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Entries By andy hildebrand

May 26, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team Enjoy Rest Day at 11,200’

May 26, 2015 - 7:24 pm PT

I gave the team a general idea of when we might start breakfast this morning at dinner last night.  I bet we get hot water started at around 8, then start pancakes and coffee shortly after that I said.  I didn’t even open my eyes until almost nine.  While in the middle of working your way up this mountain day after day none of us realized how much we could use a rest.  Today it became clear.  We sat in the cook tent making fresh Pete’s coffee and watching Andy flip flap jacks until almost noon.  Then we took naps and soaked up the sun we haven’t really seen clearly this entire trip.  Now we are cooking quesadillas and packing up for our potential move to 14 Camp tomorrow.  Everyone is happy to be caching dirty underwear, smelly socks and unneeded stuff for the upper mountain.  It has been a beautiful rest day here at 11 Camp but after getting a great view of the upper mountain yesterday, the team feels super psyched to push this climb higher and see what unfolds. 
Check in tomorrow for the outcome of our hopeful move. 
Team Knoff saying goodnight.

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

On The Map


So glad to hear you are all doing so well and that you took a day to rest! Can’t wait to see how the next move goes!
Sending love from home!
Nic and Jek xox

Posted by: Angelica on 5/27/2015 at 10:36 pm

Shannon and team, hope you enjoyed your rest day. Pancakes always good to warm the belly.  Climb on.  Looking forward to the next post.

Posted by: patty & mark on 5/27/2015 at 12:19 pm

May 26, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

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

May 26, 2015 - 10:08 am PT

Today is Memorial Day.  With the simplicity of life on this mountain taking charge, many of us don’t even know what day it is.  The process of get up, get dressed in close quarters, make your way to the cook tent dug into the side of the mountain, eat breakfast, pack you bag and climb, come back to the tents, eat dinner and go to bed is a process where days don’t matter.  So if birthdays are missed, anniversaries are forgotten about, we are not to blame.  Despite having digital doohickeys with us,  looking at calendars and keeping track of days becomes arbitrary.  Today as it turns out wasn’t Memorial Day up here, it was Windy Corner day.  This legendary gateway to the upper mountain is famous for its heinous wind, scary rock fall and tricky crevasses.  We are happy to report our carry around the corner to 13,500 feet went as smooth as we could have asked for.  Again we lucked out with weather because as I wrote earlier our early morning wake up calls got us going into clear skies but as soon as we arrived back in camp seven hours later it was snowing as hard as it has all trip.  There is much to be said for walking into a camp that is waiting for you.  We will rest tomorrow and eat pancakes and drink fresh coffee until nap time.  We can’t wait. 
Hello to Mrs. Vradenburg’s class at Lamotte School   I hope Liam is behaving.  Stay tuned. 

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

On The Map

Hi Greg… sooooo excited to hear the weather is cooperating this time around!  The HFI crew is wishing you and your group a safe summit & return.  We sort of miss you??? ;) Love the blog!

Posted by: Shelly Davies on 5/27/2015 at 7:50 am

Sounds like weather and timing are working well for you climbers. wishing everyone a well deserved rest and careful climbing tomorrow.  Thinking of you often Greg.  Great to get the blogs. Good luck. 







Posted by: Dawn on 5/26/2015 at 6:26 pm

May 25, 2015

Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team Retrieve Cashe and return to 11,200’

May 24, 2015 - 11:48 pm PT

Hello again from 11,000ft!

We woke up this morning to a fresh dumping of snow at camp, covering our tents and cook tent. First order of business this morning was getting everything dug out and reinforcing our snow walls.

The weather was still looking a little squirrelly afterwards, so we opted for a bit of a relaxed breakfast while we continued to watch what was going on outside. After a couple hours, our patience was rewarded and things cleared up enough for us to get organized and take off downhill to retrieve our cache at 9800’.  We made down, grabbed our cached goods, and jammed back uphill in good time. This is a strong team! Everyone just keeps going and is having fun!

Once back at 11,000’ with all our gear, the weather made a turn for the better. The skies cleared out, the winds died down, and the sun warmed us as we relaxed for the rest of the evening. If all goes well, we’ll push up to 13,500’ tomorrow to cache our gear around Windy Corner in preparation for our move to 14k.

Goodnight for now!
RMI Guide Nick Hunt and the rest of the team

On The Map

Much respect for you all and your endeavor on Denali. This is your year Will. Godspeed….

Posted by: John on 5/26/2015 at 8:10 am

Shannon—sorry we missed your calls Sunday night.  Thought of you through the weekend and missed your smiling face and sarcastic jabs at Shakamak.  Wishing you and the entire team better weather and a safe climb.  We’re cheering you on!

Posted by: Mark on 5/26/2015 at 7:34 am

May 24, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team Move to 11,200 ft Camp

May 23, 2015 - 11:00 pm PT

In the real world the saying goes"the early bird gets the worm”.  This season on Denali, the early bird gets the weather window.  Now I’ve never been a bird before so I’m not gonna judge on how good a worm must taste, but I have been here before and I can tell you that moving camp in clear weather is much tastier than moving in a storm.  So, with a clear but windy morning we scarfed down a warm granola breakfast cached some unneeded gear and quickly broke camp.  Our team is getting very proficient at this skill so we were rolling by 9:15.  Nick led the team out and in 2.5 hours of sustained up hill travel had us all sitting at 11,200 feet.  It wasn’t long after we began building a fresh camp that the weather had enough of being nice and took a quick turn for the worst.  It held out just long enough to get camp built and then really started snowing and blowing.  The forecast is calling for up to a foot of snow by the end of tomorrow so we feel blessed to be in a good spot to wait things out.  Everyone sends big hugs to those following the blog and little hugs to those who aren’t. 
From from Camp three. 
RMI Guide Adam Knoff and team saying goodnight. 

On The Map

Way to go Joe and team! Matt, Suzy, and Lucille are very excited for you and following your adventure. Alice is just thirsty and tired.

Posted by: Suzy on 5/26/2015 at 11:23 am

Way to go, Uncle Joe!  We are excited to follow your climb.  Good luck.

Posted by: Jedrek & Guthrie on 5/26/2015 at 9:26 am

May 23, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Knoff and Team Move Up to 9,800’

Saturday, May 23rd 12:44 am PDT

I would like to dedicate this dispatch (one of many I’m sure) to my six year old son, Liam, who’s kindergarten class will be following the blog as our adventure unfolds. Hi kiddo! Daddy misses you a lot!

Up here on the mountain, day two was again a well executed day. We packed up camp at 7,800 feet and made a single carry of all of our things up to 9,800 feet were we are camped for night. We each moved well over one hundred pounds divided between our sleds and packs. From here on up we begin to split the loads, taking some up the mountain in one carry and then returning the next day to retrieve the rest. The weather here is well below freezing at night and we have strong gusty winds that are blowing snow around. We got lucky to move into a camp that already had big snow block walls built to protect us a bit from the heavy gusts. Tomorrow we will decide what the plan is after we have breakfast and check the weather. So far so good.

RMI Guides Adam Knoff, Nick Hunt, and Andy Hildebrand

On The Map

Thanks for the great update—everyone in STL wants to know how you all are doing! George and Margaret have been telling everyone they see that Daddy is in Alaska climbing a mountain! Lot’s of pool time this weekend - Friday night with E & A and yesterday with the Sinton’s and Queens—they all miss you!  Thinking of you every day….love H, G and M

Posted by: Heather on 5/24/2015 at 6:45 am

Enjoying your newsy blog.  What a team,  Sending an abundance of well wishes for continued success and cooperative weather. Stay warm and enjoy your adventure.

Posted by: Carolyn Wallgren on 5/24/2015 at 5:37 am

May 22, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Knoff & Team Arrive at Camp 1

May 21, 2015 - 10:46 pm PT

The team has made it to Camp 1 in almost perfect style. I am on my seventh Denali climb as a guide and have never gone from Base Camp to Camp 1 with such seamlessness.  No one had a single sled issue or cursed my name for giving them so much gear.  No one got a blister or fell behind a single second.  Like I said earlier, I am very pleased with this team.  One day down, who knows how many more to go. 
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s report.

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

On The Map

We sure hope the weather holds clear and bright the rest of your journey. Safe climbing to the whole team. Keep up the good work and good luck to you all.

Posted by: Connie Whitley on 5/23/2015 at 4:14 am

Way to go team! Glad all is well. We sure are routing for y’all. Greetings from Texas! Yee,haw!!

Posted by: Joyce Tocher on 5/22/2015 at 6:20 pm

May 21, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Knoff and Team Ready to Go

Thursday, May 21st 10:02 am PDT

We got the call this morning at breakfast that base camp is clear and the light is green. We are on the plane now ready for an adventure of a lifetime!  Wish us luck and send us love. 
Our next dispatch will be from Mt. McKinley
Rock and Roll!

Wednesday, May 20th 4:18 pm PDT

Our team is doing great up here in Talkeetna, AK.
We are swamped in gear, doing an inspection that would make the FAA proud. Nothing is going unseen and I am proud to announce that everyone is passing with flying colors. Overall I couldn’t be more happy with the first impressions of what should be a strong team. Let’s hope it stays that way. One never knows what can happen on Mt. McKinley.  Prayers for good morning weather for flying tomorrow.

Bye for now from Talkeetna.
RMI Guides Adam Knoff, Nick Hunt, and Andy Hildebrand and Crew

good luck to all the Denali climbers.  Hopefully you will summit this time Greg but always remember safety first. Love always mom and dad2

Posted by: Dawn on 5/23/2015 at 8:00 am

Game-on Knoff & Team! Glad the wx was good and you got to fly out right away.
Enjoy the Kahiltna! G.Barber, enroute to AK! Made it to Cache Creek today. See you soon!

Posted by: Kerry on 5/22/2015 at 11:03 pm

May 17, 2015

Alaska Mountaineering Seminar - Expedition

Alaska Alpine Seminar: Elias & Team Ready to Fly to Talkeetna

Good morning! We’re packing up as we speak, and are scheduled to fly back to Talkeetna in the next few hours. Unfortunately we can’t report another summit from yesterday. We continued to have more snow through the early afternoon and our fears for avalanche danger were confirmed when the temps climbed up later in the day. We settled for just the approach to the lower Pika, as we tested an incredibly reactive snowpack; while no climbing, that provided a super valuable safety learning opportunity for everyone.

That’s it for now, our next post will be from civilization with some pics.

Rmi Guide Elías deAndres Martos and Team

May 16, 2015

Alaska Mountaineering Seminar - Expedition

Alaska Alpine Seminar: Elias & Team Climb Big Arapiles

May 16th 2:06 am PT

Good morning from Little Switzerland. We had an awesome day yesterday!!! We woke up to marginal weather and spent the morning mastering lead climbing techniques and tricks at the belay. As things stabilized, we broke again into groups and climbers took the lead and responsibility to guide us to Big Arapiles, both up and down; It was an incredible outing and Vanessa, Tyler, Kyle, John and Paul made us proud.

Our plan today may change, as we are receiving a ton of snow. We’ll check back in later and let you know.

Standing by from the Pika Glacier,
RMI Guides Elias de Andres Martos, Sean Collon, Andy Hildebrand, and team

Way to go V!!!
Enjoy every minute, be safe and I will see you soon!  80 degrees is waiting for you :)
Love you,

Posted by: Brett on 5/16/2015 at 3:11 pm

Grandma and Grandpa say hi to Taylor and the group.  Looks like fun, next time we would love to go with you.  Stay safe.

Posted by: Stan & Ruth Briggs on 5/16/2015 at 2:54 pm

May 15, 2015

Alaska Mountaineering Seminar - Expedition

Alaska Alpine Seminar: Elias & Team Plan for Next Climb Objective

May 15th 1:30 am PT

Good evening from Pika Glacier camp. We are writing from the relative comfort of our posh tent, after a day of on and off fog, wind and snow. We’re all in great spirits and hoping for the weather to clear to focus on our next objective. Enjoy a couple pictures of today’s view from home. That’s it for today!

RMI Guide Elias de Andres Martos

Hope those toes are still there when you get home :)
Love you,

Posted by: Brett on 5/15/2015 at 4:51 pm

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