June 23, 2014 - 2:10 PM PT
The day, yesterday, dawned cold and windy again, seemingly the weather theme for the entire trip. We decided to launch out of 11k camp anyway, with the siren song of airplane rides motivating our packing. When all the kits were loaded into duffels, we started the Kahiltna Shuffle in whiteout conditions, a stiff breeze keeping the temps cool despite the hard work of dragging big sleds downhill.
Soon we passed our friends who were camped at 9500’, and stopped in for a quick hello as the weather got just a little better. We continued down the glacier under improving skies, with only one or two minor freak-outs over the cumbersome sleds that threatened to take us out at the knees.
Finally the sun broke through, and the last grind up Heartbreak Hill was about as hot as anywhere on earth. But with the blue skies, we knew that the planes were flying - and that kept us moving right into base camp. Within about 10 minutes, our K2 Aviation Otter had landed, and we loaded up the kit and let internal combustion take over.
The evening wrap-up by the Susitna River was a special event, and Denali even came out from behind the clouds to give us full closure. It has been an incredible adventure from the very beginning, and while the actual climbing is over, the memories and experiences we’ve shared will remain. Thanks for following along and for all the support along the way!
RMI Guide Tyler Jones and team
Congrats to the team! I can’t wait to hear more about the trip and see more pictures. Love you Jake and hope to see you soon
Posted by: Bonnie Garfield on 6/24/2014 at 8:33 am
Tyler, Garrett and Geoff….well done and thank you from all of the John Stenderup family. The RMI experience for John included weather adversity and other circumstances that will be life long lessons for all of your teams. Your superb training enabled some to summit and prevented possible disaster for others. I, and I hope John also, will forever retain “the summit is for the ego and the journey is for the soul” incantation. Thank you. Best Regards, Kent Stenderup
Posted by: Kent Stenderup on 6/23/2014 at 10:13 pm
June 22, 2014
June 22, 2014 - 12:49 am PT
Today we woke to a cold, windy morning at high camp after yesterday’s amazing summit. The blowing snow and frigid temperatures kept us tent-bound until mid-day, when the allure of thicker air and warmer temperatures finally got us motivated to pack up and get moving.
The first stretch down the buttress was windy and cold, but by the time we reached Washburn’s Thumb it was much warmer and calmer. We made quick work of the last stretch to the lines, and then shot down the fixed ropes like it was our job. Soon we were dropping packs back in 14k camp, saying hey to Billy Nugent and Mike Haugen and their respective teams, picking up our cache and getting ready to move further down.
Soon enough, we got past Squirrel and Motorcycle Hills, revisiting our old stomping grounds at 11k. We pulled out all the cheese, meat, tortillas, and bagels we had, and commenced to put them all onto the griddle for the annual tradition of the “11,000’ Cheese Fry”. Basically we just cook all the goodness until folks are full, and then it’s off to bed for the early am launch.
We’re definitely missing the team members who had to head home early, and hope that everyone is warm and dry. Lots of walking left, but we should be at the airstrip tomorrow if all goes according to plan. We’ll check back then!
On The Map
I can’t begin to know how you feel about what you’ve accomplished! Can’t wait to see you and hear it all through your eyes. Besides we need you…Tristan can’t keep up the pace and is buckling under the pressure of trying to fill your shoes :-)
Posted by: Suzanne on 6/23/2014 at 2:34 am
John, so proud of you and the rest of the team, have been helping you along, knew you could do it! See you soon here in the nice hot valley. Farmor
Posted by: Farmor on 6/22/2014 at 7:14 pm
June 21, 2014
June 21, 2014 - 2:56 am PT
Well, you probably heard our summit phone call from earlier today, so this is just the follow-up to that. We had a heck of a day here in the high altitudes of North America, rising from the tents early this morning to cold temperatures, light winds, and high clouds. We decided that it was going to be a day for an attempt, and once we had basked in the sun for a bit we headed over to the shade of the Autobahn. Two hours later we had passed the difficulties of the pickets and the exposure below, and we stepped out around Denali Pass.
The weather was still a bit in and out, but the No Troubles crew was moving well so we kept at it. Up steep rolls, over undulating terrain, and higher and higher we climbed. We passed familiar landmarks as the day went on, like Zebra Rocks, Archdeacon’s Tower, the Football Field, and finally crested onto the summit ridge in cold wind and clear blue skies. Late this afternoon, we reached the highest point on this continent, and emotions ran high as we hugged, high-fived, and snapped photos. Jake’s team came up onto the top just as we were getting ready to head down, and we were thrilled to share that special moment with them.
This team has had a full value experience, especially with all the uncertainty and waiting that we’ve endured. Now it’s time for one last hot drink and then into the bag for a much-deserved rest. Down tomorrow, hopefully the weather holds for a flight soon!
On The Map
Congratulations!! We were there in ‘96 with RMI in total whiteout. Enjoy the views!!!
Posted by: Keith on 6/22/2014 at 8:55 am
Jennifer - Congrats on your successful climb. Jacob
Posted by: Jacob on 6/22/2014 at 8:21 am
June 20, 2014
June 20, 2014 - 8:56 pm PT
Hi there, it’s Tyler and team. We are standing on the summit of North America currently with our team. A little bit in the evening around 8 o’clock [Alaska time]. We are out of the wind on our side and it’s sunny, beautiful, and everything is going well. We’ll give you a shout and a little dispatch when we get back to safe and sound to our high camp. Hope everyone’s well. We’re doing great. Thanks for all of the support. Take care you guys. Talk to you soon.
RMI Guide Tyler Jones call from the Mt. McKinley summit.
On The Map
Wow! Wow! Wow! How exciting and what an amazing accomplishment! I cannot imagine the thrill you must have felt at the summit! I will keep all in my prayers for the decent and Jen….I think you should write a book! Love…Karen
Posted by: Karen Pratte on 6/21/2014 at 9:11 am
Wow! Wow! Wow! I can’t imagine the thrill that you experienced reaching the summit! I am so very proud of you…I think you should write a book!!! Be safe on the way down and I will keep all in my prayers! Much love….Karen
Posted by: Karen Pratte on 6/21/2014 at 9:00 am
June 20, 2014
June 19, 2014 - 6:43 pm PT
Today on our next to last day for up hill travel we got the window we needed! The no troubles crew had no trouble with our move, reaching our high camp at 17,200ft! An early departure from our 14K camp meant cold hands and feet as we approached the fixed lines, but by the time we reached our first break the sun had crested the ridge to our south. We basked in the most welcome UV, and continued up to the base of the fixed lines without feeling the bite of the -5F temperatures.
We dispatched the fixed lines without incident, and were soon taking a break in a crisp little nook on the buttress proper. High, wispy clouds took the heat right out of the sun, and the constant winds reminded us of our arctic location. The last little bit of steep fixed line at Washburn’s Thumb posed no issues, and we climbed into some of the most spectacular terrain of the West Buttress.
Steep walls fell away on both sides as we climbed the last stretch into camp, and soon we had reclaimed a couple of tent platforms, set up our shelter and had stoves running for water. The constant burn is a reminder of our high location and is helping to drown out the stiff northeast breeze currently moving through camp.
Tomorrow looks like it’ll be our window for a summit attempt, provided the winds die down and the temperatures stay reasonable. We’re psyched for the camaraderie of sharing camp with Jake Beren’s team, and look forward to being on the route with them tomorrow. Wish us luck!!
RMI Guide Tyler Jones and The No Troubles Team
On The Map
Hi Dad! I really miss you. I have been having trouble sleeping, thinking of you on that cold mountain in an igloo, when I am here in my warm dogloo. I am very proud of you. Hope you are having an amazing adventure. Abby,Lulu and Goldie all say “ruff ruff ” to you !
Posted by: Boone Stenderup on 6/20/2014 at 9:18 pm
Hi David J. and the great No Troubles Team! I was so excited today when I saw that you got to 17,000 ft.!!!!! I can’t wait to hear of your summit and see those awesome pictures! I doubt that you will be on the plane on Sunday. I will wait to hear from you when you get down. Love you and enjoy the rest of your adventure!! Pam
Posted by: Pam Johnson on 6/20/2014 at 8:33 pm
June 18, 2014
June 18, 2014 - 4:51pm PT
Well, it’s time to light this candle. We’re getting ready to vacate the premises at 14K and head up for the thin air of 17K camp, after our extended stay here in advanced base camp.
Yesterday we put the final pieces in place, as a group of guides took on an afternoon mission to move some group gear from a cache at 16,700 up to our future high camp. The afternoon was a perfect day for fast movement and by 6pm we were comfortably situated with the food, fuel, hardware and kit that we’ll need to launch for the top. Team No Troubles gets to reap the benefit of yesterday’s work, as the normally heavy group load is now up high, and folks will get to move with their bad selves and a little bit of personal gear. Woot!
It’s been a bit of an emotional roller coaster these last few days, wishing for good weather and then having forecasts dash our hopes. But this latest round of prognostication seems to give us the glimmer of goodness we need, opening the window just enough for us to make a tactical strike. Stoke and energy is at an all time high, and we’ll channel that energy into upward movement as soon as we can in the morning.
We really appreciate the love and support - keep it coming the next few days!
RMI Guides Tyler, Garrett, Geoff and Team No Troubles
Best of luck Dave J and the rest of the team! I’m so happy that you guys are on the way up! So excited for you all!
Posted by: Patti Templeton on 6/20/2014 at 6:23 am
So very excited for you Jen. Proud of your patience and courage. Hang tough until the end. Love you.
Posted by: Aunt Marie on 6/20/2014 at 3:57 am
June 18, 2014
Today we got some news that a window may come our way in the next few days! We woke with the sun warming us. Granola and coffee got our day started at 14k camp. We saw fairly good weather throughout the day, yet a forecast for another big pulse of heavy snow for the near hours! Our equipment, attitudes, and stoke for the future are high and our methods of getting there are well calculated.
We wait another day hanging in there for the final push up the mountain. This season has not given many opportunities for a summit push but if we try and give it our whole effort we may just succeed! Tomorrow we will make our final preparation to stay or plan our departure Keep your eye on us and think high pressure weather.
RMI Guides Garrett, Tyler, Geoff and the No Troubles Team
Climb strong, we are all praying for you!! Love you, Dave Johnson!
Posted by: Sandi on 6/20/2014 at 7:25 am
D.G. and team.
Wishing you luck and a good weather window. Love you little brother, Climb strong!
Posted by: Lori Bartek on 6/18/2014 at 4:01 pm
June 16, 2014 11:05pm PT
Well, the Rolling Stones hit the nail on the head with this one. We’ve sort of adopted it as our theme song of the day, as the weather continued to thwart upward movement for our team. Temperatures and wind in camp were more conducive to resting inside than hanging around outside, and the team spent most of the day relaxing in our posh, eating pancakes and sharing stories with the other climbers who stayed in camp.
While the forecast isn’t the greatest we’ve seen, we’re still hoping for a window of high pressure for a summit attempt this week. We are getting close to a go/no go date, but spirits remain high and the stoke for the experience is strong. Keep sending the positive vibes and we’ll do our part if the mountain cooperates!! Cheers from a well-lived-in 14K camp,
D.G. I know you want this weather to straighten up so you guys can get a chance at the summit. Crossing my fingers that chance will come real soon. Have you all started numbering the stories yet? Love, Mom
Posted by: Caroline on 6/17/2014 at 7:52 pm
Jen - Sorry to hear that the weather is uncooperative, but it will make it that much sweeter when you do get a chance to go higher. I’m sending my strongest clear calm weather vibes!
Posted by: Nicole on 6/17/2014 at 7:15 pm
June 15, 2014 - 11:35 pm PT
Well, the weather keeps us down in from higher altitudes. Though a short window during this morning allowed us to venture out to one of the best view spots in all of the Alaska Range, The Edge of The World. We took pictures and told stories as the clouds came in and out, enjoying the company and scenery. But we’d like to give some personal shout outs from each of the folks here, so keep reading:
Happy Father’s Day Dad, Ken, and Frank! Love you guys! Nicole, Emma, and Baby Jake- love and miss you guys! Mom- I am warm and happy. You can sleep now :) all of my love! Aunt Marie and Uncle Kelly- thanks for the prayers! Houston Nicole, thanks for all of the comments! Wish you and Shaun were here. Have a great trip Wade! Thinking of everyone down there! -Jen
Hope all is well at home, can’t wait to catch up. Hopin for good weather as the clock is ticking. Happy Father’s Day a little late. The views are great as is the food. Missing my little lady a lot. See u all soon.
Hi Oz, I love you and miss you. So happy and proud to be your father. See you soon.
On this Father. Day at camp 14 I’m thinking of my father. When you were alive. you would say you didn’t ever want to know when I climb McKinley. I’m so glad that you are my gaurding angel on this trip. Dave Johnson
Happy father’s Dad and Tommy! To all the other dads in my family! Love you all. Ty
Happy Father’s Day dad! Thinking of you from a frosty 14 camp, hope you’re enjoying a sultry southern Sunday! Love, Garrett
RMI Guides Tyler Jones, Garrett Stevens & Bryan Hendrick
On The Map
Hi Will, We have been following your progress everyday and keeping the family informed. We are all rooting for you and your team. The pictures we have seen are incredible. Look forward to hearing all about the climb when you return. Keep up the good work! Love and prayers, Mom & Dad
Posted by: Pat & Bill Ivy on 6/17/2014 at 6:20 am
Jake- Maggie was excited to hear how much you miss her :)Hope the weather cooperates for you and the team, stay warm!
Posted by: Alan Wander on 6/16/2014 at 9:29 pm
June 14, 2014
Posted by: Tyler Jones
June 14, 2014 - 4:00 pm PT
It’s another rest/weather day here at 14k camp, and we’ve decided to combat a few hours of down time with a fun dispatch game called add-on! We’re going to pass the phone around and let folks contribute their own voice to the blog today…have fun guessing who wrote what!
So there I was tied up to Denali....eating cheez its, looking for makin bacon. Wondering how long before I will be done piggin out.
Just like our bacon pieces we were fryin.
Hard days are made easier by good company, good food, great views and most of all encouraging blog comments…and Jerry.. Yes, the comments are great and looking forward to those promised margaritas at Amado’s.. And the mountain diet will defo put magic into the armadillo hoppyum combo. The coffee could be better too bad there is no Berres brothers coffee.
I would prefer Jim Beam but whatever, I guess better coffee would work for now. I think Charlie Brown ran past my tent. I guess I will go back to the posh and listen to Jimmy Buffett and wait for my cheese burger in paradise.
And there you have it. Some of these may be references to very personal items - we decided it was probably better not to ask too many questions. Time keeps on slippin’ by here in advanced base camp, but spirits are high and team No Troubles is ready when the mountain gives us a chance. Hasta pronto!
On The Map
I just wanted to say “Happy Father’s Day”. We woke to pouring rain this AM. (It rained all night last night too.) It cleared up about 1:00 and was beautiful here! We’re hoping that the mountain is “nice” to you guys so that you can complete your climb soon! Best wishes, and stay safe.
Love Ronda, Al, Meeka and Max (Did I mention one of your furry friends (no names mentioned) tried to eat your pillow? I think I saved it (Most of it). Haha (I think they miss you)
Posted by: Ronda Kinneberg on 6/15/2014 at 7:16 pm
Of course I knew what David wrote, all about his favorite things. I’m sure all of those places are missing Dave as we are too! The pictures are absolutely beautiful, it’s hard to imagine how breathtaking it is in person. Wishing you all a continued safe and enjoyable trip! We can’t wait to hear all about it when you get back, Dave! Let’s go have some Amado’s margaritas! Much love- Laura and Will
Posted by: Laura and Will Johnson on 6/15/2014 at 4:27 pm