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June 20, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: June 18th Expedition Led by Pete Van Deventer Readies in Talkeenta

Wednesday, June 19, 2013
The team is assembled and ready to go! Yesterday, we all stepped off the plane into the fire; both literally and figuratively. Alaska has been experiencing a strong heatwave, and Anchorage was toasty. We also had a lot to get done, buying the rest of our food for the mountain and making the drive to Talkeetna. We settled in to relax for the night, leaving the gear sorting and packing for today.

Now, all of our gear is packed and weighed for the plane, tents have been set up and checked to make sure that they are good to go, and everyone is excited for the flight through the Alaska range. Now we just need the weather to cooperate tomorrow AM long enough to get us onto the mountain! Hopefully we’ll check in from the glacier tomorrow!

RMI Guides Pete, Geoff, Robby, and the team

On The Map

Hola Guapo!
What a nice group picture! You look so happy…what a beautiful place for your third climb!
I’m so proud of you. We will be following you daily. it seems the weather is in your favor.
Love you! we are here cheering you on. I bet you wish there were sherpas and donkeys there!.....:)
XO Guapa

Posted by: marion on 6/22/2013 at 6:57 pm

hey pete have a great climb, stay safe.

Posted by: joshua hoar on 6/21/2013 at 7:14 pm

June 21, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Fly into the Alaska Range

Thursday, June 20, 2013
We have begun! Talkeetna was warm and sunny this morning, with perfect weather for flying into the Alaska range. We had our last big breakfast at the Talkeetna Roadhouse, putting down heaping portions of eggs, toast, and reindeer sausage. Within an hour of finishing, we had the two Otters loaded up, and were climbing on board for takeoff. The scenery flying in is always stunning, and our excitement built as we watched the lush green swamp land give way to glacial toes, rocks, and finally, the steep and imposing walls of the Range. We had a great view of Denali, before banking sharply and descending to base camp. With record setting warm temps this week, we had to set camp at basecamp and wait to move until tonight to give the glacier time to freeze up. So we had a leisurely day of sorting gear, rigging sleds, and getting our kits dialed. It will be an early morning for us as we try to make it to the base of ski hill at 7,600 feet tomorrow before the sun turns on the heat!

We’ll be in touch!

RMI Guides Pete, Geoff, Robby, and gang

On The Map

Buenas Guapo!
Looking forward to hearing how things went today.
The pictures are beautiful; so glad the sun is shining for your team.
We are thinking of you.
The Pets are all fine!
XO Guapa

Posted by: marion on 6/22/2013 at 7:09 pm

We’re eagerly awaiting more news about the climb. Michael, we’re thinking of you.
Mom & Dad

Posted by: Sara Doherty on 6/22/2013 at 4:36 pm

June 23, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Carry Heavy Loads to 9,600’ Camp

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013
Greetings from Pete, Geoff, Robby and Team,

Under cool temperatures and partly sunny skies, we moved uphill again this morning from our camp at 7,600’ to 9,600’.  The slopes of Ski Hill offered up our first significant climb of the expedition given our full loads weighing down our packs and our sleds.  After building camp at 9,600’, we continued to lighten our loads and fill our bellies by feasting on soups and Tasty Bite delicacies, followed by some hot beverages and storytelling.  Our team is feeling strong and weather looks accommodating for a move to 11,000’ camp tomorrow morning, where we’ll finally post up for some rest and acclimatization. 

RMI Guides Robby, Pete, and Geoff

On The Map

Aloha Gail,
IMUA, from Kihei Charter.
We are thinking of you and the entire team.
Safe climbing.

Posted by: Gene on 6/26/2013 at 3:35 am

met someone this morning who has also climbed Rainer, and a few others;is climbing Denali in 2015 with his dad and brother. I got his name for you, he’d like to meet you!
I see you have a team member from Kihei!....I bet you wish you were feeling those temps instead, but the views where you are now? They really outshine Kihei!
We miss you and are following your progress. Lots of cheering coming from Facebook
Have a great climb tomorrow

Posted by: marion on 6/23/2013 at 8:10 pm

June 23, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Settle into 11K Camp

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013
Hello all,

We’re checking in from 11k! We woke at a more reasonable hour this morning to a centimeter or so of new snow, and crystal blue skies. There was nothing to do but eat a big breakfast, crash our camp, and bounce to 11,000 feet. Just over two hours later we rolled into camp, psyched to finally be setting up shop for a few days. We dug a big kitchen, got the tents all bomb proof, and enjoyed an afternoon lounging in (or hiding from) the sun. With a full rest day tomorrow, it was a relaxed evening, and we spectated as the rangers skied a few laps above camp. The group’s competitive personalities are coming out, and tomorrow we have scheduled a competitive napping event. We’ll let you know who the winners are!

Until then,
Happily resting at 11k.

RMI Guides Pete, Geoff, Robby, et al.

On The Map

Hi Wyatt!  It’s been raining since you left!  The pictures of the mountain look beautiful.  We really enjoy reading what your group is doing from this blog.  Take Care and stay safe and strong.  Love ya,  Mom and Dad

Posted by: Marian Evenson on 6/24/2013 at 5:10 pm

Hugo ,we wish you a nice and safe journey! Enjoy your ride !
From your brother , Luis Heitor .

Posted by: Luis Heitor Picchioni on 6/24/2013 at 10:26 am

June 24, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Rest Day

Monday, June 24th, 2013
Today the team enjoyed a well deserved day of relaxation and gluttony.  After three days of early starts we had a leisurely morning of coffee and breakfast burritos followed by some high intensity competitive napping.  Unfortunately it was too close a match to declare a winner at this point, stay tuned for the sudden death nap-off during our next rest day.  Before dinner we reviewed crampon techniques and discussed our carry to 13,200’ tomorrow.  Mac and Cheese with bacon for dinner should provide sufficient calories to fuel us for mañana.  We have been lucky thus far with excellent weather and the forecast is looking just as good.  Knock on wood, I sure hope that didn’t jinx us.  Thanks to friends and family for tuning in.

RMI Guides Geoff, Robby, Pete, and our stellar team

On The Map

Mac and cheese with bacon??  Set another place, I’ll stop by.

I hope the good weather holds up for you guys.

-Larry Seaton

Posted by: Larry Seaton on 6/25/2013 at 8:45 am

Tommy, it’s awesome to hear you had a great day of rest! I hope you were able to find some special quiet time to journal and reflect in the amazing beauty that surrounds you. I was so happy to be able to see Brandon last night for prom. He was so handsome, just like his dad. It brought back special memories! I will be praying for the tough day ahead. I know how strong you are, though, and that gives me strength. I love you!

Posted by: Rhonda Kitchen on 6/25/2013 at 7:21 am

June 25, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Cache Gear at 13,200’

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013
We are back at our 11k camp after a very successful day of carrying and caching gear at 13,200. What had been a pretty busy camp now feels like a ghost town, as most teams in camp got an early start this morning to move to 14,000. We also had a decently early start to try to beat the heat, and by 1 pm, we were back in camp snacking and napping. We’ll be a day behind the main pack; everyone did excellently today, and so the plan is to move ourselves to 14k tomorrow! That will put us in great position, and one step closer to our goal. Best to everyone back home.


RMI Guides Pete, Geoff, Robby, and the gang

On The Map

Wyatt, thinking of you - your entire family…extended famliy….and friends…. are sending good thoughts your way.  Be safe and enjoy this experience,  M&D

Posted by: Marian Evenson on 6/26/2013 at 6:01 pm

Hi Daddy,
I made chocolate brownie sundaes tonight ,wish you were here!
I miss you telling me to clean my room 24/7 ha ha ha ha.
Piffy and Chan miss you!
Is that you in the blue coat in this picture?
I really do miss you!
Bring me back a baby Yeti!
Love Maya

Posted by: maya on 6/26/2013 at 5:01 pm

June 26, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Team Van Deventer Moves to 14,200’ Camp

Hello all from 14k! We made our move up today to 14,200’ Camp under sunny skies and calm conditions, and moved into a beautiful camp with tent platforms, walls, and kitchen already in place, just needing a bit of buffing out. We’ve been napping for the last couple of hours, and are about to cook up a big burrito dinner. The weather looks to be holding for the foreseeable future, so we’re going to head back to our cache at 13,000’ tomorrow and try to keep the forward momentum rolling. We’ll touch base tomorrow!

Cheers from the team,

RMI Guides Pete, Geoff, Robby, and all

On The Map

Hola Guapo
Checking in to see how you are doing.It seems like you’ve been away for months already!
Its exciting to check in daily to see where you are….and you are getting closer!
Hope you enjoyed your burritos tonight…...we had a four-star dinner of Kraft Mac and cheese and succotash; you aren’t missing much!
missing you! STAY STRONG!  YOU CAN DO IT!!!
xo Guapa and Maya

Posted by: marion and maya on 6/27/2013 at 9:04 pm

Tom,  I hope your trip is going well.  We’re all waiting for your triumphant return.  As Rhonda said, we’re putting updates together for everyone following you and can’t wait to hear all about it.  Stay safe, stay warm, and in Eric’s words “Think snow!”

Posted by: Milo on 6/27/2013 at 5:36 am

June 28, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Back Carry to 13,500’

Thursday, June 27th, 2013
We woke to a beautiful clear morning at 14,000 feet on Mt. McKinley. After a big breakfast, we headed over to the Stanford medical research tent to take part in their hydration/oxygen saturation study. Each person had six minutes to walk as many laps of a set course as they could, and then oxygen saturation was measured before and after. Needless to say, things got competitive. After nap time, we headed back to our cache at 13,500’, and retrieved all of our food and gear. It was a short jaunt, and a great chance to stretch our legs. On deck for tomorrow is a rest day with fixed line practice and some wall building! We’ll be in touch.


RMI Guides Pete, Geoff, Robby, et al

On The Map

Tommy, I just wanted to say “hi”, and I miss you,,,,,

Posted by: Rhonda Kitchen on 6/28/2013 at 7:54 pm

Hi Daddy….Did you find the Yeti yet?
Good luck the rest of the way!
Love Maya

Hola Guapo,
I guess the altitude is going to get sharp fast;it appears that you a very close to the top by the map! We are so excited for you!
I hope you did well with the laps! I’m curious to hear how you finished in that scenario.
It’s been raining for two days…we have been napping a lot too!
Animals are all great!
Miss you!

Posted by: marion and maya on 6/28/2013 at 9:41 am

June 28, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Rest Day at 14K

Friday, June 28th, 2013
We had a great rest day here at 14k! We spent most of the day in the clouds, but it was warm and calm. We took the opportunity to prepare for the fixed lines and running belays that we will encounter on the West Buttress, and to fortify the snow walls surrounding our tents. All in all, a great day! Congrats to Mike Haugen’s team for standing on top today!

Tomorrow, we plan to make our first foray onto the West Buttress proper, to cache a load of food, fuel, and supplies at the base of Washburn’s Thumb. Once that is done, all the pieces are in place and we’ll be waiting for our summit window! We’ll let you know how it goes.

Best from everybody here,

RMI Guides Pete, Geoff, Robby, and the team

On The Map

We are so stoked for you Gail!  Good luck to you and your team!  The Marggrafs are sending you lots of love.

Posted by: Melissa Marggraf on 6/29/2013 at 2:00 pm

Hola Guapo (Guillermo)
The family is here at the house today…everyone is checking out your progress and we are all excited for the summit!
We see that the other team has summited, and just seeing the photo of the summit and knowing that will be you in a few days, was SO exciting!
I hope you aren’t having swelling, and that your toes and nose are hanging in there! drink lots of water!
Everyone is sending their love and support!
Guapa, Maya, Dana, Aleeta, Troy, Holly, Mom, Pammy, Theo and Adam

Posted by: marion and maya on 6/29/2013 at 12:21 pm

June 30, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Cache Gear at Washburn’s Thumb

Sunday, June 30th, 2013
After spending some time resting and recuperating at 14K Camp, we jumped on the tiger today, aka the fixed lines, and climbed to 16,700’ to cache gear and food at Washburn’s Thumb. The steep and often exposed climbing was some of first of the expedition, and the team performed exceptionally. The hard work of the day was rewarded with a team favorite meal consisting of Annie’s Mac and Cheese with bacon. Tomorrow will be spent resting back in the comfort of 14K Camp while we wait on a favorable weather forecast to begin our final move up to Denali’s high camp. 

RMI Guides Robby, Pete, Geoff and Team

On The Map

Hi Tommy, I hope you are awesome today! For every day that passes, I miss you more than the day before! Not being able to talk to you is the hardest part. I have started talking to you in letters, though, and since I have no place to send them, you’ll have quite a few to read when you get home. This has made me remember when we wrote letters many years ago. Sara and Brandon send their love! They are great! I saw Brandon briefly yesterday. He came by to get his golf clubs to hit balls at the driving range with his friends. I can’t wait for all of us to be sitting down to dinner together again. I’m happy to hear that everything is progressing on schedule. It sounds like the team is working well together.  Everyone here is getting excited for summit day. I’m sure you and the team even more so. I am praying for strength and focus as the challenge of the ascent to the top becomes more difficult. My love and thoughts are always with you.

Posted by: Rhonda Kitchen on 6/30/2013 at 2:33 pm

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