Wow, after a couple hectic days in Talkeetna our crew finally completed packing all of the food, fuel, and assorted junk (but still expensive junk) that we’d need for our Denali expedition. We were greeted with fair skies and calm winds for our flight out to basecamp where after a hot meal we’ve settled in for the night. The crew is certainly eager and excited for the challenge and the hard work that lies ahead but is undoubtedly feeling slightly apprehensive. It’s hard to imagine that one wouldn’t be surrounded by such massive mountains on all sides. The weather tomorrow is calling for another sunny day and we plan to take full advantage by pushing a single carry out to the base of Ski Hill.
More news to come as the situation develops…
RMI Guides Billy Nugent, Gilbert Chase, Geoff Schellens, and the rest of the gang.
On The Map
Hi Brandi and Elizabeth its time to put all that prep to work. I’m sure that there is a lot of hard work ahead but remember to take some time to enjoy it all along the way.
Miss you Poo. -Chris
Posted by: Chris on 5/19/2012 at 10:32 am
Plow that road for me! We’ll cross paths in a couple of weeks. Looking forward to seeing you again (do you still have that boyfriend?)
Posted by: Larry Seaton on 5/18/2012 at 9:29 pm
Whew. Heavy loads today! Despite the burden the crew enjoyed a second great day in the Alaska Range under blue skies and warm temperatures. Today’s walk was a long haul but the crew did great on our first physical portion of the expedition. We’ve settled into a new camp at the base of Ski Hill which is approximately 7,800’. Not much else to report other than tired legs and full bellies as we snug up for the night after a great meal.
RMI Guide Billy Nugent and the gang
On The Map
Great job guys…remember its the miles before the elevation. Keep up the good work and fingers crossed for good weather. Best wishes Brother Paul
Posted by: John Fletcher on 5/20/2012 at 5:52 am
Brandi & Elizabeth, I wanted to send you a nice bottle of wine to congratulate you on your “little hike” As much as I searched i could not find a hotel listing for 7800 up Mt Mckinley, let alone the number for room service :-)
Posted by: MS on 5/19/2012 at 9:26 pm
Today’s walk was pleasantly uneventful and brought us from Camp 1 at 7,800’ up to Camp 2 on top of Ski Hill at 9,600’. Clouds came in and out along with some intermittent flurries which broke up the heat from the direct sun. Walking temperatures were actually much more comfortable than yesterday’s constant, direct sun. The team dined on some delicious cheese quesadillas with grilled onions, peppers, and chicken before retiring to our tents. It pays to be in the sack before the shadow and chilly temperatures descended upon camp. High pressure is supposed to build again for tomorrow and we aim to take advantage by pushing our camp up to 11,000’ before crummy weather sets in half way through next week.
All for now,
RMI Guide Billy Nugent
On The Map
Elizabeth and team, so happy to hear all is well and you are getting higher and higher.. Stay focused, eat lots, rest and enjoy the beauty and each other.
Miss you and our emails. Emily’s concert was fantastic. Love you tons. Mom
Posted by: Maureen Bartron on 5/23/2012 at 8:22 am
Hi dad, it’s the last day of school. We bought an iPad and downloaded lots of games. We are having an end of the year party on Thursday, right after the last day of school. I love you and miss you. Stay safe.
Posted by: Laura on 5/23/2012 at 7:22 am
Resting here at 11,300’ on Mt. McKinley... Not much to report other than worsening weather through the day today and that while hanging in the posh (cook tent) the team was able to solve most of the world’s problems. We broached the taboo subjects of politics, religion, economics, ancient societies/civilizations, space exploration, extraterrestrial copulation, ancient ruins, plate tectonics, coral atoll nations and the rising sea level, doomsday cults, classic car restoration, moral bankruptcy, and escalating health care costs just to name a few. Currently it’s snowing moderately but fortunately without wind. A good day to rest after all. Hopefully we get a small break in the weather tomorrow so we can push a load of food and fuel up around Windy Corner which will put us in position to move up to 14k camp.
After an uneventful night we awoke to more mostly sunny weather with some high cirrus clouds. The plan was to sleep in a little and enjoy the first morning of the expedition where we didn’t have the chore of breaking camp. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast of smoked salmon on toasted bagels with cream cheese and then geared up for our walk down to the cache at 9,600’. After less than four hours we had retrieved all of our groceries and returned to camp at 11k. After eating dinner and hanging out, the glacier in camp suddenly settled sending a large shock-wave through the ground, needless to say scaring the crap out of everyone. I’ve never really felt a glacier do that before, pretty wild. Tomorrow calls for a rest day which might be good timing with the weather as things seem to be slightly deteriorating. There are some lenticular clouds forming on the peaks across the Kahiltna which may be indicative of some moisture on he way.
Will check in tomorrow from our rest day…
RMI Guide Billy Nugent and the gang.
Today was another great day of unbelievable weather for our push up to the 11,000’ camp. We left behind a cache at our previous camp at 9,600’ of mostly food and fuel (alongside some miscellaneous personal items) and thus enjoyed a significantly lighter move than the loads from the previous two days. After a little bit of digging and improving of an abandoned camp we moved in and enjoyed a great tortellini dinner.
Hoping for a smooth first night at a new elevation,
RMI Guide Billy Nugent
On The Map
Paul, missing my mountain man!! I’m very Proud of you baby.
The temperature at the happiest place on earth will hit 100 degrees for the holiday weekend.
Posted by: Sherri on 5/24/2012 at 6:58 am
Hi John C and gang ,everything seems to be going to plan for you.Mart and gang arrived ok.Be good and be safe,talk soon.
Posted by: Gene Costello on 5/24/2012 at 3:57 am
Woke up today to splitter (blue) skies and warm temps! The original forecast was for a snowstorm to hit the range sometime today but it didn’t appear that way to us this morning. The incorrect forecast was great news for us and we were able to push a load of supplies up around Windy Corner this afternoon. The crew made it back down to camp at 11,000’ in time to soak up a bunch of afternoon sun. Needless to say our tans are coming along nicely with all of this good weather. Tomorrow, weather permitting, we plan on picking up camp and heading up to 14,000’.
The team is climbing great and in great spirits! Wish us luck on a big day tomorrow…
On The Map
Hey SENIOR! Haha good luck on the mountain must be freezing up there while its a horrible 100 degrees back in Tucson :b. Well I drove my bros to pinetop without crashing I think Im ready for my drivers test! Anyway God bless you SENIOR everyone misses you down almost 14,000 feet! From the JUNIOR
Posted by: Junior on 5/25/2012 at 7:31 pm
I love you so much, mom. I was crying about it five minutes ago. Maybe Im on a sugar high from mission carnival. Sherman
Posted by: Sheena on 5/25/2012 at 6:48 pm
May 24, 2012
Well, we’ve made our move on up to camp at 14k on a scorching hot day with our second trip around (not-so) Windy Corner. We rolled in around 4:15 pm where Mike Walter and his crew were kind enough to leave us a great looking camp to move into. This left us with significantly less work building walls and digging platforms, lucky us! Thanks Mike! Clouds have moved in this evening and it has started to snow a bit but we are already fed, settled in, and for the most part crashed out. It was a tough day especially with the heat but the gang persevered.
On The Map
May 25, 2012
Today saw pretty much constant snow all day long. Fortunately, the winds have remained calm and our crew was able to back-carry today despite the precipitation and stay right on schedule. We are now sitting pretty at 14,200’ with all of our provisions and fuel. The weather is supposed to remain a little bit squirrelly through tomorrow which will coincide nicely with a well-deserved rest day. We spent most of the afternoon after the back-carry chilling in the posh and sport eating. Good times. The crew is in good spirits and pumped for the climbing ahead!
Hope your rest day was filled with sleep, laughs, and food. Stay well, think of you all the time and each step you take gets you closer and closer. Roger Hector sends his best and is so darn proud of YOU Elizabeth.As always hugs and love. Mom & Dad
Posted by: Maureen Bartron on 5/27/2012 at 9:34 am
just FYI for those at home—you know that these aren’t specifically photos from this trip or this team. the guides only have sat phones, not an internet connection!
these are just generic pictures of the sections they are currently on…
Posted by: Mchael on 5/27/2012 at 7:43 am
May 27, 2012
A rest day! Yay! We did such amazing things as sleeping in, more turbo tanning, sport eating, walking out to the Edge of the World, more sport eating, fixed line practice, and packing for tomorrow’s carry up the fixed lines. Per the norm, the team is in good spirits but perhaps a bit anxious for tomorrow. The weather is supposed to be in and out for the extended forecast so we are planning to stick to our schedule until we are forced to wait.
Hoping for a great day tomorrow, once we get this cache in we will be on standby for good weather and hopefully pulling the trigger on our move to high camp and subsequent summit push…
RMI Guide Billy Nugent and friends
On The Map
Hello GRD from AOMS in Tucson Arizona. We are thinking of you and tracking your progress. Your almost to the top!!! WooHoo!!! Looking forward to the Summit pictures, stories and your safe return!
Enjoy every moment!!! :)
Posted by: Robin Alexander on 5/29/2012 at 9:22 am
Hi Donny. We are so proud of you. The whole family in St Louis is following your team’s progress. Uncle Jim
Posted by: Jim on 5/29/2012 at 5:40 am
Hey everybody back at home, this is Billy I am checking in from our high camp at 17,000’.
The team moved up yesterday. It was looking a little bit iffy weather wise but it looked like we were going to get a window. The weather cleared right up for us for our move and we moved right into high camp and set up shop. We were considering taking a shot at the summit today but winds returned and we opted to rest here at 17,000’. So everyone is snug in their sleeping bags, hanging out in the tent. Things are sunny here in camp right now but we had a fair bit of wind up on the ridge above Denali Pass that is going to keep us from going at least today. We are keeping our fingers crossed for tomorrow. We have enough supplies to last about a week up here. So we are hoping for a good weather window and the team should be able to get out there and punch the summit.
So we’ll give you a call tomorrow and let you know what we are up to.
RMI Guide Billy Nugent
RMI Guide Billy Nugent checks in from 17000 on Mt. McKinley
On The Map
Hope you’re staying warm up there at 17,000’...fricken crazy man! Safe travels to you and the team
Dent & Jenny
Posted by: Dent & Jenny on 6/1/2012 at 2:31 pm
I just left a comment for the wrong team. Im in computer right now and Evelyn and I say hi. Don’t worry it’s freetime. Love you mom
Posted by: Sheena on 6/1/2012 at 11:43 am
Hey, everybody it’s Billy.
I’m calling from 17,000’ where we are enjoying our third rest day or you could call them weather days. We have been sitting around in the clouds, it has been snowy and windy. We are hoping that this high pressure that is supposed to build this weekend over the mountain actually happens and we’ll get a chance to climb. Right now the team is hanging tight, chilling in their tent, every now and then getting out and working on the snow walls, trying to maintain sanity and waiting for this weather to lift so we can take a crack at the top. I’ll give you guys a call again tomorrow, let you know if anything new develops.
RMI Guide Billy Nugent checks in from 17,000 ft on Mt. McKinley.