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May 10, 2012

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Mike Walter & Team in Talkeetna

Yesterday was the first full day of the 2012 RMI Denali season. After a great team breakfast at the historic Talkeetna Roadhouse, we headed to the National Park Service for our pre-climb orientation meeting, followed by a full day of packing and sorting our gear at the K2 Aviation hangar.

We’re all excited for this trip to start, and optimistic that we will be able to fly on to the Kahiltna Glacier today. There are some clouds in the sky, and a little precipitation in the forecast, so we’ll see if the planes are able to fly or not. Hopefully our next dispatch is sent from the glacier…either way, we’ll keep you posted.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

On The Map

Good luck guys (and gal)! I hope the sooner you get on the glacier, the sooner you get off. :) Stay warm and stay safe.
(Kyle H’s girlfriend)

Posted by: Stephenie on 5/11/2012 at 9:26 am

Fingers crossed the weather cooperates today and you get on the glacier. Here’s to good flying conditions and getting this show on the road!  Good luck to the team. XO
Christina D

Posted by: Christina Doren on 5/11/2012 at 9:01 am

May 10, 2012

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Weather Keeps Team Walter in Talkeetna for Another Day

Good evening from Talkeetna. The weather didn’t cooperate with us today, and we were unable to fly in to Base Camp. The snow and clouds never lifted from the Kahiltna Glacier, making it impossible to fly planes into the Range.

We were all suited up and ready for show time this morning, but our plans got put on hold. We waited around all day, hoping that the weather would lift and let us begin this adventure. We have all spent countless hours training and preparing for, and dreaming of, this climb. And we’re all excited to see this adventure start and our dreams come to fruition. But we also know that this is a long expedition, and we must be patient. For now, we’ll enjoy the creature comforts of life for another night…a good dinner, a warm bed, and a hot shower.

We’ll touch base again tomorrow.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

On The Map

Hope you are on the way up so you can come down soon
Wishing you sunny days and good times. Be safe.

Posted by: mary doyle on 5/14/2012 at 10:19 am

tell coleman to take his time——we lost the goldman line any way….. all the best smoker

Posted by: josh jacobs on 5/11/2012 at 11:43 am

May 11, 2012

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Make Most of their Talkeetna Time

We spent the day waiting for our weather window to fly on to the glacier, but two feet of snow at Base Camp last night and continuing snow through today have so far prevented us from making it on. Rather than idly twiddling our thumbs, we decided to make the best of a warm dry hanger and practice our crevasse rescue skills and self rescue systems. Everyone is feeling better about their systems after a lot of practice and playing with knots and tricks. We still have one and a half hours to go before the planes are grounded for the night, increasingly it is looking like tomorrow morning is more likely for flying. Hopefully our next post will come from there glacier!

RMI Guide Peter Van Deventer

Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate with us today, and we were unable to fly in to Base Camp once again. While it seems as though the weather is improving, the conditions were not conducive to flying; no planes left Talkeetna today with the intention of trying to land at Base Camp. We took advantage of the down time today and did some dry-land review of crevasse rescue. There were also some pretty competitive games of ping pong going on this afternoon in the Hangar as we waited on standby for the weather to clear. We’re all eager to fly, but we understand that climbing Denali requires patience. Hopefully we get a break tomorrow and can fly in to Base Camp and establish ourselves on the mountain. In the meantime, we’re enjoying Talkeetna.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

On The Map

May 12, 2012

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Enroute to Base Camp

The May 8th Mt. McKinley Expedition led by RMI Guides Mike Walter, Pete Van Deventer and Maile Wade is now en route to Base Camp.  The weather in Talkeetna was clear this morning and the team headed for the K2 Aviation hanger.

Good luck on your expedition!

Stay safe and make every day epic!

Posted by: Erik on 5/16/2012 at 7:07 pm

Go team!  Climb safe, climb strong!

Posted by: Drew Tulumello on 5/12/2012 at 9:27 pm

May 13, 2012

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Spend First Night at Camp 1

Hey all! Our previous two day’s waiting game turned to hustle and bustle yesterday as the skies opened and allowed the planes to fly. Our flights left right after breakfast, and we landed at basecamp, resplendent with a new layer of snow. It’s still early in the season, and basecamp was quiet, with just a handful of climbers waiting to fly off, or start their climb uphill.

After a couple hours spent packing, rigging sleds, and digging our cache, we were on our way, dropping down the SE fork of the Kahiltna Glacier to begin our ascent up the main fork. The skies quickly closed and it began to snow, obscuring the views and dropping the temperature significantly. We made camp in light snow last night, but this AM woke to sun and clear skies! The plan is to make a move to our next camp at 9,600’ today.

Happy birthday to team member Carl Devendorf, and everyone would like to wish their moms a Happy Mother’s Day!

We’ll be in touch soon.

RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer and the gang

On The Map

Mike M….Following your progress…...and rooting for you!!  Wishing you clear skies, good weather and the most magnificant views!!

Posted by: Annette on 5/14/2012 at 11:55 am

Go Mike!  Have a great climb.  I saw the mountain this morning in the sun on my way to work. Looks awesome.  Stay safe.

Posted by: Jeff on 5/14/2012 at 10:06 am

May 13, 2012

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Move to 9,600’

This morning we awoke to our first views of the Alaska Range. After sitting out the storm in Talkeetna and flying on with clouds still in the area, we were pleasantly surprised with a beautiful sunny day. Our first big hill of the trip greeted us right out of camp, but even with this challenge we moved well up to camp at 9,500’.  The Kahiltna Glacier is in great shape which made our travels nice and fluid. Base camp received 3 feet of snow while we sat in Talkeetna, but this just made for great navigating and smooth sailing for us. As we moved into the steeps of Ski Hill, there was a perfect trough to keep our sleds in line and upright. With our first challenges behind us, we rolled into camp around 5:00 and made a yummy birthday dinner for Carl…61 today!! Now, we’re resting up for another big push tomorrow to 11,000’ camp. Happy Mother’s Day to all of our moms! Goodnight.

RMI Guides Mike Walter, Pete Van Deventer & Maile Wade

On The Map

Team, We wish you GREAT LUCK on McKinley.  Be safe.  Sara and Bill McGahan

Posted by: Bil McGahan on 5/17/2012 at 3:40 pm

happy birthday carl & best wishes for great weather.
summit on!

Posted by: lars on 5/14/2012 at 6:37 pm

May 15, 2012

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Making Great Progress

We had a great day yesterday, and moved our camp up to 11,200’. The weather was perfect for climbing, and we made swift progress up the Kahiltna Glacier towards Kahiltna Pass. We arrived in camp and spent a few hours establishing our camp, as we will be staying here for a few nights. With all of our gear moved in to the 11,200’ camp, we are in a great position, and we will spend the day resting and acclimating. We are planning to carry a cache of supplies up to Windy Corner (13,600’) tomorrow, so we’re looking forward to a lazy day today. The weather looks great the next few days, and our team is feeling strong. We’re right on schedule as we start staging on to the upper mountain.

We’ll be in touch again soon.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

On The Map

Happy Belated Birthday Carl!  We all hope you’re having lots of fun.  Hope it’s not too cold.

Posted by: Crystal on 5/17/2012 at 8:50 am

Bernie, don’t slow the team down. Steak & Lobs part II waiting for you when you get back to NYC.

Posted by: Tom Hogan on 5/17/2012 at 8:49 am

May 17, 2012

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Carry to 13,500’

Hi all!

We are back at 11,000’ camp after a successful and gorgeous carry to cache gear at 13,500 ft, just past Windy Corner.  When we woke this morning it looked like Windy Corner might live up to it’s name; banners of snow were flying high off the nearby peaks from a strong north wind.  We had a great smoked salmon breakfast and dragged our feet in camp for a bit to see if the wind would die, and it played ball! The carry was warm and calm, and the group moved great, happy to be free of our sleds, and to have lighter loads.

The weather forecast is sounding stellar for the next handful of days. We’re going to make a game time decision tomorrow morning whether to move to the 14,000’ camp or stay one more day at 11,000’. We’ll let you know!

That’s all for now; we’re going to crawl into our warm down bags and get some shut eye.

RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer and the crew

On The Map

Sounds like a great time!  Please give my best to Nick.

Posted by: Pam on 5/17/2012 at 7:35 pm

Keep going.

Posted by: Richard Coleman on 5/17/2012 at 7:06 pm

May 17, 2012

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Rest Day at 11K Camp

After much discussion and hearing a favorable weather forecast for the next few days, we decided that an extra day at 11,000’ was the best way for the group to rest and acclimate so we are strong for our move to 14,000’. We are looking to move tomorrow and are expecting good weather for pulling into camp.

As for today, we lazed around all morning in the posh, but had to move outside as the day progressed.  It was way too hot to hang out in tents or the posh, a rare treat for a May Denali trip. I think today was just what the doctor ordered for us to move up in style tomorrow. Everyone is feeling strong, well-rested, and ready to camp in beautiful Genet Basin tomorrow night. We’ll hopefully be checking in from 14,000’ tomorrow.

Hope all is well at home,
RMI Guide Maile Wade and crew

On The Map

I forgot the birthday wish was for Maile

Posted by: Ginny on 5/18/2012 at 4:44 pm

Wow! sounds like all is going well.  What a great please to have your birthday on the 19th! so HAPPY BIRTHDAY my girl I love you tons   be safe
xoxoxoxoxo Mom

Posted by: Ginny on 5/18/2012 at 4:42 pm

May 19, 2012

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Set up 14,000’ Camp

Hey all! Greetings from 14,000 ft. Yesterday was a busy day as several teams including ourselves, packed up camp at 11k and headed for our advanced basecamp at 14k. Temperatures were cool and the sky was bluebird, making ideal conditions for climbing. Windy Corner gave us a little taste with a chilly breeze blowing as we approached. As soon as we rounded it, however, the breeze died and the sun turned on the microwave.

Move days are hard work. Not only do you have a long day with heavy packs, but at the end of it you have to spend several hours reestablishing camp. The team did great and we moved into a quite comfortable camp; important because this is where we will stage from and wait for our weather window to head for the summit. Today we will head down to retrieve our cache at 13k, and spend the rest of the day fortifying camp with large snow walls so that we are prepared for a storm.

We want to wish Maile a super happy birthday, and we’re glad she’s up here celebrating it with us!

Hasta luego,
RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer and team

On The Map

Happy Birthday Mai!!! We had a cold beer in your honor! Glad you guys made it to 14 camp—looks incredible! Safe climbing! xo

Posted by: Jenny on 5/20/2012 at 7:10 am

Glad you’re having great weather and time. Not so great here (weather wise). Missed Mike at Torch Run today. I ran with CJ this year and Officer Umbs beat us. Furry kids up to their same old tricks and more…

Posted by: Kym on 5/20/2012 at 1:07 am

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