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May 31, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Continue Descent with Stop at 11K Camp

Thursday, May 30, 2013
Hey everyone, this is Billy. I’m checking in here with our group. We are at 11,000’ part way through our descent.  After our big summit day yesterday, we packed up our camp at 17,000’ and then moved on down. Brent Okita’s crew was kind enough to cook us up some dinner at the 14K Camp, and we continued on down to 11,000’, where the crew is all, actually snug as a bug, in their sleeping bags out in the open because it is so warm compared to where we’ve been living. We plan on getting up in the middle the night tonight and making a run for the airstrip hoping to get a flight off tomorrow sometime before the weather takes a turn for the worst.  We’ll give a shout when we reach Basecamp. That’s all for now.

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

Billy Nugent calls in from 11,000 feet Camp.

On The Map

Pryor, just found this website.  Glad you made it.  Must have been awesome.  Looking forward to a cal when you get down.  Love you.

Posted by: Finley and Karen Nunn on 6/1/2013 at 11:05 am

So proud of you Pryor!  Great job!

Posted by: Kristen on 5/31/2013 at 1:20 pm

May 30, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Summit!

Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 10:41 a.m. PT
Hi, this is Billy checking in. We are back in camp safe and sound from our successful summit bid. We got 100% of our team to the summit of Mount McKinley today, aka Denali. We are back in camp. Everyone’s hanging out, rehydrating, eating some delicious freeze-dried meals, and hopefully going to get a great night’s sleep before we gear up to head down and head home. And that’s all for now. We’ll check in again as our descent continues.

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

Billy Nugent calls in from High Camp after successful summit.

On The Map

Finally, boss!!  Would you go ahead and come home now?!? - there’s work to be done…  Oh yeah, and congrats!

-Dr. Harms’ snarky resident with abandonment issues

Posted by: Emily on 5/31/2013 at 7:52 pm

Congratulations, Craig and team! Absolutely fantastic!

Posted by: Ted on 5/31/2013 at 8:11 am

May 29, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Ready for Summit Bid

Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Hey everybody this is Billy here. I’m with Kel, Levi and the rest of the gang checking in from 17K Camp, high on Denali. We had a beautiful day today and it was actually pretty darn hot for our move up to high camp. We spent a good chunk of the afternoon cutting blocks and fortifying our spot. We’re hoping to take a crack at the summit tomorrow. The weather forecast looks perfect. We’ll call in tomorrow hopefully check in, from the summit perhaps, and then once again once we get back to camp safe and sound. That’s all for now, talk later.

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

Billy Nugent calls in from Denali High Camp.

On The Map

Hi Kel & Co~ So wonderful to be able to follow each step of your adventure. Good luck! My thoughts are with you all…

Posted by: Alysse on 5/30/2013 at 5:19 am

Hi Levi, we love the blog and pictures and seeing your adventures daily. Good luck to all on summit-ting! love ya, m&d

Posted by: Karla Kepsel on 5/29/2013 at 7:20 pm

May 27, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Carry Then Take a Rest Day..

Monday, May 27, 2013
We are resting today! Nothing much to report but a trip to the 6,000’ drop into the Northeast Fork of the Kahiltna known as the “Edge of the World” where we took some photos. Otherwise we relaxed and enjoyed the perfect weather on our first full day rest of the entire expedition. The team is doing well and excited for the big push ahead! We are hoping to move to high camp tomorrow and make a summit attempt soon thereafter! 

Ciao from 14k,

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

Sunday, May 26, 2013

We had a big day today and per the norm our team crushed it. We set out from 14 camp around 10:30 this morning hoping to get a cache of food, fuel, and gear in place for our high camp at 17,200’. Most teams are content caching somewhere along the ridgeline of the West Buttress and picking up the needed supplies on their way by during the move to 17 camp. Our crew was strong enough to climb all the way up the buttress and place our cache right in the middle of high camp. This will play to our advantage on the move day, enabling us to travel with lighter loads thus conserving energy for our summit push. The day ended up being one of our longest and hardest yet at around 8.5 hours round trip but will serve as good training for the harder and longer days to come. Anyway, we are back in camp relaxing in the evening sun and looking forward to tomorrow’s well-earned rest day.

All for now,


On The Map

Good luck to everyone!  Our thoughts and prayers are with you.  Tell Robin we said HI from Destin, FL

Posted by: Mary Romair on 5/31/2013 at 9:03 am

Hi Craig and Billy Nugent Team!

Great job everyone and thanks for the Blog updates!  Sounds like Craig is holding his own as the “elder” team member!  Of course those that know him would expect no less!  He’s 52 going on 25!  :)

Best wishes and regards to all of you,

Greg & Diane (in Raleigh, NC)

Posted by: Greg Lewbart on 5/28/2013 at 4:00 pm

May 25, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Bring Cache From 13,600’

First and foremost, the biggest event of the day was Pete’s birthday—14K on a sunny day is not a bad place for a party.

Today was a bit a work and a bit of play, or rest anyway.  We started by moving the 13,600’ cache.  We moved the cache and carried the cache to 14K.  Resting at the cache spot before our carry, we could hear the water flowing underground, deep under the glacier.  The trip back to camp was smooth and everyone arrived back far from flippy-floppy.  We enjoyed a relaxing afternoon in the peaceful oasis of our surroundings.  Though we all could certainly get used to that lifestyle, we’re also eager to make the most of this weather and the team’s strength, so we’re heading off to bed soon to get ready for tomorrow’s carry up the fixed lines.

RMI Guide Kel Rossiter

On The Map

Understand you are going to the top Monday Yahoo have a good day. Almost there.
Sending lots of luck to all of you.

Posted by: Judy Blaisdell on 5/26/2013 at 9:40 pm

Hey Bob,

Can’t wait to see those pics. Enjoy every minute and be careful. Love Ya

Posted by: Judy Blaisdell on 5/26/2013 at 8:38 pm

May 25, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team’s Hard Work Pays Off with a Reward

Billy here checking in from Camp IV at 14,200’ after a strong showing from our team on a big move up. We enjoyed mostly clear skies and incredibly strong sun on the way up from our previous camp at 11,000’. In fact, the sun was a little too strong; while the ambient temperature hovered in the teens we felt like we were boiling for the majority of our climb. It’s amazing what a little radiation can do. After all our hard work we were rewarded with an easy move-in to Mike Walter’s recently vacated camp. Sometimes you just get lucky. The high pressure is supposed to stick around through the extended forecast so we aim to keep on chipping away…


RMI Guide Billy Nugent

On The Map

Go Derek!! Myself and Jr are so proud of you!!mom and pop are praying for ye every day xxx

Posted by: Lisa oz on 5/25/2013 at 7:54 pm

I’m so proud!  Yall are gettin it done.

Posted by: Kristen on 5/25/2013 at 7:00 pm

May 24, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Carry to 13,600’

We woke today to a blend of blue and white swirls, but with more blue above and more white down low—And with our team still charging strong—we made the push to cache food and gear at 13,600’.  This trek takes us onto a different aspect of the mountain, with views over to the “Father and Sons Wall” and the glaciers to the west, which feed north to the Bering Strait.  Pushing upward to 13,000’ we could see the tops of Foraker (17,000’) and Crosson (12,000’) poking out above a thick sea of clouds around 11k—we were happy to be above it all.  After caching our gear we headed down (a much quicker trip!) and we’re now back at camp just as the sun has begun burning through the clouds—perfect timing!

RMI Guide Kel Rossiter

On The Map

go pete and the team!  barb and I are praying for you in this awesome adventure!

Posted by: mike tubbs on 5/25/2013 at 8:58 am

Happy birthday Pete!  I baked you a huge cake but I guess I’ll just eat it myself.  Hope the trek continues well!

Posted by: Dan bos on 5/25/2013 at 7:36 am

May 23, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Billy Nugent and Team Build Walls

There’s a great German game show called “Stackenblocken” where contestants arrange objects on a desk at right angles. A judge then comes out with a framing square and a riding crop to punish the contestants who cannot make their desk “Stackenblocken”. Well, the weather has been so sunny and warm here at 11 camp that the wall surrounding our camp was indeed no longer “Stackenblocken” and in fact leaned to the point where it comically collapsed… Fortunately for us there was no judge with a jockey’s disposition and the blocks remained intact. We were actually able to rebuild it in a few quick minutes; turns out its not so hard on the second go around when all your materials are ready-made.

On another note, the team also spent a bit of the day retrieving our cached food and fuel from the 9,600’ camp. We made such short work of our back carry that it really felt like a rest day. Good times!

More about our intrepid crew as our adventure unfolds…

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

Wow, so beautiful, good luck all, have a great time. Can’t wait to see you all at the top. You go Bob very proud of you.

Posted by: Judy Blaisdell on 5/24/2013 at 10:44 am

Absolutely beautiful pics. Sky looks awesome. Good Luck to all. Peace be with you.

Posted by: Robbin Everitt on 5/23/2013 at 12:39 pm

May 22, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Billy Nugent & Team Move to 11,000’

In the movie “Spinal Tap” there’s a comical part where the rock god explains to an interviewer that, whereas most amplifiers only go up to ten, his “goes to eleven” in case he’s really rocking out and “needs that extra push.”  Well, our strong team definitely needed no extra push in making it to 11K camp today.

After a calm night at 9600’ we woke to clear skies and prepared to “go to eleven.”  After caching some gear and food in a snow hole ( which we’ll pick up tomorrow) we enjoyed the feeling of dramatically lightened packs and sleds as we moved up.  Arriving in camp the team had its first experience with building a true Denali-style fortified camp.  Some people were shoveling, some were cutting blocks, some were carrying them:  everyone was working hard and in an hour or so we had a veritable Great Wall in place. Everyone enjoyed the upper body workout and the concrete results.  The sun sets late at 11K (it’s about 10pm now and still brilliant) and folks are settling in to a well-earned sleep.

Tomorrow will be a “half-rest” day: we’ll be making a three-hour trek to retrieve our cache, but without the work of breaking down and setting up camp we’ll be able to also rest and acclimatize.

RMI Guide Kel Rossiter

On The Map

May 20, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Establish Camp 2

Another beautiful day and another strong effort from our crew! We took advantage of more amazing weather and single-carried all of our gear and supplies up Ski Hill to set up shop at Camp 2, which sits at about 9,600’ on the upper reaches of the Kahiltna Glacier. Our guys clearly trained hard and the long hours on the stairmaster paid dividends today hauling massive loads. We rolled into camp around 4:30 which made for a leisurely afternoon getting situated and taking in the amazing views. After a hot dinner of tortellini alfredo, we all crawled into the tents and are currently waiting for the bitter cold to set in once the sun dips behind Kahiltna Dome.

That’s all for now, we’ll check in again tomorrow!

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

On The Map

Hey Craig, you seeing any good birds up there?

Posted by: Shelley on 5/22/2013 at 5:02 am

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