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July 7, 2014

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Knoff and Team Experience Deja Vu

Monday, July 7, 2014 - 12:05 PM PT

Well, the team is currently experiencing deja vu here at 11,200’ camp on Mt. McKinley.  Before arriving here in deja vu land, the team did an AWESOME job packing up high camp and descending to 14,200’ camp.  At 14,200’ we were met by Dave Hahn and his team who treated us to lots of hot water and quesadillas.  Delicious and just what we needed!

Descending to 11 camp required all of our attention as we re-acquainted ourselves with sleds, experienced some post-holing, and walked (as best we could) through less than exciting weather.  Now to the deja vu part of the story…a snow storm at 11,200’.  We thought the weather gods had released all of the snow on us already but we were wrong.  We are doing a weather dance right now so we can continue our descent and make our dreams of warm showers, cold beers, and loved ones a reality.  Until then, we will keep you posted.

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

Soooo cool! You made it to the top!!I want to see the beard pics too!! Create some great memories and take care of you XO

Posted by: Auntie Mel on 7/11/2014 at 5:43 am

Adam, Praying that this storm is short and that you will all be safely down VERY soon. MOM

Posted by: Jane on 7/7/2014 at 8:42 pm

July 6, 2014

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team Reach the Summit!

July 6, 2014 - 11:00 am PT

Adam Knoff called the office with great news: The team reached the summit of Mount McKinley at 7:00pm last night!  Everyone is doing great and very happy.  They are packing up high camp and plan to head down to 14K camp to visit with Dave Hahn and team, then may continue on to 11,000’.  Their plan is to be at Basecamp tomorrow.

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

On The Map

Awesome job team. Congrats Jay and mart and all. You will make it down soon!

Posted by: Susanlampas on 7/7/2014 at 3:53 pm

Awesome achievement Mark Skinner and team! Congratulations!

Posted by: Will Kerner on 7/7/2014 at 10:22 am

July 5, 2014

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team Doing Well on Their Summit Bid

July 5, 2014 - 5:05 pm PT

Adam called and reported that they were on their way up to the summit, just below the Football Field with all climbers doing well. Yesterday was a great move day for them, and they continue to enjoy good weather, with blue skies and 20mph winds.

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

On The Map

mark skinner….keeping a eye on your adventure…stop by the cottage to warm up on your way back to NY…looks like fun….good luck and stay safe….kenny norris

Posted by: kenny norris on 7/6/2014 at 7:36 am

Hoping all went well on the summit bid and that you could enjoy some spectacular Alaskan views from the top. Best Wishes to all!

Posted by: Peter Williamson on 7/6/2014 at 5:14 am

July 4, 2014

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team Move to 17K Camp

July 4, 2014 - 9:44 pm PT

The move to Mt. McKinley’s high camp is like stepping into the ring with a heavy weight larger than King Kong.  Thing is, he really likes to throw things at you in one long grueling round.  That round our team won.  It could not have been a more perfect day to come to high camp.  Now the question becomes how much strength does the team have for round two which comes in the form of Godzilla.  Tomorrow we will attempt to climb to the summit, weather permitting.  Wish us well.

RMI Guide Adam Knoff and team signing off from high camp.

On The Map

This is from your mother, Mark…and I suppose me, too!
Lots of love Mark..so glad things are going well.  Good luck and success to you and your teams.Thrilled that you might reach the summit today!  Love, Mom…and Merabeth

Posted by: Merabeth Lurie on 7/5/2014 at 1:15 pm

Congrats on making it to High camp. You guys are like Rocky and keep going no matter what is thrown at you! Can’t wait to read your next blog from the summit!!

Posted by: Jerry Hildebrand on 7/5/2014 at 12:04 pm

July 3, 2014

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Knoff and Team Ready to Move Up

Thursday, July 2, 2014 – 4:43 PM PT

Yesterday our team experienced the unparalleled vistas of a clear sky at 16,200’ on Denali as we were finally handed a nearly perfect day. We loaded up three days of lunch and snack food plus a few personal items for our carry to the top of the fixed lines which crest Washburn’s Ridge—the most stimulating section of Denali’s West Buttress Route. The team did great learning how to jumar. All members of the St. Angelo family and Jay and Mary Lampas hit personal altitude records. Fatima did a great job breaking trail down the lines, literally paving the way for thirty other climbers on the same program as us. 

The population of 14k camp has increased dramatically. What once was a camp that resembled a wide cow pasture with wandering wildlife now resembles a city with distinct neighborhoods on main thoroughfares.  Just like a city, this can create traffic jams when multiple teams, all roped together, try to move around at the same time. This sudden influx of guided teams means we will need to wake up at 4 am, while the temperature here sits around 5 below, just to beat the crowds and avoid a bottleneck.

This afternoon we had a lengthy breakfast which leaned more along the lines of a leisurely brunch. We then took a beautiful stroll to an incredible precipice called the Edge of the World. Great weather allowed us more breathtaking views and inspired us for the hard days to come. Hopefully our next contact will be from high camp.

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

On The Map

Happy 4th of July and congrats on making it above 16,000!
The pics are breathtaking.  Thanks for keeping us updated!

onward and upward!

Posted by: Lisa Albert on 7/4/2014 at 10:30 pm

To Mark Skinner and crew: Hang tight it’s been in the 90’s here. See you soon!!!

Posted by: Bill & Linda on 7/4/2014 at 7:09 pm

July 2, 2014

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Knoff and Team Train and Re-Design Camp

July 2, 2014 - 12:09 am PT

Thank you for all of the blog comments. It is great to hear from everyone back home and it is always reinvigorating.

Today we got to sleep in and then scurried down to our cache above Windy Corner. It was nice to be reunited with our food, clean underwear and base layers that we left buried in the snow for a few days. We then spent the afternoon doing some kitchen redesign, fixed line training and more sorting of food.

Tomorrow is an exciting day! We will get to see some more challenging and exciting terrain—carrying to the top of the fixed lines!

RMI Guide Adam Knoff and Team

On The Map

Excited to see you are moving towards FOOD! Hope you got there ok. Love the pics And thinking of you. We are at the pool today! Sorry, had to say it.

Posted by: Ginni Fennema on 7/3/2014 at 3:02 pm

What an awesome adventure!  We are reading all the blog posts.  The pictures are amazing!

Posted by: Lisa Albert on 7/3/2014 at 10:04 am

July 1, 2014

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team Move to 14,000’ Camp

June 30, 2014 - 11:19pm PT

After an impromptu camp on the polo field we woke up to intermittent wind gusts rattling our tent flys. We crawled out of our shelters to crisp cold weather and blue skies. We ate a quick breakfast and began to break camp to complete our journey to 14,200’ feet. Amidst the chaos of packing our bags we spotted Billy Nugent and his crew descending from a successful summit, we exchanged high fives and and hit the trail. This time equipped with snow shoes and skis to deal with the waist deep drifts. We were feeling very happy about floating on the snow surface vs crawling through it. We had pleasant weather and relatively calm winds working our way around Windy Corner. We pulled into camp and made ourselves at home, feeling the altitude a little we began to take care of ourselves and focus on the mountain ahead of us.

We are all feeling good and hoping for the best weather possible.

RMI Guide Adam Knoff & Team

On The Map

Go Andy! Exciting to see a guy from PA on such an awesome adventure.

Posted by: Matthew Nebzydoski on 7/2/2014 at 5:14 pm

You almost have this mountain conquered.  Keep on and up and take care of yourselves!

Posted by: susanlampas on 7/2/2014 at 3:49 am

June 29, 2014

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team - A Fun Game of Polo

June 29, 2014 - 9:51 pm PT

Hello to everyone out there in blog land.  We all wish, in some selfish way I suppose, that there was a sure fire way to teleport any curious individuals straight to our location here on what is commonly called the Polo Field of the West Buttress.  As I mentioned yesterday, a move to 14,000 foot Advanced Basecamp was on the ticket and we were gonna “make some hay” while the sun did shine.  Oh how the “High One” can take any given plan and turn it into any thing she wishes.  Like the oxymoron I spoke of about a “windless” Windy Corner.  Can you say JINX!  As it turns out, not only was the corner as windy as a Dave Hahn Everest story, the sun only shined for a few minutes before it started dumping snow again.  Combine this with heinous trail breaking in the multiple feet of new snow and out pops a midway camp spot used only when the going gets tough.  So tomorrow the tough will get going again and try for 14,000 feet once more.

Wish for warm toes, a better trail and quite winds. 
Until Tomorrow. 

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

Stay strong. Sending you a warm toes and the hope for a summit prayer. You are amazing!

Posted by: Ginni Fennema on 7/1/2014 at 2:10 am

Stay strong and thinking of you all.  Sorry for all the snow you are getting.  I hope you all can summitt!!  Kris and Jon

Posted by: Kris on 6/30/2014 at 7:56 pm

June 29, 2014

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team Ready for Some Exercise

June 29, 2014 - 12:16 am PT

I believe the saying goes “when the sun shines, make some hay!”  Well metaphors are going to have to do because Toto, we ain’t in Kansas anymore and nothing grows up here except foot fungus and beards.  So, with the sun finally shining brightly and the snow settled to what seems a safe consistency,  the team is ready to make some hay and move to 14,000 camp tomorrow!  This morning we didn’t crawl out of tents until the sun warmed them up at 9 am.  After that, massive coffee presses, eggs, bacon and hash browns followed.  Yup, we do it right up here.  It was Andy’s birthday today so he got to be served all morning and surprised after breakfast to a tent full of balloons thanks to Lindsay’s pre-trip preparations.  After breakfast the team read, sun bathed, still sunk waist deep in snow when not on the trail and prepared gear to bring up the mountain.  We are all excited to move our rested legs and make our way up hill.  It will indeed be a doozy of a day, breaking trail, dealing with the sun and carrying heavy loads.  I know we are all up to the task. 

Wish us luck. 

RMI Guide Adam Knoff signing off

On The Map

That’s great to hear that the team is again moving up! Go well and Push on, Peter

Posted by: Peter Williamson on 6/29/2014 at 8:41 pm

Good to know you are on the move and the weather has improved Best of luck to all of you.  Get to that summit!

Posted by: Susan Lampas on 6/29/2014 at 9:39 am

June 28, 2014

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team Digging Out from “Epic” Storm

June 27, 2014 - 11:11 pm PT

At 8 PM this evening we were blessed with the first glimmer of sun in two and a half days.  This isn’t completely out of the ordinary for this neck of the woods but more surprising, even to me with eight Denali expeditions, was the amount of snow that fell during that sunless stretch.  Four feet would about do this storm justice but when you are living in a nylon house that can collapse under a moderate burial of drifting snow it felt more like ten feet.  This morning at breakfast while in the posh house, a one pole pyramid cook tent set up to fit the entire team, shook and sagged under the constant loading of falling flakes, Jay Lampas asked if this snow storm qualified as “epic” yet? I didn’t want to sound too fragile and make him believe this was the “storm of the century” but I did have to concede that four feet in two days was a touch “epic”.  Of course the main worry of the team is how this massive blanketing will effect our upward progress.  I didn’t have an exact answer but I do know we will be sitting still on Saturday no matter how brilliant the weather because of the avalanche hazard that awaits above us.  Safety is always the number one priority so we will move to 14,000 feet only when we know it is safe to do so.  Hopefully our dwindling lunch food and Cosmo magazines can hold us out until we can get to the cache of food we left at Windy Corner.  We are all looking forward to a night with no 2 am wake up calls for shoveling duty.  Maybe full dreams will be of the upper mountain.  All the best from McKinley Team Knoff

On The Map

Yup! We are now swimming in Torch Lake after a “forever” winter in Northern Michigan!  As we follow you up Denali we can see that the snows have not left all places to date!  We hope you get a break in the weather and your journey will be able to move forward.  Ken

Posted by: Ken and Kathy Masck on 6/29/2014 at 4:45 am

Happy birthday Wheeler! I hope the weather cooperates!

Posted by: Kenny on 6/28/2014 at 9:33 pm

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