 - 6:09 pm PT

Good evening,

The sun made its way past the curtains flickering in the room. Knowing the sun was partly out was a good sign for flying today. As we made our way to the hangar, we got the call telling us to get our butts in gear. It was time to load the planes. Street shoes were traded in for boots, jeans traded for climbing pants. The air was filled with the roar of the planes and also nerves and excitment knowing that we were about to start our expeditions. Great views and a smooth ride brought us to the Kahiltna Base Camp. Just as we were so excited to fly onto the glacier, other teams stood ready and excited to fly off. We will be them in a few weeks. The rest of the day was spent setting up camp and refreshing skills. We will wake early tomorrow morning to make our way to the next camp.

Let the fun begin,

RMI Guide Hannah Smith

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

So glad to hear the sun made an appearance and you’re underway. Best wishes for the whole team. I’m thinking of you Byron!

Posted by: Heather Collins on 6/11/2021 at 5:40 pm

Get it, Dustin!! Make Kareem proud with those clear glasses!

Posted by: Drew Dykstra on 6/11/2021 at 1:06 pm

Denali Expedition: Smith & Team Ready to Start Their Expedition

Wednesday, June 9, 2021 - 7:22 pm PT

Hello everyone,

We woke this morning goal oriented and optimistic. We knew if we wanted to fly we had a lot of chores to get done to be ready when the pilots said it was time. As we packed our duffels and packs and rearranged gear we all kept a hopful eye on the clouds above, hoping they would clear and give us the window we wanted. Unfortunately our patience did not pay off and our window for flying closed. But the day was not lost as we are now ready to try to tomorrow. So with dinner time approaching we will enjoy hopfully one last dinner at a table and fly in the morning.


RMI Guide Hannah Smith & Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Fidel says, “I love you!” All of Wellsville is cheering for you. Love you lots.

Posted by: Anna Haring on 6/11/2021 at 6:59 pm

Pulling for you all and the weather to clear up so you can get in there! Also, I swapped my Rainier 4 day for the Aug 30th 5 day. Hoping one or both of you are guiding it. Be safe and good luck!

Posted by: Shane Summers on 6/10/2021 at 8:56 pm

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