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Mt. McKinley Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Have Decision Day

June 2, 2014 - 11:16 pm PT

With things looking up for us, we got up early and packed camp this morning. With full packs and a lot of excitement to be moving again, we headed once more up towards the head wall and the fixed lines. We were not by any means the only group with this idea though and a train formed pretty quickly. As we worked our way up the lines in traffic the wind started to pick up, at first just occasional gusts that swirled through the basin, then becoming steadier, stronger, and carrying snow with them. By the time we reached the col at 16,200’ conditions had deteriorated significantly. It was a frustrating decision, but this was the type of weather that was too much for us to continue on in, and we decided quickly to turn back down the fixed lines to 14,000’ camp, out of the winds.

Once camp was reset, we had a tough team meeting over dinner. We’ve invested a lot of time, energy, and sacrifice into this endeavor, both on the mountain and all of the preparation and training, but we’ve been here for a long time, and it’s time to think about heading down. Everyone agreed that tomorrow, we will pack camp again, but this time will turn our boots downhill and head for the airstrip, home, and families. The team has worked so hard, and come together so well, and it’s a disappointment for all, but with any luck we’ll be at the airstrip tomorrow, and fly in the evening or next morning.

Thanks for reading, and we’ll see everybody soon.

RMI Guides Pete, Robby, Josh, and team

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Our hearts ache for you. We are so sorry that your trip is ending this way knowing how much you wanted to summit. Lowrys you will survive!

Posted by: Frank Haasbeek on 6/4/2014 at 5:00 am

Have a safe trip home. Just remember:
The Journey is for the Soul, The Summit is for the Ego.

We love you,
Lisa, Joe and Gabe

Posted by: Lisa, Joe and Gabe on 6/3/2014 at 7:27 pm

Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer and Team Looking to Tomorrow

Sunday, June 1, 2014 11:34 pm PT

The best laid plans are always subject to change. Our first view out of the tent this morning was of blue sky, but when we turned our gaze towards the summit, we found a large lenticular cloud spinning over the mountain, with jets of snow shooting up into the sky. Needless to say, we spent another day in camp. Our prospects look good for tomorrow, with a favorable forecast of high pressure for the next several days. We’ve said this before, and some are wondering how much longer we can wait; the team made the decision today that Tuesday would be our definitive up/down day.  On the plus side, a slew of independent climbers made the jump to 17,000’ today despite the winds, so that should alleviate some of the congestion tomorrow.

We redecorated our posh tent today with a sun painted in Gatorade, a hockey player’s face (looking towards the Stanley Cup), and the quote “we’re doin’ it”. Spirits are still high despite the waiting, and we have a lot of hope that tomorrow will deliver for us. For now: off to bed to rest up for the fixed lines and West Buttress tomorrow!

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

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Hey Team Lowry might do the line dancing yet! Keeping my fingers crossed for all of you. Go go go gang.

Posted by: Frank Haasbeek on 6/3/2014 at 4:23 am

Hoping Team Lowry had the opportunity to go up…can’t wait to read your next entry and hear the good news.

Posted by: Nick Spanakis on 6/3/2014 at 4:16 am

Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Hoping for a Move to 17K Tomorrow

May 31, 2014 - 11:23 pm PT

The weather slowly cleared over the course of today. We woke to heavy snowfall, but calm winds, and the snow slowly eased through the day, clearing enough by the time we headed to the tents this evening to show blue sky over the West Buttress. The anticipation and excitement in the cook tent this evening was obvious, as we do plan to try to make the next jump tomorrow, climbing to 17k camp tomorrow. If all goes well, the next few days will be big, and will go by in a whirlwind. We’ll keep you all updated on our progress, and wish us luck!

RMI Guides Pete, Robby, Josh, and team

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Marko..it’s only 3000 feet..get errr done brahh!

Posted by: Remi on 6/2/2014 at 10:24 am

Good Luck Marko!  What an exciting adventure for all of you!


Posted by: Vickie on 6/2/2014 at 10:16 am

Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team in One More Weather Day

May 30, 2014 - 10:54 pm PT

Ground hog day of a sort here, though not really. We spent another day sitting, listening to what sounds like a freight train above us: the wind blowing over the Buttress.  Mid day though, the wind direction shifted, and 14 camp went from being a place of relative calm, to getting intermittent gusts of wind to 30 mph or so, enough to move a lot of snow around. At the same time the snowfall intensity increased, so that it finally feels like we are sitting in some real weather in Alaska. A number of skiers around camp took the opportunity to make some nice powder turns, making us all jealous. With all of that, we are still optimistic about our window in the next day or two, and so spirits are high. Once this system blows itself out, it will be off to the races for us, hopefully as soon as tomorrow. We’ll let you know how it goes!

RMI Guides Pete, Robby, Josh, and team

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Wishing all of you great weather…it’s time to climb!

Posted by: Nick Spanakis on 5/31/2014 at 2:50 pm

Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team and 14K Camp Life

May 29, 2014 - 7:22 pm PT

Today has been more of the same from the last few days: snow, some light winds, and evidence of strong winds up high. As the weather continues to stall groups here at 14K camp, more and more groups have arrived to join the community. When we arrived, 14K Camp resembled a tiny village of tents and snow walls, but sprawl has taken over and camp looks more like a city everyday. As the population grows, so does the sense of community, since everyone is dealing with the same problems. When they announce the weather over the radio at 8 pm, small clusters of climbers come together across camp to listen and discuss afterwards. As you walk through camp, the weather is on everyone’s tongue; what is it going to do tomorrow, when will the window come, and what is causing this pattern is discussed a hundred times a day. A small barter market of food, toilet paper, and entertainment has sprung up. It feels like a small emptiness opens every time a team runs out of days and has to head back downhill, but their space (both physical and psychological) is quickly filled by the arrival of a new group. All of this helps to keep us patient and sane as we wait. Tomorrow will likely be a continuation of this trend, but the awaited window does seem to be showing itself in the forecasts, so the end may be in sight!

RMI Guides Pete, Robby, and Josh

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Nobody wants to contemplate having to go home but some of you will have commitments. If the weather changes for the better in a day or two, does the group still have time to summit?
Some comment on that would help us back home.
We keep our fingers crossed for all of you!

Posted by: Frank Haasbeek on 5/30/2014 at 4:46 am

Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Comfortable at 14,000’

May 28, 2014 - 11:25 pm PT

We weren’t surprised to wake up to more snow and evidence of winds up high today. It’s part of the process, and it took the team one glance up to the Buttress to know that we’d be sitting in camp again today. To combat the sitting, we made a checkers/ chess board, with jolly ranches and butterscotch for checkers, and Robby’s artistic renditions for chess pieces. The forecast we got tonight looks like it may be another few days before we get our window, but spirits are high, and we’re very comfortable here at 14 until that time comes. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for the shift in weather we’re looking for.

We’ll be in touch tomorrow.

RMI Guides Pete, Robby, Josh, and team

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Hope you get a break in the weather soon.
Hang in there.  Don’t eat all your game pieces.

Posted by: Lisa, Joe, and Gabe on 5/29/2014 at 9:59 pm

Hi Bob and Nicky Lowry…hang in there and God Bless all the climbers!
Love, Mom Dorothy

Posted by: Mary Beth Stein on 5/29/2014 at 2:53 pm

Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Get a Brisk Dose of Winter

May 27, 2014 - 10:34 pm PT


The team awoke this morning at Denali’s 14K camp to a brisk dose of winter. A few inches of snow fell overnight and winds were blustery and it was apparent another weather / rest day was in order. The team enjoyed a casual breakfast of bagels, cream cheese, and our go-to guilty pleasure, bacon.  Regretfully, we said goodbye this morning to our friends Mike Walter and team as they began the journey home after spending the last few days enjoying their company here at 14K camp.  We are in great position for a bid for the summit as soon as the weather allows, and we are anxiously awaiting our opportunity. Until then, hope all is well and thanks for following!

RMI Guides Robby, Pete, Josh and Team

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Patience is a virtue but sometimes there is not enough to go around. Enjoy the current rest area, you’ll soon be on your way. How much bacon?

Enjoy the beauty of where you are at!

Posted by: Frank Haasbeek on 5/28/2014 at 11:21 am

You’re almost there guys! Enjoy the bacon and the views! You are all awesome!

Posted by: Cara n' Jay on 5/28/2014 at 8:38 am

Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Weather/Rest Day at 14K Camp

May 26, 2014 - 10:12 pm PT

Now that we are in the holding pattern, waiting for our window, any day could be our chance to move to 17K and take a shot at the summit. This morning wasn’t it though, as we woke to a large, gray lenticular cloud hanging on to the upper mountain. We rested, traded books, listened to music, did a little 14K Camp crossfit, and took a walk to the “Edge of the World,” where the Genet Basin looks over the lower Kahiltna. From the vista we could see our first camp of the trip at the base of Ski Hill. The forecasts continue to be mixed, so we’re taking it day by day and seeing what opportunities the mountain provides us. We’ll send the news of tomorrow when we know what it is. Until then, we’re going to bury ourselves in piles of down and get some shut eye.

RMI Guides Pete, Robby, and Josh

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team

Mt. McKinley: Rest Day for Van Deventer and Team

May 25, 2014 - 11:56 pm PT

We took full advantage of our rest day today, eating a big brunch of egg, bacon, and veggie quesadillas (there is a recurring theme here involving our meals). The storm that was forecast for last night and today didn’t materialize, so it was a great day for chatting in the posh, catching some sun, and catching up on journals and reading. Everyone’s legs appreciated the recovery from yesterday’s big effort. 

The forecasts going forward are pretty scattered, and aren’t really painting a clear picture, so at this point we’re in standby mode, waiting for our weather window to present itself. We’ll see when that happens, but until then, we are living really comfortably at 14 camp. We’ll be in touch with more news tomorrow.

RMI Guides Pete, Robby, and Josh

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Thanks for all the updates! Singing ‘here comes the sun’ - hoping it brings you good weather :)

Posted by: Mo on 5/26/2014 at 7:12 pm

McKinley Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Head up the Fixed Lines

May 25, 2014 - 1:57 am PT

After several days of winds up high, and cold conditions that turned several teams around, we hit the jackpot today. We walked out of camp just as the sun hit, turning a pretty chilly morning balmy. We stopped just below the fixed lines to get ready, then headed up for our first run at them. Despite pretty blue and icy conditions, the climber traffic over the last couple days left some nice buckets for our feet scratched into the surface of the ice. Once above the lines, we headed out the West Buttress proper, which offers some of the best climbing and views of the whole route. At the base if Washburn’s Thumb, we set our cache of food and fuel, then turned back the Buttress to descend. We rolled into camp just in time for dinner and to catch the weather report. It sounds like we’re going to have a proper snow storm tonight and tomorrow, with 1 to 2 feet forecast. With that news we spent some more time fortifying camp, then crawled into sleeping bags just as the snow started. We’ll give you an update tomorrow and let you know how we fared.

RMI Guides Pete, Robby, and Josh

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Bob and Nicky…stay strong and enjoy your celebration while striving for the top!  Best regards and best wishes.  Nick and family

Posted by: Nick Spanakis on 5/26/2014 at 6:49 pm

Hi Marko and Team
Stay strong. Cant wait to see you at the bottom. Is there a Bloomingdale’s there?
xxoo Aunt Carolyn

Posted by: Aunt Carolyn on 5/26/2014 at 5:47 am

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