Sunday, June 16, 2013
We woke this morning to another unbelievable day at 17,200’ camp on Mt. McKinley. The sun was shining, there was no wind blowing, and folks were comfortable in soft shell coats eating their grits and Pop Tarts. If you don’t have a frame of reference for how unbelievable that kind of weather is, it’s more typical for people to be wrapped in every puffy coat and pant that they brought to the high camp, while the wind threatens to blow you right off the mountain. Needless to say, we were psyched.
We started walking down the buttress route soon after breakfast, and make excellent time across the knife-edge, exposed walking from camp to the top of the fixed lines. A short, technical descent down the lines had us all sweating by the time we reached the bottom, and we stripped down to base layers for the moderate descent back to our cache at 14,200’.
After we grabbed all the group food and gear, we loaded heavy packs and headed down in the scorching sun towards our old stomping grounds at 11,000’. We arrived in calm, clear skies, and we quickly got up tents and got out of the sun. We’re drinking a ton of water, looking forward to the group food fry of leftover cheeses, meats, and breads this evening, and getting ready for the 3am launch down the glacier tomorrow morning. Hopefully we’ll have the weather to fly back to showers, greasy burgers, and cold beer tomorrow.
Until then, stay tuned for the latest and greatest from the team!
RMI Guides Tyler Jones, Garrett Stevens and the sore but happy team
On The Map
way to go james! cant wait to see all your pics and hear all your stories!
Posted by: tina on 6/17/2013 at 7:04 pm
Hello Googoo and the rest of the climbers, our prayers are with you all, we are proud of you, keep it up and come back safe, love you, Areg
Posted by: Areg Abramian on 6/17/2013 at 6:29 am
Saturday, June 15th, 2013
Today was a busy day at the roof of North America! Our team was first out of the gates from 17,200’ camp, with a warm, windless departure at 8:00am. The first stretch of the route above camp is also one of the most technical and time consuming; it’s called the “Autobahn” and takes a strong, committed team to single push across the steeply rising traverse to Denali Pass.
Our group crushed it, and we were enjoying the sun on the east side of the pass soon enough. The next few stretches went by relatively quickly, although nothing is lightning fast at 19,000’. By the time we reached the Football Field, a flat saddle just below the summit ridge, we were down to base layers and light gloves. Considering the fierce reputation that Denali has for arctic temperatures and raging wind, we consider ourselves incredibly lucky to have had a such an incredible day.
The last climb up Pig Hill was taxing our legs and our lungs, and just when folks had had enough we reached the final summit ridge. Forty minutes later, our team put the highest point of the continent under their crampons, amid much hugging and celebration.
The trip back down was uneventful, albeit hot. The sun roasted our tired crew all the way back to camp. But as soon as we got back, folks were out of boots and into tents, resting and relaxing as we brought hot water and heaping helpings of ramen with bacon and chicken. We’re ready for the long trip back to base camp, but that’s for another day. Right now, we’re savoring the day’s events and getting ready for some well earned sleep. Thanks again and we’ll check back in soon!
RMI Guide Tyler Jones and the team from the Mount McKinley summit!
On The Map
Congratulations Lori and team members. Great job to the guides who encouraged and fed you and got you to your goal. Dad and I haven’t had internet service for days and have had to rely on Dad’s cell phone. Thus, I wasn’t sending you encouragement in words, but you were never far from our thoughts. SO LOOKING FORWARD TO HEARING YOUR VOICE. Love you, mom and dad.
Posted by: Fern Hansen on 6/16/2013 at 10:07 am
Nice work Chickie and team. Congrats to you all.
Posted by: Don on 6/16/2013 at 9:00 am
Friday, June 14, 2013
Light and variable wind started over night with warmer temperatures. We woke early to beat the heat and the people that have collected at the 14 camp over the past week of stormy weather!
We began our climb to high camp in cold squeaky snow conditions. The headwall where the fixed lines are located were a bit more difficult than our trip up the other day as the wind nearly stripped all the snow and left firm icy climbing! From the top of the lines we began a perfect climb up the West Buttress, which is the most exposed and picturesque part of the climb. The climb was hard but the team did very well. We have sparked our match for our summit push! Currently we are again cowering from the most intense sun of the trip basking in our shelters at 17,200’ Denali high camp! Our chill mentality had payed huge today and with a bit o’ luck we will have nice weather tomorrow for our summit push! More food, water, and relaxing for the eve. We will try for a call from the summit tomorrow afternoon! Hi Five!
On The Map
Happy Father’s Day , Justin! Anxiously awaiting to hear that you and team have summited. As one of the guides alluded to in a previous blog, this experience is about more than just climbing a snowy mountain!!!! Can’t wait to hear all the details and “meet” your new friends. Be safe! Love you——Mom and Dad
Posted by: Vicki Hersh on 6/15/2013 at 3:10 pm
Safe and happy travels. Cheers to grandpa! mwha!
Posted by: Sharon on 6/15/2013 at 12:35 pm
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Today we are all contributing to the blog. Have had big winds once again and are fixing our kitchen tent and building more walls - getting a little stir crazy! Hope you all enjoy the words from each of us!
Hi to my family, I love you all hope to give grandpa a hi five soon! Kiss to Bean. Love, Ty
Hello to all my family and friends! Kisses to Amy, a big scratching behind the ears to Barley, Blue, and Miles. Thanks for all the positive wishes! -g
Wendy, Taylor and Nathan.
Love and miss you. I hope you feel my hugs and kisses at bedtime. Be home soon. Love Dad
I love you and miss you and the girls so very much. Please give all of my love to A-Bear and K-Bear, and tell them daddy will be home soon. Also, pass along my love to my mom, dad, Clubbie and Chevy. Love, Justin.
To my Hubby,
I hope you’re flying high this week and passing all your tests. I really really miss you right now. Give my love and lots of treats to the girls :) Until i get home i’ll leave you with reflections of a week at 14,200. To quote the crew from BBT"It was a snowy nightmare from whence there’s no return.” Tiamo mi amore-Jess
To my family and friends, thanks for all of the support, love and prayers. I am “living the dream” at 14K. The DeLorme transceiver is no longer working, thus no updates there. I love you, Matt! You are my light. I love you Mom, Dad, Bud and all my family. Stump, there was a C-17 overhead yesterday—your handiwork? ;) Dad, sadly there is no Denali branch of Subway, but I’m sure you can petition corporate headquarters as one of their most valuable customers. :) Bernard and Judy, the boots are fantastic and keeping my feet warm, thank you! I love you all and miss you all so much. -Robin
Friends, family, countrymen, lend me your ear! The Denali wind gods have saddled us at 14000. The team is at the mercy of Mother Nature and patience is the name of the game. It also means my work schedule is a bit hosed. Team PCET don’t count on me coming in next week! Poof - ha! To all loved ones we are sitting strong and doing well. Hope to see you soon. James.
Hello to my dear family Mom Dad Sue Ryan Mia Ron Jodi Dannie Casey Nell Meg Ivy Maggie and awesome friends from frosty Denali! Thanks for all the comments and positive vibes sent! Love you and miss you!! All is good here - hoping our “out chilling” will soon end and we can move up the mtn in the am. Hope all is well with all you! Have I told you that I love and miss you? :) I do! Lori
On The Map
Hurry home. You are missed. Michelle and I are already planning our girls trip. Love you Clubbie.
Posted by: Kathy Guyette on 6/14/2013 at 3:59 pm
Now this is what I call a 14er “Ground Hogs’ Day experience…reliving it over and over! How fun…each day you can make it more perfect and more perfect then you can proceed to summit!~ Remember, Lori, we all expect you having a jumping picture on top of North America :)! Have fun mountain bonding!!!
Posted by: Sue Lopez on 6/14/2013 at 3:44 pm
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Today is unfortunately another out chill situation. Garrett and I woke about 6 this morning to continued strong wind from 16,000 feet and above. The nature of the climbing is steep and exposed. With wind and a very cold north east flow, the risk of frostbite and loss of balance from the wind gusts, we have chosen to stay another day and hope for less wind tomorrow.
We try to conserve our lunch food and avoid the piggy tendency that sitting and waiting in the tents provides! The weather is clear and warm in most of Alaska, but at the altitudes we want to venture into, the jet stream is on!
On a more positive note, RMI Guide Jake Beren and his crew pulled into camp this afternoon, making for a great meeting of the minds in our 14,200’ home. We are excited to spend some time with friends and climbing partners from past trips, although we do have high hopes for a move tomorrow.
Report back soon!
RMI Guide Tyler Jones
On The Map
Jess and team,
Mother nature will cooperate, she is just having one of those days. Weather down here not much better. Keep up the spirits, it will get better.
Jess, miss you here! Keep up the great work.
Posted by: Hector Valle on 6/13/2013 at 4:35 pm
Robin and Team!
Kudos to all of you for staying put and being safe! I have faith that conditions will be much better tomorrow and you will be able to move to your high camp.
Stay safe and stay warm and lots of prayers for your safe successful climb tomorrow. As the lyrics go “movin on up!” Look forward to your next blog from high camp!
Posted by: Matt Prosser on 6/13/2013 at 6:18 am
June 11, 2013
You can’t always get what you want…
Those lyrics from Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones were the first thing that went through the collective consciousness this morning. The guides woke at 6am, packed sleeping bags in preparation for departure and unzipped the tent - only to see winds whipping the ridge of the West Buttress route above.
While camp here at 14,200’ remains relatively calm, the higher reaches of the mountain are getting pummeled by ferocious northeast winds, which are sending plumes of spindrift snow off into the stratosphere. With a forecast high temperature of -15F at the 17,000’ camp today, and winds gusting well into the 30mph range, the only safe option is to wait here in camp and hope for a less windy day to make our move. That combination of wind and temperature will actually feel like -65F (approximately), which can freeze exposed flesh in one minute. Needless to say, we’re not going to venture into that kind environment.
So here we sit and wait, hoping for a break in the wind. We were treated to a bodacious air show earlier, when the contract helicopter, an A-Star B-3, came ripping around and right over our tents about three times in a row. Seems like they are doing some sort of filming up here, and we all mugged shamelessly as the ship blasted less than 40 feet above us. Good entertainment, to say the least.
While we have had more than one facetious conversation about moving in the wind storm, the group is prepared to wait for the right time and the right weather window. To channel the Stones yet again (and continue the song):
If you try sometimes, you might find you get what you need
So here’s hoping we get what we need!
On The Map
Completely enjoy today and the amazing view from where you are….you are somewhere so very few have ever been! Way to feel and create the magic of your life’s goals :)! Onwards and Upwards to you all!!!
Posted by: Sue Lopez on 6/12/2013 at 12:58 pm
Nothing wrong with sitting tight and waiting for the right moment. Just stay safe and stay warm and have another bagel:) We’ll be praying for your weather to break… and you will get what you need. Looking forward to your next installment.
Cheers and prayers for you all!
Posted by: Matt Prosser on 6/11/2013 at 10:03 pm
Monday, June 10, 2013
A windy and cold night was greeted by more wind. For our team this is no issue, as we had planned this second consecutive rest day. This will be just the ticket for a more acclimatized and rested body that we will need for summit success.
The menu for this morning was supreme. Round upon round of bagels with cream cheese topped with bacon along with hash browns covered in cheese took us once again well past noon to complete.
The places we travel in the mountains can lead one to believe we are Martians, ready to launch onto to another planet - and that is exactly what we are doing. We push ourselves both mentally and physically, taking our personal learning and discovery to a higher level. When we return from these Martian lands, after having come face to face with deep personal truths and surpassing previously held limitations…we bring a richer and more rounded person home, someone who understands more about the nature of teamwork, sacrifice, and awareness. We thank you all for the support and the opportunity to let us dig deep and take on a new understanding of our passions!
The afternoon has more smelly tent time spent pounding water, fussing over who is the best celeb of all time and growing hairier by the day! The forecast is looking to set up nicely over the next few days and we hope to move to our high camp tomorrow. Till then keep the vibe high for our push!
On The Map
Great work Justin aka Jason. can’t wait to see your pictures. Clubbie
Posted by: Kathy on 6/11/2013 at 9:29 am
Nice going! And congratulations, Justin—I think the Kensington Fire Department lightweights have nothing on you now.
Posted by: Peter on 6/11/2013 at 8:31 am
After yesterday’s carry up into the thin air of 16,000’, the team is enjoying the sun and leisurely pace of a rest day here in Genet Basin. The morning started when the sun came around the ridge, thawing the tents and prying open our closed eyes from a well-earned night of sleep.
We headed over to our posh house and spent the better part of two hours making and eating blueberry pancakes with peanut butter and bacon. Movie quotes bubbled up from the crew like water from a fountain, followed by a discussion of other vacation ideas (mostly tropical). We drank hot coffee and generally continued to bond together, enjoying the calm morning.
This afternoon, we’re planning to head over to a zone known as “the edge of the world,” which lies about 20 minutes southwest of camp. The basin in which we’re camped drops precipitously away about 5,000 vertical feet at this location, providing outlandish views of the Kahiltna Glacier, Mt Hunter, Mt Foraker, and the vast Alaskan wilderness. This light acclimatization hike will let us flush the lactic acid we accumulated yesterday, stretch sore legs, and soak up more of the beauty that surrounds us.
At day 11 on the mountain, thoughts can easily turn to the little things you miss from the lowlands - trees, birdsong, bacon cheeseburgers. But our team is still focused on the ascent, and remains mentally strong and poised to move higher yet. We’ll check back in tomorrow, so don’t change that channel!
On The Map
Looks like you have an amazing view from up there!. I see that the movie quotes abound up there… wonder who that could be??:) Hope you are having a great time near the top of the world looking down on all us flat landers. Can’t wait to hear the stories and see the photos. Stay safe and stay warm.
Posted by: Matt Prosser on 6/10/2013 at 10:53 am
Sounds like things are going well and the food certainly sounds good. I’ll eat just about about anything that has bacon or peanut butter on it. How’s the weather looking? I assume you’ll be looking for that 3-day clear window before leaving 14 camp. Wish I was there with all of you.
Posted by: Larry Seaton on 6/10/2013 at 9:38 am
Saturday, June 8, 2013
Bonjour, from the fryer at 14 camp. The essence of climbing the great big mountains is that in the shade we freeze and in the sun we fry. Our carry to 16,400 ft went well and we are now ready for some more rest time.
Today was a long hard effort getting out of the tents around 6:45 with not a breath of wind and clear skies; the not so fuzzy part was -10 F air temp. This had us all moving quickly to eat another bowl of oatmeal and down a cup of coffee before departing camp and wiggling vigorously to keep the fingers and toes warm.
When we reached the half way mark in our second leg of the carry, the sun popped up over the West Rib route and the rays warmed us to our core. It took just a half hour for us to be climbing in our base layer, welcoming the fry portion of our day.
The fixed lines on the West Buttress Head Wall were in great condition with fabulous cramponing - the teeth biting in the snow as if we were on steep green grass. I envy green grass as the only natural colors we have observed are white, blue and the light brown of the granite ridges rising thousands of feet above.
We chopped in firm snow to create a cache hole just big enough to drop food, fuel and supplies. The team then descended down the buttress a short way before a hot and relatively easy and smooth decent off the fixed lines and a short stroll back to our 14 advanced base camp!
In the tents yet again hiding from the magnificent orange ball in the sky! The future of the day and for tomorrow is to chill, eat, drink, and rest up for our summit push hopefully next week! We miss you all! The guides are currently craving an ice cold coke, some one please have one for us! Till tomorrow be happy be chill all is well!
RMI Guides Tyler Jones & Garrett Stevens
On The Map
Cheers, what a challenge! Trust that you will be well hydrated and alert all the way to the summit with high spirit. Continue your adventure safely and enjoy what nature offers there. Following RMI blog. Praying for you and the team successful journey. Love, mom and dad
Posted by: Soonja Choo on 6/9/2013 at 5:27 pm
Go Fallout Go!!
Sounds like the team is doing great…keep it up!
Posted by: Steve Kennedy on 6/9/2013 at 4:50 pm
Friday, June 7, 2013
Today, we are chilling out around camp like it’s our job; in fact, it IS our job after yesterday’s move up to 14,200’. The trial of moving with big packs in the relentless sun is behind us, and now we are enjoying our well earned rest.
The morning started when the sun crept around the ridge, taking the bite out of last night’s sub-zero temperatures. The crystal blue skies above were inviting folks to grab sleeping bags and drape them over tents to dry out, as well as let the UV rays kill a week of accumulated funk.
As hot water came to a boil and the smells of frying bacon and eggs wafted over our tents, the crew came circling in like sharks sensing prey in the water. Our breakfast quesadillas lasted about as long as an injured fish in a feeding frenzy, too - but you know what they say: you have to eat your way right to the top of this mountain.
After the group appetite was satiated, team members waddled back to their tents in down booties, looking for more respite from the intense power if the sun. The route is easily visible from our tents, and we’ve seen plenty of teams heading up the route we’ll follow tomorrow on our carry. The group morale is high and folks are climbing strong, although the new altitude is definitely noticeable.
Our afternoon today will include a review of fixed line travel techniques, in preparation for the carry tomorrow. But for now, we are simply enjoying being in one of the world’s most beautiful places, with excellent weather and the bulk of Denali reminding us of what’s to come. Thanks for all the kind wishes and keep sending the good vibes! Stay tuned…
RMI Guides Tyler Jones, Garrett Stevens, and the Crew
On The Map
Robin and Team
Hope all is well up there in the thin air! Congrats to you all for passing the half way mark and I hope you get some well deserved rest and recharge for what lies ahead. You guys are nothing short of amazing! Best wishes and lots of prayers for you all for your continued safe ascent and good weather. Stay warm and stay safe.
Love you Robin
Posted by: Matt Prosser on 6/8/2013 at 9:54 am