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Entries By ben ammon

Denali Expedition: Gately & Team Fortify Their Camp at 14K Camp

Thursday, May 23, 2019 3:28 pm PT

Today the team focused on fortifying camp, finishing the snow walls that shield our tents from the wind.  The Mountain treated us to beautiful morning views above the clouds while we worked, but the weather turned snowy by afternoon.  Later in the day, the team practiced using ascenders in order to be prepared for our eventual trip up the fixed lines.  Weather allowing, we are hoping to put those skills into practice tomorrow, leaving a cache of summit food at 16,000 feet.

RMI Guide Steve Gately

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Great job everyone! We all miss you tons Dave! And it’s great to be able to follow Steve’s blog.  Have a wonderful time and we are so excited to know you’re doing well.  Lots of love! Kathy and kids

Posted by: Kathren Wills on 5/23/2019 at 8:01 pm

Way to go saucekia hope you’re having fun. It’s a nice 70° here I don’t know about you. -Emmett

Posted by: Emmett jacobson on 5/23/2019 at 7:44 pm

Denali Expedition: Gately & Team See the Edge of the World

The team woke up to gorgeous weather and we enjoyed another lengthy breakfast of eggs, hashbrowns and bacon before heading down to 13,600ft to grab our cached gear. We spent the afternoon fortifying our camp by quarrying snow blocks to build walls around our encampment. With a little time left to spare before dinner we all walked out to an area known as “The Edge of the World”. By walking out to the edge of Genet Basin, where 14K Camp sits, you’re met with 6,000ft of relief straight down to the Northeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier. One by one each climber is belayed out to a perch of rock that overhangs the immense exposure. Easily some of the most epic and grand photos you’ll ever take in your lifetime. We’re back at camp now and ready to dive into another dinner. Tomorrow the plan is to take another rest day and finish fortifying our camp ahead of some stormy weather arriving this weekend. The team is all doing great and enjoying their time here at 14,000ft.

RMI Guide Steve Gately

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Go, brother Kelby, go! Good luck, gang. You’re crushing it!

Posted by: Phil Richardson on 5/23/2019 at 7:31 am

Denali Expedition: Gately & Team Move to 14K Camp

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 8:43 pm PT

The winds from the previous day had subsided overnight an we woke up to mostly clear skies. You could see the south winds hammering the pipe West Buttress from camp. By the time we made it through breakfast, the winds dropped and we were in camp. With warmer temps forecasted and only light winds in camp we opted to try for the move. Long story short, it was windy. The kind of wind that your walking straight into for hours. The team did well taking care of hands, feet and faces. We finally found a break from the torrent at 13,600ft. A long hard day brought us to our new home here at 14,000ft. With camp finally set up, we’re all looking forward to a hot drink and a big dinner. Tomorrow we’ll try and back carry to 13.6k to pick up our cached gear then enjoy the afternoon off to rest and recover. That’s all for now, life is good!

RMI Guide Steve Gately

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Denali Expedition: Gately & Team Rest Day at 11K Camp

Monday, May 20, 2019 10:59 pm PT

I was up this morning early to keep a close eye on the weather in anticipation of a potential move to 14k Camp. Puffy cumulus clouds clung to the surrounding terrain features and were lapping in and out of camp like the tides at about 6AM. Our forecast was calling for an 80% chance of snow showers and increasing south winds into the evening. I opted to give the weather an extra hour to show it’s true intentions. I could hear the noises of other teams rustling around, presumably preparing for their own move to 14k Camp. I’ve seen plenty of deceiving mornings here in the Alaska Range luring you to trust that the forecast was wrong, as if so often can be. I ultimately didn’t like the look of it. The team has worked hard for five days now and a full rest day seemed appropriate before committing ourselves to the higher altitudes of the mountain. So we slept in until about 9am and made a wonderful breakfast of eggs and hashbrown burritos that lasted nearly until midday. By then the clouds had overtaken camp and it began to snow lightly. By 1pm the snow intensified and the forecasted south winds showed up early and turned camp into a whirlwind of snow that made it hard to see across camp. Wrapped snugly in our warm bags we all felt good about our decision to take an extra day. It’s not always you get such confirmation of a decision well made but today we did and it felt good all the while snuggled up in our warm bags reading and snacking the afternoon away. Tomorrow’s forecast looks much more promising and we’ll repeat the process of waking up early, sticking our heads out the tent and making another decision. Hopefully this time we’ll like what we see and we’ll get to move on up! Thanks for following along everyone!

RMI Guide Steve Gately

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Hi Steve. Bruins swept, sitting and waiting on a 3-2 blues over sharks series. Chara still 7’0” on skates and moves like a sack of pea gravel. Go Red Wings.

Posted by: Wild Bill on 5/21/2019 at 11:08 am

Denali Expedition: Gately and Team Retrieve Cache, Return to 11,000’ Camp

Saturday, May 18, 2019 10:11 pm PT

We awoke to clear skies this morning and the team enjoyed the extra sleep and a leisurely breakfast of toasted bagels, cream cheese and bacon. Just before midday we put the ropes back on and traveled back down glacier to about 10,000’ to retrieve our cache of gear. The weather stayed cool for us with high wispy clouds and filtered sun making the climb back to camp quite pleasant. The team then had the rest of the afternoon off and spent it snacking, napping and more snacking. Well earned time off after the long haul up the Kahiltna. Tomorrow, weather permitting, we will try and climb higher to about 13,600ft to place another cache of gear and further acclimate. This though we lose the sleds and snowshoes for crampons and an ice axe! 

RMI Guide Steve Gately

On The Map

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Denali Expedition: Gately and Team Move to 11,000’ Camp

This one is going to be brief, I apologize but its been a long day!

We were graced with good weather this morning and we rose early to break down camp and move to 11,000’. The team did a great job moving through the terrain. Light snow flurries kept the temps cool and good for climbing. The final hill into 11,000’ Camp is a total butt kicker and the team styled it like pros. The team spent the afternoon building camp and setting up tents before enjoying a well earned meal and a good nights rest. Tomorrow we will travel back down glacier to about 10,000’ to retrieve our cached gear and then enjoy having the afternoon free. All is well and the team is doing great!

RMI Guide Steve Gately & Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Keep up the good work! We really enjoy being able to follow along with these blogs.

Posted by: Dale Thompson on 5/18/2019 at 10:37 am

Great to read of favorable weather & all doing well!

Posted by: Tom Dietz on 5/18/2019 at 10:03 am

Denali Expedition: Gately & Team Ascend Ski Hill, Prepare to Move Camp

Thursday, May 16, 2019

A few short waves of snow showers passed through camp overnight and we woke up to a fresh dusting of new snow. A quick breakfast of oatmeal, dried fruit and nuts got us ready for the task ahead today. The terrain ahead would be a bit more challenging then our first day and the team was eager to explore new parts of the range. A decent amount of recent climber traffic has resulted in a well kicked in trail and we were grateful for the easy travel.

From camp our first obstacle is “Ski Hill”. In any other setting this slope wouldn’t make you bat an eye lash, but with Denali loads it poses quite a challenge. The team did fantastic with the increase in gradient. A short wave low pressure system was forecast to pass over the region today and we were greeted to a few intense snow flurries that reminded me of the Kahiltna Glacier that I’m more used to seeing. From the top of Ski Hill however, the terrain eases off quite a bit and we meandered our way to about 10,000’ where we left a cache of gear to be retrieved later. A quick descent brought us back into camp in seemingly no time at all and the crew is currently taking a load off before an early dinner in anticipation of another long day tomorrow.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, our goal will be to move to 11,000’ Camp. Its great to finally settle in at 11,000’, build a fortified camp, build the best kitchen this mountain has ever seen and look forward to our first rest day of the trip. That’s all for now, thanks for following along!

RMI Guide Steve Gately

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

That is a big glacier. Keep it up team. Looking forward to following your progress thru all phases of fun.

Posted by: Darren Beck on 5/18/2019 at 3:27 am

Denali Expedition: Gately and Team Fly onto Kahiltna Glacier

Wednesday, May 15, 2019 11:00 PM PST

After a good night’s rest the team had early start and a quick breakfast before meeting at K2 Aviation to finalize our departure. Weather was looking great and by 8AM we started loading up the planes. Before we knew it we were airborne and on our way. A couple hours spent reorganizing gear at KIA (Kahiltna International Airport) and we donned the weight of a 22 day trip and took off down the Southeast Fork.

It’s such a pleasure to be able to travel through this stretch of terrain with good visibility and weather. The Alaskan giants of Hunter and Foraker are staring you down and making the turn North up the Kahiltna glacier Denali slowly reveals itself.

The team did great handling the heavy weight and readjustment to life on the glacier. We are now camped at the base of a major feature known simply as “Ski Hill” at a popular interim camp at 7,800ft. Tomorrow we will bring a cache of gear to 9,600ft, bury it and return to 7,800ft. This will help get all of our food and equipment further up the hill without having to carry it all up at once. I didn’t have to do much convincing! Thanks to everyone whose following along!

RMI Guide Steve Gately

On The Map

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Denali Expedition: Gately & Team Taking Care of Business in Talkeetna

Good afternoon from Talkeetna everyone! The May 13 Denali Team is safely in Talkeetna and ready to get this grand adventure underway. 

The team spent the morning exploring Talkeetna before sitting down for an orientation with NPS to discuss the many facets of life on Denali. After a brief but informative discussion we shifted over to an empty aircraft hangar provided by K2 Aviation to begin tearing apart our equipment and making sure we have the necessary items for safe travel and a long trip. By early afternoon the team had their duffel bags and backpacks packed and ready to be weighed and marked by K2.

During that time my two assistant guides were busy running through our 22 days of food and organizing the rest of our group gear for the trip. It’s an overwhelming process at times and the shear amount of gear needed for a successful Denali expedition slowly began to show itself.

It’s a good feeling however to now say that everything is prepared and ready for our flight onto the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier.

We’ll take the afternoon to relax, unwind and enjoy the amenities of town life before hopefully leaving it all behind tomorrow. We’re all looking forward to a great meal tonight at Denali Brewing Company and a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow we’ll rise early and be ready for a potential flight in. In Alaska, flights in and out of the great range depend greatly on the weather. We’ll cross our fingers for a decent window tomorrow to kick things off. Hopefully by this time tomorrow I’ll be sending these dispatches from the Kahiltna Glacier!

The team is psyched, the guides are psyched and life is good! Thanks for following along and as always, stay tuned for more!

RMI Guide Steve Gately

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Looks like you are all making great moves and listening to the mountain. Keep it up. Routing for you!

Posted by: Darren Beck on 5/22/2019 at 9:22 am

Mt. Baker: Mazaika & Team Summit with 100%!

Sunday, September 9, 2018 - 1:20 PM PT

RMI Guide Bryan Mazaika called from the summit of Mt. Baker this afternoon. The team attempted the climb a day early to take advantage of a forecasted lull in the rainy weather. The decision proved wise as the team was able to summit 100% in dry weather! They will make their way downhill to camp where they will pack up and exit the program a day early to beat the coming rain and snow.

Congratulations team!

Bryan Mazaika checking from Mt. Bakers Coleman Deming Route. September 9, 2018.

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