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Entries By andy bond

Denali Expedition: Bond & Team Are Taking Off from Talkeetna, headed for the Mountain

Tuesday, June 6, 2023 - 9:53 am PT

The weather is cooperating and we're taking off to the Alaska Range and landing on the Kahiltna glacier! Our next update will be via satellite messenger and the climb will have started! 

Bon voyage!

RMI Guides  Andy Bond, Jack Delaney and Joey Manship

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Best wishes for a safe and successful team!

Posted by: KATHERINE GRAHAM on 6/7/2023 at 5:26 am

Praying for great weather, a safe climb, awesome memories, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, and a summit!

Posted by: Michelle DeMers on 6/7/2023 at 4:10 am

Denali Expedition: Bond & Team Arrive in Alaska

Monday, June 5, 2023 - 7:13 pm PT

Denali Team Assemble!

Everyone has made it to Alaska with our bags in tow. After brief introductions we loaded up the shuttle and took off for Talkeetna. The day was beautiful with clear skies and warm temps. After an hour we did a quick pit stop at the grocery store in Wasilla for last minute supplies, mostly beer and cookie dough. Another hour of driving and we arrived in the quaint town of Talkeetna. Unloading the dozens of duffels and supplies really put into perspective the sheer scale of preparing for an expedition of this size. We then relaxed for the evening, had a wonderful dinner and enjoyed the midnight sun. 


RMI Guides Jack, Andy, Joey and the team

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To quote Calvin and Hobbes “It’s A Magical World Hobbes Ol’ Buddy….Let’s Go Exploring”
Savor all the magic this exploration holds. Stay Safe.

Posted by: Jan Morgan on 6/6/2023 at 5:41 pm

So excited for all of you! We hope for great weather and a a successful summit!

Posted by: Larisa Corbett on 6/6/2023 at 9:48 am

Mt. Rainier: Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir Summits!

Today our Expedition Skills Seminar Team led by RMI Guides Brent Okita and Andy Bond reached the summit of Mt. Rainier. It was an unexpectedly stormy climb into a big cloud cap where the rime stuck to everything and everyone. but the team crushed it! The weather finely broke as they approached their last break giving them a nice view from the top. 

The team celebrated their summit back at Ingraham Flats. They will spend the remainder of the week training in and around Camp Muir.

Congratulations Team! 

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GREAT JOB everyone!  I won’t embarrass someone by naming him but he knows who he is and how proud we are!

Posted by: Donna Medica on 5/24/2023 at 7:53 pm

Mt. Rainier: Thunderstorms Keep Four Day Climb at Camp Muir

The Four Day Climb led by RMI Guides Andy Bond and Alex Halliday stayed at Camp Muir last night. The upper mountain was covered in a heavy cap with significant thunderstorms. Currently the weather at Camp Muir is sunny with the cap still hanging over the upper mountain and a marine layer sitting at about 5,000’. The team will enjoy the calm morning before starting their descent to Paradise. 

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Mt. Rainier: Five Day Climb Descending From Camp Muir

The Five Day Climb April 28 - 2 May led by RMI Guides Andy Bond and Dustin Wittmier are descending from Camp Muir this morning.  The team made the most of their time on the mountain getting in a Climbing school to learn cramponing, rope travel and ice axe arrest techniques.  They then ascended to Camp Muir, 10,080', where they spent two nights and were able to do additional training.  Lightning near Camp Muir and high winds kept the team from making a summit attempt this morning.  We look forward to seeing them back at Rainier BaseCamp this afternoon.

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Denal Expedition: Summit Day!

Thursday, July 30, 2022 10:20 am PDT

I’m going to start with the spoiler-100% of our team made it to the summit! This was very special because of the excellent chemistry we developed on this trip. To get to the summit, we had to travel across the Autobahn-clipping in and out of over 50 pickets, climb past Zebra rocks, take in the views at Denali pass, do the 100 yard dash across the football field, tackle pig hill before finally arriving on the summit ridge all while changing layers of clothing throughout the day. The summit brought tears to many of our eyes.  It took us just under 7 hours to reach the summit from 17,000 camp. At the summit, everyone exchanged hugs and laughter. Some commemorated with flags and special notes for loved ones. We took lots of pictures and celebrated our hard effort before we descended back to camp in 3 hours and were completely exhausted. Our celebration included watching Steve, who carried a hula hoop he found in Talkeetna to the summit, break the world record for completing over 30 seconds of hula hooping at the highest elevation recorded for the activity. We all videoed the event for the record book. 

We were blessed with incredible weather; 1st rate guides-Andy, Grayson and Ben; interesting, accomplished, funny and caring team mates.

I want to also share my own personal story which motivated me to climb Denali- The highest mountain in North America. After hiking the Appalachian trail in 2018, I decided I needed a new challenge which was tackling the highest point in every state. I quickly realized this goal included Denali and Mt Rainier and that i better get working on those two mountains since I wasn’t getting any younger. Having no mountaineering experience, I did some research and decided to climb with RMI since they guided on both mountains and came with high reviews. To get some experience, I decided to take the kahiltna seminar followed by a climb of Rainier. Covid initially delayed my plans by a year but in May 2021, I completed the Kahiltna seminar only to find out a month later that I had stage 1C ovarian cancer. I had surgery in July and started 6 rounds of chemotherapy which ended in December. I wanted to have a goal to focus on during chemo, so I signed up for the June 15th climb of Denali. Knowing this was a daunting task, I went hiking everyday during the four months of chemo no matter how sick I felt. Amazingly, I continued to get stronger and fitter and climbed a 13,000 foot mountain in Colorado in November. I think I had this overwhelming desire to push myself because I didn’t want to let cancer interrupt my goals. Another part of me wanted to do something that was as close to mentally and physically demanding as combating cancer as I could find. I certainly believe climbing Denali fulfilled that objective!  Standing on the summit was thrilling but at the same time I realized the yearlong journey was the meaningful part not the single destination.

Mary-Beth and Team

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Late to the party but my congratulations are just as strong.  You all rock!  Steve and his hula hooping self and Mary Beth.  MB for you I am just without words.  I was diagnosed with Stage 2B breast cancer in 2018 and just getting through it all about broke me.  Reading what you accomplished during your treatments and since is just so motivational.  I’m so glad you were part of this team whose blog I followed because of Steve.  The Universe sure is magical.

Posted by: Melanee Strootman on 7/5/2022 at 10:12 am

Congratulations to the whole team!!  What an accomplishment for you all.  Mary Beth you’re just amazing and I can’t wait to hear what your next adventure might be.

Posted by: Jan Sgroi on 7/2/2022 at 9:44 am

Denali Expedition: Bond & Team Reach Summit with 100%

Wednesday, June 29, 2022 - 5:40 pm PT

RMI Guide Andy Bond and the entire Denali Expedition June 15th team reached the summit of Denali, North America's highest peak around 5:40 pm PT.  Andy reported a beautiful day, light winds and a climbing time of 6 hours from High Camp to the summit.  We are happy to report that along with all of the team members on the summit was the hula hoop complete with video proof.

As of 10 pm PT, the team had safely returned to High Camp for the evening. 

Congratulations to the June 15th Denali Expedition!

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Bravo à tous !!! Vous vous êtes surpassés!!!

Posted by: Delphine on 7/2/2022 at 12:30 pm

Hello and congratulations to the team and now a few french words for Yann : bravo à toi et à toute l’équipe, c’est super. A bientôt.
Hugues et Amaury

Posted by: Hugues PECQUEUX on 6/30/2022 at 10:54 am

Denali Expedition: Bond & Team Move to 17,000ft High Camp

Tuesday, June 28, 2022 - 11:42 pm PT

Let me tell you about the pain cave. It’s made of self doubt stalactites and poorly spaced foot buckets where you think you have found purchase with your crampons and yet they slide again and again. It’s got stalagmites forged from the tears of mountaineers who came before you. It’s a fearsome place indeed. But we are a powerful team and WE CARRY ON.

That is right readers, this intrepid group scaled the hairy fixed lines once again to move our camp to 17,000' today. What stroke of luck to have such incredible weather for our move day. To be traversing the airy Washburns’s Thumb in nothing but a sun hoody is the stuff of dreams. Our RMI guides continue to provide important services such as lying to us about the steepness of the grade on the trail we cannot yet see, and assurances that today will likely be considered a harder day than our planned summit day tomorrow. Andy, keep up the bluffing, it’s working like a charm.

Todays highlights included Steve’s reunion with his hula hoop, the view from 17 Camp when we finally arrived, the fact that most of us are higher than we’ve ever been, and the team spirit embodied by Yann who selflessly swung into action helping his teammates set up tents when they arrived exhausted. There was also the traffic on the running belays which was reminiscent of Seattle’s I-5, but really, who can complain when it’s a fraction of the normal peak season crowd.

With a bit of rest this evening, some much needed calories (an entire mountain house plus snacks), and a continuous deep well of motivation to draw from, we sit eager with anticipation for tomorrow - the big day!!!

RMI Climber Holly

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Love that you guys are embracing the suck! Go team, Go!

Posted by: Steve Polovick on 6/30/2022 at 7:01 am

Team Bond you’re crushing it! Keep pushing through the pain and moving forward. Looking forward to hearing about you conquering summit day.

Posted by: Cortney on 6/29/2022 at 5:53 pm

Denali Expedition: Bond & Team Learning and Living at 14,000ft Camp

Monday, June 27, 2022 - 10:55 pm PT

Today was our third full rest day of the trip and it was glorious! We began by sleeping in and trying very hard to harmonize the incredible snoring coming from our tents.

When the sun drenched our tents and we finally came out for the day, three of us surprised the rest of the team with neon wigs that I brought from the costume closet back in Baltimore. I wore the Orange ‘bob’, Matt rocked the highlighter yellow shoulder length look, and Mr. Hyde Carby stole the show with the flowing pink curls. The wigs brought lots of laughter and Andy was sure to sport the pink curls as the last RMI expedition of the season rolled into 14,000' Camp early this afternoon.

We continue taking each day as a learning opportunity and today we learned that the synch cords at the bottom of your jacket are incredibly handy when trying to use a clean mountain can in 0 degree weather.

We had a delicious rest day feast of more bagels and cream cheese, smoked salmon, and breakfast burritos. We learned our lesson from the last rest day and only ate 2 bagels and one breakfast burrito per person.

To stretch our legs and work out some anxiety about the high mountain above us, we took a stroll across 14,000' Camp to the ‘Edge of the World’, a 6,000’ sheer cliff that drops from 14,000' to the valley below. Grayson belayed us one by one to the edge and we got epic photos courtesy of our personal photographer and guide Ben. 

Back at camp, Andy convened a team meeting. After checking in to see how everyone was feeling, and double checking to make sure we were honestly feeling good, he gave us the good news. The weather on the high mountain for Tuesday and Wednesday is looking terrific and we are going to begin our summit push tomorrow!

We spent much of the afternoon preparing what we will carry up, and what we will cache here at 14 Camp. I’m also personally excited to be reunited with the hula hoop tomorrow when we pick up our cache at the top of the fixed lines. In case you are wondering, I do look like a turtle when the hoop is attached to my pack and I am very slowly moving up the mountain.

Now our job is to rest and prepare for the next 72 hours of intensity and focus as a team - we are feeling strong and are excited to support each other to accomplish our shared goal of summiting The Great One with 100% of our team!

RMI Climber Steve

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Denali Expedition: Bond & Team Enjoy Rest and Acclimatization Day at 14,000’

Saturday, June 25, 2022 - 11:14 pm PT

Today was the epitome of doing nothing, which are team excelled at.  It was a 10:30AM wake up, breakfast and a whole lot of lounging around as we adjust to the thin air at 14,000’.  The team is doing great and we are set to do a carry up the fixed lines tomorrow to 16,400’. As we go to bed we’re enjoying the views of Mt. Hunter and Foraker off in the distance.

Don’t worry the crew will be back tomorrow writing a more exciting dispatch.  We truly did excel at doing nothing today which is a great thing when it comes to climbing a big mountain!

RMI Guide Andy Bond

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