Entries By alex halliday
June 12, 2021
Update: Friday, June 11, 2021 - 9:47 pm PT
We woke to a clear and "warm" by 17K Camp standards morning and decided to get out in front of the inevitable hoard of climbers that would be attempting the summit today. With cold hands and toes warming up by the time we got to Denali Pass we kept breaking trail in spots and resting on what was the warmest and windless summit day I’ve been a part of. Some of the group had just a base layer and light weight gloves on at 19,500'. Everyone in the group, 9 climbers and 3 guides stood on top of the tallest peak in North America. We got some good views of the surrounding glacier and mountains. We even had 2 returning climbers who got turned around 2 years ago due to bad weather. Your loved ones will have all sorts of stories to share, know that they are safe in camp and taking care of themselves after an arduous 14-hour day. We will plan to descend to 14K Camp tomorrow and perhaps lower if the weather cooperates. While the objective we all set out 2 weeks ago has been accomplished, we still have a lot of terrain to navigate so we can get to the airstrip for flights on Sunday or Monday (weather permitting). Thanks for following along!
Friday, June 11, 2021 - 4:00 pm PT
We received word this afternoon from RMI Guide Mike King that his team was on the summit of Denali with 100% of their team members. We wish them a safe descent and a hearty congratulations for all their hardwork!
Way to go team!
Congratulations to all! Way to go, Huw!
Posted by: Traci Gentry on 6/14/2021 at 11:05 am
Mike King, Alex Halliday, Abby Westling
Thanks for getting your team and our son safely back to sea level, we enjoyed the daily Blog and was excited to hear that all the team members reach the summit safely, Thanks again.
Mom and Dad Fortier
Posted by: Robert Fortier on 6/13/2021 at 6:22 pm
June 11, 2021
Thursday, June 10, 2021 - 4:48 pm PT
We finally got turned in around 11 pm last night after building camp and getting some food and water in us. The night was calm and cold. The weather pattern is supposed to be breaking up through the day so if we get some visibility and lighter winds above we’ll try for the summit tomorrow. The Team is doing well and getting a little anxious about whether the conditions will cooperate. We built some wind walls out of snow as our activity today. Some light snow and solar on the tents allow us to focus on hydration, food and keeping our gear dry so that we are ready to launch in the morning....if the weather and mountain allows. That’s all from 17 Camp.
Hey Tom! I am with you every step of the way!!! Sending prayers for Strong Climbing!!
Posted by: Dave Kestel on 6/12/2021 at 2:41 am
So excited camp that y’all secured high camp! We cannot wait for updates over the next couple days. Thinking of you all, cheering you on, and crossing our fingers for clear weather for your summit bid. Keep on keeping on! Yeehaw! (Love you, Abbs!)
Posted by: Rae on 6/11/2021 at 9:45 am
June 10, 2021
Wednesday, June 9, 2021 - 10:42 pm PT
The weather forecast has been calling for a tapering of the wind and clouds above 17,200’ beginning late Thursday. After being camp and tent bound for almost a week we decided to move camp. The weather was warm, cloudy, windy, hot and cold all over the 7ish hours it took us to move. There was some uphill and downhill traffic that we dealt with. The climbing on the West Buttress is by far the highlight so far. With expansive views of the Peter’s glacier and the black rock of the North Summit the team kept their heads down and did the hard work. We are safe in camp working on dinner and drinking water. A rest day is likely tomorrow as Friday seems to be the day for a summit attempt. Thanks for following along.
Awesome job you guys!
Posted by: Roger Rood on 6/11/2021 at 9:37 am
Very glad for all that you were able to make the change of camps as you prepare for your climb to the summit. Praying for good weather and a beautiful day. Congratulations to Rob
Posted by: Tío Kleberg on 6/10/2021 at 7:38 pm
June 8, 2021
Tuesday, June 8, 2021 - 2:52 pm PT
The weather front that was forecasted finally arrived in camp last night. While the winds and snow were light the weather above 14,000' Camp looked foreboding. We are planning on a move to 17,000' camp on Thursday unless the weather breaks in the morning. With the last push up in sight the team is busy playing cards, engaged in spirited debates on various issues and enjoying walking around camp meeting other climbers.
Mike Fortier would like to wish his wife a happy birthday!
RMI Guide Mike King
Hoping for clear weather, and continued high vibes for the crew! So stinking proud of y’all. Love you, so big, Abby!
Posted by: Rae on 6/9/2021 at 7:00 am
Sabom, 94 degrees and 91% humidity in SoTex. The Mosquitos in the OP are healthy and active. Cars are selling like candy bars. Steady as she goes, my friend! See you soon!
Posted by: Thomas Stephens on 6/9/2021 at 5:37 am
June 7, 2021
Monday, June 7, 2021 - 2:31 pm PT
We got some more snow last night and woke again to calm and clear weather. After yesterday’s trip up the fixed lines we figured another night at Denali's 14K Camp would help people acclimate and sleep better before moving to high camp at 17,200’. We are expecting a low pressure weather system to roll in this evening. If it does then we will likely be at 14 for a few more days. If it doesn’t appear then we will likely move up to high camp tomorrow. Time and weather will tell. Until then, warm tents and some card games will keep us occupied. The team is healthy and happy but looking forward to moving up. Thanks for following along.
Sounds like a great vacation to me at 14k! Thanks for the updates Mike. Good luck and good weather ahead to all!
Posted by: Darcy Murnaghan on 6/8/2021 at 2:06 pm
Not exactly my idea of R&R conditions, but it sounds like from Mike that the weather is primo for your climb. Getting excited about the summit! Best to Rob and team.
Tita and Artie
Posted by: Martha Sabom on 6/8/2021 at 12:41 pm
June 6, 2021
Sunday, June 6, 2021 - 3:43 pm PT
We got an early start from Denali's 14K Camp. The route up to the fixed lines was in the cold shadow of the mountain. This let the team feel how cold their toes and fingers will be on summit day. We climbed up the fixed lines that allow us to access the West Buttress of Denali. The weather was clear and calm at the top. We got some pictures and decided to cache there and head back to camp instead of dealing with descending traffic later in the day. Another active rest day has us enjoying warm tents and sport eating to decrease the amount of food weight we down carry. We’ll likely rest tomorrow and see what the forecast says about a move and summit attempt mid-late week.
Please send our best to Rob. We are following along the trip and enjoying all the updates and pictures. What an amazing trip! We can’t wait to hear all about it when Rob gets home! Safe travels up- Manuel & Melissa
Posted by: Melissa Zuniga on 6/7/2021 at 8:30 am
I wish I was on your team Tom!!! Climb Strong Buddy!!! Take in every Incredible memory!!!
Posted by: Dave Kestel on 6/7/2021 at 2:33 am
June 6, 2021
Saturday, June 5, 2021 - 8:22 pm PT
We had another calm and cold night here at 14,200’. The need for a rest day allowed the team to get some skills refreshed on fixed line travel and running belays. Both of which will let us go up on the West Buttress tomorrow to cache some food and fuel for our summit attempt. The Team went out to the Edge of the World viewpoint for some pictures and views of the N.E. Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier. Warm tents and lots of sun have the team enjoying some time out of their boots and hopefully getting a nap in. We will see what the weather holds over the next few days. We might get 3-4 weather days starting Monday which would allow for some more acclimatizing before heading to high camp at 17,200’. So far everyone is healthy and happy to be in such a beautiful part of the Alaska Range.
Hey Tom and Mike!! Sending Sunny warm thoughts and Strong legs and lungs!! I am with you in spirit Buddy!!!
Posted by: Dave Kestel on 6/7/2021 at 2:29 am
Keep going Michael, so proud of you! What a beautiful experience!
Posted by: Michelle on 6/6/2021 at 4:28 pm
June 4, 2021
Friday, June 4, 2021 - 7:22 pm PT
It’s different living at 14,200’. The air is colder, you get winded easier and stoves don’t burn as efficient. We slept in today and waited for the sun to hit our tents before heading down to get our cache at 13,500’. The group did well and we were back in camp for an active rest day. The guides finished the kitchen/dining tent and the climbers enjoyed the views of Mt. Foraker and Mt Hunter. Our 3rd RMI team descended from 17K Camp after a successful summit. Warm tents and good conversations passed the afternoon quickly and we are getting ready for dinner. To better acclimate we’ll take a rest day tomorrow and see what the weather brings.
Rest well Mike , Tom and team!!
Posted by: Dave Kestel on 6/6/2021 at 3:31 am
Keep up the good work Two-Dads! Just reading this blog makes me feel tired
Posted by: Adam on 6/5/2021 at 7:39 pm
June 4, 2021
Thursday, June 3, 2021 - 9:59 pm PT
We got up and packed up camp this morning with blue skies and little to no wind. Having just put in a cache at 13,500’ the terrain would not be new. A warmer day than yesterday had us stuck at times behind slower moving parties. We got to 14,200’ camp located in Genet Basin having done a lot of hard work but the Team built camp and we are getting ready for a late dinner. We got a chance to see 2 of 3 RMI teams as they descended from high camp this evening. Tomorrow we will sleep in, pick up our cache and continue to improve camp. No need to go up high until we get a few nights here and some well earned rest. Thanks for following along.
This is Awesome news!! Enjoy every moment , every beautiful view! Climb Strong Tom!!!
Posted by: Dave Kestel on 6/5/2021 at 2:47 am
Great to see blue skies and improved weather. Get needed rest and move ahead. Thank you for in insight and photography. Tell Rob hello, Tio
Posted by: Kleberg Tio on 6/4/2021 at 12:56 pm
June 3, 2021
Wednesday, June 2, 2021 - 5:24 pm PT
We had a cold clear night and woke to blue skies. The goal today was to cache food and fuel around Windy Corner at 13,500'. The route would take us up Motorcycle Hill and Squirrel Hill. From there it’s across the Polo Field and into the Saddle before Windy Corner. Windy Corner lived up to its name but the winner of the strongest winds today was the Polo Field. The Team did well and enjoyed the amazing views of the surrounding Alaska Range. We are back at 11K Camp eating food and enjoying some warm tents. We hope to move to 14K Camp tomorrow if the weather permits. There is a weather system forecasted that might keep us here for a few days. We’ll let you know when we know.
Great photos, looks spectacular. Stay strong Rob and team!
Posted by: Brett on 6/4/2021 at 7:07 am
Climb Strong Brother Tom!!!
Posted by: Dave Kestel on 6/4/2021 at 2:51 am