- Melissa Arnot
- Alex Barber
- Bridget Belliveau
- Jake Beren
- Zeb Blais
- Katrina Bloemsma
- Katie Bono
- Lance Colley
- Sean Collon
- Leon Davis
- Elias de Andres Martos
- Pepper Dee
- Mark Falender
- Leah Fisher
- Lindsay Fixmer
- Eric Frank
- Steve Gately
- JM Gorum
- Casey Grom
- Billy Haas
- Dave Hahn
- Walter Hailes
- Mike Haugen
- Andy Hildebrand
- Joe Horiskey
- Nick Hunt
- Tyler Jones
- JJ Justman
- Andrew Kiefer
- Mike King
- Adam Knoff
- Caleb Ladue
- Ben Liken
- Josh Maggard
- Paul Maier
- Linden Mallory
- Lindsay Mann
- Jeff Martin
- Stoney Molina
- Chase Nelson
- Billy Nugent
- Brent Okita
- Tyler Reid
- Kel Rossiter
- Geoff Schellens
- Mike Soucy
- Garrett Stevens
- Mark Tucker
- Mike Uchal
- Pete Van Deventer
- Alex Van Steen
- Ed Viesturs
- Christina von Mertens
- Mike Walter
- Seth Waterfall
- Solveig Waterfall
- Peter Whittaker
- Win Whittaker
- Robby Young
Entries From McKinley 5-27-14
May 29, 2014 - 12:06 am PT
Greetings from beautiful Talkeetna, Alaska! The entire team finally arrived today, after one of our team members experienced a slight delay coming up yesterday. We had a great day here, spending most of the morning talking about the personal climbing kits, the gear we’ll need and the food we’ll eat, and what to expect in the days to come as we prepare for our grand adventure in the heart of the Alaska range.
We met with the park service this afternoon, and then headed back to the hangar to finalize packing. Our team is dialed and as a result we had no troubles as we culled out the superfluous gear from what we brought. Everything’s looking tight and right, and we’re all excited to get underway. While the forecast doesn’t look incredibly promising, we’ll be ready to launch at a moment’s notice tomorrow, and we hope to be on the glacier soon. We’re standing by, filled with anticipation for the expedition and respect for the task ahead. Stay tuned for more details, and keep the positive vibes coming!
Until next time,
RMI Guides Tyler, Garrett, and Bryan
On The Map
May 29, 2014 - 5:55 pm PT
Winter’s grip on North America’s tallest mountain stays strong, while climbers surround the flight office in anticipation of what lies ahead. A sudden roar, cough, cough, an engine turns over. A lone pilot off to scout the weather towards Basecamp takes off from the Talkeetna air field. With him he carries the hopes of the climbers on either end. So far, no one has made it in or out, and we stand by, sending good wishes and warm thoughts to our friends currently sitting on the mountain.
Here in Talkeetna we are lucky to have a meal in arm’s reach, to enjoy one another’s company, share stories, learn new skills and refine the existing ones. A team bonds, creating an experience that each of us will remember for a lifetime. But for now we wait, hope, and learn. For this is just another day of one intrepid group in Alaska.
All the best for now.
RMI Guides Tyler, Garrett and Bryan
May 30, 2014 - 10:16 pm PT
The Alaska Range remains untouched by eager climbers awaiting a green light on a weather window. Our team awoke to our second day of uncertainty, hopes high that we might catch a break in this persistent southwesterly storm. Everyone’s enthusiasm and patience has been key while we perfect the “Talkeetna hang”. We spent the majority of our day at the hangar working on vital skills that will get us moving quickly once we hit the glacier. Everyone’s psyched for tomorrow’s potential, feeling optimistic that we might get our chance to fly!
The wait continues here in the rainy village of Talkeetna. We have covered a whole gamut of skills and topics. Currently we don’t have a glacier under our our feet but we have many new tricks and tips to help us when our plane’s skis hit the powder-covered runway at KIA (Kahiltna International Airport), as many consider it. While the last flight in or out occurred this last Monday, our motivation is high and our spirits strong as we endure these fuzzy and rain filled skies. Maybe fishing for halibut would suit this weather well?
Our afternoon will take us to the Talkeetna Ranger Station for a documentary video that outlines the process of climbing and the reality of this difficult and rewarding climb to the summit of North America! We continue to send positive thoughts to the teams on the hill, hoping to high-five with then as we land.
Any high pressure you can send up here would be appreciated by all…
Sunday, June 1, 2014 10:42 pm PT
We went to bed last night with clear blue skies fueling hopes for a good chance of flying onto the Kahiltna glacier today. When we woke this morning, the clouds dampened our hopes, and we slowly made our way to breakfast. After another hearty round of Roadhouse delights, we made our way to the hangar and settled in for a morning of discussion.
Within 2 hours, we had finished chatting and were dispersing around Talkeetna for rest and lunch. Some of us were still at the hangar when the K2 Aviation staff came out and started packing up our kit - it was on! We called the team in and got our clothes changed, boots on, and stood anxiously waiting for the green light to load and go.
Soon, we were in the Otter plane and flying towards the heart of the Alaska range. We landed amid the giants of snow and rock that characterize this special range, high-fived with RMI Guide Mike Walter and his crew and waved them goodbye as they headed back to the luxuries we’ve left behind. The team had a good early dinner and are now in bed, resting for the work to come. Stay with us as we climb towards our goal!
June 2, 2014 - 8:41 pm
Today we made our first and heaviest move of the entire trip. We mounted our packs with big sleds dragging behind! Traveling down the Southeast fork of the Kahiltna Glacier, we departed base camp in cool conditions early this morning. We then met a brisk wind as we rounded the corner on to the main fork of the glacier. As we ascended the wind continued to increase, biting with cold that gave a taste of the temperatures we’ll encounter higher on Denali, the Great One. Our crew did very well for our first real day of travel making great time to our camp at 7,800’.
We built camp in short order and napped a few hours of the afternoon away hiding from the breeze and the intense sun rays! The dinner of soup, mac and cheese with bacon and a variety of cookies was welcomed by all, and the team continued bonding over stories from our varied and interesting backgrounds.
Tomorrow, with the weather playing out in our favor, we will carry food, fuel and other supplies up hill and establish a cache near 10,000’. All is well here as we let the evening rest settle in. Stay tuned for more updates…
RMI Guides Tyler, Garrett, Bryan and the team
On The Map
June 3, 2014 - 5:36 pm PT
Yesterday’s icy winds gave way to calm, clear skies overnight. The temperature, however, was quite chilly when we woke for breakfast. The hot coffee and tea started warming folks up, and a couple of bagels with cream cheese topped by delicious smoked salmon rounded out this morning’s feast.
We packed up the kits for the carry and were walking shortly after the sun broke in camp. Temperatures climbed quickly and soon we were sweating under the loads, but within three hours we had buried our cache at 10,000 ft. We passed a ton of teams as we returned to camp - let’s just say that we were happy to be heading down while the rest of them were baking on the way up.
So now we’re poised for a move to the next camp at 11,200 ft and looking forward to making more progress on the mountain. That’s all for now, stay tuned for tomorrow’s tales of wonder from the frozen north land!
RMI Guides Garrett, TJ, Bryan and the team
On The Map
Wednesday, June 4, 2014 4:53 PDT
The morning came with no wind and optimal cool temps for our travels. After an oatmeal breakfast, the team packed for our quickest departure from camp yet. Our crew is strong and made great time during our climb, stopping at our cache to retrieve a handful of items from the surface, adding just a microscopic load for the final push into our new home for the next few days.
We plan to continue to fortify our camp by adding wind walls to our million dollar Posh house! The Posh house will serve as our kitchen,living, and dining room, bringing some comfort from the chill of the evening and protection from the blasting solar energy of the sun.
Currently, we are hiding from the sun’s torture and looking forward to a big dinner of tortellini with bacon and sun dried tomatoes. Tonight we will get a long night’s rest, and a leisurely breakfast tomorrow will lead us into a short back carry to retrieve the rest of our equipment!
We’re keeping our fingers crossed for RMI Guide Brent Okita and his team above us - as of last night’s radio check-in, they were planning to go for the top today. If the weather up high is anything like it is at our new camp, they stand a good shot. But for us, the name of the game is rest, recover, and prepare for the work ahead.
Thursday, June 5, 2014 5:23 PM PDT
It’s always a little hard to leave the food you love in a cold dark hole on the glacier…wondering when you can get back there, whether it’s going to snow so much that you can’t find it again, or if the industrious ravens will dig into it. Fortunately for us, none of the above were issues today, and we completed our cache retrieval without incident.
We started the day with snow showers and overcast skies, and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast of bacon, egg and cheese quesadillas with coffee and cocoa (clearly, we’re not starving). The food was just the fuel we needed for our two hour mission - we fired downhill, dug up the group gear and food we cached two days ago, and packed up our sleds for the trek back to camp.
The snow continued to fall as we pulled into camp, within 15 minutes we had all the gear stowed and were tucked into our tents, as warm and dry as we can hope to be. Now it’s time for a little lunch indulgence with the treats we brought, continued hydration, and resting from the output over the last few days. Tomorrow’s plan is a little up in the air - we’ll see if the weather cooperates for a carry or if we take a rest day here. Keep it locked in for more updates from the team!
RMI Guides Garrett Stevens, Tyler Jones, and Bryan Hendrick
June 6, 2014 - 8:37 pm PT
Today we woke to a grand flurry of climbers packing and moving up to the fourteen thousand camp. For us though, it was a day of rest and we crawled out of our sleeping bags after the sun warmed the air in the tents. We ate another great breakfast of bagels, cream cheese, and bacon, firing our spirits for a day of organizing our gear for tomorrow’s carry up to the 14,200ft camp. We’ll once again be separated from a few of our goodie bags and the gear we will use on the upper mountain.
We had a great review of advanced crampon technique, ice axe use, and general efficiency skills needed for our continued success at altitude as we move higher up. The real climbing starts from here, and we’ll don our crampons and ice axe for climbing steeper, more technical terrain and entering the more challenging altitudes.
With this day of rest, light activity and acclimatization our carry should be no sweat for our crew. Send some more nice weather our way and we’ll let you know when our cache has landed at its next destination!
RMI Guides Tyler, Garrett, Bryan, and the crew
On The Map